Thursday, 9 July 2009

Marsden walk in African walk

On the 7th of June Marsden Community took an entertaining walk with Simbarts Arts in conjunction with The National Trust. This walk was encouraged by how Great Zimbabwe was built; people carry stones from one village to another. Marsden walk its aim was to bring people together. Alison Mills the community warden said “this walk is to engage African nature with our nature.” The residents of Marsden were supplied with African attires which made the field look in different colourful.

 Simbarts is a group which is led by Simba Mugadza kept the walk so easy by singing and dance. “It was like a miracle l couldn't believe what happened. These guys they sang for the rain, and the rain came down” said Jules a volunteer of The National Trust.

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They leave me

This poem is taken from “Born 2 Speak” a 40th
coming attraction African anthology book by Nqobile Mafu

By Nqobile Mafu

In the life that I live,
I love so many.
Once in a while I lose someone,
they leave me here.
I carry on, it’s my life.
I move on, beyond emotions
I seek reason and all I get is sadness.
It is not acceptable, I'll never understand it.
I can never approve it.
I wonder if they imagine it
as they depart, do they ever reconcile with it?
What kind of life is it?
Life is everything, I know
that now, and loss or being dumped is part of life.
I know too, that a life without
Love is a terrible thing.
People will talk about you,
no one will recognize you,
no one will listen to you,
because you don’t have any girl friend.
but for me, they will leave me.

Death mocks love; your life,
will be covered by a shadow that,
dissolves a perfect day into a puddle of tears.
Death can step on your heart and
tear your soul, leaving you empty.

To be a broken heart is like death
I will avoid death, stress, and depression
by allowing them to leave me
they leave me I don’t care life goes on.


First published in Sunlight and Shadows poetry anthology 1995 as Denise Howson

Water flows,
Humans grow, work and die.
Nuclear War.

Oil flows,
Birds sing, take flight,
Never to return,
Wings covered.

Pus flows,
Trees scream, their skin peels,
Silver hands hang from their arms
They weep.

Earth lies dying.

How unfair trade deals harm the poorest in the world

By Susanne Schuster

1st Part of the story

In this article I am going to discuss free trade agreements and their consequences for the poorest communities in the world. International trade deals and the institutions that were set up to govern them can be quite a boring and dry subject and there are lots of three letter abbreviations that pop up, so I am trying to be as brief and non-technical as possible. I think it is an important topic which affects us all and that there is an urgent need for more public debate.

Global resistance North and South

My interest in this subject stems directly from campaigning against unfair trade deals. I joined the World Development Movement, which is part of a broad coalition which calls itself the global justice movement, and have been an active member of the local WDM group in Brighton & Hove for just over a year now. Founded in 1970, the WDM is a campaigning organisation which tackles the underlying causes of poverty by challenging the powerful and lobbying decision makers in government and industry to change the policies that keep people poor. The WDM is a democratic movement of individual supporters, local groups and campaigners, it is funded mostly by its supporters and some grant making bodies and trusts and therefore it is a truly independent and radical organisation, and UK politicians do take note of its campaigns. Its campaigning work is backed and informed by evidence based research - the WDM website provides really good resources in the form of briefings and reports. One of the things I like about the WDM is that it works in solidarity with campaigners and activists from the global south, it doesn't set up offices there and directs what should be done, rather it targets politicians and corporations at home. Another campaigning organisation in a similar vein is War on Want.

In the past the WDM has campaigned successfully against disastrous water privatisation in Tanzania and against open-cast mining in Bangladesh that would have forced thousands of people off their land and threaten the water supplies of many more.

Current campaigns include the prevention of the construction of new coal-fired power stations, which would seriously undermine the UK government's carbon emissions targets and cause thousands more climate refugees among the poorest in the world, and instead getting the government to invest into renewable energy generation, thus creating thousands of sustainable jobs. And, as I mentioned already, there is the campaign against unfair trade deals.

The kinds of trade agreements that the WDM is campaigning against have to be seen in the context of the three bodies governing international trade and lending of funds, so I will briefly discuss them here.
WTO, IMF and World Bank

The origins of these institutions go back to a conference at Bretton Woods, on the East coast of the US, in 1944. Some eminent British and US economists and politicians at the time set up the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (its formal name is International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) with a post-war and post-colonial world in mind. The purpose of the World Bank was to loan money to put war-torn Europe back on its feet as fast as possible, but later it also loaned money to the developing economies. The IMF was supposed to make loans to countries with temporary balance of payment problems. Both were in fact progressive institutions for the time, the money came from contributions made almost entirely by rich countries and until the 1960s they were fairly unremarkable institutions. Then things changed. Under a new leadership the World Bank began pushing credits on developing countries much more aggressively, the oil price quadrupled and interest rates shot up.
Developing countries got caught up in a debt trap and the IMF and the World Bank began prescribing the Structural Adjustment Programmes (or austerity programmes) which forced these heavily indebted countries to open their markets to foreign imports and ownership and make harsh cuts in public and social spending. Their populations paid a heavy price for this as local industries collapsed leading to massive job losses, labour standards were lowered, inequality and insecurity increased, the health and well-being of people suffered, in short, many of the gains made since the end of colonialism were practically wiped out

2 B Cont-----

Gold Fish took London by storm

It was a great Friday on the 26th of June, when I spent my day with the Gold Fish band. The group is made up of Dominic Peters, David Poole and Sakhile Moleshe. Gold Fish is one of the hottest and highly recommended bands in their mother land, Cape Town in South Africa. The group came together while they were doing their music studies at University of Cape Town.
Some people take the arts for granted but if you follow the Gold Fish story you will realize that art is the most powerful tool for education.

Dave graduated with a master’s degree and Dominic holds a bachelor’s degree while young Sakhile has a bachelor in music. “Its good to be educated so that you can enjoy the fruits” said Dave

The group has some shows lined up for the coming months. Most of their shows are now fully booked.” My dream has come true; I can’t imagine that I am recognized throughout the world. We are hard workers and now we are getting ready to tour the US, Brazil and then a four month stint in Ibiza and Europe. It’s going to be awesome,” said Sakhile.
Combining live instruments like Double bass, Saxophones, Keyboards, Flute, and Vocals with Samplers, Effects, Synthesis and a healthy dollop of freeform improvisation, Gold Fish have hit a nerve on dance floors across the world.

Tour dates:

GOLDFISH @ RAMA BEACH Rama Beach Saturday, July 4 at 1:00am
GOLDFISH @ PACHA MOSCOW Pacha Moscow Saturday, July 25 at 11:00am
GOLDFISH LIVE @ PACHA IBIZA WI... Pacha Ibiza Wednesday, August 5 at 2:30am
GOLDFISH @PACHA SHARM EL SHEIKH Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt Thursday, August 6 at 11:50pm
GOLDFISH @ LOADED IN THE PARK Clapham Common Sunday, August 30 at 10:00am

From the land of oppression & black mail 2 a land of democracy

By Zewdu Mengiste

When I came to the UK I assumed that life would be very simple. But that is not true! There are big challenges. My first problem was the weather. Back home there is no snow, only a little rain and cold weather. The second was the food problem.  In Ethiopia the male does not make food, he is not allowed to do that in our culture. I'm also the victim of this bad culture so for over one month I had a big problem making my food. The third problem was the language. Most British people speak fast so I couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand me

But now most of these problems are more or less solved. Now I am a good cook! And the weather is warm. I like the British people, because most of them are willing to help any person and they are always cheerful. So I like this good culture. In Leeds there is an Ethiopian community and an Ethiopian Orthodox church, so I'm very happy.

I was alone in Leeds. Now, I have been re-united with my wife and children from Ethiopia and we are building a new life in Leeds with the support of friends here. I am now used to British culture, and I'm supporting other asylum seekers and refugees, especially other Ethiopians because I'm also from Ethiopia

I was volunteering at Oxfam and BBC. I am adopting the culture of British people. doing some research with Leeds University about how English language skills impacts on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. We enjoyed a wonderful meeting with Ethiopian cross country runners at Leeds Met University. I am volunteering in the Ethiopian community, refugee council, RETAS and I am working with an Ethiopian radio station in London.

 My children have adopted English culture very well, better than me! They're all doing well at school. Life's good for us here and we have many English friends. We are able to keep some of our Ethiopian culture here, eating traditional foods and helping our children to remember our home language and culture. Like people from all over the world we value our culture, and don't want our children to struggle if we go back to Ethiopia. Until then we will learn all we can about Britain.

Zewdu Mengiste is an investigative journalist from Ethiopia. He is working with Ethiopian Consensus Radio in London and volunteering in Leeds with the Refugee Council, RETAS (Refugee Education and Training Advisory Service), the Ethiopian Community and now he learning journalism in Leeds collage of Technology