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Monday, November 9, 2015

Inside Mandela's House

 I wrote this post after visiting the Nelson Mandela National Museum, or simply the Mandela House.  The home of Nelson Mandela from 1946 to 1962.  Located at number 8115, at the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets, the Mandela House is a short distance up the road from Tutu House, the home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in Soweto. 

Both anti-apartheid heroes ended up Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The house itself is a single-story red-brick matchbox built in 1945. It has bullet holes in the walls and the facade has scorch marks from attacks with Molotov cocktails, scars of the restive Apartheid years. Standing in Madiba's small room gave me a graphic sense of the austerity of the average Sowetan home.

Here in the South Western Township, outside Johannesburg, Vilakazi Street prides itself as the only precinct in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners have lived. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu were neighbours for years in this Soweto neighbourhood.

Today the Mandela House is one of the big tourist attractions in Soweto, visited by hundreds of tourists daily.
The Mandela House gives the visitors a unique opportunity to walk through the same doorways and the rooms Nelson Mandela slept in before and after 27 years in jail.This exclusive report gives you an unprecedented view into the Mandela House in Soweto.

The Mandela House managed by the Soweto Heritage Trust attracts visitors from across the world who stream into the house daily to see a few personal items of Mandela, like the bed he slept in, his boxing gloves, the world championship belt given to Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard, family portraits as well as share the space he once lived in. Visiting this home was a seminal moment in my career as a reporter, and I can only liken this to being on the 38th parallel in-between North and South Korea earlier this year.

However both places are both historic, pregnant with symbolism, but different in their own rights.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Extraordinary Elemva

He is a highly rated Gynaecologists and Obstetrician in South Africa and beyond. He is one of four black doctors working at the prestigious Sandton Mediclinic and he is the first Cameroonian doctor to have completed the South Africa College of Medicine Specialists cycle in 2005.

Francis Christian Serge Elemva is today one of Cameroon’s finest medical doctors who’s biggest regret so far is not to have been able to practice in Cameroon.
I met Dr. Elemva in Sandton South Africa where he lives and works and obtained this exclusive report.

Francis Christian Serge Elemva, 48, is today the preferred Doctor of Cameroonians living in South Africa. Raised in Yaounde, Douala and Algiers he has been working for the past 15 years in South Africa and earned the recognition of his peers.
Despite full working days he pays attention to his paternal duties and raises his kids with solid Cameroonian values.

Cameroon's Vibrant Diaspora in SA

Some 2500 Cameroonians live in South Africa, notably in the major cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

A good number of them are studying, while others are hustling to make ends meet. In a context of limited job opportunities, many Cameroonians living in Johannesburg have opted to start businesses of their own.

Dongmo Furniture, opposite the High Court in the central business district of Johannesburg is today part of three furniture stores born out of the determination of Theodore Dongmo a young Cameroonian who arrived South Africa in 2005.
“We are talking about 3million Rands for this branch of pre-chart. But we’re talking about more other branches, ah I can say about 10 million Rands, the capital of my business for the moment.” 
He has taken advantage of the tax breaks and investment climate to scale up his business from just furniture sale to manufacture, creating 90 jobs, and opening three other branches.
 “South Africa gives good opportunity for the people who like to open a company. When it comes to the manufacture side then the bank, they check all the way you operate and then they can also give you the loan, your bank can also give you motivation”
Not far off in the student residential area of Braamfontein, Mvoubangsi Genesis the CEO of Graceland Beauty Saloon is another Cameroonian who has settled into the South African business tissue.
“I came here to study, then I realised it was not that easy, then I started a barbing saloon by training myself how to shave, I did not have any idea about it. I trained myself, there was nobody to help me things like that, then from there God blessed me, I had a bigger saloon, a bigger space then I employed guys we are about 17 of us.”
Eric Tala alias Shaman, also started as a barber. Today runs a cabaret night club, Chronic 24/7, and is branching into show business.
 “I invited Mathematic de Petit Pays, and right now with the guys I am working with we are busy communicating with Longue Longue, which he will be coming in November, which is not yet confirmed.”
Like them many other Cameroonians are excelling in various fields like education, medicine, engineering and entertainment in South Africa, and quite a handful are keen on investing back home.