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Mbeki’s Crime

President Mbeki gave his State of the Nation address at the opening of Parliament on Friday – but failed to give crime the priority it needs. It is hard to gauge crime here in Joburg but most people I meet have their crime story including myself. My house mate was robbed at gun point for her mobile phone and her friend robbed of her laptop also with a gun – both incidents in the last few months. Others have stories of muggings and attempted or actual house break-ins, being harassed in a taxi. . As my blogging companion, Kameelah said yesterday when we met – we need to redefine the meaning of the word “Crime” – then we get the real picture – the crime of poverty, 25% unemployment, out of control HIV/AIDS, women being driven from their homes for being positive, Cape Town street children being driven from the city where they have support systems to the outer suburbs where they are left to fend for themselves – what choice but to commit a crime just to survive an already miserable existence.

Arts and Culture Kenya
has two posts introducing, for those of us who know little on the subject, to Kenyan literature. The first on Prison Literature in Kenya

Like any other artistic venture, prison literature is an indicator of the various parameters that govern and shape society. It can on the one hand be closely linked to the democratisation of our society and an indicator that even jail has not and cannot dampen the fury of the pen, on the other hand.

and the other looks back on the life and works of Kenyan writer and activist, Gakaara wa Wanjau

Gakaara wa Wanjau was an unrivalled Gikuyu literary icon. He was not only the most prolific Kenyan author, but also probably a unique case in Africa of an author and publisher in an African language whose activity never ceased in the last fifty years.

Chippla writes on Lagos
which he describes”

Center of Workable Chaos.’ With its near 10 million population (going by the official results of the 2006 Nigerian census), the city state of Lagos could be said to be close to breaking point, as infrastructural development fails to keep up with a rapid population growth rate.

What is missing from the piece is the colour and sounds, the bustle and sheer vibrancy of this great African city that always manages to be so inventive in its desire to survive and to recreate itself.

Nappturality – Hair hair hair

Nappturality.com is your resource for the style and beauty of Natural Black Hair. We are dedicated to all the women in the diaspora who proudly wear their highly textured hair naturally.

This is strange because the google ads on the side advertise hair extensions and hair straightening! What is the point of having a site on the beauty of natural hair and then advertising hair weaving?

Qwawali Poetry

I have always loved the devotional music of Sufis called Qawwali – made famous in the West by the late great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Now a new friend of mine has introduced me to Qawwali poetry generally written in Urdu which is apparently an extremely poetic language. Translations are never equal to the original language and even my friends translation differs to the one on this site but here is an excerpt from some Qawwali – note that wine plays a large part in Sufi and Qawwali poetry AND it is the “concealed” eyes of the woman that make him drink!

saaqii ki har nigaah pe bal khaa ke pee gayaa
laharoN se khelataa huaa lahraa ke pee gayaa

( I drank in awe of every glance of the cup-bearer
I drank playfully while playing with waves of joy )

ai rahmat-e-tamaam meri har khata muaaf
main intehaa-e-shauq mein ghabraa ke pee gaya

( O all-merciful !! please forgive all my wrong-doings
I drank confounded of the extreme desire )

peetaa beghair izn ye kab thii meri majaal
dar-pardaa chashm-e-yaar kii shah paa ke pee gayaa

( I do not dare to drink without permission
but the patronage of concealed eyes of my beloved made me drink )

zaahid ye merii shokhi-e-rindaana dekhnaa
rahmat ko baaton baaton mein bahlaa ke pee gayaa

( O abstinent !! look at the mischievousness of my drinking
I drank after I befriended forgiveness )

I end here as I cannot at this moment think of anything more profound than “I drank after I befriended forgiveness”