New Internationalist

Two decades of change

Most Africans have no more contact with famine and war than anyone else. While the mainstream media associate Africa only with disaster, villagers all over the continent are quietly making ends meet, seeking as good a life as possible for themselves and their families. In 1995 NI co-editor Chris Brazier returned to a village in Burkina Faso that he first came to know in 1985 and reported on how people’s lives had changed. At the end of 2005 he returned to the village again to see what difference another decade of ‘development’ has made to this one community.

May 2006, Issue 389

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Other ways to explore New Internationalist: Sample our past issuesBrowse by theme
Back to the future
Chris Brazier is reunited not only with the village of Sabtenga, in Burkina Faso, but also with the remarkable Mariama Gamené.
Sabtenga - a map of the village
The big question
Have people’s lives improved in the last 20 years?
Some things stay the same... Some change dramatically
From pounding millet to David Beckham T-shirts – a photographic tour of village life.
Wives and daughters
Have women managed to hold the line against genital mutilation? Does polygamy have a future?
4 wives, 19 children
The changing fortunes – and multiplying numbers – of the family at the heart of the NI film 20 years ago.
A tale of two girls
A visit to the local school brings hope – but a visit to one of its former pupils tells a different story.
The kick inside
Too many mothers dying in childbirth – and the clinic that would have saved them if they could only have paid the fees.
Local heroes
The people’s organizations that are changing things from below – and reflections on two decades in the life of a village.
Southern Exposure
A watchmaker in old Mumbai, captured by Indian photographer Pablo Bartholomew
View From Delhi
The opening of Delhi’s new subway line has been a cause for much celebration and joyriding, as Urvashi Butalia explains.
Essay: cartoon conflict
The furore over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad should teach us some important lessons about the new global culture, according to Sharif Gemie.