ANALYSIS: How safe are our condoms? THISDAY CORRESPONDENT Dar es Salaam UNTIL you hear what happens across Africa, you may never really understand why some fellow Africans prefer to avoid being known as Africans. They would rather be called blacks than Africans. To such people, being black, as opposed to being African is at least more relative because unlike being known as African, which usually connotes impropriety, being called black enables them to camouflage behind a wider spectrum, since not all blacks are from Africa, but all Africans are from Africa. Some of them even go as far as avoiding being identified in any African circles. They fear that being recognized as Africans could definitely make people out there to think of them as one of the pitied monsters on the Blackmans continent. They would rather be thought of as blacks from maybe, France, England, Jamaica or such other relatively well-behaved societies other than being definitely known as Africans. �This, they do, not because they dont love their mother lands, but because they are afraid of being associated with Africa, a continent that is deeply embroiled in decadence. Yes, I mean it. For our sons and daughters to be proud of this continent, we have got to subject ourselves to what I would loosely refer to as urgent facial cleansing. This should be done right from the Cape up to Cairo. We are all rotten. The only difference is perhaps the degree. Corruption, political hunger, tribalism, illiteracy, diseases and stinking poverty, are all best defined in Africa than anywhere else. Even the few countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, which one would otherwise regard to be the one eyed on the continent, are actually sicker than the habitually known sick-lings, like Zimbabwe and Sudan. I was frankly agonized by the recent media reports about South Africas condom scam. For those of you who missed the story, it was recently reported that an official at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), allegedly colluded with another demon, Jeffery Hurwitz, the executive director of Latex Surgical Products (Pty) Limited (LSP), the company that manufactures Choice condoms, into allowing a deal that enabled the company to win a tender to supply the South African government with over 20 million defective condoms for use in the on-going national campaign against the killer HIV/AIDS pandemic. It was reported that Mr. Sphiwe Fikizolo, a testing manager at the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), which is the government agency responsible for assuring that all condoms produced in the country conform to World Health Organization standards, accepted hefty sums of money from the manufacturers in return for certifying the use of several batches of defective condoms. This saw the distribution of many of these Choice condoms across the country. In an effort to minimize the impact of that mistake, the South African ministry of health was of course, forced to recall all the condoms of that brand from the market, and effective 28th of August, the government quarantined about 4.5 million Choice condoms in the country. By the time the government however, realized this mistake, several people across South Africa had mistakenly relied on the efficiency of those condoms against HIV/AIDS infection, unwanted pregnancies and other equally painful STIs. They had consciously or unconsciously used them against both safe and unsafe partners. That is unfortunately not the first time South Africa has suffered a similar tale. In 1998, it was reported that the South African ministry of health again got compelled to recall about 95% of the condoms which the government had provided to the public for use in their efforts to thwart this life threatening scourge. This partly explains why South Africa is reportedly the second highest country with HIV/AIDS infection in the world after India, with around five millions of its 48 million people living with the deadly virus that causes AIDS.