Tag Archives: Africa

SA: Sex-Work In Lieu of Opportunity

Prostitution is not often a career choice, but an unfortunate opportunity. Seeking opportunity, people travel

Sex-workers travel and oftentimes foreigners come to dominate the local sex-markets. The issue of prostitution and the mitigation of AIDS in Southern Africa can’t be solved by any one country alone, when the issues cross borders. Thus far, an ‘international effort’ has failed to satisfactorily redress the root cause: opportunity. (borders?).


Namibian prostitutes fall short of earnings compared to their foreign counterparts

According to findings, Zimbabwean and Zambian street sex workers, with well-paying clients fare much better. A Zimbabwean sex worker, Violet Chigari (26): “It’s a fact that foreign girls make all the money in this country while Namibian girls simply don’t know how to.” All her fellow foreigners make good money because they deal with the ‘right clientele’ mostly comprised of high-profile personalities, such as local and international businessmen, as well as politicians.

When it comes to day-to-day operations, Violet points out foreign sex workers do not only run the streets but they own them. In her view, foreign prostitutes have better advantage because they are highly experienced and find it a lot easier to be prostitutes in a foreign country rather than back home: they do not worry about bumping into anyone they know.


This clip gives good coverage:


The Tropic of Capricorn 2 of 20 – Namibia – BBC Travel

Related Post

SA/ZIM: Platinum Lined Land Issue

It’s more than just diamonds.

Platinum mining in South Africa accounts for three-quarters of the world’s platinum reserves.

Zimbabwe ranks third, after Russia.

Futures analysis/GRAPH

Related Post

The Diamond Deal: ZANU-PF & DeBeers

Zimbabwe:
Since 1980, ZANU-PF has managed a country rife with poverty.

Land is regarded as a chance at prosperity. Mugabe has long-promised land to the rural poor as part of his political platform. In 1998, he allowed for the hostile takeover of thousands of smallholder white-owned farms by ‘war veterans’ and squatters. This was in response to physical threats against him and the regime by a large mob which demanded land and recompense for their service to the party and the revolution. A payout of $222 million dollars was granted, but the President declared his hands tied on the subject of land.

Curiously, the largest white-owned plots, such as the Oppenheimer Estate—often referred to as “the size of Belgium” and owned by DeBeers heirs—received state protection. (BBC News, 2001) In the course of political navigation, President Mugabe allowed the Oppenheimers and Anglo American, (the parent company of DeBeers) to keep its properties in 2002. The mining conglomerate, operated out of South Africa, manages a complete monopoly on the global diamond trade.

The Oppenheimer’s also own large tracts of land that aren’t mined, and like their family estate in Zimbabwe, they negotiated to have their land ‘protected’ as nature preserves, where they offer safaris and game hunting to Western tourists. But for all purposes, they control the land they claim to conserve only because they are diamond rich, and it is in this manner, the Oppenheimers, DeBeers, and Anglo American control the supply and price of diamonds on the global market.

Nicky-Oppenheimer

Nicky Oppenheimer

The landholding is the result of buying out competition which could potentially introduce their diamonds into the global market. The myth of diamonds as ‘rare’ is DeBeers created, and it is well understood that there are alluvial diamond fields throughout southern Africa, and anywhere there is dormant volcanoes and superheated carbon. However, flooding the market would depress their bottom line. (Reynolds, 1994)

With the find of the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe, Mugabe has found a means of leverage against Anglo American. If Zimbabwe were to nationalize their diamond industry, in a manner similar to neighboring Botswana, it could lead to revenue for the country, theoretically, to apply to public education, infrastructure, and health. Given the abundance of diamonds in the Zimbabwean soil, this action would depress the value of Anglo American’s diamonds.

ZANU-PF supervised “diamond rushes” in the region where hundreds of panners dig in competition, selling their finds to the government, before those methods received international sanction.  More recently, ZANU-PF has also contracted Chinese companies for more professional digs. To avoid sanctions and the label of “black market” or “blood diamonds,” the Zimbabwean diamond effort is forced to negotiate within a framework of trade controlled by DeBeers.

Since the beginning of “legal” Zimbabwean diamonds, ZANU-PF has managed this “Kimberly Process” under the eye of Obert Mpofu. From the Matabeleland region, a place where most supported the ZAPU party at independence, Mpofu changed his support to ZANU-PF in the 1980s. He entered politics, eventually being appointed Governor of Matabeleland by Mugabe in 2000.  Mpofu acquired transport and safari tour companies—facing accusations of smuggling and unsanctioned digging—and then land and banks, creating himself a diamond trade path similar to the origins of DeBeers, over a hundred years earlier.

Obert-Mpofu1-1

Obert Mpofu “The King of Matabeleland”

Since acquiring his position, Mpofu has himself become rich, investing in land. In western Zimbabwe, his holdings come second only to the Oppenheimer family, making him easily one of the top five landowners in the country. “Like many of his ZANU brethren…” Partnership Africa Canada notes “Mpofu built much of his wealth through “vulture capitalism”—a money for nothing appropriation of profitable businesses and/or assets that are later “legitimized” through normal business activity.” (Taylor, 2012)

Could this be a ploy of ZANU-PF to settle the land matter, by purchasing it with illegal diamond profits? It looks to be one man’s attempt at patronage, power, and riches. Mpofu is often described as owning half of Matabeleland , referring to himself as the “King of Matabeleland.” In addition to his land holdings, he is said to have the largest cattle herd in the country, and a “patronage network unparalleled by any of his political peers.” His wealth and ego began to intensify after the international sanctions on Zimbabwean diamonds were removed. He was appointed Minister of the Mines in 2009.

As guardian of the Marange diamond fields, Mpofu’s new wealth has been viewed with suspicion, as revenues to the state consistently fall short of projection, profoundly impacting national budget planning. Revenue transparency is practically non-existent in regards to this national resource. Missing money means breaks in that “breaks in that country’s internal controls, including the reality that there is an illegal, parallel trade underway.” (Taylor, 2012)

anglo-american-191b4a9fbb36c026f80c84dcbe81837bZANU-PF was allowed to reenter the global diamond market because they developed a Kimberly/DeBeers approved program to sell their diamonds.

However, this process does not protect against shrinkage and ‘shortfall’. ZANU-PF has also accumulated massive amounts of surplus, strong-arming the diamond industry into negotiations and contractual favors, as well as bribes.


The Oppenheimers maintain their millions of acres around southern Africa, a legacy of the family’s history in the global diamond empire. Mugabe remains President of Zimbabwe, and Mpofu, the King of Matabeleland.

A status quo. “There is a process of discussion between Nicky Oppenheimer and the Zimbabwean government,” according to an Oppenheimer family spokesman. “We don’t believe the seizure of land is imminent or on the agenda.” (Taylor, 2012) If confiscation were on the agenda, it would be high ranking ZANU-PF biting the hand that feeds them. It remains to be seen if Mugabe’s rhetoric will remain racialized, blaming the white farmer, when in fact, the issue lies with the multinational.

As a need for land exists, much of it goes fallow, and the farmworker unemployed. Coercion and violence by the gang-like organization managing the country has ruined the nation, as ZANU & DeBeers profit on a racist half-true fiction: the mythical land issue. 

REFERENCES:

BBC News. (2001, November 9). Zimbabwe clash with oppenheimer dynasty. BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1646977.stm

Chenault, K. (1998, February 15). A move to grab white owned land..may land mugabe in deep trouble. Bloomberg Businessweek, Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1998-02-15/a-move-to-grab-white-owned-land-dot-dot-dot-may-land-mugabe-in-deep-trouble-intl-edition

Reynolds, B. (Producer) (1994). The diamond empire [Television series episode]. In PBS Frontline. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4c1p_DMkIw

Martin, Alan and Bernard Taylor. (2012, November). Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields. Partnership Africa Canada. Retrieved from http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/Reap%20What%20Sow%20a.pdf

Related Post

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential

"African urban legislation is based on the 1947 UK Town and Country Planning Act, where the legitimacy of informal settlements is not considered. As a result, mass evictions and demolitions have occurred over the years, leading to rebuilding of structures or relocation of residents. Slumlords and politically connected individuals take advantage by settling people on public land and unused private land."

Recognition of Slum Dwellers is Essential for Urban Development in Nairobi
Pressed via: The Grid | Global Site Plans, Author: Constant Cap

Related Post

Slavery Turns Black In The New World

0474Eurocentric modern African history begins alongside the discovery of the New World. Europeans and the Church needed labor in abundance. Indians were susceptible to European diseases, and not suited to the hard labor that was demanded of the New World cash crops. Relying on the long stable Arab Slave Trade, Spain imported the first Africans to Hispaniola 1501.

At this point in history, Africans were a tiny minority of the world’s slave population. Most slaves were non-moslem Arabs; this included many captured Europeans of Barbary raids, traded across Northern Africa.

As labor demand ratcheted upward, more slaves were needed. Europeans pressed and plied African rulers or undermined local power structures to acquire their labor pool, and many slaves were created out of political enemies. Between ten and twenty million survived the Atlantic passage. In the New World, they faced disease and death.

The total number is inexact, and just as many slaves perished in the process of passage or capture. Tens of millions of people were removed from northern Africa, a depopulation of human capital unprecedented in scale. The Portuguese middle-men of the Atlantic Slave Trade would turn Africans into the overwhelming majority of the world’s slaves by 1800.

Related Post

Early African Islam: Trade & Literacy

Prevalent across the northern half of the continent is the religion of Islam. Not African in origin, it was brought by Arab traders across the Sahara beginning around 700 and downward through the Sahel and East Africa thereafter. Between 900 and the 1800’s, the religion spread throughout the Sahara via trade networks and jihad. Rather than seeking domination, practitioners of the faith sought to influence their trade partners, and bringing with it a high rate of literacy as a result.

image via http://islamandafrica.com/

Related Post

Rashida Manjoo: Advice for Africa

Dr. Rashida Manjoo, lawyer and international advocate to advance women’s rights makes points in her conversation with University of Connecticut students which have relevance to the issue of African nationalism and independence.

By knowing your struggle—becoming educated on it, and the means of changing it—you can overcome it. Becoming familiar with barriers oppression, one will quickly find legal grounds in policy, and “having a law degree helps you understand the world in a way.”

Having an understanding of policy and the means to change it was a path traveled by Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah obtained a Western education, and used this to assist his advocacy for Pan-Africanism, by organizing supporters and leading conferences on the matter. He was then able to apply his understanding of Western legal systems and political navigation to help Ghana (then the Gold Coast) achieve self-rule from the UK, by the ballot in February of 1951, and ultimately, independence in March of 1957.

Dr. Manjoo also conveyed an approach to measure the effectiveness of issue advocacy. If “what people were demanding in the past, they are demanding today,” then the issue is still in need of advocacy. This relates well to the land issues of Sub-Saharan Africa, specifically, that of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Their freedom struggles were grounded in the return of the land for majority use from the minority white settler populations. Since independence, the black majority is still landless, and the bulk of the land remains in white, Western, and now “Eastern” hands. In many cases, choice properties have become the private estates of leaders in government, or political gifts to their supporters.

There are many examples between the two countries that of land that once was fertile, now fallow and no longer productive. Fear is the issue making the trained agriculturalist a refugee to neighboring Botswana or Mozambique. Land equity has not been effectively addressed “on the ground,” and the issue remains just as pressing as it did at independence and fifty years prior. The need for discussion and resolution persists.

UCONN’s: Violence Against Women Conference
IMAGE and recent Manjoo news: UN expert heads to UK to investigate violence against women

Related Post

ZIM: Soil Poaching, Too

The maximum  fine stipulated for local authorities to charge illegal soil extractors, is not deterrent enough to help fight the rising crime, says Marondera Mayor, Farai Nyandoro.

The maximum $20 fine is not deterrent enough to help fight the rising crime, says Marondera Mayor, Farai Nyandoro.

Most soil extraction is carried out at night when council security officers do not patrol the affected areas. “The practice adversely affected council housing developmental projects, as areas affected by the illegal soil extraction are almost impossible to service for both residential and commercial purposes,” added the mayor.

The thieves even use mechanized earthmoving equipment such as graders, front loaders, tipper trucks and other heavy machinery to illegally extract the soil.

Soil poaching is fast crawling towards farming areas under the jurisdiction of Rural District Councils. Some new farmers desperate to make a living have been accused of selling soil from their properties to the poachers. But analysts say the practice would render farms unproductive in the long run, as it strips away valuable top soil.

The Zimbabwean: Soil poaching on the rise

Related Post

ZIM: Malnutrition in Matabeleland

Major deficiencies are Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A and Iodine.

According to the 2012 Ministry of Health and Child Welfare statistics, 26.6 %rural children, 19.5% urban children and 44% women were found to be iodine deficient.

“Iodine deficiency causes goitre, increased incidence of still births, abortions, congenital abnormalities including cretinism and mental retardation.”

Malnutrition wreaks havoc in Matabeleland

Related Post

African Youth Leagues: Pawns In Struggle

Before the fall of Apartheid, teenagers faced violence from their former schoolyard mates over the color of a tee-shirt or voiced support for competing political ideologies. Homes are torched, supporters ‘necklaced’, and rival youth gangs held power in the classroom.

The struggle of the adults filtered down to the children, when the liberation movement created ‘youth leagues’, aiming to draft their supporters younger and younger. The children are seduced by free clothing and promise of money, and filled with wild notions, which in their youth, they have not fully understood.

The children are told–and they believe–that the ANC will grant them land and equity. Their rivals claim to see though it, and hold out for something better. Neither side is clearly right or wrong.

The best position for anyone to take to take isn’t entirely clear. But adults have compelled these young men to pick, and wait for violence to finally reach them.

Contemporary: Supporters of the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema, gather during clashes with police forces

Contemporary: Supporters of the ANC Youth League President Julius Malema gather during clashes with police forces.

Related Post