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Jeff Ramsay

In August 1922 the Ghanzi Magistrate, Alan Cuzen, was confronted with reports that agitators wearing "rosettes of red, blue, and green" were stirring up anti-European sentiments on both sides of the Bechuanaland- South West Africa (Namibia) border. A subsequent investigation by police Corporal Lancaster linked the activities to a "certain native" who had passed through the region from Maun to Lehututu spreading "seditious talk."

Of special concern, was news that agitator’s message had been well received among the Ovaherero at Kalkfontein, where was already considerable resentment. Kalkfontein was then a recently established resettlement camp whose inhabitants had recently been removed from the Ghanzi ridge after the land they had been living on was acquired by a certain Tom Hardbattle.

By the 24th of May 1923 Cuzen was able to confirm to Mahikeng that: "Samuel Sheppard is the native who travelled from Maun to Ghanzi, held meetings at Kalkfontein, then proceeded to Lehututu and towards the Upington District eventually reaching Windhoek after months of travel."

Samuel Karcho Sheppard was by then already well known to the British having for decades played a prominent role in Tjiherero politics. In 1877 he had inherited from his late father, Saul, the position of Secretary to the Ovaherero ruler Maharero.

Originally Ovambanderu, the Sheppard family's prominence, and surname, had been established by Saul. As a young boy he was captured by Nama, only to be ransomed, in 1837, by the British Captain James Alexander.

Saul’s new master had been commissioned to establish contact with the Ovaherero, while finding a trade route to the Bakwena via the Namibian coast. After initially serving as a herd-boy, Saul was taken to England, where he attended a military school in Woolrich. He returned to Namibia in 1844 as an assistant to the Wesleyan missionary Peter Dixon. For many years thereafter, Saul preached among Kai//khuan Nama of Gaob Piet and his son and successor Simon !Gomxab Kooper.

As Maharero’s Secretary, Karcho Sheppard played a central role in ultimately futile Ovaherero efforts to opt for Mmamosadinyana's  protection as a lesser evil to rule by the German Kaiser.

After London's final 1884 renunciation of its previously proclaimed Hereroland Protectorate, Karcho further assisted Maharero in negotiating an accommodation with the new German Governor, Ernest Goering. The result was an October 1885 treaty, in which the Ovaherero accepted the Kaiser's protection in exchange for the ultimately unfulfilled promise of continued autonomy.

The 1890 death of Maharero coincided with the extension of more heavy-handed German authority. Karcho soon fell out with the new Ovaherero paramount, Samuel Maharero, when the latter sought to build up his own shaky authority by collaborating with the Germans in wars against other indigenous rulers.

As part of a well executed divide and conquer strategy, in 1896 the German military commander Major Theodore Leutwein, attacked and later executed Samuel's royal rival Nikodemus Kavikunua, along with his ally the Ovambanderu ruler Kahimemua.

Karcho then joined others in fleeing into Ngamiland. This was the first in a series of Ovaherero movements into Botswana, which culminated in the 1905 mass exodus of tens of thousands refugees, including Samuel Maharero himself.

In Ngamiland, Karcho quickly won confidence of both Kgosi Sekgoma aLetsholathebe and the British Magistrate at Tsau, Lieutenant Merry. Following the1905 mass migration he was sent to the border by Sekgoma to act as his eyes and ears and try to prevent tension between the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu from turning violent. Ovaherero at the time were blaming the Ovambanderu for failing to support them in the decisive battle at Waterburg against the Germans, while the Ovambanderu still blamed Samuel for the death of Kahimemua.

Karcho's intelligence reports to Merry confirmed that bulk of the Ovambandero immigrants were then occupying the land along the border historically inhabited by Zhu/oasi (also known as the ‘!Kung Bushmen’). But, there appears to have been remarkably little tension between the two communities. The Zhu of Namibia had also been victims of the genocidal German regime.

Having been legally liberated from the demands of botlhanka, the Zhu in Gatawana shared with the Tjiherero speaking refugees a common loyalty to Sekgoma. Throughout his reign Sekgoma cultivated the support of non-Setswana groups as a political counterweight to his dikgosana, who favoured the royal claims of his genealogically senior nephew, Mathiba. The 1906 British intervention on behalf of Mathiba was thus a blow to Karcho's people.

In 1912 Karcho joined most of the Ovambanderu in migrating to Sekgoma's new headquarters at Kachikau, along the Chobe. After Sekgoma's death, in 1914, Karcho stayed at Rakops with the Ovambanderu ruler Nikodemus Kavarure (Kahimemua's successor). From there he embraced the ‘Africa for the Africans’ vision of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

Thus it was that Karcho Shepperd had ultimately travelled from Rakops to Windhoek organising and addressing U.N.I.A. rallies throughout the western Kgalagadi. His message attracted interested audiences in such diverse locations as Tsau and Lehututu as well as Kalkfontien, before he proceeded to Namibia via the Northern Cape. He then returned to Botswana, having alluded S.W.A. Police efforts to detain him amidst allegations that he and his followers had been responsible for inciting violent unrest among the “Bushmen”

The campaign proved to be the elderly Karcho’s last hurrah. Back in the Protectorate, he and the U.N.I.A. faded away in peace.

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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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