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Bitter sweet chocolate

14th of February: Valentine’s day… a day dedicated to love and romance. Tomorrow, thousands of people all over the world will buy their loved ones little pluche teddybears, red roses and of course delicious chocolates. In Japan, the tradition is that women give chocolates to men and there are even different kinds of chocolates with different meanings attached to them. ... Read More »

South Africa: Riot or Revolution?

Many problems are awaiting Zuma’s second term of presidency this year. The killing of protesting mineworkers in the Rustenburg area in August 2012 has brought to the surface what has been boiling below South Africa’s political landscape for a while: an explosive mix of governmental failures at the municipal level, endemic corruption and nepotism, combined with high unemployment rates and ... Read More »

The Wonchi Experiment – Can Tablets be Teachers?

In Ethiopia over 2,000,000 children of school age do not go to school. Most of them never will. A few of them have tablets – and miraculously taught themselves how to read and write. MIT professor and technology nerd Nicholas Negroponte wanted to see what would happen if you handed a tablet computer, equipped with educational apps, to a group ... Read More »

A Grave Story

“All the gravestones offered were dates, something to serve as mere parentheses around what really happened in a person’s life’’ – Roy MacGregor See that gravestone above this article? It is known as a stècak. The word originates from an even older word stojećak, which can be translated literally as ‘standing thing’.  Stećci are monumental medieval tombstones, that lay scattered across the Balkan area. ... Read More »

The Worldwide Symbol of Rebellion

Ever since the end of World War 2, the AK-47, or popularly named Kalashnikov after its designer, has been a recurring phenomenon in international conflicts. The rifle is for many more than just an instrument of death, it is a symbol for their struggle against the Western world.  Cheap, easy to use, will not break down. The characteristics speak for ... Read More »

No Payday for Madgermanes

East and West Germany reunited only three months before I was born. That makes my generation the first generation that is still alive that never knew Germany as being separated. As a member of that generation, I’m always surprised when I realise once again how little I know about that “other” Germany, the German Democratic Republic, although it existed for ... Read More »

Mission Morocco: Not Aborted

When people make up a story about a military exercise and then lock up a port just to keep you from entering a country, you are probably not their favourite person. Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch activist and doctor, is one of those nuisances. In this case, to Morocco.  In early October she and her colleagues from the Dutch NGO “Women ... Read More »

Recurring Problems in South Africa

From the 18th until the 26th of September, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visited the Netherlands. Tutu became world-known in the 1980s during the apartheid regime in South Africa, and as an outspoken critic of this regime, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. On the 20th of September, Tutu was invited to the Dutch television programme College Tour (see Uitzending ... Read More »

‘Democratically’ elected Somali President

On 10 September Somalia elected its new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. It was said to be the first democratic elections since civil war broke out in 1991. The UN representative to Somalia spoke of “the end of a transitional period, and the beginning of a new era”. Some journalists and professors however are not convinced. Hassan Seikh Mohamud was born ... Read More »