Amazing african anecdotes
"On January 24 1971, Major General Idi Amin Dada, Commander of Uganda's armed forces, was out duck shooting. When he returned about seven in the evenag a tank stood outside his house. From it emerged Sergeant-Major Mussa, a fellow Kakwa tribesman, to tell him he had intercepted President Obote's instructions that the general's supporters should be arrested and killed. That afternoon the telephone had rung in Jinja barracks. The operator had left the room for a moment and Sergeant-Major Mussa happened to be passing. So he took the call. It was President Obote calling from Singapore, wishing to speak to Lieutenant-Colonel David Oyile-Ojok, one of his most devoted supporters. Mussa put through the call but listened and heard Obote tell Oyile-Ojok to arrest Amin and his supporters and then finish them off. Mussa ran for his life, collected his West Nile friends together, then seized the armoury just as Obote's Longo tribesmen and their Acholi kinsmen were arriving. There was a fight, with some bloodshed, and the Amin faction remained in full control."
[Amin, who retained his brutal hold over Ugandan affairs until he was deposed in 1979, was famed for his alleged cannibalism. The Onion once ran a satirical story headlined: IDI AMIN PRAISES FORMER UGANDAN DEFENSE MINISTER AS 'DELICIOUS'.]
In 2002, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe instituted a disastrous land-reform program whereby large swathes of land were confiscated from white farmers and given to his supporters. Because his supporters knew nothing of farming, thousands began to starve to death.
Nonetheless, in May 2002, Mugabe rejected some 10,000 tons of donated American corn - because it could not be certified genetically unmodified.
Mugabe, Robert (1924- ) Zimbabwean politician, President (1980- )
Even at the height of British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch colonialism, the Germans remained hostile to the idea. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was once approached by a group of pro-colonialists who pointed to a map of Africa and declared, "This is where Germany ought to be." By way of reply, Bismarck pointed to a map of Europe: "This," he said, "is my map of Africa."
[Though wary of the costs of colonial expansion, by the early 1880s Bismarck too had come around.]
Bismarck, Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von ["the Iron Chancellor"] (1815-1898) Prussian-born German statesman, first chancellor of the German Empire (1871-1890) [noted for his key role in the victory over Austria (1866) and the creation of the North German Confederation (1867), for his sweeping social reforms, and for his attempt to limit the growth of German socialism]
By 1861, Isaac Merritt Singer's sewing machines (which Mahatma Gandhi once called "one of the few useful things ever invented") enjoyed higher sales abroad than within the United States, a circumstance which led to some unforeseen oddities.
Singer was most amused by the firm's experiences in Africa - where his salesmen had to customize machines to make them louder. "Good iron," the tribesmen were convinced, "makes loud noise."
[Mahatma Gandhi called the sewing machine "one of the few useful things ever invented."]
[Trivia: In 1913, it was discovered that some experimental alloys in a scrap heap had not rusted. These pieces were salvaged and analyzed. the result? Stainless steel.]
Singer, Isaac Merritt (1811-1875) American inventor and manufacturer who patented (1851) a sewing machine capable of making continuous stitches
|Lord's Prayer in Zimbabwe|
Ordained as a Methodist minister in 1962, Reverend Canaan Banana denounced the white racist regime of what was then called Southern Rhodesia from the pulpit. He also composed a novel version of the Lord's Prayer. Beginning "Our father who art in the ghetto," it included such lines as "Teach us to demand our share of the gold/Forgive us our docility/As we demand our share of justice."
[Banana later first became Zimbabwe's first black president. He also became Zimbabwe's only president to be convicted of rape.]
Banana, Canaan Sodindo (1936-2003) Zimbabwean clergyman and politician, president of Zimbabwe (1980-1987)
"Lobengula granted land and mineral rights in his kingdom (now part of Zimbabwe) to the British South Africa Company. Nevertheless war broke out between the Matabeleand the Europeans and Lobengula's kingdom was annexed (1893). Lobengula was anxious until the last minute to avoid open conflict with the encroaching Europeans. Unfortunately, a party of indunas (chiefs) whom he sent as emissaries to the British were attacked and killed through a misunderstanding. Lobengula, enraged at what he saw as treachery, declared war. He did this in the traditional way, by driving an assegai (short stabbing spear) into the ground in sight of the assembled army. The shaft of the assegai snapped. Despite this bad omen the Matabele warriors marched out to war and defeat."
Lobengula, (c. 1836-1894) Zimbabwean king of the Matabele (1870-94)
|Michael Jackson: Hollywood Hate List|
According to Vanity Fair magazine, Michael Jackson visited Switzerland in 2000 to arrange for a curse to kill Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and 23 other bigwigs on his Hollywood hate list.
As part of the ceremony, Jackson underwent a blood bath requiring the sacrifice of 46 cows. He then paid for the service by depositing funds in a bank account in Mali belonging to a voodoo witch doctor (named "Baba"). Total cost? $150,000!
Michael Jackson is the most famous member of the African tribe Bafokeng Ka Bakwena - or Tribe of the Crocodile.
Jackson, Michael Joseph [King of Pop] (1958- ) American musician, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (2001)
A gentleman once traveled from Johannesburg to Pretoria to obtain American naturalization papers for one of his sons:
"I entered a South African federal building, which maintained a heavy uniformed police presence. On walking through the main entrance, one had to pass a table and an officer. The wall bore a large sign, in Afrikaans and English, instructing [visitors] to check weapons at this table.
"The officer greeted me in Afrikaans, 'Good morning, Herr Rabbiner, would you like to check your weapon?' 'Gladly,' replied I, unholstering my Colt Combat Commander from under my dark suit jacket, unloading it and trading it for a claim check tag..."
The speaker? Rabbi Reuven Mermelstein, head of Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
["Could you imagine such an incident in the US?" Mermelstein wondered. "A SWAT team would have had my entrails scattered all over the floor!"]
Mermelstein, Reuven (1906- ) South African rabbi [noted for his association with 'Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership']
In January 1950, Victor Biaka-Boda, a former witch doctor representing the Ivory Coast in the French Senate, toured his nation's hinterlands to communicate with his electorate and assess their concerns - one of which, apparently, was the food supply: Biaka-Boda's constituents ate him.
Biaka-Boda, Victor (1895-1950) Ivory Coast politician
Many of the poverty-stricken patients admitted to Albert Schweitzer's jungle hospital in Gabon, Africa left with chamber pots, stolen for use as cooking implements. On a train in Europe one day, Schweitzer was asked by a fellow passenger what he did for a living. "I supply Gabon," he modestly replied, "with chamber pots."
Schweitzer, Albert (1875-1965) Alsatian-born French theologian, professor, musician and medical missionary; Nobel Prize recipient (Peace, 1952), noted for his establishment of a jungle hospital at Lambarene in Gabon, Africa (1913)
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