Saturday, July 16, 2011

Modern day Tabu Ley?

If you were born in Kenya before 1990 like me, then you know how life was growing up listening to the one and only Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC ) radio. Broadcasts would begin at 6am in the morning with the national anthem and end at midnight, on a similar note.
The selection of music would of course depend on the 'mtangazaji' of the day. These were the pre-mobile phone days, and call-in shows to request for 'tracks' were unheard of. Nevertheless, a daily dose of Congolese music was guaranteed. The likes Franco, Mbilia Bel and Tabu Ley Rochereau were household names.
Tabu Ley was responsible for the formation of the Orchestre Africa International, churning out popular hits in the 70's 80's and 90's.
Tabu Ley Rochereau
This evening i was pleasantly surprised to discover that his son Youssoupha, is into music as well, although of a completely different genre, that would definitely appeal to the post 1990 generation-at least those who appreciate the French language.

And unlike the time in which i grew up, they can listen to Youssoupha's music from anywhere in the world-thanks to the world wide web, just like i did watching 'L'effet Papillon' or 'the butterfly effect'.
History continues!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm mad as hell! Then what?

Time flies! After a one month hiatus, it feels like a lot has happened. And indeed a lot has happened. The most dramatic being the birth of the world's newest country; the Republic of South Sudan. Speaking of time, the media has been awash with stories of drought and hunger in the 'Horn of Africa', which has been described as the worst in 60 years. That means you'd have to go back to 1951 to find evidence of similar situation.

Estimated food security conditions, 2nd Quarter 2011 (April-June 2011): Food insecurity for the poor and very poor households in northern and eastern pastoral areas is likely to deteriorate to Crisis and Emergency levels (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in July unless urgent interventions are instituted. Though rains in Turkana district were better than in other pastoral areas, food insecurity is similarly deteriorating and is likely to fall to Crisis levels in August. (

However, the fact that the frequency and intensity of droughts has been increasing in East Africa in the past 20 years, has not been lost on many observers.The security situation in Somalia, one of the most severely hit country by the current drought, has made it virtually impossible for relief supplies to reach the population. The result has been a massive inflow of refugees into the Dadaab refugee camp in North Eastern Kenya, which has been under pressure of overcrowding, way before the surrent crisis hit hard. Government officials in Nairobi have been grappling with pressure from civil society groups to do something about sky-rocketing inflation.Members of Parliament are finding themselves in an awkward position, with the new requirement that they pay taxes on theri entire perks. Analysts, think-tanks and busy bodies are engaged in offering 'expert opinion' about 'what went wrong', like they always do, rushing from one seminar to the next.Meanwhile, people are suffering.

Of course a long term solution is necessary. Perhaps it is justified to be angry and mad at the failure to implement policies that could have averted or mitigated the effects of the drought. However, in the interim, people need help. Concrete help! And i want to be part of the solution, which i will tell you about...later.