October 27, 2009 at 5:57 am 1 comment


Our upcoming New Ideas for Africa session on 20th October will be facilitated by Arlyn Culwick, regular NIfA participant. We will be exploring what he refers to as Taxi Anarchy.

Arlyn is founder of Kenosis Transport Services, an initiative that aims to destabilise what he believes is a corrupt and exploitative taxi industry, it empowers drivers, and makes money.  The big idea:

1) Buy taxi
2) Pay off taxi
3) Transfer ownership to the driver
4) Repeat steps 1-3
5) Destabilize a dirty monopoly

Arlyn will give a presentation on this idea and how to make it work.  There will also be a focus on its underlying vision and philosophy – a novel form of ‘cultural’ activism with great potential for sociocultural renewal and empowerment.

You are invited to come along to find out more about the model, the paradigm involved, its potential for positive transformation, and to brainstorm how to create more projects like it: viable businesses that exists to enrich culture.

Event details:
20th October
R45 contribution (incl. light refreshment)

October 12, 2009 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

This is an inspiring presentation about how Africa is percieved and why this often negative perception exists. I think we have a collective responsibility to create and tell the other sides to our story.


October 8, 2009 at 6:25 am Leave a comment

Highlights from Joburg NiFA: Development lessons from Congo’s indigenous people

The NIfA-Joburg session opened last night with a viewing of the UNICEF documentary on the Baka; one of the indigenous tribes in Congo’s magnificent rain forest. The documentary aimed to provoke our thinking on what development means to us and our personal relationship to this word that suddenly felt so big.

Some reflections from the evenings discussions on the theme of development:

  • Watching the Catholic missionaries deliver medication to the Baka raised the question: Are we entering a new wave of colonialism? (New diseases were essentially brought in by outsiders)
  • With the Baka becoming slaves to their new masters the Bantu and international logging companies: They do not realize what wealth they have in the forests. It was then suggested that we may have outsider sentiment around the indigenous people’s way of life when they may want our life
  • All communities may need to go through their own learning process. Any form of intervention changes the form of aspiration. Intervention is not neutral, we can support communities in making their own choices
  • The Baka may not be sophisticated enough to recognize themselves as potential entrepreneurs; they may however hold the wisdom of the forest to recommend which part of the forest is good for logging and can be renewed. How can this be tapped into for mutual benefit?
  • A father interviewed said that he wanted his children to have dignity, to be able to look the Bantu directly in the eye. Opportunities such as education brought about by the logging companies may be the best thing to happen to the Baka
  • Perhaps the agenda of the intervenor determines positive or negative development
  • We have been beneficiaries of development but have no way of knowing if we would have been happier without it

The evening was inconclusive. Participants left even more confused about what development means. We are however a little more conscious about the impact of our work as change supporters and practitioners.

September 16, 2009 at 11:59 am Leave a comment

Understanding development through the experience of Congo’s indigenous people


Congo’s indigenous people, the country’s first inhabitants, are under threat.  The Baka, one of 15 ethnic groups who traditionally have lived as hunters and gathers in the forest of central Africa, confront two grave dangers.  Their traditional habitat is shrinking as commercial logging continues to expand, leaving them landless, impoverished and exploited. Yet the foreign investment that is destroying their traditional livelihoods is also opening up new opportunities for education and economic integration. This paradox is a battle we ultimately all have a stake in.

Join us at our next New Ideas for Africa session where we will be screening a UNICEF documentary highlighting the plight of Congo’s indigenous people. We will then use this example to get clarity on our understanding of development, its costs and explore how the projects we create either contribute to or take away from positive development.

The session will be facilitated by Nicole Antonie, who works with communities using tools for social change. She has spent 3 years in the Amazon rainforest living and working with its indigenous people on a community-based tourism initiative.

Event details as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 19th September 2009

Time: 18h30 – 21h00

Venue: GIBS, Classroom 10, 26 Melville Road, Illovo

Contribution: R45 to support the costs of the event (includes light refreshment)

RSVP: by 18th September

September 14, 2009 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

Showcase Africa in London – promote your business!

Archie at writes:

‘Things are panning along gradually for the next Afro-centric weekend event being organizing under the banner of SCALon (ShowCase Africa in London) happening in just a month’s time (July 24 – 26)

The SCALon website is now up and running at (albeit more content to be added as showcase presenters confirmation are received to that effect)

We are now at the next stage of the organizing process which involves seeking out potential showcase presenters for the Friday evening programme.

It will be good if we could tap into your networks in finding responsible and inspiring Afro-centric projects/ventures/enterprises that may be interested in utilizing the Friday programme of this event to showcase what they do on the Friday evening by way of 5 – 10mins presentation to a very diverse audience of professionals and entrepreneurs, (in the same format as the Friday of the May event ).

We are planning to finalize the programme by next Tuesday 30th June and it will be great if we can have expressions of interest responses from potential showcase presenters by then.

Any assistance in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Also, in the spirit of SCALon’s ethos there is a free to utilise “In Association With” space on the SCALon website which responsible Afro-centric projects/ventures/enterprises based in the UK are very much welcome to have their Logos and links to their site for publicity. If it is something you will be interested or know of someone in your networks who would be interested in utilizing this feature please let us know.’

– New Ideas for Africa –

June 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Futures for South Africa

I have just attended a Dinokeng Scenarios workshop at the African Leadership Academy and presented by Dr. Mamphele Ramphela; a respected South African leader and eternal activist.

Background to the Dinokeng Scanarios:
The Dinokeng Scenario Team consists of 35 diverse leaders who together created scenarios for South Africa which outline 3 possible pathways into the future. This was done in the hope that these scenarios will contribute to a robust and healthy debate in our country.

The objective of the Dinokeng exercise is “To create a space and language for open, reflective and reasoned strategic conversation among the broad community of South Africans, about possible futures for the country, and the opportunities, risks, and choices these futures present.”

Despite the African continent looking to be hardest hit by climate catastrophe, as per usual it did not get airtime within the scenarios next to issues of unemployment, safety, education and health. When will we see that sustainability is integral to all these concerns?

I loved the challenges that Dr. Ramphele put to us. I find the question ‘Have I been a good citizen?’ a good navigator for daily living.

The following questions promote activism and are measurable:
1) What are you going to do to make our country different in the future?
2) How are you going to make a choice?
3) When are you going to make a choice?
4) With whom are you going to make a choice?
5) What are your next steps?

This quote from the report it spot on “Democracy is being blocked by the basics. For people to be able to participate, they need to feel secure, to know where their next meal is coming from, and have dignity and health. You can’t participate in the economy or in politics if you are concerned about survival.”

These scenarios may be based on the South African context; but quite applicable for the general global citizen. You too are invited to engage!

– New Ideas for Africa –

June 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts

Recent Posts