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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

This World Rhino Day, Meet Sudan – the Last Male Northern White Rhino in the World

Killing for Profit22 September is World Rhino Day, so take a minute to meet Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros in the world, and see what you can do to help his kind.

Sudan is kept at the Ol Pejeta reserve in northern Kenya, where five keepers give him round-the-clock care and protection from poachers.

Watch a video about Sudan, and find out what you can do to spread the word:

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The average lifespan of a rhino is 35, meaning there is not much hope that 42-year-old Sudan will produce any offspring. However, a groundbreaking new breeding project is providing some hope for the northern white rhino.

There’s quite a lot of northern white rhino semen stored around the world, says Vigne, but “what there isn’t is a method of preserving female rhino eggs”, so if the females here, and one in a San Diego zoo die, so does the plan to perpetuate the sub-species.

“The really key thing here is that the females stay alive,” says Vigne – long enough for scientists to successfully extract their eggs.

If this pioneering process works, the northern white’s egg and frozen sperm would be implanted into a southern white rhino in South Africa or a European zoo.

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Meanwhile, South African private game reserves are beginning to sell their rhinos, as it becomes more expensive to protect them from poachers. Julian Rademeyer, who recently won the prestigious Marjan-Marsh Award for his book Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade, says criminals are coming up with “incredibly ingenious schemes and scams”, a situation exacerbated by the slow bureaucratic processes that exist to fight them.

It took South Africa a decade to end “pseudo hunts” by mainly Asian poachers posing as tourists to exploit a legal loophole and export horn legally, says Rademeyer.

After the Ukrainian and Czech tourists that followed were stopped, gangs started bringing Asian prostitutes from Johannesburg to pose as hunters and export horn in their names.

Rademeyer describes it as “like the drugs war” with a trail of criminal elements stretching far across countries and continents, including neighbouring Mozambique whose poachers cross into Kruger and whom South Africa cannot extradite.

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Image: Kenyan Facts on Twitter

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Max du Preez Pays a Visit to Jacques Pauw’s New Home, Riebeek-Kasteel, and Never Wants to Leave

A Rumour of SpringRat RoadsMax du Preez recently wrote a column for Country Life about his favourite spot in Africa – Riebeek-Kasteel.

Du Preez writes about his trip to the new home of Jacques Pauw, a former journalist and the author of Rat Roads. Pauw is a Riebeek-Kasteel local these days where he runs a gastropub with Samantha Rogers called Red Tin Roof.

The author of A Rumour of Spring: South Africa after 20 years of Democracy, which won the Alan Paton Award in 2014, writes about the history of the valley, once home to general Jan Smuts.

Du Preez waxes lyrical about the scenery: “Every time I come back from the airport and drive over the pass above Riebeek-Kasteel, I feel blessed that I live in a magical place like this; a patchwork of vineyards, orchards and farm dams between the mountains.”

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A picturesque valley famous among connoisseurs for its exceptional wines and fine olive oil – the Riebeek Valley in the Swartland – is my favourite spot in Africa.

Riebeek-Kasteel is a charming, authentic village with no pretensions or flashiness; a village of mostly working (and many young) people, craft shops, art galleries and several good restaurants and guest houses – the latest, the splendid Red Tin Roof, owned by the renowned former journalists Jacques Pauw and Samantha Rogers.

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Investigative Journalist Jacques Pauw Puts Down His Pen and Picks Up a Frying Pan

Rat RoadsJacques Pauw, journalist and author of Rat Roads, Dances with Devils: A Journalist’s Search for Truth and the novel Little Ice Cream Boy, has announced that he is taking a break from current affairs.

Pauw has resigned from his post at Media24, and has purchased a guest house in Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape. He will also be writing a column for the Sunday Times Food Weekly about his experiences running the Red Tin Roof.

Read the author’s goodbye from Facebook:

I’ve been a journalist and current affairs documentary maker for 30 years, given two years or so of a self-inflicted sabbatical and a short stint at Wits. I had time off in between to write books.
It is all over.
I have resigned as an investigative journalist at Media24 (mainly City Press).
I’m on leave until the end of November and then I’m gone.
Between now and then I’m on leave and will be trained as a chef.
My wife Sam and I have just bought a guest house, restaurant and bar in the Western Cape village of Riebeek Kasteel.
We moved in yesterday and it is utter chaos. More chaos will follow in the days that come as we start renovating.
I stared at the kitchen last night and felt as though I’m sitting in the cockpit of a 747 and have to send the beast into the sky. I could not get the gas turned on, then I could not find the switches and then I burnt my finger.
I cooked chops and potatoes and mixed vegetables for me and Sam – it was okay.
I’m sending pictures of the kitchen to my chef-trainer this morning with a cry for help. Come fast!
Of course I could not get the DSTv working and the restaurant and bar was enveloped in an eerie silence and darkness.
For a moment last night I missed my old life – after 30 years one more or less knows how to do it…the monthly salary…the glorious annual overseas holidays.
But after three decades I am burnt out and getting bored. Another crook, scamster or fraudster? So what?
At least I will never have to deal again with the incompetence of the spokespeople for the police, correctional services, the NPA, the ANC or the defence force. Or listen to another lie from Mac Maharaj and Riah Phiyega. Or the president, for that matter.
If I ever hear the names Gupta or Nkandla again, I’ll puke.
I’ll terribly miss the excitement of chasing a story and had wonderful experiences at places like Vrye Weekblad and Special Assignment. I will forever cherish my travels into Africa to do documentaries.
Instead of bombarding you with corruption and incompetence, I’m now going to update you with the progress of Red Tin Roof, our new venture in beautiful Riebeek-Kasteel.
We hope it is going to be a merry place of good wine and food and lingering memories.
By the way, I am writing a column for the food section of the Sunday Times about my progress as a chef. It starts this Sunday.

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Podcast: Paul Morris Speaks About His Time as a Soldier and his Book Back to Angola

Back to AngolaPaul Morris spoke to Michele Magwood on the TM Live Book Show about his book, Back to Angola.

Magwood points out that the war in Angola happened more than 20 years ago now, and while some men who were conscripted can forget their experiences, many are haunted by memories of the war.

Morris took an epic bicycle journey across Angola recently; it was a journey of healing for him. He took detailed notes in his journals while he was riding across the country, because he wanted to remember it. This became his book.

In this interview, he speaks about how he ended up fighting in Angola. He was sent to the border after he became superfluous as a driver.

Magwood’s TM LIVE Book Show streams online every Thursday at 2 PM.

Listen to the podcast:

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Paul Morris Sets Out to Excorcise the Ghosts of War in this Excerpt from Back to Angola

Back to AngolaBack to Angola is Paul Morris’ story of how he dislodged the gloomy picture of Angola he had from the war. He was conscripted in 1987.

Morris set out to cycle across the country on his own. It was a journey he took to free himself from the shadows of the war.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an extract from this book. In this excerpt, Morris describes the start of his journey in Angola. The experience of war shapes, to a large extent, how he perceives Angola.

Read the excerpt:

Setting out from Cuito
Cuito Cuanavale, Angola, 24 June 2012

I’m so full of war and feelings I can’t explain. Feelings that swirl and suck like the sea in a rock pool on an incoming tide. Tears narrow my throat and I swallow hard because I’m with people I don’t know. I’d swallow harder still if I did know them. This place is thick with the past, layers of it piled atop the sand on the ridge. It rusts away slowly in its armoured wrecks and in my soul. I am deep in my own history; it stares boldly at me and I can’t look away.

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Video: Rat Roads-skrywer Jacques Pauw: “Die vrot in ons tronke lê geweldig diep”

Rat RoadsDances With DevilsJacques Pauw, ondersoekende joernalis en skrywer van onder meer Rat Roads en Dances With Devils: A journalist’s search for truth, het met Dagbreek TV op kykNET gesels oor die stand van korrupsie in Suid-Afrika se tronke.

Pauw het vertel dat die Wits Justice Project in Oktober 2013 gevind het dat die Mangaung tronk in die Vrystaat anti-psigotiese dwelms en skokterapie gebruik het om gevangenes in toom te hou.

Pauw het ook na ’n voorval verwys waartydens twee lede van die Waterkloof-vier in hul tronksel alkohol gedrink het, dagga gerook het en hulself met ’n selfoon afgeneem het.

“Die vrot in ons tronke lê geweldig diep,” maan Pauw. “As korrektiewe dienste van korrupte bewaarders ontslae moet raak gaan daar niemand wees om die skurke op te pas nie.”

Kyk na die video:

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Video: Paul Morris Discusses Back to Angola and Shares Footage of His Return Trip

Back to AngolaPaul Morris went to Angola in 1987 as a reluctantly conscripted soldier, and two years ago he returned to the country to replace the war map of the country in his head with one of peace, writing about these two experiences in Back to Angola.

In this video, shared by Random House Struik, Morris speaks about the intense emotions that rose to the surface while cycling through Angola: “It was like some energy was trapped, which I needed to do something with and this very physical journey, which had this very strong parallel inner journey running alongside it, that really seems to have finished it for me.”

Watch the video:

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Commemorating 20 Years Since the Rwandan Genocide: Read an Excerpt from Jacques Pauw’s Rat Roads

Rat RoadsAs 20 years since the Rwandan genocide is commemorated this year, Jacques Pauw’s book Rat Roads, which tells the story of one Tutsi man’s hardship, survival and triumph, resonates deeply.

Read an excerpt from the prologue of Rat Roads, which jumps from Kennedy Gihana’s childhood to his time as a corporal in the rebel group fighting the genocidaires.

The day starts like any other, with Kennedy Gihana rising before the crack of dawn. He wraps himself in his cloth, grabs his stick and darts off to milk the cows. He then walks a kilometre down into the valley to fetch water. On his return, he gulps down a chunk of cassava with milk and washes himself. When Grandma is satisfied that her boy is squeaky clean, she gives him a white shirt and shorts to put on. Kennedy has waited until his eleventh birthday to wear, as he puts it, ‘proper clothes’ for the first time. And it is only because this day is special. Today he is going to school.

Grandpa has told him he can only attend school two days a week. The other three days he has to look after the cows. Shortly after six, Kennedy sets off barefoot and runs the seven kilometres to school. Across the waves of mounts, cavities and rivulets, people resemble ants as they engage in their daily chores. The boy is like a hare, meandering the well-worn panya roads – a Swahili word meaning ‘rat roads’ – past clean-swept villages, through banana groves and up grassy slopes before he bursts from the eucalyptus woodlands and scampers into the grounds of Bigada Primary School in Kabonela, Uganda. Before long, he will acquire the nickname ‘Braintank’.

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Podcast: Paul Morris Discusses Back to Angola: A Journey From War to Peace

Back to AngolaPaul Morris recently joined Michele Magwood on her TM LIVE Books Show, which streams online every Friday at 2 PM.

In the podcast, Morris opens up about the journey he had to undertake in order to write Back to Angola, after completing a 1500 km bicycle trip across the country where he saw so much suffering during the South African Border War.

Morris explains how South Africa got involved in the war in the first place, how his time there affected him and why he decided to write about his experiences. He also shares the story of how he came to join the SADF as an immigrant and how he came to be trained as a member of the mortar platoon.

Listen to the podcast:

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Cycling Through Illness: Paul Morris Describes Part of His Solo Trip in Back to Angola Excerpt

Back to AngolaIn 1987 Paul Morris was sent to Angola as a reluctant conscript, in 2012 he returned for a 1500km solo cycle trip with the intention of replacing the Angola he experienced before with a more peaceful one in his mind.

Morris has written about the trip and his army experiences in Back to Angola and Voices of Africa has shared an excerpt from the book in which Morris describes a particularly challenging section of his cycle journey. Riding along an isolated dirt road on the way to Cuchi he has to push through an illness, which has left him feeling weak: “There’s a man walking next to the road as I put on my shoes after a third crossing. As we talk I realise how weak I am. I struggle to form words and can’t seem to think straight.”

I wonder how fucked I’d be if something bad happened. My self rescue plan has always been to hitch a lift to a place where I can find help. There’s no traffic on this road, this bush track; no prospect of rescue. It will be better once I reach Cuchi and the tar road starts again. I hope the advice I’ve received about the tar starting again is accurate, not because I’m not enjoying this quiet track, but because the isolation of it could put me in a difficult situation if I am unable to keep cycling through illness. I contemplate phoning Martin, my doctor friend, for advice. It seems alarmist so I don’t. I battle on alone.

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