Nigeria, Electricity, Power, News – AfricLiveTV Roku

I tend to explore and have “novelty seeking behaviour”. This means I’ll wander through a lot of trash sometimes to find something that is “worth it” just from being different and new.

Well, that has happened a few times on the Roku. Today I’ll be talking about the AfricLiveTV channel and a couple of stories on it. It aggregates several news and sports stations from Africa, and the one I picked originates from Ghana I think… (So far I’ve only sampled one of the several stations provided by this channel – TVC News)

First off, what is it? “Live” (though maybe ‘recorded live’), from Africa, local news. NOT filtered through the Western Ideology nor “interpreted” by someone else, nor PC filtered and “cleaned up” to match western PC Dogma. Nope. Just a local channel. So a black reporter without any racial chip on his shoulder (as his country is run by blacks as the large majority) reporting on things of interest to his black audience.

In this case, I picked a news station that was covering Nigeria. Focused on issues of poor electrical power.

A couple of days ago, they were visiting a business region in one of the larger cities. The focus of the story was how unreliable and periodically absent electricity caused low investment in businesses and generally screwed up the economy. A hotel / restaurant that had “issues” with stocking food since the refrigeration tended to fail for 8 to 10 hours at a time many (most?) days. A barber shop that could not run clippers without power. You get the idea.

This was in an area that by our standards would be considered run down. Completely missing from the story was any hint of condescension on that front. This story was presented as straight news of normal life in that part of town. So first off, it was very refreshing to have the ‘spin’ gone. Second, it was fascinating that these (modest) business owners had the same worries as any other. How do I run my business with supply interruptions. What happens when the power fails? Folks don’t eat. They leave hotels. Barbers get no income. Etc.

One fascinating point was one of the businesses (who had a larger need for stable power, I presume) had bought a generator. He had then strung wires to nearby businesses. When the “official government supplied power” goes out, he is the “power company”. Everyone is happy with this service (except the government functionaries who run the power system…) It was a fascinating story of free enterprise adapting to a broken government run power system. IMHO, that is what will happen in the UK, EU, and USA as our grids destabilize under the Unreliable Green Generation ( UGG! ) onslaught.

Today the reporter had gone up a river to some isolated village. All traffic and goods move by traditional canoes to this village.

Now at least 3/4 of the story was about how a Tribal Leader and (someone running the school? – thick accent… and sometimes translations) had built a “car” so the kids could know what one was. They had seen some in movies ( one presumes on TV somewhere? ) but never in real life. Some of the kids were well into their teens. To this guy made what I’d consider a ‘mock up’ car. Wood slats supporting what looked like tape or plastic sheeting for the skins. It had 4 wheels, but no roof nor drive train. Kids would open the door and get in, then pretend to ride in it.

Now again this was NOT presented in some “oh the poor dears” way, nor the “noble savages” motif. It was presented as “Hey, this guy showed some initiative and this remote village is preparing the children for their first encounter with a real car when (someday) they take a load of goods down river to the city”. The builder said he intends to put a battery and motor in the footwell area and eventually have the “car” move – though I would guess at about 3 mph tops…

Then the story again shifted to electricity. Now I’m not sure this story was in Nigeria, perhaps something else nearby? One thing I learned was that my knowledge of African Geography stops at the national borders… They named a State or Province but it meant nothing to me. In any case, the issue was that they had zero electricity supplied to this village from the national grid. Then the story again divided.

One set was an interview with the Government Officer in charge of electricity to that area. Near as I could tell (again, thick accent as they are only talking to locals; coupled with hearing loss, not a good formula for exact parsing…) he was saying the grid was overloaded and not nearly enough MW were being allocated to that State / Region, but that Real Soon Now that area would be connected to the grid and then they would get power, this time for sure… (But it wasn’t HIS fault as he could only allocate what the Central Authority allocated to him…)

Meanwhile, the other track, was back at the village. Again one brave soul had installed some kind of generation and was providing power to a cluster of buildings “down town”. I’d guess about 2000 square feet all told. A barber shop who was happy he could now use electric clippers, somewhere with Boom Box Stereo and folks could get news and music, and a few lightbulbs that made it all the nightlife center.

A discussion then followed with something about putting a tax on private generators so that the government could fund getting grid power to them… and folks generally seeing that as the arrogance it was… If governments are incompetent to deliver a service, they immediately forbid others to do so and heavily tax any alternatives. Seems Africa is no different.

In the end, the general ‘spin’ of the story was just about how Regular Folks were making things run, despite government, and how important stable and reliable electricity is to even the most modest of economic operations.

In many ways, a marvelous little laboratory of what is to come for the EU / UK / Australia / New Zealand / USA etc. etc. as we destabilize our power systems. First business suffers. Then new investment stops and new business formation ceases. Some go out of business. Then “coping behaviours” for the survivors as they find a way to maintain operations. All while the Customer suffers, then drifts away, then finds other things to satisfy their needs. Finally, laws and agencies be damned, someone starts helping their neighbor out with electric generation. Either gasoline / diesel (the city case) or what looked like solar panels on a roof (the remote village – though they did show someone sledging in a motor driven generator, for expansion I think…)

Now this was all presented with absolutely marvelous African Choral “Bumper Music” (that alone makes it worth watching this news), and with an entirely “comfortable and at home” tone to the reporter and the folks on camera. None of the spin, nor the stress, of a “western reporter” on the scene. Nothing posed for expectations “back home”. No voice overs about “In This REMOTE AFRICAN village, devoid of contact with modernity…” but rather “We going up river to {village name} to talk with Elder {his name}”. The cultural immersion value of it is stellar. Folks at ease and just talking openly with each other, not concerned what this outsider might be thinking.

So now I’ve added that station to my “second tier” cycle (just after the obligatory “morning news” cycle). Once I know the world has not started W.W.III while I was sleeping, I check in on local life in Africa…

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Energy, Human Interest, News Related. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Nigeria, Electricity, Power, News – AfricLiveTV Roku

  1. cdquarles says:

    How does that old saw go? Yeah, people are people wherever you go. [Just another instance of human nature’s nature and that there really is only one race, and how superficial morphological differences are of an insignificant kind.]

  2. Steven Fraser says:

    Sounds refreshingly honest.

  3. John F. Hultquist says:

    The following has very little to do with watching TV, but electricity from a central point began 135 years ago.
    Can you imagine what the US of A would be like had folks waited for “the Central Authority” to provide a grid and the power plants? The administration of FDR’s New Deal issued Executive Order 7037 { May 11, 1935} , which created the Rural Electrification Administration.
    That followed the first power station {September 4, 1882} by 53 years. It was a coal cogeneration plant.

  4. Alexander K says:

    Just before WWI (in a remote district of New Zealand) my grandfather built a mill pond and water race on a suitable creek on his sheep and cattle run, then installed an American-made Pelton wheel driving an electrical generator. He ran wires to the homestead and was about supply electricity to the tiny nearby village when the war intervened and the government of the day made the purchase of copper wire impossible, so the experiment stalled. Later a Socialist-leaning government legislated against private electricity generation schemes, so the project stayed in the too-hard basket.

  5. Alexander K says:

    Sorry, was interrupted!
    My mother’s older brother was a tinkerer who was fascinated by anything mechanical and with electricity. While still in his teens, in a workshop on the farm, he built a small foundry to cast metal components and a pottery kiln to make his own china insulators. This all culminated in him producing electric frypans for hotel and restaurant kitchens. A family joke my Mum recalls is of her brother delivering yet another of his frypans and the publican remarked that it was a pity that there was no market for such things.
    Mum’s family has a long history of innovation – one of her uncles, my grandfather’s younger brother, was a doctor, who trained at the University of Otago in the late 19th century, then did a post-grad year in Germany studying under Rontgen, the inventor of X-ray machines. Great-uncle Robert arrived back in NZ with a new-fangled X-ray machine in his baggage, set up a practice in the Capital City and ran his X-ray machine, by arrangement with the tramway company, with a fly-lead connecting to the electric trams that went past the door of his practice.
    My grandfather introduced motoring to his farming district just after the turn of the 20th c., with the importation of an English touring car, made by Allday and Onions and was frequently told by most that “those things will never replace horses”

  6. philjourdan says:

    Ever seen Hee Haw? They had a skit on there concerning rural news casts. I bet that is what you are talking about. City folks love to hoot and holler about it thinking how corn ball small town living is. But I found it truer than fiction to reality. Not too many small town TV stations. but if you can find them, usually they are talking about “Maddie Hayes’ peach preserves”.

  7. cdquarles says:

    I loved Hee Haw. It was a Grand Ol Opry production. It was very well done and very true to life. Green Acres was pretty good, too, as a situation comedy where a city slicker tries to become a real farmer. Nearly every episode has the locals try to trick the newbie farmer into spending more than he should if he knew better.

  8. cdquarles says:

    Elites always think that they know better than regular folks. As far as I know, the REA didn’t do much in reality. Where the economics of building plants and stringing electrical wires were favorable, that’s where they were done first. I can see a few edge cases where it might have helped, but not necessarily as much as the promoters of socialism (fascist variety in the case of FDR) think.

  9. cdquarles says:

    Oh yeah, the same thing with roads. People know how valuable such things are, so they built them themselves, directly or indirectly. The Fed roads were to be those needed for the Federal Post system for its offices and forts. It was never meant to supplant private road building. In a way, it didn’t. Locally, there are government road departments, but these are maintenance crews that do repair work, like regrading and limited resurfacing, of some local roads. Main roads are all built by private contractors initially. Does anyone believe that the DOD builds its own weapons? Do you think Medicare actually pays medical bills? /rhetorical.

  10. Steven Fraser says:

    And, not to be forgotten, hydro station at Niagara falls, 1896.

  11. John S Howard Jr says:

    Just an aside…an acquaintance was once the Assistant Director of Utilities in Liberia. The policy at that time, was that during power failures, the police would come and lock both him and the Director in jail. As Henry said, “It defies all logic, how can I fix it if I am in jail?”

  12. Gail Combs says:

    I own 1000 ft frontage on a river. In researching the deeds, I found some d@mn Yanks bought up the land on both sides of the river and removed the riparian rights after the Civil War. You can still see the old hydro- electric plant on the river built in 1899.

Comments are closed.