Does Africa have more opportunities, ones we have yet to see, to skip over established methods and create an improved, secure future? The Leapfrog session of TEDGlobal 2017 speakers had some stimulating ideas to share.
TEDGlobal 2017 Session 3 Speakers
Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu believes that there are immense stores of African cultural, medical and scientific knowledge that are untapped, in danger of being forgotten if we let their custodians die without passing them to successive generations. She believes this is happening because, at some point, Africa’s authentic knowledge pathways gave way to education that served the interests of colonial masters. “Our education in Africa does not foster a sense of curiosity about our own environment,” she says. “Our education prepares us to be recipients of pre-packaged knowledge, designed to address someone else’s challenges.”
Amar Inamdar draws our attention to an ongoing energy revolution that is sweeping across East Africa, and the rest of the continent, in a pattern that looks a lot like how mobile telephony made landlines obsolete seemingly overnight.
Amar Inamdar loves solar power. As he says: “Off-grid energy has reached a point where it’s a viable alternative to the grid. If we nurture it right, it promises us the opportunity to meet two extraordinary goals: energy access for all and a modern, low-carbon future. We’ll come to know it as the democratization of energy. Every household a proud producer of power for all.” Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Kamau Gachigi has been consumed with empowering creators and makers in Kenya with the platform and tools to test out their ideas without needing to go to China. This drive culminated in his leadership of Gearbox, a makerspace and hardware accelerator that provides a rapid prototyping environment for professionals — which includes people with no formal engineering background.
Kamau Gachigi runs Gearbox, a makerspace in Nairobi that’s focused on inventors and creators who need the room and tools to make prototypes and start businesses — and that has empowered some big successes.. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Joel Jackson is also all about hardware. In his case, it’s making cars that are tough enough to withstand harsh African roads, while staying within the economic reach of the people who need them the most.
Sara Menker quit a lucrative career in commodities trading to figure out how the global value chain of agriculture works. Her discoveries have led to some startling Malthusian predictions. Her exact words: “A tipping point in global food and agriculture could occur if surging demand for food surpasses our agricultural systems’ structural capacity. At that point, supply can no longer keep up with demand, despite exploding food prices. People may starve. Governments may fall.” And said tipping point could occur in as soon as a decade.
Does this photo make you hungry? It should actually make you a bit nervous: this giant hamburger, says Sara Menker, represents the 214-trillion-calorie deficit we can expect globally within a decade unless we rethink our agriculture system. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED
As ecommerce startups have found, getting things from point A to B in Africa is a massive challenge. You could buy tougher vehicles. You could build better and longer roads. Or you could use drones. Keller Rinaudo’s startup, Zipline, uses drones to ship blood from a centralized supply bank to any location, no matter how remote, usually within 30 minutes. According to Rinaudo, Paul Kagame and the Rwandan ministry of health made a big bet in 2016 when they signed a commercial contract with his company. As of the middle of 2017, the system has not only improved Rwanda’s healthcare system but has also given the country an aerial logistics network.
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?