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Botswana and Namibia (Part 9)

JEFF RAMSAY

BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA


In our last instalment it was noted that, having temporarily subjugated the Nama, the military governor of German South West Africa (Namibia), Theodore Leutwein, next turned his forces against the Ovaherero and related Ovambanderu. The principal Ovaherero leader, Samuel Maharero, was coerced into surrendering both land and cattle to the first wave of German settlers.

But, while Maharero struggled, ultimately in vain to accommodate the encroaching German presence his lead rival among the Ovaherero, Nikodemus, supported by the Ovambaderu leader, Kahimema, continued to resist. In their struggle the two benefited from the smuggling of firearms from the Cape Colony via Botswana. As a result Leutwein permanently occupied Gobabis. In 1896 Leutwein was finally able to entice Kahimema and Nikodemus to come forward for talks under a flag of truce. But, instead of talks the hapless pair were immediately arrested and subsequently executed as “rebels”. From a German soldier’s account:

“There were no male Herero or Mbanderu to be seen, but the women were rolling about on the ground and covering their heads with sand and earth. From every house, every hut, every garden [of Gobabis] the long-drawn bloodcurdling lamentations accompanied the distinguished chiefs on their last journey…

“The condemned men were lifted from the cart. Proudly and with his head erect Kahimena walked to the tree and there he was bound; Nikodemus, half-dead with fear, had to be carried. The eyes of the two were bound, and the firing sections marched into their places. Present – Fire! The volleys rolled like thunder through the neighbouring mountains and the two traitors had ceased to live.” With the 1896 execution of the Ovambanderu ruler, Kahimema, and the rebel Ovaherero leader, Nikodemus, Leutwein’s triumph appeared to be very nearly complete. In their wake many of their followers migrated into Gatawana, the first of a series of migrations by Namibian refugees into northern Botswana, which would culminate in the great exodus of 1905-08.

Leutwein’s ruthless aggression was consistent with Berlin’s then newfound determination to turn Namibia into a white settler colony on the cheap. Loss of land and cattle to white settlers, who now began arriving in large numbers, was further aggravated by the 1896 outbreak of the rinderpest epidemic. As had been the case in Botswana a few months before, the disease’s spread across Namibia resulted in the rapid destruction of most of the local livestock and hoofed wildlife. The resulting impoverishment of local communities increased their vulnerability to Leutwein’s machinations. For his part the German commander took advantage of the crisis to provoke resistance as a pretext for handing over more land to the settlers and commercial companies.

In July-August 1896 a section of the IAixalean Nama led by Kividoe, rose up in southern Namibia, initially defeating the Germans before being overpowered in a battle at Gamsib Ravine. Kividoe with the remnants of his men then sought refuge in British Bechuanaland. But, they were subsequently extradited back to Namibia, where they were executed by the Germans. In 1897-98 some of the Nama and Ovaherero holdouts forged a cross-ethnic alliance in a vain attempt to continue the resistance. Their final defeat led to a six year period during which the situation within the German Protectorate remained outwardly quiet.

But the seeming calm only served to mask the growing resentment and desperation of local communities. In the face of continued losses of their land and cattle, coupled with an influx of German settlers, indigenous Namibians overcame generations of internal conflict and suspicion to join together in a general uprising. In January 1904 fighting once more broke out between the Germans and the Ovaherero. While the Germans authorities insisted that the violence was the product of a well orchestrated conspiracy, independent witnesses as well as Chiherero accounts indicate that it has been instigated by trigger happy Germans.

In the wake of the incident the Ovaherero paramount, Samuel Maharero, made the fateful decision to raise the banner of wider resistance by contacting the leaders of the Nama and others, calling on the entire territory to join him in a common struggle against the German occupation. The once loyal Ovaherero paramount, Samuel Maharero, took the lead by contacting the leaders of the Nama, Rehobathers and Ovambo. He called on all to join him in a common struggle against the Germans. To his former rival the Nama leader Hendrick Witboii he wrote:

“Rather let us die together and not die as a result of ill-treatment, and prisons, we shall not be fighting alone!” Unfortunately the above letter did not reach its destination. It was instead intercepted and forwarded to Leutwein, who was thus warned of Maharero’s efforts. Maharero, nonetheless, remained defiant, telling Leutwein:

“I did not commence this war; it has been started by the white people, particularly traders, with rifles and prisons. No English or Boers, no German women and children, nor other Africans, would be harmed. The Herero will only attack German men”

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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
Samson

… 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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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