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Topic ClosedWestern views of Africans and African descendants

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Western views of Africans and African descendants
    Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 10:27

Some thoughts about western views of Africans 

 

If one looks on TV and reads newspapers, and also listen to some discussions, one gets the impression that many people here in the west believes that Africans are rather simple and primitive people. It seems that many old stereotypes still thrive in our communities. And when we see programs from Africa it is often reports about hunger, violence, oppression of women, female mutilations and similar. We seldom hear about topics like research, progress in science and technology, successful political and social reforms, or economic progression. And many times it seems that many has some perception of Africa (especially Sub Saharan Africa) as a continent without history or great civilisations. Some seem still to belive that African history started with European explorers and colonialists.

 

Also African Americans are still many times portraid as not very intellectual, mostly living in powerty and subjects of criminality and drugs. And if they indeed succeed, it is mostly in the fields of music, entertainment and sports. There is not so many mentionings about  professors, scientists, successful entrepreneurs and similar. But maybe now when Obama has become president, this picture will rapidly change.



Edited by Carcharodon - 05 Aug 2009 at 11:05
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 20:32
CNN shows the commercial of that Nigerian bank (some kind of a really cool name... was it Tempest? or Cyclone? something similar) all the time. Decent men in decent suits doing business there...
 
Can't do business if you aren't intelligent.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:16
I've never thought that. Africa IMO is changing rapidly. Even in the tribes people are counting wealth in money as well as cattle. And I've always been fascinated with the african civlizations The New Kingdom of Egypt and its sucessors of Meroe, Kush, and Axum as well as the pretty much unknown civilization of Punt. They did amazing things and were incredibly advanced.  
 
 
Originally posted by RIDER RIDER wrote:

Can't do business if you aren't intelligent.
  
 
Indeed where I live black people (Sorry if I ticked anyone off with that, no racism intended) are well to do, always wear nice clothes live in nice houses and have plenty of money (for whatever) from lucrative buisnesses and the ones I know are very studious.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:22
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

But maybe now when Obama has become president, this picture will rapidly change.
 
Just noticed this.
 
And sorry for saying this, but I suspect that Obama won't 'heal' any 'black reputation' or something. The one thing Obama is likely to do is to make it worse.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:28
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

But maybe now when Obama has become president, this picture will rapidly change.
 
Just noticed this.
 
And sorry for saying this, but I suspect that Obama won't 'heal' any 'black reputation' or something. The one thing Obama is likely to do is to make it worse.
 
Interesting, how do you think he will make it worse?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:32
Because he can't possibly make it any better with all of those things he is doing. I mean, even the black people who were asked before elections supported the things that McCain said -- they only voted Obama cause he 'iz a bro' to them. Now no one gets anything reasonable or good, inter-US or externally, so no one can be happy.
 
I'd suppose (no joking here) that it's up to the African business elite to bring up the reputation of the black people.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:43

And why did so many whites vote for him?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:46
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

And why did so many whites vote for him?

 
I'd rather not speculate.
 
But we *are* deviating from our original goal here.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:56
The picture of Africa are perhaps about to change due to films like the one about the businessmen. It is maybe just that sort of films that are needed, because it has been rather rare (at least here in Sweden) to see programs  about African businessmen and even more rare to see African scientists or other schoolars. Some politicians have been seen of course, as Nelson Mandela (and also much about Robert Mugabe, which may not be so positive).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 21:58

The first misconception that always annoys me is when people(regardless of background) treat Africa as a single country with a single identity and hence doomed entirely or destined to prosper. Civil war in Somalia does not mean there is a civil war raging in Algeria. Famine in Mauritania does not mean the same is happening in Malawi. If this silly misconception dies out then i think alot of the negative views will disappear. 

 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 22:03
Yes, it seems that many conflates all countries and peoples of Africa and think they are all same.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 22:34

One of the African people portrayed to the West in a very great light is Wilson Lutara. After reading about him, my personal opinions and thoughts changed a lot. It's more of these sort of materiel that is needed, in my opinion. Might check out the topic on him in this very same forum, by the way!

And Northern Africa is far different from Southern or even Central. Considering them one is a disasterous mistake-

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 22:35
Obama is not going to be the total definitive figure in different miscued views of African Descented people in the West. 50% OF African AMericans are making over  $ 50,000 annual income.It is the totally in the hands of Africans,Afro Carribeans,and African Americans to handle their own furture.

If you wantt o reconnize AFrican achievements why not reconize the ones there doin now,There trial   vaccines being administered  for HIV in SOuth Africa 10 people from the United states have already used it.

http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/cd68cc5e02f84d898ebe8beee4785b2e/22-07-2009%2011-07/Aids_vaccine_no_magic_cure

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090720/ap_on_re_af/af_south_africa_aids_vaccine

As for Obama,losing his momentum and popluarity in America. Is due to 2 reasons the New Health Care Bill and his stance on Henry Gates incident with the Police.

Obama cannot be considered a sell out and has spoken up on all issues occuring the Black Community,his speech for the NAACP was considered in superfluous, but he made it nonetheless.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2009 at 23:15
It is rather strange and continuously frustrating to me the way peoples prejudice and bias blinds them to earthly reality, regardless of their skin color. Blacks can be just as racists and cruel as whites can be, most especially too those people of the same skin color as themselves! In order too better their lives, they had to ignore the vicious shouting from everyone else. The fact that they had improved upon themselves against all odds is a testament too high intelligence belonging to no specific skin color or political creed!

Which brings me to my main point, there are those who had risen above and beyond the collective racial political  shouting who deserve the recognition, and not those who held them back. There has been plenty of my fellow Americans who are black, that have been scientists or inventors that have worked for and  benefited so many people, regardless of color. For instance, i submit a wiki list

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_American_inventors_and_scientists


Originally posted by AksumVanguard AksumVanguard wrote:



As for Obama,losing his momentum and popluarity in America. Is due to 2 reasons the New Health Care Bill and his stance on Henry Gates incident with the Police.

Obama cannot be considered a sell out and has spoken up on all issues occuring the Black Community,his speech for the NAACP was considered in superfluous, but he made it nonetheless.



The thing that scares me the most about this bill, is the severe lack of our representatives who have actually read the huge monster!

As far as Prof. Gates is concerned, his little b!*chfest is a big part of the problem and not the solution he thinks it is to the discussion of this issue! And no President Obama did not help the situation or his administration's policy plans, by willfully stepping into this mess. He could have instead left it as it should have been with a "No comment" until he had all of the facts.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 02:00
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

It is rather strange and continuously frustrating to me the way peoples prejudice and bias blinds them to earthly reality, regardless of their skin color. Blacks can be just as racists and cruel as whites can be, most especially too those people of the same skin color as themselves! In order too better their lives, they had to ignore the vicious shouting from everyone else. The fact that they had improved upon themselves against all odds is a testament too high intelligence belonging to no specific skin color or political creed!

Which brings me to my main point, there are those who had risen above and beyond the collective racial political  shouting who deserve the recognition, and not those who held them back. There has been plenty of my fellow Americans who are black, that have been scientists or inventors that have worked for and  benefited so many people, regardless of color. For instance, i submit a wiki list

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_American_inventors_and_scientists



Not only that but AFrican Immigrants have the highest percentage of college degrees tahn any other in the United States and the UK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_immigration_to_the_United_States#Educational_attainment

http://www.examiner.com/x-3865-Chicago-Public-Education-Examiner~y2009m6d16-African-immigrants-outgraduate-American-Caucasians-and-Asians

African immigrants out-graduate American Caucasians and Asians


http://www.migrationinformation.org/usfocus/display.cfm?ID=719

African immigrants made up 3.7 percent of all immigrants in 2007. ... About two of every five African foreign-born adults had a bachelor's or higher degree. ...





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_immigration_to_the_United_States#Educational_attainment



Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


The thing that scares me the most about this bill, is the severe lack of our representatives who have actually read the huge monster!


The bill is going through alot of miscegenation and tampering because most so called experts say with the new Obama Health Bill, health insurance will end up costing the GDP more.


One new plan is the Federal Employee  Health Benefits Program in which different employers would participate in buying different coverage policies enacted by the government. Hence they are creating an insurance market place in which they insurance can decide what kind of minimum benefits plans they would have backed by the government. The Insurers are required to take all individuals reguardless of the previous plan they had.

Speculators are saying that they want to eliminate tax free insurance which is getting Unions upset becuase they worked tenacioulsy to get there health plans situated.

One other requirement  is for the employers too offfer insurance or pay a tax penalty,the reason being the new system only works if every individual particpates.

Experts  say if you can  reduce the competition between Insurance companies, they would reduce the profits of insurers thus reducing the prestige of the companies. This would reduce cost of the premiums and other medical inurance cost.They also what to cut back on the underwriting of insurers.

Another probably arising is the coverage of immigrants. There is one loophole in which if one member of an immigrant family that was born in the US creates a loophole for another family memeber to get universal coverage,or something like that.
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


As far as Prof. Gates is concerned, his little b!*chfest is a big part of the problem and not the solution he thinks it is to the discussion of this issue! And no President Obama did not help the situation or his administration's policy plans, by willfully stepping into this mess. He could have instead left it as it should have been with a "No comment" until he had all of the facts.



Iagree Obama should of kept his mouth closed and get a full analysis of the situation before he new decided to even comment at all. I think he should of left it alone all together thou.


Edited by AksumVanguard - 06 Aug 2009 at 23:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 05:18
One should be careful casting Africa south of the Sahara in roseate coloring. First, regarding the comments on the high level of college graduates among African immigrants. Precisely! They see no future in their homelands, so one small part of Africa's problems is "brain drain".  And who can blame them? Nice to see something is being done in South Africa to deal with HIV, but note that President Thabo Mbeke (until last year) denied that there was ever a problem. Painting Africa in happy colors will not change the reality. There are bright spots, such as South Africa (despite an alarming high murder rate) and Botswana (as I was recently reminded), but other African "bright spots" have falled into murderous anarchy before, with the former Rhodesia being only one of them. Finally, on Obama, he is not an African. The fact that his father was Kenyan gives him a recent connection to the continent, but hardly guarantees that he "understands" it.  He was elected to the presidency precisely because he did not run an an "African-American". He ran as an American, period. And that is what won him the election. Other than the color of his skin, he has very little in common with the "African-American" experience. He can hardly be a "sell out" because there is nothing to "sell out". It will be interesting to see if foreign aid to African states increases under his presidency. Much informed opinion places much of Africa's failure to develop on foreign largesse, which seems to do little other than support crony capitalism. Perhaps he will have the courage to scale it back? That would be truly a change.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 07:48
In most European countries the knowledge of Africa is very thin except that it is a "Black continent" and the fastest sprinters often come from West Africa and the marathon runners from East Africa.

Regarding history and politics, I obtained most of my knowledge by reading Kapucsinski, who spent more than 40 years reporting on Africa.

I reckon that the main problem of Africa is that most African states are a creation of European colonialism, and that the European empires didn't take into account the different ethnicities, tribes, and nations that populated the area that they called "a colony"; thus generating territorial and power struggles within each country. To make matters worst, for many Africans, the only form of government that they had ever known or seen was that of the "colonial government", in which all resources were exported abroad to feed the "mother nation". Thus when the colonies gained independence, the native governers continued to rule their countries in the same way that the European colonists did before: drain all the resources abroad and keep the population under repression.

The worst example is Liberia: a country created by freed Afro-American slaves. When the free slaves arrived in Liberia, they enslaved the natives; and when one native ethnicity managed to overthrow these rulers, they in turn "enslaved" the other ethnicities. Basically, whoever was ruling enslaved the others...., and so on.

 Of course, you can hardly blame European imperialism as the sole cause of African poverty. Ethiopia is the only African country that has never been colonised, yet they are hardly the country that is doing the best.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 07:57
Regarding the Africans that I've personally met, many have told us that they see a disproportionate amount of negative propaganda of their countries.
For example, we often hear of ethnic violence in African countries, but many Ethiopians, Malienses, and Senegalese have told me that in their country there is an interethnic tolerance that few European nations could achieve. In their territories, different ethnicities, religions, and linguistic groups have lived together for many centuries, often sharing the same land and the same cities; yet no one cared about what language their neighbours spoke, what clothes they wore, and whether they prayed in a church or a mosque.
They often criticise Europe, or precisely Spain, for the obsession of cultural homogeniety; in that everyone must look the same, dress the same, behave the same, believe in the same, and speak the same language. They see it ridiculous that the existence of languages such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician on Spanish soil has caused so much political uproar; that neighbours often protest against the construction of a mosque in the barrio; or the endless debate as to whether or not women should wear veils... in their countries, diversity is a way of life and it has always been respected.

Well, that's their personal opinion. I don't know how reliable it would be.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 20:21
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

...Blacks can be just as racists and cruel as whites can be, most especially too those people of the same skin color as themselves! ...
 
Very true. Let's consider bantues, for instance, that treat very badly to Pigmies and Khoisan. And what about the genocide at Rwanda.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Aug 2009 at 20:50
I agree with Calvo - what do we in the West know about the real Africa and Africans?  Personally I know almost nothing except what I read in newspapers - which for some strange reason veers to bad news and bad events.  Makes me wonder what African newspapers have to say about Europeans and Americans!
 
At my son's school, the black kids, be they African, Carribean or Asian were by far the cleverest and the best behaved; I understand the discipline at home among such families was a bit above the standard of the British parents.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 00:33
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

One should be careful casting Africa south of the Sahara in roseate coloring. First, regarding the comments on the high level of college graduates among African immigrants. Precisely! They see no future in their homelands, so one small part of Africa's problems is "brain drain".  And who can blame them? Nice to see something is being done in South Africa to deal with HIV, but note that President Thabo Mbeke (until last year) denied that there was ever a problem. Painting Africa in happy colors will not change the reality.


Will it is only suitable that African college graduates apply their skills to a trade in the right niche. The problem is that African countries are not developing in industry and manufacturing,countries such as Nigeria and Ghana are beingheld back by terrible civil wars.

I do hope that the new research development in the  prototypical AIDS vaccine trials will yield a promising byproduct. Canada has also been working on developing a new HIV/AIDS vaccine which is going through its trials,so I'll guess well see who will win the race for a solution in the new AIDS epidemic not just in Africa but all over the World

There are bright spots, such as South Africa (despite an alarming high murder rate) and Botswana (as I was recently reminded), but other African "bright spots" have falled into murderous anarchy before, with the former Rhodesia being only one of them.

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Finally, on Obama, he is not an African. The fact that his father was Kenyan gives him a recent connection to the continent, but hardly guarantees that he "understands" it.


Thats not true Obama is just as African as Henry Gates(who in a documentary had Henry Gates  Autosomal DNA concluded he was 50 % white and 50% black and descended from an English king.)

Obama is probably even more black than Hailey Berry ,Mariah Carrey, Salli Richardson.All of whom are bi-racial.


Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


 He was elected to the presidency precisely because he did not run an an "African-American". He ran as an American, period.And that is what won him the election. 




Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Other than the color of his skin, he has very little in common with the "African-American" experience.

That's were you wrong you do know that Obama's mother did live on food stamps for a time, that he did spend time living with has grandparents (as is the case with alot of black adololescents growing up in the states) ,and that he has spent time living homeless in New York City.

He did used to bea  Civil Rights Lawyer and has married into a black American Family.So to say Obamas expericnce is not black is way off.  Alot of his political connections in CHicago were used from his Church in which  the majority was black. He has very much been through the black experience.


Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


He can hardly be a "sell out" because there is nothing to "sell out". It will be interesting to see if foreign aid to African states increases under his presidency.


That's not true at all, he has stuck his neck out and has spoken up on very sensitive issues that are very delicate to the political arena. The Henry Gates incident was very unnecessary for him to speak and his appearance at NAACP speech was very uncalled for to.


Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Much informed opinion places much of Africa's failure to develop on foreign largesse, which seems to do little other than support crony capitalism. Perhaps he will have the courage to scale it back? That would be truly a change.  


The best he can do is regulate the exploitation going on in these AFrican countries,some American companies are basing the operations in the regions,and very much commandeering these countries dwindling companies.Henceforth are killing the aspirations for the counrties to move further ahead economically.


Edited by AksumVanguard - 08 Aug 2009 at 00:34
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 00:36

In TV or in other media we (at least where I live) seldom see reports on African research, science and other scholarly activities and endevours. It is as such things do not exist. We seldom see reports from universities, research centers or similar. It is as the western journalists do not find such things interesting or striking enough. So instead they look up famine, war and diseases. Maybe such dramatic events sell better.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 01:57
There aren't reports on Latin American research either, no matter we have several Nobel price winners in science...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 04:20
Aksum, in re:  "Obama is just as African as Henry Gates"

Precisely my point. Neither is an African. Being Black or descended from Africans does not make one an African. It merely makes one Black or African-American. Africans are born and raised in Africa, and thereby receive a total African culturalization process. Hell, De Klerk is more African than either Gates or Obama. Just ask his fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Also in re: "Obama is probably even more black than Hailey Berry ,Mariah Carrey, Salli Richardson."
He well may be, but he's no less an American. And that's what mattered to those who voted for him.

Carcharodon. In re:  "It is as such things do not exist. We seldom see reports from universities, research centers or similar."

Can anyone here name me a world renowned African university or research center? One that anyone here would choose to send their children to, if they were approved for admission at some modest level Western university, say Queens University Belfast?  (Universities in South Africa where the language of instruction is English or Afrikaans do not count.)


Edited by lirelou - 07 Aug 2009 at 04:32
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 09:19
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Can anyone here name me a world renowned African university or research center? One that anyone here would choose to send their children to, if they were approved for admission at some modest level Western university, say Queens University Belfast?  (Universities in South Africa where the language of instruction is English or Afrikaans do not count.)
 

One reason most of us cannot name any African universities is that we do not get any info about them here in the west. And as you say they maybe not be high on the ranking list yet but still there exist both universities and research centers.

In special fields, concerning local issues, like environment and similar there can be a good idea to actually study or do research about those topics in place. So for example if you are interested in forestry matters and environment in Kenya you might want to do some research on the Kenya Forestry Research Institute.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 09:20
Hmmh. I actually know two universities in Uganda but their name slips my mind at the moment (most things do for some reason). Also, I suspect that the Egyptian universities are quite on par with the world.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 09:33
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:


Can anyone here name me a world renowned African university or research center? One that anyone here would choose to send their children to, if they were approved for admission at some modest level Western university, say Queens University Belfast?  (Universities in South Africa where the language of instruction is English or Afrikaans do not count.)
 

One reason most of us cannot name any African universities is that we do not get any info about them here in the west. And as you say they maybe not be high on the ranking list yet but still there exist both universities and research centers.

In special fields, concerning local issues, like environment and similar there can be a good idea to actually study or do research about those topics in place. So for example if you are interested in forestry matters and environment in Kenya you might want to do some research on the Kenya Forestry Research Institute.


The best way to settle this question would be to consult one of the publications that ranks the worth of univerisities world wide, then examine to see which of these are located in Africa. Times Higher Education ranking tends to be a fairly authoritative source.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 09:46
Unfortunately none of the higher ranking universities are located in Africa, but still there are universities and research centers there. But sometimes in media one get the impression that there are no such things at all.
 
Sometimes one can also wonder over the world ranking lists. Few of the larger Chinese universities are ranked especially high, still they are very active with a lot of research and similar. One of the reasons that they mabye are ranked to low is that much of their published material hitherto has only been in Chinese. But that is changing rapidly now.


Edited by Carcharodon - 07 Aug 2009 at 09:51
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 10:24
There are some good research institutes in South Africa. Other than that, not really.
 
About China: one of the most commonly used ranking list is actually made in China.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 11:00

Well, the criteria they are working with sometimes exclude some Chinese universities because the criteria themselves can depend on publishing in foreign (mostly English) languages (for example Noble Prizes, articles published in Nature and Science, entries in the Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index and similar).

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