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Jeff Ramsay

In our last instalment we left off where a coalition of merafe, led by the charismatic Bangwato Kgosi Kgari, had encroached on the southwestern borderlands of the Banyayi Kingdom. In response, Mambo Chilisamhulu II Nichasike dispatched two forces to intercept the invaders.

Along the border region, the Banyayi were mobilised under the command of Tombale, the monarch's proconsul in the south, while the Mambo also sent his royal guard under the leadership of a certain Ninjigwe. The latter force included the Mambo's elite gun men, who in the European parlance of the time were quite literally musketeers.

According to Ikalanga sources, Tombale's men ambushed and defeated Kgari's force at Matopos prior to the arrival of Ninjigwe's reinforcements. All sources are in agreement that the battle was a disaster for Kgari's followers, with the Bangwato Kgosi numbering among the fallen.

In addition to surviving Ikalanga and Setswana traditions, at least two eyewitness accounts of the campaign, both by Batswana, have been recorded. One account was related by Sechele's brother Kgosidintsi to the missionary Willoughby in 1902, shortly before his death. The other by Senang Ditsela, a Mokaa who died in 1945, is of special interest insofar as his participation in Kgari's ill-fated invasion, which took place no later than 1828, supports claims that he was one of the longest living humans ever on record. By the 1930s Senang's longevity had begun to attract worldwide attention, resulting in his being interviewed for national radio broadcasts on five continents, as well as numerous newspaper profiles.

Returning to our story, Tombale's victory, and the resulting praise, was apparently resented by both Chilisamhulu and Ninjigwe. As has been previously noted, it used to be the custom of the Bakalanga to have their women go with them on military campaigns. They helped carry supplies and cook food. It is also said that because of the presence their wives the Bakalanga men dared not put up a half-hearted fight! This fact provides a context for the following passage, which is translated from the late Masola Kumile's collected Ikalanga texts:

"It happened that the women, who went with the army of Tombale, were following a straight line behind the cattle that had been captured by Tombale and his army. With the great drum sounding, they sang:

"Gono ndiTombale, ndiya gomo Dlamaxango. E! gono ndiTombale, Ndiye Tombale, Oh! Ndiye gono Dlamaxango, E! Dzene asiye Tombale. E! Ba Nhaba bowotswa mumoto! – That is the male one is Tombale; it is he the male one, the eater of the country. Yes! The male one is Tombale; it is he Tombale, Oh! It is he the male one the eater of countries. Yes is it not he, Tombale. Yes! Of Nhaba, he is going to be burned by the fire!"

Meanwhile the army of the Mambo that was led by the chief councillor Ninjigwe was following at the rear, being very quiet. Their strength drained, it is said that they had nothing to say with their gaping mouths.   The women of the army of Tombale continued singing until they arrived back at the villages, holding their hands at their mouths, ululating, and praising Tombale more than the Mambo Nichasike.

All this reached the ears of the Mambo, it being said: "The army of the Mambo did not even reach the battlefield where the fight occurred between the army of Tombale and that of the Barwa.

The Mambo heard all of this, that the army that defeated the Barwa was that of Tombale, while that of Ninjigwe had turned back on the way without getting into the fighting. The Mambo is further said to have felt pain upon hearing that the women came back praising Tombale, saying: "The country was defended by Tombale, the child of Nisasi, the son of Ninhembwe."

Kumile's account goes further to state that, when the captured cattle arrived at the royal kraal, the Mambo had them divided giving some to Tombale, but keeping most for himself. But, perhaps in his jealous desire to assert his authority, it is said that the Mambo forgot about his debt to Mwali priestess who had warned of the invasion and provided for divine intervention to assure victory.

In these accounts it is noted that the Mambo expressed his embarrassment about taking the cattle to Mwali, fearing the latter would join the people in praising Tombale. Perhaps Chilisamhulu then suspected that the principal Mwali priestess would support the war hero Tombale's elevation over him.

As it was when Mwali saw how Chilisamhulu behaved, the priestess is said to have voiced the following curse:

"Chilisamhulu wanditila bupitipiti. Ngono ndolebesa ayitobakwa iyeyi nyika, yali! chipwihe lakapwiha hou nenhema, ngentha yendandala dzidze, Chilisamhulu, inowopalala nyika, ayitobakwe."

"Chilisamhulu has cheated me. So I am certain that the country will not be developed, indeed the country which is the refuge which gave shelter to the elephant and the rhinoceros [i.e. royal Banyayi], because of Chilisamhulu's jealousy the country will perish."

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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