Not so civil after all?

‘Civil Society’ was not a term familiar to me before my time in Zambia. I have come to learn that is an elegant phrase for a rather inelegant grouping of sometimes strange bedfellows. Essentially anyone who can be said to have a stake in society but is not part of the state or private enterprise … Continue reading

Kicking Around Uncle Bob’s Backyard

Last weekend, I took a spin down to Harare with a couple of housemates. Contrary to all the media hype we found the city to be peaceful, the people to be friendly and the streets to be grandly sweeping (albeit now slowly crumbling) in a way sadly Lusaka could only dream of. Actually, they would … Continue reading

Southern Africa’s Little Gem

This week I was fortunate enough to spend my time in Gaborone, Botswana scouting out potential non-profit partners for next year’s PEPAL programme. A great friend from my time in Chicago hails from here so it is not my first visit to the city, but coming directly from its neighbour to the north allowed me … Continue reading

A Stunning Decline in the Most Unlikely of Places

Data has just been presented this week of the most dramatic decline in HIV prevalence rates seen anywhere in the Sub-Saharan region. Based upon testing of pregnant women coming forward for neo-natal care the prevalence of women testing positive for HIV has dropped from 23% in 2001 to a staggering 11% in 2008. So which … Continue reading

Waiting for God O

This week everyone’s favourite son-of-a-Kenyan-goatherder makes his first trip to Africa as President. People tend not to count his brief stop in Egypt earlier in the year; partly because he was there to deliver an address to the Arab world and partly because he didn’t bring his family. This time the destination is Ghana, the … Continue reading

Ever Greater Union?

Moammar Gaddafi is rapidly becoming my favourite African politician to watch – for his eccentricity if nothing else. His African hospitality does not stop at strange and inappropriate gifts, he also insists on hosting guests in his home town, even when that happens to be in the middle of the desert – four hours from … Continue reading

The Curious Case of Gaddafi’s Camels

Gaddafi’s camel Originally uploaded by mosilager One of the strangest tales I have heard in my time here is the story of how the nation of Zambia ended up with 4 rather sad looking camels sitting in Mundawanga Zoo just outside Lusaka. Back in 2008, after recently appointing himself King of African Kings, and in … Continue reading

The Importance of Speaking Up

I felt a little under qualified blogging a few weeks ago on my impressions of South Africa. I was only there for a week after all and who am I to judge the ANC’s today after such a long and painful struggle against apartheid? But I found the language used by them against Archbishop Desmond … Continue reading

A Brief Snapshot of Modern South Africa

En route to Zambia, we stopped off for a few days of meetings with some of the bigger players in the donor world including USAID. They are one of the largest donors in the world and it sure felt like it as we made our way into their complex just outside Pretoria. With security systems … Continue reading