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“Africa is not a country”

October 29, 2008

So I was right. I wrote in my Tanzania journal that I’ll always feel the pull of the continent on my life, no matter where I go or what I do. And I was right. I can’t shake it. I want to go back. Badly. And that is affecting my life each day. I have a job offer on the table, and I have until 2 days from now to accept/reject it. And, honestly, I’m much more scared to accept the offer than I am to reject it. Because of Africa. Not directly, but in the fact that my Tanzania trip made me want my life to be more “expansive” (my word choice, definition #5). And sitting in a cubicle in Atlanta, GA, doesn’t really conjure up any connotations of the word “expansive.”

And so here are just a few talks from the TED conference — I believe all were filmed in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007 — about gaining a new perspective on Africa. My favorite is the first one, by Euvin Naidoo, about bringing “lightness” to the realms of African darkness. He implores all his listeners to not only view Africa’s economic possibilities, but to “think about your journey in bringing light” to the continent, whatever way that may be. His example is the Congo River, once the site of Joseph Conrad’s haunting “Heart of Darkness,” now has one of the only spots of light in the area on his satellite image. It was hydroelectric power. It’s the tangible embodiment of his “lightness” concept.

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more about “Euvin Naidoo on investing in Africa |…“, posted with vodpod

The other videos include a speaker about African aid and the inherent problems with the method, and a performer, Vusi Mahlasela, playing native African tunes. Enchanting stuff both of them.

Andrew Mwenda:

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more about “Andrew Mwenda takes a new look at Afr…“, posted with vodpod

Vusi Mahlasela:

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more about “Vusi Mahlasela sings “Thula Mama” | V…“, posted with vodpod

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