Africancontinent joins millennial revelry and reflections
With dances and fanfare, reflectionand thoughts about an uncertain future, millions of Africans arewelcoming the year 2000. Some seemed oblivious to the techno-fear ofY2K and its impact on their daily lives.. Others merely reveled inthe emergence of another era. Various villages and cities tookdifferent styles to usher in what seemed a few decades ago, for many,a million years away, the new millennium opens up a bag ofanticipation as well as new challenges for the continent of almost750 million people. Hundreds of others went up to Africa's highestmountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, to see the sun rise for the year 2000.Mysteries and curiosity about the beginning and "the end oftimes" have added to the excitement about the new year.
In South Africa, which was rocked a week ago by terrorist bombs,President Nelson Mandela and an array of guests attended a millenniumdinner on Robben Island, in Cape Town's Table Bay, where he lit acandle for the new century in his former prison cell. Mandela(right, in file photo) was unjustly jailed in isolation at the islandfor 18 of the 27 years he was confined by the racist regime. Cairoand Gizeh (Egypt), Lagos and Abuja (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), AddisAbaba (Ethiopia), Harare (Zimbabwe), Mbabane (Swaziland), and othercountries have continued the celebration of traditional and modernways of living into the 21st century.
USAfricaonline.com correspondents cite the concern of the Africanbusiness persons and the more informed citizenry about the technicallimitations of public agencies regarding Y2K computing challenges(especially on the Windows-Intel-IBM platforms). Meanwhile, AirZimbabwe canceled its millennium flight due to the fact that only onepassenger confirmed his booking. Nigeria Airways also canceledflights on December 31, 1999 and January 1, 2000
In reflecting about the emerging new year and the past era, Mandelasaid: "We close the century with most people still languishing inpoverty, subjected to hunger, preventable disease, illiteracy andinsufficent shelter.'' By Chido Nwangwu
DANGER SIGNS: According to the United Nations, AIDS in Africa has left the following painful facts:
11 million African orphans created by AIDS epidemic; 90 percent of Africa's total of orphans
In 1998, 200,000 Africans died from wars; 2.2 million died of AIDS
Life expectancy in Africa, which had reached 59, will drop to 45 between 2005 and 2010 because of AIDS.
USAfrica AIDS Education Project.
Annan, power and burden of the U.N
The coup in Cote d'Ivoire and its implications for democracy in Africa. By Chido Nwangwu