Category Archives: Svenska Dagbladet

Eating together is about more than just food

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, from the series Äta tillsammans (“Eating together”)
July 8th 2018
By Armsfree Ajanaku

Nigeria. Adebayo Abejide, a radio station engineer, lives with his family in a suburb of the capital Abuja. As he often gets stuck in traffic on his work commute he is usually home too late to have dinner with his family.

“All of us are away from home many hours a day. From morning until evening, me, my wife, and my children are apart and mainly speak on the phone. Only occasionally do we manage to eat together at the weekends, but that too can be difficult since my wife is studying for a master and doesn’t always have her weekends off”, says Adebayo.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, July 8th 2018. Full article (in Swedish) here:  https://www.svd.se/gemensam-maltid-handlar-inte-bara-om-mat

I was surprised that grandma accepted cooking with eggs

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, from the series Äta tillsammans (Eating Together)
16 July 2018
By Bhrikuti Rai

Nepal. Thirty year old marketing manager Yukti Pant lives in Kathmandu with her parents and grandmother. Traditionally the family are strict vegetarians, but Yukti got a taste for meat when she was visiting relatives, and often eats out with friends so that she can choose a meat dish.

-Grandma is so strict with her traditional customs. That she accepted egg to be cooked in her kitchen was really surprising, says Yukti.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 16/7 2018. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/att-farmor-skulle-acceptera-agg-var-ovantat

The queue for the bank is several days long

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
11 April 2018
By Farai Mutsaka

Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has not one, but ten different currencies – and currency chaos rules the country. The days of hyperinflation might be over, but the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe this autumn, has a difficult challenge in sorting out the economy.

Outside the bank Cabs in Harare, the queue is over a kilometre. Many have brought blankets to keep warm, having spent the night. To prevent fights, security guards have given queue tickets to the first 50 people.

-The rest of you will have to see if there is cash left when you arrive, he shouts dismissively.

The cash point nearby only serves to show account balance nowadays.

 

Since the hyperinflation of 2009, there are officially ten foreign currencies used for payments in Zimbabwe. But still, the lack of cash is one of the main everyday challenges. Forcing the world’s oldest president, Robert Mugabe, to leave office in November 2017 has hitherto not made a difference.

-The new president promised to change the situation, but as you can see we still have to spend the night in the queue to get cash out, says Ashley Chikwenezve who is number 20 in the queue.

But even spending the night isn’t a guarantee. Sometimes in the morning, the bank announces it will not dispense cash that day. But today seems to be a lucky day.

-The first people who entered came out carrying cash, so I have a good chance, Ashley says.

 Another customer, Tatendeka Sithole, comes carrying a plastic bag full of 25, 10, and 5 cent coins.

-Soon I’ll have to be a weightlifter in order to bring my money, she says laughing.

After spending the night in the queue she was among the first to get served and could withdraw the maximum daily allowance of 50 dollars. Tatendeka Sithole wraps the bag in a yellow raincoat.

-I brought it in case it would rain during the night, she says.

Her children’s school attendance depends on Tatendeka’s nights in the bank queue. Public transport doesn’t accept card or mobile phone payments.

-My children can only get to school if we have cash.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 11 April 2018. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/har-koar-de-till-banken–i-flera-dygn

Taliban attacks on Sufism

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
4 September 2017
By Rina Saeed Khan

Islamabad. Over 200 people have died in suicide attacks on sufi shrines in Pakistan. The Taliban view Sufism, the mystical interpretation of Islam, as heresy and want to eradicate their way of living.

The Bari Imam temple outside of Islamabad is an important sanctuary for first and foremost sufists. 12 years ago, the temple was attacked by a suicide bomber and around 25 people were killed. The attack was the first in a string of attacks on sufi shrines. According to Center for Islamic Research Collaboration and Learning, at least 209 people have been killed and 560 injured in 29 terrorist attacks on shrines for sufi saints in Pakistan.
The last attack, in February this year, was the deadliest yet. Over 80 people lost their lives in a suicide attack in the 800 year old Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in south Pakistan, where Christians, Sikhs and Hindus also go on pilgrimage.

Resistance against Mugabe grows in Zimbabwe

Harare. The last two months Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu PF have seen the loudest protests of their 36 years of rule. The reason for the protests is a frustration over the difficult financial situation and president Robert Mugabe’s politics.

– We need these protests in Zimbabwe. We’ve been quiet for too long and we’ve had enough. Hopefully this people’s movement will bring positive changes, like jobs for unemployed academics, says 24-year old Brian Dube. He has a degree in electro engineering but makes ends meet by selling mobile phones.

But at the same time Brian is worried about how he might be affected financially. At the Copacabana market, sellers have been forced to watch their piles of second hand clothes being burnt, and last week traffic came to a standstill in the central parts of Harare after the protesting masses used stones and bins to block the roads.

-The protests can be likened to  those of the Arab Spring, as this rising is also being led by the people and was ignited through social media, says Vince Musewe, political analyst at the think tank Zimbabwe First.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 6/9-2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/motstandet-mot-mugabe-vaxer-i-zimbabwe

Back home and safe from the violence

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
May 9th 2015

By Sergio Cruz

When Katerin Malespí was 14 she left her home to go and live with a man twice her age. When the relationship ended four years later, she returned to her childhood home with a baby in her arms.

-I felt totally ruined and didn’t want the neighbours to see me. But there was nowhere else I could go. I’m deeply grateful that my mother welcomed me with open arms, says Katerin.

Katerin’s relationship ended due to violence. In Nicaragua, men’s violence against women is common. In order to escape, women often have to move back home or find a new husband. The responsibility for the children usually falls on the women. Katerin’s 41-year old mother Carmen Torres has four children with three different men. Her relationships  were characterised by the men’s violence and their excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs.

-I’m really pleased my daughter has moved back home. Her and Kimberly are safer now than when she lived with her husband. Living together means that we can help to protect each other and we can look after the little girl together too, says Carmen who is the head of family.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet 9/5 2015. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/har-hos-mamma-slipper-jag-valdet/om/familjeliv-i-varlden

Hope of freedom has turned into anger and disappointment

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
October 2, 2016
By Shahira Amin

Egypt. More than five years have passed since president Mubarak was unseated in Egypt. There was hope that the revolution would lead to much wanted reforms, but today the Egyptians are as far away from democracy as they were when they took to the streets in 2011.

Today, Tahrir square – once the symbol of the Egyptian revolution – has few similarities with the public space that was occupied by tens of thousands of democracy activists in the beginning of 2011.

The hope and optimism then felt has been replaced by anger and discontentment from unfulfilled expectations. Since the unseating of the president Mohamed Morsi 2013, supported by the military, society is deeply polarised. Tens of thousands of the leaders and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are imprisoned.

-If you’re not part of the military you risk being accused of being a traitor and a spy. The government is using its war on terror to silence critics and turn Egyptians against each other, says taxi driver Ahmed Hamdan when we meet in Zamalek, a suburb located not far from  Tahrir square.

Secular human rights activists and debaters have been targets for the government’s tougher stance, several journalists are behind bars accused of “publication of fake news” or “belonging to a terrorist group”.

-Those who imprison journalists are afraid of the truth and do not want the other side of the story to be told, says the Al-Jazeera journalist Baher Mohamed. He was imprisoned for two years before he was released, and now he lives in Qatar.

Organisations fighting for human rights have condemned the situation in Egypt, especially the high number of abducted persons. According to a report by Amnesty International, in 2015 Egyptian security forces abducted and tortured at least several hundred people, some as young as 14, in an attempt to silence opponents.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, October 2 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/fem-ar-efter-mubarak–langt-till-frihet-och-demokrati/om/varlden

Pressure to succeed

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
12 September 2016
By Sushmita Preetha

Dhaka, Bangladesh. Painting is 14-year old Umayer Itmam’s passion, and if he was free to choose he would study art or architecture, but he’s obeying his mother’s wish for him to become a doctor like her. She makes sure he doesn’t “waste” his time but follows a strict study schedule.

-I have to follow a strict routine. I have a one hour break for lunch and a shower. Then I have a two hour break in the afternoon and one hour for dinner. Apart from that I have to study the whole time, says Ummayer.

But despite the dominating role his mother plays in his daily life Ummayer does not seem to resent her.

-She wants what’s best for me and I love her for it, he says. My dad is more relaxed.

16-year old Rabeya Akther lives in a different part of Dhaka. Hers and Ummayer’s lives are not that far apart geographically speaking, but it is when it comes to economical conditions. Rabeya has always helped her mother with the daily chores. Her mother works as a housekeeper for other families and is often late home from work.

-I have to contribute with what I can at home. My parents work so hard in order to give me and my brother the best possible options and for us to go to school. When my mother comes home after having done the house work for four families I don’t like seeing her doing even more work, says Rabeya who is in the 10th grade at school.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet 12/9, 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/pressad-hemifran-att-lyckas-i-livet/om/idagsidan

The importance of disciplining your children

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
September 19, 2016
By Maina Wairuru

Kenya. Njau and Lydia Dancun  live with their four daughters in Uthiru, a suburb of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.  They work hard to make sure their children can go to school, and when it comes to raising them, discipline is the most important cornerstone.  Njau is worried about his 16-year old daughter, Wairimu, who was suspended from school for two weeks last year after skipping class.

“We really wanted to hammer it home to the girls that a lack of discipline can never be tolerated. Therefore we made sure that the principal punished them by letting them clean the school” says Njau. “Considering how hard I work to be able to pay the school fees it is not acceptable that they skive.”

The parents are raising their children based on Christian values and they do not want them to socialise with friends whose family does not go to church, as they might not share the same values. The daughters are only allowed to watch television when the parents are at home, and never after 10pm.
“Later then that the shows are often inappropriate. I’ve noticed that they pick up bad habits from what they watch” says Njau, and talks about a pair of inappropriate trousers that Wairimu bought. The trousers were confiscated and demonstratively used as a rag to clean the floor.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 19/9-2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/disciplin-ar-viktigast-av-allt-i-uppfostran/om/att-vara-foralder

Her childhood is slipping through my fingers

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
13 September 2016
By Rocio Lloret

Bolivia. If there is one thing Alicia Muñoz could ask the genie in Aladdin’s lamp, it would be for more hours to spend with her daughter Adriana Chavez, 8 years.

-As it is now, I only see her for short amounts of time and it’s spent nagging her to do her homework or not watch too much TV. I know her childhood is slipping through my fingers, but I have no other choice and I can only hope that she’ll one day understand.

Alicia Muñoz, 31, is a nurse working at a small clinic in a rural district of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia’s biggest city. Every afternoon she goes to work for six to twelwe hours, and two Sundays a month she works 24 hours in a row. For these past six years, she’s only once had a holiday.
Her monthly salary is the equivalent of around £200. With her salary she pays for food, clothes, and the small room where she lives with her daughter ever since her ex-husband left them to start a family with another woman six years ago. In the room there’s only enough space for two beds, a TV stand, and a wardrobe. On the walls there are photos of Adriana holding school diplomas.

-She’s very intelligent but also obstinate, because if she doesn’t feel like it she completely ignores to learn, says Alicia.

For the most part Alicia and her daughter only see each other at lunch. After school, Adriana comes with her mother to the clinic for a few hours as Alicia wants to make sure she’s doing her homework. But being responsible for over 20 patients means that there is not a lot of time left to help her daughter. A little bit later someone – the dad, a cousin, or a friend – comes to pick Adriana up whilst Alicia keeps working. Sometimes they see each other again in the evening, but usually it takes until the next day.

-Adriana had to learn early on to sleep over at different people’s houses. People often believe that her older cousin Cintia is her mother. I don’t have a problem with that because Cintia is a good person and very mature for her age of 26. But Adriana only wants to go to Cintia’s evangelical church and my wish is that she becomes a catholic.

Alicia would like to teach her daughter many things. She wants Adriana to know that you can succeed in life with a good job, and thinks that a mother should be the one to talk about sex and drugs. But in reality Cintia is the one who has the most contact with Adriana. She’s the one talking about values, teaches Adriana to eat new things, and tells her off.

-With Cintia she never argues but with me it’s the other way around, because I spend what little time we have together rebuking her.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 13/9 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: https://www.svd.se/hennes-barndom-rinner-mig-ur-handerna/om/att-vara-foralder