social wiring

Take a break from this toxic place, go out and take a walk. Go get something nice to eat and enjoy looking at people. Breathe some fresh air and refresh your minds. Think about where you are now in life and where you’d like to be. Take a picture; of you, a friend, the streets, life. Make someone smile today; just say Hello. Be the change you wish to see in the world.


Lexington Avenue subway. Subway and Bus riders run this city. Looking at faces and bodies while riding, you can see a huge range of emotional and physical signals. Happy, sad, tired, wired, social, loners, white, black, brown, old, young, struggling, homeless, shoppers, coffee drinkers, drunks, legal residents and those very concerned. These are the people who fuel the city’s energy. As diversified as they are, they have one thing in common…they are subway and bus riders.

Why do South African newspapers always discuss the alleged “genocide” against white farmers, while ignoring the far more bloody and systematic campaign of violence against impoverished Somali shopkeepers in Soweto or around Cape Town?

Why do the television crews still gravitate towards foreign humanitarian workers during emergencies, with their convenient planes and well-stocked compounds?

And - in the same spirit - how much unquestioning focus should one give to the “Africa Rising” narrative, so well articulated by the social-media-wired, urban, aspirational middle classes of Nairobi or Lagos?

Because the truth, hard-learned on dirt roads and neglected corners, is that the majority - the often-voiceless majority - on this continent are still facing daunting challenges: from soaring prices, to unemployment, wretched schools and hospitals, an absence of justice, and most pressingly of all - insecurity.

That applies in the beleaguered townships of South Africa, in the forests of the Central African Republic, the besieged towns of north-eastern Nigeria, the slums of Monrovia, and on the endless battlefields of South Sudan.

Of course there is plenty going impressively, fantastically right here - the arc of history bending towards optimism and all that.

But it seems to me that a bias towards the powerless and voiceless is a reasonable and necessary one - especially when they still seem to be in the majority.


Andrew Harding | My time in Africa: Lessons, experiences and concessions

BBC’s Africa correspondent  Andrew Harding  last column announcing his departure from BBC to pen a book “about some of the garrulous, irascible, wonderful people I’ve come to know in Mogadishu and beyond”. I’ll miss Harding’s take on Africa, and whoever replaces certainly has their work work cut out for them . Anyone here, remember, Harding’s annual African predictions, stuff of legends …        

did-you-know Spider Fact #1

did you know that some species of spiders are social? 

spiders are notoriously asocial creatures. most species live alone, hunt alone, and don’t get along with other spiders. cannibalism is the norm, even during mating. however, there are certain species of social spiders which live peacefully in communal webs, cooperate and share food. they function like a colony or even a pride of lions, with “warriors” who defend the nest and take down prey, and “nannies” that rear the young. source: Elusive Form of Evolution Seen in Social Spiders (Wired)