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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Mass weddings in Nigeria set to kick off as men asked to lodge applications to marry divorcees and widows

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

Kano State Hisbah Command says it is set to marry off the first set of widows and divorcees numbering about 100.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes the board as saying that the exercise was aimed at reducing the hardship of women and divorce rates in the state.

The Commander of the Hisbah, Malam Aminu Daurawa, had earlier announced in a broadcast that interested men and women must obtain application forms from the command.

Malam Yahya Tanko, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, told NAN on Wednesday, that the marriage rites would take place in batches.

He said about 20 of them had already been married off while over 1, 000 applications were being processed by the command.

Tanko said the next batch of 100 widows and widowers would soon be married.

He also said that a workshop would be organised for the men and women to brief them on the need to stay in matrimony based on Islamic guidance.

Tanko said that Hisbah was determined to wipe out all societal ills from Kano, adding that the planned marriages was one of the ways of achieving its aim. (NAN)

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201203080536.html


Posted in Africa | 4 Comments »

Video: Libyan Rebels locked Black Africans in a zoo cage and ‘forced them to eat Gaddafi’s flag’ in Libya

Posted by Administrator on March 9, 2012

A shocking video that appears to show Libyan rebels torturing a group of sub-Saharan African detainees has appeared on YouTube.

The footage shows a dozen or so men – suspected by Libyan rebels of fighting for the toppled government of Muammur Gaddafi last year – held in what looks like a caged zoo enclosure.

They each have their hands tied behind their back and are sat on the cage’s dirty floor.

More objectionably, each has the old Libyan flag stuffed into his mouth.

While a crowd of men gather round the enclosure jeering, their prisoners are made to hop on the spot.

The man filming the scene, who remains off-camera, can be heard shouting: ‘Eat the flag, you dog. Patience you dog, patience. God is great.’

It is impossible to verify whether the video, which was leaked onto YouTube last week, is genuine and where and when it was filmed.

It has emerged as the UN this week said that the Libyan revolutionary brigades accused of torture still hold captive three-quarters of detainees from the country’s civil war.

A lack of judicial police has prevented the government from taking control of more jails, the UN said on Wednesday.

Up to 6,000 detainees are estimated to remain in brigade facilities, while the Ministry of Justice has taken charge of eight detention centres holding 2,382 people.

The figures were revealed to the UN Security Council by Ian Martin, the UN special envoy for Libya.

Many of the detainees are sub-Saharan Africans whom their captors accused of being Gaddafi mercenaries, based in some cases purely on the fact that they have darker skin.

The UN human rights agency and aid groups have accused the brigades of torturing detainees during Libya’s nine-month civil war.

Mr Martin has urged the Ministry of Justice to accelerate the process of asserting government control over detention centres.

But he said: ‘Progress continues to be complicated by insufficient numbers of judicial police.’

He added: ‘We will continue to work closely with the authorities and to encourage them to ensure that inspections of known facilities are undertaken, that secret locations are identified and brought under government control, and that abuses are investigated.’

Accusations of the mistreatment and disappearances of suspected Gaddafi loyalists are embarrassing for Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council, which has vowed to make a break with practices under Gaddafi and respect human rights.

It is also awkward for the Western powers which backed the anti-Gaddafi rebellion and helped install Libya’s new leaders.

Gaddafi’s 42-year rule collapsed when his forces fled Tripoli in August, and the last of the fighting in Libya ended in October when he was captured and killed by rebels.

Libyan Ambassador Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham told the UN Security Council that detainees held by the government, including a number of former Gaddafi ministers and senior officers, were treated well.

Mr Shalgham said: ‘However, let me say that there are areas where the state has not been able to control. There is not police or courts in those areas.

‘We cannot be responsible for all excesses everywhere. We are against them, we object to them and we hold the perpetrators of such acts responsible.’

Mr Martin said that while the armed brigades lacked clear lines of command and coordination, they continued to perform important security functions often for long periods without payment.

He said: ‘Contrary to the impression given by some media reports, although they seek guarantees that the transformation for which they have fought is securely on track, there is little indication that they wish to perpetuate an existence outside state authority.’


Posted in Africa | 5 Comments »

ABAPFUBUZI: Meet Kigali’s male sex workers

Posted by Administrator on March 8, 2012

It’s Friday evening. Like any other person who wants to go back home, I am waiting for a KBS (Kigali Bus Service) at the Gitega bus stop near Sky Hotel toward Nyamirambo.

A nice Volkswagon Taureg driven by a beautiful lady comes by and parks. Suddenly, a handsome boy in a nice polo shirt and blue jeans pops out of the shadows and enters the car. I wouldn’t have noticed them if it were not for the nice car! But I hear the boy behind me saying: ‘Ah! Yamubonye nyine! Amafaranga araje yimene!’(She got him! He is going to get a lot of money for that!).

Curiosity gets the better of me, and was lucky that the youthful lad who let the cat out of the bag also joined me on the bus. On the bus, a conversation ensures on what the lad joining me called the ‘phenomenon’ of Abapfubuzi in our beautiful City.

So who are ABAPFUBUZI? I sought him out, prying deeper into this issue of the young man, beautiful woman, nice car and money. Welcome to the world of Abapfubuzi. “He is one of them, he is my friend and I knew he was waiting for that lady to go and work for money,” youthful lad tells me about his 20-year old colleague, a Mufupbuzi, which can be literary translated as the ‘one who makes half-cooked food better’.
“Some are single women or women who are not satisfied (in matters of sex) by their husbands;  they go out and look for teenagers who are still ‘strong’ to satisfy their sexual desires,” the youthful lad tells me and adds: “Being handsome is not enough; you have to be an expert in ‘those things’. How do they work? ….What makes them do that risky job? … Some consequences…
Below is the extract of an interview that The Chronicles (TC) had with one of them… Trying to understand the issue better, I sought out one of the Abapfubuzi, who recounted his experiences on condition of anonymity. Call him Jean Paul. A second year student at the Kigali Independent University, Jean Paul is a lanky, handsome lad, the dram man for most women. 

I am told you are  Umupfubuzi? I can’t talk about that!! 

But we talked on the phone and you accepted that I come here and we talk!!? Ah that was you!! Now, yes I am one (Umupfubuzi)

Tell me about it? I will only talk to you under one condition: Promise me that you won’t mention my name!

Yeah! I promise I have been Umupfubuzi for three years now. I completed my secondary studies in 2007 and from then up to 2009 I had no job, no money; I just problems and every second was a struggle! Worse still, I am an orphan, my mother died when I was still a baby (in 1987) and my father died in 2005, from then I struggled a lot as I was the only kid both my parents ever had but my father had other kids who live with their mother. When he died, I went to live with my step mother but life was not easy there. In March 2006, I decided to rent my own house, using the little money inherited from my father. But I also had to pay school fees. I was in S5 and struggled to complete my S6 but failed to get a government scholarship to university. Betwwen 2007 and 2009 it was ‘hell’ for me.

But how did you get involved in this? That’s what I was going to tell you! I have umujama wanjye (a friend of mine) who showed me the way. I told him all my struggles and he told me that he can help me if I accept! When he told me about the type of ‘job’ and convinced me about the money one earns, I didn’t hesitate. He established for me contacts with a beautiful rich woman, who I first met in a restaurant; she liked me and we ‘sealed the deal’!

Are you still together with the woman? No, she went abroad and I got another one! Man, with this job I have almost everything I want!! She gives me everything, sometimes when her husband isn’t around; she gives me their nice car to drive around. But I think by the end of next month (March) I will have bought mine. I am now studying and she got me a nice job, that’s why I look like this! How do you ‘meet’? She calls me and tells me the place; I go there and wait for her! She doesn’t like delays. After ‘we are done’…, she asks me what I want and she gives me money. She is rich man!! If you are a VIP mupfubuzi, you work from home! Just calls!!

Some risks…? Of course!
Like what? Man, we are not allowed to put on condoms! AIDS man!! But that’s a ‘small problem’ when you have been through different life struggles like I did. I don’t care!
Anything else? People out there have to know that we don’t just do it because we are stupid or don’t want to work. Just life struggles!

What others say… As reported by igihe.com, Florence Uwayisaba, Vice-Mayor in charge social affairs in Kicukiro district said that such women are dishonourable. “They have to know that our culture, the Rwandan culture doesn’t allow such things; those women who are seeing abapfubuzi aren’t only destroying their own image, they also destroy the true image of a true Rwandan woman,” Uwayisaba says.

She also has no kind words for the married women who seek the services of the youthful lads. “When you think that you can be satisfied by another man other than your husband, there you are finished!” Uwayisaba adds. For 47-year old Therese Nyirabanzi of Kagugu in Gasabo district, such women are an embarrassment to the Rwandan womenfolk. “I know those women exist. But they have to remember that our values as Rwandan women do not include having sex with boys fit to be called our sons,” Nyirabanzi told The Chronicles.

Source: http://the-chronicles.net/index.php/magazine/575-abapfubuzi-meet-kigalis-male-sex-workers.html

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KONY 2012: The ‘Invisible Children’ documentarians launch a new campaign

Posted by Administrator on March 7, 2012

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

In 2003, three friends — Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole — traveled to Africa in search of “untold stories.” What they found would inspire a movement and alter the course of their lives.

Each of the boys was a recent college grad with film, structural engineering and mathematics degrees respectively. But it was Russell who spearheaded their initial journey. The young filmmaker had traveled to Kenya in 2000 and, as he recalls in an interview with the 700 Club, had his “American bubble” popped.

“I suddenly realized we are the privileged percentage of the world,” Russell said. “I knew I had to go back to Africa.” He reached out to several friends to make the trip with him but it was only Bailey and Poole who responded with equal passion.

The boys traveled from the Sudan to Kenya and eventually landed in Uganda where they discovered a conflict that had already raged for 20 years by the time of their arrival, one that had destroyed the lives of countless children. The three Americans came into contact with the traumatized survivors of the rebel faction the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, lead by Joseph Kony, a man who has proclaimed himself to be a “spokesperson” for God.

Kony and his forces have been kidnapping children as young as 5-years-old since 1987 and forcing them to fight, kill and mutilate, sometimes their own parents. The girls are often forced into sexual slavery. Russell, Bailey and Poole became determined to shine a light on the children who fled from Kony and the LRA and, with that goal in mind, created the documentary “Invisible Children” to give voice to the horror that they had suffered, and that so many children continue to endure.

“Invisible Children” was subsequently screened at thousands of American high schools, college campuses, churches and special events with the sole purpose of spreading the word about what was happening in central Africa. The trio believed that if people knew, then something would be done to stop it.

The United States government was reluctant to intercede as the atrocities held no threat to U.S. national security or financial interests. The group officially formed a non-profit in 2006 in order to continue with their campaign of awareness as well as to raise money for health and educational programs designed to support the LRA survivors.

I remember “Invisible Children” coming to my own university campus. It was at a time when I was working on two social issues documentaries. I now understand documentary filmmaking (particularly social justice documentary filmmaking) to be a herculean effort that requires a level of commitment and patience that very few possess. I am awed by what Russell, Bailey and Poole have been able to accomplish in the ensuing years.

This year, they are taking on their greatest challenge: to make Joseph Kony famous. The intention is that awareness of both Kony and the LRA will reach a critical mass, ensuring that military aid will be provided to the Ugandan mission to find Kony and bring him to trial at The Hague by December 31, 2012. The Facebook and social networking communities will serve to support and promote additional grass roots methods in order to reach a saturation point.

This campaign, and the way the “Invisible Children” team has devised it, highlights all the possibilities that exist for a new way to exercise power and to engage with the world of technology we find ourselves in today. Perhaps that is all a bit idealistic. But so what? We’ve got to spend our time on something and speaking for myself, I am reminded of how often throughout the course of my life it has been spent on nothing.

Take a look at the video KONY 2012 below. You can also visit the “Invisible Children” website here as well as the KONY 2012 site here, and if you feel so inclined, share it.

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Source: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/in-contention/posts/the-invisible-children-documentarians-launch-a-new-campaign

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HIV positive maid spikes child’s porridge with her menstrual blood

Posted by Administrator on March 6, 2012

Masvingo(ZimEye)A maid has been found guilty of willful transmission of HIV after her fresh blood was found in the porridge she was feeding a child she was taking care of.

Pelagia Mureya(17) of Choto village in Chief Magonde`s area, Chinhoyi, left court attendants numb after she was found guilty of mixing her blood with the pre-school going child’s porridge.

Gutu magistrate Vhitorini Nyasha sentenced Pelagia Mureya to 12 months in prison for willful transmission of HIV. Two months were suspended on condition the accused does not commit a similar offence a similar offence in the next three years.

A court attendant who listened to the ordeal vomited as she could not withstand the crude ordeal.

The court heard that on February 13 2012, the accused prepared porridge for the child who was going to crèche. After preparing the porridge Pelagia then fed the child. As the child ate the mother then noticed a drop of blood in the porridge and ordered her child to stop eating. She asked the maid where the blood came from but she professed ignorance. The mother took the porridge, the victim and the accused to Gutu Rural Hospital where it was confirmed that the blood belonged to Pelagia and that she was HIV positive.

The hospital advised the mother to report the matter to the police leading to Pelagia`s arrest. In court Pelagia initially professed ignorance of the matter but she gave conflicting statements under cross examination. She was asked whether she had ever slept with a man in her life and she said she did not.

When the court adjourned to verify the issue, Pelagia changed her statement and said she had slept with several men. She then told the court she suspected the blood could have dropped off from her pants into the porridge without her knowledge.

The court did not believe her argument leading to conviction for willfully mixing her blood with the victim`s porridge.

Shell shocked people battled to find answers as to why a maid would get to such levels of cruelty against an employer. Some argued employers are sometimes cruel to their workers and workers would craft nasty ways of fixing them. However many people believe the ways of hitting back are too harsh.

Source: http://www.zimeye.org/?p=47529

Posted in Africa | 10 Comments »

Zimbabwean woman deported from UK stranded in Kenya airport

Posted by Administrator on March 5, 2012

STRANDED: Zimbabwe woman Agnes Alexander who was deported from the UK ponders her next move at the JKIA yesterday.Photo/Philip Kamakya

STRANDED: Zimbabwe woman Agnes Alexander who was deported from the UK ponders her next move at the JKIA yesterday.Photo/Philip Kamakya

Agnes Alexander Namakonje, 43, has been in the country since October 19 last year when she was deported on the mistaken identity that she was being a Kenyan or Malawian citizen. She has since been held for three months in a jail in Lodwar for allegedly being in Kenya illegally and has refused persistent attempts by Kenyan immigration officers to force her to register as a refugee.

Agnes claims her problems started when UK Border Authority officials deported her claiming she was Rebecca Chitanga whose passport photo they claimed resembled her. When they brought her to Kenya, the documents presented indicated she was not Kenyan. The Malawian government where she was taken also confirmed she was not their national. In Zimbabwe, the government confirmed she was their national but that she had been granted asylum in the UK in 1995.

From Zimbabwe, the UK immigration officials took her to South Africa who turned them away. They came back to Kenya where they dumped her and she was taken into prison for being in Kenya illegally. Two weeks ago, Agnes said a Good Samaritan in Lodwar helped her find her way to Nairobi and she managed to get into the airport. She has since been living at the airport bathing in the public washrooms, sleeping in the floor of the arrival lounge and eating food given to her by wellwishers and employees at the airport.

Yesterday, Agnes narrated a harrowing tale of how she sought the help of the UK high commission to provide her with documents to return home as she had been mistakenly deported. She said the embassy has refused to listen to her plea and have told her to register as a refugee. “I will die here at the airport. No one wants to help me, even those who mistook my identity,” said Agnes who claimed she went to the UK in 1995 after her British born husband was killed by Robert Mugabe’s army veterans who forcefully took their farm and other property.

Agnes said she got married to a Scottish national David Alexander in July last year. Three months after the wedding, she was arrested and deported under the mistaken identity she was Chitanga. “Why can’t those responsible for my deportation take me back to Zimbabwe to verify who l am. I renounced my Zimbabwean citizenship. I am not Kenyan or Malawian. I am not Chitanga!” a distraught Agnes said during the interview.

She said she had been able to keep in touch with her husband who had told her the UK authorities had been prevailing on him to denounce her. “He has been very supportive. I just want to go back and be with him,” she said. She alleged that several Immigration officers have been asking her to pay them Sh250,000 to allow her to get temporary travel documents which will enable her to fly to the UK. She has however refused and insists the UK authorities must take responsibility and fly her back to the UK. – ZimDiaspora

Source: http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/zimbabwe/10834-zimbabwean-woman-deported-from-uk-stranded-in-kenya-airport.html

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Fire leaves cruise ship adrift in pirate-infested waters

Posted by Administrator on February 27, 2012

The cruise ship Costa Allegra (shown here in port) is adrift without power at sea;she is the sister ship of the doomed Costa Concordia, which capsized six weeks ago. (ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

The cruise ship Costa Allegra (shown here in port) is adrift without power at sea;she is the sister ship of the doomed Costa Concordia, which capsized six weeks ago. (ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

NAIROBI, Kenya — An Italian cruise liner carrying more than 1,000 people was adrift without power in the pirate-infested Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire erupted in its generator room.

The blaze, which was extinguished, caused no injuries, officials said.

Two tug boats from the island nation of Seychelles were steaming toward the drifting Costa Allegra, which had 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board, but they were not expected to arrive until this evening.

Italian coast guard officials said a large French fishing boat could be the first vessel to reach the stricken cruise liner.
Monday’s fire on the Costa Allegra immediately raised fears, since it occurred only six weeks after one of its sister ships, the Costa Concordia, hit a reef and capsized off Italy, killing 25 people and leaving seven missing and presumed dead.

Both ships are operated by Costa Crociere SpA, which is owned by the Florida-based Carnival Corp.

However, company officials rushed to play down concerns.

The Costa Allegra is adrift “and being pushed by the current. It is stable and upright,” Giorgio Moretti, the director of nautical operations for Costa Crociere SpA, told reporters in a conference call late Monday from company headquarters in Genoa, Italy.

No one was injured in the fire in the generator room and the cause of the fire was under investigation, Moretti said.
The fire knocked out power to the ship’s engines as well as to its lights and air conditioning.
Italian Coast Guard officials said emergency generators were keeping the ship’s control room illuminated and communications equipment such as radios running.

Officials said the cruise liner was holding steady, despite 5-foot waves in the area and passengers were being kept in the ship’s big communal rooms, not in their cabins.
Moretti, a longtime Costa captain, said he expected the 636 passengers aboard would spend the night on outside decks.
Among them were 212 Italian, 31 British and eight U.S. passengers, he said.
Four of the passengers were children ages three or younger.

Costa Crociere SpA said in a statement the ship was about 20 miles from Alphonse Island, one of the atolls in the Seychelles, a nation of islands and atolls that is a popular tourist destination.

The Allegra, whose Italian name means “merry,” or “happy,” had left northern Madagascar, off Africa’s southeast coast, on Saturday and was cruising toward the port of Victoria, Seychelles’ capital, when the fire erupted.

Costa said the Allegra had been due in Victoria today. The general region where the cruise ship was adrift — off the coast of Tanzania — has seen a rash of attacks by Somali pirates. In 2009, an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people aboard fended off a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean far off the coast of Somalia.

Moretti said an armed nine-member Italian military team on anti-pirate duty was aboard the Allegra, but he insisted the maritime region where the ship was now “isn’t a high risk area for pirates.”
“If pirates attack, the armed guards on board will respond.

But as far as I am aware, no pirates have been sighted in the area,” said Seychelles presidential spokeswoman Srdjana Janosevic.
A cargo ship was due to reach the Costa Allegra sometime today, and Moretti said it would bring batteries and otherwise help with communications.

A  helicopter is expected to arrive on Tuesday morning, ferrying in “fresh food, cell phones and walkie talkies.”

Tugs from the Seychelles island of Mahe, the largest island in the Indian Ocean archipelago, will arrive this afternoon.

Source: http://www.telegram.com/article/20120227/NEWS/120229576/1052



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Jeff Rice Autopsy: Amazing Race Freelancer Had Cocaine in His System, Blood Coming From Nose

Posted by Administrator on February 23, 2012

Authorities are still saying that all signs point to Jeff Rice dying from a cocaine overdose last week.

An autopsy performed on the producer, who most recently did freelance work on The Amazing Race, turned up “major metabolites of cocaine,” according to details given to the Uganda Police Force and confirmed by E! News.

Per the government’s Analytical Laboratory in Wandegeya, investigators also found a baggie of white powder in Rice’s hotel room that tested positive for opiates as well as acetaminophen, caffeine and acetylcodein.

And it gets gorier from there.

MORE: Police discount poison theory, suspect drug overdose in Jeff Rice’s death

The UPF report states that Rice was found slumped in a chair on the balcony of his room at the Lake Victoria Serena hotel in Kampala, his head resting on a table and blood coming out of his mouth and nose.

Kathryn Fuller, Rice’s assistant, who remains hospitalized, was found unconscious on the floor nearby. Both were booked into room 427, according to police.

“The police were called in by the hotel. The two were taken to hospital. Jeff Rice was declared dead on arrival,” Uganda Media Centre spokesman Fred Opolot tells E! News. “The initial investigations by the doctor who checked them showed Rice probably was suffocated. His lady friend was unconscious and had no indication of suffocation. Above all of that, some white substances were found on the table. Further investigation was done on Jeff Rice. It was found he was intoxicated by a cocaine substance. The police came to the conclusion that he probably had an overdose.”

“We heard reports that he was attacked by thugs,” Opolot continued. “The hotel he stayed at was a 5-star hotel. The rooms can only be accessed by hotel workers or guests. No one can easily walk in an out. There’s good security at the hotel. Those allegations are unfounded.”

They had flown into the country on Feb. 15 to work on a documentary—and the horrific trip may not be over for Fuller anytime soon, reports ABC News.

Because cocaine was also found in Fuller’s system, she may have broken Ugandan drug laws and will need permission from Interpol to be allowed to return home to South Africa, UPF spokesman Asuman Mugenyi told ABC.

“Ms. Fuller is slowly recovering, and when she is recovered enough we will be able to talk to her and find out more about what happened,” Mugenyi said. “She is not able to speak. Although she is responding to the treatment, she is not yet available to explain what transpired.”

MORE: Aretha Franklin Responds to Media Speculation on Missing Whitney Houston’s Funeral: “Stop the BS”

“I send my condolences to Jeff Rice,” Opolot told E! News. “It is unfortunate. He came to this country to do a good program—he came across as someone of humanity. It is unfortunate he has passed away and really our condolences to his family. I also want to ensure that the Uganda governance and police force will expedite all investigations to ensure that his cause of death is confirmed. As of now what is known is that Jeff passed away as a result of an overdose of cocaine.”

Rice held dual American and South African citizenship and lived in the Durban area with his wife, Sally Blackwell, and their two daughters.

Blackwell, who originally told reporters that her husband must have been poisoned as a result of a shakedown-gone-wrong, wrote on Facebook yesterday that the family is tentatively trying to get a memorial together for Feb. 27 at Phe Zulu Village in the Valley of 1,000 Hills.

“Thank you to everyone for all the tremendous support and kind words,” she wrote. “It has been truly amazing to receive messages from people around the world who speak so highly of Jeff. Jeff was on a film production in Uganda and was doing what he loves…He was a true asset to the film industry worldwide and Africa was his ‘home’. His dream was to produce in all areas of Africa and for his company ‘Maverick entertainment’ to be known as the company to call on…As soon as I know more details surrounding his tragic loss, I will update this.”

Watch video here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/amazing-race-producer-jeff-rice-found-dead-africa-15773476
Source: http://www.eonline.com/news/jeff_rice_autopsy_amazing_race/296291#ixzz1nFJXYV3a

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CBS Amazing Race producer found dead in Uganda

Posted by Administrator on February 22, 2012

A freelance producer for reality TV show The Amazing Race has been found dead in his hotel room in Uganda after what was  suspected to poisoning but now believed to be an overdose on cocaine.

Father-of-two Jeff Rice and his assistant were apparently poisoned after refusing to give up their belongings to local thugs, FoxNews.com reported.

A source told the news site that after refusing to give in to the men, Rice and his female assistant ‘ended up very sick with poisoning of some kind’.

Loss: Production facilitator Jeff Rice (left, pictured with his brother), who worked for TV show The Amazing Race, has died after he was poisoned in UgandaLoss: Production facilitator Jeff Rice (left, pictured with his brother), who worked for TV show The Amazing Race, has died after he was poisoned in Uganda

His wife Sally Blackman added that the woman, whom she did not name, remained in critical condition in hospital.

‘They were not attacked but [evidence] points towards being poisoned,’ she told FoxNews.com.

‘His production assistant was also discovered in a coma and has been hospitalised in Uganda. She has not shown any improvement as yet.’

Uganda police are investigating the incident and no further details are available at this time, she added.

Rice and his assistant were part of a team that helped create challenges across Africa for the CBS show, The Amazing Race.

They were not working on the show at the time of the suspected poisoning, but they had helped with the current season, which hit screens on Sunday.

Success: Rice, with Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan, ran company SB ProductionsSuccess: Rice, with Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan, ran SB Productions

Rice, originally from the United States, had worked in Los Angeles, California for five years before moving to Durban in South Africa.

He married Blackman in 2001 and they went on to have two children, now aged seven and one. He had planned to travel home this week to celebrate his daughter’s second birthday.

‘Jeff was a dedicated father who made the most of his time with his family when back home in South Africa,’ his wife told FoxNews.com.

‘He has left a huge void, not only in the film industry, but with his family he has left behind. We will miss his smiles and constant humor.’

In 1999, Rice and Blackman founded SB Productions, which produces and facilitates films, adverts, documentaries and television shows.

Grief: U.S. adventurer and TV personality Josh Gates expressed his shockGrief: Adventurer and TV personality Josh Gates expressed his shock

Tragedy: Adventurer Josh Gates tweeted a picture of him and Rice. He wrote: 'A photo with Jeff Rice in Madagascar. I can't believe you're gone, buddy'Tragedy: Adventurer Josh Gates tweeted a picture of him and Rice. He wrote: ‘A photo with Jeff Rice in Madagascar. I can’t believe you’re gone, buddy’

Its website describes Rice as ‘the ideas man… His mind is always churning’.

‘Jeff has an incredible calm nature and a wicked sense of humour,’ it writes. ‘Having played baseball as a kid, he is always ready for the next curve ball. Jeff has the knack for putting together great teams.’

Enlarge Creative: His company website describes Rice as 'the ideas man' Creative: His company website describes Rice as ‘the ideas man’

He also ran the production company Maverick Entertainment, which had employed the assistant.

His wife said it had been his intention for the company to work throughout Africa.

‘He loved the African people and was driven to share in all the various cultures,’ she said.

Among other projects, Rice worked on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars and the South African version of The Biggest Loser.

As a facilitator, Rice would have been hired by the production company to make arrangements with local officials before teams arrived for filming.

Friends of the late producer flocked to Twitter to express their shock at his untimely death.

American TV personality and adventurer Josh Gates wrote: ‘Floored by the loss of my dear friend and adventurer, Jeff Rice. You were, quite simply, the real deal. I’ll never forget you.’

Gates tweeted a picture of the two men, writing: ‘A photo with Jeff Rice in Madagascar. I can’t believe you’re gone, buddy.’

Work: Rice helped producers on The Amazing Race, which follows teams as they travel around the world for a prize of $1 million. He worked on its latest seasonWork: Rice helped producers on The Amazing Race, which follows teams as they travel around the world for a prize of $1 million. He worked on its latest season

Rex Williams, from Syfy’s Destination Truth, wrote: ‘Lost my great friend, Jeff Rice. I can’t tell you how saddened we are. He was a true adventurer.’

The Amazing Race, which first aired in 2001 and is in its 20th season, shows teams of two racing around the world for a prize of $1 million.

This season of the show, which garners some of the network’s biggest ratings, features teams racing across five continents and 22 cities.

The show’s production company, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, had ‘no knowledge’ of the incident. CBS did not comment on Rice’s death.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104604/American-producer-hit-CBS-reality-Amazing-Race-poisoned-death-Africa-gang-local-thugs-confrontation.html

RELATED STORY: Jeff Rice Autopsy: Amazing Race Freelancer Had Cocaine in His System, Blood Coming From Nose

Posted in Africa | 4 Comments »

Africa: What’s Diaspora Got to Do With It Indeed?

Posted by Administrator on February 20, 2012

I haven’t read the NEXT article mentioned in the previous post on this, but far worse things than that particular ex-diaspora, former multilateral director minister have floated to the top of the cesspit of Nigerian politics; yet diaspora returnees are used to finding themselves on the receiving end of vitriolic attacks from their “home-based” counterparts. Comes with the territory. That’s a distraction.

Let’s deal with the substance of the matter: will Africa’s diaspora, for the most part, drive transformative change across the continent? Almost certainly not. Does that mean that Africa’s diaspora is surplus to requirements? Most certainly not. The African diaspora has a vital, if frequently misunderstood, role to play in Africa’s development. And regardless of what they actually do when they get there, the stampede of Africa’s returning masses – pushed and pulled by a complex array of forces and factors – is a vote of confidence by the people that matter most: ordinary Africans. Many of these returnees will join the ranks of Africa’s growing middle class. They will add to the skills base countries across the continent need to grow. They will consume at least some locally produced goods and services, thus boosting GDP and local value addition. This potentially creates the much-needed virtuous cycle of growth, jobs, wealth, confidence, consumer spending, etc. It is the growing middle class – not the destitute and poor barely eking out a survival – that is most likely to form the bulwark against the worst excesses of state brutality and the bad governance that still holds back development across Africa.

But few of the diaspora returnees will drive change in African countries. For the most part, they will be ill equipped to do so. Think about it. Many will have spent a considerable part of their career in the lower, middle, and senior ranks of their respective occupations. For those who have worked in western developed countries (and some emerging economies), these ranks are typically well defined and structured, and operate in the context of stable institutions, an enabling ecosystem of support, and adequate soft and hard infrastructure. These are all the ingredients that have ensured that many advanced and advancing countries have witnessed steady improvements in productivity, the cornerstone of the wealth that has been created over the last generation and of those that haven’t they’re paying the price now.

Fast-forward to the average African country and what do you see? Apart from a few exceptions, highly informal, unstructured work environments hampered by weak institutions, poor and inadequate infrastructure, ineffective and outmoded management practices, and poorly motivated or trained workforces. In other words, conditions that most of Africa’s returning diaspora will find extremely difficult to adapt to and for which they are simply ill prepared. Most will experience a jarring drop in their personal productivity, perhaps combined with a sense of frustration and self-doubt. Some, with a resigned shrug and an “oh well, if you can’t beat ’em…” Some get angry and combative, picking fights wherever they go and dissipating their energy, while getting nowhere and losing friends fast. Others get resilient and creative and devise strategies to adapt while holding on to their core values.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201202132029.html

Posted in Africa | 2 Comments »

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