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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Thursday 27th of May 2021

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Russia says it can now operate nuclear capable bombers from Syrian air base @Reuters
Law & Politics

Russia said on Tuesday it had the ability for the first time to operate long-range strategic nuclear-capable bombers from its air base in Syria, expanding its capabilities and allowing such planes to train in new regions.

Russia operates the Hmeymim base on Syria's Mediterranean coast, from which it has launched air strikes in the past in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian defence ministry said in a statement that three Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range bombers had flown to Hmeymim.

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From Russia With Love
Law & Politics

Putin’s linguistics is an art form and I imagine he buttressed the above points by discreetly showing his visitors a photo of a dead Gaddafi and maybe he dwelled a little on the bottle and then a Photo of a spritely Bashar Assad and would surely not even have had to ask the question; what’s the difference?

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Fast Forward
Law & Politics

This is a moment of Maximum Danger to the Control Machine

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The Pandemic and Political Order @ForeignAffairs @FukuyamaFrancis
Law & Politics

Another reason for pessimism is that the positive scenarios assume some sort of rational public discourse and social learning. 

Yet the link between technocratic expertise and public policy is weaker today than in the past, when elites held more power.

The democratization of authority spurred by the digital revolution has flattened cognitive hierarchies along with other hierarchies, and political decision-making is now driven by often weaponized babble.

That is hardly an ideal environment for constructive, collective self-examination, and some polities may remain irrational longer than they can remain solvent


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The New Economy of Anger
Law & Politics

Paul Virilio pronounced in his book Speed and Politics, 

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street, where for a moment it stops being a cog in the technical machine and itself becomes a motor (machine of attack), in other words, a producer of speed.’’

The Phenomenon is spreading like wildfire in large part because of the tinder dry conditions underfoot. Prolonged stand-offs eviscerate economies, reducing opportunities and accelerate the negative feed- back loop.

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The Brazilianization of the World American Affairs @Alex__1789 [continued]
Law & Politics

The Birth of Belíndia

Brazil was born modern. It came into existence as a colony, a site for resource extraction, already linked into an emerging world market. 

Brazil may have been the last country to abolish slavery in the West­ern Hemisphere, but its chattel slavery was a product of early moder­nity. 

Brazil was never premodern or feudal. By the same measure, Brazilianization does not mean a simple return to semifeudal rela­tions.

What then explains the persistence of unfree labor, the latifundia system, and its cultural and political effects, well into the twentieth century—in sum, all the “backward” elements of Brazil? 

Precisely that, in Brazil, the modern fed off the old and in turn reinforced and recreated it

In rural areas, an elastic supply of labor and land repro­duced “primitive accumulation” in agriculture, holding back improvements in agricultural techniques. 

With industrialization from the 1930s onwards, this pool of rural poor came to serve as a reserve army of cheap urban labor.

What made Brazil’s process distinct is that the country’s industrialization and modernization during the populist period, from the mid‑1930s to the mid-’60s, did not require a rupture of the system, as bourgeois revolutions in Europe had a century earlier.

Instead, the rural propertied classes remained in power and continued to gain through capitalist expansion. 

As the sociologist Francisco de Oliveira put it in his 1972 Critique of Dualist Reason, the “expansion of capitalism in Brazil happens through the introduction of new rela­tions into archaic ones and the reproduction of archaic relations in the new.” 

This was reinforced politically through President Getúlio Vargas’s corporatist labor legislation, modeled on Mussolini’s as a means of formalizing and disciplining an urban proletariat. 

Crucially, it exempted labor relations in the countryside, preserving rural pov­erty and unfreedom.

For de Oliveira, the new world thus preserved earlier class rela­tions. Consider, for example, that the new urban poor would build their own homes, thus reducing the cost of reproduction of this class: employers would not have to pay wages high enough to pay for rent. 

Favelas, then, are not an index of backwardness but something produced by the new.

Or consider how personal services rendered in the domestic sphere reinforce this model of accumulation. 

Upper-middle-class households in Brazil have maids or drivers that service them—an economic relationship that could only be replaced by costly investment in public services and infrastructure (for example, industrial cleaning services or public transport). 

As a consequence, the Brazilian middle class has a higher standard of living in this respect than its equivalents in the United States or Europe. 

The exploitation of cheap labor in the domestic sphere also impedes any political drive for improvement in public services.

Are we not faced with precisely such a Brazilianization of the world today—with a growing array of “concierge services,” where­by the professional class and elite alike hire private yoga teachers, private chefs, and private security? 

An upper-middle-class household in San Francisco comes to replicate an aristocratic manor with a whole economy of services rendered in the domestic sphere, but now every­thing is outsourced: digital platforms intermediate between private “contractors” (formerly employees) and the new elite. 

Brazil’s social structure showed us our future.

Reflecting on Brazil’s social formation once again in 2003, de Oliveira classed Brazil as a duck-billed platypus: a misshapen mon­ster, neither any longer underdeveloped (“primitive accumulation” in the countryside having been displaced by a powerful agribusiness sector), nor yet having the conditions to complete its modernization—that is, to truly incorporate the masses into the nation.

Crucially, this was not a foregone conclusion. Growing workers’ power in the lead-up to the 1964 coup could have led to a new settlement and an end to the high exploitation rate, while agrarian reform could have liquidated the source of the “reserve army of labor” that flooded into the cities in the 1970s, as well as finally destroying patrimonial power in the countryside.

Such a modernization project, however, would have required the participation of the national bourgeoisie in alliance with workers. 

The bourgeoisie backed the right-wing coup instead. In a great historical irony, noted by Roberto Schwarz in his introduction to de Oliveira’s platypus essay, it was Fernando Henrique Cardoso—the neoliberal president in the 1990s—who had observed, as a left-wing sociologist back in the 1960s, that the national bourgeoisie did not want development. 

Cardoso argued, in opposition to prevailing Left opinion of the time, that the bourgeoisie would prefer being a junior partner to Western capitalism than to risk seeing their domestic hegemony over the subaltern classes challenged in the future.

Brazil’s elite chose not to develop.

According to de Oliveira, Brazil’s promised but endlessly frus­trated future is visible in the fact that it is “one of the most unequal societies in the world . . . despite having had one of the strongest rates of growth over a long period. . . . The most evident determinations of this condition reside in the combination of the low standing of the workforce and external dependency.”

Brazil thus could be a sort of utopia, given its natural blessings, fast growth, and enviable culture. 

The reality, in Caux and Catalani’s words, is that it is a country “whose essence consists in not being able to realize its essence.” 

It is not backwardness that prevents Brazil from claiming its destiny; its destiny is endless frustration.

Moreover, the social exclusion that seems so essential to Brazil’s social formation is not an accident, but a produced duality. 

In Brazil, this has been known as Belíndia, a term coined in 1974 by the economist Edmar Lisboa Bacha: Brazil is a rich, urban Belgium perched atop a poor, rural India, all in one country. 

Those in the Brazilian “Belgium” inhabit a country that is ostensibly modern and well-functioning, but is held back by those “outside,” in the backwards, semifeudal India. 

Yet as de Oliveira showed, the “inside” is dependent on the exploitation of the “outside” for its progress. 

Not only that, but the dualism shapes the inside of the “Belgium” itself; it creates a corrupt, patrimonial, and selfish elite, only too happy to wash its hands of the conditions found in its own “India.”

Unfortunately, rather than the Belíndia metaphor becoming less relevant in recent decades, it has only become more so.

 Consider what each component country represents in our times: Belgium may still be wealthy, but it is bureaucratized, fragmented, and immobile; India may still be poor, but it is now also high-tech and governed by reactionary populism. 

This could just as easily be a picture of Italy, the United States, or the United Kingdom, with their deep regional inequalities, sclerotic politics, and spectacular populism.

Coping with Modernity

If we return to Arantes’s Brazilianization thesis, we find that the cultural features of Brazilian development are also being echoed in our new, post-growth world. 

Certain patterns of behavior that ap­peared as Brazilians coped with their instant modernity—social rela­tions structured around flexibility, rather than binding contract; a need to find semi-licit workarounds, through hustling; a not-truly-bourgeois bourgeoisie—now mark the world around us.

Brazil, the “born-modern” former colony, is not a society that emerged out of feudal relations, nor one that announced its own birth through a revolutionary break with the past. 

Instead, it was a site of production and distribution, first and foremost.

Writing in the early 1940s, the great Brazilian historian Caio Prado Jr. analyzed the colonial form of contemporary Brazil, remarking upon the efficiency of the colonial order as an organization of pro­duction combined with a sterility with respect to higher-level social relations—all economy, no culture. 

What defined a modern periphery molded by colonialism was therefore a “lack of a moral nexus,” that complex of human institutions that maintain individuals linked and united in a society and that weld them into a cohesive and compact whole. 

If we already hear echoes of the contemporary neoliberal dis­aggregation of society here, it is not by chance.

Historically, the Brazilian “quasi-society of the mercantile van­guard” was conditioned by the place of freemen in a society of landed elites and slaves. 

Thus in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Brazil, we find the generalized practice of the favor, or “quasi-universal mediation,” as identified by Schwarz in the novels of Machado de Assis. 

In a world of slaveholders and slaves, poor freemen depended on favors from the owner class to survive. 

Rather than citizens endowed with rights, freemen had to hustle to be granted the patron­age of the propertied class. Already we can see the seeds of Brazilian patronage and clientelism.

While the world of ideas and institutions held to modern liberal conceptions, what obtained in reality was not a rationally ordered society but one governed by the arbitrary decisions of the wealthy—a situation in which the elite naturally benefited, but so did the free­men, confirmed in their status as beneficiaries of favor, as not-slaves. 

This nexus of the favor, overlaid with liberal ideology, has all the conditions for systematic hypocrisy: highfalutin liberal ideas justifying caprice and venality. 

Or to apply this relationship to the Brazilianized United States of today, and to put it in the parlance of our age: “information wants to be free,” but not if it violates “community standards” or doesn’t suit the oligarchy’s interests.

In a similar vein, Schwarz discusses another central element in Brazilian subjectivity, the “dialectic of the malandro” (trickster), a concept advanced by Antonio Candido in his reading of eighteenth-century novels. 

In Schwarz’s reading, the dialectic of malandragem entails the suspension of concrete historical conflicts through clever­ness or practical know-how—in effect, a sort of evasion. 

This was linked to a “very Brazilian attitude, of ‘corrosive tolerance,’ which originates in the Colony and lasts through the 20th century, and which becomes a main thread in our culture.” 

Here we find the often-lauded Brazilian disposition towards accommodation, rather than all-or-nothing conflict. 

This attitude may seem inferior to the more puritanical values of North Atlantic capitalist society, of clear yeses and noes, of decisive condemnation 

(Schwarz references the Salem Witch Trials and the world of The Scarlet Letter). 

But, for Schwarz, it might be precisely this attitude that could facilitate Brazil’s insertion into a more “open” world. What emerges is an image of a “world without guilt.”

This softening of conflicts is a pattern throughout Brazilian his­tory, in which it is rare for matters to be definitively resolved. 

No great bourgeois revolution, no clean breaks with the past; the new eventually vanquishes the old at the cost of incorporating the old into the new. 

Brazil’s re-democratization in the 1980s, for example, birthed a new constitution replete with social rights that promised excluded classes a greater degree of integration than comparable doc­uments elsewhere. 

At the same time, however, it guaranteed old patrimonial elites their place in the new order, and failed to neuter the military brass. 

The consequences are all too evident today. Indeterminacy and irresolution rule. Or, in the Brazilian idiom, tudo acaba em pizza: it all ends in pizza.

This “world without guilt”—a world without moral dramas, without convictions or remorse—is our postmodern world writ large. 

The new global elite is entirely désembourgeoisée; there are no fixed and hard rules, everything is up for negotiation. 

Morality is at most an individual, subjective matter, if not a cause for embarrassment; the elite prefer the empty avowals of corporate ethics nowadays, not moral pronouncements. 

Morality is no longer the keystone of pater­nal, social authority. The postmodern elite feels no responsibility. It has not internalized the law, and thus feels no guilt.

In the world of work, adaptation and accommodation are key in the new economy. 

As a contractor (not an employee), you must constantly seek to please your client. 

For Arantes, the “professional­ism” required today is nothing more than a cynical stylization of the qualities needed for survival in a precarious world. 

As for the Brazilian malandro, or trickster, there is no higher commandment today than to “respect the hustle.” 

What might otherwise be seen as generalized opportunism—or, in nineteenth-century Brazil, poor freemen out in search of a “favor”—is recast as the new way of the world.

Notably, the anthropologist Loïc Wacquant finds a similar attitude in the ghettoes of North America. 

There, the hustler is a generic type, “unobtrusively inserting himself into social situations or in spinning about him a web of deceitful relations, just so that he may derive some more or less extorted profit from them.” 

(The opposite to the hustler is formal wage labor, taken to be “legal, recognized, regular and regulated.”) 

This attitude is no longer restricted to the ghetto, but becomes the ideal subjectivity of the neoliberal “entrepreneur of the self.”

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“Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument. Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”
Law & Politics

“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,” Adam Curtis says. 

“Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument. Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”

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Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 25 May 2021 @WHO.

Over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decrease, with over 4.1 million new cases and 84 000 new deaths reported; a 14% and 2% decrease, respectively, compared to the previous week 

The European Region reported the largest decline in new cases and deaths in the past week, followed by the South- East Asia Region 

The numbers of cases reported by the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, African, and Western Pacific Regions were similar to those reported in the previous week. 

The Western Pacific Region reported the largest increase in the number of deaths, while other regions reported decreases or similar numbers to the previous week. 

Despite a declining global trend over the past four weeks, incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths remain high, and substantial increases have been observed in many countries throughout the world.
The highest numbers of new cases in the last seven days were reported from 

India (1 846 055 new cases; 23% decrease)

Brazil (451 424 new cases; 3% increase) 

Argentina (213 046 new cases; 41% increase)

United States of America (188 410 new cases; 20% decrease)

Colombia (107 590 new cases; 7% decrease).

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.@IndependentSage ***NEW*** Independent SAGE Response to three Public Health England papers about the B.1.617.2 variant of concern published on 22 May 2021

On 22 May, PHE released three important new documents:

Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the B.1.617.2 variant

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England: Technical briefing 12

22 May 2021 Risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2 variant: VOC-21APR-02 (B.1.617.2)

The first report on vaccine effectiveness has been greeted as good news, with Matt Hancock saying that the findings made him “increasingly confident” the final stage of easing restrictions in England could take place on 21 June. 

The other two reports have been sparsely covered in the media or discussed by health ministers.

We believe that taken together, the PHE reports paint a far more concerning outlook for the roadmap and require an urgent public health response building on our 14 May plan to get cases down now, before the situation worsens further.

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File this under shocking connections worth further exploration: @JordanSchachtel
Law & Politics

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel (now a billionaire equity shareholder) was previously CEO of bioMérieux.

bioMérieux's founder, Alain Mérieux, is a personal friend of Xi Jinping, & he helped build the P4 lab in Wuhan.

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Moderna also happened to have a vaccine ready to go within hours of China publicizing gene sequence for virus. Recall, bio tech company had ZERO products brought to market prior to its "miracle" mRNA vax @JordanSchachtel

Moderna also happened to have a vaccine ready to go within hours of China publicizing gene sequence for virus. Recall, the bio tech company had ZERO products brought to market prior to its "miracle" mRNA vax receiving emergency approval

Prior to mRNA vax, Moderna was on its way to becoming the next Theranos. They had billions of $$$ in fundraising thanks to hype, but no functioning products. We are now supposed to believe they solved it in a matter of hours, after a decade of failures.

To highlight the bond between Merieux and China, check out this article about Merieux receiving a prestigious award from the CCP while Xi was in attendance.

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Xi has taken calculated risks. The muscular and multi-faceted nature of Chinese Power is seen in its handling of COVID19
Law & Politics

Controlling the COVID19 Narrative, suppressing the Enquiry, parlaying the situation into one of singular advantage marks a singular moment  and  

Xi Jinping has exhibited Chinese dominance over multiple theatres from the Home Front, the International Media Domain, the ‘’Scientific’’ domain over which he has achieved complete ownership and where any dissenting view is characterized as a ‘’conspiracy theory’’

It remains a remarkable achievement.

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2201

Dollar Index 89.974

Japan Yen 109.115

Swiss Franc 0.8972

Pound 1.4116

Aussie 0.7751

India Rupee 72.6115

South Korea Won 1116.89

Brazil Real 5.3123

Egypt Pound 15.6985

South Africa Rand 13.69065

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It was the second wave that killed the dip buyers the most @sunchartist
World Currencies

Crypto Dip being bought is not much different from the Asian financial crisis (central govt raising rates to protect currency)  and the pre-GFC selloff (the entire subprime was $600 bln small in the scheme of things)

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WHO African Region Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 25 May 2021 @WHO

The African Region reported over 44 000 new cases and over 1000 new deaths, a 4% and a 2% increase respectively compared to the previous week. 

The incidences of cases and deaths remain at similar rates to the previous four weeks. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

South Africa (21 429 new cases; a 31% increase) 

Ethiopia (3069 new cases; a 15% decrease)

Kenya (2729 new cases; a 27% increase).

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (589 new deaths;  a 28% increase) 

Ethiopia (92 new deaths; a 12% decrease)

Angola (60 new deaths; a 140% increase).

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Africa is currently reporting a million new infections about every 96 days @ReutersGraphics

The average number of new infections reported in Tunisia has been consistently increasing for 7 days

Average number of new infections reported each day in Ethiopia falls by more than 370 over the last 3 weeks, 18% of its previous peak

Average number of new infections reported in Réunion each day reaches new high: Now reporting more than 1,000 daily

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Uganda COVID-19: Ministry warns public as ICUs get filled up @newvisionwire

“New COVID-19 cases have increased with a number of people dying. Our ICUs are getting to full capacity. It is time to adhere to the SOPs and be safe. Doesn’t be part of the COVID-19 statistics,” it warned.  

According to the Ministry of Health's latest COVID statistics, the number of daily new cases recorded has exponentially increased as the country begins to experience the second wave.  

The results of tests done on May 22, indicated 185 new cases and one death, bringing the cumulative confirmed cases to 43,919 and deaths to 357. 

The test positivity rate has also increased to 6.2%.  

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Egypt has signed defence agreements with Sudan, Uganda, Burundi and now Kenya. @OlindPaul

Clear as day they're isolating Ethiopia with a view to military action. It's however not inevitable but the timing has to be rather tempting to Cairo given Abiy's issues.

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10-JUN-2019 :: The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating

Hugh Masekela said ‘’I want to be there when the people start to turn it around.’’ Sudan is a Masekela pivot moment.

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First 4 months of 2021, compared to a similar period last year: @MihrThakar
Kenyan Economy

Exports of goods +5.5%

Imports of goods +15.2%

Remittances +23.3%

Private sector credit growth +6.8% in the 12 months to April 2021.

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TPS @serenahotels reports FY 2020 Loss [1.21b] 2020 Earnings here
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

Par Value:                  1/-

Closing Price:           14.60

Total Shares Issued:          182174108.00

Market Capitalization:        2,659,741,977

EPS:             -6.32



TPS manages 15 hotels and resorts across East Africa under the Serena brand name.

TPS reports FY Earnings through 31st December 2020 versus through 31st Dec 2019 

FY Revenue 2.034160b versus 6.823159b -70.18%

FY [loss] Profit before depreciation Finance Income / [costs] results of associates and Income Tax credit / [expense] [437.785m] versus 1.017126b

FY Finance Costs [586.137m] versus [177.835m]

FY Depreciation on right of use Asset [43.919m] versus [40.906m]

FY Depreciation on property and equipment [496.064m] versus [447.422m]

FY Share of loss of Associates [95.004m] versus [29.013m]

FY [loss] Profit before income Tax [1.658909b] versus 321.950m

FY Income Tax credit / [expense] 448.902m versus [140.203m]

FY [loss] / Profit for the Year [1.210007b] versus 181.747m

FY EPS [6.32] versus 0.81

Finance Costs include unrealised exchange Loss on Foreign Currency loans of 313m versus an unrealised exchange gain of 32m in the prior year 

FY Total comprehensive [Loss] / income for the year [939.921m] 127.426m

No Dividend 

Borrowings 4.963551b versus 3.587202b

FY Cash and Cash Equivalents 122.711m versus 147.569m

FY Decrease in cas and cash equivalents [228.305m] versus [29.625m]


The year 2020 has been one of the most difficult years that the global hospitality industry has ever experienced 

the magnitude of the COVID-19 was not foreseen and has resulted in a devastating impact due to the uncertainty in its evolving nature

temporary closure of Serena properties from April to June 2020 

Bookings have been at very short lead times and rates are well below market norms as supply of rooms available exceeds demand

Serena's regional footprint and brand was established in DR Congo trough award of a management contract in year 2018 that resulted in the opening of Goma Serena Hotel

Group through the vital support from its senior lenders managed to defer debt repayments whilst entering into additional credit facilities in order to support operations under exceptionally difficult circumstances 

We should expect a turnaround in our performance perhaps from the 3rd or 4th quarter of the year 2021 


Serena in fact was at the ''bleeding Age'' of the Pandemic.

Its a solid franchise and I expect a recovery from Q4 2021 and therefore its going to be back to back tough years. 

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The Serena The Star
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

MY memories of the Serena start in Mombasa years back when the managing director Mahmoud Jan Mohamed was the manager. 

I was then a teenager and remember losing my heart to a girl, who would beat me at table tennis, in a bikini. That table tennis Table is still there. 

The Serena brand has always been sprinkled with a fairy dust and reminds me of happy joyful carefree halcyon days of youth. 

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30 JUL 12 :: The Polana The Jewel in the @SerenaHotels Crown
N.S.E Equities - Commercial & Services

I hail from Mombasa and the Indian Ocean has always held an endless fascination for me. I recall dimly lit dhows in Tudor Creek in Mombasa. 

Later I read Felipe Fernández-Armesto who said “The precocity of the Indian Ocean as a zone of long-range navigation and cultural exchange is one of the glaring facts of history” made possible by the “reversible escalator” of the monsoons.

The ‘reversible escalator’ of the monsoons allowed this cultural exchange from Goa to Maputo, from Oman to Zanzibar. 

In fact, my received history includes the narrative of a grandfather coming to East Africa as a stowaway on a dhow, more than a century ago.

And a few weeks before, I had met Mahmud Jan Mohamed and he told me, “You should try the Polana and Maputo.”

I kept thinking to myself that Maputo was the furthest reach of the reversible escalator. The land of the most flavoursome tiger prawns. 

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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May 2021

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