Black Gold

 

Title Black Gold
Director(s) Marc & Nick Francis
Date released (year) 2006
Production company Speak-It   Films and Fulcrum Productions.
Length 78 minutes
Location Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Food, trade, neoliberalism, poverty
Link to film  

Synopsis From Tesfaye, B. &   Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13):

‘As westerners revel in   designer lattes and cappuccinos, impoverished Ethiopian coffee growers suffer   the bitter taste of injustice. In this eye-opening expose of the   multi-billion dollar industry, Black Gold traces one man’s fight for a fair   price (Source: Anon nda link).

The film follows Tadesse   Meskela, an Ethiopian man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee   farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest   quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world   in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price. Against the   backdrop of Tadesse’s journey to London and Seattle, the enormous power of   the multinational players that dominate the world’s coffee trade becomes   apparent. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and   the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation reveal   the many challenges Tadesse faces in his quest for a long term solution for   his farmers (Source: Anon 2010).

Scenes in the film switch   between the disadvantaged coffee farming communities to the daily lives of   those at the luxury to consume it, which often exemplifies the absurdity   found in those gushing about the great wealth of a market built off the backs   of farmers who continue to live in poverty (Source: Reed 2008).

The spokesman, Tadesse   Meskela, who is the subject of Black Gold, together with the film’s English   makers, brothers Nick and Marc Francis, are a serious irritant to some of the   world’s coffee giants – in particular Seattle-based Starbucks, whose annual   turnover of $7.8bn (£4bn) is not much lower than Ethiopia’s entire gross   domestic product… ‘Our people are barefoot, have no school, no clean water or   health centre. They are living hand to mouth. We need $4 a pound minimum,   that’s only fair…Starbucks may help bring clear water for one community but   this does not solve the problem. In 2005, Starbucks’ aid to the third world   was $1.5m. We don’t want this kind of support, we just want a better price.   They make huge profits; giving us just one payment of money does not help,’   said Mr. Meskela (Source: Seager 2007 link).

By way of the farmers in the   cooperative and Tadesse’s efforts on their behalf, the film exposes the web   of trade regulations that keep farmers in developing countries poor, even   while transnational corporations in the global north prosper. Women   painstakingly sort millions of beans; and viewers observe the hunger and   substandard housing that accompany poverty. Juxtaposed with these images are   the cosmopolitan cafés of Europe and America, the comfort of conspicuous   consumption, the places of commerce where deprivation in one part of the   globe is turned into the wealth of another (Source: Fellner 2008 link).’

Source: http://www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml

Reviews/discussion From Tesfaye, B. &   Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13):

‘When Marc and Nick Francis   were making Black Gold, they never expected the story – about the plight of   African coffee farmers paid a fraction of the amount a latte or cappuccino   costs – to attract the very multinationals the film criticises. ‘They want to   hear what the audience thinks,’ Nick Francis says. ‘We had this screening in   Seattle, and the head of corporate responsibility of Starbucks came to the   screening and participated in a panel and answered questions from the   audience. That’s what you call the power of film – how a film could draw in   people.’ … The film has prompted rounds of crisis management sessions at   coffee-shop chains such as Starbucks, which issued a statement calling the   film inaccurate and incomplete. Since the film’s release, the chain has also   actively promoted a new range of ‘Fair Trade’ coffee in its outlets around   the world, including those in Hong Kong. The filmmakers are surprised by the   chain’s response to their film. ‘It’s not a film about Starbucks, it’s a film   about coffee farmers struggling to survive in the coffee industry, and their   story is set against the backdrop of the coffee-consuming world of the west,   of which Starbucks is a part,’ Marc Francis says. ‘We didn’t tell it so much   about them but they’ve taken it very personally. Also, we did spend six   months trying to interview not just Starbucks but other big multinational   coffee companies to bring their side of the stories to the film. But they’ve   given us no response. Now that the film is out there and is beginning to pick   up public momentum, the companies are responding more and more to the film –   or trying to show [through] public relations where they position themselves’   (Source: Tsui 2007a).

’Black Gold’ portrays the   coffee industry as a whole, rather than Starbucks specifically. From our   point of view, this film is inaccurate and incomplete, as it does not explain   how Starbucks purchases coffee, nor does it provide any reference to   potential solutions to the world coffee crisis… Starbucks takes an integrated   approach to coffee purchasing. Our goal is to pay premium prices that provide   the coffee farmer with a profit. In our financial year 2006, we paid an   average price of $1.42 per pound for our coffee, 40% above the commodity   price and comparable with the guaranteed Fairtrade price of $1.26. Our   approach… [has] been recognised for…leadership within the industry (Source:   Starbucks 2007).

We are surprised that   Starbucks have gone out to discredit the film again. This is not a film   specifically about Starbucks, it’s a film about the winners and losers in the   global coffee industry and it shows the daily reality for millions of coffee   farmers. We spent six months during the production trying to persuade   Starbucks to participate in the film to give them the opportunity to explain   how they buy their coffee and how they work in Ethiopia, but they declined   our invitation. In a subsequent meeting with five senior Starbucks executives   at their Seattle headquarters, we asked them to tell us the exact price they   pay farmers for a pound of coffee – but they refused to disclose this   (Source: Francis & Francis 2007 link).

During the film’s most   painful sequence, his [Tadesse’s] efforts and Ethiopia’s persistent, crushing   famine are juxtaposed with the vapidly cheerful corp-speak of two Starbucks   baristas (Source: Hornaday 2006).

Yes, the baristas are   excessively perky as they purvey coffee and the Starbucks experience; yet   they are also model employees, supportive of each other, efficient, and proud   of their company. At the time of the filming, the young women were   entertaining a tour from the Specialty Coffee Association, to which the   filmmakers had attached themselves to avoid asking Starbucks or its employees   for permission to film. How could these young women know that they would be   featured as unwitting symbols of the harm that transnational coffee giants   inflict on poor Ethiopian farmers? (Source: Fellner 2008 link).

The Francis brothers are   good on showing the situation’s local effects – famine, ill-equipped schools   – but less so at analyzing the international economic context: the film is   frighteningly free of expert voices. More dynamism and knowledge in the   telling and fewer cheap shots at young Starbucks workers in Seattle wouldn’t   have gone amiss (Source: Calhoun 2007, np).

The baristas and shopkeepers   that the film ridicules through artful editing are the very people who are   the farmers’ best hope for teaching the public about the true value of these   coffees (Source: Marshall 2006 link).

While it may prompt some to   think again next time they’re in Starbucks, this astute insight into the   coffee business is better at lauding the good guys than taking the   multinationals to task for the iniquities of the global economy (Source:   Parkinson 2006 link).

Although some scenes   register with strong impact, there also seems to be a lot of padding, and the   overall narrative is ultimately too diffused and unfocused for the film to   have the sociological impact it so obviously desires (Source: Scheck 2006).

Compared to a documentary   like Darwin’s Nightmare, which found disturbing visual analogues for the   moral rot of global trade, Black Gold makes most of its points in words, not   pictures. (Source: Murray 2006 link)

The movie’s approach reminds   me that of the paternalistic and Western-centred [sic] 1970s-style theories   according to which only colonialism and international market (i.e. ‘us’ the   Western world) are to blame, and no others’ power and responsibilities are   recognised. Likewise, there is no mention in the movie of the roles that the   Ethiopian State could play in economic development and, for instance,   education (Source: Chiari 2007 link).

[I] found it confusing to   people outside the coffee field, partial, and intellectually not particularly   honest…In my opinion, the film completely overlooks factors such as   historical events (the Mengistu dictatorship which ruined plantations and the   coffee free flow), inept procedures such as the bureaucracy surrounding the   auctions system which hardly allows enough time for buyers to evaluate the   lots), and also the ever present corruption, probably less in Ethiopia than   in other parts of Africa, but then why generalize in the end with statements   about Africa’s share of world trade? (Source: cofyknsult 2006 link).’

Further Reading

Anon (nda) The DVD.   blackgoldmovie.com (www.blackgoldmovie.com/dvd.php   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Anon (ndb) Black Gold: wake   up and smell the coffee. maketradefair.com (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed j March 2011)

Anon (ndc) Black Gold:   sowing the seeds for change. maketradefair.com (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Anon (2007) Ethiopia: smell   the exploitation. Africa News 25 December

Anon (2008a) Trademarking:   grown in Ethiopia. Marketing Week April 24, p.16

Anon (2008b) Ethiopia: Black   Gold premiere.   Africa News 24 March

Anon (2010) Mayor will take   to stage at screening to receive town’s award. Todmorden News (UK) 4   March

Calhoun, D. (2007) Black   Gold: movie review. Time Out New York 6 June (www.timeout.com/film/newyork/reviews/83812/Black_Gold.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Chiari, G.P. (2007) Black   Gold forums: about the movie’s paternalistic approach. blackgoldmovie.com   8 December (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=279   last accessed 7 March 2011)

cofyknsult (2006) Black Gold   forums: the film completely overlooks key factors. blackgoldmovie.com   24 October (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=65   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Cycon, D. (2007) Javatrekker:   dispatches from the world of fair trade coffee. White River   Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing

Doane, M. (2010)   Relationship coffees. Structure and agency in the fair trade system. in Lyon,   S. and Moberg, M. (eds) Fair trade and social justice: global ethnographies. New   York: New York University Press

Fellner, K. (2008) Starbucks   vs Ethiopia.   Foreign Policy in Focus 15 September (www.fpif.org/articles/starbucks_v_ethiopia   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (nda) Black Gold: filmmaker Q&A. PBS Independent Lens (www.pbs.org/independentlens/blackgold/qa.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (ndb) Directors’ statement. blackgoldmovie.com (www.blackgoldmovie.com/directors.php   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (2006) Black Gold – Fair Trade, Sundance, and Starbucks’ ‘Charm Offensive’   in Park City.   Huffington Post 2 February (www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-and-nick-francis/black-gold-fair-trade-sun_b_15036.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (2007) Starbucks issue press statement about Black Gold: filmmakers   respond. blackgoldmovie.com   16 January (www.blackgoldmovie.com/blog.php/?p=43   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Hornaday, A. (2006) A spike   in supply chain muckraking: films explore economy’s social costs. Washington   Post 10 December

Marshall (2006) Black Gold   forums: guilt & ridicule. blackgoldmovie.com 25 November (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=85   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Murray, N. (2006) Review of   Black Gold. The   Onion A.V. Club 5 October (www.avclub.com/articles/black-gold,3766/   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Parkinson, D. (2007) Review   of Black Gold. Empire (www.empireonline.com/reviews/ReviewComplete.asp?FID=135039   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Reed, N. (2008) Wal-mart   executives discuss future of ‘Black Gold’ at U. Arkansas. University Wire   (USA) 7 April

Scheck, F. (2006) Review of   Black Gold. Hollywood   Reporter 11 October

Seager, A (2007) Starbucks   stirred by fair trade film. The Guardian (UK) 29 January (www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/jan/29/development.filmnews   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Starbucks (2007) Starbucks   statement on Black Gold film. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre [download]

Tsui, C. (2007a) Film raises   hackles in the coffee shops of power. South China Morning Post 3 April, p.4

Tsui, C. (2007b) Using the   plot.   South China Morning Post 26 March, p.5

Source: From Tesfaye, B.   & Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13)

Links to other resources Oromia Coffee Union: Farmers cooperative union website (www.oromiacoffeeunion.org/ under   construction 12 March 2011)

New Internationalist shop: Oromia Coffee Union products (www.newint.com.au/mobile/shop/oromia-coffee-union-p68.htm   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   pages on Oxfam’s ‘Make trade fair’ campaign website (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   Movie website (www.blackgoldmovie.com/ last   accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/blackgoldmoviedotcom   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   pages on US PBS TV ‘Independent lens’ series website (www.pbs.org/independentlens/blackgold/index.html   last accessed 12 March 2011)

Starbucks’   ‘Corporate social responsibility’ webpage (http://gr.starbucks.com/en-US/_Social+Responsibility/   last accessed 12 March 2011)

Ancient Khoisan (San) Tribe

 

Title Ancient Khoisan (San) Tribe
Director(s) Rehad Desai
Date released (year) 2012
Production company InternalizedConflict
Length 64mins
Location South Africa
Keywords/tags Land and people
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1NamQj-E9I
Synopsis Independent Documentary “Bushman’s Secret” By   Rehad Desai.

Rehad Desai travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient   Bushmen knowledge, he meets Jan van der Westhuizen, a fascinating Khomani San   traditional healer. Jan’s struggle to live close to nature is hampered by   centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and of their land.   Unable to survive as they once did hunting and gathering, the Khomani now   live in a state of poverty that threatens to see the last of this community   forever.

One plant could make all the difference. Hoodia, a cactus used by Bushmen for   centuries, has caught the attention of a giant pharmaceutical company. It now   stands to decide the fate of the Khomani San.

Bushman’s Secret features breathtaking footage of the Kalahari landscape, and   exposes us to a world where modernity collides with ancient ways, at a time   when each has, strangely, come to rely on the other.

Evicted from their ancestral lands, forced to abandon their native languages,   and left to fend for themselves in a state of brutal poverty on the fringes of   South African society, the Bushmen now face further exploitation, since the   hoodia cactus (a source of food and medicinal healing) is being taken from   their remaining lands by the conglomerate Unilever for use as a dubious   weight loss product (ironically, Unilever also claims to be the “world’s   largest ice cream manufacturer,” surely a contributing factor to   obesity). Despite an agreement signed with the South African government for   profits from the harvesting of hoodia, the Bushmen have yet to enjoy any financial   returns. Bushman’s Secret serves up a shameful indictment of contemporary   South African government, which would sooner kowtow to multinational   corporate demands than provide basic services for its own people. Highly   recommended.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1NamQj-E9I

Reviews/discussion Oppression of Khoikhoi

 

                                                                                                             

The hunger for land is a central   theme of southern African history from the 17th century onwards. It generated   conflict, sparked off wars and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Expansion

 

The first Europeans in southern   Africa confined themselves at first to the western part of the region,   centring their activities on the Cape of Good Hope. Here the Dutch East India   Company was established in 1652. Gradually the Dutch colony expanded north   and east, displacing, in the first instance, the oldest known inhabitants of   this region, the Khoikhoi (referred to by the Dutch as ‘hottentots’).

Tradition denied

 

The Khoikhoi were part of a larger   group called the Khoisan, spread across southern Africa, sharing much of the   same language. The San branch were hunter gatherers; the Khoikhoi were   herdsmen. As a whole, the Khoisan needed large amounts of land in order to   hunt and graze their cattle. The Dutch refused to recognise their traditional   grazing and hunting rights.

Defeat

 

Not wide enough for both of us

“They objected that there was     not enough grass for both their cattle and ours. ‘Are we not right     therefore to prevent you from getting any more cattle? For, if you get many     cattle, you come and occupy our pasture with them, and then say the land is     not wide enough for us both! Who then, with the greatest degree of justice     should give way, the natural owners, or the foreign invader?‘” – Jan van Riebeek     describing the Khoikhoi objections to the Dutch invasion of their pastures,     quoted by Kevin Shillington in History of Africa.

The Dutch both stole and bought   cattle off the Khoikhoi. In 1659, the Khoikhoi fought the Dutch over grazing   land south of able Bay and lost. Soon the Khoikhoi way of life disintegrated.

The Dutch, who came to be known as Afrikaners (as well as Boers, which means   farmers) started to expand their activities. They cultivated land and hunted   across large distances. Subsequently, they acquired the title of Trekboers,   when they embarked on long journeys or treks to get away from British   officialdom in the Cape Colony.

Subjugation

 

The Khoikhoi   often ended up as slaves, either working in the Cape Colony, or as farm   labourers for the Dutch. The final blow came to them in 1713 when they fell   victim to a small pox epidemic brought on a Dutch ship. The descendants of   the Khoikhoi and San can be found in the deserts of Botswana and Namibia   today.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1624_story_of_africa/page23.shtml

Links to other resources http://khoisan.org

 

Nancy J. Jacobs (2003) Environment,   Power, and Injustice: A South African History, Cambridge university Press.

Africa: States of independence – the scramble for Africa

Title Africa: States of   independence – the scramble for Africa
Director(s)
Date released (year) 2010

 

Production company AlJazeeraEnglish
Length 45mins
Location Africa
Keywords/tags Africa
Link to film http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2010/08/2010831112927318164.html
Synopsis Seventeen   African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams of the   independence era were short-lived.

This film tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass   exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a   new, covert scramble for resources was born.

Reviews/discussion Whether in bustling cities or remote   villages, the 1880s and 1890s were years of terrifying upheaval for Africans.   Fleet upon fleet of foreign soldiers armed with new weaponry – and a sense of   entitlement – descended, seemingly overnight.

In the space of just 20 years, 90 per cent of Africa was brought under   European occupation. Europe had captured a continent.

Europe was in the throes of the Industrial   Revolution. The advent of the machine was transforming the cities there into   the workshop of the world – a workshop in need of raw materials. It was the   dawn of industrial-scale production, modern capitalist economies and mass   international trade. And in this new industrial era the value of Africa   rocketed – not only for its materials and as a strategic trade route, but   also as a market for the goods Europe now produced in bulk.

But the scramble for Africa was not just about economics. Colonialism had   become the fast-track to political supremacy in Europe. Rival European powers   convened in the German capital and in February 1885 signed the Act of Berlin   – an agreement to abolish slavery and allow free trade. The act also drew new   borders on the map of Africa, awarding territory to each European power –   thus legalising the scramble for Africa.

But with the Second World War – which saw the peak of Europe’s dependency on   African troops – a powerful genie was released from a bottle – African   nationalism. The tipping point came on February 3, 1960, when Harold   Macmillan, the British prime minister, gave his ‘wind of change’ speech.   Within 10 months, Britain had surrendered two key African territories and   France 14. The rate of decolonisation when it arrived was breathtaking.

Seventeen African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams   of the independence era were short-lived. Africa … states of   independence tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass   exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a   new, covert scramble for resources was born.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2010/08/2010831112927318164.html

BRICS bloc’s rising ‘sub-imperialism’

Is this the latest threat   to Africa?

Patrick Bond

2012-11-29, Issue 608

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85609

Like   Berlin in 1884-85, the BRICS Durban summit is expected to carve up Africa   more efficiently, unburdened – now as then – by what will be derided as   ‘Western’ concerns about democracy and human rights.

The heads of state of the   Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) network of governments are   coming to Durban, South Africa, in four months, meeting on March 26-27 at the   International Convention Centre (ICC), Africa’s largest venue. Given their   recent performance, it is reasonable to expect another “1%” summit, wreaking   socioeconomic and ecological havoc. And that means it is time for the first   BRICS countersummit, to critique top-down “sub-imperialist” bloc formation,   and to offer bottom-up alternatives.

After all, we have had some bad experiences at the Durban ICC.

In 2001, in spite of demands by 10,000 protesters, the United Nations World   Conference Against Racism refused to grapple with reparations for slavery and   colonialism or with apartheid-Israel’s racism against Palestinians (hence Tel   Aviv’s current ethnic cleansing of Gaza goes unpunished).

The African Union got off to a bad start here, with its 2002 launch, due to   reliance on the neoliberal New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad)   promoted by Pretoria.

The 2003 World Economic Forum’s African regional meeting hastened   governments’ supplication to multinational corporate interests in spite of   protests.

In 2011, Durban’s UN COP17 climate summit – better known as the ‘Conference   of Polluters’ – featured Washington’s sabotage, with no new emissions cuts   and an attempted revival of the non-solution called ‘carbon trading’, also   called ‘the privatisation of the air’.

(…)
LOOTING AFRICA

Like Berlin in 1884-85, the BRICS Durban summit is expected to carve up   Africa more efficiently, unburdened – now as then – by what will be derided   as “Western” concerns about democracy and human rights. Reading between the   lines, its resolutions will:

– support favoured corporations’ extraction and land-grab strategies;

– worsen Africa’s retail-driven deindustrialisation (South Africa’s Shoprite and   Makro – soon to be run by Walmart – are already notorious in many capital   cities for importing even simple products that could be supplied locally);

– revive failed projects such as Nepad; and

– confirm the financing of both land grabbing and the extension of   neocolonial infrastructure through a new ‘BRICS Development Bank’, likely to   be based just north of Johannesburg where the Development Bank of Southern   Africa already does so much damage following Washington’s script.

The question is whether in exchange for the Durban summit amplifying such   destructive tendencies, which appears certain, can those few of Africa’s   elites who may be invited leverage any greater influence in world economic   management via the BRICS? With South Africa’s finance minister Pravin   Gordhan’s regular critiques of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund   (IMF), there is certainly potential for BRICS to “talk left” about the   global-governance democracy deficit.

But watch the ‘walk right’ carefully. In the vote for World Bank president   earlier this year, for example, Pretoria’s choice was hard-core Washington   ideologue Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister who with IMF   managing director Christine Lagarde catalysed the Occupy movement’s near   revolution in January, with a removal of petrol subsidies. Brasilia chose the   moderate economist Jose Antonio Ocampo and Moscow backed Washington’s choice:   Jim Yong Kim.

This was a repeat of the prior year’s fiasco in the race for IMF managing   director, won by Lagarde in spite of ongoing corruption investigations   against her by French courts, because the Third World was divided and   conquered. BRICS appeared in both cases as incompetent, unable to even agree   on a sole candidate, much less win their case in Washington.

Yet in July, BRICS treasuries sent US$100 billion in new capital to the IMF,   which was seeking new systems of bail-out for banks exposed in Europe. South   Africa’s contribution was only $2 billion, a huge sum for Gordhan to muster   against local trade union opposition. Explaining the South African   contribution – initially he said it would be only one tenth as large –   Gordhan told Moneyweb last year that it was on condition that the IMF became   more “nasty” [sic] to desperate European borrowers, as if the Greek, Spanish,   Portuguese and Irish poor and working people were not suffering enough.

And the result of this BRICS intervention is that China gains IMF voting   power, but Africa actually loses a substantial fraction of its share. Even   Gordhan admitted at last month’s Tokyo meeting of the IMF and world Bank that   it is likely “the vast majority of emerging and developing countries will   lose quota shares – an outcome that will perpetuate the democratic deficit.”   And given “the crisis of legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness of the   IMF”, it “is simply untenable” that Africa only has two seats for its 45   member countries.

Likewise, South Africa’s role in Africa has been “nasty”, as confirmed when   Nepad was deemed “philosophically spot on” by lead US State Department Africa   official Walter Kansteiner in 2003, and foisted privatisation of even basic   services on the continent. In a telling incident this year, the Johannesburg   parastatal firm Rand Water was forced to leave Ghana after failing – with a   Dutch for-profit partner (Aqua Vitens) – to improve Accra’s water supply, as   also happened in Maputo, Mozambique, (Saur from Paris) and Dar es Salaam   (Biwater from London) in Tanzania.

As a matter of principle, BRICS appears hell bent on promoting the further   commodification of life, at a time when the greatest victory won by ordinary   Africans in the last decade is under attack: the winning of the Treatment   Action Campaign’s demand for affordable access to AIDS medicines, via India’s   cheap generic versions of drugs. A decade ago, they cost $10,000 per person   per year and only a tiny fraction of desperate people received the medicines.   Now, more than 1.5 million South Africans – and millions more in the rest of   Africa – get treatment, thus raising the South Africa’s average life   expectancy from 52 in 2004 to 60 today, according to reliable statistics   released this month.

However, in recent months, Obama has put an intense squeeze on India to cut   back on generic medicine R&D and production, as well as making deep cuts   in his own government’s aid commitment to fund African healthcare. In Durban,   the city that is home to the most HIV+ people in the world, Obama’s move   resulted in this year’s closure of AIDS public treatment centres at three   crucial sites. One was the city’s McCord Hospital, which ironically was a   long-standing ally of the NGO Partners in Health, whose cofounder was Obama’s   pick for World Bank president, Jim Kim.

Source: http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85609  

Links to other resources Thomas Pakenham (1992) The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s   Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. See: http://www.amazon.com/Scramble-Africa-Conquest-Continent-1876-1912/dp/0380719991  

 

World Bank Refuses to Stop   Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe.  Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs

Sidlasonke- we eat together

Title

Sidlasonke – We Eat Together

Director(s) Participatory
Date released   (year) 2009
Production company Insightshare
Length 5 mins
Location South Africa
Keywords/tags Food, community, poverty
Link to film http://www.insightshare.org/watch/video/sidlasonke
Synopsis A short film made about a local feeding scheme in   Inanda township – embodying hope and self-help.

Source: http://www.insightshare.org/watch/video/sidlasonke

Reviews/discussion ‘Participatory Video (PV) is a set of techniques to involve a group or community in shaping and creating their own film. The idea behind this is that making a video is easy and accessible, and is a great way of bringing people together to explore issues, voice concerns or simply to be creative and tell stories.

This process can be very empowering, enabling a group or community to take action to solve their own problems and also to communicate their needs and ideas to decision-makers and/or other groups and communities. As such, PV can be a highly effective tool to engage and mobilise marginalised people and to help them implement their own forms of sustainable development based on local needs.

This process can be very   empowering, enabling a group or community to take action to solve their own   problems and also to communicate their needs and ideas to decision-makers   and/or other groups and communities. As such, PV can be a highly effective   tool to engage and mobilise marginalised people and to help them implement   their own forms of sustainable development based on local needs.’

Source: http://www.insightshare.org/pv/pv-nutshell

Links to other   resources Insightshare: http://www.insightshare.org/watch/video/sidlasonke

The Valley Trust: http://www.thevalleytrust.org.za/index.php?page=donate

Cato Crest Primary School Food Garden from Pamela Ngwenya on Vimeo.

Sicela Umusa Community Garden from Pamela Ngwenya on Vimeo.

The Changing Climate in Gamo Highlands

Title

The Changing Climate in Gamo   Highlands

Director(s) Community
Date released (year) 2011?
Production company INSIGHTSHARE
Length 12mins
Location Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Climate change
Link to film
http://insightshare.org/watch/video/changing-climate-gamo-highlands
Synopsis This video is a compilation of three videos   made by community members from Doko, Ezo, Zozo and Daro Malo in the Gamo   Highlands.
Reviews/discussion

Climate change increasing poverty and vulnerability in Ethiopia

Oxfam Press Release, Published:   22 April 2010

Small-scale farmers and   pastoralists in Ethiopia are likely to bear the brunt of the negative impacts   of climate change in the region, which will include increased poverty, water   scarcity, and food insecurity, according to a new Oxfam International report released   today.

The   international development agency’s report, “The Rain Doesn’t Come on Time Anymore: Poverty, Vulnerability, and   Climate Variability in Ethiopia,” was launched at a   special Earth Day celebration organized by the Climate Change Forum-Ethiopia   in collaboration with other environmental organizations. While Ethiopia has   always suffered from great climatic variability,   including droughts that have contributed to hunger and even famine in the   past, the report details how climate change is set to make the lives of the   poorest even harder.

A country of farmers

“People who are already poor and marginalized are struggling to cope with   the added burden of increasingly unpredictable weather,” said Abera Tola,   Oxfam’s Horn of Africa regional director. “It is getting harder and harder   for families and communities to bounce back from ever-changing, inconsistent   weather affecting their livelihoods, and many have been forced to sell   livestock or remove children from school – coping mechanisms that only   increase the cycle of vulnerability.”

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and 85 percent of   the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural   sector is especially vulnerable to the adversities of weather and climate   since it is rain fed, done using relatively basic technologies, and on tiny   plots of land.

Women are hardest hit

“From the Rift Valley to Tigray, farmers and pastoralists around the   country have shared with us the toll that the changing weather is having on   their communities, from ruined crops to dying cattle,” said Tola. “Even   relatively small shifts in the growing season, can spell disaster for the   poorest farmers and pastoralists who are already struggling in poverty.”

Women and girls in particular are disproportionately affected by climate   variability. In times of crisis, women tend to stay home with their children,   while men move away to look for alternative means of survival. Women also   have fewer options to find other ways of making a living, especially since   women’s literacy rate is not even half of that of men. Women are also not   given a say in household decisions and are frequently without cash savings or   assets to sell to buy food and other basic items.

“The rain doesn’t come on time anymore. After we plant, the rain stops   just as our crops start to grow. And it begins to rain after the crops have   already been ruined,” Sefya Funge, a farmer in Adamitullu Jiddo Kombolcha   district in Ethiopia told Oxfam. “Because of a lack of feed and water, most   of my cattle have died. The few that survived had to be sold so that we could   buy food to live on. As I no longer have the means to support my family, only   three of my eight kids are still with me. Losing our assets was bad, but the   fact that our family is separated is devastating.”

Coping with climate change

With some assistance from non-governmental organizations and the   government, small-scale farmers and pastoralists are adopting a variety of   coping mechanisms, according to the report. In the farming areas, many are   shifting to more drought tolerant crops and varieties, improved forest   management practices, diversified energy sources, and alternative means of   income from off-farm activities. Pastoralists have also divided pasture into   wet and dry season grazing areas to better manage risk, while others have   changed the composition of their heard from cattle to camels and goats, which   can better tolerate dry, hot weather.

Poverty, limited resources, little alternative sources of income and   livelihoods, lack of knowledge and expertise, and the absence of appropriate   public policies and financing, increase vulnerability and decrease people’s   capacity to cope.

Source: http://www.oxfam.org/pressroom/pressrelease/2010-04-22/climate-change-increasing-poverty-and-vulnerability-ethiopia

Links to other resources  

Marius Keller, Climate   Risks and Development Projects: Assessment Report for a Community-Level Project   in Guduru, Oromiya, Ethiopia. Source: http://www.iisd.org/cristaltool/documents/BFA-Ethiopia-Assessment-Report-Eng.pdf

Many academic   reports available via Google