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Latest in French-Speaking African and Indian Ocean Blogs

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, D.R. of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Republic of Congo, Reunion, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo, Arts & Culture, Economics & Business, Elections, Environment, Governance, International Relations, Law, LGBTQ+, Migration & Immigration, Politics, Protest, Sport

PAN-AFRICAN

Homosexuality in Africa Not a Myth
France-based Togolese blogger Kangni Alem reflects on a homophobic movement in Cameroon that sees homosexuality as a suspect new “religion” and concludes [1]:

Evidence des temps, l’homosexualité ne peut plus être perçue comme un mythe en Afrique. même moi je l’ai cru longtemps, jusqu’au jour où je suis tombé sur l’évidence qui me pendait au nez, lorsque j’ai surpris une de mes meilleures amies, dramaturge africaine célèbre, en train de draguer ma copine de l’époque, dans un festival à Cotonou. On a beaucoup ri de l’histoire, nous sommes restés amis, et moi j’ai beaucoup découvert des stratégies des homos en Afrique pour survivre à un environnement hostile, stratégies dont je parle un peu dans mon roman Cola cola jazz, à travers le personnage de la dame Omoneh.

Sign of times, homosexuality in Africa can no longer be perceived as a myth. Even I believed it for a while until the evidence stared me in the face when one of my best [female] friends, a famous African playwright, hit on my then girlfriend at a Cotonou Festival. We laughed, stayed friends and I found out a lot about the strategies that homosexuals in Africa use to survive a hostile environment, strategies I touch upon in my novel Coca Cola Jazz through the character Omoneh.

BENIN

Reforming Education
On Le Blog de Kangni Alem, Roger Kbegnonvi writes [2]:

Pour relever le système scolaire béninois de la ruine, point n’est besoin d’audace ni d’imagination, il suffit, dans un premier temps, de retourner aux neiges d’antan, il suffit de restaurer une année académique de neuf mois, de rétablir le contrôle quotidien pour les élèves du secondaire. Ces deux premiers pas qui consistent à renouer avec ce que le Dahomey avait de meilleur, c’est-à-dire de logique et de rigoureux, entraîneront les autres pour lesquels il faudra peut-être un peu d’audace et d’imagination.

To save the Beninois school system from ruin, we need to return to the old ways and restore the nine-month academic year, reestablish every-day monitoring for seconday school students. These two steps which involve going back to the best of what Dahomey had to offer i.e. the logical and the rigorous, will lead to other steps that will require a little more imagination.

COTE D'IVOIRE

Leaving the World Cup with First Ever Win
Says [3] Afrik.com,

Les “Eléphants” de Côte d’Ivoire ont quitté le Mondial de football avec les honneurs. Ils ont battu à Munich la Serbie-Monténégro sur le score de 3 buts à 2 en match comptant pour la troisième et dernière journée du Groupe C. C’est la première victoire ivoirienne de l’histoire de la Coupe du Monde.

Cote d'Ivoire's elephants left the soccer World Cup in honor. They beat Serbia-Montenegro in Munich 3-2 in a match counting as the last day of Group C. It is the first ever victory for Cote D'Ivoire in the World Cup.

We also find out how the team was trained [4]:

Dans la liste des 23 “Eléphants” ayant représenté la Côte d’Ivoire à la Coupe du monde 2006, figurent 11 académiciens issus de la première école de football de Côte d’Ivoire, l’Académie Mimos Sifcom, née en 1994 du partenariat entre le légendaire club de l’ASEC d’Abidjan et le technicien français Jean-Marc Guillou.

In the list of 23 “Elephants” that represented Cote d'Ivoire in the 2006 World Cup, are 11 graduates of the first Ivoirian school of soccer, the Mimos Sifcom Academy, born in 1994 from a partnership between the legendary ASEC Abidjan club and French technician Jean-Marc Guillou.

DRC

UN Visit
Le Blog du Congolais on recent UN delegation: [5]

Ils sont venus, encore une fois et comme d’habitude ils n’ont rien vu. Du moins rien de ce qu’est la réalité, la vérité du Congo et de son peuple.

They came, once more, and as usual they did not see anything. At least not reality, not the truth of the Congo and its people.

UDPS: Meetings and Protests Worldwide
UDPS Liege on a demo organized by BanaCongo in Brussels [6]:

L’objectif de la manifestation était de sensibiliser l’opinion belge et dénoncer le soutien de la classe politique belge au dictateur en gestation (KANAMBE) dans notre pays. Le peuple congolais voulant se prendre en charge et lassé d’être traité comme des esclaves sans droit exige pacifiquement la tenue des élections libres,transparentes et démocratiques pas ce simulacre des élections que Louis MICHEL et son groupe maffieux veulent nous imposer pour continuer à piller nos richesses.

Il s’agit aussi pour les manifestants de lancer un signal fort aux congolais restés au pays pour que le 30 juin 2006 marque véritablement le jour de la libération nationale du joug néo-colonialiste.

The goal of the demo was to sensitize belgian public opinion and denounce the Belgian politicla support to gestating dictator Kanambe. The Congolese people want to take charge of themselves and, tired of being treated like slaves without rights, peacefully demand free, transparent and democratic elections not the mascarade that Louis MICHEL and his mafia want to impose upon us in order to continue pillaging our ressources.
Demonstrators also wanted to remind Congolese that June 30 should really be the day of national liberation from the neo-colonialist chokehold.


INDIAN OCEAN /EAST AFRICA

Chikungunya Pandemic
LSZ Blog, a health-related blog covering Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, writes [7] (Fr): “It seems that Chikungunya [8] fever has reached a quasi-pandemic [9] dimension with more than a million people infected during the past 24 months in a large geographic area encompassing the East-African equatorial coasts, the Indian Ocean islands and half of the Indian peninsula. [7]

MADAGASCAR

Development
Madagascar Croissance asks (Fr): “Which sector will develop the country's economy? [10]” and, after a comparison with nearby Mauritius, concludes: “The best solution is the development of entrepreneurship in the countryside.” The blogger also muses on the proliferation of private TV channels [11] in remote areas of the country.

Whales Cause to Celebrate in Sainte-Marie Island
Whale season has started in Madagascar
, according to (Fr)Nouvelles de Sainte-Marie and the blog looks forward to August's 5th Annual Whale Festival [12] on Ste-Marie Island. The blogger explains [13](Fr)that whales arrive in successive waves: first the mothers with their young, then the ones that are to young to reproduce than the males. “The Sainte-Marie population and its visitors welcomed the news joyfully,” adds [13]the blogger.

MAYOTTE/COMOROS

Migration Crisis from Anjouan to Mayotte
An ongoing clandestine migration crisis has been plaguing Mayotte, which is part of France. The migrants are from Anjouan, a nearby independent island. The blog Mayotte Sans Frontiere is dedicated [14]to the issue. Its mission [14] is to (Fr) “observe those populations’ movements, understand what motivates the migrants to expose themselves to death and to denounce this new slave trade organized by ‘traders’ from Anjouan's ‘ports’.” The blog reports on recent arrivals to Mayotte of kwassa-kwassas, the name given by locals to the makeshift rafts embarked on by the migrants from Anjouan:

Deux “kwassa-kwassa” en provanance d'Anjouan ont été interceptés le lundi 12 juin 2006 au large de Mayotte. A bord : une vingtaine de personnes, dont une femme enceinte et deux nourrissons de quelques mois aussitôt hospitalisés au Centre hospitalier de Mamoudzou. Les autres clandestins ont été placés au centre de rétention en attendant leur expulsion vers leur île d'origine. Les deux passeurs, pour leur part, ont été placés en garde à vue en attendant leur comparution devant le ttribunal correctionnel pour mise en danger d'autrui.

Two kwassa-kwassas from Anjouan were intercepted June 12 near Mayotte. On board were 20 some people including a pregnant woman and two babies who were immediately hospitalized. The other migrants were placed at a detention center until they are returned to their island. The two traders are awaiting court appearances for endangering human lives.”

REUNION

Samia Badat Affair
Reunion is being rocked by the Samia Badat Affair. At the center of the affair, explains [15] (Fr) Zarabes, a blog dedicated to the island's South Asian moslem community, are two versions of the same story: what happened the night Ms. Badat, communications chief for the Regional Council, and a friend were stopped by two “lowly” traffic cops. Ms. Badat says she was unfairly harassed while the cops say she was driving carelessly and potentially a danger to two pedestrians.

Agriculture Chamber's 150th Anniversary
Jean-Paul of Dijoux.re posts pictures of the 150th anniversary of La Reunion's Agriculture Chamber [16] and explains (Fr): “During the 3 days employees of this institution and its President Guy Derand welcome you to the Esplanade of Trinity with a mini-farm, some exhibits and produce tastings. Sunday [June 11] a produce market [takes] place.”


Cirque de Mafate Photos

Audrey from Reunion Passion posts (Fr) two new sets of photos of her native island: a slideshow of mostly beaches [17] and a gallery of the Caldera of Mafate [18]. She says (fr): “The Cirque de Mafate [19] is synonymous with isolation, solitude and inacessibility. There are only two ways to enter it and to leave it: by air or through hiking trails.” She then offers directions on hiking into the caldera.

MAURITIUS

Back in France But Nostalgic
Marmay/Gamin is back in France after an extended stay in Mauritius where he has roots. He looks back with a bit of nostalgia [20]:

Le chaton, dont je n’ai pu vous parler, qui a animé ma dernière semaine chez les Lagan par ses miaulements, la relative indifférence de Queensie (Malehka), dont j’ai plus tard compris (ou pas) la cause, le dernier lever de soleil (photo), le dernier Cavadee hindou, l'Ultima Cena préparée par Mazia, les derniers débats crétins avec Sajeed, le dernier panneau kitsch… Le choc culturel, c’est fini. Reviendrais-je un jour là-bas ? En tout cas, quelque part, je ne serai plus jamais totalement ici. Une partie de mon cœur est resté coincé dans les récifs de Palmar, entre un arbre (photo) et des caillasses. Dream on… C’est ce qui me fait avancer !

The cat who entertained me during my last week at the Lagans’ with his meows, Queensie (Malehka)'s relative indifference which I only understood (or not) much later, the last sunrise, the last hindu Cavadee, the last supper prepared by Mazia, the last stupid debates with Sajid, the last kitsch pannel… The cultural shock is over. Will I ever go back? Whatever the answer, I will never really be completely here. A part of my heart is stuck in the reefs of Palmar, between a tree and a caillasse. Dreaming on… That's what keeps me alive!

Marmay bids his Mauritius blog readers farewell since he is back from his trip there. But he leaves us with great shots of the country [21].

SENEGAL

Voting Rights for the Military after a 40-year Ban

Semett on the historical significance of a bill to lift the ban on military voting [22]in Senegal:

La décision subite, prise par l’Exécutif, de faire voter les militaires aux prochaines échéances électorales de 2007, a surpris tout le monde. Rien ne pouvait laisser présager que les corps militaires et paramilitaires, privés du droit de vote dans notre pays depuis plus de quarante ans, suite aux événements de 1962, allaient reprendre le chemin des urnes, sans qu’un débat national, entre tous les acteurs politiques, ne soit instauré sur cette question si sensible qu’est le vote des militaires. L’amplitude de la crise de 1962 au sommet de l’Etat, entre Senghor et Dia, avait entraîné des séismes politiques au sein de l’armée et des fissures dans ses rangs. Et depuis lors, les ‘hommes en tenue’, comme on dit familièrement, étaient privés du droit de vote pour s’éloigner des contingences politiciennes et partisanes.

The sudden decision by the Executive to allow the military to vote in the upcoming 2007 election took everyone by surprise. Nothing could predict that the military and paramilitary, who have not been allowed to vote in our country for over 40 years because of 1962 events, would start voting again without as much as a national debate between all of our political actors on such a sensitive issue. The crisis of 1962 between Senghor and Dia had caused political turmoil in the army and cracks in its ranks. And since then, men in uniform were forbidden from voting.”

The blogger also posts (Fr) a Medecins du Monde petition protesting the new French policy of conducting immigration checks in hospitals. [23]Excerpt from the petition (Fr): “The right to care is inscribed in the preamble to the French constitution. It is a fundamental human right. It must never be used for any means other than health preservation.”


Changes in the Socialist Party

Robert Sagna, mayor of Ziguinchor, explained that the creation of a “Democracy& Solidarity” caucus within the Senegalese Socialist Party did not mean that the party was imploding [24]:

je crois qu’avec l’apparition, dans le parti, du courant de pensée « Démocratie et Solidarité », les camarades ont pensé qu’il y avait des risques d’implosion du PS, du fait d’un clivage supposé entre les tenants de ce courant et les autres camarades de la direction du Parti. (…) Je me suis déjà expliqué sur la nécessité de l’existence de ce courant de pensée au sein du Parti Socialiste du Sénégal, existence qui, à nos yeux, constitue un signe de maturité, de débat démocratique et de renforcement du parti. (…)
Nous préconisons seulement plus de démocratie dans les prises de décisions, dans la gestion du parti et dans la fixation des orientations, par un débat fécond d’idées. Nous voulons également être un réceptacle pour toutes celles et tous ceux qui pourraient être mal à l’aise par rapport à certaines pratiques de la direction actuelle du Parti.”

With the appearance of the “Democracy and Solidarity” wave of thought, party members thought there were possibilities that the Socialist Party would implode, because of a supposed rift between those who subscribe to that movement and those who lead the Party. (…) I have already explained the need for this new movement within the Party, a movement that signals maturity, democratic debate and the strengthening of the party. (…) We anticipate more democracy in decision-making, in the management of the party and in goal-setting, through an idea-rich debate. We also want to be a springboard for all those who may be uncomfortable with some of the practices of the party's leadership.

Peanuts
Over at Sunuguerte, Forum sur l'Arachide au Senegal, a blog on the peanut industry in Senegal [25], contributor Moubarak Lo writes (Fr): “[Privatized peanut venture] Sonacos may fail. Because of the role of the peanut as a wealth creator and as a poverty red
ucer in the rural world, the government must fight tooth and nail to save the venture.”

TOGO

World Cup Bonus Controversy
Before Togo disqualified itself from the World Cup, blogger Kangni Alem had this to say about Togo's soccer team [26](Fr): “Business is business and Togolese players are right, logically speaking, to privilege their bank accounts over the country's honor. They demand bonuses, pay them their bloody bonuses. After all that is the rule of thumb for all other national teams! (…) My advice to the team:(…) just loose fast and get back home.”