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Archive for the ‘Other English-speaking countries’ Category

Victory! How Student Protests Led To The Removal Of Cecil Rhodes’ Statue

lundi, avril 20th, 2015

Victory! How Student Protests Led To The Removal Of Cecil Rhodes’ Statue

Students at the University of Cape Town, South Africa protested the presence of a statue of Cecil Rhodes last month by throwing human excrement over it and sent shockwaves across the nation, mobilizing racial dialog.

Now those same students are celebrating the removal of the statue of this British colonialist.

Onlookers applauded on April 9 as the bronze statue was removed from South Africa’s oldest university after a month of student demonstrations against this symbol of white oppression. Some students jumped on the statue, hitting it with sticks and covering its face with plastic.

“It marks a significant shift …..where the country deals with its ugly past in a positive and constructive way,” said Sandile Memela, government spokesman for the arts and culture ministry.

The monument had been in place since 1934, to honor the fact that Cecil John Rhodes had donated the land for the university.

Who Was Rhodes?

Cecil John Rhodes was born in 1853, the son of a clergyman, in the small English town of Bishop’s Stortford. He became sick shortly after leaving high school, and so his father decided he should visit his brother in South Africa, both for his health and because the business opportunities were better there than in England. From this unremarkable beginning, Rhodes founded the De Beers diamond empire, became one of the world”s wealthiest men and rose to be premier of Cape Colony in 1890.

Rhodes believed firmly that the white British were superior to all other races in the world; true to this belief, he began the policy of enforced racial segregation in South Africa, later known as apartheid. His belief in the racial superiority of the British allowed him to treat his employees unscrupulously, cheating them out of land and wages.

The mining magnate died in 1902, aged 49, and was buried in the country that bore his name, Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

So yes, this statue had to go.

Read more:

South Africa: web search

dimanche, avril 28th, 2013

To answer the questions on South Africa, click HERE for questions 1 to 15, HERE for questions 16 to 25 and HERE for the last two questions.

The Indian caste system: corrigé

lundi, novembre 19th, 2012

Journalist: So Mrs Amman, could you please tell us a few words about the caste system in India?

S. Amman: Well, it has a religious basis, actually. It originates in the Hindus’ belief in reincarnation. As a matter of fact, they believe that our present life is conditioned by our previous lives, which constitute our karma – meaning purity. So according to our actions and attitudes in our past lives, we are reincarnated in one caste or another, depending on what we deserve. Those categories are called castes and constitute the whole structure of the Indian society.

Journalist: Could you give us a few examples, please?

S. Amman: Of course! Our society has a sort of pyramidal structure: At its very top, you find the Brahmans, who are priests and teachers. Then you find the Kshatriyas, who are the rulers and soldiers, the Vaishyas who are merchants and traders, and lastly the Sudras who are farmers. Now each of these castes is divided into thousands of sub-categories, related to professions, regions or dialects, for example.

Lastly at the very bottom of the pyramid you find the Dalits, what we used to call the Untouchables, who do not constitute a caste properly speaking, but nevertheless form a category. They form about 20% of the entire population of India, that means there are about 170 million Dalits in India today. They are outside the caste system and have the lowest social status. They are considered totally unworthy. Consequently the people of higher castes would not interact with them. They occupy the lowest jobs, such as scavengers, for example. They clean latrines and sewers, they clear away dead animals, those kinds of jobs. They are in charge of all the tasks that are considered unclean, and they earn very little money. Or they are agricultural workers, toiling for farmers. Many of them work to pay off debts they have inherited from their ancestors. They are the poorest group in Indian society.

 Journalist: But I thought the caste system had been declared illegal

S. Amman: You’re right, it is illegal today. Caste discrimination was abolished in 1950. Since then the government has made strong efforts to minimize the importance of caste through active affirmative action and social policies. But it is so deeply rooted in our society that it hasn’t been possible to really eradicate it yet. Some people consider the caste system as a form of racial discrimination. They call it India’s hidden apartheid. We can only keep hoping for a better future

Journalist: Well, thank you Mrs Amman. It has been fascinating talking to you.

S. Amman: It’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you.

Bollywood: corrigé

lundi, novembre 19th, 2012

Journalist: The world’s movie capital is not Hollywood but Bollywood. Bollywood is the nickname for the Indian film industry located in Bombay, now known as Mumbai. It is considered the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced, and maybe also the number of tickets sold.

Journalist: Indian movies are very popular in India, aren’t they?

Indian man: Indians are in love with movies. Fourteen million Indians go to the movies on a daily basis. This represents about 1.4% of the population of more than 1 billion.

Journalist: How many films are produced every year?

Indian man: Over 800 films are produced out by Bollywood each year. That’s more than double the number of feature films produced in the United States.

 Journalist: What do these films have in common?

Indian man: Bollywood films are ususally musicals. Indian audiences expect full value for their money. They want songs, dances, love stories, comedy. Most films follow a similar pattern called masala, the word for a collection of spices.

 Journalist: Can you tell us more? What are the usual ingredients?

Indian man: Movies are three to four hours long and include an intermission. They also include dozens of songs and dances. Some films feature 100 or so choreographed dancers. The story is usually about a boy who meets a girl, there is no kissing nor sexual contact, of course. There’s lots of action, there’s no bloodshed though. There is always a happy ending.

Journalist: What about the stars?

Indian man: The stars of Bollywood are very popular and highly paid, considering the budget of the films. Stars may be in such high demand that they’re working on ten films at the same time. Bollywood stars are so popular that their photographs can be seen in shop windows and homes throughout the country. Because these films provide three to four hours of escapism, Bollywood movies are becoming more and more popular around the world. So watch one Bollywood film, you’ll certainly enjoy it!

Journalist: Thank you very much, that was most interesting.

South Africa: web search

mardi, janvier 18th, 2011

To answer the questions on South Africa, click HERE for questions 1 to 15, HERE for questions 16 to 25 and HERE for the last two questions.

To have access to the web search, click on: South Africa web search

South Africa web search correction (corrigé avec caches)

Puerto Rico

samedi, janvier 23rd, 2010

Creative Commons License photo credit: Good Bokeh

Information from Wikipedia.

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,with 4 million inhabitants, is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States. The island is located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands.

The capital of Puerto Rico is San Juan.

Plaza Colón off calle de San Francisco
Creative Commons License photo credit: BostonTx

Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens. However, federal electoral law does not grant a vote to any citizen who does not live in, or qualify as an absentee resident in, one of the fifty states or the District of Columbia. Thus, people who have always lived in Puerto Rico cannot vote in federal elections, but people born in Puerto Rico and living in a state or in DC can vote.

Starting around 1950, there was heavy migration from Puerto Rico to the Continental United States, particularly New York City, in search of better economic conditions. As of 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more people of Puerto Rican birth or ancestry live in the U.S. than in Puerto Rico.


Tourism is an important component of Puerto Rican economy supplying an approximate $1.8 billion. In 1999, an estimated 5 million tourists visited the island, most from the U.S. Nearly a third of these are cruise ship passengers.

The official languages are Spanish and English with Spanish being the primary language. English is taught as a second language in public and private schools from elementary levels to high school and in universities.

Creative Commons License photo credit: batgeek

Puerto Rican culture is a mix of four cultures, African (from the slaves), Taíno (Amerindians), Spanish, and more recently, North American. From Africans, the Puerto Ricans have obtained the « bomba and plena« , a type of music and dance including percussions and maracas. From the Amerindians (Taínos), they kept many names for their municipalities, foods, musical instruments like the güiro and maracas. Many words and other objects have originated from their localized language. From the Spanish they received the Spanish language, the Catholic religion and the vast majority of their cultural and moral values and traditions. From the United States they received the English language, the university system and the adoption of some holidays and practices.


New Zealand

vendredi, janvier 8th, 2010

Australia + Oceania
Creative Commons License photo credit: duncan

New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation: it is situated about 2,000 km (1250 miles) southeast of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. It is made up of two islands: the North Island and the South Island. The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent; the indigenous M?ori are the largest minority. Asians and non-M?ori Polynesians are also significant minority groups, especially in urban areas. The most commonly spoken language is English.

Learn more on Wikipedia.

Have a look at some of New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes:

Creative Commons License photo credit:

Creative Commons License photo credit:

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Creative Commons License photo credit: Heike_Quosdorf

Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand
Creative Commons License photo credit: Heike_Quosdorf

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city:

Wellington from Mt Victoria
Creative Commons License photo credit: 111 Emergency

Auckland, the most populated city:

Victoria Street, Auckland
Creative Commons License photo credit: fras1977

A kiwi bird, the emblem of New Zealand:

2001-12-02 01-03 Neuseeland 375
Creative Commons License photo credit: Allie_Caulfield

The Haka:

Creative Commons License photo credit: harrymoon


Maori people on a waka:

Mar 15 - Waka on the Waikato
Creative Commons License photo credit: catspyjamasnz

A meeting house with traditional carvings:

Whakarewarewa Meeting House
Creative Commons License photo credit: Anita363

India: Varanasi (TL)

lundi, novembre 16th, 2009

Main ghats
Creative Commons License photo credit: Distra

indian summer
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jared Zimmerman

Varanasi is  also commonly known as Benares or Kashi .It  is a city situated on the west bank of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and regarded as sacred by Hindus .

The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river’s religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious centre in northern India for several thousand years. Many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided or reside in Varanasi.

People often refer to Varanasi as « the city of temples« , « the holy city of India« , « the religious capital of India« , « the city of lights« , and « the city of learning. »



mercredi, novembre 11th, 2009

Flag Kenya
Creative Commons License photo credit: erjkprunczyk

where i lived in eastern africa
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kalense Kid

The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa. Lying along the Indian Ocean, at the equator, Kenya is bordered by Ethiopia (north), Somalia (northeast), Tanzania (south), Uganda plus Lake Victoria (west), and Sudan (northwest). The capital city is Nairobi. Kenya spans an area about 85% the size of France or Texas. The population has grown rapidly in recent decades to nearly 38 million. Kenya has numerous wildlife reserves, containing thousands of animal species.

The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and the second among the highest mountain peaks in Africa.

The estimated population for 2009 is 39,802,000 inhabitants.  Kenya got its independence from the United Kingdom on December 12th, 1963.

A LINK to the Wikipedia article.

A view of Nairobi:

Smog over Nairobi
Creative Commons License photo credit: whiteafrican

Mount Kenya:

mt kenya flora
Creative Commons License photo credit: stevemonty

The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well known of African ethnic groups.

They speak Maa and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English.

The Maasai population has been variously estimated  as 453,000 language speakers in Kenya in 1994. Estimates of the Maasai population are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature. Although the  Kenyan government has instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have continued their age-old customs.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gigi – away

Kenyan wildlife:

River crossing
Creative Commons License photo credit: gordontour

0716-1198 Diani - beach and camels.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andy Davy

Great Rift Valley:

Great Rift Valley, Kenya
Creative Commons License photo credit: HappyTellus