Chinese corporations are all over Africa. In June 2017 a McKinsey & Company report estimated that there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa.
What are Chinese corporations doing in Africa? That’s a highly controversial issue.
The reason Chinese corporations are in Africa is simple; to exploit the people and take their resources. It’s the same thing European colonists did during mercantile times, except worse. The Chinese corporations are trying to turn Africa into another Chinese continent. They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.
This is the view several African politicians have. The Zambian politician Michael Sata was one of them. At least he was before being elected President of Zambia in 2011. He wrote a paper presented to Harvard University in 2007 that said “European colonial exploitation in comparison to Chinese exploitation appears benign, because even though the commercial exploitation was just as bad, the colonial agents also invested in social and economic infrastructure services Chinese investment, on the other hand, is focused on taking out of Africa as much as can be taken out, without any regard to the welfare of the local people.” (quoted in Scott D. Taylor’s “The Nature of Chinese Capital in Africa, Current History, May 2018, p. 197)
This is something on which I need to do a great deal more research.
I plan on asking my bio father — Philip Ochieng — about this. He edited the rather well-known book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney. He and I think differently about a great many things, so that should be an interesting conversation or three.
Consider this post a place-holder and, possibly, a Part One.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here. She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.
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When the students of the Mboya Airlift were hand-picked to come to America, it was for a specific purpose: to educate demonstrably gifted Kenyan and Tanzanian students in the Western tradition and to send them home to be the leaders and information venders of their countries—preparation for independence from the European colonial powers. One of these students was my biological father, journalist Philip Ochieng.
That was in the late fifties to early sixties and most of the students did return home. The Airlift was a privately funded endeavor by the likes of the Ford Foundation, the Kennedy Foundation, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harry Belafonte. I’m sure that there have been other experiments like it.
The recent tempest regarding President Trump’s alleged description of Haiti and African countries as s**tholes got me thinking again about this vehicle for my presence on earth and the concept of it. I believe it was an attempt to create an elite in the two countries – a rulership. If the intent was to lift these countries up close to the economic and social level of the freer Western nations, I’d say that it failed. But I doubt that this was the intent of the two foundations involved — though Mr. Belafonte, Mr. Robinson, and Dr. King, undoubtedly had nothing but the best of intentions.
A nation cannot be transformed through its leaders alone. But it can be manipulated by indoctrinating leaders and planting them.
In 1965, the US Congress passed a new immigration law and LBJ signed it. Suddenly, there was a flood of immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean and other non-European nations. Here came the Third World’s go-getters and risk-takers: the rest of the gifted students. And they’re still coming.
Meanwhile, back home, their friends and relatives remained mostly resigned to the old ways: kleptocracies, tribal wars, criminal cartels, monstrous pollution, deadly disease, etc.
But I’ve seen only one immigrant — a Nigerian — talk about going back home and making a difference there. Good luck, bro.
Most of the immigrants from the Third World thrive here and do not return to their countries of origin because it’s a lot easier and more profitable to stay here, have their children born as Americans, and raise them in relative safety and prosperity. And who can blame them? I certainly don’t.
But let’s stop pretending that they left some idyllic Trump-less places of beauty and peace. They left places that were dirty, stinky, dangerous and which have leaders who are blatantly corrupt.
It looks like our country isn’t the only one which is experiencing election insanity. From Philip Ochieng:
An ideology is any systematic set of religious or political ideals. Ideally, then, every political party should be identifiable by distinct ideological thought. But, if so, what is the ideological difference between Kenya’s ruling and opposition parties? Every thinking voter ought to pose that question concerning Kenya’s massive switching of parties every time the General Election looms.
Because the next such polls are nigh, Kenya’s politicians now dash from party to party. The political migration will reach its apogee upon party nominations, when certain candidates have failed to be licensed to vie for civic and parliamentary seats.
But if a party is a bastion of discrete ideals, how can pre-election “party-hopping” be the chief characteristic of Kenya’s alleged “multi-party democracy”?
The answer is that none of Kenya’s plethora of parties is a truly ideological movement. All our political associations are practically identical by their emptiness of social thought.
Father attributes this dearth to the idea that his countrymen
have adopted that language but do not bother to master its nuances that our moral and intellectual vacuity looks so much more spectacular than the Anglo-Saxon world’s.
In all former European colonies, we do not even know how to pretend about it. We vote not for the social beauty of ideas – not for ideologies – but for something else. To call a spade by its name, Kenya’s big tribes vote only for the presidential candidate identifiable with their cluster of tribes. It is a deeply embarrassing manifestation of our backwardness in social ideals.
Father shouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s what we’ve become here in this bastion of the Anglo-Saxon idealism for the last few elections. I imagine that things get lost in translation in the other former British colonies where English is not the first language spoken at home, but Americans don’t have that excuse.
Both sets of people—Kenyans and Americans–do have something else in common, however: few members of either set of citizens have been formally educated into understanding the importance of ideals—of principles. And I don’t know about the Kenyans, but I’ve been greatly surprised to find out that many, even most self-identified political conservatives, don’t really know what ideals/principles are. That isn’t an accident.
And, without ideals, what’s left? Tribalism of many varieties, but these are almost always of the ethnic type.
Like my father says, the politicians and the constituents in his country don’t even try to fake it. I’d say that we’ve come to that point in the USA as well.
This post is mostly a stream of consciousness and mostly an excuse to post a few photos. The bulk of the really good photos will be posted on Saturday, for reasons specified below.
I arrived here on Monday at 8:00 PM, Kenya time, and slept great that night in a queen-sized Hilton Nairobi bed, but jet lag still hit me hard on Tuesday afternoon. My Kenyan parents have extremely comfortable couches.
Nairobi traffic is a vision of Hell. My young nephew-in-law, Samson, got out of the taxi and put his body on the line for the second photo.
My father lives in Rongai. He is small-statured, slim, and upright in bearing. I’m slightly taller than he is, but that’s probably due to his age. (I’ve noticed that my American parents are shrinking too.) I’m much taller than my three Kenya sisters because my mother is tall.
Father cares for his wife, Miss Jennifer, with the help of my sisters Lucy Adhiambo and Judith Aluoch. (Another Kenyan sister, Janet Akinyi, lives in Texas.) As a result of several diabetic strokes, Miss Jennifer is an invalid. Having taken care of my great-aunt in her last years, I empathize greatly.
Nairobi has an old crumbling feeling. The people, however, are the opposite. Young, hard-working, friendly and incredibly handsome. And I don’t just say that because I look like them. I’m just as grateful for my American heritage as of the African, but because of the former, I missed out on the smooth, blemish-free skin. And it has only been since reaching my 50s that the battle of the zits has been won. Mostly.
As far as I’ve seen, if there are morbidly obese people here, they don’t come out in public. Most everyone seems slim and graceful. I flew in on the Dutch carrier, KLM Airlines, and noticed that middle-aged Dutch people are mostly in good shape, too, not to mention really tall. O-beasts must be an American thing.
I was introduced to one of my two grand-nephews, Kyle, four months old.
Tomorrow, I get to meet Nigel, two-years-old and one of the two stars of my Facebook page–the other being my American nephew, Jacob, also two. I guess there are three stars now!
My father and I were interviewed yesterday by a KTN reporter named Wilkester Nyabwa—a lovely young lady–for a human interest piece on our reunification. It will run on Saturday, Friday in the USA. I feel a tad bit like…not an imposter…but unworthy of all the hullaballoo made here in Kenya about my visit. I’ve long known that my father was famous on this continent, but felt removed from it. Not anymore. Fame makes a man think things over, to misquote a recently deceased philosopher.
Oh and my father and I exchanged copies of our books. That was really cool!
For the next two days, my family and I will be away from Nairobi and out in our ancestral province. So I will be away from all things Internet, but it will be the opportunity for the best photos! Yes, I’m taking my anti-malarial meds and have my insect repellent handy.
My family members are all sweet, kind and funny. They all speak English, with Kenya having been a British colony, but I don’t yet have an ear for their accents and I did notice that, sometimes, my B-Girl/Valley Girl twang goes by them as well. It’s fun.
Everyone here tells me welcome home. Well, America is my home and always will be. But it’s nice to have two homes…and two wonderful families. Of course, it’s really just one big family.
UPDATE: The trip dates have been changed to 21-29 February. ORIGINAL: In less than two weeks—February 14th–I’ll be going to Kenya for the first time, courtesy of an old blog fan-friend who prefers to remain anonymous for now. As I said here, it’s a dream come true. To give you some background on my life and some context on my upcoming trip, I’m linking to one of my very first posts at Da Tech Guy blog, Stranger Than Fiction.
I was born in August of 1961.
My biological father is Kenyan and of the Luo tribe; my mother is American.
My parents met when both were attending the same American college.
My parents divorced when I was very young; afterward, my father returned to Kenya.
For half of my childhood, I was raised by older relatives of my mother.
My mother suffered from ovarian cancer.
My maternal grandmother died in 2008.
One of my half-sisters is nine years younger than I am. She is married to a man of a different race than she.
I am left-handed.
Some of these things may seem familiar, if innocuous. But one thing is certain: all of these things are also part of the biography of a man named Barack Hussein Obama. And some of the dissimilarities have symmetry.
I am a woman.
I am a conservative.
Both of his parents and his step-father are dead. Both of my parents and my step-father are living. (My mother survived her bout with ovarian cancer and yet another battle with that evil malady; my father, Philip Ochieng, appeared in Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, and was a friend of Barack Obama, Sr.)
I was raised by my great-aunt and great-uncle in the first half of my childhood. President Obama was raised by his grandparents in the last half of his minor years.
Here’s the important question: which one of us is the Bearded Spock?
My father and I will be meeting face-to-face for the first time in my memory; he returned to his home country when I was an infant and I did not hear from him until the Internet Age when, at age 35, I went searching for him online. As it turns out, he’s a famous journalist on the entire African continent and, while I’ve achieved only a modest amount of fame through writing, it’s for certain that this acorn has very many attributes of its tree.
Philip and I have not spoken to each other during most of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yes, it’s about my opposition to that presidency, to that person. But my father is approaching the beginning of his ninth decade on earth and I am eternally grateful that I will have the chance to honor my father at least once.
More in the next post. Oh and, yes, I’ll be posting from Kenya during my two-week sojourn.