Archives for June 2010

Somalia at 50: What went wrong?

Nyambura Wambugu | 15:35 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Somalia is marking its 50th anniversary of independence, one of several African countries celebrating its half century this year.  But while some countries are flourishing, Somalia remains in a state of chaos.


somaliwoman.jpgIn the immediate years after independence, Somalia was thriving economically, socially and culturally. Today, it's a very different story.

On Africa Have Your Say we are asking, what has Somalia got to show after 50 years of independence?  Can you remember what Somalia was like during peacetime?  What does the next 50 years hold for the country?  What impact does the state of Somalia have on its people both at home and in the diaspora?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 1 July at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Has the World Cup made South Africans more tolerant?

Charlotte Attwood | 18:10 UK time, Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Two years on from the xenophobic violence that erupted in South Africa they've been welcoming visitors to the World Cup from across the continent and beyond. Has South Africa become more tolerant of its fellow Africans?


ghanafans.jpgBafana Bafana fans are now fully behind Ghana's Black Stars, as the last remaining African team in the tournament. Has the World Cup provided South Africans with a new sense of unity with the rest of the continent? If so, will it have longer term effects for their relationships with the African migrants who live there?

How has South Africa changed in the last two years? Are you visiting South Africa, how have you been received? What can South Africans and the migrant population do to strengthen their relationship? Does the trend of sticking together in migrant communities contribute to the segregation? Send us your views.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 30 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


Will you give up your UK dreams?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 13:25 UK time, Monday, 28 June 2010

The UK government has announced that it will permanently cut the number of skilled, non-EU workers entering the country in 2011. 


immigration_officers.jpgTheresa May, the Home Secretary has said that a temporary cut of five percent will take effect immediately, "In order to avoid a sudden rush of people coming in this year to try to get in before that {permanent} limit," bringing the number of non-EU immigrants coming into the UK to 24,000 this year.

But critics of this policy have pointed out that the cuts could lead to shortages in much-needed skills which could badly affect the UK's economy.

Could these cuts affect you? Have you tried to apply to work or live in the UK? What skills do you think you could bring to the country? Which country would you go to if you were not allowed into the UK? Share your stories.

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 29 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Should prisoners get the vote?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 19:10 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A court in Kenya has ruled that prisoners will be allowed to vote in a referendum on a new constitution.


prisoners.jpgThis is the first time in East Africa that prisoners have been allowed to vote. Could this lead to more concessions in future?

Over on our Facebook page, the debate is already raging. Hachi Beekay in Zambia says:

I think that convicted prisoners MUST lose certain rights as punishment for not following the law. The right to vote is certainly one that I believe must be denied them.

Do you agree? What rights do prisoners in your country have? Would you like to see more prisoner rights in the future?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 24 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Does your national anthem inspire you?

Nyambura Wambugu | 13:16 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010

During the World Cup and before every match we have listened to 32 national anthems from all the countries participating and some of the players have been in tears. So what really is in a national anthem that evokes such emotion?


saflag.jpgDo national anthems reflect the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the people or are they just meaningless words stuck in the dreams of days gone by?

What does your national anthem mean to you? Does it inspire you? Does it make you patriotic or does it leave you cold?

If you would like to tell us what you think of your national anthem LIVE on air on Wednesday 23 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Can Africa stay in the World Cup race?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 10:38 UK time, Tuesday, 22 June 2010

It is crunch time for South Africa's Bafana Bafana. Their next game against France will decide whether the host team will continue in the World Cup race. 


flagnails.jpgThe match takes place in Bloemfontein, a rugby-oriented Afrikaaner stronghold. We will be joining our reporters in Bloemfontein to find out how much local interest the game is generating.
Back in 1995 the Rugby World Cup was credited with having a hugely positive effect on race relations in the country. Will this World Cup have a similar effect?

Will any African teams make it to the next round of the World Cup? What hopes do you have for your favourite team?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 22 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Do Africa and South America make the best partners?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 14:25 UK time, Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Ivory Coast versus Brazil must be one of the first round fixtures at the World Cup that lovers of the beautiful game are looking forward to the most.  There is no doubt that Africa and South America have mutual respect for one another on the football field. But what about in other areas?


worldmap.jpgThese are two continents with much in common. Apart from the obvious cultural ties, both are rapidly-expanding, developing regions, and in recent years they have striven to promote a stronger economic bond.  The start of the Africa-South-American summits in 2006 is one way in which these common interests are being nurtured.

So how else can South America and Africa cooperate? What can these two continents learn from one another in order to thrive in future?  Are they more naturally suited as partners than they are with the west? 
If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 17 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Have you escaped the World Cup?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 12:55 UK time, Tuesday, 15 June 2010

On a continent that is football crazy, some people might be reluctant to admit that they do not like football.


crowd.jpgIf this is you, then this is the forum for you to confess all, and vent your spleen. Africa Have Your Say is inviting all non-football fans to a special 'World Cup antidote' show.

Are the sound of vuvuzelas setting your teeth on edge? Do you shudder when you hear the crowds cheering? Perhaps you simply prefer another sport and object to football's dominance. Or you feel obliged to take an interest in the World Cup so as not to feel like an outcast.

Tell us, what are you doing to get away from World Cup fever? 

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 16 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Is the World Cup bad for productivity?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 14:11 UK time, Monday, 14 June 2010

Africa's first World Cup is truly underway but most matches are played during working hours. So are people skipping work to watch the games?


footiefan.jpgWhat is going on in your work place? Has your productivity gone down as you keep one eye on the football? Are you a boss struggling to keep people interested in work?
We would like to know how you are juggling work and the World Cup. Send us your views

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 15 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Has Africa got World Cup fever?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 14:16 UK time, Thursday, 10 June 2010

The World Cup is here, and we are taking the temperature from across the continent.



wc_mascot.jpgListen again to the BBC's Vera Kwakofi in South Africa, where excitement is building among fans and players who have converged on the country from all over the world.   

We would like you to link your voices with theirs. Let us know what your experiences are of the teams representing the continent. Who do you think will win? What matches will you be attending? Have you mastered the art of blowing the vuvuzela? Perhaps you have made new friends from countries that you never thought you would visit? Send us your stories. 

Is Nollywood destroying Africa's film industry?

Charlotte Attwood | 11:14 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The BBC Africa Kicks bus has left Ibadan and Africa Have Your Say comes live from Lagos, the headquarters of the budget Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood.


nollywood.jpgNollywood is makes billions of dollars and has become the staple entertainment for millions across the continent. But some believe mass production is compromising standards.

What do you think? Is Nollywood ruining Africa's young film industry? Do you watch Nollywood films and if so why? If not, why not? Do you think Africa's film industry would be taken more seriously on the global stage if it weren't for Nollywood? Or would your life just not be the same without Nollywood films? Send us your views.

To debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 9 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.


Tales from the bus

Charlotte Attwood | 17:10 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

Check out some photos of the Africa Kicks trip

Saturday 5th June



Alex here...I know it has been a while since I last gave you an update on how things are going but we've been extremely busy out here.

I'll quickly bring you up to speed with a couple of high lights from the days since we left Ivory Coast.

Day four (Thursday) saw us cross the border from Cote d'Ivoire into Ghana. We, the Africa Have Your Say team, had to be in Takoradi, which is about two hours from the border, before 16:00gmt. So we hopped off the bus and took a taxi. More on that later.

When we got to Takoradi we found a lively and very welcoming town. There is profound optimism among the local people when they talk about the oil that has been found off their coastline. International banks and hotels are springing up all over the place - a clear indication that big business is rubbing its hands and chuckling in anticipation of things to come.

From there it was on to Cape Coast and Accra. Here the Deputy Minister for Energy was given a good grilling by our Africa Have Your Say audience that had gathered to discuss the chronic power cuts they face day to day.

After that programme it was back on the bus and off to the Togolese border. I actually tried to type this diary entry then but in vain. You see, at that moment, I was being tossed up and down in my seat as the bus bounced along on a pothole riddled road that had been stripped of tarmac.

Our drive out of Ghana reminded me of our ride into the country from the border with Ivory Coast. Remember I said I'd tell you more about that later? Well here goes:

Generally speaking, I found the roads we used in Ivory Coast impressive. Be it in the capital Abidjan, or those villages we visited (three hours away), the roads were good with a few square black patches showing that efforts are made to fill in any potholes.

But once we, the Africa Have Your Say team, crossed the border into Ghana, things changed. Remember, we were aboard a taxi having jumped off the bus in the interests of time.

Suddenly, we found gaping chasms in the road - some of them stretching right across its entire breadth. The driver kept swerving from right to left so much so that one of my colleagues began wondering on which side of the road they officially drive in Ghana. The roads, however, did get much better after 20 or so minutes.

Anyway, back to the Ghanaian border with Togo. After a lengthy and, in my opinion, completely unnecessary delay at the border crossing, we were finally allowed into Lome. Though for some reason, all the passports belonging to the East Africans among us were retained at the immigration office. We did, however, get them back later on at the hotel which was just five minutes drive from the border crossing.

Once in Togo, what struck me the most was the heavy, unwelcoming atmosphere. It was such a sharp contrast to that of Ghana. Some of the Togolese we met were much less willing to talk to us. They were withdrawn and sometimes even downright inhospitable. This by the way included our waiter at the hotel restaurant, a sixty something looking man who was manning about ten tables and achieving very little customer satisfaction. Every order made by a diner seemed like an irritation to him.

Perhaps the reason people were unwelcoming was because we are journalists and given the tough political times this nation has seen, the last thing people want is to talk into or look at a microphone, or a camera.

The one thing that struck us in Lome, the capital of Togo was how quickly it empties out on a Friday evening as people escape to their villages for the weekend. We also found out just before we left for Benin, that we had narrowly missed Togolese football star - and the BBC's African Footballer of the Year winner - Emmanuel Adebayor, who was in town.

Well, we were in and out of Togo like a shot, and off to Benin where much to our delight, we were warmly welcomed. We even got to meet the Minister for tourism as we drove from the border to the Capital - Cotonou and she gave us a couple of interviews.

The journey to the capital was made extremely entertaining by the antics of Gabriel, a police escort on a motorbike who proceeded to perform tricks like someone in a circus! He leaned his bike this way and that, went up on his back wheel, waving one arm in the air!

We also attended a voodoo ceremony in Ouidah village and later on, played a game of 'babyfoot'; but not before the voodoo priest predicted that an African team would win the World Cup. We will have to wait and see if that comes true!

There are more smiles and cheerful faces here. What a relief! I'll keep you posted on how things go here.

I'm starving so off to find some food to demolish.

Alex Jakana

Monday 31st May

africakicks4.jpgFrom "Drogbaville" to Abidjan

Alex Jakana here...we've just got into Abidjan from Gagnoa, the home town of Didier Drogba's ancestral village - Nyapridioh village (Drogbaville as I've heard some people refer to it).

We received an authentically warm African welcome when we got there.

Village elders from nearby communities as well as the chief, who evoked a blessing and poured libation, were all there waiting for us...scores of people from around the village too. Men, women, and children of all ages as well as, of course, Mr Drogba - Dider Drogba's father. Drinks were not in short supply.

And what are the chances that Ivory Coast would be playing a friendly at the exact time we were there?

As you can imagine, the whole place erupted when Drogba scored his goal against Paraguay in the game.

It is rather hot and humid though and some of the guys are finding it oppressive. Luckily for them, the driver had a mechanic boost the AC on the bus this morning. The cabin is now being lashed by what feels like arctic blasts to me.

Let me tell about the bit of drama we had on our way from Gagnoa when we stopped to stretch our legs. You see, a couple of our colleagues decided to use the opportunity to take some photos of the small roadside trading centre.

As they happily snapped away, a policeman (gendarme) walked up to them out of the blue and demanded an explanation. He then confiscated one of the cameras.

Apparently, according to him, one of the people being photographed was his wife and he found that less than acceptable.

He marched off to his office (an iron sheet roofed shed by the highway) with at least 4 journalist in tow, trying to explain what we were all about.

Anyway, after several minutes of negotiations and a stern warning, he handed the camera back and sent us on our way.

I suspect this may be the first of many equally entertaining episodes.

Sunday 30th May


africakicks1.jpgAlex Jakana here...we're in Abidjan finally! The bus has done its second trip, picking us up from the hotel and delivering us to our hotel in Gagnoa (Drogbaville if you like) some three and a half hours away.

Gagnoa is Dider Drogba's home town, as well as the home to one of the greatest football academies in the country.

After lunch we head to the academy.

I've got to say, it's been quite a journey so far. The morning of the 29th saw us take off from London in a feather light small craft which, after a wobbly flight, put us down in Paris. At least the cabin crew were on board unlike another European flag carrier I know.

Anyway, two hours later we were airborne, headed out of Paris and bound for Abidjan.

It was a decent flight until we arrived at Abidjan ... Where the pilot gave us a terrifying landing.

He pretty much just slammed the plane onto the tarmac ... It was almost as if the runway took him completely by surprise.

"Oh my goodness", he must have thought to himself, "who put that there?"

What's more is that three of our bags are missing. Still in Paris, I presume. (Or scattered along the runway in Abidjan after the Captain's little game of bounce the plane.)

Anyway, we are now checked into the hotel, have had our first meeting and are getting ready to get some much needed sleep.

It's my first time in Ivory Coast and I love what I've seen so far.

It's the rainy season out here but temperatures are still high making it humid and hot at night. ... But I'm ok with that. I grew up in Uganda.

The night drive from the airport told me a story of a well planned city, full of energy and vibrancy. An observation driven home by the young woman I spotted taking boxing lessons on the veranda of a closed high street super market as we drove by.

Gotta hit the sack now, I am knackered.

How important is Nigeria to Africa?

Chikodili Emelumadu | 15:56 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

The BBC Africa Kicks bus is now in Nigeria, on the final leg of the Africa Kicks bus tour, having been to Togo and Benin over the weekend.


466.jpgThe Africa Have Your Say team met a lot of Nigerians on the way as both these countries' economies are supported by close ties with Africa's most populous nation.

In recent times, the American President Barack Obama has said that Nigeria;

Is critical to the rest of the continent and if Nigeria does not get it right, Africa will really not make more progress.

Do you agree with this statement? How important is Nigeria? Which African country is most important to you other than your own, and why?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 08 June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published. You can find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @bbcafricahys. You can also send an SMS text message to +44 77 86 20 20 08.

Can Africa sort out its electricity problems?

Charlotte Attwood | 13:34 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Africa Kicks bus has now made its way to the capital city of Ghana, Accra. Africa Have Your Say is live from the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and we'll be talking about how to resolve Africa's electricity problems.

Two days ago the Ghanaian government increased the price of electricity in the country by over 40%. This is in a country grappling with constant black outs where millions fear power cuts will prevent them following the progress of the Black Stars at the World Cup.

These problems are certainly not restricted to Ghana. The Africa Kicks team experienced two consecutive days of power interruptions when we were in Ivory Coast, earlier this week.

How can Africa sort out its electricity problems? What's the power situation in your country? How have electricity shortages affected your life? Do you feel electricity is a priority for your government? Are we just too reliant on electricity? Should there be an alternative? What radical solutions do you have? Send us your views.

To debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday 3rd June at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.



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