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INSIDE AFRICA

INSIDE AFRICA

Aired February 7, 2003 - 12:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEMI OKE, CNN ANCHOR: Raising their voices, activists in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda say the fight over oil is corrupting the country and trumping the rights of local residents.

Help staging the world, South Africa opens the Cricket World Cup in grand style. We'll give you a behind-the-scenes look at what some are calling the biggest show on earth.

In our business spotlight this week, South Africa's Sasol Corporation, and a natural gas pipeline that is welcomed by environmentalists.

Plus, the booming home movie industry in Nigeria.

These and other stories this week on INSIDE AFRICA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Hello, and welcome to a very pat program indeed. I'm Femi Oke, sitting in for Tumi Makgabo.

Our very first stop is Angola, a country emerging from nearly three decades of civil war. After such a long period of conflict, the way ahead seems unclear, as the people try to focus on rebuilding. Now experts say one factor is making things even more complicated for this country. At issue? What some call the fight over oil, and one region is drawing particular attention. It is oil-rich Cabinda, a province where activists insist on independence from Angola.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At dawn, joyful noises praising God, but all is not happy in his house.

These two men say they were victims of military torture, suspected of being aligned with armed secessionists fighting the Angolan government. Its officials insist this tiny oil-rich territory between the two Congos is an integral part of Angola.

Government critics, like Father Casimiro Congo, say the battle is over oil and who will control it. They accuse the government of massive violations of human rights in the process.

Ebol Makaya (ph) tells of being held five days in a hold, heavy rains almost drowning him, scorpion stings weakening him and numbing his body.

Here in the sanctuary of the church, victims tell their stories.

Rafael Marques, a highly-respected journalist and human rights activist, joins other activists collecting testimonials for human rights reports. They include alleged summary executions, torture, sexual abuse.

These two young women told of being raped by military officials, one last year when she was 16, first by a commander, who then brought in 14 other soldiers who gang-raped her.

At a local clinic, a doctor confirms the massive physical and psychological abuse.

RAFAEL MARQUES, OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE: I think what is happening here can be characterized as part of a process of ethnic cleansing.

HUNTER-GAULT: Cabinda's oil production accounts for most of Angola's output. The United States gets some 7 percent of its oil from Angola.

Chevron Texaco, operating behind fences of what the locals call "little America," is accused by activists of complicity in aspects of the government's assault on Cabindans; for example, allegedly allowing suspects to be interrogated on their premises.

Father Congo tells me, "Here, Chevron has merged its own heart and soul with the government's own heart and soul."

MARQUES: The same ethics finance they use in the United States, they must use here, not because we are Africans Chevron can think they have the right to help kill us.

HUNTER-GAULT (on camera): Just down the road is the entrance to the vast Chevron Texaco complex. When we asked for permission to speak with someone about the problems that have been raised here, a spokesman told us that we couldn't do that at this time for security and operational reasons.

(voice-over): Government officials insist there's no complicity nor evidence of human rights abuses.

PEDRO HENRIK VAAL NETO, MINISTER OF SOCIAL COMMUNICATION: This is just a question of propaganda from those who, you know, think that Cabinda should be separated from the rest of Angola. We would never, never accept, you know, to exchange our people for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of oil.

HUNTER-GAULT: Neto says the government plans talks with Cabindans about their development needs.

Activists say there's enough oil wealth in Cabinda to net each resident of the province more than $100,000 a year.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, CNN, Cabinda Province, Angola.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: The allegations against Chevron Texaco are not new. An Angolan- based human rights group is one of several organizations that made similar accusations in a report released late last year.

This week, Chevron Texaco issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. The company said, and I quote: "Our commitment to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner is a role we take very seriously" -- unquote.

Chevron also dismissed allegations that it allows the police to interrogate suspects on its premises. It says the Cabinda provincial police have maintained a post at Chevron's camp in Malango since independence.

It also adds: "We have no knowledge of any human rights abuses occurring at the Malango police post." And the company says: "If it were to be shown that inappropriate activities or behavior by the Cabinda police relating to this post had occurred, Chevron's Angolan affiliate, Cabgoc, would" wait -- excuse me -- "would request immediate corrective actions to be taken."

Time now for a break, but when we return, we'll take you to a photo exhibition that shows a different side of Africa. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OKE: Welcome back. It's good to see you again.

The Cricket World Cup begins in South Africa this weekend. The run-up to the games has been marred by controversy over Zimbabwe's involvement as co-host, but that did not deter organizers from staging an opening ceremony that some have dubbed "the greatest show on earth." It's a $3 million extravaganza featuring stars like Hemata Kaila (ph), Islan Shaka Shaka (ph) and CNN's Tumi Makgabo, which is where (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of course.

CNN's Paul Tilsley went behind the scenes to see how South Africa prepared for this big night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL TILSLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five thousand volunteers rehearsed for eight months for Africa's big night.

Veteran amateur performers got down in a gentile and elegant fashion, while school kids got down (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

The choreographer of this sumptuous spectacle of human fishes and animals is Doug Jack, who's been in charge of seven Super Bowls and almost as many Olympic ceremonies, winning an Emmy for his work at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

DOUG JACK, CHOREOGRAPHER: It brought me back to my roots back to Barcelona. I kept comparing the show to Barcelona. It's the same size, 5,000 people in the cast, a young country looking for, you know, a place in the world market. And with that kind of heart, it's really taken this show to a level that I hadn't expected to come out of South Africa so soon.

TILSLEY: South Africa lost the bid to host the Olympics in 2004 and the Soccer World Cup in 2006. Now, with a 26-camera digital TV production, the country is out to strut out with pride.

MARK WEST, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: This has been an incredible challenge for us, and we have to convince the world that we are capable of doing this. And we lost the soccer bid, we lost the Olympic bid, we got the cricket bid. Now, we need to show them what we can do. We need to show them that yes, this is what Africa can deliver if we put our minds to it.

TILSLEY: Twelve thousand animals and other creations were out on the pitch time after time in rehearsals, ready for the continent's moment in the global spotlight.

(on camera): The motivational slogan used by the production team here is "teamwork makes the African dream work."

(voice-over): And in a tough economy, this is dream work for local people. They made some 70 percent of the props and costumes for the opening ceremony.

The show's producer, Sydney Olympic veteran Penny Jones, says the ceremony is stadium theater, African-style.

PENNY JONES, PRODUCER: Some of the materials that are being used are like local plastic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have a local (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here, you can see the really incredible amount of handiwork that's gone into this. Absolutely beautiful stuff. We're really, really proud of a lot of the African touches that takes place in each of the scenes. And we're planning an African story, and as you go through the seven scenes, we're introducing you to sights and sounds and experiences of Africa, South Africa, and ending up in the beautiful city of Cape Town.

TILSLEY: This weekend marks the climax of so much effort, so much dedication, much of it voluntary. Now, it's up to television viewers around the world to judge whether South Africa is winning the battle to prove it can host a multinational sports event. Millions of people are expected to tune in for the opening ceremony, and they should see something spectacular.

Paul Tilsley, INSIDE AFRICA, Newlands Stadium, Cape Town.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: Thanks very much, Paul. Those scenes you were watching there were from dress rehearsals earlier on in the week. And we hope to bring you some more exciting video from that opening ceremony very soon.

Time now to take a look at your money. For that, we turn to Nadia Bilchik.

Nadia -- over to you.

NADIA BILCHIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Femi.

We start up in West Africa, with a look at a product that's being called nature's miracle worker, everything from smoothing wrinkles to soothing dry hand skin. The moisturizing properties of shea butter are said to do it all.

The butter comes from nuts, harvested from the Karite tree, which grows in the so-called Shea Belt in western central Africa. The raw material is usually shipped to Europe for processing, but now local producers may soon start to share some of the profits.

The West African International Business Linkage is sponsoring regional training programs to help local producers market shea butter more effectively. The linkage says industry standards and policy controls need to be put in place. A boost in production could increase profits for regional firms and provide more jobs for people in the sub-region.

Next, we head to South Africa, where the All Share Index closed at just over 8,800 points. Stocks were brought down by falls in gold mining firms, even though the price of gold hit a six-year high earlier in the week.

The country's three biggest bullion producers all dropped this week. Anglogold lost nearly 3-and-a-quarter percent, Goldfields was down almost 2.5 percent, and Harmony dropped nearly 4 percent.

And we'll stay in South Africa for our business spotlight this week to focus on petrochemical giant, Sasol. The company is laying a natural gas pipeline, which is bringing major economic and environmental benefits to South Africa and Mozambique.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILCHIK (voice-over): Sasol says its natural gas pipeline project is progressing rapidly, ahead of schedule in many areas. Already, its central processing facility in Mozambique is near completion. From there, 865 kilometers of natural gas would be piped to South Africa per day. Right now, about 40 percent of the fuel oil needed for South Africa's industry and vehicles is produced by Sasol using coal. But Mozambique has huge and, up to now, largely untapped reserves of natural gas, and fuel oil produced from natural gas is much more environment-friendly.

PETER COX, CEO, SASOL GROUP: We are able in this case to have justified a pipeline, which links up gas to our operations in South Africa. So, A, we have an opportunity, have a competitive feed stock to coal, which is environmentally preferential. Secondly, we have an opportunity of supplementing our coal gas to industrial uses in a new, unique way, which I believe will in its own right spur new growth.

BILCHIK: The project is expected to increase Mozambique's GDP by 20 percent.

And Sasol is also investing $6 million to provide bore holes and clean water to local communities along the pipeline route. The project is expected to boost Sasol's annual sales, which now total $6 billion. The pipeline is now due to be completed by the end of this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

And now it's time for some African currency news.

The Egyptian pound ended trading at just over 5.5 to the U.S. dollar and nearly 9 to the British pound. The Egyptian government floated the pound last week to aid the embattled economy. Many analysts believe the pound was overvalued, which was what led to huge price hikes for basic food stuffs.

That's a look at your money. I'm Nadia Bilchik in search of some shea butter.

Femi -- it's back to you.

OKE: Thanks very much, Nadia -- that's shea-licious (ph) Nadia. I think she's been sneaking some of that shea butter secretly behind our backs.

Moving on now, we take you to Washington for a photo exhibition. Africans often complain of being unfairly portrayed by the international media as a continent of wars, internal strife and famine. Many insist that while that is Africa, there's another side to the continent that the world does not see, and it's that other side that's being displayed at this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) exhibit in Washington.

Carol Pineau reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL PINEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Photos of men working on oil rigs, children studying in school, parliament in session. It's an Africa that works. It is vibrant (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Images that, if they were from any other place, might even be considered mundane. But from Africa, the continent so well-known for its misery and disasters, the images create a powerful message that Africa cannot be so easily defined.

Eric Chinje organized the exhibit.

ERIC CHINJE, WORLD BANK: I like this for the simple reason that it challenges all of the known concepts or precepts or views that people have. Why? Because this is a normal newsroom in a poor country, one of the poorest in the world, Mozambique.

PINEAU: Many of the photos come from the Day in the Life of Africa project, which was sponsored in part by the World Bank.

(on camera): The exhibit makes the point that while you may know this Africa, the Africa of wars and famine, you may not know this Africa, the Africa of industry and technology, but that, too, is Africa.

(voice-over): Aid agencies often use negative images to encourage donations, but some say this frequent portrayal of poverty has led to a simplistic understanding of Africa.

CHINJE: It's an industry. I don't want to tell you who, but you know, we all have poverty. You know, give me your dollars, so I can help this child who hasn't been to school, you know. People see pictures of kids wearing uniforms and they're like, oh, no that's not Africa. Oh, no, that's a privileged kid.

PINEAU: But here, a photo that dispels the myth.

Africa's troubled image has had a cost.

CHINJE: If you are an investor and all you see consistently are images of shocks and famine and disaster and what have you, and you're thinking about investing, Africa, given the image it has, would be the last thought in the minds of any investor.

PINEAU: Even within the aid community, the barrage of negative images has had an effect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It creates some kind of fatigue, some kind of monotony, some kind of where this thing is hopeless.

PINEAU: The response from African ambassadors and dignitaries attending the event? Highly enthusiastic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's something amazing, because in Africa, there are other sides of the coins people don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very, very powerful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about time people scratch the surface and look at Africa and see the reality.

PINEAU: In April, the exhibit will travel to other sites.

Carol Pineau for CNN INSIDE AFRICA, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: And there's one image in that report that struck a chord is the little girl having her hair platted with thread, and the man was holding the hair and was rounding it round there with thread, and the little girl's head was tugging back. My mother used to do that to me, and she'd bash me on the head with a wooden comb when I was crying or complaining.

Anyway, enough of my childhood, because still ahead on INSIDE AFRICA - - my mom is going to e-mail me now -- investing in Tanzania's future, we'll bring you the story of an athletic champion and his dream for his country, so do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OKE: Hello again.

Now some say it is the most booming sector of Africa's arts industry (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the home movie business in Nigeria. It produces over 1,000 feature films each year. Yet, Nigerian actors say theirs is a struggling industry that's short of money and the attention it deserves.

Our Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN LAGOS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): On location in Nollywood, Africa's equivalent of Hollywood in the U.S. and Bollywood in India. In a country that does not have a single movie theater, up to 40 videos are shot, edited and released every week, making this the fastest- growing industry on the continent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not expect my director (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to be slip-shot, sloppy, incompetent.

KOINANGE: Last year alone, Nigerian home movies made a whopping $5 billion, but there's an ironic twist to this incredibly lucrative business. The money doesn't trickle down to the people making the movies.

OLU JACOBS, ACTOR/FILMMAKER: And all we don't have is money. Because we don't have money, we have to rush it.

KOINANGE: In other words, Nigeria's movie industry puts quantity ahead of quality. The results...

JOKE SILVA, ACTRESS/FILMMAKER: We sometimes tend to applaud mediocrity, but it is a mirror of the society itself, because the society does things to applaud mediocrity.

KOINANGE: Just recently, Hollywood icons like Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker were in town on a talent search, an indication that Hollywood is starting to pay attention.

Forty-one-year-old Richard Mofe Damijo is arguably Nigeria's most famous actor, with hundreds of films to his credit. He says the Nigerian film industry has come a long way since its infancy.

RICHARD MOFE DAMIJO, ACTOR: The average pay has improved from what it used to be. Before now, it used to be like less than $100 for a lead character to -- you know, to get a good -- in a movie. But now, some people will make as much as -- it's about 750,000 naira, which is a lot of money.

KOINANGE: That comes to about $5,000 per movie, a pittance compared to the massive seven-figure salaries commanded by movie actors around the world, but a good start.

Damijo, like other veterans of Nigerian film, though, are quick to encourage up-and-coming actors to follow their lead. One such is Femi Oginijgbe. He's made more than 40 films in his four-year career, winning critical acclaim. He's quickly becoming a favorite among directors here.

FEMI OGINIJGBE, ACTOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I enjoy making films (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for a long time, because the money is not there in this country.

KOINANGE: Industry insiders say outside investors are missing a golden opportunity.

DAMIGO: In a country where the population has been put conservatively at 120 million people, we believe that this is going to be one of the biggest movie industries in the world.

KOINANGE: That may be easier said than done. Few outside of Nigeria are willing to invest in a country where religious strife and ethnic tensions cloud an otherwise burgeoning economy. But experts here admit if Nollywood continues to grow at its present rate, it may one day rival and even outstrip both Bollywood and Hollywood.

For INSIDE AFRICA, I'm Jeff Koinange on location in Nigeria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: And if you're wondering about that actor, Femi Oginijgbe, the cast here said is it a boy's name or a girl's name? It's a unisex name as every (UNINTELLIGIBLE) speaker knows.

And finally, our sports heroes series. This week, we feature Tanzanian athletic champion, Filbert Bayi. Bayi brought honor to his country during his long years as a long-distance runner. Today, he's retired, but he remains a fixture in the development of his country, helping young people to prepare for tomorrow.

Graham Joffe (ph) has our profile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Still to this day, this 1,500 at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in 1974 is regarded as the greatest middle-distance race of all time. The national records of five countries were broken, and Filbert Bayi put Tanzania on the world athletic map.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: World record for 21-year-old Filbert Bayi of Tanzania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Filbert Bayi was born in Karatu, Tanzania in 1953, and from a very young age, he became passionate about athletics. And at just 19 years of age, Bayi was thrust into the athletic world. The 1972 Olympic Games in Munich was his international debut, and despite being eliminated in the heats of both the 3,000 meters steeplechase and 1,500, the platform had been set for a new middle-distance running talent.

FILBERT BAYI, TANZANIAN ATHLETIC CHAMPION: And I was really surprised that Kip Keino, being my hero, was in the '72 when I was running the 1,500 meters. And I said, 'How can I run with my daddy?' I mean, he's just like my father, because I was 19 and maybe he was in his 30s. So, you can image me running with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After Munich, Bayi quickly improved with every outing. It was his daring strategy of running from the front that became one of the most exciting draw cards at any track meet he competed in, and it wasn't long before his name was etched in the winner's column.

Bayi left Tanzanian shores in 1982 to study in the United States. Filbert Bayi graduated from El Paso in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, and he later returned to his country of birth, a country that has so much raw talent, but is far from maximizing its full potential.

Today, Bayi is still running around Tanzania in his role with the National Olympic Committee, the National Sports Council, his work with the IAAF, and above all, the self-funded primary school he and his wife started back in 1996.

BAYI: Well, literally we started in 1996. It started with seven kids, and then before (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with about 17, 18 students. And it was only enough that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the place we are now, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) primary education. We actually started just to have only (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bayi is frustrated, however, by the lack of value placed on the school sport in the Tanzanian education system. But within his own private school walls, sport is an integral part of the curriculum.

BAYI: You can't have international athletes (UNINTELLIGIBLE) without having national primary or secondary schools competition. All of this international stuff we were talking about, Keino, Mira Yumella (ph) or Pele, all of these people are coming from primary school competitions, or they're coming from schools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Filbert Bayi is revered throughout Tanzania for his feat 28 years ago, and the impact from what he's doing now will be felt for centuries.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKE: Thank you, Graham (ph), for that report.

And that's our look INSIDE AFRICA this week. I'm Femi Oke. The news continues on CNN. Take care.

END

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