The Guardian ~ Cheap Solar Lamps Help Villagers Keep Their Health, And Cut Emissions

MwangaBora lamps are distributed to women’s groups to sell on, and they use income generated to set up small businesses Photograph: PR

MwangaBora lamps are distributed to women’s groups to sell on, and they use income generated to set up small businesses Photograph: PR

In Kenya, where less than a quarter of the 45-million population has access to electricity, a solar lamp project is helping rural communities save money on expensive and harmful fuel while reducing carbon emissions. The Use Solar, Save Lives initiative was set up in 2004 by Evans Wadongo, 29, an engineer who experienced the dangerous effects of kerosene lamps growing up in a western Kenyan village. Studying close to an open flame, he was exposed to kerosene smoke, notorious for provoking breathing and vision defects, which left him with permanent eye problems.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/solar-mwangabora

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Decolonizing Knowledge And The Question Of The Archive & Podcast ~ Decolonizing The University

Photo: www.ru.ac.za

Achille Mbembe  www.ru.ac.za

This document was deliberately written as a spoken text. It forms the basis of a series of public lectures given at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), at conversations with the Rhodes Must Fall Movement at the University of Cape Town and the Indexing the Human Project, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Stellenbosch. The nature of the events unfolding in South Africa, the type of audience that attended the lectures, the nature of the political and intellectual questions at stake required an entirely different mode of address – one that could speak both to reason and to affect.

Twenty one years after freedom, we have now fully entered what looks like a negative moment. This is a moment most African postcolonial societies have experienced. Like theirs in the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, ours is gray and almost murky. It lacks clarity.

Today many want to finally bring white supremacy to its knees. But the same seem to go missing when it comes to publically condemning the extra-judicial executions of fellow Africans on the streets of our cities and in our townships. As Fanon intimated, they see no contradiction between wanting to topple white supremacy and being anti-racist while succumbing to the sirens of isolationism and national-chauvinism. Many still consider whites as “settlers” who, once in a while, will attempt to masquerade as “natives”. And yet, with the advent of democracy and the new constitutional State, there are no longer settlers or natives. There are only citizens. If we repudiate democracy, what will we replace it with?

Our white compatriots might be fencing off their privileges. They might be “enclaving” them and “off-shoring” them but they are certainly going nowhere. And yet they cannot keep living in our midst with whiteness’ old clothes. Fencing off one’s privileges, off-shoring them, living in enclaves does not in itself secure full recognition and survival. Meanwhile, “blackness” is fracturing. “Black consciousness” today is more and more thought of in fractions. A negative moment is a moment when new antagonisms emerge while old ones remain unresolved.

It is a moment when contradictory forces – inchoate, fractured, fragmented – are at work but what might come out of their interaction is anything but certain.
It is also a moment when multiple old and recent unresolved crises seem to be on the path towards a collision.
Such a collision might happen – or maybe not. It might take the form of outbursts that end up petering out. Whether the collision actually happens or not, the age of innocence and complacency is over. When it comes to questions concerning the decolonization of the university – and of knowledge – in South Africa now, there are a number of clear-cut political and moral issues – which are also issues of fairness and decency – many of us can easily agree upon.

Demythologizing whiteness 
One such issue has just been dealt with – and successfully – at the University of Cape Town. To those who are still in denial, it might be worth reiterating that Cecil Rhodes belonged to the race of men who were convinced that to be black is a liability.
During his time and life in Southern Africa, he used his considerable power – political and financial – to make black people all over Southern Africa pay a bloody price for his beliefs. His statue – and those of countless others who shared the same conviction – has nothing to do on a public university campus 20 years after freedom.

The debate therefore should have never been about whether or not it should be brought down. All along, the debate should have been about why did it take so long to do so.
To bring Rhodes’ statue down is far from erasing history, and nobody should be asking us to be eternally indebted to Rhodes for having “donated” his money and for having bequeathed “his” land to the University. If anything, we should be asking how did he acquire the land in the first instance.
Arguably other options were available and could have been considered, including that which was put forward late in the process by retired Judge Albie Sachs whose contribution to the symbolic remaking of what is today Constitution Hill is well recognized.

But bringing Rhodes’ statue down is one of the many legitimate ways in which we can, today in South Africa, demythologize that history and put it to rest – which is precisely the work memory properly understood is supposed to accomplish.
For memory to fulfill this function long after the Truth and Reconciliation paradigm has run out of steam, the demythologizing of certain versions of history must go hand in hand with the demythologizing of whiteness. This is not because whiteness is the same as history. Human history, by definition, is history beyond whiteness.

Human history is about the future. Whiteness is about entrapment. Whiteness is at its best when it turns into a myth. It is the most corrosive and the most lethal when it makes us believe that it is everywhere; that everything originates from it and it has no outside. We are therefore calling for the demythologization of whiteness because democracy in South Africa will either be built on the ruins of those versions of whiteness that produced Rhodes or it will fail.

Read more (PDF-file): http://wiser.wits.ac.za/AchilleMbembe

Podcast: https://archive.org/details/AchilleMbembeDecolonizingTheUniversity

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Gert Oostindie & Inge Klinkers ~ Decolonising The Caribbean ~ Dutch Policies In A Comparative Perspective

OostindieFor over two centuries much of the Caribbean has been embroiled in heated,and initially violent, decolonisation. One may well date the beginnings of the process to the first recorded retreats of European colonisers, the conclusion of the eighteenth century peace treaties between the British and the Maroons of Jamaica, and then between the Dutch and the Maroons of Suriname – struggles for freedom which were, however, inconsequential in post-colonial history. So, Caribbean decolonisation formally began with the 1791 Haitian Revolution. With this seminal event came the dawning of a new era. Constitutional sovereignty was subsequently secured by the Dominican Republic (1844) and at the start of the twentieth century by Cuba (1901). Both were late in securing sovereignty by Latin American standards.

Whereas the three most populated Caribbean countries had now gained independence, the rest of the region remained firmly locked within colonialism, either dependent on the traditional metropolitan powers, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, or usurped by the ascending power of the United States. At the outbreak of World War ii most Caribbean territories were still bound in colonial tutelage.

A new wave of decolonisation swept the region in the 1960s and 1970s. Today most of the Caribbean is sovereign and some 85 per cent of the 37 million Caribbean people live in independent countries. However, it appears that independence was achieved at a high price. In general terms, standards of living in the non-sovereign Caribbean are significantly higher than they are in the independent countries. Furthermore, in a region that has witnessed many dictatorial regimes and territorial disputes, and which
now faces the contemporary challenges of international crime, the remaining non-sovereign territories still continue to enjoy a higher degree of security and stability. Small wonder then that the urge for independence in these territories is weak, and indeed it seems that Caribbean decolonisation may well have reached its final dénouement with the present status quo.

Download the book (PDF-file): www.oapen.org/

Amsterdam University Press,Amsterdam, 2003

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How Can Gov. McCrory’s Proposal Work? Preliminary Thoughts And Policy Considerations

Map: www.secretary.state.nc.us

Map: www.secretary.state.nc.us

On Monday, March 30, the Winston-Salem Journal published a piece titled “Economic development bill stalls in Senate” starting with Gov. McCrory’s proposal to “recruit an automobile manufacturer and create thousands of jobs and scores of companies”. This is really an interesting development proposal that can boost production growth in North Carolina. The article [i] seeks to discuss the developmental and industrial dimensions of this proposal and to offer policy considerations deemed absolutely necessary for the successful implementation of such an ambitious plan.

The Present Context
There has been much talk and debate on the recent economic downfall of the United States. Causes for concern include persistent fluctuations in output, job creation and productivity; massive federal budget and trade account deficits; and issues associated with “capital flight” and industrial decline (U.S. National Economic Accounts, various years). These fluctuations are closely linked to unutilized labor force, lost output, and social problems. Furthermore, the economic effects of the recent financial crisis are complicated and far-reaching because of simultaneous shocks in the housing, stock, and labor markets. Actual spending, unemployment, home equity, well-being, emotional and physical health, and expectations about the future have all been affected by a significant slowdown in endogenous productive activity and various problems associated with financial markets. Hence, it is argued here that three important themes need to come to the center stage:
1. A discourse on the “appropriate” policy interventions,
2. The importance of adopting a long-term perspective, and
3. Emphasis on strengthening local production lines.

An Alternative Development Paradigm
The US model of a pluralist market economy is strongly consumer and short-term oriented. Its strength is dynamism and flexibility; its dominant philosophy is private sector competition and minimal government. As a result, industrial policy has not been developed in a systematic or coherent fashion as an important piece of policy making, and the country has not generally seen itself as being involved in the promotion of specific sectors. Read more

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Post-Apartheid South Africa And The Crisis Of Expectation – DPRN Four

Mandela -en.wikipedia.org

Nelson Mandela en.wikipedia.org

The collapse of the apartheid state and the ushering in of democratic rule in 1994 represented a new beginning for the new South Africa and the Southern African region. There were widespread expectations and hopes that the elaboration of democratic institutions would also inaugurate policies that would progressively alleviate poverty and inequality.
Fourteen years into the momentous events that saw Nelson Mandela become the president of South Africa, critical questions are being asked about the country’s transition, especially about its performance in meeting the targets laid down in its own macro-economic programmes in terms of poverty and inequality, and the consequences of the fact that the expectations of South Africans have not been met.

At a general level the euphoria of 1994 has come up against deepening inequality, rising unemployment, the HIV pandemic and bourgeoning violent crime. The latter has led one writer to conclude that South Africa is ‘a country at war with itself’ (Altbeker 2007).
South Africans have trusted democracy with the hard task to deliver jobs, wealth, healthcare, better housing and services to the people. But now that all of this is slow in arriving, there is growing disquiet and increased community protests that have sought to challenge the government on the pace of service delivery.
It is the level of what we have labelled a crisis of expectation that this paper speaks to. It looks at what under lies this crisis of expectation and what are the potential consequences. Read more

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Simon Marginson ~ Is This The Death Of The Equal Opportunity Era?

uwnThe last decades have seen a rapid growth in the number of students going into higher education in English-speaking countries such as the United States, including those from lower income backgrounds. But has this created more equal societies?

The US, in particular, has extreme levels of economic and social inequality and in higher education progress on access seems to have halted. Total graduation rates have levelled off. Participation is still growing rapidly in many other countries, but what happens in the US is important and often portends the future. The US is still the model and trend leader, in economy, society and higher education.

Linking income and wealth data and social ordering (including social ordering through education) is not a perfect science. But if we look at the last decades, adopting Thomas Piketty’s emphasis on an historical approach in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, we see important new patterns emerging.

Read more: http://www.universityworldnews.com/

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