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Showing posts from February, 2011

Friday Five Questions: Salha Kaitesi, from Beauty of Rwanda

Salha Kaitesi, owner of Beauty of Rwanda. Salha Kaitesi is the founder of the UK-based online business Beauty of Rwanda. Being of Rwandese extraction, she decided in late 2010 to start a business that provides an online platform for her compatriots to sell traditional crafts to the wider world in a way that rewards the artists and craftswomen fairly in the process. Recently, she has commenced the 'Only One Basket' campaign (see  #onlyonebasket on Twitter) and is preparing to formally launch the campaign in London and East Africa. Salha took time out of her busy day to answer the first ever Friday Five Questions for Ayohcee. Ayohcee: Something that you’ve mentioned a lot during our conversations is this expression “fair trade, not aid”. Why is it so important to focus the world’s attention on the fact that your project is not just another aid project? Salha Kaitesi: I think it’s because every time Africa is mentioned, especially here in the West, everyone just concludes

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire

A photo taken in the cloisters of Lacock Abbey in July of 2010. I was staying in the vicinity of Bradford-upon-Avon whilst visiting my cousin and his wife. This picture has not been tinkered with at all, but is the product of being in the right place at the right time with my iPhone. M6ZKQDM6WEXA

Zimbabwean Coffee from MamaAfrika.com

Coffee - with milk and sugar of course. Twitter has a lot of faults, but these are far outweighed by the benefits that it can bring. These benefits can come in the form of cheap advertising for a small business, promoting your various philanthropic projects and getting things for free when they are offered. I've followed a small business called Mama Afrika for a few months now. The enterprise is based in USA and working to raise the profile of fair trade alternatives and make money for a variety of causes in Africa. So, when Mama said, 'do any of my followers have a question for me?' I was always going to respond with, 'yes, do you ever give samples of your coffee to your followers?' Luckily for me, the answer came back in the affirmative and two weeks later a package containing both Zimbabwean AA and Kenyan coffee arrived in a parcel from the USA. On the night of the package's arrival I opened the bag of Zimbabwean coffee beans and, due to a

Mugabe and the White African

Photo © 2009, Robin Hammond. I have, over the years, kept a reasonably close eye on political proceedings in Zimbabwe. It was this interest that drew the film Mugabe and the White African to my attention - the film had seemingly passed me by upon its release. The film focuses upon Mike Campbell and Ben Freeth, his son in law, and their fight for survival as white farmers living under the constant threat of eviction at the hands of Robert Mugabe's government. We follow Campbell and Freeth as they take their case, challenging the Zimbabwean government's controversial 'land reform' policies which exclusively target white farmers, to an SADC Tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia. Campbell, having bought his land after independence, and having received the proper permissions and allowances from the government at the time, is told twenty years down the line that he has to leave the farm. This order doesn't come about as a result of any injury he has caused the country, or t

Dambisa Moyo @ Cass Business School

I've briefly stepped inside another world. I'm in the Cass Business School, part of the City University, London. Walking through the revolving doors and into a glass palace, I'm catching a glimpse of the life in the kind of university campus I could have attended had I opted for business and commerce over the arts. This aside, the purpose of my visit is to see Dambisa Moyo give a lecture for the Adam Smith Institute. Moyo is a leading light and a refreshing voice in the world of economic theory whose career as a writer blossomed following the publication of Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa - a book that strikes a major chord with my own relationship with projects in Africa and assists me greatly in my new role co-ordinating aspects of Global Citizenship into my college's curriculum. I get to a seat, instinctively at the back of the lecture hall, where I have a decent vantage point of the whole room. As the time approaches 6.30

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al-Aswany

I have Petros - a dear workmate of mine - to thank for bringing this book to my attention. He promised me that the contents of the book would be an eye-opening experience, that would shine a light into the darker aspects of not just Egyptian society, but also a great deal of African and Middle-Eastern societies too. As you read the stories if the diverse occupants of the once glamourous, but now seedy, Yacoubian Building in Cairo, their lives seem to touch on many of the root causes of the recent events in Egypt - not least government corruption. The fragmented story traces the lives of an aging single man, a beautiful young female, a man who turns to extremism, a corrupt politician, an illicit gay couple, a greedy sister and a would-be entrepreneur, all of whom are bound together by this architectural relic of Egypt's more 'European' past. The winding nature of the text and its evolution over the course of the book, is countered beautifully by the short, episodic nature