TEDGlobal 2017 Session 2 is themed “A Path Forward” and kicks off with a an interview that humanizes President Paul Kagame. The interview was by journalist Vimbayi Kajase via live video link. Her line of questioning started personal and trended toward the strategic.
The Interview of Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, interviewed by Vimbayi Kajese via live video link at TEDGlobal 2017 – Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts – August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Journalist and media entrepreneur Vimbayi Kajase interviewed Rwanda’s current President to kick of the session. Kagame, who recently won a seven-year third term as president, in a poll that was widely considered a formality, is a controversial figure whom watchers can’t quite decide whether to love or hate. Perhaps because it’s hard to place “visionary” and “autocrat” in the same sentence. However, the stories of economic growth, innovation in healthcare delivery and ease of doing business and innovation make his thinking about development on the African continent exceedingly relevant and germane. Vimbayi begins with a quirky question that would actually not be out of place in a conversation between good old friends who ran into each other on the street: “How is the madam, and how are the kids?”
Pierre Thiam wants to share fonio with the world. Fonio is an ancient “miracle grain” native to Senegal that is gluten free and nutritious.
Mahen Bonetti was impacted by the movie Ceddo, a 1977 film by Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene, the first African-directed film. It was an experience she describes as “like dipping your foot in the stream again and this time the temperature was just right.” Over the last thirty-odd years she’s gone from discoverer to curator and exhibitor of African film and cinema, most notably as the organizer of the annual New York African Film Festival and founding director of the African Film Festival.
Magatte Wade delivered an impassioned talk about the challenges of doing business in Africa and what led her to start her own ventures, most notably the skin care line Tiossan.
Entrepreneur Magatte Wade calls out governments that make their countries (or allow their countries to become) hard to do business in. Once it’s easier to create a business, she believes, people will, in droves. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Llew Claasen is a Bitcoin geek and executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation. Llew manages to deliver the ultimate Bitcoin crash course. Llew thinks there is an opportunity for Africa to get in on the ground floor of a technology that is, both in its chronology and its inherent nature, what the internet was in 1995: nascent and full of disruptive potential.
Tania Douglas, a biomedical engineer, reminds us that while technology promises and is capable of much, it could be all for naught if we neglect the context. For instance: Most of the advanced medical equipment used in Africa is imported, but the tools often break down and end up in equipment graveyards because they do not do well in humid and hot environments, and cannot be operated without constant power.
Washington Wachira is a wildlife conservationist with a soft spot for birds. And his talk is practically an ode to them. “Birds are amazing!” he declares. “This talk is dedicated to all the birds in the world!” And he invites us to love them like he does by pointing out the similarities between them and us.
Wildlife conservationist Washington Wachira speaks up on behalf of birds at TEDGlobal 2017. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
A teacher at South African school, Laerskool Schweizer Reneke, took this photo and shared it with parents on WhatsApp in an effort to reassure them that their children’s first day of school was going smoothly. However, the teacher did not have the intended outcome as the photo revealed a detail that was unexpected. The students were separated by race in the classroom.
Students at Laerskool Schweizer were sent back home after South Africa’s North West Education Department suspended the teacher, Ellen Barkhuizen, who is suspected to have separated the children according to race at the school.
Barkhuizen is reported to have taken the photo of the separated children, which is circulating on social media and has gone viral.
The school has been suspected of discrimination by parents for some time. One parent had this to say to SABC News.
“I have applied on time, but I was so surprised when they said they can’t accept my child, he is on the waiting list. So, I requested to see the list of the white people. They say there is no waiting list for the white people. That’s where I started to worry. Where are we going to take our kids because they are still young? We didn’t want our kids to go far because we are residents here. I came here in March. They told me I must come on the 1st of May. When I came they say I must bring the documents, I bring them. Eish mama, I feel pain.”
Speaking to SowetanLIVE, some of the white parents said black parents who are not happy about how the school operates, must take their children to township schools.
If you are not happy here, take your child to another school, nobody is forcing you. Now they want to make this as if it is racism, everyone just wants to make white people racists. We are not racists, we just want what is best for our children,” said one parent.
“Blacks don’t put their children first, we put our children first, and their safety and education comes first. This is the only white-dominated school in this town. There are over 10 schools in the township. If they are not happy, let them take their children there,” said another parent.
After meeting school staff and education department officials, North West education MEC Sello Lehari confirmed that the teacher in question had been suspended.
“As government, we would like to condemn any form of racism, alleged or not, and we deeply regret this unfortunate incident taking place in our country 25 years into democracy,” said a spokesperson for the local government leader, Job Lekgoro.
Blantyre district health office director of health services Dr. Gift Kawaladzira has confirmed the suspension of Patricia Mulichi who works at Ndirande Health Center.
Mulichi came under intense fire on social media platforms on Tuesday for taking a selfie which went viral.
The picture drew anger from people who feel the government is employing immature and irresponsible people to handle sensitive matters.
The Controversial Selfie
The controversial selfie showed a masked and exposed pregnant woman with wide open legs ready to give birth in a labor ward.
Executive Director of Malawi’s Nurses and Midwifery Councilm, Isabella Musisi says Mulichi deserves disciplinary action and has since banned mobile phones in labor wards.
“Our clients are looking for respectful maternal services. This will hinder achievement for universal health access in Malawi. Let’s see to it cell phones are not entering our labor wards. This is unacceptable behavior by our profession,” she said.
Mr Liu Jiaqi, a Chinese immigrant business man in Kenya was deported after a video emerged of him making racist comments. An employee filmed Mr Liu, a motorcycle trader, saying that he disliked Kenya because it “smells bad and [its people are] poor, foolish and black”. When the employee asked why he wanted to stay in the country, the trader said he was only there to make money. The Kenyan authorities arrested him hours after the video was circulated online on 5 September and revoked his work permit.
The Chinese national was deported the very next day. This was revealed in a tweet by the kenyan immigration department. This is the first time an individual has been deported for racist rants although it is not the first allegation of racism. BBC reports that In 2015, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was arrested after public outrage over the restaurant’s alleged policy of banning African customers at night. However, the restaurant owner ws never charged with discrimination or racism.
This wisdom is applicable regardless of what part of the world you find yourself in and it is of course no surprise that this young Chinese man quickly found out the hard way that you cannot benefit from the Kenyan economy while holding and expressing racist views. Discrimination based on color is against the law in Kenya. With that said, was the reaction of the Kenyan government too harsh or was it adequate for the offense?