... in south africa

Mediterranean south bank

24 Jan 2008 | 53 words | mediterranean airtravel africa south africa

So i have written about Europe being the mediterranean northern bank on this blog before. When i flew to South Africa last week i actually had a chance to have a look at the Mediterranean south bank for the first time:

Tripoli as seen from the window of LH572 en route to Johannesburg.

On the state of the dollar

21 Jan 2008 | 45 words | airtravel food south africa

Scene: South African Airways flight SA265 from Johannesburg to Munich somewhere over Zimbabwe:

me: mam do you have any leftover meals?

flight attendant: chicken or pasta?

me: chicken please

flight attendant: 10 dollar (US)

me: i only have euros

flight attendant: then i’ll take five

Robots in the streets

20 Jan 2008 | 121 words | robots south africa traffic

We also do not have any robots left on our streets and little traffic so we don’t have the kind of traffic jams I saw in Jo’burg during a power cut. [Zimbabwean journalist writing on how to deal with frequent blackouts in the Sunday Independent]

No, this is not from the future, nor is not a status update from iraq and no, there are also no industrial assembly robots lining Jan Smits avenue in Jo’burg. I can also ensure you that the streets are not filled with aibo’s, roomba’s or other useless electronic pets. The robots mentioned in the above quote would simply be called traffic-lights in the rest of the world. No clue why, but i think it is cute.

Run when you hear the sirens coming

16 Jan 2008 | 281 words | africa south africa security running urbanism

(I suggest to listen to Dizzee Rascals ‘sirens’ while reading this post). so I am in Johannesburg (or some elite gated community called ‘Sandhurst‘ that tries hard not to be part of the rest of the urban fabric) for less than two hours and I am already not used to a lot of things:

Physically i am totally not used to run up and down hills. it’s something we just don’t do in Holland (because of the general flatness of the place). Even worse i am not used to running up hills in the mid day summer heat.

More interestingly though i am totally not used to run in a place like this. Sandhurst is a gated community with only two entrances and even within that fenced-off area every property is individually surrounded by electrical fences, CCTV cameras and armed guards. In fact the only people on the street are either guards or cleaning crews.

As if it was not surreal enough already to run around in this maze of streets that is surrounded by an outer fence and surrounds the inner fences around the individual properties, there are these cars of security companies that patrol the streets and which have the most hideous – straight form the movies – names:

USB marines, Armed Response Unit, SWAT unit (complete with desert camouflage paint job) or – my personal favorite – the jack bauer inspiredtactical team‘ SUV.

Tommy, who is from Croatia and should know such things, consequently calls this place a ‘war zone’ and as far as i am concerned that Dizzee Rascal song mentioned at the beginning of this post provides the perfect soundtrack for running through this madness.

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: