If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Wednesday, 27 January 2010


In days gone by, researching for a news item used to be a laborious process. But in the current information age, any required data can be as close as a Google search away.

And yet some journalist appear not to be keen on this immensely useful resource at their disposal or is it just pure laziness?

A youthful BBC TV sports anchor went through the usual paces, when introducing the story of British tennis ace Andy Murray's historic exploits at the Australian Open.

From her script, she read that Murray had stormed into the quarter-finals and added that the last time a Briton achieved that feat, was 25-years ago.

But after winding up the sports segment, the more elderly-looking main news anchor asked her if she knew the result of that tennis match involving a Briton in 1985.

She was clueless. And she looked even more ridiculous by arguing she was too young then to remember. All it would have taken was for her to do a little research before going on air, instead of just reading her lines as if they were an end in themselves.

This according to an article in the Guardian online, should perhaps be one of the reasons why female anchors should not be viewed as unsuitable as they get older, but should also be viwed as getting more authoritative like their male counterparts.

Facts should keep pace with the news 

Nevertheless, care should be taken to ensure that the research being undertaken yields correct and updated data, to avoid making other errors of interpretation.

This is what happened to an NTV Kenya reporter, in a background piece below, on the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in the Mediterranean Sea. At some point, Ethiopian Airlines used to be regarded as Africa's largest but not any more.

NTV Kenya's report on Ethiopian Airlines

According to details posted on the Star Alliance website, South African Airlines, with a fleet of  55 planes handles nearly 7 million passengers annually and gets revenues in excess of US$ 3.5 billion.

Reuters report states that Ethiopian Airlines only handled 2.8 million passengers in 2009 and it's known to have at least 35 aircraft, with a revenue base of about US$ 1 billion.

If you get the facts in a story wrong, you might never get another chance to win back your credibility.

Saturday, 23 January 2010


NTV Kenya's report on Nigerian leadership crisis

The Nigerian people either want their President dead or are in the process of killing him. Any sort of pressure for an ailing Umaru Yar'Adua is surely not what the doctor ordered and Olusegun Obasanjo should know this.

The former president, who it is said handpicked Yar'Adua as his successor, is now distancing himself from the sickly President and vigorously denying he bestowed upon Nigerians a leader with a questionable health status.

And the media in that West African country, which is the most populous in the continent, is also piling in more pressure and actively wishing it, appears, that there is a major fall out precipitated by the crisis.

So how is Yar'Adua expected to make a quick recovery, when so many people appear to be keener on the Nigerian presidency and not the well-being of the Nigerian President?

And to Yar'Adua, shouldn't the preservation of one's life be the top most priority, for what good will it serve one, if clinging on to power ultimately leads to one's demise?


A deep-seated broadcasting industry culture has for a long time been compelling news anchors, presenters and news managers to feel the need to say so and so is now reporting live on location.

In developing countries like Kenya, the acquisition of an outside broadcasting capability admittedly was source of much pride and is used to maximum effect, to wow the audience and competing channels.

But gradually, every player in the news business got the capacity to relay live proceedings even from remote locations and yet the different stations have never felt the need to drop the emphasis of stating a particular person is live on location.

So the anchor in studio says with much gusto that, 'We now go live to.....,' and then the reporter can also add, 'I am live........'  Ridiculous, right?

It's like one station boldly stating it has an exclusive report only for another channel to have the same story but with even more dramatic footage or additional interviews.

Viewers fatigued by meaningless live reporting

But even here in the UK, the 'live' obsession is very much alive. And because of the advanced technology, a bulletin here can have as many as four live reports, from Port au Prince in Haiti, to Kandahar in Afghanistan, from Copenhagen in Denmark to Cape Town South Africa.

Research done in America even seems to suggest that viewers find no value in having some stories being reported as live or many stations reporting live a similar story because it deprives them of variety.

This especially, should be useful informationn for media managers in Kenya, who really ought to find a way of minimizing the costs of all of them pitching tent in one location and instead could at times consider commissioning one channel to cover an event and distribute the signal to the rest.

For television, a live report can be graphically labelled as such or if it's a must that the anchor says so, the stress on the 'live' is not necessary and is no longer awe- inspiring or extra-ordinary.

It has now crossed the absurdity line and is in the annoying territory.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


A woman is trapped under the rubble for six days after the Haiti earthquake. Rescuers finally get to her and begin the arduous task of freeing her. Her husband anxiously awaits to be reunited with his partner.

Bill Neely, a UK-based veteran TV journalists, who happens to have stumbled on this great story, manages to push down a microphone near her and asks,
'Are you hurt?'
Of course she's in pain and her agony or discomfort need not be overdramatized. The ITV News reporter fell into the trap of getting carried away by an exclusive story, to the point of sinking to dehumanizing levels.
Haiti's capital is struggling with its biggest catastrophe yet and every life rescued is a celebration of the triumph of life over death, despite the ominous loss of thousands of lives.

 Unfair interview of Haiti earthquake survivor

And when the woman is finally pulled out, the reporter once again spoils the celebratory moment with another awkward question:

'Did you think you would survive?'

And the rapid response from the probably shocked survivor that she did not think it would have gone any other way serves to underpin the insensitive line of questioning.

As a viewer, I would have been more interested to know what kept the woman going, how as she hinted, she got to the point of not fearing death and what it felt like to be reunited with her loved one.

In any case, the idea of interviewing a person who has undergone so much trauma, even before she was rescued, is a gross violation of ethical standards.

If she had died, perhaps the reporter would have felt his story would have had a better ending.

Deaths in the aftermath of the Haiti quake, it appears, is a subject for big stories like the piece in the online Independent on the lack of dignity in the disposal of the bodies of the Haiti tragedy.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Tens of thousands are dead after the Haiti quake. In such an impoverished country, responding adequately in the aftermath is a difficult affair. So days later, bodies are still out in the streets. Is this a good news angle?

Yes, if you happen to be the much celebrated CNN journalist Anderson Cooper. And to give the story a memorable hook, he decides to tag along as a man loads a coffin onto a cart and embarks on a journey to where a family awaits to bury their loved one.

The CNN crew captures in great detail all the devastation along the way as the cart manoeuvres and dodges dead bodies. Cooper gives a running commentary and occasionally gets into the shot to describe the desperation.

Finally, the coffin is delivered and the family loads the body in it and rushes to a nearby cemetery. Cooper remarks at the misery of not being able to conduct a proper burial for the departed in the circumstances. 

And he also adds that the body is being entombed in a crypt that belongs to another family.

Mockery of Haiti tragedy

Then the camera zooms into the crypt and shows the men piling stones and trying to seal it. To Cooper, this is one body that has at least received some kind of send-off. 

So the entire story is about how one of the many thousands of dead Haitians got buried. Is that worthy of international airing, taking up airtime that could even have been spent making appeals for urgent assistance to Haiti?

And there is something about the tone of the story that makes it even more offensive. Not surprisingly then, Anderson Cooper, as captured in the video link below, also found it relevant to report on the inmates, who escaped after the quake struck Port-au-Prince.

CNN story on escaped inmates after prison walls crumbled in Haiti quake

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


It is ranked as the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Floods caused by hurricanes and tropical storms regularly claim thousands of lives. And now a powerful earthquake has struck Haiti.

How can one country be prone to so much devastation, to add to the extreme poverty levels and political instability?

The world it, appears, has grown to become indifferent to cases of chronic and acute lack of basic human needs in countries like Haiti.

Token response taking the form of peacekeeping missions and the occasional humanitarian aid hardly seems sufficient for Haiti.

The impoverished countries in the Caribbean are surrounded by some of the world's strongest economies and yet over the years, the Third World countries have been unable to shake off the yolk of poverty.

After the devastation of the atomic bombs, Japan got massive humanitarian assistance from the US, after its surrender and denunciation of aggression and sovereignty.

And after World War two, America also came up with the Marshall Plan, which sought to help reconstruct the battered European economies.

But when former slaves went on to form the first independent black country called Haiti, what assistance did they get? Or has there been no interest in the long term welfare of Haitians because they represent the only successful slave revolt in history?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


One billion US dollars spent on magnificent stadia and other infrastructure. Unbelievable assembly of top-notch football superstars from Africa. Yet the crowds keep away. Not good for business.

The Emirates Stadium, Copyright 2010 agachiri

Under what can only be described as blizzard conditions, over 60,000 football fans troop to the Emirates Stadium for an English Premier League match in North London, on Saturday 9th January.

Supporters of the home team, Arsenal, brave the freezing conditions and families even bring along their little ones. Some fans do need some bit of Dutch courage and swarm into the nearby pubs before kick-off.

But it's not only Arsenal fans, who a keen to follow the action. Buses pull up on the Eastern wing of the Emirates, dropping in away supporters of Everton, who have endured the icy weather all the way from Merseyside in Liverpool.

Fast forward to Monday, 11th January and in the Africa Cup of Nations, Malawi cause a huge upset by blanking Algeria three goals without reply. The star-studded Ivory Coast team also finds the going unexpectedly hard against a determined Burkinabe side.

But the spanking new stadia in Angola are mostly empty. Not even the prospect of watching the likes of Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou or Barcelona's Yaya Toure or his brother Kolo Toure of Man City and Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal, could lure the fans to the stadium.

Real business of supporting football teams

As I watch the Africa Cup of Nations matches, which are being beamed live to the UK by Eurosport, there are plenty of empty seats for my comfort.

Although the Luanda stadium was full to capacity, when the host nation opened the CAN 2010 in a thrilling match with Mali, I wonder aloud about the different scenarios in Europe and Africa.

                                          The Emirates Stadium, Copyright 2010 agachiri
Back to the Emirates, It has become so cold I can no longer ascertain whether my toes are still there. But the pouring snow does not dampen the livid atmosphere inside the stadium. And even when Everton take a surprise early lead, the chanting by home supporters never dies out.

Arsenal eventually equalize and from the roaring cheers, I begin to worry about those residing in the nearby high-rise flats, given that the Emirates is build smack in the middle of a populated area.

And when Everton score a stunningly cheeky goal, despair among the home supporters begins to show. Deep into added time and some fans are already out in the streets, getting a head start to the tube station.

But as the walk away, many are still getting updates on their mobile phones and when there is another thunderous cheer from the stadium and some jump up and share the excitement of Arsenal's equalizer.

Missed business opportunities in Africa football

Football without the fans is barely a beautiful game. So why aren't Angolan or even travelling spectators keen on attending matches other than those involving their national team?

Is poverty the most obvious reason or is it a question of attitudes? Isn't Angola supposed to be riding on the wave of petro-dollars after UNITA guns went silent? Or, as pointed out by the online Daily Nation, attempting to stage high profile matches in Cabinda was ill-advised, following the Togo attack?

With the first World Cup on African soil only months away, this is the time to put tried and tested business models into practise and long after the global football fiesta.

The Emirates Stadium, Copyright 2010 agachiri

As I have now come to realise, the English Premier League is much much more than a game of football. After the game ends at the Emirates, many fans stream to what is curiously named as the, 'Armoury,' which has nothing to do with weapons but the latest Arsenal branded merchandise.

Indeed, as pointed out by my colleague Zalak Modi, after her visit to Anfield, Liverpool supporters are bombarded with T-shirts, mugs, scarves and other souvenirs, not just of the team generally but actually branded with the details of the match that has just ended.

Yes the economic conditions in Africa hardly leave one with disposable income after taking care of basic survival needs. But I am beginning to think that all we do is slave away in search of hard cash but hardly get to enjoy any of it.

We are so afraid for our well- being that the present is just occupied by trying to ensure we get a future life that is devoid of our past deprivations.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


A 30-minute ordeal, under a hail of bullets. The bus carrying the Togo football team is the target. Three people lose their lives. Terrorism strikes the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

A distressed Togolese team pulls out of the tournament as Angolan authorities scramble to reassure the other teams that their security will be guaranteed.

In a morbid kind of way, this terror attack illustrates the different premium attached to loss of human life, depending on whose country's interest is at stake.

A Nigerian man's plot to blow up a US plane as it lands in Detroit is thwarted at the last minute. What follows is a flurry of activities in major airports across the world as security measures are revised and made more stringent.

Another terror strike in the African continent results in three deaths, days before the start of the biggest and most prestigious football tournament, involving 19 top national teams.

Does this grab the world's attention?  Yes. Is the incident as thoroughly investigated and do country's come to the aid of Angola to help it adequately respond and upgrade its security status for the tournament? Not entirely yes.

And here in the UK, what is mainly picked up by the media is the fact that Manchester City star Emmanuel Adebayor was in the Togolese convoy that came under attack.

Admittedly, focusing on the players who play in the English Premier League is a plausible in-point of the story for the British audience. But lives have been lost here and downplaying this fact just leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


NTV report on latest pay hike for Kenyan legislators

You got to admire the nerve of Members of Parliament in Kenya. They refuse to pay tax on their obscene earnings but still see nothing wrong in looting taxpayers' money. Politics being dirty truly makes you filthy rich.

This is the only occupation where you get allowances for actually discharging your prescribed duties. So what pray tell are their salaries supposed to be for? Then, as exposed by the Daily Nation, they get to have their pay increased.

For one to successfully navigate through the Kenyan electoral system, it goes without saying that one needs to have access to an almost unlimited amount of money.

So most of the elected MPs are usually already on the wealthy side of life. Some seek refuge in politics to reduce their exposure to future prosecution given their murky past, while another lot could be so heavily indebted that only the perks that come with elective politics can redeem their situation.

And then there are those who have known no lack in their life, coming from rich families and even inheriting political seats that have been held captive by their kinsmen.

Such is the extent of their opulence that a rumour doing the rounds in Nairobi banking circles has it that one particular MP has so much money in his account that whenever his bank is caught up in an emergency, it occasionally withdraws vast amount secretly from the account and quietly pays it back without the MP ever realising it.

Just like the renowned thespian Jerry Aurah used to say, Kenya has two faces best exemplified by the fact that, whereas one toilet could be serving ten thousand people in the Kibera slums, one person elsewhere could be facing the difficult choice of which among the 5 toilets in his mansion should he use.

Friday, 8 January 2010


He is said to be among the most well paid radio and television hosts in the UK. He made some prank call that enraged many people. Jonathan Ross will now quit the BBC.

That the story has generated so much interest, as captured by Mail Online, is to me a bit strange. But what do I know? Going by the battery of journalists at his press conference, apparently I haven't a clue about the workings of the British media.

That he was being paid over 6 million GBP  per annum, (or about Ksh 5 million per month), is certainly unusual. But so is his decision to quit the BBC making front page news.

The tabloids like Daily Mirror can be excused for speculating on the whys and whereofs but why should the mainstream UK media like the Independent find it relevant to spur debate about the circumstances surrounding Ross's quit notice?

Granted that his shows were quite popular, could the general public actually be interested in all the side-shows of one person in the media deciding he was not going to renew his contract with the BBC?

Whether he did so because of pressure to accept an 80% pay cut or if other channels are lining up to have him on board after his 13 year stint at the BBC, hardly qualifies as news of public interest.

If Jonathan Ross was in Kenya

It does bring out the awkwardness of the media making one of their own as a news subject. That even the BBC can prominently keep repeating the story in its hourly bulletins is to me a curious editorial decision. Let alone getting discussed in Newsnight.

I can't help but try to imagine Jonathan Rose as a much loved presenter in my country. Okay. It would not be possible for him earn over 700 million shillings every year.

Other than a mention in the gossip pages or entertainment sections and 'celebrity' obsessed blogs, his departure would almost pass quietly.

There would be no press conference to announce his big decision which in any case would not be acceptable with 6 months still left in his contract. Otherwise his next visit to his employer's premise would have to be an escorted one.

The culture in Kenyan media is to announce when a big shot joins the company or senior management staff changes are made.

What is sauce for the UK goose is definitely not saucy for the Kenyan gander.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Corporate business entities are the new superpowers. It is no longer a question of which country is exerting its dominant policies or influence across the world.

In Africa especially, that role is increasingly being taken over by multi-billion dollar companies, most of which are based in Western capitals and mega cities.

The turnovers of these huge conglomerates after all, greatly surpass the GDPs of many countries categorized as developing and their profit margins exceed the national budgets of many Third World countries.

So there are no surprises in learning that the economy controlled by Harvard University is greater than that of my country Kenya. Although a story carried by CBS News online, highlighted how it lost billions of dollars in the economic downturn.

American private establishments indeed, are becoming so dominant that one almost feels like their spirit of free enterprise or capitalism ought to be bound by some sort of anti-monopolistic regulations.

Dancing to the iTunes of corporate America

To illustrate this point, imagine a typical day for a journalist working for a media organization in an African city. CNN flashes a breaking news story somewhere in the continent. He quickly springs into action and begins to research on the lead.

What does he do first? He Googles the name of the mentioned place to retrieve some background information as well as the latest information put out by other news outlets. And this is done on an Apple computer, using Microsoft's Word package.

As he assembles and edits the story using Final Cut Pro, he gets distracted by a beep on his iPhone, informing him that somebody has posted a message on his Facebook wall. He logs on and decides to reply to the message using the Twitter application on his cell phone.

And after his story is aired, it gets uploaded on YouTube, where comments and reactions are subsequently posted on the news site.

Isn't it surprising that Kenyans are more concerned by the apparent high rate at which Libyan-based entities are snapping up controlling stakes in the country's prime economic sectors?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


         NTV story about gay couple, who wedded, being charged in a Malawi court

To the African society it spells abomination. To the couple it is just another example of love conquering all. Can cupid's arrow pierce through cultural prejudices sustaining homophobia?

The two Malawian men, who dared the system, are staring at possible incarceration because of defying not only societal taboos but the laws of the country as well. All in the name of love.

Their union follows that of the Kenyan couple, who wedded in London, thousands of kilometres from their home country, where the law does not frown upon same-sex relationships.

But, as reported in the online edition of Daily Nation, they too have to keep pleading to be left alone by the disapproving Kenyan public and a frenzied media attention.

Whereas to people in the First World this might appear like an inconsequential public debate or even spectacle, in many Africa countries, the very thought of same-sex marriages is not only repulsive but the kind of stuff that earns instant multi-generational curses.

In the west, the media features gay people stories as a matter of routine. Moreover, quite a sizeable number of television presenters have publicly declared their homosexuality.

According to a story carried by the Mail Online, openly gay presenter Graham Norton even got reprimanded by BBC officials for making a homophobic joke.

The role of the media in countering homophobia

But in, Kenya what followed the story of the gay couple union in London was a barrage of scornful diatribes and anti-gay FM radio discussions.

Some programme hosts had no qualms about expressing their negative perception towards homosexuality.

And not surprisingly, going by what has been captured by some Kenyan bloggers, there was a backlash from radio listeners, who felt dismayed by radio presenters advocating for homophobic attacks.

So what is a journalist supposed to do in such a situation? In this instance, personal biases against same sex marriages should not be suppressed but should indeed be allowed to exist, much the same way those in support should be tolerated. Bias here does not include hating or inciting against the other side.

That's how I reasoned. I had the option of going to cover the Kenyan gay couple civil partnership for NTV, because it happened two trains away from where I live. But after much soul searching, I was just not comfortable with the idea.

Was I unprofessional? Maybe. Was I true to my own convictions? Certainly yes. Should the two co-exist? Not necessarily.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Jane Jetson told her husband as he prepared to go to work, 'On your way out darling, can you please tell the building's caretaker to fix the weather.'

However was that going to be possible? I wondered aloud. But after getting the request, the building caretaker pushed some buttons and the futuristic apartment block was elevated further up into the sky.

This made the Jetsons' apartment to rise above the dark clouds causing all the rain and into some bright sunshine. Even if nothing seems impossible in the world of cartoons, this was overstretching the imagination.

Man's obsession with tall structures according to the Holy Bible, can be traced as far back as the Genesis days, when the Lord thwarted attempts to build into the sky at Babel, by making the people to speak in different languages, hence sabotaging their communication.

But hundreds of centuries later, human kind was to later conquer the skies with buildings search as the Eiffel Tower, Empire State BuildingSears TowersPetronas Twin Towers or the Taipei 101.

Modern day height- defying buildings

Some of these architectural marvels stretched more than 500m into the sky. And now comes another monster project that literally dwarfs all the tallest skyscrapers.

Al Jazeera story of the Burji Dubai just before it was officially unveiled

The Burji Dubai complex, which has just been commissioned and renamed Burji Khalifa, rises an astonishing 828m into the sky, almost a kilometre high and despite the language barriers of the immigrant workers co-opted into the project.

So once more the bar has been raised and already there are talks of other structures that could even eclipse this landmark landmark.

The grandest of these apparently is toying with the idea of a mega skyscraper stretching some 2.4 kilometres towards the stratosphere.

For how much longer is the sky going to be the limit?

Monday, 4 January 2010


An ultimatum has been given to the ailing Nigerian President Umaru Yar' Adua. Resign by the end of January 2010 or be removed by the National Assembly.

But according to the story, which was attributed to News Agencies, and carried by Kenya's Sunday Nation online edition, the group issuing the threat is comprised of 100 legal practitioners.

The group says it will rally its professional colleagues and the Nigerian voters to 'take their destiny into their hands by any legitimate means possible.'

Now there is something that is not adding up here. The headline of the story says, 'Lawyers give Yar'Adua quit ultimatum.' But the first line says if the President fails to comply, he would be removed by the National Assembly of Nigeria.

So, can the group of lawyers give the ultimatum and the honours of effecting their threatened action fall onto members of the National Assembly? Where's the connection?

Contradictory ultimatum or multi-level quit threat?

The story further reports on the quit notice thus:

'....if by the expiration of its ultimatum of January 31, President Yar’Adua has not come back to actively assume and perform his functions as the president, and he neither resigns nor is removed by the National Assembly in the application of sections 144 and 146 of the 1999 Constitution to enable the vice president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan be sworn-in, it should not be held responsible for whatever may result from such legitimate action(s).'

Here, it is rightly implied that the group of lawyers is aware that it cannot force Nigeria's National Assembly to act on its quit notice to the country's leader. 

Moreover, it's no longer just about Yar' Adua resigning by 31st January. All will be well for him if he manages to shrug off his sickness and resume his duties.

Now how about that. A news story with internal contradictions.

Sunday, 3 January 2010


After going through thousands of nominations, words that need to be obliterated from human parlance have been identified. Their usefulness was measured and found to be wanting.

In a Reuters story, carried by Kenya's Sunday Nation, researchers at Lake Superior State University in the U.S. unveiled their 35th annual list of words that deserve to be banned, majority of which came from ICT jargon, marketing lingo and media journalese.

So words associating with social networking entities such as Twitter and Facebook, like 'unfriending,' or 'twitterature,' came up for some serious rejection by the Word Banishment committee..

Others were cliches derived from the Obama prefix like, 'Obamanomics,' or 'Obamamania.'  Another category that elicited strong dislike had to do with marrying of two words to form a new one carrying both meanings.

Examples cited here include, 'chillaxin, bromance, sexting,' and even, 'blogorrhea.'

Words that escaped the guillotine

Economic buzz words that gained currency in the wake of the global recession like, 'stimulus' or 'toxic assets.' went into use overdrive, which made them prime candidates for being banned.

This eminent team of phrasemongers and wordsmiths however needed to have included a special category of 'NGO-speak,' in their list of unwanted words.

Like members of one well-rehearsed choir, majority of professionals in the NGO sector have been known to spit out grand sounding general terms that lack specific contextual meanings.

In this category will be found words like, sanitize, critical mass, girl-child, value addition, marginalized or empowerment.

Media practitioners also come up for special mention. For many reporters, the mood during sad occasions is always sombre, lawyers in the news are always top-notch, new devices are always state-of-the-art or top of the range, and government delegations are more often than not, high-powered.

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Christianity seems to have long lost its appeal amongst the British. And yet it is they that dedicated centuries towards spreading the Gospel around the world.

During a concert by Status Quo at the Wembley Arena in mid-December 2009, thousands paid more than 30 pounds, (Ksh 3,500) each and braved the chilly weather to dance to the legendary rock band tunes. The audience was overwhelmingly white.

Fast forward to 31st December, New Year's Eve. Same venue and this time the entry is free. The gathering is organized by Jesus House and the turnout is about half compared to Status Quo. The audience this time is overwhelmingly black, mostly with ties to Nigeria.

What gives? Were there no whites interested in counting down the New Year in a religious or spiritual backdrop? Or was the London Eye type of celebration their ideal festivity?

The Great Gospel Denial

As a matter of fact, Eddie Izzard earlier had had comedy shows at the Wembley Arena on three consecutive days in December, and still managed to pull in the crowds.

Nothing unusual there but when you consider the central theme of these performances was a very direct denial of the existence of God by the self-confessed atheist entertainer, you begin to see the big picture.

Somebody needs to explain what motivated the progenitors of the current generation of UK citizens to fervently spread the Good Word globally, which now appears to have lost its favour and flavour among the British.

Was it the fact that Europe was already converted that motivated the early missionaries to seek other territories and civilizations to preach to?

Or was theirs an elaborate conspiracy, as often has been stated, to cover the tentacles of colonialism as they ensnared new converts?

Re-importing an exported Gospel

A colleague did bring to my attention another perspective. According to him, Africans are still generally struggling with basic survival challenges like food, shelter, diseases or even literacy.

And these issues, he correctly argues, feature prominently in their worship and prayers.

The question then becomes, would a white person, born into all the trappings and conveniences of life in the First world, find any relevance in such a spiritual focus on physical needs?

It does appear a tad unusual, when an African preacher energetically seeks Christian converts in a land that originally took the Gospel to Africa.

And in Africa, the Gospel is still brewing a storm. Just ask Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.