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Showing posts from April, 2012

The View from the Bubble

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I was first introduced to Soweto by Eddie Grant: 
While every mother in the black Soweto fears the killing of another son.   
I was kid in the 1980’s, so for me Gimme Hope, Johannawas just a fun tune with a catchy chorus.  It was jarring when, as a teenager, I realized that the song is about apartheid and that Soweto is a Southern African slum.  Kind of like the feeling I have when re-watching a movie I liked as a kid only to realize I had no idea what was going on the first time around. 
Johannesburg’s Soweto holds the dubious distinction of being Africa’s largest slum.  It is generally agreed that Nairobi’s Kibera district is number two.  As an expatriate, you can live in Nairobi for years without visiting the place.  Kibera wasn’t always a slum.  The land was originally awarded to Nubian soldiers of the King’s African Rifles for their loyal service to the British crown in the early twentieth century. Today almost all of Kenya’s tribes are represented there, making it a hotbed for…