Week 10

This week we read Marikana: Voices from South Africa’s Mining Massacre which looks deeply into the perspective of local voices on the Marikana Massacre, especially the workers and miners that were involved. This massacre which has affected so many workers or miners, through state violence. Workers went of strike in order to force wage’s to be increased to a more fair level, these strikes lead to many deaths. This book explores the use of violence in the face of protests, and the excessive violence that many felt was done. This marikana massacre happened in late 2012, this book was published in 2013, almost a year later. This I feel is important context as it gives voice to the people at the time they need that voice heard. To be able to interview and write about the massacre in a years time shows the commitment of the authors to show the issue. Voices such as those in this book can only be heard because of this passion in the authors. There may be many massacres, deaths, and injustices that are not known because the voices can never be heard. Even this narrative would not be know by myself without this class. How important is it to have this perspective of the local to understand these injustices? How important is an academic publication to these voices? Would the same perspective and voices be heard in any other narrative?
This voice gives accounts of the affects of the massacre, the authors allow for the lower class to be heard. Those that revolt and protest their own conditions in order to be heard by the corporations and government of South Africa. Mining is an illustrious business in Africa but is very much seen to be exploitive of its laborers and regulations. Through narratives such as this it brings perspective for those around the world, but what is the point of this? Is this narrative going to speak to South Africa, or be interpreted by the international academics? Who is this narrative meant to inform, is it meant to provoke change or prevent further massacres? Does this apply only to South Africa’s mining industry, or to question other countries industries?
Class systems and exploitation are important issues in this book as well, as seen with the lower class miners being treated so unjustly. This gap is important in the context of development, while mining is a positive economic system. The affects of this positive does not make it to the lower classes. This gap is seen throughout our course, and can be seemingly ignored. That is the other importance of this idea of ‘voices’, the usual ignored are able to be heard. The gap that is hidden in development needs to be a focus. It must be heard and is what these authors are attempting.

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Week 9 – Dams and Displacment

This weeks readings focused on the relationship with foreign investments, modernization, displacement, and the delusion of development. This week we read chapters three to seven of Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007 by Allen F. Isaacman and Barbara S. Isaacman. The main point of this book is to show that this dam project, one of the biggest, has adverse effects on the people of the river basin surrounding the dam. It also shows the negative effects of this colonial project has on the political and economic security of Mozambique and its turn to post-colonialism colonialism and continued colonial political decisions. The goals set out by the portugal government, the colonial power at the time were meant to help Mozambique, portugal saw them as part of the same state indefinitely. Meant to provide cheap power as well as boost the economy, the result was negative though. These negative effects are the destruction of land, used to farm, a main source of food as well as economy of the basin-people. Fishing was another economy effected, another main sources of protein. People were forced out of their homes and villages, homes that were around for years, they lost a culture and way of life. The electricity produced was sold to South Africa very cheaply, even sold back into Mozambique industry by South Africa.
Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development gives great insight into the history, politics and culture around the dam project. It is well researched and gives first had accounts with great quotes. “Cahora Bassa has given us hunger” – Maria Faira. This quote easily shows the gap between colonist development and the rural poor who lost out in this situation. Exploitation and greed by the regimes that ran Mozambique and still has created unjust actions against a people that have been using the area for decades longer. Isaacman et al. give argument that colonial ‘development’ has a lasting negative effect on the colonized. The culture and politics of colonialism are lasting and sway politics, colonialism has taught states the elite get better, the poor get worse. Development is within a box of modernity, where the bottom line is political security and economic prosperity, stuck in a colonial idea of development. What sort of checks and balances should be put on development of this sort, how involved should the international community be, if at all? Who makes sure that the gap between the power and the rural does not expand?
There is some positive that Mozambique does gain full ownership of the dam and its power, though negative it shows some development for the state, government and economy. The book takes a negative stance as it should, standing up for the rural peoples. The books main focus is the gap of development rather then the negatives of the dam. It shows that development within this post-colonial context still effect positively on the elite, while the gap widens for the poor. Energy development should be offset like the book suggests with more sources of energy for the rural, such as solar or wind. There is a pyramid of exploitation within developing countries, each level exploited, the top level gaining the most. Should Mozambique have created a power grid system for Mozambique after gaining the dam from portugal? Or were they stuck within the colonial grasp of South Africa, as well as the post colonial ideas left by portugal? How does this connect to the idea that quickly developing countries like South Africa or India begin to act as a colonial power when gaining economic development?

Thomas Knoops

Week 8: India-African Relationship

Following the trend of international states involvement within Africa in the past few weeks, we turn to the involvement of India in Africa. India much like China is seen as a rapidly developing country, this week looks again at the ‘south-south’ relationship rather then the typical ‘north-south’ relationship in development and aid. This idea brings in the critique of neo-colonialism versus political alignment and mutually beneficial development. India is a on the small side of the rapidly developing world when it comes to international recognition. Is there more difficulty for countries like India to develop through foreign investment? Should there be more effort from the international community to create opportunity for smaller economic countries to enter into beneficial agreements with developing countries? Or is there a shift from neo-colonial presence to the idea from the China and India articles towards mutual beneficial partnerships?
The first article India’s rise in Africa by Ian Taylor gives insight into the Indo-African relationship, the history and economic reason behind this relationship. The relationship is fairly different to the China-African relationship. The India-African relationship is more based on commercial, private investment, rather then state. With India shifting from developmental aid receiver to donor, they see themselves as having more leverage in the international world. It is easy to see that specific investment is done based on state specific and economic securities. India needs energy-security, China Raw resource security, and the USA need security from terrorist threats. India is the small fish in a big pond of foreign investments, and developmental aid, though India is gaining international power. Should only donor countries be given international power, or should there be more power given to those that are developing? Is India a good middle ground, do they have enough experience in and as the global south to create change in international aid? India may grow as the article suggests to become the second largest economy in the world. Does this mean India is any different then other large economies, or as seen before will this make way for the neo-colonial power of India? Does entering the international community give countries greater power over the global south?
The second article Fragile fortunes: India’s oil venture into war-torn Sudan by Luke Patey discusses the risk of India entering Sudan, which was surrounded by war, looking at the political relationship between India and Sudan. The insecurity in Sudan forced many oil companies to leave the area, the Indian company though entered. India saw the political and society pressure of activists forced them to leave, while India felt that this risk would not effect them. The article also states the rivalry between India and China in gaining oil rights in Sudan. The article states that India is still at risk in Sudan, the investment and political relationship could very easily be harmed in Africa. Is India less susceptible to activism and accountability then other states? Should the international community regulate risk and investments, or is it up to the individual states to proceed through risk or not?
Both articles interestingly mention the desire India has to become a large player in the international community. They want to become a permanent member of the security council, and have more power. Does this desire from India to become more of an international power play into their methods of economic development, particularly in corruption and neo-colonial virtues? Will India emulate many of the international powers (US, China)and choose to exploit developing countries for resources and development? Is there such a thing as an even or fair economic, trade and political relationships, or is one side always gaining more?

Thomas Knoops

Week 7: The Africa-China Relationship

This weeks readings all focused on the diverse relationship between Africa and China, in political, economical and social contexts. The first article The Africa-China relationship: challenges and opportunities by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza focuses on the economic relationships mainly. Zeleza also looks at the history of this relationship that stemmed from the Cold War where China and Africa separated themselves from the situation and independence for both was found. This is interesting as it suggests that the relationship is more garnered to African and China needs and may be more suitable than a western relationship. There is a large focus it seems in the ideas that there is one source and power in aid and development, and that is the Western world. Control over aid and development is shifted in this relationship as it is not the international communities goals that need to be met, but rather the collaboration of China and Africa for the betterment of their own economies. The cultural relationship is much stronger it seems here, as China and Africa came out of similar situations, there isn’t much similarity between the US and Africa. The article states that the relationship between China and Africa is more mutual as Africa wants the products China produces and China needs the resources from Africa. This changes the common idea from critics that China is controlling Africa and its resources. There seems to be more recent ideas in popular media as well that American development is greedy and exploiting natural resources, mainly oil. Does China create a better developmental Aid source, where the ideals are similar? With China as a different source of aid then the international community shouldn’t there be a central institution that controls all aid and development to work towards beneficial goals? Or do the circumstances and relationships behind aid create differed development and focus on a more specific cultural and social development?
History & Identity in the Construction of China’s Africa Policy by Alden and Alves is much the same as the first article as it approaches the history of the China and Africa relationship. Though this article is more critical of China and its own identity. China which is seen as an economic superpower, may think of themselves as a third world county. China may be labeling themselves as developing and creating a solidarity with Africa as developing countries in the world. But is China using this language, and ideas to control Africa rather then teaming up with the continent. Development is seen often as a neo-colonialism medium and creates power control over countries. Is China is an economic superpower, or can they label themselves as developing? Are they truly creating aid to mutually benefit themselves and Africa or are they neocolonialists taking over the resource economy of Africa?
From Guangzhou to Yiwu: Emerging facets of the African Diaspora in China by Bodomo and Ma is about a African Diaspora Community in China. The article talks about the acceptance of Africans in these communities and societies in China. Arguing that the more accepted these people are there are benefits for the society in China.Also what culturally is different in the diaspora communities, specifically community bonding, trading as an economic means and the cultural preservation. The idea the article presents is that these kind of communities are able to bring multiculturalism and trade into global views. The article is interesting because it talks a lot about the African presence in China, but who are the Africans? A diaspora community is one that is of another culture, but in Africa there are many countries and many cultures. African Diaspora would still be very different then many diaspora, such as a Puerto Rican Diaspora. Africa is we saw has a very different culture across the continent, it sounds more like a multicultural cultural hub.

Thomas Knoops

Week 6: The United Statesin Africa: from Aid to Anti-Terror

The articles for this week all focus on Terrorism in Africa and the way that America has intruded on the practices and ideas of terrorism in Africa. The articles all in some way shape the idea that America has a neo-colonial control over Africa and the dealings with Terrorists there. The article Trojan Horses? USAID, counter-terrorism and Africa’s police by Alice Hills explains that the US foriegn aid is used as to change the policing tactics in Africa, to a more American style. That the agency for international development has become more of a security consultant and their methods are being brought into Africa, creating flawed methods in Africa. In the article The Banana Theory of Terrorism: Alternative Truths and the Collapse of the ‘Second’ (Saharan) Front in the War on Terror, Keenan explains some realities of the Saharan war on terror, the harsh realities of the US’s involvement. Also how the US has created misinformed stories and results from this war. The last article by Jeremy Prestholdt, Kenya, the United States, and Counterterrorism, explains the effects on the people of Kenya by this US aid and counterterrorism measures. Mostly critiquing the use of US ideas and the human rights abuses that follow, creating an alienation between majorities and minorities. These three articles have the same common theme that is pressure and demands from outside forces, mainly the US. This is created with a neocolonialist power held due to foreign aid. Aid comes with stipulations that must be met and allow for power over African governments.
Internationally there are far more resources for the fight against terrorism, though the United States may have the most invested into this fight. Will an international body or institution have to be controlled on some level by the USA in order for all resources to become available. Every way that this fight against terrorism is seen internationally there will be some sort of control by the US. USA wants to have the power in the global fight on terrorism and therefore will only help in other countries if it is done their way. So it leaves the dilemma that if a state wants to deal with the threat themselves they may have less resources. If they want the international help, controlled by the United States then they lose control, but have more resources. Its a toss up, and morally ambiguous, they state will take the blame if no justice is served, but also will take the blame if the wrong justice is served. Either way the state is the face of the fight against national terrorism, but the brain is controlled by the US or international bodies.

Should all terrorist threats be dealt with internally, or should all threats be dealt with on a global scale by international institutions (UN, etc.)? Who or what should be central to the problems of terrorism globally? Is the War on Terror a war fought internationally or not, what kind of organizational system should be held in place?

Thomas Knoops

Week 5: Emerging Technologies

This weeks readings and podcast were on the development of media in Africa, particularly the effect of media on development in Africa. On the podcast Mass Media and Democracy, Folu Ogundimu talks about media in Africa and its role as a democratic tool. He speaks to the idea that there is a freedom in media, but also that there is a political control often in these forms of media. This is seen around the world and is expected in mass media especially, as media is developing the ideas it portrays will sway towards more specific agendas. Also discussed is the importance of national/local media and international media. Is international media necessary in developing countries media? Is development of local/national media more important to create social and political development within a country?

As Paul Tiyambe Zeleza writes in The Media in social development in contemporary Africa, media is expanding development and development is expanding the media. He explains that media has a great effect on society (politically, socially, and economically), while society effects the media. There is the question as to what controls what, Does the media shape and control the whole of society, and does all of society control the media, even the ‘worst’ off? The theory as a country develops so does the media brings up the point as to how far the development goes. As development reaches the ‘worst’ off in a country does the media do the same. Through the reading it seems that media follows more of a development to help economies and gain profitability, rather then the  people whose voices should be heard. The media will be shaped towards the ideas in the podcast and readings, democratization and development. Freedom of speech will be accessible to those who can easily access the media, the people that can only consume mass media will then be shaped by it. Those who cannot access the mass media easily will be then left behind, it will be more difficult for them to be part of a society that is shaped by this media. They will continue being the ‘worst’ off in society because the society they know is evolving and they aren’t because they cannot access the media. The media is almost always owned by the elite and will therefore create society that benefits themselves.

The most interesting part of this article was the huge popularity of the radio and radio stations in Africa. The discussion on the use of radio to bring back the culture and traditions of oral stories. Meanwhile in the video shown about Accra Street the radio could be heard playing Reggae music. The radio not only globalizes, it also localizes, maintaining African culture as well as expanding it. The idea that the medium is the message could suggest that that the radio’s message is hybrid culture. Could the hybridity of culture also be present in television and other new forms of media?

The last article by Chiluwa and Adegoke looks at the use of twitter in the midst of conflict, between Boko Haram and the western, as well as the people and Nigeria. Twitter creates citizen journalism and is a way for the people to be heard, they can also comment on news stories using social media to refine or correct mass media. Again the question becomes as to who has the access to really use twitter to their advantage. The voices of many cannot be heard because their circumstance to make and publish their own 140 character news story is not present.

Thomas Knoops – 100693640

Week 4 neoliberalism

This week featured articles specifically about neoliberalism ideals and their role in development, and the economy of South Africa. The three articles looked at three completely different businesses and the implementations these businesses have used to succeed. One article Skin Lighteners, Black Consumers and Jewish Entrepreneurs in South Africa by Lynn M. Thomas discusses the business empire of the Krok brothers and their use of wealth. They were able to create a business in Skin Lighteners in a post-Apartheid South Africa. The fortune was also used to finance an apartheid museum, where the museum was part of  a theme park though. This article shows that western neoliberalist attitudes that actually work to turn profit for few South Africans. This idea of a purely western idea of capitalism is fairly evident in all the articles and connects with last week. Where there were advertisements that shared a more western cultural ideal, rather then an African Cultural advertisement. The second article Death ‘on the move’: Funerals… By Rebekah Lee shows this same aspect again where a western idea is shown, such as death insurance and funeral planning, plots, and financing. This article like the first shows an exploitation of certain people, whether Black Africans in a post-apartheid world, or the lower or poor class needing help to bury their dead. The last article by Teppo and Houssay-Holzschuch speaks clearly to this idea of exploitation, whether it works or not is not important, rather that it discusses the need for developers of a mall to appeal to the masses, which in this case is the growing black population in Gugulethu. This article clearly states that to sell this mall and its stores as a viable market for business owners and consumers, there would have to be an exploitation. This case there is an attempt to re-brand and focus on post-apartheid South Africa, and romanticize it as well.
Is the exploitation that is present in Africa in neoliberalism also present to developed countries around the world? The three articles all touched on exploitation and it is clear that this is an important factor in neoliberalism working. The Western ideologies in culture, race, gender, and other factors has proven to be powerful in any situation. Where there is capitalism there is the west. The problem with it is that it creates the hierarchy of western business, and the gap ever increasing between the elites and the poor. As seen in the articles as well is that the revolution of neoliberalism far outmatches any revolution against. The fight against global and local, is usually won with the power of persuasion and global is winning that fight.
Another important aspect that is seen over all, is the idea of circumstance and its effect on success. The idea that success is based on  circumstance is interesting because it is clearly seen in the neoliberal ethic. Success in Africa is the work of the western neoliberalist ideas, but there seems to be a selling of western culture (skin lighteners and funeral plots) only, rather then using the ideas of neoliberalism to sell African Culture. The circumstances for wealth in Africa is also following the neoliberal method, were wealth generates wealth. Thats to say it seems that again the giant capitalist, the one that came from middle/high class, the one that sells exploitation rather then a particular product will be the only people successful in Africa. Again the gap becomes larger between the elites and the lower classes. Can neoliberalism in the western sense succeed in selling anything other then western cultural items or exploitations?

Thomas Knoops – 100693640

Week 3 Blog Post

Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism by Ato Quayson looks at the successes of development, urbanization and modernization in the city of Accra, Ghana. Specifically looking at the cosmopolitan, globalized, modern Oxford Street and the urbanization of Ghana in the move towards modernity. Throughout the introduction and chapters Quayson answers how Oxford Street has become this global modern area in Accra, Ghana, the chapters also give insight on the impact of urbanization and modernization in Ghana. Technology has had a large impact as well as advertising, this has connected the developed world to the forefront of Oxford Street with Mobile Devices and advertisement. Salsa dancing is also proof of this cosmopolitanism taking place where a completely different culture is available and sought by the people of Accra the members of this new global village. Oxford Street conveys the message that with modernization there is a shrinking of the gap between Underdeveloped countries such as Ghana and the developed world. That technology and the cohesion of multiple cultural ideas and practices is the way to development. The cultural ideas that Quayson is pointing to come down to the culture of ‘western’ capitalism.
As Neocolonialism of Ghana proceeds, will Ghana become just another ‘Western’ Country? Is the upside of development worth the cultural shift away from traditional towards that of western ideals of modernity and Capitalism?
In most post-colonial countries such as Ghana there is a sense of cultural affirmation when gaining independence. But what happens now is a neocolonialism society, where the global village and the western modernity and capitalism are the colonist. Development is of course created and these countries are able to enter the global economy. Though the smaller this gap between developed and underdeveloped becomes, there is a loss of traditional culture. Oxford Street is described as a bustling street of capitalism, much like wall street or even King Street in Waterloo. It losses its very own uniqueness and becomes one of the many streets of the global village. The upside is though that poverty and many development issues can be solved. Or is it?
The urbanization in Ghana, and the development of the city of Accra has created a larger Gap between those in the urban and those in the rural. Modernity and globalism has come to the city of Accra, what about the rest of Ghana. Are those people that are not part of the urban left behind in underdevelopment? The neocolonialism culture that is discussed in the writings is focused on one street in one City. What about the rest of the streets, the rest of the country? Success may have an outward effect in the future, but there will be complications. Grassroots cultures will likely clash with Oxford Street culture. There will be issues in creating a hybrid culture that appeals to traditional Ghanian culture and global culture. Like many developing countries there must be a middle ground or there would be a risk of clashing ideas, and a risk of becoming a global village with no distinct identity.

T Knoops – 100693640

Blog Post Week 2 – The single story of Africa and disease.

Disease in Africa is this weeks readings focus, particularly Aids and Ebola. Connecting this to last week there is a connection between disease in Africa and Chimamanda Ngozi’s The Danger of a Single Story. The idea of disease outbreaks in Africa have become the single story that outsiders have. Aids was very much seen as the ‘Single Story in the past, while Ebola has become the recent ‘Single Story’. Both are very prevalent in the media and there is a lot of negativity behind that story. Many people will surely think of disease when thinking of Africa, this was the warning of Ngozi, and should be taken seriously to ensure that Africa is not seen as negative for the foreseeable future. The readings look at disease and its effect from different perspective. The film gives the first hand, ‘real’ perspective on the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. It explains that the conflict around Gulu has caused issues with the community receiving medical supplies and help. The articles comment on different difficulties that Africa has had with the practice of disease control. The article by Burchart et al, explains the relationship of religion in disease control, citing that many religious groups offer aid similar to NGO’s in Africa, while some also create bigger issues. Religious aid is positive because it is not state controlled, it is able to help certain people and communities rather then just the states, but not being state controlled lacks the checks and continuation of previous government funded aid for disease control. The other two articles are perspectives of anthropologists use in disease control. Notes from case zero explains that anthropologists were helpful in studying practices and traditions of the people effected by Ebola, and were helpful in the study of the cause and origin of the recent Ebola outbreak. The article by Abramowitz is a list of ten things anthropologists can do in disease control, they range from teaching, to studying, to communicating. Though nothing has to do with any medical help. Are anthropologists actually helpful then in disease control? The interesting point here is that both articles are anthropologists making their case to be part of disease control. The arguments they make are very important from their perspective and as Saez et al points out there is always a need for help in these situations. Connecting these three articles and short film the lack of a central figurehead in disease control is obvious a flaw in the system. There needs to be an authority over the use of aid, creating a central plan to follow. Religious aid we see is not centralized in anyway and there is little control from say the WHO on how religions act in disease control. Anthropologists add just another piece to the already confusing puzzle of disease control in Africa. While anthropology can be useful in these situations, without central control by the health perspective the use may be counter to what is needed. Anthropologists will listen to anthropologists, or worse yet attempt to take charge of situations they have no use being in. Religious aid will do the same, as seen in the article by Burchart et al. How important is a central agency for all disease prevention and disease control aid in Africa? With a more efficient system where all groups work together under the leadership of a single plan the streamlined work that can be done will greatly improve the outcome disease outbreaks.

What are the connections to Chimamanda Ngozi’s Single story theory, with disease in Africa?
What is the importance if any to a central agency/institution in disease control?