African village

A note from the editor

Chris Brazier

Sisters and brothers - Three decades of change in an African village

Compelled by a news agenda with the attention span of a flea, it is rare enough for journalists to return to stories they have previously covered. But to return to the same African village community every 10 years, as I have since 1985, is more unusual still – especially when there is no ‘news value’ to the story and when the individuals featured are ‘unknown’. I regard this long-term project in Burkina Faso as probably my most significant journalistic achievement in what is now quite a long career – and the New Internationalist’s readiness to publish it perhaps indicates what sets it apart as a magazine.

In 17 pages there is only so much you can show, of course. And for that reason we have made much more use than usual of the extra resources and infinite space that our website affords us. We have created an internet hub that offers many more ‘Then and Now’ photographs than we have been able to include here on the printed page, more detail on particular stories as they developed, as well as a few short video clips. Please do take up our invitation to delve deeper by going to nin.tl/villagehub

We’re also pleased to announce that our web documentary on life after Ebola was highly commended at the AIB broadcasting awards last year. You can still catch it here: nin.tl/backintouch

Finally, with the March edition under way – our 500th – we are working hard behind the scenes on perhaps our most ambitious plan in 44 years of publishing at New Internationalist – a community share issue that will give you the opportunity to co-own us.

We’re on the brink of something huge!

In March we’re launching the biggest ever media community share offer and inviting you – our amazing readers – to become our co-owners.

So, what’s a community share offer? It’s when a group of people who believe in something come together to make it happen. You buy community shares, but these are not the same as corporate shares – they’re not driven by profit. You invest in the world you want to live in and in return you become a co-owner of New Internationalist.

This investment, underpinned by a robust business plan, will transform what we do and create an ethical and sustainable media business model for the 21st century.

Want to find out more? Please register your interest online at: nin.tl/own-us

Chris Brazier for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Journey's End

Chris Brazier returns to the village in Burkina Faso that he has visited every 10 years since helping to make a film there in 1985.

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There is a new road to Sabtenga and, remarkably, I am travelling along it – gingerly, and with no small danger to the life and limb of those around me – on a motor scooter. In a way the changes in my mode of transport have mirrored developments locally.

When I first came here, in 1985, I was part of a film crew with its hired four-wheel-drive vehicle carrying equipment and fording streams, though once in the village itself I went everywhere on foot. In 1995, on my first solo return, I walked...




Features.

Map of Sabtenga - and 30 years of change in Burkina Faso

How the village has grown - and some facts about how things have changed.

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Then & Now

A photographic account of changes over the years in: housing; water; education; health; sanitation; food and farming; technology; and women.

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An Audience with the Chief

Former military pilot François Moné has taken on the traditional role of Chief. He explains how he is using this to pursue the development of the village.

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(Bottom right) Adama today, now aged 73. (Bottom left) His granddaughters are set to work – with a little help from a friend. (Top) Adama’s four wives with an assortment of their children and grandchildren. Meryam, Zenabou and Bintu are at the back on the left, with Kadiguiatou third from the right. Mwadisa is in the middle, with red on her headdress, and Alimata is on the far right. A full range of photos of this family from 1985 to 2016  is available at nin.tl/villagehub

Autumn of the Patriarch

The latest instalment in the lives of Adama, his four co-wives and their 26 children.

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(Below) Rasinatu as she is now... (Opposite) ...and as she was in 2005, with Mariama, Zakariya and a determinedly contrary Zahara.

The Perils of Charity

When rich and poor worlds collide, money is inevitably a problem.

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A newly prosperous family: Oumarou (centre) with his wife Bintu and (from left to right) Kadijamila, Abdul Gani Rayan, Muhammad and (in his grandmother’s arms) Issa Arif. Oumarou’s younger brother Ousmane is on the left.

Great Expectations

Mariama’s sons are all trying to make their way in the wider world. But how do you explain to Africans that the rich world is now shutting its doors to migrants?

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The Unreported Year 2016

Stories and photos you may have missed in the last 12 months. Compiled by Jo Lateu.

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Web exclusives.

The Chief with his traditional bonnet (2016).

Sabtenga: modernisation knocks on the gates of tradition

Chris Brazier's full interview with François Moné, the village's latest Chief.

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The last house to be bulldozed at the Vila Autodrom favela.

Both hands on the spotlight for Rio’s favelas

A small NGO is trying to link local communities and international networks to help Rio’s worse-off neighbourhoods, Ann Deslandes reports.

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Blog.

A still image from video taken 15 December 2016 over eastern Aleppo shows an operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters in buses from Aleppo.

Accountability is key to peace in the Middle East

We desperately need effective bodies to promote law and due process, writes William Bell.

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Carondelet Palace, official residence and principal workplace of the President of Ecuador.

Ecuador votes to bar politicians from having assets in tax havens

The ‘yes’ vote wins in the first, historic referendum of its kind, writes Alessio Perrone.

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Opinion.

Trump can be beaten because he is the Establishment

We must respond with a genuine vision for ending the corrupt politics of privilege, writes Mark Engler.

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My Daily Mail badge of honour

Chris Coltrane on how to be hated by the Daily Mail.

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Agenda.

Building a better media

Hazel Healy on how independent outlets are gaining traction.

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Water bankruptcy looms in Iran

Water bankruptcy looms in Iran

Lydia Noon reports on an escalating crisis.

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Punished for pacifism

Punished for pacifism

Giedre Steikunaite reports on problems for pacfists in Europe.

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Bitter grapes sweeten in South Africa

Bitter grapes sweeten in South Africa

Peter Kenworthy on a striking success for wine workers.

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Relatives mourn a person killed by Manila police for alleged drug involvement.

Duterte's bloody war continues apace

Iris Gonzales reflects on the Philippine president's controversial war on drugs.

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The downside to electric cars

The downside to electric cars

They may be good for the environment, but not for those mining the cobalt needed to manufacture their batteries, writes Neil Thompson.

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Trudeau Trumped

Trudeau Trumped

Richard Swift considers the Trump effect on Canada's prime minister.

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Beware philanthrocapitalism

Beware philanthrocapitalism

Why it isn't necessarily an unmitigated boon for the poor.

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Regulars.

Letters

Thoughts and opinions from our readers.

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Open Window - A little extreme

Shouldn't we have learnt from the past? A cartoon by Dom Nelson from Australia.

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Letter from Cochabamba

Working children have more pressing concerns than the law, discovers Amy Booth.

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Clockwise from top left: FSLN supporters celebrate the 37th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution on 19 July 2016; fruits and vegetables grow well in Nicaragua’s tropical climate; despite harsh criticism, Rosario Murillo’s ‘trees of life’ (see main story) have multiplied over the past three years; separating rice grains from chaff is often children’s job in indigenous communities; Miskito people use artisanal methods to extract gold from rivers and mountains on the Caribbean coast.

Country profile: Nicaragua

Mira Galanova uncovers a country at a crossroads.

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Worldbeaters: Donald Trump

Ego? Tick. Money? Tick. Power-hungry? Tick. A disaster for the world? Tick.

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Only Planet - First contact

This month's cartoon from Marc Roberts.

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A word with Naseema Assada

Lydia Noon talks to the Saudi women's rights activist about guardianship, Twitter hashtags, and suing the government.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Mixed Media: the best of 2016

The outstanding films, music and books of the year.

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Mixed Media: Film

Cameraperson, directed by Kirsten Johnson; Twentieth Century Women, directed by Mike Mills.

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Tunisia’s Emel – attracting considerable – and unwanted – attention.

Mixed Media: Music

Cruel Optimism by Lawrence English; Ensen by Emel.

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Mixed Media: Books

Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra; Ours to Hack and to Own edited by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider; The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto; Revolution in Rojava by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga.

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