BBCs exploring Africa Series


Baby elephant dying on BBCs new Africa series

Baby elephant dying on BBCs new Africa series. Source Simon Blakeney.The sun


David Attenborough’s new Africa series watched by over 6 1/2 million vieweres on its first episode, travels through the vast and diverse continent of Africa, from the soaring Atlas Mountains to the Cape of Good Hope, the brooding jungles of the Congo to the raging Atlantic Ocean.

The series, filmed over four years, explores the whole continent, uncovering bizarre new creatures and extraordinary behaviours. Here series producer James Honeyborne, producer Simon Blakeney and director Felicity Egerton talk about the experience of making Africa.

This weeks episode showing a slow painful death of a baby elephant was critisized by viewers who felt that BBC crew could have prevented the death. The full story was covered by the sun.

Ett ansikte bakom ditt julbord



Underlägg från Gone Rural på Julbordet

Underlägg från Gone Rural på Julbordet

Underlägg från Gone Rural i Swaziland på Julbordet. (bilden från Sveriges Radio )

Hållbar Jul utställningen blev uppskattad och uppmärksammades i media. En liten utmaning till alla julkonsumenter….



Här nedan en av tillverkarna från Gone Rural.

Ndzandza Magagula - Gone Rural Woman of the Week.

Ndzandza Magagula – Gone Rural Woman of the Week.

Ndzandza Magagula – Gone Rural Woman of the Week. (bilden från Gone Rural)

“Jag är en gammal kvinna, men fortfarande jobbar med Gone Rural och jag började många år tillbaka när jag var mycket starkare, med att tillverka bordstabletter och mattor. Detta arbete har hjälpt mig mycket som änka med 4 föräldralösa barn som är mina barnbarn. Vad jag älskar mest är att min dotter följde mina steg och hon har också anslutits till Gone Rrual “.

The Slow Movement

I have a daughter who turned 11 this year.  It took her 2 months of living in Sweden to realise that she didn’t have the ” correct wardrobe” to fit in. Her non branded, not so tight PEP store jeans shifted further and further back in her wardrobe. She recently told my husband and I, that not having an I phone made her feel like an outsider.  IS THIS EUROPE TODAY?

When we lived in Zambia I felt we were able to protect our children from “commercialism”.  But urban Africa is changing.  A recent study carried out in urban settings in Africa by  McKinsey South Africa shows that Private consumption in Africa is higher than in India or Russia; it rose by $568 billion from 2000 to 2010.6 From 2012 to 2020, consumer-facing industries are expected to grow a further $410 billion.

In Sweden I am involved with a network of businesses who recently held an exhibition called “Hållbar Jul (sustainable christmas) promoting sustainable consumerism with a focus on ethical, ecological and recycled brands.  The need to address overconsumption in the west is critical. Currently, the developed nations of the world consume at a rate of 32, while the rest of the developing worlds’ 5.5 billion people consume at a rate closer to 1.

The Slow Movement which advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace, came about in protest to fast foods in the 1980s. Slow food encourages the enjoyment of regional produce, traditional foods, which are often grown organically. The philosophy has extended its boundaries to include Slow fashion which promotes “quality over quantity”.A unified representation of all the “sustainable”, “eco”, “green”, and “ethical” fashion movements. Slow living is the choice to live consciously with the goal of enhancing personal, community and environmental well-being.

Professor Guttorm Fløistad summarizes the philosophy, stating:

The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal.

Child Health in Africa

I have previously worked within the health sector in Zambia. I managed a malaria program promoting private sector engagement in public health under CHAMP ( Comprehensive HIV/AIDs management programme). The programme was initiated by First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

The new health report released by UNICEF and its partners is welcoming showing a remarkable decline in child deaths worldwide.

 An estimated 6.9 million children died before the age of five in 2011, down from 12 million in 1990 and 8.2 million in 2005.  Although lagging behind Sub Saharan African also showed a reduction in child mortality by 39% in the same period. 

Interventions such as routine immunisation, distribution of mosquito nets to prevent malaria, malaria testing and treatment, antirtrovirals to prevent mother to child infection, better nutrition and improved water and sanitation have all contributed to the decline.

The burden still remains however. Almost 19,000 children under 5 still die each day,amounting to roughly 1.2 million under-five deaths from mostly preventable causes every two months.

Temporary malaria testing station, kalumbila

Temporary malaria testing station, Kalumbila

Further Reading:

Konsten att lyssna

Reflections  from Henning Mankell.


” The simplest way to explain what I’ve learned from my life in Africa is through a parable about why human beings have two ears but only one tongue. Why is this? Probably so that we have to listen twice as much as we speak.

In Africa listening is a guiding principle. It’s a principle that’s been lost in the constant chatter of the Western world, where no one seems to have the time or even the desire to listen to anyone else.  It’s as if we have completely lost the ability to listen. We talk and talk, and we end up frightened by silence, the refuge of those who are at a loss for an answer.

Many people make the mistake of confusing information with knowledge. They are not the same thing. Knowledge involves the interpretation of information. Knowledge involves listening. ” 

The full article

The art of listening

The art of listening

The informal sector in Africa

Elina Eriksson in her blog highlights the issues of street vending in Zambia.

I Zambia är gatuförsäljning för många en fråga om överlevnad. Eftersom arbetslösheten är skyhög är det det enda alternativet för att arbetslösa ska kunna få en inkomst och försörja sina familjer. Vår regering kom till makten förra året med löftet om “mer pengar i fickan”, så när gatuförsäljning förbjöds för en tid sedan och det blev folkstorm drogs förbudet snart tillbaka (regeringen insåg också att detta är deras främsta anhängare , bäst att hålla dem nöjda). Men  därefter har det bara gått utför………

The full article :Business in the street.

Klicka för att besöka det ursprungliga inlägget

Street vending in Zambia

An article by Babs Iwalewa  on describes the informal sector as being the numerous petty or small scale businesses operated by artisans, peasants and other micro entrepreneurs, within the economy. He describes this sector as an often neglected sector. Experts have argued  that this sector is often the driving force of the economy in many African countries.

The prominence of the informal sector in most African economies cannot really be underemphasized as almost all persons who cannot find placements within the formal sector of the economy finds solace in the informal sector of the economy.

Development, poverty alleviation, microlending programmes need to include this sector in their planning programmes.


  • The average size of the informal sector in developing countries is 41%
  • 60% percent of female workers in developing countries are employed by the informal sector.
  • Informal employment in sub Saharan Africa makes up 72%
  • Tax collection from the informal sector is problematic.
  • Aveage incomes in this sector are lower than in the formal sector
  • This is a growing sector

More reading: