From Scotland with love: British Ambassador hands over funds to Muday Charity Association

On 3 October, British Ambassador to Ethiopia Susanna Moorehead presented the Muday Charity Association with almost 200,000 Birr (£6500) – the result of a fundraising drive centred on one of Scotland’s best-loved writers.

Burns Night, on January 25th, remembers the life and works of famous poet Robert Burns and is celebrated by British communities all around the world. This year’s Addis Ababa event, organised by staff from the UK Embassy and others from the British community, was attended by 320 people. The evening included poetry readings and traditional Scottish Ceilidh dancing as well as a glass or two of Scotland’s world-class whisky.

The evening raised 199,426 Birr for charity, and after a careful selection process the organising committee decided to give the funds to the Muday Association, which supports street children, children with disabilities and their mothers. The charity provides 600 children with meals, clothes and education. The Association has also set up a Mothers’ Cooperation, enabling 400 women to make and sell handicrafts. Ambassador Moorehead presented the funds to the association’s founder Muday Mitiku.

Speaking after the presentation, the Ambassador said:

“The Muday Charity is doing vital and extraordinary work in Addis Ababa – giving destitute children a chance to have a happier childhood and a better future. British people have a long tradition of charitable giving, and our community here in Addis Ababa is no exception. It gives me great pleasure to hand over these funds, which I know will make a real difference to the lives of the women and children supported by Muday.”

Notes to Editors

  • Burns Night marks the anniversary of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns’, birth on 25 January.
  • Held throughout the world on Burns Night (or on an evening close to it) a traditional Burns supper is held on Burns night and celebrates Robert Burns’ life and work.
  • Ceilidh dance is a traditional Scottish/Irish social gathering where people can gather to dance and hear the Ceilidh band play. ‘Ceilidh’ is a Gaelic word. Its meaning is literally ‘a visit’ but is more commonly used to mean a dance, a concert or just a party.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Seeking Home in the Midst of Cameroon’s Chaos

My teeth chatter and my knees quake. I’m sitting in a dark movie theater while my little one watches The Lego Ninja Go movie. A tyrant has a dysfunctional relationship with his protagonist superpower son who hates him for abandoning him as a child or trying to destroy the city. Something. The green Ninja, Lloyd, is grappling with an identity crisis even as he struggles to fight evil – his own father, albeit unbeknown to him.

Of course I may be missing key pieces of the plot. It’s Sunday, October 1, 2017 and between sitting here indifferent to onscreen Lego characters in whom my child revels, and reading an article a friend has circulated on Chimamanda Adichie’s brave exploration of depression, I decide to share the latter via twitter. That’s when I see the hashtags:

#BringOurInternetBack

#FreeSouthernCameroons

#Ambazonia

Someone tweets about being a dog, no, a bulldog who will fight for his people. Another presses that the government is suppressing speech to propagate genocide. Others yet lament the government shutdown of the internet in the Anglophone North West and South West Provinces, and announce solidarity with Togo. Ambazonia rings in my ears like Biafra. It’s the first place I go, heart thumping, whenever I hear a call for secession. I can’t seem to separate the two. I don’t know if reading Adichie’s article, which reminds me of Half of a Yellow Sun causes this Ambazonia/Biafra collision in my mind. But they’re there – interwoven – which is why my teeth chatter, my knees quake.

A few days ago, I fretted to my deeply concerned cousin about the strangeness of watching and reading what’s happening at home in Bamenda from the outside, as a diasporan. I have relatives and friends in Cameroon, in Bamenda. When I was in Cameroon for work last Christmas, I wanted to go home – home like where Pa was buried. Where Mama strapped a toddler me to her back as she sold bags of garri in Bamenda Main Market months before she slumped to the ground and never arose. Home like St. Joseph’s Cathedral where I took First Holy Communion, its towering statue of Jesus overlooking the bustling city. Home like where I danced in the rains that thumped against the ceiling-less roofs of cement houses from Old Town and Savannah Street to Commercial Avenue, Metta Quarters and Hospital Roundabout; where we washed clothes and pretend swam in “Ayaba wata”; where, as kids we trekked for seemingly endless miles to the farm in Njimafor and upon arrival, often ate guavas, mangoes, banga, and for lunch, ripe buttery avocados with boiled or grilled cassava. Home as in the place where the nuns of the Holy Rosary tried to show me the confluence of science, math, literature, their version of woman-ness and a distorted history where European explorers discovered a country that had been in existence for thousands of years. That home where I had my first crush at Atuakom Primary School and my first kiss as a teenager – a sensation which reminded me of the supple sweetness of mid-season fresh Number Four mangoes. The place where Pa, a lorry driver met and married Presbyterian Ruth whose name he changed to Rose upon their marriage in the Catholic Church. From them came my mother and her siblings.

See, I’m a graffi child – born of the grasslands and of graffi parents, but birthed in the capital city of Yaoundé, which is also home. But in a different way. In a way that challenged my French, that sometimes called my graffi people “Anglo-Fou,” that unwittingly perhaps, introduced me to trilingualism. It was also the place that gave me space to run free under the drying lines in Cite Verte, to shop second-hand clothes in Marche Mokolo, to lean closely against my aunt as she fried puff-puff on the roadside, to sit in Cinema Abbia staring at Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in that frigid water with the wide eyes of an imaginative teenager. It was the home that taught me difference – Anglophone and Francophone, who knew people and who didn’t, who had what and how much and who didn’t. It also gave me a taste of the libertine, teaching me to live with the urgency of my last day on earth. But that birthplace was an adopted home – as though I first shrieked out of Mom’s womb there, but my umbilical cord was carried across the River Sanaga to graffi land, to Bamenda and buried there. And with it, my me-ness.

Last December, I could go to my birthplace and to Douala, but not home. Roads were blocked and travel banned I was told, even though it was only a few days before Christmas – a time when families across the country unite in communion. Cleverer, more determined, perhaps braver people risked the journey. The more cautious like me obeyed. I was there for work after all, I reasoned, and we had no office in Bamenda. I had a child to protect too. During times like these, you tell yourself things, truth or otherwise, to self-preserve.

Still, I wanted to see the old house on Savannah Street again, visit my alma mater, pray at the grotto of our Lady of Fatima on the cemetery grounds behind St. Joseph’s. Mostly, I wanted to reunite with relatives I hadn’t seen in nearly two decades, and put wreaths on the graves of everyone I’d lost since I left home. I wanted to smell the eucalyptus trees near Queen of Peace Catholic Church and tear off their peeling backs just to watch the brown liquid slide down its sides. I’d always imagined my roots sank as deep as those trees and I’ve dreamed of hearing the roar of the Mezam falls underneath the bridge on the road to Mankon. Because I couldn’t go home, I visited my birthplace. Strolled up and down Boulevard du 20 Mai, ate suya at Briquetterie, danced in Sanza, rode around the city so I could remember which roads led where, which corner streets I’d played on, whether women still sold grilled corn with plums and poisson braises at Chapel Nsimeyong, whether my childhood house, blue but disguised in brown dust still overlooked the valley between Nsimeyong and Biyem-Assi.

My teeth chatter and my knees quake because that homecoming was only partially so. I vacillated between the thrill of being back on Cameroonian soil and dismay as I watched people and myself eat out, drink, prepare for Christmas as though black smoke wasn’t rising to the skies in Bamenda. As though the reports of students and young people being shot by soldiers in Buea had nothing to do with us. Nothing to do with me. Life went on as protests resulted in murder, maiming, imprisonment. Life went on while thousands of Anglophone children sauntered between the house and yard wondering when they’d be back looking up at chalkboards from their wooden desks; while silence crept into town, and streets lost their music and marketplaces their magic. I read about these things from newspapers, Whatsapp, Facebook and felt like I’d been there. Like I knew it. Because I did know it. I had been there. 1992. I’m reminded: Past is prologue…

In 1992/93, as Bamenda called for multipartism and a National Conference, I watched Takembeng, their sagging, warrior, other-worldly, dare-you-to-move bodies fan out across the street to prevent soldiers’ trucks from riding through town. I remember the smell of tear gas peppering my nose, its whiteness sometimes merging with the vast skies, dispersing crowds of angry youngsters demanding change. I remember the hush that befell the loud city on curfew days and how the clanging of the 5 p.m. bell at St. Joseph’s sent people rushing home before the 6 p.m. curfew. I remember the bush lamps and candles around which we gathered in the kitchen or parlor of Pa’s compound, telling stories in hushed tones, restraining laughter, hoping there would be no knock on Pa’s door.

They say Lagos danced while Biafra quaked. The world ate while Rwanda bled. Brazzaville drinks while Po disappears. It is not necessarily cruelty or hate – those command too much energy. It is indifference – a kind of willing unknowing. It is watching the neighbor’s wall collapse, thinking, at least it’s not mine. Douala, Yaoundé, Ngaoundere, Bafia rise with the cock crow. They wash their faces and greet the day. They may even listen to the news and shake their heads or nod while Anglophone Cameroon fights a chokehold. The origins of which are foreign – the languages foisted upon us by man adventurers seeking thrills and conquests. So my teeth chatter wildly and my knees quake up a storm.

While blood stains color alleyways and groans fill the dense prison air, I search for my voice, wring my hands, lie in the comfort of my bed and sipping Sauvignon Blanc, shrug. What can I even do I say – a complicity to be sure – even as a mightier wrath than ’92 sweeps over my home, and black smoke kisses the sky from myriad streets in Bamenda and Buea and Kumba.

Distributed by APO on behalf of AB Mambo.

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South Africa and Turkey Commit to Enhancing Trade and Economic Relations

South Africa and Turkey have committed to strengthening trade and economic relations between the two countries with the aim of increasing two-way bilateral trade and investment. This emerged on the last day of the third Session of South Africa-Turkey Joint Economic Commission (JSE) which was addressed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies, and the Turkish Minister of National Education, Dr. Ishmet Yilmaz in Pretoria today.

“We have noticed and welcomed the fact that in recent years Turkey has been reaching out into the African continent. As a country, we are in a situation where we are growing far too slowly. What we need to do as the South Africa economy and also as part of the African Continent is to diversify, move up the value-chain and industrialise. Our priority in this regard is the African Continent and the promotion of regional integration in Africa because we need to strengthen the size of the market in our continent and support diversification and the emergence of value-chains within our continent,” said Minister Davies.

He expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade between Turkey and South Africa continued to show a growing trend since the last JSE was held in Ankara, Turkey in 2012.

Both ministers pledged to work together to ensure maximum utilisation of initiatives aimed at promoting two-way trade between the countries. These include enhancing of direct contacts between business communities of the two countries, synchronising and identifying promotional activities to be held in each other`s countries which present possible cooperation in mutual beneficial areas, with regard to exports and imports; and encouraging the participation of the relevant companies in fairs, trade exhibitions and conferences held in each other`s countries.

During the session, South Africa and Turkey also committed to redoubling their efforts to deepen investment by encouraging and supporting mutual investments through the exchange of business delegation visits in prioritised sectors and providing necessary, and possible support to investors from their respective countries required to maintain their operations effectively, amongst others. The countries’ public and private sectors will also be working together with identify investment opportunities existing in both countries.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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President Zuma is following regulations on the suspension of Home Affairs Director-General

Media reports suggesting that President Jacob Zuma supports the suspension of the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr. Mkuseli Apleni, are incorrect.

On Tuesday, 26 September 2017, the Director-General of Home Affairs, Mr. Mkuseli Apleni filed an urgent application with the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria. The President of the Republic of South Africa and the Minister of Home Affairs were cited as the two respondents. Mr. Apleni sought an order, amongst other things, declaring his suspension by the Minister of Home Affairs invalid. The alleged basis for the relief sought is that the Minister acted outside of her authority and had no power to suspend Mr. Apleni in that section 12(1) of the Public Service Act, 103 of 1994 (“the Public Service Act”) provides that the appointment and other career incidents of the heads of department in the case of a National Department shall be dealt with by the President.

The President, through his Director-General, filed an answering affidavit in which he made it clear that he has no intention of dealing with the merits of the allegations of misconduct levelled against Mr. Apleni as these are not within his personal knowledge. The President’s affidavit focussed primarily on clarifying whether the Minister of Home Affairs had the requisite authority to suspend Mr. Apleni.

The President’s position with regard to this question is that the authority was delegated to the Minister of Home Affairs. This is apparent from Chapter 8 of the Senior Management Service Handbook, 2003 (“the SMS Handbook”).

It is therefore clear from the President’s affidavit that he only seeks to clarify that the Minister was delegated the powers to suspend her Director-General without going into the merits of the dispute between the Minister and Mr. Apleni.

It is therefore grossly inaccurate to report this clarification of the powers of the Minister as the President’s support for the suspension.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Presidency.

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