Melania Trump’s Africa wardrobe evoked a brutal history of colonialism

by Rashmee

Posted on October 10, 2018 / The National


It is pointless to parse US first lady Melania Trump’s outfits for meaning, as the former model is not known to be passionate about political causes. But the white pith helmet she wore on a visit to Nairobi National Park in Kenya, part of her four-country tour of Africa, deserves scrutiny. The pith helmet, originally … Continue reading “Melania Trump’s Africa wardrobe evoked a brutal history of colonialism”

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Rwanda, DRC etc are all beset by PLEP, the Pakistan Low Expectations Phenomenon

by Rashmee

Posted on August 7, 2017


Roughly 17 African heads of state have either already rolled back or are in the process of rolling back term limits, a dismal reality that I’m going to call the Pakistan Low Expectations Phenomenon or PLEP. Which is to say, that low international expectations mean the costs of bad behaviour are low. And that the … Continue reading “Rwanda, DRC etc are all beset by PLEP, the Pakistan Low Expectations Phenomenon”

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Not a good idea for Trump administration to disrespect Africa’s big chief, but it did

by Rashmee

Posted on May 15, 2017


No one likes getting stood up, but especially high dignitaries from South Asia or Africa or even minor dignitaries who fancy themselves as more important than they really are. In South Asia, honour and respect are big considerations in doing business with people. People like to be addressed as “doctor”, even if they have only … Continue reading “Not a good idea for Trump administration to disrespect Africa’s big chief, but it did”

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A president, his daughter & business success in a country whose name starts with ‘A’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 7, 2017


So what do you know about Angola? Most people will know only the following: that it is in Africa and that it was once a Portuguese colony Some others might also know that Angola has been ruled for a long time by a man named Jose Eduardo dos Santos. But even they would probably find … Continue reading “A president, his daughter & business success in a country whose name starts with ‘A’”

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These short stories make true the saying ‘Cairo writes, Beirut prints, Khartoum reads’

by Rashmee

Posted on August 9, 2016


I’m reading ‘The Book of Khartoum‘, which is apparently the first major collection of stories on the Sudanese capital to be translated into English, and this is how it starts: With a story titled ‘The Tank’. With the writer Ahmed Al Malik describing – sardonically, searingly – how a Sudanese householder might conceivably buy a … Continue reading “These short stories make true the saying ‘Cairo writes, Beirut prints, Khartoum reads’”

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The human connection in India’s scramble for Africa

by Rashmee

Posted on July 14, 2016 / The National


  Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, left, and his host Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli, right, beat drums at the entrance of State House during an official welcome ceremony for Modi in Dar es Salaam. Khalfan Said / AP Photo When Indian prime minister Narendra Modi ended his first visit to Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and … Continue reading “The human connection in India’s scramble for Africa”

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Don’t laugh, but US should look to Gambia. Its Yahya Jammeh is like Trump

by Rashmee

Posted on June 3, 2016


Chude Jideonwo @chude has seen Donald Trump’s type of populism in Africa and, he warns, “it only ends in tears and, sometimes, blood.” In an excellent piece for Quartz, Mr Jideonwo reminded Americans and the world of Africa’s doleful expertise of leaders like Mr Trump. Don’t laugh, but Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh is particularly Trumpian. As Mr … Continue reading “Don’t laugh, but US should look to Gambia. Its Yahya Jammeh is like Trump”

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From Lewiston, Maine, here’s a African refugee story with a difference

by Rashmee

Posted on December 3, 2015


Here’s a refugee story with a difference. In Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city, Somali refugees are bringing new vibrancy to the declining former mill town. There presence is a controversial issue, of course (how could it be otherwise) but generally, Since 2002, the number of children in Lewiston’s schools has risen by 10 per cent. As … Continue reading “From Lewiston, Maine, here’s a African refugee story with a difference”

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Never mind the jokes, Tanzania’s new president is right to be an ‘austerian’

by Rashmee

Posted on November 30, 2015


#WhatWouldMagufuliDo is the hashtag that people across Africa are using to make little jokes about the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli’s actions just three weeks into office. Here’s what he’s done: * banned foreign trips by government officials rightly pointing out that Tanzanian diplomats can do what’s required instead * ordered no official gatherings outside the office arguing … Continue reading “Never mind the jokes, Tanzania’s new president is right to be an ‘austerian’”

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Kagame’s Rwanda is planning a national network of ‘drone ports’. No, really

by Rashmee

Posted on November 1, 2015


When I visited Kigali a few years ago, it was obvious that President Paul Kagame had, to put it politely, a tremendous hold on his country. This is hardly a contentious statement but if further proof were needed, how about the October 29 vote in the lower house of Rwanda’s parliament to allow Mr Kagame … Continue reading “Kagame’s Rwanda is planning a national network of ‘drone ports’. No, really”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK