Where is the solar revolution?

There is one question I have always asked myself and fellow Africans; a question that is being asked by more and more people everyday… If there is so much sun shine in Africa, why isn’t the solar industry flourishing?

It is said that in 90 minutes, enough sunlight strikes the Earth to provide the entire planet’s energy needs for one year. Yet currently, only 0.05 % of the world’s energy emanates from photovoltaic solar systems.

Africa, as a continent, has tremendous solar energy capabilities due to the proximity of most of its land mass to the equator. Many African countries receive on average 325 days per year of bright sunlight. Yet we are yet to see the solar industry flourishing across the continent.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are sporadic attempts to spearhead the solar agenda in some parts of the continent. For example, the governments of Botswana and Tanzania have taken efforts to give rural communities access to solar energy. There are also plans underway to build a 50-megawatt peak solar power station in South Africa and a similar project is being planned in Ghana, albeit by a foreign company. Countries like Libya are renowned for their solar power enthusiasm and there are also plans to export Tunisian solar energy to Europe.

But still, this does not hide the fact that the vast majority of Africa is not using solar energy to its full potential. The main reason behind the lacklustre progression of the solar energy sector is the cost of installing a solar system on an individual level. Most Africans who do not have access to electricity also cannot afford to install solar systems. And those Africans who can afford to set-up solar panels on their rooftops aren’t doing so because there has not been enough campaigning for solar energy by their governments.

Where people do not have access to electricity from the grid lines many use firewood, charcoal, kerosene and diesel generators for their energy needs. By replacing these expensive non-renewable forms of energy with cheaper solar energy, many Africans can start spending less on energy needs and this in turn will ensure that they have more money at their disposal to meet other needs. Surely, extra money in the pockets of Africans is good for the people and in turn good for their government? It is high time African governments got onboard the solar energy ark and steered the continent into a sustainable future.

So how do we get solar energy to the forefront in Africa? To begin with, governments should make it easier and cheaper for its people to install solar systems by getting rid of any tariffs on the importation of solar devices. This could hopefully create an incentive for people to purchase solar products. Furthermore, African educational institutions should be developed to spearhead solar energy research, thereby creating a pool of new age Africans who are capable of setting up industries and manufacturing solar devices and systems.

To address the financial barriers that hold back the average African from installing solar systems, African governments should also set up funds that enable poor Africans to get financial assistance towards the installation of solar systems. In short, governments should put solar energy high up on their agenda.

By concentrating on the solar energy sector and developing it, Africa has the potential to prove to the rest of the world that our energy needs can be met through sustainable means. It’s cheaper, it’s greener and I think it makes a lot of darn sense!


Endless Possibilities

A lady said to me “You can’t choose what you don’t know” and in response a man said to me “Sometimes you only have access to one choice”.


The possibilities are endless. Furthermore, a possibility can have an infinite spectrum within it.


Having said that, I am obliged to ask if we should engage in the obsessive, objective realism of having limited possibilities or not? For now, I say: sod the micro and let’s look at the macro.


So where were we? Oh… we said there are endless possibilities. Is it possible to discover and explore the said infinite possibilities? I’ve heard many a time that “nothing is impossible”.


A lady said to me “You can’t chose what you don’t know” and I pondered.


The Yin and the Yang

Every night when I drop into bed


I think about the practicality


and the possibility


of uniting the binaries;


so that I can –


one day –


sleep with peace of mind.




Can we really?…




The rich and the poor,


The oppressor and oppressed,


The coloured and not,


The left and the right?




It’s not that easy to




The Jew and the Muslim,


The wild and the prudent,


the Tamils and their neighbours,


The old skool and the new.




Can one convince


The defensive to drop their shields




The attackers their spears?


Can the Bible thumper and the Hafiz


sit down to a cup-a-tea?


Can Shankill Road be a haven


for those of Falls?


Cant the KKK and the Panthers


make amends?






The blondes and the brunettes,


The Boers and the Xhosa,


The Brahmin and the tramps,


The master and the servant.




I went to sleep today


and tried to reconcile the binaries:


My head and my pillow,


My love and my hate,


My heart and my mind,


My hope and my state.



The Fountain of Youth

Dry throat. No water –

This valley needs a stream to flow through it.

Like a match-maker with no daughters;

This throat would do with some fluid.


Dry throat. No water –

I’ve got an empty cup that needs filling.

Like the thirst of a desert porter;

I need a tap to start spilling.


So let’s dip it in the youth fountain;

Raise this cup and stare at it –

Pour it down and start counting,

And quench our thirst while we’re at it.


Take your cup and walk forward –

Turn the tap and start filling;

It’ll take you higher ‘f you were lowered,

It’ll amplify your heart’s feelings.


We had dry throats but we got water.Image

The Overdose

I’ve overdosed on sanity.

I see too much and so I know too much.

Yeah, that’s right; I want too much.

Take me back to reality,

Protect me from people’s vanity.

I know too much because I see too much.

Yeah right; I’ve overdosed on sanity.


This life is like a blu-ray disc on replay,

day after day:

When the sun sets I loose my memory, refresh,

then press play and watch the grass hay.


This life is like a virgin beach:

I wake up in the morning to catch the fish,

sell it to villagers for their lunchtime dish,

hangout with my fellows – and when the dark conquers

I lie in bed and make a wish.


This life is like fishing in the blue ocean of the deep; hunting sting-ray:

This time in a yacht with my disc on play; listening to conscious material,

sipping on coffee to last me all day – decoding dolphin sonars –

What did YOU say?


I’ve overdosed on sanity.

I see too much and so I know too much.

Yeah, that’s right; I want too much?

Take me back to reality,

Protect me from people’s vanity.

I know too much because I see too much?

Yeah right; I’ve overdosed on sanity



I search for wisdom all over;

From pitch dark nights to brightened days.

I search it in words written and those spoken.

I search it in utterances of sheikhs and junkies alike –

from old women to toddling girls,

from college professors and the illiterate too,

from natural phenomenons and those man-made.

I search for it all over…

From the internet and the daily paper,

from paintings, drawings and sculptures…

from casinos, The World Bank and the IMF.

I search for it when I’m awake and whilst deep in sleep;

With open eyes and eyes closed too.

I search it in African nomads and Euro gypsies

and in call girls and pimps in red-light districts.

I search for wisdom everywhere.

In blocked sewers and fresh water springs,

in green jungles and barren lands,

in Kung Fu movies and Hollywood.

I search it at every opportunity.

I search

and search

and search…

I search for wisdom lest it doesn’t search for me…

If its a phantom I’m chasing, let the games begin!