Owning our values

Owning our values

A leading man of letters has written several memoirs that serve as record of the values of folks of my parents’ generation. In at least a couple of those books, he outlined very clearly what it was like to be a child who grew up in the same time and place as my...
Where do the rulers come from?

Where do the rulers come from?

Who knows the history of how some families became rulers in a community, region or country? Due to historical events of the last few centuries, some royal families have bigger global profiles than others. This doesn’t change the fact that the less known ones were...
In with the hares and hounds

In with the hares and hounds

An old acquaintance who has the gift of the gab described a renowned public intellectual as someone who was “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds”. The image has remained in my memory ever since. Is there anything morally questionable about being in a...
Oral traditions and documentation

Oral traditions and documentation

The artistic canons of cultures that had access centuries ago to documentation through the written word, musical notation or other symbols are rich in details that can inform us of the attitudes of folks who lived in those times. On the surface, it might seem as if...
Strongmen, women and children

Strongmen, women and children

Someone regarded as a sage of the age said “Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions”. On the surface, this statement could be regarded as progressive. When one starts to unpick what it could mean, many issues arise. Strength manifests itself in a...