“You my friend and all your kind are lazy,” he said. “When you rest your head on the pillow you don’t dream big. You and other so-called African intellectuals are damn lazy, each one of you. It is you, and not those poor starving people, who is the reason Africa is in such a deplorable state.”

“That’s not a nice thing to say,” I protested.

He was implacable. “Oh yes it is and I will say it again, you are lazy. Poor and uneducated Africans are the most hardworking people on earth. I saw them in the Lusaka markets and on the street selling merchandise. I saw them in villages toiling away. I saw women crushing stones for sell and I wept. I said to myself where are the African intellectuals? Are the African engineers so imperceptive they cannot invent a simple stone crusher, or a simple water filter to purify well water for those poor villagers? Are you telling me that after thirty-seven years of independence your university school of engineering has not produced a scientist or an engineer who can make simple small machines for mass use? What is the school there for?”

I held my breath..

This is quoted from an article by Field Ruwe, a US-based Zambian author narrating  a conversation he had with a white American on a flight to Boston. The article is titled

You Lazy (Intellectual) African Scum! If you consider yourself smart, please read this

Thought provoking yes, but unfair for various reasons.

If you live in Africa you might agree to a certain extent. Potholed streets, power cuts, corruption, no health care and too many newborns dying is still the daily grind in most countries. So is the author right, has the African intelligentsia failed to innovate and come up with some sustainable solutions for their dilemmas. But can we blame the young and educated Afropolitans for Africa’s misery?

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Gender Equality? Reverse Reality. A mural at Davos 2013 by the Itinerant Museum of Art.

Gender Equality? Reverse Reality. A mural at Davos 2013 by the Itinerant Museum of Art.

A Warhol-style mural appeared in Davos just before the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January. There are four men among 18 women the reverse ratio of the real representation of Davos with only 17% of female delegates. Many of the companies subject to the quota simply send exactly four men, thus avoiding the need for a woman delegate, accused The Guardian. Only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions are filled by women. In politics the situation is a little better. The global proportion of female political representative is about 18.4% claims a 2007 Dfid report. But are quotas and women conferences really bringing the change we need?

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Dear European Union,

I know that you don’t particularly consider the guys on the British island a trust worthy member state, but I hope you still read their newspapers. I don’t mean just The Sun to satisfy your obsession with the monarchy, I mean you should look occasionally into the Guardian, even though its Euro criticism might annoy you and it makes fun of your Empress Angela.

This weekend I found two stories side by side narrating about narrow perspectives and global tragedies that you are still happy to ignore.

The two stories I am talking about is the bestowment of yourself with the Nobel Peace Price. The other story is about a candidate, who did not make it all the way to the top. A Nobel Peace Price nominee, whose name is unlike yours not a common household name. Is it because the majority of Europeans would have trouble pronouncing it or maybe because he has not the right European colour ?

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