Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Weekly Sneak: Even A Bad Election Is Better Than None

I know that The General wasn't serious in his last column about Africa and her sham elections but it hit me hard. He may have been joking but all too often I have heard this said quite seriously, by fellow Africans. It never bothered me as much coming from older people who are generally conservative and have colonial hang-overs that give rise to awkward statements. But when I started hearing it from peers? Oh, hell no. There's no way we're doing this nonsense for another generation:

"To be fair, I think that there is a point to the frustration: as was pointed out last week in Jenerali's column, elections are a terrible sham most of the time. That doesn't mean we should give up on them. What would we do for fun?

More importantly, what would we do instead? The answer that seems to be bubbling up silently is to go back to an era of Big Men, to embrace that notion without complaint. After all, it is sort of what we do now anyways. Be they magnificent, former liberators turned cranky old men, be they terrible despots, something always seems to happen once an African leader has been around long enough- and in some cases 'long enough' can be a matter or months. They gain a level of authority and respect that's dangerously close to that accorded kings and other divinely appointed rulers."

Yeah, yeah, democracy is a messy, crazy, surprisingly inefficient and often ineffective. But it's still the best thing we've got, and it can always be improved. The alternative- at least the one we seem to be leaning towards in Africa- is untenable. 

PS: Nobody actually thought Museveni was going to give up power did they? He's hanging around until the EAC federates, perhaps so he can be its first leader, who knows. The man has been consistent about this particular ambition for many years. I wish him luck, may he live so long...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Quick And Dirty Restaurant Review: 305 Karafuu

Well. I knew I was gonna like this place the minute we couldn't find parking on the overcrowded Kinondoni street of a Saturday night.* La Dee thought she wanted some Thai food for her birthday dinner but her sistren overpowered her (yup, bila shame) and dragged her out to some local adventuring instead. 

305 Karafuu is a pretty lil' thang of a restaurant. Flirty, small, bit moody. Kinda perfect. Took full advantage of my time there to peer around corners, talk to the bartender (he's fantastic) and the owner (jury's out on that one, chefs can be a bit temperamental) and the guy next to me on the bar who turned out to be Irish**.

Anyways, after trying unsuccessfully to compliment the chef on his project of bringing the haute cuisine to the excellent array of local produce, we got our food. How was it? It was thoughtful. The fish was magnificent. The steak was not. The salad was actually good, for once, with a home-made dressing that wasn't dripping in oil. And we got bread when we asked for it. 

I loved the fusion of the experience. It isn't complete yet, there is still some growth to see but it's some next-stage growth. The food, like the place, had something that I didn't realize I had been missing so much in eating establishments. It's got soul. It... feels. 

So anyways, go there. That's my recommends. You'll have a nice time. And if you don't, you can go sulk about it at the chipsi kuku across the lane or better yet at Twitter Bar up the road. It'll be an experience any which way you trundle down that road. 

*Also because I spotted the Twitter Bar along the way to good eating, and I smelled the scent of my kinda troublerousers gathering there and thought: hell yeah. 

**Yay! Irish!

A little birdie told me...

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