Tagged: erf


This Week in Fiction: Petina Gappah on the Insular World of …

Petina Gappah s story A Short History of Zaka the Zulu appears in this week s issue of The New Yorker. Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY MARINA CAVAZZA Y our story in this week s issue, A Short History of Zaka the Zulu [1] , is set at the College of Loyola, a Jesuit school in Zimbabwe that is based on a school you attended. Does the story draw on your own experiences? It doesn t draw on my experiences but it does draw on my memories. I spent the final two years of high school studying English literature, history, and Shona at St. Ignatius College, which is the top school in Zimbabwe, renowned for its academic performance and stellar results. In my time, the school took forty girls at A-Level, to join the four hundred or so boys from Form 1 to Form 6 who made up the rest of the school. We girls were supposed to have a civilizing influence on the boys. I can t say how successful we were at achieving that mission, because there was certainly nothing civilized about the boys crowding around the school balconies to watch us swim! For the most part, though, the boys were sweet and adorable, and many of them have remained dear friends. What I loved the most about being there was that it was a school that encouraged excellence and competition but not rivalry we were coevals competing to bring out the best in one another, not rivals fighting to knock one another down. What made you a former Mary Ward decide to write the story from the perspective of the male students at the school? And why did you choose to use the first-person plural? About four years ago, I was invited to give a speech at the school s Prize-Giving Day. I had not been back during term time since I left. It struck me then how incredibly young the boys were, even the oldest of them. That realization inspired me to write a story about the closed and insular world of boarding school, and about the choices that teen-agers can make in the arrogant belief that they know everything. I don t believe in the write what you know school of writing; I believe in writing what I can realistically imagine. I love to write across class, across race, across sex and gender, and I wanted badly to put myself in the shoes of those boys. It would have been too easy to write it from the girls perspective; I wanted to push myself by imagining another. As for the voice: I am currently writing a historical novel about the journey undertaken by the African companions of the Scottish explorer David Livingstone to carry his body from the African interior to the coast, so that he could be buried in his own land. It is a large and busy novel I just hope it will be polyphonic rather than cacophonic and one of the voices is a chorus of the sixty or so men who travelled with the body. As I have never studied creative writing, everything I know about writing has come from trying and failing, and, most of all, from reading. I read everything I could find that was written in that kind of collective voice, so as to learn from better writers. There are very few examples because it is such a tricky voice to get right, particularly in a novel, unless you are Jeffrey Eugenides in the sublime The Virgin Suicides. Then I read Faulkner s A Rose for Emily , and the idea of trying that voice out in a short story came to me at once. What do you think drove Nicodemus to do what he did? It seems possible that he actually liked Zaka and wanted to have his genuine friendship. Was blackmail the only way for him to get what he wanted? That s such a great question. Nicodemus is desperate to be accepted, but he does things in a clumsy way that alienates the other boys, such as suggesting a nickname for himself. These little things are hugely important in schools with rigid codes and protocols. I suspect that Nicodemus would have used the money he tried to blackmail from the first boy (who died) to try to buy friendship, but, that having failed, he manipulates Zaka into behaving like a friend. You are right to say that he probably does like Zaka, but the tragedy with manipulative people is that there is often a war within them between their better instincts and their need to control people. The lust for power becomes intoxicating and kills what could have been a real relationship. Is it relevant that Nicodemus is a scholarship student from a poor family, whereas Zaka comes from better circumstances? It is not so much that Zaka is from a better-off family at that sort of school at that time, the late eighties or early nineties, all the boys would come from quite similar family circumstances, even the scholarship students. It is simply that Zaka is from a more loving, or perhaps I should say more engaged, family. They come to see him, bringing him food, and they cheer him on when he does well, while Nicodemus, whose parents are probably struggling with younger brothers and sisters at home, are unable to do so. Nicodemus is probably the first child in the family to get to this kind of school, and his poor parents simply don t realize what s expected in terms of visits and support. The tragedy at the center of the story is triggered by an affair between two boys at the school, who are blackmailed by a fellow-student. What would have happened to the boys if they had been discovered by someone else, someone in a position of authority? Would they have been punished? Disgraced? They would most certainly have been expelled. And that would have blighted their futures. Education is everything in Zimbabwe. Partly because it was bottlenecked in Rhodesia, and thus a scarce resource, with black students competing for few places, parents of schoolchildren there still have a passion for education that I must say I have not seen anywhere else. I know a truck driver who recently sold his house just so that his daughter could go to university in Cyprus. Zimbabweans, black Zimbabweans, are raised with the idea that education is crucial to success. It s part of the reason that the fake-Ph.D. industry thrives there! So it is less criminal sanctions that the boys would fear homosexual acts, even between consenting adults, are illegal in Zimbabwe than the prospect of being kicked out of school and the disgrace that that would bring to them and their families. Zaka is so good at chess the ultimate game of strategy but fails completely when it comes to being strategic in his own life. He alienates almost everyone. Is that an intentional irony on your part? That s such a great observation. I had not thought about it that way at all. But yes, Zaka is a poor strategist. And he does not mean to alienate anyone. He is just really caught up in the idea of what it means to be the perfect schoolboy. He derives his primary identity from being a Loyolan, a good Catholic. It is an image that does not reflect his deepest nature, which is why he is at war with himself, and with others. It s why he spends so long in the confessional, and why, when he is forced to leave university, he finds himself back in the valley, with a view of his old school, wearing the uniform he wore when he was head prefect. A Short History of Zaka the Zulu will appear in your new collection, Rotten Row, which will be published by Faber & Faber in the U.K. in November. Do the stories in the collection have a thematic link? There is indeed a thematic link in the collection. Rotten Row is the street in Harare on which you find the Criminal Division of the Magistrate s Court. The book is made up of twenty stories about crime, seen from different perspectives. I also experiment with different approaches to storytelling: I use a court judgment, an autopsy report, and an Internet discussion forum, as well as other voices. I love the short story and want to master the form. I love the sentence-by-sentence, word-level attention that the short story demands, and that is its greatest pleasure. References ^ A Short History of Zaka the Zulu (www.newyorker.com)

Ingenuity Meets Design: First State Manufacturing (US) and FISA … 0

Ingenuity Meets Design: First State Manufacturing (US) and FISA …

MILFORD, Del. , Sept. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The new company formed by First State Manufacturing, Inc., (FSM) and FISA Italy (FISA) is called F Seating and is designed to integrate the custom cut and sew upholstery performed by FSM in the United States with the European design engineering style manufactured by FISA in Italy . F Seating will provide the commercial seating industry with a unique blend of form, fit, function and style positioning both partners to better serve a growing mass transit need throughout the world. Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160916/408740LOGO [1] F Seating will offer one stop shopping for complete seat assemblies from the seat frame to the cushions and their upholstered covers. The company will offer seating for passengers and drivers on a variety of platforms including rail, truck, bus and aircraft. Initial standard designs are currently in production and will be ready for market by 2017. Mass Transit is a growing industry with a constant demand for products to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. As high speed rail continues to expand throughout the world, F Seating will serve existing markets as well as the growth areas anticipated in the United States , China , Europe and Japan . “F Seating has a streamlined purchasing system making it possible for purchasing agents and contracting officers to work with one company from the beginning to end of the seat assembly system making purchasing easier for the end user and providing cost savings due to realized efficiencies,” said Scott Crothers Vice President of Marketing and Contract Administration for FSM. “F Seating offers the ability to comply with either U.S. or European safety standards that makes purchasing simple for the end user,” continued Mr. Crothers. “In addition, F Seating provides continued standards of quality and customer service that both companies provide their current customers.” Mr. Luca Giantin , Marketing Director for FISA said, “This venture brings two very solid companies with fine reputations together to serve a market that is beginning to request quotes for complete seat assemblies rather than components. F Seating business philosophy of Italian design combined with American ingenuity will allow us to accommodate these requests with new and exciting products for the industry. In addition, our business model will allow for the flexibility of manufacturing in the market best suited for production, allowing us to capture savings for the markets we now serve separately under our own brands. ” F Seating will be represented by both Mr. Crothers and Mr. Giantin at the International Trade Fair for Transport Technology Innotrans 2016 in Berlin in September 2016 , at the FISA Italy booth in Hall 1.1/311. To learn more about F Seating visit either the First State Manufacturing website www.FirstStateMfg.com [2] , or FISA Italy website www.fisaitaly.com [3] or contact 302 424 4520 (US) 39 0432 986 071 ( Italy ). This content was issued through the press release distribution service at Newswire.com. For more info visit: http://www.newswire.com [4] SOURCE First State Manufacturing, Inc. References ^ http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160916/408740LOGO (photos.prnewswire.com) ^ www.FirstStateMfg.com (www.firststatemfg.com) ^ www.fisaitaly.com (www.fisaitaly.com) ^ http://www.newswire.com (www.newswire.com)


Digger driver at centre of Ben Needham police probe was successful businessman who ‘knew everyone on the island’

The digger driver suspected of killing Ben Needham [1] was a wealthy businessman protected by a code of silence for 25 years, it is feared. Konstantinos Dino Barkas had a network of contacts all over Kos, the Mirror can reveal. Dino, who died of cirrhosis last year aged 62, was initially quizzed about Ben s disappearance and told police [2] he would chop his arms off so he could never drive again if he had killed 21-month-old Ben. But it is now feared these were hollow words and that he was able to hide a dark secret because he was so well connected on the Greek island where the toddler went missing in 1991. Read More John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Digger driver Kostantinos Barkas A close friend of the Barkas family, who asked not to be identified, said: Everyone on Kos and I mean everyone knew Dino. The owner of a cafe in nearby Kos Town said: He was a very well-known figure in the business community. “He was a very successful businessman involved in the building of many hotels on the island. Despite owning the company he was a very hard worker and didn t mind getting his hands dirty. But he also loved his drink [3] and was a well-known womaniser. Read More Ben Needham has been missing for 25 years Ben s mum Kerry Needham said it would make sense if Dino had people protecting him. Kerry, from Sheffield, said: I thought he was just a poor digger driver, I had no idea he was so connected. “I m now starting to worry there has been a conspiracy of silence around him all these years. I think he was being protected which stopped people coming forward in 25 years. “But now I would appeal to them, to think of my family and the pain we suffered. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Kostantinos Barkas knew everyone on the island Please, stop being scared and help us find out exactly what happened to my son. Please come forward. Dino was widely known to be a heavy drinker, raising questions over whether he may have been drunk while operating heavy machinery. Despite his wealth Dino spent many days in the cab of his huge digger. He was clearing access for a delivery of concrete on the day Ben went missing, on a building site just 100 yards from the farmhouse where the toddler was playing in the village of Iraklis. When quizzed by the Daily Mirror in 2012 he said: Yes, I was the man with the JCB that day. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror His son Valandis Barkas Loads of earth were being taken to clear the ground for the new house down the road. I think people were misled in thinking the child was abducted. Could there have been an accident? “I don t think so, but no one really knows what happened. But Dino later insisted to his close family that Ben had been abducted. It has been claimed Ben could have been killed in an accident but his body then removed from the scene and buried elsewhere. British police have been looking into the timetable of events leading up to Ben s disappearance. John Alevroyiannis/Daily Mirror Kostantinos Barkas’ grave After Dino s death last year a new witness told police there were two areas of land where building waste had been dumped by Dino which had never been searched. South Yorkshire Police [4] are now due to dig on Kos for a second time. The force confirmed officers will be travelling to Kos this month to work with Greek authorities and start digs at two new sites. Det Supt Matt Fenwick, leading the investigation, said: There will be planned operational activity at two locations on the island that have been identified as areas of interest to the investigation. “We continue to keep an open mind and have updated Ben s family about certain lines of enquiry we re currently exploring. North Downs Picture Agency Konstantinos Barkas A dedicated policing team continues to work extremely hard to find answers for his family and keep them fully informed and supported throughout the investigation. Kerry understands there is a statute of limitations of 20 years in Greek law, and does not believe there will ever be a prosecution for Ben s disappearance or death. Many islanders have reportedly long believed an accident involving construction machinery was the most credible explanation for Ben s disappearance. Shopkeeper Xanthippi Aggrelli, 63, was at school with Dino and got to know the Needhams when she volunteered as their translator in 1991. She told the Mirror: When it happened people were saying that something terrible has happened to the baby boy; some said the truck smashed into him. Daily Mirror Ben Needham vanished in 1991 There was a big Caterpillar truck and a digger. It was the baby s curiosity; he was going there to see. “We heard from many people that it was an accident. It was thought the body was hidden and that is why Ben has never been found. But Dino s family defended him. Son Valandis Barkas, 29, said: My dad lived his life with this hanging over him and I cannot believe they are still hounding him even after his death. “He had nothing to do with Ben s disappearance. Towards the end he was a very ill man, and he was very concerned and worried about everything to do with Ben coming back. It upset him a lot. Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror Kerry Needham and her mother Christine My mother is very, very tired. She lost her husband and now she has to go through all this. “When the British police came here he went up there to the site to help them. “He told them they could look as much as they want but they would not find the little boy there. As far as I know the boy was abducted. That s what my dad always said and that s what our family still believe today. “My father was a very good, honest man. My dad always told the police and prosecutors that there wasn t an accident. Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror Kerry Needham has been left devastated by the latest development He said the boy was taken away and almost certainly taken to Athens. He added: I hope that Ben is still alive. As a father myself I cannot imagine what his mother is going through. He said his father died from cirrhosis of the liver after suffering from intestinal problems for some time. Dino s brother Ioannis branded the renewed investigation disgusting . He said: My brother is dead he cannot defend himself. Why don t they let his soul rest in peace. I don t understand why they are still chasing Dino. Are they going to take a dead man in to court? Ben Needham References ^ Ben Needham (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ police (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ drink (www.mirror.co.uk) ^ South Yorkshire Police (www.mirror.co.uk)