This WeekBy Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

This Week
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Wed, Aug 29 2007 by Iquo Essien
A coupla things caught my eye this week. Check it out...


The African Blogger


Johannesburg, South Africa -- The health department recalled a batch of condoms due to allegations that Latex Surgical Products (LSP), the company that produces Zalatex condoms, bribed an official at the South African Bureau of Standards to approve condoms that failed to meet quality criteria. Zalatex condoms with the lot number 4308/ZLX have been recalled. Up to 7-million defective condoms may have been distributed free of charge to the public, putting users at risk.

There is nothing funny about this story. A whole bunch of folks need to be fired. And how the hell do you recall a condom anyways? Someone please explain that to me. Nigerians may get a bad name, but I have never heard some ill isht like this. It represents the absolute worst in governmental corruption, in a country whose infection rate is already at pandemic proportions.

Over the last coupla weeks the media have been leaking stories that Health Minister Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, whose anti-AIDS policies have been largely criticized, is really a drunk, which was the alleged cause of her liver transplant this year. I hope that's not true, but it would explain a few things.

In a related story, Durex launched a range of "extra-large condoms" designed to appeal to the well-endowed male. "A large number of South African men are bigger and complain about condoms being uncomfortable and too small," said Durex manager Stuart Roberts. AIDS activists hope the new line will lead to safer sex practices, as some men refuse to wear them on the grounds of poor fit and comfort. All I have to say is, excuses, excuses, excuses. I distinctly remember watching my health teacher fill a condom with a gallon of tap water back in fifth grade. That being said, making condoms sexy isn't a half bad idea.


Freetown, Sierra Leone -- Though outgoing president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah threatened to impose a state of emergency following election-related riots in Kono on August 27th, and the stabbing of at least six people in Freetown, international officials remain optimistic that Sierra Leone will not descend into violence before the run-off presidential elections on September 8. People's Movement for Democratic Change leader Charles Margai recently endorsed opposition leader Ernest Koroma (All People's Congress) for the presidential bid. (Tonight at Joe's Pub, join the Dry Yai Crew and DJs Spooky and Reborn for a celebration of Sierra Leone's first democratic election since the civil war. Proceeds to benefit African Refuge.)


Oslo, Norway -- The second annual UN conference on the African Green Revolution kicks off today. This year's conference - themed "Partnership for Productivity" - is geared toward garnering support for African farming communities as they evolve from subsistence farming to sustainable modern agriculture. It will emphasize public-private partnerships, drawing a wide range of participants, including policymakers, government officials, NGOs, farmers, entrepreneurs and business leaders. I'm not sure I'm buying into this idea. It sounds a little too hip, kinda like the whole Live 8 global warming thing. I mean, as they move away from subsistence culture, are they moving toward a trading culture? If so, they should prepare to get screwed.


London, England -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other dignitaries were on hand today for the unveiling of a statue of former South AFRican President Nelson Mandela in London's Parliament Square. Mr Mandela said: "Though this statue is of one man, it should in actual fact symbolize all of those who have resisted oppression, especially in my country." The statue goes up after much back and forth over where it was to be erected, and even concerns over its artistic merit. It's final resting place faces statues of Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli, and Abraham Lincoln. London Mayor Ken Livingstone noted, "Long after we are forgotten, you will be remembered for having taught the world one amazing truth, that you can achieve justice without vengeance." All I've got to say is, know your history Mr. Livingstone! Don't confuse MLK with Mandela. The latter mos def participated in armed resistance, but I guess that doesn't make for a great soundbite.


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