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Thread: Keeping an eye on Africa

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Moderator note: I've unilaterally barred Didgevillage from this thread, whose posts I don't mind saying publicly I personally find objectionable, provocative and unpleasant.

    ~~~

    The best trip of my life was in December 2000 when I crossed the Kalahari desert in Botswana in a 4x4: A most magical place. As many reading this may know, I spent most of the first 8 years of my life in Nigeria and then Ghana, and it feels I have Africa in my blood. Only those who've traveled there may readily know what this means.

    Since then I've returned many times: not to West Africa, where Iloveyou has explored extensively, but to East and Southern Africa. And yes, it's a vast continent, far larger than depicted on regular maps.

    I've spent time in the Masai Mara and the Ngorongoro Crater, climbed high on Mount Kenya, attempted to climb the Mountains of the Moon but was turned back by a high fever, and had a memorable solo experience on Mount Elgon (the world's largest extinct volcano) where, with no map, I ended up on a smuggler's trail.

    There, without having planned to, I traversed the mountain and ended up in Uganda without my passport, very much to the excitement of a 12 year old border guard with a gun as large as he was. (A kindly local villager, who knew him, helped calm him down and allow me through to catch the bus back to Nairobi. The boy, maybe understandably, had flatly refused to believe I'd accidentally hiked over Mount Elgon from Kenya.)

    The briefest summary: I've always found Africans to be the most spirited, wonderful people, full of humor and life, often despite staggering hardship. Iloveyou will know exactly what I mean.


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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)
    Official travel warnings are often overstated - in case of Mauritania, for example - but for Mali they are almost accurate. I‘ve been in Bamako, Mali in February/March for three weeks . . .
    You've been there? Very cool. Where else have you traveled in Africa? Anywhere you'd particularly recommend? I'd also like to see South Africa. Mainly cause one of their cities is a sister city to mine (Port Elizabeth), but I'd also like to check out Joburg.
    Hi Strat, since you threw in such a ‚kinda random‘ oneliner, I just couldn‘t ignore it

    Why Mali ? Been to West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali) and traveled on a tight budget by public transport. No aircondition, no hired cars and guides (one exception), no restaurants (rarely), often no running water and limited electricity, for five months. It was the most wonderful and rewarding time and I‘ll return next year. Another person might say: Nothing but poverty, dust, sand, goats and garbage heaps! Get me out of here!

    Sometimes a place calls you, maybe for years, before you go. South Africa sounds exciting. It is on my list, too. I guess, a sister city is a good reason to start. Like: been to the most Western point of Africa, now I should see the most Southern point, too.

    I‘ve heard people say: Once you‘re hooked on Africa, it is forever. So take care

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    Moderator note: I've unilaterally barred Didgevillage from this thread . .
    Oh Bill, I don‘t see any reason to ban Didgevillage from the thread. Most people will not agree with his views - me neither - but I see no harm done by him. I‘m at a loss to express precisely what I want to say because of my very limited 500-word-non-native-speaker-vocabulary. Isn‘t INTEGRATION / INCLUSION one of our most powerful tools (as long as a person/situation isn‘t outright dangerous)?

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)

    All kinds of people will show up. People with ‚white supremacist’-views, too, probably.

    This is why we are in the ‚Human Condition‘ section.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    Thanks so much for your story and your beautiful comment.

    Here I agree wholeheartedly!

    Is that you on the picture, the little one, I mean ? :-)




    PS. Bill, how about the simple title: ‚Keeping an eye on Africa?’ (would prefer that)
    Last edited by Iloveyou; 1st May 2019 at 16:55.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)

    Why Mali ?
    Honestly, not sure. Or maybe "I don't remember" is a more fitting answer. I am an armchair anthropologist and I'm always looking up people/places. At one time I was reading about Mali and it became attractive to me. I do know I wanted to travel to Timbuktu because it's legendary. I've also always been fascinated by the sahara, Very Very Very cool.

    I've always been attracted to places that were a bit more in the middle of nowhere. Again, I truly don't know why. Seems cool.

    If I did go to Africa for sure the first place I'd go would be Egypt & Sudan to visit all the ancient egyptian sites. Not off beaten path I know but I've been attracted to that since I was in 4th grade (video game inspired believe it or not).

    The port elizabeth thing ties more into my own personal life, part of my own little quest to make the world a better place.

    Somalia looks beautiful, shame its so dangerous. So much history.

    My aunt and uncle went on a missionary trip to Kenya and they loved it.

    I'm sure I'll go somewhere in Africa just don't know where? I'm not at that time in my life.
    Last edited by Strat; 1st May 2019 at 17:31.
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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    The Phnom Penh Times

    Megalithic Stone Circles Unveiled In Senegal's Museum Of Black Civilizations

    Published 8th April 2019

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)

    Why Mali ?
    Honestly, not sure. Or maybe "I don't remember" is a more fitting answer.
    Whenever I was asked: why Africa? I struggled to explain but always, always ended up saying: the honest answer is: I don‘t know. This is no joke.

    Being attracted to places because they’re cool. I hear you perfectly. Middle of nowhere. Or end of the road. Like Cape Town. End of the North-South route.

    If I was to make one recommendation it would be Mauritania. For the Sahara. For the Nowhere. The Now here. For the ancient cities and libraries, half buried in the desert, the sand tracks. For the incredible people.

    It is inexpensive and safe.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by Iloveyou; 1st May 2019 at 17:31.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)

    If I was to make one recommendation it would be Mauritania. For the Sahara. For the Nowhere. The Now here. For the ancient cities and libraries, half buried in the desert, the sand tracks. For the incredible people.
    I'd also recommend Botswana, for different reasons. Physically gorgeous, and also very well governed with strong investment in infrastructure (schools, highways, communications, transport, healthcare). I didn't see any poverty, and (when I was there) I was told by everyone there was little or no government corruption. (In Africa, and maybe even in any continent it does have to be said that's quite something.)

    That's where half the Kalahari desert is, though the Botswana Kalahari isn't a sea of sand like the Sahara: there's quite a lot of vegetation growing in the sand, but just zero surface water.

    The other half of the Kalahari is in Namibia, an equally or maybe even more beautiful place. It also borders the ocean, and with much more open sand, and I've wanted to visit there for decades now.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Just a FYI - we are setting up to do two projects in Namibia and Botswana - finding primary water, aquifers and underground streams - We've analyzed via satellite so far and things look promising.

    Bill you'd be invited to come along if you want for part of the documenting. Quite amazing places both Botswana and Namibia.. Very humanitarian and very much for the People.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Why Mali?
    Never been but I'd love to go. However, until then we can enjoy the music of Mali, it's fantastic. Mali is rather well known for it's music.

    Ya, I'd love to go to Botswana and other areas of east Africa too.

    Below is West African Kora & Ngoni music of Mali and Senegal with nice visuals too.




    More good stuff - Adama Yalomba "Mbora" - Music of Mali

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    For the misinformed amongst us...

    I for one will join in with anyone, I don't care what color you are as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this Earth - Malcolm X / Tsar Of The Star

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Forest Denizen (here)
    By the way, this might surprise some of you but here is an actual size comparison of the size of Africa versus some other countries. Taken from Scientific American.

    Not sure what the point is of this pic? Why the apples with oranges comparison? Continents versus continents, countries versus countries. Why is Australia not overlayed there then? That is both a country and a continent. Maybe that would cause people to think too hard and see propaganda? Africa is a continent, not a country. So it is with the EU but on with the one world govt right? Imagine the maps we could draw.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by HaveBlue (here)
    Quote Posted by Forest Denizen (here)
    Not sure what the point is of this pic? Why the apples with oranges comparison?
    Continents versus continents, countries versus countries.
    As I‘ve understood, it is not about countries or continents, it is a creative, funny way to demonstrate how big the African continent is in relation to other places. Because the well known and widely used Mercator projection doesn‘t show that. It provides a completely distorted image of the world. Anyway, all types of projection, all worldmaps are wrong.



    Light blue: Mercator projection
    Dark blue: Actual size of countries in relation to each other

    As an experiment one could try to draw a world map from
    memory and then compare it to the actual proportions.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)
    Quote Posted by HaveBlue (here)
    Quote Posted by Forest Denizen (here)
    Not sure what the point is of this pic? Why the apples with oranges comparison?
    Continents versus continents, countries versus countries.
    As I‘ve understood, it is not about countries or continents, it is a creative, funny way to demonstrate how big the African continent is in relation to other places. Because the well known and widely used Mercator projection doesn‘t show that. It provides a completely distorted image of the world. Anyway, all types of projection, all worldmaps are wrong...

    ...As an experiment one could try to draw a world map from
    memory and then compare it to the actual proportions.
    Yes, thank you, HaveBlue and Iloveyou, I should have been more clear in my post. I just wanted to illustrate how vast Africa really is versus the perception many hold due to the Mercator Projection and other more nefarious influences

    Here's a useful chart for getting the idea across, sorry about the lack of formatting:

    Geographic Area (millions of square kilometers)
    Top 15 countries

    (Africa) 30.4

    Russia 17.1
    Canada 10.0
    China 9.6
    U.S. 9.5
    Brazil 8.5
    Australia 7.7
    India 3.3
    Argentina 2.8
    Kazakhstan 2.7
    Algeria 2.4
    DR Congo 2.3
    Greenland 2.2
    Saudi Arabia 2.1
    Mexico 2.0
    Indonesia 1.9

    Other nations and city-states

    South Africa 1.2
    Venezuela 0.9
    Afghanistan 0.65
    Somalia 0.64
    France 0.55
    Spain 0.51
    Germany 0.36
    Poland 0.31
    Italy 0.30
    Luxembourg 0.003
    Monaco 0.000002
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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    If we apply Occam’s razor analysis to the phenomenon of Africa, we can probably draw a few hypotheses?

    1. Africa may not have been the birthplace of “civilization”, whatever that is, but it is most likely the birthplace of modern man, in all of its multifarious forms.

    2. The earth is rejecting the white man, the purveyors of war, climate destruction, and commoditization of all things beautiful and natural, so much so, that the average “Caucasian “ can’t reproduce, yet the Africans, in spite of biological warfare such as HIV, seem to continue to thrive - until we intercede.

    3. Gaia knows her natural enemies- those who seek to pillage and destroy, versus those in the end who survive as they are the ones who do the least harm.

    So this begs the question, “what exactly is civilization”? That which co-exists with nature or those who seek to destroy her?
    Last edited by AriG; 3rd May 2019 at 01:10.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by HaveBlue (here)



    Not sure what the point is of this pic?
    It's about the sheer size of Africa, nothing else.

    Because the Mercator Projection (our 'usual' map of the world) very much distorts areas — giving prominence to Europe, interestingly, where the projection originated in the 16th century — our minds are conditioned to think of Africa as a lot smaller than it really is, even though Mercator still shows it as quite large.

    But it's really quite an enormous place.
    Last edited by Bill Ryan; 3rd May 2019 at 01:11.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Maybe I missed it in a previous post, but what is the alternative to the Mercator Projection? I've been meaning to get a decent (giant) map and put it on my wall like a poster, but I will use it as a reference when needed. Plus maps look cool.

    Also something I wondered about Africa: Say 5 African friends, who are all from different African countries, walk into a bar. Would a separate African observer be able to identify the countries they're from straight away, or would it be a bit more difficult?
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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Maybe I missed it in a previous post, but what is the alternative to the Mercator Projection? I've been meaning to get a decent (giant) map and put it on my wall like a poster, but I will use it as a reference when needed. Plus maps look cool.
    See this great little thread:
    ... and BE SURE to watch the video. Just 4 minutes, but you'll never forget it.

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Also something I wondered about Africa: Say 5 African friends, who are all from different African countries, walk into a bar. Would a separate African observer be able to identify the countries they're from straight away, or would it be a bit more difficult?
    Wonderful question. There are many cultural and traditional differences separating North Africa, West Africa, Saharan Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.

    Languages are different, too: there are over 2,000 languages spoken in Africa (!), but four of the principal five are all imported from Europe: Afrikaans, English, French and Portuguese.

    The fifth is Swahili. In general, if you want to travel widely in Africa and be able to communicate, you need both English and French.

    Skin color and facial features differ, too: for example, those from North-East Africa often have darker (sometimes almost black) skin, and more Arabic features.

    But I'd guess folks from the following groups of countries might be pretty hard to tell apart at first meeting:
    • Morocco—Libya—Algeria—Tunisia
    • Mali—Senegal—Mauritania-Gambia
    • South Africa—Botswana—Zambia—Zimbabwe—Malawi
    • Kenya—Uganda—Tanzania
    • Egypt—Somalia—Sudan
    I'd be most interested in Iloveyou's answer to this question.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections
    You can click on the image to enlarge it and get details.

    Quote Posted by Strat (here)
    Also something I wondered about Africa: Say 5 African friends, who are all from different African countries, walk into a bar. Would a separate African observer be able to identify the countries they're from straight away, or would it be a bit more difficult?
    That‘s an interesting thought. Next time I shall ask people, but I’ll have to make sure not to embarrass myself I think people from a certain greater region (like one country with all its neighbouring countries) will recognize each other immediately - not by their country, but by their ethnicity, their nation, their ‚tribe‘; often also by their clothing or headgear. Features are very distinctive. And as soon as they speak, of course by their language. They live together and interact daily.

    There are large ethnic groups like the Fulbe, widely dispersed across many countries for centuries. And there are quite small groups who have never left their home region. That would make a difference. A group of youngsters in a big city who identify themselves with a certain youth/music style may not be distinguishable at first glance. And a guy from Mali will probably not identify someone from, say, Mozambique. A small country like Sierra Leone has already sixteen ethnic groups. I‘m sure at least the five or six major ones recognize each other easily.

    What was the question again? The more I think about it, the more complicated and multifaceted it gets.

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    But I'd guess folks from the following groups of countries might be pretty hard to tell apart at first meeting:
    • Morocco—Libya—Algeria—Tunisia
    • Mali—Senegal—Mauritania-Gambia
    • South Africa—Botswana—Zambia—Zimbabwe—Malawi
    • Kenya—Uganda—Tanzania
    • Egypt—Somalia—Sudan
    This, Bill, I think is true for us non-Africans.

    That‘s what I believe. I could be completely wrong.
    Only from the looks, at first glance? Hmm, not so sure anymore.
    Last edited by Iloveyou; 3rd May 2019 at 22:55.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa

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    Tomorrow's Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa

    You won’t see segments about it on the nightly news or read about it on the front page of America’s newspapers, but the Pentagon is fighting a new shadow war in Africa, helping to destabilize whole countries and preparing the ground for future blowback. Behind closed doors, US officers now claim that “Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today.” (Nick Turse)



    24:40 / 2017

    “We’ve seen a significant increase in U.S. military training to the African continent in recent years.”

    AFRICOM uses extremely broad language to describe training missions, including those in which troops are killed in action. “When push comes to shove training missions can easily cross the line into combat operations.”

    Experts warn the surge in U.S. military activities lacks strategic planning, and that providing training and equipment to such poor nations with fragile governments can result in greater instability.

    This is particularly risky “in countries where there is inadequate civilian control of the military.” In 2012 a U.S.-trained Army captain, Amadou Sanogo, overthrew Mali’s elected government. Two years later, Lt. Col. Isaac Zida, another U.S.-trained officer, seized power in Burkina Faso.

    articles:

    https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/...issions-africa (2017)

    https://www.nickturse.com/articles-1

    "The average journalist follows the herd of others. A bold one like Nick Turse goes to where the herd isn’t." (Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost)

    Last edited by Iloveyou; 4th May 2019 at 15:08.

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    Default Re: Keeping an eye on Africa


    Wall of Masks, IFAN Museum, Dakar © Bess Sadler

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