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Notes from Africa
- To: The armchair travellers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Notes from Africa
- From: Andy Rabagliati <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 23:11:39 +0200
This weekend was the Argus cycle race, a 105Km race around this
beautiful part of the world by 35,000 people, the largest such race
in the world.
It was also a weekend where the Milnerton Players had the "Millie
awards", their annual awards for "best of" 1998. I ran sound for the
musical review they staged beforehand - quite excellent. To watch such
a review, with tap, musical numbers from twenty years of shows, with
music from piano, bass guitar and drumset, rehearsed in six evenings,
was quite an eyeopener.
Our side of Table Mountain burned last weekend.
Feinboss, unique flora from the Cape, spreads its seeds during fire.
However, it takes six or more years for the plants to mature, and the
fires are more frequent than that.
Politics is getting into gear for the election now slated for June 2.
The last elections in 1994 were marked by violence between rival
parties - heaviest between the IFP and the ANC. There has been a spate
of tit-for-tat killings in the Western Cape between the UDM and ANC,
and some attempts by members of the church to promote reconciliation.
I went on a business trip last week to Jo'burg, visiting Vodacom at
Vodaworld, the new company headquarters and also a cellular Mall, where
you can buy all things cellular. The building was impressive, a large
glass and steel building in Midrand, business suburbia that is joining
Jo'burg and Pretoria in one builtup metropolis. I was debugging 1960's
technology serial links that join our computers to Vodacom's SMSCs,
the computers that perform text messaging to all their cellphones.
We perform all Vodacom's corporate SMS messaging, but cooperation
and technology leaves a little to be desired at the interface...
We also do the Website for Business Report, a well-respected newspaper
from the Independent Newspaper Group, and international media company
run by Tony O'Reilly from Ireland, where he also runs (all ?) the
newspapers. I showed him around our Cape Town facilities, as he also
has a stake in InTouch. For extra credibility in the IT industry, I
paint my toenails and tint my hair nowadays :-)
I am taking a break next month to do a little travelling and to canvass
support for my Internet ideas.
I chatted this week with someone that does import/export to Angola,
another of the forgotten wars of Africa. The UN, I notice, are
pulling out, in frustration at lack of resolution of 30 years of
civil war. The war is funded by the enormous mineral wealth of the
country. Oil is tapped by American companies, and controlled by
the MPLA, the government that won the 1992 elections. Diamonds are
also mostly controlled by the MPLA, but 30% of that vast wealth
is controlled by UNITA and its leader Jonas Savimbi, who lost the
election, was offered, Africa-style, palaces, places in the new
government, influence, babes, and still refused it all. His strength
is the local language-speaking tribes in the north, ignored by the
Portuguese before. Most of Angola speaks only portuguese, there was no
support at all for local languages during colonial rule. The guns come
from Eastern Europe, and the diamonds, I was told, go to Belgium and
are 'rescued' from the open market by De Beers.
Angola has next to no infrastructure left - has lost all its wildlife
to the war, and all it has left is a beautiful country ravaged by
war with minerals to be fought over by greedy militarists.
Oh no !! Andy gets his news from Amazon these days ..
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