Hello from the millenium minds conference
I just went to a conference last week discussing Internet in education in South Africa. I went with George Solomon, someone I met though a foundation in the States that sponsors computers in schools here, through the African American Foreign Relations Council.
They installed 30 486-class into Esangweni Secondary school, in Kyalitsha, one of Cape Towns black townships. They all have 16M RAM, and Windows95. There is also a Server computer, currently unused.
I went down to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, for a few days last week. Rather than deal with the hassle of vehicle papers, I left my bike in South Africa (White River, at the house of a motorcycling friend I met in South Africa a couple of months ago) and headed to Mozambique by the minibus taxis that all the black people use.
Mozambique has been in civil was for much of the last 20 years, so the infrastructure is creaky to non-existent.
A few more impressions after being here a few days -
Even the rural areas seem relatively affluent compared to rural South Africa. Much, I am sure, because of the low population here.
Large British influence here - Barclays bank, many ex-pats, Universal English, little or no Africaanse.
The government is a mess. The King, who did not like the last constitution, and so summarily dissolved the government and put together a ’traditional’ system, that basically means he (and his mother) have complete power.
Yesterday I went to a ’turning of the sod’ for a new High school here in Eshowe, which will be paid for by a number of Spanish NGOs (non-government organisation) and managed by the Eshowe Christian Action group. The ceremony was at a nearby primary school, and included some good zulu dancing by the kids.
Today there was an opening of the first skills centre / technical college in zululand, which cost R2.
Zululand - South Africa
Zululand is the political stronghold of the Inkatha Freedom Party, and Buthelezi, its leader. He is related to the King of Zululand, who owns/administers most of the land, and who is a direct descendent of Shaka Zulu, the (quite recent) founder of the Zulu nation.
Zululand is a place of rolling hills, with traditional Zulu Kraals dotted all over it. Ulundi is the capital, but is a small place. I am staying in Eshowe, the oldest city here, but Eshowe is smaller than Richards bay, a large seaport that ships more tonnage than Durban, primarily coal, timber (wattle and Gum) and sugar (which is grown everywhere).