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True Africa, Part 1
真实的非洲(一)

The remark "the only good news story is a bad news story" is sometimes quoted by cynical journalists. Positive stories don't make interesting news, they say. And in Africa it often seems it is only the wars, droughts and diseases which are reported. But Milton Nkosi, the BBC's bureau chief in Africa, who is travelling in South Africa and Tanzania, says that across the continent there are people working to improve their lives and their communities.

In Mivinjeni Primary school in Dar es Salaam I met the head teacher Mr. Alex Roberts, a quiet, unassuming man who is in the thick of his country's education challenges. Mivinjeni primary has no windows and the Indian Ocean breeze gently blows through the Swahili grammar class.

The playground is a typical sub-Saharan dirt field. There is no school bell, but a young boy picks up a stone and bangs it against an old truck wheel rim, to call his fellow pupils to assembly. In his school Mr. Roberts has two and half thousand pupils with only 50 teachers. This means that on average there are about sixty learners for each teacher and classroom. However this does not make Alex Roberts despair, instead it inspires him to struggle on until all the pupils move onto High school.

Even I, as an African who grew up in Soweto, was left with a lump in my throat, after seeing the tiny curious faces of the learners facing their future with such an incredible sense of hope and determination. They were packed in groups of 4s and 5s at desks that would normally sit just three. This told me one thing -- that Africans are not waiting for the outside world to save them from oblivion. They wake up every morning to work for their families and their future.

But Africans also wonder what image the outside world has of them. Perhaps through the mass media, people in the West imagine Africans folding their arms and waiting for outsiders to come and assist?

All too often they are denied the full picture. While they may appreciate that some African leaders have made the lives of their peoples so much worse, they're rarely told how so many African people are working to make lives better. It's been my experience from covering wars and humanitarian crises around Africa that the television sequences are almost always the same: first you see the flies around a sickly or starving baby's face and soon after that, a beautiful blond lady will come on to the screen to explain what is really happening in the refugee camps. I've seen it in Darfur, Angola, Sierra Leone, Congo, Zimbabwe. But the truth is that often local NGOs and church organisations were already on the ground helping and making a huge difference. But when the big guns arrive from Oxfam, Save The Children, Care International, WFP, WHO, with their vast resources, they get all the attention.

Just a few days ago I came across Robert Setshedi, a young pharmacist working in the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa. His job is just to dispense ARV drugs from the local Empilisweni hospital. But many of his patients cannot even afford the bus fare to get there. So Robert drives up and down the rolling hills and the valleys of the Eastern Cape in his own car, using his own petrol, and visits his patients. He uses his own mobile phone to remind those who're HIV positive when they should take the cocktail of drugs required to suppress the deadly virus. The hospital can't afford to give Robert a computer, so he uses his own lap-top to collect all his patients' data.

There is so much more to Africa than wars, coups, dictators, death and destruction!

 

参考译文:

愤世嫉俗的记者们常说这样一句话,“只有好消息本身就是一个坏消息”。好消息无法形成吸引人的新闻。似乎在关于非洲的报道中只有战争,干旱和疾病。但是英国国家广播公司的非洲分部负责人米尔顿·洛科斯在走访了南非和坦桑尼亚以后说道,整个非洲大陆上,人们都在努力工作来使他们的生活质量得到提高,社会得到发展。

在达累斯萨拉姆的明杰里小学,我们见到了他们的校长亚历克斯·罗伯茨先生。他是一个安静的,谦逊的人,正面临着该国教育最激烈的挑战。明杰里小学都没有窗户,来自印度洋的微风可以吹进斯瓦希里语语法课堂。

操场是典型的撒哈拉土场。学校里没有铃,一个男生用一块石头砸那个大铁车轮,来让他的同伴过来集合。在这个学校有2500个学生和50名教师。这就意味着每60个学生才能拥有一个教员和一个教室。但是这种情况并没有让校长先生绝望,反而激励了校长先生,他要努力使每个学生都顺利上中学。

即使是我这样一个从小在索韦托长大的非洲人,在看到这样的情景后都不禁感动了。一群认真好奇的孩子竟然对他们的未来报有这么大的希望和决心。正常情况下只能坐下三个人的桌子,现在挤着四五个人。这样的情景告诉我,非洲人民并不是等着外面的世界来拯救他们。他们每天早上一醒来,就在为了他们的家庭和未来而奔波。

但是非洲人民还是比较担心非洲以外的人们是怎么样看待非洲人的。或许通过媒体,西方人眼中的非洲人就是抱着双臂等着非洲以外的人们来援助他们。

这些人通常没有看到非洲的全貌。他们只会看到非洲的领导人们是怎样使他们的子民处于水深火热的,并没有看到这些非洲人是怎么样努力工作来改善生活的。我曾经对非洲的战争和人道主义危机做过电视报道,那时侯似乎所有的电视系列片都是相同的:首先是看到一个凄惨的或者饥饿的少年,面前是很多苍蝇,然后会有一个金发美女出现在屏幕上,告诉大家难民营里的情况怎么样。我在达尔福尔,安哥拉,塞拉利昂,刚果和津巴布韦都看到这样的片子。但是事实是,很多当地的非政府组织和宗教组织都已经脚踏实地地帮助难民。现在的情况已经大不相同了。但是当非洲人收到来自牛津饥荒救济委员会,拯救儿童组织,国际救助组织,(联合国)世界粮食计划署以及世卫组织的援助时,同时也受到了媒体的广泛关注。

几天以前,我遇见了罗伯特·斯切迪。他是在南非东部农村工作的一名药剂师。他的工作是在安培斯文尼当地的医院分发抗艾滋病病毒的药物。但是有很多病人根本就付不起去往该医院的车费。于是罗伯特·斯切迪就开着自己的车,在东海角的小山丘上来来回回,为病人分发药物,看望病人。他用自己的手机通知那些HIV呈阳性的病人,什么时候应该服用相应的药物来抵制那些致命的病毒。医院没有钱给他配发电脑,他就用自己的笔记本电脑来收集病人的资料。

在非洲,除了战争,政变,独裁,死亡和毁灭以外,其实还有很多别的东西。

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