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Voices of African Women

Afromusing continues her excellent reports on solar power in Africa. She has opened up her blog to take questions on alternative energy in Africa and here she answers a question from Mshairi on when will the high costs of installing solar panels come down.

Yes, the time is drawing near i think. January this year, i visited a farm in Eldoret where they used solar for heating water, using an installation of ’suntanks’ which is a south African company. I asked the approximate cost of the installation, and he indicated that it cost him Ksh 120,000. He did indicate that there is a german company that can set up a similar installation for 1/2 the cost

She adds that the government also need to step in and provide tax breaks for people wanting to install solar panels. Proving grants is another incentive for people to take up the use of solar power.

Bent Outa Shape has started a photo blog “From My Eyes to Yours” and publishes her first set of photos from her home in Rhode Island. Her journal blog, Bent Outa Shape was set up to help her through her journey with Scoliosis Surgery and from her writing it is clear she is really enjoying blogging and has made lots of new blogging friends.

The surgery has since been done, and I'm almost fully recovered… Now this blog is about whatever's left over of my life. Welcome.

The church is the subject ofConfessions of the Mind. Confessions writes about the clothes she was made to wear to go to mass as a child.

I was made to dress in pearls with long flowing skirts and court shoes in either cream, white, black or red. My hair was in pig tails and I was like 14 then. I used to look like their aunty.

Later on she had battles with her mother about wearing socks with traditional dress (not exactly an appropriate combination). She stuck with it and won the battle.

“As the years rolled by the fashion style became more should I say “Chic”, no more allowing mom to dress me up in Sunday best. But she made me wear aso –oke one time and I said to her the only time I would wear it is if I wore socks with it. My mom was aghast and said no, oh well I said no as well, so it was like the clint east wood movie, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly standoff and I won. So I happily wore my knee length white socks with open-toe koi koi shoes and my pink aso-oke, I looked a sight but I was happy.”

Everchanging writes about “hatred, support and silence” in terms of violence against women and is impressed with some of the discussions that have taken place in the blogsophere.

Just reading a recent call for childhood stories by taureanminx, I realised a lot of people's early memories involved beating of wives/children. It is incredible that people are actually talking about this, considering the pressure to be silent and keep things “within the family” in nigerian culture, religious or not. I think the reason more people are speaking about violence is that they have seen others do so and are starting to realise that violence against women/children is not as “normal” as they have been taught/pressured to believe.

She writes about her own experience of violence from boys in school and college but says it is not surprising because young Nigerian men are conditioned to think they are superior to women and it is OK to act rudely or slap a woman.

So where do I stand on supporting the “brothers”? I don't. I don't believe in supporting my country just for the sake of it being my country. Truth comes first. And my words are important. So I will always speak before I even consider support. Speech must come first because women/girls are conditioned to be silent. So I support african women speaking, even if, especially if it is to the detriment of the african male as a construct, even if it hurts african men.

Weichegud!ET Politics writes a tribute to Ms Bertukan Mideksa who is vice-chairperson of the Coalition for Unity & Democracy Party. Ms Mideksa has been imprisoned by the Ethiopian authorities.

You made it difficult for us to give up on Ethiopia. How can we? If people like you can stand in the middle of the boulevard of ruined dreams and urge us ahead, how can we say we’ve done our part and retreat? You’ve made it difficult, Birtukan. You’ve made it impossible for me to forget what Ethiopia has done for me, and what I should do for Ethiopia.

Mshairi expresses herself wonderfully as always through her poetry. Her poem “The Contemptible Lout” speaks for itself.

He weaves and ducks
Scattering misery and malice
A little here
A little there
Shamelessly two-faced
Brashly insincere
In his wretched meanderings
His heart will never inspire
Neither feel nor know love
Where his soul should be
An abscess resides

What an African Woman Thinks has been reading WMAHUBE, a collection of speeches by Thabo Mbeki.” In this post she discusses one particular speech around corruption in which Mbeki claims there was elatively little corruption in pre-colonial Africa. Rombo takes issue with this claim .

What about slave trade? Were no chiefs complicit in the enslavement of their own people for material gain? What about colonialism? Were there no Africans who betrayed their own for personal gain? Was there, at this intersection between the African and the Foreigner, a sudden eruption of the corruption of the mind and the soul?………..It’s on sale, but I’m not buying.

She does however agree with Mbeki on one aspect of corruption which is that it should not be discussed without also discussing ” emocracy, transparency, accountability and social inclusiveness.”

Ethiopian blog Concoction points out the contradiction of international aid as the Dutch withdraw funding from Kenya because of corruption and China claims it will not meddle in Africa's internal affairs…

Long blogs ago, I said that aid has never been free. And it will never be. Therefore, we shouldn’t waste time even thinking, let alone write, about China's benefit from Africa… Of course! The benefits are not just raw materials and a good dumping ground for cheap Chinese stuff, but also politically. China is gathering the support of most African countries to have more political leverage internationally – within the UN, for example.

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