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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Video: Moeletsi Mbeki Joins Redi Tlhabi on South2North to Discuss Foreign Aid

Advocates for ChangeArchitects of PovertyMoeletsi Mbeki believes “there is a great deal of exaggeration about China’s relations with African countries”. On Redi Tlhabi’s talk show, South2North, on Al Jazeera, Mbeki discussed foreign aid, saying that he feels it is the regulation of the African countries that is problematic, rather than China itself being the problem.

Watch the full show:

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Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing

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The Mobile Revolution Could Advance African Enterprise, Says Bright B Simons

MobinomicsIn a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, Ghanaian inventor Bright B Simons argues that although the African telecoms scene has been robust on the consumer end of things, enterprise is now anybody’s game.

In Alan Knott-Craig and Gus Silber’s book Mobinomics the efforts of Mxit to open the field for mobile entrepreneurs are highlighted. In die following piece Simons says that there is the opportunity for more role-players to stake their claim in a game that’s wide open:

The United States economy is nine times the size of Africa’s, but Africa has twice as many mobile phones.

This tantalizing statistic would seem to indicate that, in the mobile era, Africa’s time has come. But the mobile subscriber numbers are only part of the story. So far, the buzz about African mobile has been about the consumer side of things. I believe, though, that it is at the enterprise level that mobile could truly become a game changer for Africa, enabling the building of massive fortunes, and perhaps even the much anticipated recycling of innovation from Africa to the West.

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Rebecca Davis Profiles Mobinomics by Alan Knott-Craig Jr and Gus Silber

MobinomicsAlan Knott-Craig Junior’s story of Mxit, the popular cellphone-based social network detailed in the book Mobinomics: Mxit and Africa’s Mobile Revolution, is nothing short of a business fairytale. Knott-Craig and Gus Silber co-wrote the book which looks into the mobile economy in Africa and tells the story of Mxit’s rise in popularity.

Rebecca Davis of the Daily Maverick recently profiled the book and the story behind one of South Africa’s most successful inventions:

Cellphone ownership in South Africa is no longer the province of the rich: mobile penetration now exceeds 90%, according to the authors (with some sources claiming over 95% or even 101%, depending on the age group). That’s a massive market, and it’s not just cellular networks that want a piece of it. The most-hyped cellphone-based enterprise on the continent is MXit, which writer Gus Silber calls “one of the three great South African innovations, next to the heart transplant and the Kreepy Krauly”. Of course, it’s in his interest to claim that, since he’s just co-authored a book on the subject with MXit CEO Alan Knott-Craig. But the story of MXit’s extraordinary growth is indeed an inspiring one, and Mobinomics turns out to be a highly readable account of the company’s success in harnessing the potential of the cellphone-using market. [Disclosure: Alan Knott-Craig was Daily Maverick's first investor. World of Avatar holds a stake in Daily Maverick.]

“I met Alan in 2010 to chat about the possibility of a book about “Mobinomics”, the economy of mobile in Africa. Which means everything from the use of mobiles in commerce and banking, to social media, to social upliftment,” Silber explains. “As part of this process, Alan showed me a presentation on his laptop about MXit, which he used as an example of the spread of mobile in South Africa, and it was quite eye-opening for me to see just how big the network’s reach is, and how there is a lot more to it than chatting.”

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Podcasts: Moeletsi Mbeki Considers Africa’s Biggest Challenges

Advocates for ChangeArchitects of PovertyMoeletsi Mbeki, author of Architects of Poverty and editor of Advocates for Change, was interviewed on Talk Radio 702 where he spoke broadly about the challenges facing Africa in terms of politics, economy and health.

Mbeki lays the blame at the door of governments that, according to him, haven’t managed society and the economy well, but have instead “scrambled” for power.

In a separate interview on SAfm, Mbeki spoke specifically about the problem of unemployment in South Africa and how to address this issue.

Listen to the podcasts:

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Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing

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Auma Obama Writes About Her Life and Brother Barack Obama in And Then Life Happens

And Then Life HappensThe German Goethe-Institut of SA is hosting Auma Obama (President Barack Obama’s half-sister) on 13 and 14 June 2012 in Johannesburg and 15 June 2012 in Cape Town, to speak about her moving memoir of her life in Africa and Europe, and her relationship with her brother, And Then Life Happens. Her memoir will be released by Pan Macmillan in June:

While her younger brother Barack grew up in the U.S. and Indonesia, Auma Obama’s childhood played out at the other end of the world in a remote village in Kenya, the birthplace of the siblings’ shared father. Barack and Auma met for the first time in the 1980s, and they built a lasting relationship which lead to travels together in Kenya, research into their family history and finally Auma’s support for her brother’s political career and eventual bid for the U.S. presidency.

Auma spent sixteen years studying and living in Germany, moved to England for love, and gave birth to a daughter there. The tension between her original and chosen worlds and cultures was a constant challenge, and eventually Auma returned to Africa and worked to support young men and women in shaping their futures.

In And Then Life Happens, her candid and emotional memoir, Auma shares her own story as well as recollections of and experiences with her famous brother, who says about their first encounter: “I hugged her, we looked at each other, and laughed. I knew right then that I loved her.”

About the author

Auma Obama was born in Kenya right after the country gained its independence. She grew up first with her mother and paternal grandparents, and later with her (and President Obama’s) father and American step-mother. She now works in Nairobi for CARE International, an organisation specialising in educational projects worldwide.

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Two Launches for Mobinomics: Mxit and Africa’s Mobile Revolution by Alan Knott-Craig and Gus Silber

Mobinomics: Mxit and Africa's Mobile RevolutionPan Macmillan, Bookstorm and Exclusive Books cordially invite you to two launches for Mobinomics: Mxit and the Mobile Revolution in Africa by Alan Knott-Craig and Gus Silber.

Join the authors in conversation with Ronnie Apteker at Exclusive Books Nelson Mandela Square on 7 June, and in conversation with Arthur Attwell at The Book Lounge on 19 June.

See you there!
Launch invite (Joburg) - Mobinomics by Alan Knott-Craig Jr, with Gus Silber
Event details: Exclusive Books Mandela Square

Launch invite - Mobinomics by Alan Knott-Craig with Gus Silber
Event Details: The Book Lounge

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Alan Knott-Craig and Gus Silber Tell the Story of the Mxit Phenomenon in Mobinomics

MobinomicsA story about technology, about revolutionising communication, about business, but above all a story of lives changed by mobile phones, Mobinomics tells of the people behind the Mxit phenomenon, and the potential for change that mobile phones have brought to Africa.

This is a tale of dragons and knights played out from South African town of Stellenbosch and of its impact felt in social chat rooms, in games played out on the moon, in mathematics classrooms across the African continent and in drug-ravaged communities on the Cape Flats.

Read this story to understand the impact of mobile technology in Africa.

About the authors

Alan Knott-Craig is a South African mobile entrepreneur with a passion for African business opportunities. He is former CEO of iBurst and now runs World of Avatar, the company that recently acquired Mxit. His first book was the very successful and inspirational Don’t Panic compiled to remind South Africans “why not to pack for Perth”.

Gus Silber is an experienced writer who has published a number of his own books. He is fascinated by the mobile environment which is what drew him to work with Knott-Craig on this project.

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Video: Alex Perry and Ray Chambers Discuss Lifeblood

LifebloodAlex Perry, author of Lifeblood: How to Change the World, One Dead Mosquito at a Time, was joined in conversation at the International Peace Institute in New York City by philanthropist Ray Chambers, whose efforts to eradicate malaria are chronicled in Perry’s book.

In a BookTV video of the event, Perry takes to the stage, following a lengthy introduction on his and Chambers’ many accolades. Perry says that he wanted to examine Chambers’ campaign, because of the pervasiveness of malaria and the growing scepticism about the effectiveness of aid work in addressing it:

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Prolific Author Wilbur Smith Describes His “Hurly Burly” Writing Process

Tossed Salad

Those in PerilWilbur Smith recently visited India to promote his latest thriller, Those in Peril. In two interviews, one with Aabhas Sharma in the Business Standard and another with Shruti Savanal at The Tossed Salad, Smith reveals how he manages to be so prolific.

He tells Sharma that he hated his job as a chartered accountant before he started writing. As Sharma explains, “He does a lot of research after he has the basic plot in mind. Once the plot is worked out, he devotes seven hours a day for at least eight months to writing. After he finishes writing, he sends off the manuscript and takes off for a month or so.”

Smith tells Savanal that when he first starts writing “my whole mind is in a hurly-burly”. He explains, “I spend a great deal of time thinking about what I want to write, and how I want my characters to unfold. There is a clamour of characters which slowly seem to make sense the more I think of them. I am in no rush. It’s like a long marathon where I make sure I keep within my strengths. But when I start writing, I never stop or never rewrite anything. I go with the flow, and then finally see where it needs to be reworked after I’m done writing.”

The prolific best-selling author is impervious to critics and remains an unreformed big game hunter.

It is not often that you meet someone for lunch and he has already placed the order before you have arrived. And this is when you’re not late – in fact, a few minutes early – for the meeting. But the man I am meeting is Wilbur Smith, who loves to eat and calls himself a “carnivorous beast” when it comes to food, writes Aabhas Sharma.

The Tossed Salad: How would you best describe Those in Peril to your readers?

Wilbur Smith: Well, this book is similar to any of my other books. I’ve tried to keep a balance between fact and fiction. The story revolves around a man called Hazel Bannock, whose 19-year-old daughter gets kidnapped by African Muslim pirates while at sail in the Indian Ocean. There are a few new different techniques I’ve tried to introduce here. Let’s hope my readers appreciate it.

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How the ANC Lost Its Way: Alex Perry Travels to the Birthplace of the ANC, Bloemfontein

Falling off the EdgeLifebloodLifeblood author Alex Perry went to Bloemfontein to discover the birthplace of the ANC and to reflect on how the party has “lost its way” in its 17 years of post-apartheid governance. In an article for TIME, Perry says that today the ANC has become “synonymous with failure”:

It has been exactly 99 years and 11 months since the world’s most storied liberation movement, the African National Congress, was born, and I am looking for its birthplace. In Bloemfontein, the old Boer capital on South Africa’s central prairie, a white tourist-information officer points me to a building on the edge of town called Maphikela House — after Thomas Maphikela, who built it and who helped found the ANC. “I’ve never been there myself,” the information officer says. “It’s a township.” Then she pulls out a map and circles another part of town that I am to avoid. “Dangerous,” she says. She means “black people.”

On Jan. 8, thousands of ANC supporters and 46 heads of state descend on Bloemfontein to celebrate the party’s centenary. I’ve come early to explore the origins of the organization that gave the world Nelson Mandela and laid the foundations of modern South Africa — and Africa — by inspiring the overthrow of centuries of colonialism and racist deprivation.

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