Paul McNally

Africa’s tin-can version of Twitter has it right

Journalist Ezra Sibanda sits in London with lists of Zimbabwean cellphone numbers. These are his notes for his radio show which he broadcasts to Zimbabwe via short wave (and the internet). From London’s East End he draws a massive rural listenership by dragging a finger down his list of 45 000 numbers and calling Zimbabweans at…

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If you were the UK, would you give Africa money?

Evil Santa Claus Andrew Mitchell is in the process of training the British public to accept international aid as a force that discriminates rather than helps. Can this be reversed before the UK’s aid budget skips Africa altogether? Mitchell is the UK’s International Development Secretary and insists that the UK’s donation of £64 million to Pakistan…

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Orania tourism: Come gawk at the racists

There’s a girl in the tourist office dressed in a tight pink frilly uniform. She’s 21 years old and having a busy day in Orania. Her father John is one of the town’s official tour guides and he’s set to show us the pecan-shelling factory, the bottle store, The Koeksister Monument, Orania’s private radio station…

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Having sex with Hitler

  Hitler’s unmistakable moustache leers up to camera as he gyrates away at a beautiful woman at the climax of a new Aids awareness advert in Germany. The payoff is: “Aids is a mass murderer”. There’s 44 seconds of face-obscured graphic nudity before you get to see she’s brought Adolf home at 2.33am, a man…

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Be honest. Is your Jacob Zuma T-shirt ironic?

My shirt is bright yellow. Zuma’s rows of baby teeth are spread across my belly. On the way to the shop a guy says to me, softly with a nod to my shirt, “Viva Zuma”. He’s missed my shrewd irony, sees me as a JZ supporter and who can blame him? My stab at humour…

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Do you find the Vodacom meerkat sexy?

The way that cellphone-selling meerkat jives around, strutting its ass in a provocative way kind of reminds me of the dancing baby from Ally McBeal — and if I find 14 other people to agree with me and lodge a petition then we can sink the bastard. A similar logic plagued a verdict by the…

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Why Clint Eastwood’s Mandela film is being made

Warner Brothers studio executives were camped out at The Mount Nelson in Cape Town this summer. They sipped Castle Lager from frosted glasses and name-dropped to the pretty girls at the bar. “Clint, Morgan, Matt? Great guys. Solid. Sure, I could arrange for you to meet Matt Damon, he’s in the room next to mine.”…

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Throw the boot at him

Martin Jahnke, a German, went on trial last week for chucking his (possibly Asian sweatshop) trainers at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Echoing the impressive footwear attack on George Bush last year (who dodged an Iraqi boot in the face) this was less an emotional protest and more an attention-seeking hissy fit. The Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar…

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