Africa’s Largest Class Action Law Suit?

“They came on horseback or by foot, trudging through Lesotho’s highlands and clutching tattered identity documents to back their claims that South Africa’s gold mining firms ruined their lungs.”

That’s Ed Cropely via Reuters writing about “the biggest class action suit Africa has ever seen” in  Special Report: From Gold Dust, a Billion Dollar Claim

“It’s hard to estimate the potential size of a silicosis class action. South Africa is the source of 40 percent of all the gold ever mined. At its height in the 1980s the industry employed 500,000 men – two-thirds of them from Lesotho, Mozambique and the Eastern Cape – although production has fallen behind China and Australia and employment since halved. But silicosis can take years to show up and check-ups are at best haphazard. A 2005 study by the National Institute of Occupational Health in Johannesburg, based on autopsies of miners, suggested 52 in every 100 had the disease.”




ShoutSA 2012

There’s definitely some unfortunate timing here with the recent release (and subsequent social media storm) on Kony 2012.  When I first watched this video, I really liked it.  I think trying to speak to people through music is an excellent way & South Africa certainly has enough musical talent to pull this off.

But then I started thinking more about the video, and about its goals.  Who is ShoutSA?  What do they do with my R20?  How can a video support the fight against crime?  I took to searching around the interwebs for some of this information, and apparently the people at ShoutSA got the message because this is what I found:

You can also see a list of their donations on their website

Even if I’m still not clear how much money they’ve received in donations and sponsorship relative to the almost R600.000 they have donated over the last 2 years, at least I was able to find some information. (Although R600,000 seems like an awfully small number to me).

This message shared by Danny K, when speaking about crime in South Africa, certainly resonates with every South African

It’s easy to say it’s the other guy’s problem but until we understand that we are all in the same boat and if there’s a hole in the hull, we’re all going down!

and perhaps that’s why these videos are so popular.

On Stop Kony 2012

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to twitter and search #Kony2012.

You can see the video that caused all the hype here:

But you should also read this: Kony 2012 campaign: Oprah and bracelets won’t solve problem (from The Guradian via Bill Easterly)

And then to learn more about the group behind the video “Invisible Children” read this: Invisible Children: Saviors or Sensationalists

Then you can read this – In Defence of the @Kony12 campaign

Some more food for thought (via Jillian C York, HT: Laura Seay ):

If we say #Kony2012 is a good idea, then we’re approving an environment in which causes compete by production value. Like Hollywood.

Link Roundup

Some non-political non-Africa distractions for your Monday.  (I’m up to my eyeballs in grading blue books!)

A challenge to stop multi-tasking via @Real_Simple (of course I’m attempting to clean a data set AND watching TV while typing this up…)

Polar Cub Cam via @Time (they said it best: “goodbye productivity)

Documentary Review: Milking the Rhino

This movie popped onto my radar when I was desperately trying to find interesting documentaries to show to my summer session class on Communities and the Environment.


We spent a few lectures studying community based conservation (and it’s faults) and I wanted to tie it all together with a documentary without having students take a little nap in my mid-afternoon just-15-minutes’-walk-to-the-beach class.

Milking the Rhino fit this description perfectly.  It focuses on two communities and their conservation efforts.  The first, Il Ngwesi Lodge in Kenya (and its senior host James Ole Kinyaga).  The second, the relationship between an exclusive lodge on the Kunene river and the local village in Nambia, and John Kasaona‘s (assistant director of Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC)) attempts to broker peace.

I’d recommend this documentary to anyone interested in any aspect of Africa, conservation, wildlife, tourism, etc.

If you do watch it, please watch for the laugh out loud moment around minute 23 where the guys are actually sweeping sand dunes to remove tire tracks.  It’s an interesting criticism of what we as tourists want when we get to Africa.

PS When searching for this video, please be sure to google milking the rhino MOVIE…