TEDGlobal 2017 session 4 was about exploring hard truths. It was a delivery of biting truths and harsh realities.
TEDGlobal 2017 Session 4 Speakers
Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, a professor of African political thought, wonders how a continent that is home to some of the largest bodies of water in the world — the Nile, the Niger, the Congo, the Zambezi, the Orange rivers — can be said to have a water crisis. “Including in countries where the rivers are?” he asks. “Africa does not have a water crisis; it has a knowledge crisis regarding its water, where and what type it is, how it can be tapped and made available where and when needed to all and sundry.” According to Taiwo, a lack of knowledge is what stands between Africa’s current state and a future of prosperity.
At Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò, says: “We must find a way to make knowledge and its production sexy and rewarding.” Photo: Bret Hartman / TED
Niti Bhan drew attention to Africa’s informal economy. Niti believe it is really what keeps Africa running, creating jobs at four times the pace of the formal sector. And they get zero kudos for it. Niti points out that the informal economy has been much maligned and even criminalized, because African governments cannot be bothered to distinguish between unrecorded and illegal trade. Informal businesses often pay local levies and all kinds of dues, but are almost always targeted for extortion and impoundment by government officials, and denied loans by lenders.
Niti Bhan studies informal economies — the source of more than half of economic activity in many nations of Africa. Yet, she says, they’re criminalized, persecuted, extorted by officials. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED
Leo Igwe comes to the stage with a message of hope and faith in humanity’s ability to rise above fear, hate and superstition. Especially superstition. “In Africa, superstition is widespread, with people too often believing in witchcraft, something that has no basis in reason or science. Yet alleged witches, usually women, children or elderly persons, are still routinely attacked, banished or killed. And I have made it part of my life’s mission to eradicate witch persecution in Africa.”
Ndidi Nwuneli has advice for Africans who believe in God, and Africans who don’t believe in god.To the religious, shebelieves that God loves Africa … just as much as he loves the people all over the world. While her faith in the omnipotence of the divine is firm, she is certain that God is not a micro-manager, or someone for whom the responsibility for how our lives turn out can be outsourced. “By claiming we have no power over past, present or future, we give too much authority to the wicked, who steal funds and ask God for forgiveness.”
Speakers Ndidi Nwuneli, at left, and Leo Igwe, right, discuss the role of faith and belief in modern African, in a Q&A sparked by TEDGlobal co-host Chris Anderson onstage at TEDGlobal 2017, Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Nabila Alibhai and a group of friends wanted to see if they could create a language that transcended religion, race and political leanings. “The idea,” Alibhai says, “was to unite people of different faith by getting them to paint each other’s house of worship … churches, mosques, synagogues … yellow, in the name of love.” It might sound crazy, and of course they were told so.
Why is this house of worship — and 24 more like it, churches, mosques and synagogues — painted bright yellow? Because Nabila Alibhai and her friends asked if they would. It’s part of a project to show the interconnectedness and hopefulness of faith. Photo: Bret Hartman / 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?