Category Archives: Insight

Inside stories around the world

Secret Seven Sisters: Rise and Rise of the seven sisters.

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On August 28, 1928, in the Scottish highlands, began the secret story of oil.

Three men had an appointment at Achnacarry Castle – a Dutchman, an American and an Englishman.

The Dutchman was Henry Deterding, a man nicknamed the Napoleon of Oil, having exploited a find in Sumatra. He joined forces with a rich ship owner and painted Shell salesman and together the two men founded Royal Dutch Shell.

The American was Walter C. Teagle and he represents the Standard Oil Company, founded by John D. Rockefeller at the age of 31 – the future Exxon. Oil wells, transport, refining and distribution of oil – everything is controlled by Standard oil.

The Englishman, Sir John Cadman, was the director of the Anglo-Persian oil Company, soon to become BP. On the initiative of a young Winston Churchill, the British government had taken a stake in BP and the Royal Navy switched its fuel from coal to oil. With fuel-hungry ships, planes and tanks, oil became “the blood of every battle”.

The new automobile industry was developing fast, and the Ford T was selling by the million. The world was thirsty for oil, and companies were waging a merciless contest but the competition was making the market unstable.

That August night, the three men decided to stop fighting and to start sharing out the world’s oil. Their vision was that production zones, transport costs, sales prices – everything would be agreed and shared. And so began a great cartel, whose purpose was to dominate the world, by controlling its oil.

Four others soon joined them, and they came to be known as the Seven Sisters – the biggest oil companies in the world.

In the first episode, we travel across the Middle East, through both time and space.

“We waged the Iran-Iraq war and I say we waged it, because one country had to be used to destroy the other. As they already benefit from the oil bonanza, and they’re building up financal reserves, from time to time they have to be bled.”

– Xavier Houzel, an oil trader

Throughout the region’s modern history, since the discovery of oil, the Seven Sisters have sought to control the balance of power.

They have supported monarchies in Iran and Saudi Arabia, opposed the creation of OPEC, profiting from the Iran-Iraq war, leading to the ultimate destruction of Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

The Seven Sisters were always present, and almost always came out on top.

Since that notorious meeting at Achnacarry Castle on August 28, 1928, they have never ceased to plot, to plan and to scheme.

At the end of the 1960s, the Seven Sisters, the major oil companies, controlled 85 percent of the world’s oil reserves. Today, they control just 10 percent.

New hunting grounds are therefore required, and the Sisters have turned their gaze towards Africa. With peak oil, wars in the Middle East, and the rise in crude prices, Africa is the oil companies’ new battleground.

“Everybody thought there could be oil in Sudan but nobody knew anything. It was revealed through exploration by the American company Chevron, towards the end of the 70s. And that was the beginning of the second civil war, which went on until 2002. It lasted for 19 years and cost a million and a half lives and the oil business was at the heart of it.”

– Gerard Prunier, a historian

But the real story, the secret story of oil, begins far from Africa.

In their bid to dominate Africa, the Sisters installed a king in Libya, a dictator in Gabon, fought the nationalisation of oil resources in Algeria, and through corruption, war and assassinations, brought Nigeria to its knees.

Oil may be flowing into the holds of huge tankers, but in Lagos, petrol shortages are chronic.

The country’s four refineries are obsolete and the continent’s main oil exporter is forced to import refined petrol – a paradox that reaps fortunes for a handful of oil companies.

Encouraged by the companies, corruption has become a system of government – some $50bn are estimated to have ‘disappeared’ out of the $350bn received since independence.

But new players have now joined the great oil game.

China, with its growing appetite for energy, has found new friends in Sudan, and the Chinese builders have moved in. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is proud of his co-operation with China – a dam on the Nile, roads, and stadiums.

In order to export 500,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil fields in the South – China financed and built the Heglig pipeline connected to Port Sudan – now South Sudan’s precious oil is shipped through North Sudan to Chinese ports.

In a bid to secure oil supplies out of Libya, the US, the UK and the Seven Sisters made peace with the once shunned Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, until he was killed during the Libyan uprising of 2011, but the flow of Libyan oil remains uninterrupted.

In need of funds for rebuilding, Libya is now back to pumping more than a million barrels of oil per day. And the Sisters are happy to oblige.

In the Caucasus, the US and Russia are vying for control of the region. The great oil game is in full swing. Whoever controls the Caucasus and its roads, controls the transport of oil from the Caspian Sea.

Tbilisi, Erevan and Baku – the three capitals of the Caucasus. The oil from Baku in Azerbaijan is a strategic priority
for all the major companies.

From the fortunes of the Nobel family to the Russian revolution, to World War II, oil from the Caucasus and the Caspian has played a central role. Lenin fixated on conquering the Azeri capital Baku for its oil, as did Stalin and Hitler.

On his birthday in 1941, Adolf Hitler received a chocolate and cream birthday cake, representing a map. He chose the slice with Baku on it.

On June 22nd 1941, the armies of the Third Reich invaded Russia. The crucial battle of Stalingrad was the key to the road to the Caucasus and Baku’s oil, and would decide the outcome of the war.

Stalin told his troops: “Fighting for one’s oil is fighting for one’s freedom.”

After World War II, President Nikita Krushchev would build the Soviet empire and its Red Army with revenues from the USSR’s new-found oil reserves.

Decades later, oil would bring that empire to its knees, when Saudi Arabia and the US would conspire to open up the oil taps, flood the markets, and bring the price of oil down to $13 per barrel. Russian oligarchs would take up the oil mantle, only to be put in their place by their president, Vladimir Putin, who knows that oil is power.

The US and Putin‘s Russia would prop up despots, and exploit regional conflicts to maintain a grip on the oil fields of the Caucusus and the Caspian.

But they would not have counted on the rise of a new, strong and hungry China, with an almost limitless appetite for oil and energy. Today, the US, Russia and China contest the control of the former USSR’s fossil fuel reserves, and the supply routes. A three-handed match, with the world as spectators, between three ferocious beasts – The American eagle, the Russian bear, and the Chinese dragon.

Peak oil – the point in time at which the highest rate of oil extraction has been reached, and after which world production will start decline. Many geologists and the International Energy Agency say the world’s crude oil output reached its peak in 2006.

But while there may be less oil coming out of the ground, the demand for it is definitely on the rise.

One cant help but wonder what happens when oil becomes more and more inaccessible, while at the same time, new powers like China and India try to fulfill their growing energy needs.

And countries like Iran, while suffering international sanctions, have welcomed these new oil buyers, who put business ahead of lectures on human rights and nuclear ambitions.

At the same time, oil-producing countries have had enough with the Seven Sisters controlling their oil assets. Nationalisation of oil reserves around the world has ushered in a new generation of oil companies all vying for a slice of the oil pie.

These are the new Seven Sisters.

Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, the largest and most sophisticated oil company in the world; Russia’s Gazprom, a company that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin wrested away from the oligarchs; The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which, along with its subsidiary, Petrochina, is the world’s secnd largest company in terms of market value; The National Iranian Oil Company, which has a monopoly on exploration, extraction, transportation and exportation of crude oil in Iran – OPEC’s second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia; Venezuela’s PDVSA, a company the late president Hugo Chavez dismantled and rebuilt into his country’s economic engine and part of his diplomatic arsenal; Brazil’s Petrobras, a leader in deep water oil production, that pumps out 2 million barrels of crude oil a day; and Malaysia’s Petronas – Asia’s most profitable company in 2012.

Mainly state-owned, the new Seven Sisters control a third of the world’s oil and gas production, and more than a third of the world’s reserves. The old Seven Sisters, by comparison, produce a tenth of the world’s oil, and control only three percent of the reserves.

The balance has shifted.

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Ambivalence of the Arab spring in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The series of protests and demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa that commenced in 2010 has become known as
the “Arab Spring”,  and sometimes as the “Arab Spring and Winter”,  “Arab Awakening”  or “Arab
Uprisings”  even though not all the participants in the protests are Arab. It was sparked by the first protests that occurred
in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in protest of police corruption and ill
treatment. With the success of the protests in Tunisia, a wave of unrest sparked by the Tunisian “Burning Man” struck
Algeria, Jordan , Egypt , and Yemen , then spread to other countries. The largest, most organised demonstrations have often
occurred on a “day of rage”, usually Friday afternoon prayers. The protests have also triggered similar unrest outside
the region .

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As of September 2012, governments have been overthrown in four countries. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi
Arabia on 14 January 2011 following the Tunisian revolution protests. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February
2011 after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown on 23
August 2011, after the National Transitional Council (NTC) took control of Bab al-Azizia . He was killed on 20 October 2011, in his
hometown of Sirte after the NTC took control of the city. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed the GCC power-transfer deal
in which a presidential election was held, resulting in his successor Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi formally replacing him as the
president of Yemen on 27 February 2012, in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

During this period of regional unrest, several leaders announced their intentions to step down at the end of their current terms.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would not seek re-election in 2015,  as did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-
Maliki, whose term ends in 2014, although there have been increasingly violent demonstrations demanding his immediate
resignation. Protests in Jordan have also caused the sacking of four successive governments by King Abdullah .The
popular unrest in Kuwait has also resulted in resignation of Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah cabinet.

The geopolitical implications of the protests have drawn global attention,  including the suggestion that some protesters may be
nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize . Tawakel Karman from Yemen was one of the three laureates of the 2011 Nobel Peace
Prize as a prominent leader in the Arab Spring. In December 2011, Time magazine named “The Protester” its ” Person of the Year “.

Another award was noted when the Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda won the 2011 World Press Photo award for his image
of a Yemeni woman holding an injured family member, taken during the civil uprising in Yemen on 15 October 2011.

Back in December 2010 , no one was aware that the suicidal gesture of a young Tunisian street vendor would trigger a tidal wave of
unprecedented popular uprisings in his country and others .

The media reverberations have shaken the whole planet. However, in Sub – Saharan Africa , the impact was more profound than in other
continents . There was a spontaneous identification with the popular protests going on in Tunisia , Libya, Egypt , etc. not only because of
the geographical proximity , but also because of the many similarities as regards the socio – economic and political situations , and the
deep -rooted links between the nations north and south of the Sahara .

A glimpse of hope for Africa ?

Many Africans were saying in whispers: ‘ If they can do it , why can ’t we do it too?’

When demonstrators in Tahrir square , Habib Bourguiba avenue, or Al Mahkama square (Benghazi ), shouted their anger against protracted
dictatorship, resources plundering by ruling party members , the Head of State and the First Lady’ s relatives , against sham elections ,
deterioration of health , education and public services , etc . many Africans felt they had been victims to the same evils for ages . Even
those countries with a degree of political and media pluralism coupled with formal electoral competition , were not immune from that
identification . Actually, the immediate and more pressing needs of the African populace is neither political pluralism nor fair and free
elections , but primarily : decent conditions of living , equitable resource distribution , equality of citizens before the Law , and above all :
jobs !

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Joblessness , spiralling poverty and hopelessness are made more and more intolerable, in comparison to the unashamed luxurious life – style
of the regimes’ cronies .

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It was no surprise,then , to see demonstrations, albeit limited , erupting in a dozen of African countries , with open reference to the Arab
Spring . Many Africans were saying in whispers: ” If they can do it , why can ’t we do it too ?”
As for the African governments , there was a real sense of anguish and even fear . In Eritrea and other countries, media coverage of the
popular protests was officially forbidden. In Zimbabwe activists were arrested for circulating videos of the Arab uprisings . In the republic
of Chad , senior military officers and members of the parliament , some of them from the ruling party itself, have been imprisoned [ Fr ]
for months , for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government through an ” African Summer” inspired by the ” Arab Spring ” .

Those were the immediate reactions , but with time, things have evolved in different directions . Those ” down under” (“ceux d ‘ en bas ” , in
French ) became concerned about the turn of events in the Arab Spring countries . Interrogations turned into disappointment ,
disappointment turned into suspicion and , sometimes, outright rejection . On the other hand, the authorities gained confidence about their
ability to prevent, or at least circumscribe, any popular movement .
Fears and conspiracies

There are a number of reasons for that negative evolution , the more prominent ones being : the NATO military intervention in Libya , the
political pre – eminence of Islamist political parties , the sudden rise of the Jihadist / armed groups in Northern Mali and Syria , and the
armed forces interference with the political process in Egypt.

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As for Libya , we should bear in mind that late Colonel Gaddafi had gone a long way to assert himself as the champion of African
sovereignty and unity in the face of the West. Besides , many believed that the NATO military intervention went far beyond its no -fly
zone mandate, and that the bloody showdown in Libya could have been avoided, had the members of the UN Security Council given a
chance to the African Union initiative for a negotiated post- Gaddafi transition.

We must admit that some African intellectuals , particularly those with dogmatic conception of pan- Africanism , not so enthusiastic about
any criticism against Gaddafi , tried to reinterpret the Arab Spring phenomenon in an exaggeratedly negative way . Some governmental
circles had either encouraged or directly got involved in the recruiting of mercenaries for the benefit of Gaddafi . They began rubbing
their hands with glee , advocating that ; the brutal increase of security threats in Mali and in the Sahel- Sahara region at large , the
persistence of militia groups in Libya, as well as the horrid scale of illegal immigration- related humanitarian disasters , are proof that
the world without Gaddafi is far from being a better place.

Conspiracy theories started to flourish. For some , the popular movement has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaida
organisations with help from Gulf countries . For others , the whole process should be reassessed as a Western scheme , secretly crafted
years before the events , aiming at disorganising, if not directly destroying the concerned states , in order to weaken them.

If we add the complaints about the harassment of Sub – Saharan Africans by militia and security operatives in Libya and the mitigated
attitude of the Algerian authorities towards the international military intervention against Jihadi groups in Northern Mali , we can
assume that there is a serious misunderstanding between the Sub – Saharan Africans and their Arab “ brothers ” , and that the so much
trumpeted Afro – Arab solidarity and cooperation might be seriously undermined .

The way forward

In order to avoid putting the long standing Afro- Arab relationship in jeopardy, the elites in both regions should rise to their historical
responsibilities and bridge the gaps that start to take shape.

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African democracy advocates must emphasise the most important lessons of the Arab Spring . That being ; Bouazizi ’s sacrifice and the
social and political earthquake it has triggered, is proof that any autocratic regime , no matter how mighty and how bloody, can be
defeated by poor, downtrodden , ordinary citizens . Furthermore , the spark thrown around by the heroic people of Tunisia , has not only
burnt down the thrones of many a tyrant , but will reshape the whole course of history in the Arab world, in Africa and even in the whole
globe ; as did the storming of the Bastille prison , during the French revolution , which heralded the historical demise of absolutism and the
rise of republics throughout Europe and beyond .

They must also, unequivocally , distantance themselves from any attempt at depreciating the Arab Spring by instrumentalising the
shortcomings and contradictions absolutely unavoidable in such a titanic and complex struggle as the one which the Arab peoples have
been engaged in . These shortcomings would turn out as an invaluable gift , if we understand them as an opportunity for the rest of us to
draw the real lessons from the mistakes that were made , avoid reproducing them in our countries, thus enabling us to shorten the long
and rough road to liberty and dignity .

Arab democrats also should assume their share of the responsibility . They must keep in mind , and make their public opinions understand,
that Africa is far from a homogeneous entity . Dictators , only concerned about their longevity in power perhaps even at the price of
comprising Afro – Arab solidarity , should not be confused with the peoples . Narrow – minded chauvinists should not be confused with
genuine patriots..

The challenges facing us are of the same nature ; therefore , understanding and mutual support are central to the success of each of us.

Posted by Aduari Tekena. Teks4u200@gmail.com

Nelson Mandela: The Man Behind The Myth

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Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the village of Mvezo in Umtatu , then a part of South Africa’s Cape Province. Given the
forename Rolihlahla, a Xhosa term colloquially meaning “troublemaker”, in later years he became known by his clan name, Madiba.
His patrilineal great-grandfather, Ngubengcuka , was ruler of the Thembu people in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa’s
modern Eastern Cape province.  One of this king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his
surname.  Because Mandela was only the king’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan , a so-called “Left-Hand House”, the
descendants of his cadet branch of the royal family were morganatic, ineligible to inherit the throne but recognised as hereditary
royal councillors.  His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, was a local chief and councillor to the monarch; he had been appointed
to the position in 1915, after his predecessor was accused of corruption by a governing white magistrate.  In 1926, Gadla, too, was
sacked for corruption, but Nelson was told that he had lost his job for standing up to the magistrate’s unreasonable demands.
A devotee of the god Qamata , Gadla was a polygamist, having four wives, four sons and nine daughters, who lived in different
villages. Nelson’s mother was Gadla’s third wife, Nosekeni Fanny, who was daughter of Nkedama of the Right Hand House and a
member of the amaMpemvu clan of Xhosa.
Later stating that his early life was dominated by “custom, ritual and taboo”,
Mandela grew up with two sisters in his mother’s kraal in the village of
Qunu, where he tended herds as a cattle-boy, spending much time outside with
other boys. Both his parents were illiterate, but being a devout Christian,
his mother sent him to a local Methodist school when he was about seven.
Baptised a Methodist, Mandela was given the English forename of “Nelson” by
his teacher.  When Mandela was about nine, his father came to stay at
Qunu, where he died of an undiagnosed ailment which Mandela believed to be
lung disease.  Feeling “cut adrift”, he later said that he inherited his
father’s “proud rebelliousness” and “stubborn sense of fairness”.
His mother took Mandela to the “Great Place” palace at Mqhekezweni, where
he was entrusted under the guardianship of Thembu regent , Chief Jongintaba Dalindyebo. Although he did not see his mother again
for many years, Mandela felt that Jongintaba and his wife Noengland treated him as their own child, raising him alongside their
son Justice and daughter Nomafu.  As Mandela attended church services every Sunday with his guardians, Christianity became a
significant part of his life.  He attended a Methodist mission school located next to the palace, studying English, Xhosa, history
and geography. He developed a love of African history, listening to the tales told by elderly visitors to the palace, and became
influenced by the anti-imperialist rhetoric of Chief Joyi. At the time he nevertheless considered the European colonialists as
benefactors, not oppressors. Aged 16, he, Justice and several other boys travelled to Tyhalarha to undergo the circumcision
ritual that symbolically marked their transition from boys to men; the rite over, he was given the name Dalibunga.

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A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand , where
he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member
of its Youth League . After the South African National Party came to power in 1948, he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952
Defiance Campaign , was appointed superintendent of the organisation’s Transvaal chapter and presided over the 1955 Congress of
the People . Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was
unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded
the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign
against the apartheid government. In 1962, he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life
imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial .

Mandela served over 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island , and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison . An
international campaign lobbied for his release. He was released in 1990, during a time of escalating civil strife. Mandela joined
negotiations with President F. W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections in 1994 , in which he led the ANC
to victory and became South Africa’s first black president. He published his autobiography in 1995. During his tenure in the
Government of National Unity he invited several other political parties to join the cabinet. As agreed to during the negotiations to
end apartheid in South Africa , he promulgated a new constitution. He also created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to
investigate past human rights abuses. While continuing the former government’s liberal economic policy , his administration also
introduced measures to encourage land reform , combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as
mediator between Libya and the United Kingdom in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial, and oversaw military intervention in
Lesotho. He declined to run for a second term, and was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman,
focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Denounced as a Marxist terrorist by critics, he nevertheless gained
international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize , the US
Presidential Medal of Freedom , the Soviet Order of Lenin and the Bharat Ratna. He is held in deep respect within South Africa,
where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata (“Father”); he is often described as “the father of the
nation”.

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Nelson Mandela knew he would become South Africa ’s president in the 1940 s .
He was one of the younger members of the ANCYL ( African National Congress Youth League ) when he made this assertion at a meeting
of the party ’s leaders . It was a courageous move , bordering on rebellion , and stood in contrast to traditional customs which revere the
elderly.
But Mandela was different . He grew up among the royals who governed the Transkei homestead, and was groomed to one day take the
reins. Strong- willed and independent – minded , it was the attention he paid to ” little details ” which set him apart from his peers .
At Fort Hare University , a bastion of black intellectualism for southern and eastern Africa , his attire , not so much his political activity,
stirred the curiosity of his peers .
I thought Nelson had even better qualities than me , and I wanted him to have even more .
Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela mentor and ANC leader
” A white silk shirt on Nelson Mandela is different from a white silk shirt that we have . His is really white , and yours is not quite the
right white . He [ was ] a meticulous dresser ,” Joe Mathews , his former colleague and friend said . However, this was not just a man with
impeccable dress sense.
Mandela awoke early each morning at 4.30 am to begin a strict one- hour exercise regimen – one that few were able to keep up with , and
one that he continued to practice while imprisoned on Robben Island, and even after his release and subsequent presidency.
Essop Essak Jassat , a former parliamentarian and fellow activist in the Transvaal Indian Congress said that this discipline
also displayed itself in Mandela ’s diet. ” It was amazing how disciplined he was about his eating habits. Being our guest , my wife started
cooking exotic foods , but he just wanted one meal a day .”
A person through other people
In Johannesburg, soon after his arrival in the 1940 s , he decided he wanted to be the first black lawyer in the country. Here, he was
introduced to his future mentor , comrade and confidante , Walter Sisulu. From the beginning Sisulu, already an activist, identified Mandela
as a potential leader.

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” He happened to strike me more than any person I had met … When a young man of Nelson ‘ s nature came , it was a Godsend to me,”
Sisulu said in an interview with PBS . “ It ‘ s me who asked him what he wanted to do, and he told me he undertook to study law .”
Sisulu, an estate agent by trade , assisted Mandela and encouraged his ambitions.
” I thought Nelson had even better qualities than me , and I wanted him to have even more … I was also encouraged by his ability to
change , by his attitude to people … because of that, my natural behaviour was to encourage him to take a leading position ,” he said .
The Ubuntu philosophy recognises the social role in moulding each person : ” A person is a person through other people.”
Mandela , confident and disciplined as he was , was also carried on the shoulders of many extraordinary people who guided him , advised him
and engaged him .
As the cash – strapped young husband of Evelyn Ntoko Mase , Mandela ’s first wife, he was afforded the opportunity to study at the
University of Witwatersrand through funding from the Bantu Welfare Trust , of which Sisulu was a board member . Only a handful of
non – whites were then accepted at the university and it was here that his political thinking met alternate viewpoints .
Anti – racist politics of the left
Mandela ’s enrolment at the University of Witwatersrand also marked the beginning of his friendships and political asssociations with
people from other races .
” It was through the university that he met Joe Slovo, Ruth First, Bram Fischer , George Bizos , JN Singh and Ismail Meer , among others .
Like Mandela , nearly all these people had been raised within narrow racial confines , but were commingled by their interest in the anti –
racist politics of the left ,” David James Smith writes in Young Mandela : The Revolutionary Years.
When he missed the African curfew – a rule that black people had to return to their homes overnight – he often stayed over in
Ferreirastown in Johannesburg , at Meer’s home , and at the apartment that later became the home of Ahmed Kathrada ‘ s in Kholvad
House, where clandestine activist meetings were held.
Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, two activists who believed that non – whites should unite in non – violent resistance against the apartheid
laws , and other political activists , including Moses Kotane , Maulvi and Yusuf Cachalia , from the Communist Party of South Africa and
Sisulu frequented the flat .

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They often engaged in heated and vibrant political discussions about Africanism, socialism , communism , and Ghandism.
Anti – apartheid activist Moosa ” Mosie ” Moolla said that while Mandela was strong -minded and had his own way of thinking,
contact with leaders from other anti – apartheid organisations also influenced him . At the same time, Mandela and other activists enjoyed
a semblance of liberalism within their social and political circle of university friends.
Smith remembers that the parties of white activists , the Slovos , were renowned for their music , dancing and free -flowing alcohol, but
also known for being able to ” bring everyone together in close approximation of equality ” .
It is no question that the equality that existed within Mandela ’s social circles also inspired a sense of possibility within him and among his
peers .
‘Beyond the ability of black people’
However, this was sharply tested when Mandela failed in his dream of becoming a lawyer and was forced to settle with becoming an
attorney .
Studying part -time for seven years , he failed the final year three times and was denied a fourth attempt.
” I was a part- time student and resided in Orlando Native Location in a noisy neighbourhood ,” Mandela wrote in a letter to the dean of
the law faculty, begging for another chance at the exam . ” In the absence of electric light , I was compelled to study in the evenings with
a paraffin lamp and sometimes with a candle light .”
While this is an aspect of Mandela ’s life that he spoke little of, he later said the dean had told him that becoming a barrister was
” beyond the ability of black people ” . The sting of the remark must have stayed with him for years .
Smith writes that Mandela ’s first wife, Mase , believed that this was ” a personal motivation for his fight against apartheid .”
At the same time his political frustrations were rising .
Political pragmatism
” Ironically , Mandela ’s growing friendship with white and Indian communists and radicals coincided with the rise of his ANC Youth League
nationalism ,” writes Smith .
” While he was personally close with many white [ s ] and Indians , he was suspicious that many of them felt themselves to be intellectually
superior and would take over if the ANC tried to work with them .”
He says: ” Mandela [ along with other ANCYL members ] believed the struggle was the struggle of black Africans, first and foremost. ”
The apartheid regime passed three acts in 1950 , the Suppression of Communism Act , the Population and Registration Act and the Group
Areas Act , which strictly enforced the apartheid policies and were designed to crush any mass opposition movement. Activist Moolla says
that , while other parties of the time, the Transvaal ANC , the Transvaal Indian Congress; the South African Communist Party and others
launched strikes against the acts – in which people were killed – Mandela initially opposed the protest action.
” He was not convinced as yet ,” says Moolla . Despite this, in 1951 , Mandela was elected national president of the ANC Youth League .
Moolla says that this changed Mandela . In what he describes as a turning point for the leader, and more than just a sign of political
maturity , Moolla says Mandela began to look at things more pragmatically and objectively. ” It was a time of reflection for Mandela and
he realised that this was the will of the people, ” he says .
Mandela decided to put the people ahead of his own reservations and publically agreed with Dadoo ’s call for a united struggle between
the disparate anti – apartheid parties . In June 1952 , the Defiance Campaign , a non – violent programme of mass resistance , was launched,
with the ANC ’s Mandela at the helm .
The movement galvanised people and organisations comprising more than 8,500 people to confront the enemy , the apartheid regime , says
Moolla. The foundation stone was laid for the ANC coalition that would dominate the decades to come , Smith quotes white communist
Rusty Bernstein as saying .

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Different type of intelligentsia
During the same year , Mandela also opened the first black – owned legal firm in the country with Oliver Reginald Tambo , ” Mandela &
Tambo Attorneys” . Mandela and Tambo dedicated their days to the plight of their black clients who travelled from across the country to
be represented by them . His awareness of the plight of Africans developed even further.
Communist Party leader Chris Hani said that it was ultimately this selflessness that made Mandela as admirable as he was . ” We admired
[ Mandela and Tambo ] because we saw in them as a different type of intelligentsia ; an intelligentsia which is selfless, which was not just
concerned about making money, creating a comfortable situation for themselves , but an intelligentsia which had lots of time for the
struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa ,” Hani told historian Luli Callinicos in her book The World that made Mandela. ” How
they used their legal knowledge to alleviate the judicial persecution of the blacks .”
Later , shortly before his arrest, Mandela went into hiding. Yusuf Wadee, one of many anti – apartheid activists who hid Mandela in his
home says that Mandela had a deep -seated feeling for the well – being of people at large . Phathekile Holomisa , president of South
Africa ’s Council of Traditional Leaders, says that Mandela was the kind of leader that considered himself a servant of the people , rather
than a leader that would be served by other people.
As Mandela is laid to rest , it is perhaps his characteristic concern that ensures he will preside over hearts and minds long after he is
gone .

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Posted by Aduari Tekena. Teks4u200@gmail.com

Wenger has lost touch with modern football

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When Ivan Gazidis began the final negotiations to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton, Arsenal’s
chief executive arrived with a battery of lawyers and accountants by his side.
They all went into a private meeting room with Saints officials, breaking off for hushed conversations in
corridors whenever the selling club raised the stakes.
By then Oxlade-Chamberlain had, unknowingly, been the subject of a complicated economic formula established by
the Harvard business boffins employed on a sizeable retainer by the club.
Problems: A resigned Arsene Wegner looks on from the bench as Arsenal lose to Aston Villa
The bid Arsenal have submitted for Newcastle and France midfielder Yohan Cabaye appears, on the surface, to be
a knee-jerk reaction to the injury crisis and the pressure put on them by fans to ‘SPEND SPEND SPEND’ during
their defeat against Aston Villa.
Instead, he has been on the radar of Arsenal’s European scout Gilles Grimandi for some time. But the
businessmen across the pond slow down the recruitment process.
Gazidis’ belief in their academic acumen is total, although he has always been reluctant to explain how players as
bad as Nicklas Bendtner, told he could skip training to go back to Denmark three weeks ago, is earning £55,000 a
week.

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Arsene Wenger, who earns £7.6million a year at the Emirates, authorised Bendtner’s contract when the striker
was still boasting about becoming the best player in the world. Arsenal are proud of their due diligence,
justifying frugal spending in the Kroenke years by the business brains brought in to put every potential recruit
through a complicated financial model.
Crocked: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be out for six months after his knee injury
Wenger believes in the scientific principles established at the Emirates, although his team of scouts around the
world still work to the formula he brought with him in 1996.
His scouting team, headed by Steve Rowley, are asked to identify players with three distinctive characteristics:
pace, power and football Intelligence.
If only they had added a fourth — the mentality of champions — they really would be in business.
The dynamic training-ground environment, which was once the envy of the world when Thierry Henry, Dennis
Bergkamp and Robert Pires were pushing each other to reach new targets each day, has slowly been eroded.
There is tension in the air between Rowley and Bob Arber, Arsenal’s head of youth. At games, they don’t even
speak to each other.
Glory days: Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp were iconic figures during Arsenal’s success
They should be in constant communication, preserving the future of the club by monitoring the progress of
young players at Arsenal’s academy and bringing in the next generation. Instead, the young Gunners are on the
end of some hidings, losing 7-0 to Conference club Luton and beaten by a scratch team of Colchester kids 5-1
before the start of the season.
This is no way to run a football club and most people know that there is room for improvement in every area at
Arsenal.
Wenger has too much power — given the freedom of the football club because of his achievements at Highbury.
There he won three Barclays Premier League titles, four FA Cups and took Arsenal to within a whisker of
beating Barcelona at the Stade de France in 2006.
He knows the inner workings of every area of the club, which is rare in the modern game.
Spend, spend, spend: An Arsenal fan makes his feelings known to Wenger
Wenger’s detailed knowledge of every player’s contract even created an issue when Oxlade-Chamberlain was
making substitute appearances for Arsenal last season.
Written into the England winger’s deal is a clause stating that Arsenal must pay Saints £10,000 every time
Oxlade-Chamberlain appears for more than 20 minutes.
Incredibly a trend emerged, with Wenger bringing him off the bench after 72 minutes (v Stoke), 73 minutes
(Liverpool), 72 minutes (Coventry), 65 minutes (Norwich), 76 minutes (Fulham), 86 minutes (Tottenham), 67
minutes (Swansea), 73 minutes (West Ham), 71 minutes (Swansea), and 75 minutes (Reading).
Arsenal’s accounts department were stunned to receive an email from Southampton demanding payment for the
appearances, with the south coast club justifying their argument based on stoppage time.
Eventually Arsenal agreed to pay for the appearances and the story worked its way around the offices at the
Emirates with bafflement among staff.
They know Wenger calls the shots, but he is slow to move for targets.
Slow: Arsenal were too late when it came to trying to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace
Last season Rowley was a regular at Crystal Palace matches, following Wilfried Zaha around the country as
Arsenal stepped up their interest.
Rowley would pop up at Leicester or Burnley, watching Zaha closely as Palace headed for the play-offs and
promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.
When it came to the crunch, Wenger’s assistant manager Steve Bould picked up the phone to an old friend at
Palace to ask for his assessment of the £15m forward.
By then it was too late. Zaha had been given permission to meet Sir Alex Ferguson and the deal was wrapped up
within a day.
The England winger is another one to get away, but everyone at Arsenal knows that Wenger — a thoroughly
charming and decent guy — has failed to keep pace with the modern game.
Managers need technical assistance and expertise, something the top clubs in the Premier League have finally
accepted.
Partnership: Jose Mourinho works with director of football Michael Emenalo to recruit players at Chelsea
At Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has returned to Stamford Bridge on the understanding that he must work closely with
director of football Michael Emenalo on transfer targets.
Manuel Pellegrini is working under the technical team — Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain — as Manchester
City plan for five trophies in five years.
Tottenham have recruited Franco Baldini from Roma to work with Andre Villas-Boas as Daniel Levy returns to the
two-tiered European management structure he has always favoured.
Wenger has never been interested, preferring to rely on his own judgment and using Dick Law’s contacts book
when they make a move on a player.
Law, who is based in Dallas, met Wenger when he was working in south America and they became close during
David Dein’s time as vice-president.
He is popular with agents around the world, but they become frustrated when he pulls the plug on deals because
Wenger must always have the final word.
As Arsenal fans are aware, nothing adds up at the Emirates any more.

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Notice that in this photo shot, wenger is the only manager with his hand in his pocket, ironic considering his reluctance to spend.

Posted by Aduari Tekena. Teks4u200@gmail.com

Abrogation of obnoxious laws in Nigeria

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A close examination of some laws made in Nigeria point to the fact that the rights of the minorities over the control of their natural resources have been removed. At no time was this more noticeable than the military era. The truth however, is that military decrees inherited by a civilian government become enactments of the National Assembly except and until amended or repealed by it (National Assembly). The greatest victim of these decrees (laws) is the people of the Niger Delta. And oil, the major revenue earner in Nigeria, is found in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Before tge discovery of oil in Olobiri in 1956 and later in other parts of the Niger Delta region, what was the position? Elsewhere in this memorandum, especially the topics on True Federalism, Resource Control and Revenue allocation, reference was made to the emphasis on the derivation principle. Those were the glorious days of the groundnut pyramids, hides and skin (North), palm kernel and palm oil(Mid West), coal(East), cocoa(West), timber, rubber. The derivation principle in operation, these products became the main foreign exchange earners in Nigeria. The Constitution (1960-1963) provided for the federation to pay each Region 50% (fifty percent) of the proceeds of any royalty recieved by the Federation ‘Minerals’ included mineral oil.

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With the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the political equilibrum suddenly somersaulted. A plethora of decrees (laws) all schemed to expropriate the rights of the minorities surfaced.
First was the Petroleum Decree 1969 which was given validity in the 1979 Constitution. The Land Use Decree 1978 was smuggled into ( Section 274 (5) (d) of the 1979 Constitution. It gave the Federal Government the rights to extract minerals from the land, thus completely changing the land tenure system against the Niger Deltans. Several other decrees were promulgated primarily to deprive the oil rich zone of Niger Delta of their God-given resource-oil. The Civilian Regimes ( 1963 Republican Constitution, 1979 Third Republic Constitution and even The Fourth Republic 1999 Constitution) have not fared better. There are contradictions in the 1999 Constitution. For instance , Section 44. Contrast Section 44 (1) and (2) which provides compensation for compulsory acquisition of property, contradicts Section 44 (3) which vests “the entire poperty in and control of all minerals, mineral oils and natural gas in the exclusive economic zone of Nigeria, in the Government of the federation”. It accordingly expropriates all the properties of the mineral producing areas at not 99.9% but 100%. What is the essence of Chapter 4 – Fundamental Human Rights, in the face of such deprivations.

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The effects of these laws, to say the least, are oppressive, suppressive, exploitative and manipulative. The victims are the minority oil producing states who still live in abject poverty and suffer various pollutions to their environment from various international companies sucking their oil dry without given anything back, not even the decency of dicarding their waste properly or developing the very environ in which they make billions of dollars.

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Those who stand to gain are the majority non-oil producing states. Were the reverse the case and were oil be found in the majority states in commercial quantities, the pendulum would definitely swing in their favour. These obnoxious laws would be no more. But God can never be mocked, He knows best so He stores the Black Gold in the neglected swamps and mangrove forests of the Niger Delta Region.
In the new Nigeria we are fashioning for ourselves, these obnoxious laws or decrees (or whatever names they are called) should no longer be seen in our Constitution or statute books, we must solve problems from the root, if you want to fell a tree and you cut its branches only it will still grow back. The government have used pieces of papers to patch broken pipes by offering amnesty to millitants who have stood up to fight for the rights of the Niger Delta to have control over their oil.
Hence the call for the abolishment of these obnoxious laws (solving matters from its root)
(I)  The Petroleum Decree 1969 (CAP 351 LFN 1990)
(II) Oil Terminal Dues Act (CAP 339)
(III) The Land Use Act (CAP 202 LFN 1990)
(IV) Exclusive Economic Zone Act (CAP 116 LFN 1990)
(V) Petroleum Profit Tax Act (CAP 354)
(VI) Lands ( Title Vesting etc.)  Decree No. 52 of 1993
(VII) National Inland Water Ways Authority Decree No. 13 of 1997
(VII) Association Gas Re-Injection Act (CAP 26)
(IX) The Oil in Navigable Water Act (CAP 337)

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Politics , it is agreed, is a game of numbers. A game where majority oppresses the minority is no good game. True Democracy frowns at this. Equity, fairness and justice do not support it either. A law is nolaw if it is intended to purnish the minority states in favour of the majority states of Nigeria. A law is no law if it cannot be implemented. Such laws can at best be described as white elephants in our statute books. Nigeria has to contend with massive resistance and determined restiveness in the Niger Delta as long as these laws remain. Half-hearted measures are not enough, pretence is no answer. Leaders who have no conscience shall sleep no more till they blend their words with action.

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Posted by Aduari Tekena. Teks4u200@gmail.com

Inevitable flooding. Who will save us in Nigeria?

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Still reeling from the effects of last year’s natural disaster that rendered many people homeless and made many to
become beggars as a result of last year’s floods which destroy farm lands, life stocks and human settlements, at the
beginning of this year’s planting season which most victims of last year’s adversity had hoped to use in rebuilding their
shattered hopes and dreams, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) came up with another rounds of warning about
floods!
It will be recalled that most of the last year’s victims are yet to be fully resettled before this year’s warning! For
example, according to Thisday Newspaper editorial of Monday April 15, 2013, entitled: “The Unending Agony of Flood
Victims”. It reads: “With the sordid tales coming from the relief camps established after the unprecedented flood of last
year, it is obvious that the agony of families who lost loved ones, their homes and source of livelihood are yet to ebb.
While many have been ejected from the camps without being provided alternative shelters or any means of livelihood,
several others have become permanent refugees at these camps where they live under sub-human conditions. For these
unfortunate ones, their state of helplessness has now been compounded by the various committees constituted by states
and the Federal Government to provide them relief material for which they have no access”. “Today, there are sundry
tales of insensitivity on the part of the managers of the various relief camps who were said to have turned their
assignments in to another enterprise to line their private pockets”. With this type of mindless and unscrupulous
treatment in place, what do we think will be the reactions of the affected persons on hearing NIMET warning this year
again? Is life fair to all? How do we fight for justice within human affairs when nature it’s self is not fair to its human
guests?

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In a nation-wide broadcast to the nation on the devastating effects of last year’s flood, President Good Luck Jonathan
announced the release of N17.6
billion to all states affected by the last year’s flood. Also, the President announced the composition of a 34-member
committee with the mandate of
rising about N100 billion to be used in providing succour to flood victims. According to Thisday editorial: “…the committee
members were expected to
make donations and, as promised, they were to brief Nigerians regularly on the cash flow that would ensure judicious
expenditure, particularly at the
various camps in the states. To date, the committee is yet to render account of how much it has raised and how much it
has expended with specific details on its activities”.
However, from the look of things, floods have become a global phenomenon, as more people are been entangled by this
natural disaster. Every problem has its own solution! Hence, as parts of the strategy to proffer local solutions to local
problems, the Federal Government of Nigeria promised to build dams along the country’s two major rivers; River Niger
and River Benue so as to whittle down the current of these rivers during rainy seasons. Till today, what has happened?
With this reality, how can the people overseeing the affairs of flood victims extricate themselves from the accusation of
Mr. Dennis Igbana quoted in Thisday editorial as saying: “Our situation is that of the abandoned child, we are treated as
if we do not belong to this state or country; we are being abandoned as if we chose to be affected by flood. Now some
people in government are making jest of us, they took advantage of our situation to enrich themselves. While we live in
abject poverty, they are constantly praying for yet another flood because of what they stand to gain”. Now that the
number of states that would be affected in this year’s flood has increased to about 30 according to predictions, what
reasonable defense can those accused by Mr. Igbana put up as reason for not doing things rightly?
Nonetheless, since the government agency responsible for predicting our weatherand climatic conditions have raised
alarm about the impending flood that will accompany this year’s rainy season, the next thing expected of other
appropriate government agencies is to help evacuate these people from the riverine areas to hinterlands where they and
their loved ones would be safe and secure. It is not enough to raise alarm and watch the already battered and haggard
people to fend for themselves. Government should go beyond just raising alarm, to taking more concrete and palliative
steps that would make the would-be make-shift tents a home –away-from home for these Internally Displaced Persons
(IDP). The fact is that, we can be
subjected to the hallowing experiences of these people, no matter the
transient office we occupy.
Since Nature is becoming more hostile to its mortal guest in this part creation, all which is required among the co-
travelers of this earthly pilgrimage is unity of purpose; unity that reflects the common humanity we share as finite
beings!

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Posted by Aduari Tekena. Teks4u200@gmail.com