Friday, March 31, 2006

Good news from down south

So some people have written to me, to tell me that the Salon has neglected one aspect of its mission, which is to give positive stories about Congo, and Africa. It has been very difficult to do that from Congo, but this story from South Africa lends us such sunshine:
BBC NEWS | Business | Blacks drive South African boom

"South Africa's black middle class is driving a post-apartheid consumer boom in the country, a report has said

The group is responsible for almost a quarter of the 600bn rand spent yearly by consumers, the University of Cape Town's Black Diamond study said.

Government measures to bring the sector into the mainstream economy have helped its growth, the report added."
So, if I get it right, there are government-piloted social readjustment programs, aimed at allowing more people, among the disenfranchised branches of the population, to begin working at decent wages, in higher-profile jobs, in an increasngly equalizing society... what a revolutionary concept! Contrary to many African former colonies, the free South Africa inherited highly developped infrastructure, and a long culture of Westminster-style parliamentary system. The creation of a middle-class is THE stepping stone towards South Africa fully achieving regional super-power status, because aside from being an economic model, and a political spearhead, SA would then lead the continent even further in people empowerment methods and practices. We need a strong beacon, and a strong ground for the rest of the continent to step on. So this is good news! But:
"But while black consumers appear more brand conscious than their white counterparts many anomalies remain.

'There is a very strong cultural manifestation which is very unusual,' Mr Simpson said.

A 'cultural pullback' still lingers among the group, which appears to be 'living in two worlds', research leader Refiloe Mataboge added.

Almost half of the 750 people quizzed by the study said they still believed in the power of traditional healers while 75% believed in slaughtering cows to thank their ancestors.

Furthermore 90% still believe they must take care of their parents once they leave home."
Why is it that all Western pieces on Africa, must always include some 'subliminal' elements of colonial prejudices? Who decides - in this particular case, for instance - that wanting to care for elderly parents is a 'pullback'? The West (and unfortunately elites in emerging countries) seems to always be in the business of trying to impose its vision of what constitutes an ideal life, and an ideal society. So what people slaughter cows? People in Europe drink wine and are convinced it's the blood of some guy dead 2000 years ago, is that a pullback? I wonder...

1 comment:

Fleur d'Afrique. said...

The last part of that article actually upsets me. How is it a problem to continue your traditional beliefs?

I have 2 things or 3 to say about that in a future post. something like this:

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