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Letters Readers’ views

How did you get it so wrong on Tunisia? I may not be the only New African reader who was shocked at seeing the social ex- plosion in Tunisia, less than a month after so much good, prosperity, contentment, happiness, and development had been reported as taking place in the country (New African, December 2010). What our elders say is always true, that beneath every decorated grave lies a mere skull and other bones. Te feature on Tunisia in the De- cember 2010 issue was nothing other than a big public relations exercise for the Ben Alis. If not so, you should have pressed on to hear the voices of the Bouazizis – who were bearing the brunt of Ben Ali’s dictatorship, corruption and repression of his people, which was ably aided by his wife Leila and siblings. Perhaps next time, New African should be wiser not to believe hook, line and sinker, the nice stories Afri- can leaders are telling them – about their countries’ relative peace, democracy and development.

P K Boateng East London, South Africa

Warning from the African-Arab world Te wave of reactionary revolutions against neo-benevolent despotism in the African- Arab world should signal a warning to neo-benevolent despotic Southern Africa today. In South Africa there is resistance to the ANC corruption and nepotism among famous families which has resulted in the emergence of rich black oligarchies. Tis resistance is from both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum. Many, particularly the youth, are disillu- sioned that despite having high qualifica- tions they are roaming the streets – jobless! Look at it this way – according to New African (December, 2010), Tunisia was portrayed as a success story, but this com- plexion has changed completely. Its be- nevolent despot has been deposed by the people and fled to Saudi Arabia. Tere are parallels to South Africa, where corrup- tion has become the face of the ANC-led government. Graft, stagnant service de- livery in all municipalities and negative audit reports from the Auditor General, bad governance, a poor education system, rising unemployment (which is a major problem), the rising cost of living and the soon-to-be-felt effects of the current

4 | March 2011 New African

into something akin to China’s current status.” So, the 64,000-dollar question is:

Where are all these deep furies coming from? Well, like the Tunisians, I am feeling the heavy aura of repressed furies amidst my own people in Tanzania. Te political impunities established and heavily pro- tected by the political elites are reaching saturation points. Te corruptions and nepotism as well as creations of political dynasties and the double standard ap- proach to social-economic governance, will surely make hell break loose one of these days. And here, people shall not wait for someone to set themselves on fire for the change to erupt.

Clement Mwakikunga Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Early January: A marcher on a demo in Paris, with a poster, protests against the repression of demonstrators in Tunisia

floods will bring the government to its knees and force the ruling party out. All seems quiet now, but when people clamour for bread, will they be offered cake? Eco- nomic growth that does not include the poor is a sham and should be sceptically viewed.

Benjamin Seitisho Riverside, South Africa

Tunisian revolution exposes another African political facade Te unprecedented degree of the crisis and the intensity of the demontrators’ energy and zeal to oust President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali proved how deep the Tunisian peo- ple’s pent-up fury was, towards a typical fa- cade of the so-called democracies in Africa. Having just recently read your Special Report on Tunisia – an all-round report of positivity, including coverage of literacy levels, women’s empowerment, youth em- powerment programmes, etc (New African, December 2010), it is hard to comprehend where Tunisia’s political outburst has come from. You reported that Tunisia is a nation

with per capita GNP of almost US$6,500; that the middle-class make up over 80% of the population and they also own their own homes. These details and others showed that “Tunisia is gradually pull- ing itself out of the ‘developing world’

What’s in a name? Referring to Serwah’s article on African names (New African, January), what about our children who are given slave-master names? I asked one of them directly – modern, broadly experienced, widely travelled, educated, sceptical, sophisticated. Te reply given was thought-provoking to say the least: “Te suggested appropriate alternative surname of a day of the week or personal gender [sic] is insulting! I have known ancestry, history, identity of at least 100 to 200 years of which I am very proud and consider as pertinent to my identity as my former African ancestors.”

Theresa Warner Florida, US

Boateng simplistic on Zim land reform I read Osei Boateng’s article on Zimba- bwean’s land reform (New African, Janu- ary) with great interest; particularly since I have also mostly been exposed to Western media reports on the issue. Boateng goes to great lengths to establish the credibility of the study, its authors, funding and meth- odology. Te conclusion of the study seems to be a common sense one, namely that the Zimbabwean land reform is “a more nuanced story” than generally depicted. Considering that Boateng advocates this view, I wonder why he seems to be do- ing just the opposite. He simplifies the matter of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and puts it down to “American and Eu- ropean-imposed sanctions” without of- fering any data supporting this sweeping statement.

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