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I’ve never felt intimidated by men — Mary Ojulari – Punch Newspapers

The outgoing Managing Director, Weststar Associates Limited (Mercedes-Benz Nigeria), and a former President of the European Chamber of Business in Nigeria, Mary Ojulari, tells OGHENOVO EGODO-MICHAEL about her career and other issues

Tell us about your background.

Though I was born in the United Kingdom, I had my formative years in Lagos State, where my family is from. I left Nigeria at the age of 15, after I had completed my secondary school education at Ikeja High School. I had the privilege of growing up in an environment that encouraged curiosity, exploration, and personal growth.

Growing up was a lot of fun, and my parents were disciplined, yet flexible. The values that they instilled have nurtured me into the person I am today. I am grateful that my parents valued curiosity and passion, and taught me the importance of discipline, hard work, and time management as vehicles to get closer to my dreams. These principles helped me structure my life in the way I desired. My father was always goal driven, and that helped me to focus on setting goals. At every given time, there is always a goal I have set to achieve. On the other hand, I learnt a lot from my mother, and her passion for education ignited my love for learning. Her patience and commitment to nurturing young minds taught me the significance of knowledge and the value of imparting it to others.

Our family gatherings are still a cherished tradition, where we come together to celebrate special occasions, share stories, and reinforce the bonds that tie us together. The love and support of my family have given me the confidence to take on new challenges and explore opportunities that have led me to where I am today.

What is your most memorable childhood experience?

I have many memorable experiences, but the ones that stand out are the times when my father shared real-life stories with me. I enjoyed quality time with my parents, especially when we embarked on family road trips. I met people with different beliefs, cultures, and vocations on those car adventures, and they sparked my fascination with cars, which endures even today.

How did you get started in the automotive industry?

I have a special love for cars, fostered by my early adventures in the car with my dad. That being said, my journey in the automotive industry is the same as in all the other industries I have worked in. I was committed to finding a new challenge and I have a mindset, personality and character that make me unstoppable. I genuinely believe there is nothing I cannot do if I apply discipline and diligence. The commitment I make to myself, to work towards my goals, humbles me. I have found that humility in one’s approach can open many doors, especially in people-centered industries.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman in a male-dominated industry?

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry has its unique challenges. My career has been full of ups, because I have been blessed to have worked with great managers and leaders, who mentored me well and believe in diversity and inclusion, which has been invaluable in my career.

I think as a woman in a male-dominated industry, people can, at times, project their expectations onto one. I recognise that there can be structural barriers, but I struggle to remember ever feeling intimidated to speak in a room full of men. As a child, my father would debate current affairs with me each evening, so I learnt from a young age to speak when I have value to add, and to have the courage of my convictions.

I think my positive approach also helps. Wherever I have experienced downtime, I’ve found that it is usually to set me up for higher responsibilities, tasks, and opportunities which I have always embraced positively. I enjoy getting feedback and I am a product of the benefits of responding to constructive criticism and feedback.

How do you balance your personal life with your demanding career?

Balancing a demanding career, as an outgoing person, can be challenging, but it is crucial to me. I realised over the years that setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is essential. I prioritise tasks, delegate when possible, and make sure to make time for myself when necessary. I take a mental break by switching off and doing fun-related activities with my family and friends. I enjoy outdoor activities and photography. I also love travelling. Every summer, I travel and ensure I go somewhere I have not been before to simply unwind. These activities help me recharge, regroup and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Additionally, I am fortunate to have a supportive family. My husband and mother-in-law have been very supportive of my vision.

How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in the automotive industry?

I believe that staying up-to-date in the rapidly evolving automotive industry is crucial for anyone in this field. To keep myself up to date with the latest trends and developments, I employ several strategies. First, I make it a point to regularly read news in industry-specific publications and journals to stay informed about emerging technologies, market trends, and regulatory changes.

Additionally, I attend industry conferences and seminars whenever possible. The European Business Association and Chamber of Commerce is another platform I use to keep myself up to date on investment and exchanges between European and Nigerian businesses, because the committee helps to raise awareness and formulate recommendations on issues of interest or concern.

I also follow key industry influencers and organisations on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and X, to receive real-time updates and engage in discussions about industry developments.

Collaboration is another significant aspect of my approach. I maintain strong professional relationships with colleagues, both inside and outside my organisation, and we often exchange insights and information. This collaborative spirit allows me to gain diverse perspectives and access valuable knowledge.

Having served as the President of the European Chamber of Business in Nigeria, what were the most valuable insights you gained about the Nigerian economy?

EuroCham is a business group that unites European investors and corporate organisations in Nigeria with the primary objectives of promoting trade, investment, and exchange between European and Nigerian businesses. As the EuroCham president, I worked with the directors of EuroCham to execute the association’s objectives, and provide value to its member companies. I drove the body’s expansion from 18 founding members to 100 at the end of my term as president. The body now represents the interests of many of the largest multinational enterprises operating across multiple sectors in Nigeria, including Air France-KLM, Lafarge Africa, Bosch, Nigerian Breweries, Total Energies, Siemens Energy, and Price WaterhouseCoopers, among many others.

I was particularly instrumental in setting up EuroCham’s four working groups— the Trading Across Borders Working Group, the Sustainability Working Group, the Human Resources and Skills Development Working Group, and the Finance Working Group, which I still chair.

As the chair of the Finance Working Group, I get to interface with key institutions, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Bank of Industry, and the Ministry for Trade and Investment, to promote the interests of not just EuroCham members, but all businesses who seek to invest and grow roots in Nigeria. I understand the importance of the ease of doing business and the implementation of robust and predictable systems, so that investors can plan for their returns. When there is uncertainty, this increases the risk level of investments. Ultimately, whether from the opportunity cost of losing a potential competitor in a sector or from costs being handed down, it is Nigerian consumers who pay a premium for unpredictability.

My passion for placing Nigeria at the forefront of global industry has been powered by my rapid rise across multiple sectors in the country since my return to Nigeria in 2012 to help build my homeland. My role as president of EuroCham was the culmination of a broad career in Nigeria, which has given me an acute awareness of the tremendous potential that Nigeria holds, not just in mineral resources, but in the vibrant human capital and spirit of the Nigerian people. I have committed myself, in whichever way I can, to drive progress towards unlocking that potential.

As the former President of the European Business Chamber in Nigeria, what sectors do you see having the most potential for growth and investment in the country?

I think the next phase of Nigeria’s development will be characterised by a focus on domesticated value addition, and bringing more of the value chain here to Nigeria. I expect to see rapid growth in agriculture and mining, as a new wave of entrepreneurs get creative about getting more returns from their investments through innovation in the coming years. I cannot wait to see our resources fueling a large growth in manufacturing. I was reading the other day about a new lithium mine in Ghana that will supply a battery factory for electric vehicles in the United States of America, and I thought about what stops us from making our batteries here at home.

I have also noticed that real estate is quietly on the ascendancy, despite the economic challenges of the last few years. Our cement companies seem to have retained impressive revenue figures, which suggests that Nigerians are still willing to build.

I also see tech as a new frontier, as Nigeria seeks to re-industrialise. I think technology will play a critical role in finding innovative ways of solving some of our key challenges in healthcare and education, for example.

This also applies to the automotive industry. This sector involves the assembly and manufacture of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and other types of automobiles. This sector has been held back somewhat by the difficulties in implementing the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan, which was devised in 2014. I think in the coming years, as incomes rise and more production happens here in Nigeria, there are significant opportunities for this sector. The Nigerian government has made efforts to promote local automobile production and assembly, which could create more investment opportunities in this sector. Aside from this, I think there are significant opportunities in the production of vehicles for logistics as Nigeria becomes more interconnected and focuses substantially on non-oil exports. I would add that along with direct jobs, automotive manufacturing opens a wider net for job creation for mechanics and artisans, as well as the local production of spare parts.

How do you think the recent changes in Nigeria’s economic policies, such as the new foreign exchange policy, will impact European businesses operating in the country? 

The new foreign exchange policy has introduced greater exchange rate volatility, which can affect European businesses’ revenue calculations. Fluctuations in exchange rates can lead to uncertainty in financial planning. A change in exchange rate policies can affect the costs of importing goods and materials for European businesses that have more exposure in foreign exchange obligations to suppliers and lenders. A weaker local currency may increase the cost of imports, impacting their competitiveness in the Nigerian market.

The real nerve of trade is liquidity. That is where investors feel the impact of government policies. For European businesses to feel confident to invest, they need to know that there will be enough liquidity for them to be able to repatriate their profits, or even access forex to pay off any foreign loans they might have. The forex environment has been challenging, but most businesses understand that there will be growing pains when you move from a heavily restrictive forex regime to a managed float, and a lot of the pent-up demand has become a heavy backlog.

That being said, it does also reduce the cost of investment to produce exports, but this is only so if taking capital in and taking its outcomes within a reasonable range. The Naira will not soon be equivalent to a dollar; it makes no economic sense for that to be a demand. What investors want is stability, to help them plan and be able to guarantee the liquidity of the forex market to enable a swift exit if needed.

If liquidity is the nerve, currency stability is a weathervane. Typically, forex is an indicator of economic stability but with a firm peg. We recently learnt that last year, the country spent $17bn on defending the naira, which is unsustainable. So, in essence, if the Naira was not floated, we would still be sitting on a ticking time bomb that was already affecting the industry. Businesses were having to do their calculations against the CBN’s pegged rate, but were increasingly struggling to get forex at that rate when they needed it. Indeed, at a point, Nigeria owed over 40 per cent of all non-repatriated airline funds in the world. At least, businesses can now make calculations based on something more reflective of the market reality, and the Federal Government is more aware that it has its work cut out for it.

There are no shortcuts to a stable currency. It is not by the dictates of the CBN; rather, it is based on the fundamentals of the economy–productivity, and balance of trade. Improving crude production is top of the list, and natural gas presents significant opportunities. But, ultimately growing our domestic production to meet the needs of our population across sectors will reduce the pressure on the naira. Therefore, businesses might need to enhance their risk management strategies to mitigate the impact of exchange rate fluctuations and policy changes. This can involve hedging against currency risks or diversifying their operations. I think this is a big opportunity for companies to think seriously about what they can produce and source locally, instead of importing.

You once worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation. How would you describe your experience working in the communication industry?

Working with the BBC was a dynamic and exciting experience, especially as I loved and enjoyed my interactions with creatives. My role there went beyond communication, though that was certainly important, but it brought me to the heart of a crucial public institution. That meant understanding all the work behind the scenes, to negotiate and fund what the public got to see and hear. At the BBC, I was exposed to different divisions, and I supported each division by partnering and sharing best practices across divisions. In 2009, I was promoted to Business and Corporate Planning Manager in the BBC’s corporate finance division. This role exposed me to all 18 divisions of the BBC at the time, and I learnt stakeholder management, negotiation and influencing, leadership, crisis, and change management.

At the BBC, I managed a £3.5bn budget, crafted innovative financial models, and ensured the implementation of strategies to support the organisation’s long-term objectives. My role demanded continual interfacing with senior stakeholders, necessitating exceptional communication and collaboration skills. In this role, I came to understand the peculiarities of navigating complex and fast-paced environments to drive forward mandates for restructuring and positive change. When I was promoted to lead the business planning division, I became responsible for ensuring that the BBC was financially equipped across multiple services to sustainably deliver the high-quality public service that was expected of it. This experience was the beginning of a series of projects, which gave me invaluable insights into planning for the long-term viability of crucial public assets, an experience which I have brought and fine-tuned in every role since. This included where our license fee revenue did not meet our requirements, and my team was required to seek the appropriation of £500m towards our total budget from the British Parliament.

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This role gave me the springboard I wanted to come back home when I was able to transition into the role of Chief Financial Officer at CNBC and Forbes Africa, where I was able to broaden and deepen my C-suite skills.

Would you say working with Mercedes-Benz exposed you to technical skills in the automotive world?

My experience working with Mercedes Benz Nigeria was immensely enriching in terms of acquiring technical skills in the automotive world. Mercedes Benz is renowned for its cutting-edge technology and engineering in the automotive industry.

During my time there, I had the opportunity to engage in various aspects of automotive technology, including diagnostics, maintenance, and repair of Mercedes vehicles. This exposure not only enhanced my technical skills but also provided insights into the advanced systems and innovations that drive the automotive sector.

How do you approach networking and building relationships?

Networking and relationship-building are essential in any industry. My approach involves attending industry events, such as conferences and trade shows, where I can connect with professionals and experts. I actively engage on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, to stay updated on industry trends and connect with like-minded individuals. Additionally, I seek out mentorship opportunities and participate in relevant forums or associations. Building and nurturing relationships is not just about seeking help, but also offering support and value to others in the industry.

What are the factors necessary for steady growth in one’s career?

To achieve steady career growth, one has to stay curious and committed to learning. One needs to seek out courses, workshops, and reading materials that expand one’s knowledge and skills.

One has to also set clear goals. Define your career goals and create a plan to achieve them. One should regularly reassess and adjust one’s goals as one progresses.

It is also important to build a strong professional network within one’s industry. Networking can open doors to opportunities and provide valuable insights.

Seeking feedback is also a way to witness steady growth. Be open to constructive feedback and use it as a tool for self-improvement.

Also, one must not be afraid to step out of one’s comfort zone and take on new challenges.

Work ethics is very important as well. One should maintain a strong work ethic and demonstrate diligence in fulfilling one’s responsibilities.

What are some of the core values that guide your leadership style?

I place a strong emphasis on understanding and empathising with the individuals I lead. I believe that by truly understanding their needs and concerns, I can create a more supportive and inclusive work environment. When one trusts one’s team, one can give them the room to take risks and give one the best of them.

In addition, I value open and transparent dialogue within the team and the organisation. Clear communication ensure that everyone is on the same page and can contribute their best.

For all of that to work, I lead with integrity, which is the foundation of my leadership style. I strive to be honest, transparent and ethical in all my actions. I believe that trust is the cornerstone of any successful team or organisation.

Sometimes, when people see that one is hands-off in one’s approach, they can see it as an opportunity to make mischief. However, if one’s team can see one’s commitment and diligence, they will be inspired by one’s efforts to give the company their best.

At a time when Nigeria is plagued with the japa syndrome (brain drain), you decided to move back to the country. What informed that decision?

I have always loved and remain passionate about Nigeria. My husband moved to Nigeria two years before I did, so it was easy for me to ease in, as he had done all the readjusting and settling. My husband and I decided to move back because we wanted to give back. We know that Nigeria is a country with both significant challenges and immense promises.

As business-minded people, we saw the huge potential for profitable innovation, while also contributing, in a myriad of ways, to the country we both hold so close to our hearts.

The major difference for me, since I have been back, is that I am always learning, unlearning and relearning. I have honed my capacity to understand the limitations of cultural differences, but also draw on my extensive experience in the UK to implement hybrid strategies, and this has served me well. These have provided me with a sense of purpose, and I feel fulfilled here.

I have noticed that quite a few people who I know in the Diaspora are thinking of making the same move. I always advise people to come with an open mind. If one is skilled and adaptable, it is difficult to fail for any significant period in Nigeria.

Do you see yourself living permanently in Nigeria?

Yes. Nigeria will always be my base, and nowhere feels like home in the same way.

With your experience at home and abroad, what would you say are some differences in the way business is handled in Nigeria and other places?

Let me start with business culture and formality. In Nigeria, business relationships often incorporate a more personal and informal touch. Building trust and rapport is highly emphasised.

Abroad, particularly in Western countries, business interactions tend to be more formal, with a greater emphasis on punctuality, structured meetings, and adherence to protocols.

Another difference to note is in the area of bureaucracy and regulations. Nigeria often faces more bureaucratic challenges and regulatory hurdles, which can impact the ease of doing business. Many other countries, particularly those in the West, have well-established regulatory frameworks and streamlined processes, which can lead to greater efficiency.

Lastly, risk tolerance and technology adoption is another difference. In Nigeria, entrepreneurs and businesses often need to navigate a less predictable economic and political landscape, which requires a higher degree of risk tolerance. Nigeria is rapidly advancing in technology adoption, but there may still be variations in the level of technological integration across different sectors. Abroad, particularly in stable economies, there might be more access to funding and lower perceived risk in business ventures. Also, the pace of technology adoption can vary significantly. Some foreign markets might be more advanced in terms of digitalisation and technological infrastructure.

How often do you spend time with your family?

I place a high priority on spending quality time with my family. This could include regular family dinners, weekend outings, and special vacations. We also engage in activities that cater to each family member’s interests, fostering strong connections and creating cherished memories.

Of all the countries you have travelled to, which is your favourite and why?

That is a difficult one. I have been to different beautiful countries in Europe, Africa, North and South America, and they all have special places in my heart.

However, I travelled to Zimbabwe recently, and the experience was fantastic. The beauty of Zimbabwe is simply breathtaking. The country is endowed with stunning landscapes, including the majestic Victoria Falls, pristine national parks, and the picturesque eastern highlands. Exploring those natural wonders was a truly awe-inspiring experience.

It is a place where the beauty of nature and the warmth of its people create an unforgettable and enriching experience.

How would you describe your style?

I am a big champion of Nigerian fashion. I have an extensive and eclectic wardrobe, which is anchored on my love for vibrant colours and interesting silhouettes. Whether it is a pair of aso-oke trousers or an adire gown, my wardrobe helps me to keep a bit of home with me wherever I go. I love the transformation that is happening in Nigerian fashion now, where we are doing fashion with our prints, inspired by our silhouettes and on our terms. It makes me feel powerful by extension.

I think Nigeria is such a wonderful environment to ‘play’ with fashion. What could be considered over the top in England might be considered understated here. So, one has a great blank canvas on which to express one’s style without being judged. I believe my style encompasses the various aspects of my personality, appearance, and behaviour. I believe in dressing well, and a positive attitude not only contributes to my well-being but also adds the perfect finishing touch to any outfit.

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fashion an lifestyle

Cop28 live: Guterres calls for talks to agree complete ‘phase-out’ of fossil fuels as India says coal ‘will remain’ main energy source – The Guardian

Even as the Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, prepares to travel to the Cop28 summit, a top official in his government insisted coal will remain India’s main source of energy for years to come.

“Coal is, and would, remain an important part of India’s energy needs,” Vinay Mohan Kwatra, India’s foreign secretary, told reporters ahead of Modi’s trip to Dubai.

India currently depends on coal for almost three-quarters of its electricity generation and is adding 17 gigawatts of coal-based power generation capacity at its fastest pace in recent years to meet a record increase in power demand.

There is hope this year’s climate talks will include efforts to secure a global agreement on the phase-out of fossil fuels, of which coal is the dirtiest and most carbon intensive. India and China have been opposing attempts to block construction of new coal-fired power stations, according to Reuters.

Kwatra said India expects a clear roadmap on climate financing at Cop28 and has always been upfront about its support for a “loss-and-damage” fund aimed at helping countries recover from environmental degradation caused by industrial development.

“Loss and damage fund will be of great benefit to developing countries,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Climate justice advocates have condemned the atrocities in Gaza and called for a permanent ceasefire, in the first Palestinian solidarity event of Cop28.

“As human beings, we cannot ignore the absolutely horrendous situation in Gaza. But it is also not a coincidence that the same countries allowing and supporting Israel are the same ones blocking progress on climate action,” said Lidy Nacpil, director of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and convener of the Cop28 Coalition. “As the whole world gathers here, it is our responsibility to talk about what is happening in Palestine.”

The UNFCCC cut off the livestream as Asad Rehman, director of the UK-based organisation War on Want, called for a permanent ceasefire and accountability.

“The Palestinian struggle is woven into every struggle for justice including climate justice,” he said. “We want an end to ethnic cleansing, an end to the genocide, an end to war crimes. We want a free Palestine.”

The livestream was resumed after the organisers and attendees made a lot of noise.

More than 15,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have died since 7 October. Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza strip since Hamas’s cross-border attack has led to widespread food and water shortages, as well as the destruction of agricultural land and water infrastructure. More than 95% of the water in Gaza is unfit for consumption, while water salinisation and treatment plants have been shut down due to fuel shortages imposed by Israel, and in some cases partially destroyed by the bombardment.

“As Indigenous people of the world, we are heartbroken to see the genocide and ecoside in Palestine,” said Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed, who read out a statement on behalf of the Indigenous people’s caucus. “There is no climate justice without human rights.”

“There can be no climate justice on occupied land,” said Dylan Hamilton, a 19-year-old climate justice and trans rights activist from Scotland. “The youth stand with Palestine.”

The briefing ended with an emotional address from Tariq Luthun, a Palestinian American from Friends of the Earth Palestine, who said denying water to people was a form of collective punishment that has also been used in the US, for example the mass water shutoffs for overdue bills in Detroit and the lead contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan.

“What good is to be found in a green world if the roots are soaked in blood,” said Luthum. “I reject the notion that some people have to suffer so that others can prosper.”

The event ended with calls of “Viva viva Palestina”

The role that carbon markets will play in helping countries meet their Paris commitments is up for discussion at Cop28, and a series of forest deals made by a little-known member of Dubai’s ruling royal family is causing controversy.

Rights to an area of land larger than the size of the UK have been sold off to UAE-based firm Blue Carbon, which is chaired by Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook al-Maktoum. So far, the exploratory deals cover a fifth of Zimbabwe, 10% of Liberia, 10% of Zambia and 8% of Tanzania, amounting to a total area the size of the UK.

In October, Blue Carbon signed its latest deal for “millions” of hectares of forest in Kenya. The company said it was also working on an agreement with Pakistan. More deals are expected in the coming months. Critics have called them a new “scramble for Africa”.

Blue Carbon is not alone. Today, Tanzania National Parks – which cares for famous parks like the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro – announced it has signed a deal to turn six protected areas into a 1.8m hectare carbon project, which would make it one of the largest in the world.

The Guardian has looked into the Sheikh’s business dealings, with concerns raised about his involvement selling Russian’s Sputnik V vaccine, acting as a dealmaker with Ghana, Guyana, Lebanon and Pakistan at lucrative premiums in 2021. One of the listed Blue Carbon advisors is an Italian fugitive.

Read more here:

This is Alan Evans now taking over from Damien Gayle for the rest of the day. You can reach me at, or on X (formerly Twitter) at @itsalanevans.

Our reporters Damian Carrington and Nina Lakhani have sent updates on the food situation on the ground:

If climate summits march, like armies, on their stomachs then Cop28 looks in good shape.

Unlike the first days of the disorganised Cop27 in Egypt, there is actually food. It’s mostly vegan too, a nod to the enormous impact meat has on the climate. An avocado, edamame and hummus sandwich was one offering.

It’s not all cheap, though. A coffee is $6 (£4.75), more expensive even than most cafes in New York, so delegates without big budgets are coming prepared with packed lunches and thermoses.

Carnivores are catered for though, and it’s halal – eg a chicken sausage roll. But it’s a clear improvement on the meat feast of Cop24 in Poland, and the beefburger vans of Cop27.

Fossil fuels have turned Indigenous communities into sacrifice zones, endangering their land, water and air and fuelling displacement, one of Cop28’s first briefings has been told.

Brenna TwoBears, lead coordinator for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Oregon, was among Indigenous environmental experts who kicked off the first day of Cop28. They pledged their support for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and warned of the dangers market-based false solutions posed to Indigenous peoples and the global climate.

TwoBears said:

Indigenous people support the equitable phase out of coal, oil and gas without loopholes used to justify delays and false solutions and tech fixes that allow the fossil fuel regime to continue and grow, and which do not address the climate crisis… this must be accompanied by the fast track adoption of clean energy, a just transition in which no community or country is left behind.

Momentum has been building behind the proposal for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, with support from Indigenous organisations and communities facing some of the gravest threats from extreme weather events and slow-onset climate impacts, such as sea level rise and melting glaciers.

Eight nations – Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Niue, Antigua and Barbuda, and Timor-Leste – have also thrown their weight behind the idea.

Eriel Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action who is from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, an Arctic community where Canada exploits tar sands, said:

Carbon trading depends on the continued growth of emissions that will create more sacrifice zones. We cannot achieve a just transition without centring climate solutions on Indigenous and human rights.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour party, will have a series of meetings over two days with heads of states, business leaders and being hosted for an international investors roundtable on Friday at the Cop28 climate summit.

Starmer will be joined in Dubai by shadow energy security and net zero secretary, Ed Miliband, and shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy.

He will use the climate summit to emphasise his view that the push to net zero is an economic opportunity, and to say Labour is the only UK party with a plan to pragmatically harness the opportunities of the energy transition.

Starmer aims to draw a dividing line with the Conservative government, noting that prime minister Rishi Sunak was shamed into going to Cop27 and has used the year since to double down on his failures, turning off businesses and investors, failing to cut energy bills and make the UK energy secure. He will aim to get across that the Tories are more interested in sowing political division than facing the biggest challenges of the world.

During his visit to the summit, Starmer will set out some of the planks of an international climate strategy under a Labour government. Earlier this year, Starmer pledged to “throw everything” at net zero and the overhaul of the UK’s energy system and industries, promising new jobs in “the race of our lifetime” to a low-carbon future.

“We are living through climate collapse in real time,” UN secretary-general António Guterres has told Cop28 delegates in Dubai, writes Guardian environment editor Damian Carrington.

He spoke at the launch of the World Meteorological Organization’s stark State of the Climate report, which said 2023 will be the hottest year ever recorded.

“This year has seen communities around the world pounded by fires, floods, and searing temperature – and the impact is devastating,” Guterres said. “Record global heating should send shivers down the spines of world leaders. And it should trigger them to act.”

The WMO report, timed to inform the negotiations at Cop28, said climate records had been shattered in 2023, leaving “a trail of devastation and despair”.

Data up to the end of October showed 2023 was about 1.4C (2.5F) above pre-industrial levels, driven by the continued rise in carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and by the return of the El Niño climate pattern. The latter is likely to make 2024 another record year, and bring the internationally agreed limit of 1.5C (2.7F) ever nearer.

Sultan Al Jaber has officially opened the Cop28 climate talks in Dubai, after receiving the tiny hammer that is the symbol of his presidency.

Reuters has filed the first report of his opening remarks to delegates, based on a text circulated to journalists. The news agency quotes Al Jaber as saying there were “strong views about the idea of including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text … I ask you to work together.”

“Colleagues, let history reflect the fact that this is the Presidency that made a bold choice to proactively engage with oil and gas companies,” Jaber said. “We had many hard discussions. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.”

Sultan al-Jaber speaks during the opening session at the Cop28 UN climate summit.

Al Jaber noted that many national oil companies had adopted net-zero targets for 2050. “I am grateful that they have stepped up to join this game-changing journey,” Jaber said. “But, I must say, it is not enough, and I know that they can do more.”

While Sultan Al Jaber says some oil companies have set net zero targets for 2050, those only cover the emissions from producing the oil and gas.

No companies have committed to cutting production of the polluting fuels themselves, which is what scientists are clear is needed.

Indeed, the fossil fuel industry plans to produce double the amount of oil, gas and coal than could be burned while keeping under internationally agreed limits for global heating. And the company with the biggest net-zero busting plans is Adnoc, the UAE’s state oil giant, whose CEO is Al Jaber himself.

The tiny hammer has been presented to Sultan Al Jaber, officially transferring to him the presidency of the Cop process.

Even as the Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, prepares to travel to the Cop28 summit, a top official in his government insisted coal will remain India’s main source of energy for years to come.

“Coal is, and would, remain an important part of India’s energy needs,” Vinay Mohan Kwatra, India’s foreign secretary, told reporters ahead of Modi’s trip to Dubai.

India currently depends on coal for almost three-quarters of its electricity generation and is adding 17 gigawatts of coal-based power generation capacity at its fastest pace in recent years to meet a record increase in power demand.

There is hope this year’s climate talks will include efforts to secure a global agreement on the phase-out of fossil fuels, of which coal is the dirtiest and most carbon intensive. India and China have been opposing attempts to block construction of new coal-fired power stations, according to Reuters.

Kwatra said India expects a clear roadmap on climate financing at Cop28 and has always been upfront about its support for a “loss-and-damage” fund aimed at helping countries recover from environmental degradation caused by industrial development.

“Loss and damage fund will be of great benefit to developing countries,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Delegates are just beginning to find their way around the Cop28 climate talks venue this morning. My environment desk colleague Nina Lakhani is there and sent this dispatch on what it looks like around Expo City in Abu Dhabi.

Delegates queue up for water at the Cop28 climate talks in Expo City, Abu Dhabi.

It’s day one and the sprawling Expo venue is beginning to fill up with delegates, diplomats and activists from more than 180 countries, and among them are serious fashionistas bringing some style to the tense and formal negotiations.

Forget fashion week, the climate summit is both the place to see international clothing trends – and get to know the traditional dress of countries, communities and Indigenous territories that you’ve never visited.

From beaded hijabs, silk saris and brilliant white dishdashas to Mayan huipiles, Amazonian headdresses, and west African Ankara wax fabrics, getting to hang out with people from every corner of the planet is one of the highlights of Cop.

Worst dressed group? The media, without doubt, though some of our colleagues from Africa, Latin America and Asia make a lot more effort than us comfort seekers.

English may be the main negotiating language, wait in line for coffee or the bathroom, and you’ll hear a glorious array of languages and dialects. It’s outside the formal negotiations that the power of collaboration and grassroots community building comes into its own. There’s a lot not to like about Cop but the diversity and relationship building is a beautiful thing.

Cop28 delegates make their way between sessions at the climate talks, which got underway today.

Greenpeace has a message for African leaders heading to Cop28 today: “Stop False Solutions”.

Delegates at Cop28 are hoping to achieve an early victory on a disaster fund on Thursday before the summit turns its attention to more contentious areas, such as the future of fossil fuels, Reuters is reporting.

The news agency says diplomats are hoping a draft deal on a loss and damage fund can be approved quickly at the start of the climate talks. The United Arab Emirates’ Cop28 presidency has already published a proposal for such a fund.

Once an agreement is reached, rich countries can begin pledging money. Nations including Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are expected to announce contributions over the next few days, European diplomats told Reuters.

“Everyone with the ability to pay should contribute,” said the EU climate commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, who said he wanted to “broaden the donor base beyond the usual suspects, simply because that reflects the reality of 2023.”

With governments preparing for long, tough negotiations on whether to agree to phase out coal, oil and gas, the main sources of carbon emissions, it is hoped an early win on loss and damage will pave the way for further compromises later on.

Extinction Rebellion, the climate activist campaign, has issued a downbeat assessment of what we can expect from Cop28.

Some five years after they began their campaign for action on climate breakdown with their “declaration of rebellion” outside the UK parliament, XR says we have woken up to a world that “is as bad, if not worse than we predicted five years ago”, with 2023 set to be classified the hottest year on record.

In this context … we are once again seeing world leaders fly, on their private jets, to the next conference of the parties (Cop) on climate, Cop28. The conference will take place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, a nation built almost entirely on fossil fuel wealth. Cop28 is led by Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, founder and chair of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). which has the largest net-zero busting plans in the world.

Before it has even begun, it is clear the Cop process has been captured by the fossil fuel economy. We are unlikely to see the rapid, just and equitable phaseout of all fossil fuels coming out of this process.

And yet XR says it will not simply ignore the talks at Cop, and it has issued calls for a number of outcomes it wants to see, including the honouring of climate finance grants, the urgent establishment of a loss and damage fund, debt cancellation and a fast, fair process.

To ignore Cop is to display our minority world arrogance and play into the hands of the system we are trying to fix. Those in power have designed Cop to their advantage — of course they want us to ignore it. Many majority world countries have no choice but to work with the United Nations (UN) because it is the only space that comes close to global democracy in which their voices have a presence.

The G77 will be there, and in Brazil, President Lula is calling for an Amazon Cop in 2030; many movements come to Cop trying to push for justice.

So XRUK’s position is: Yes, Cop28 is not good enough, but it’s all we’ve got.

The trade union representing the leaders of schools in the England, Wales and Northern Ireland has said it is “deeply concerned” at climate crisis and the impact it is having on pupils, education workers and communities across the world.

As part of a submission to the Cop28 climate talks by UK trade unions, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) called for governments “to prioritise their actions before it is too late”, pointing out that extreme climate events are disrupting the education of nearly 40 million children a year worldwide.

Helena Macormac, the NAHT’s international secretary, said:

It is vital that decisive and substantial collective international actions are taken as a matter of urgency – the future of our children and young people is at stake.

The UK government has said that tackling climate change and biodiversity loss is its number one international priority, yet the lack of investment and sustained joined up policy on this area would lead us to believe that this is not the case. Climate change is already having detrimental effect to education working conditions in the UK, with decades of state neglect of school buildings and classrooms not fit for purpose in extreme weather events. We are also already seeing an increase in ‘climate refugees’ and displaced pupils impacting on school communities.

It is vital that the pupil voice is heard within the climate crisis debate, and that they are able to access climate education – it is they that will pioneer the necessary solutions to the climate crisis. Governments must realise the integral role that pupils, school leaders and education providers play in tackling climate change, and work to deliver a ‘just transition’ for the future.

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2023 Journal Article List – Contingent Magazine

As a companion to our list of books published by non-tenure-track historians in 2023, here is a list of journal articles (and a few book chapters) published by the same sorts of scholars. Unlike the book list, however, this is not a list you should use to go purchase access to these articles. If you click on a link below, encounter a charge for access, and pay it, none of that money will go to the author. Scholars are not paid for journal articles, nor do they earn royalties. Some of the pieces are freely accessible, however, so click through to check. You can also contact the author directly; they may have a copy of their piece they are allowed to share.

Chance E. Bonar and Slavomír Čéplö, “Dialogue between Jesus and the Devil” in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Vol. 3, ed. Tony Burke (Eerdmans), 36–64.

Chance Bonar, “Reading Slavery in the Epistle of Jude,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 142, no. 2 (2023): 325–342.

The Epistle of Jude has been examined by biblical scholars for a variety of reasons in recent decades, but one still underexplored interpretative avenue is Jude’s treatment of enslavement. In this article, I argue that Jude pulls from the same conceptual toolbox as many other texts of the Roman republican and imperial eras in its depiction of believers as enslaved people (δοῦλοι) and Jesus as an enslaver (κύριος; δɛσπότης). After placing these three terms in the context of ancient enslavement, I offer three examples of Jude’s participation in a broader discourse of enslavement: (1) the importance of loyalty and disloyalty to Jesus the κύριος; (2) the capability of the enslaver to harm and control the bodies of the enslaved, and (3) the presumption of the benevolence of the κύριος in offering mercy. This reading of Jude highlights how deeply embedded even a short New Testament text can be in the vocabulary, stereotypes, and normalization of violence of Roman enslavement.

Chance Bonar, “John Chrysostom’s Homily against the Jews 8 as a Response to Antiochene Jewish Healthcare,” Journal of Late Antiquity 16, no 2 (2023): 378–406.

This article argues that John Chrysostom’s Homily against the Jews (Adv. Iud. 8), preached at Antioch in 387 ce, is produced as a response to the popularity of Antiochene Jewish healers among John’s congregants. As a solution to the perceived problem of Christians seeking out Jewish healing, John develops a model of anti-medicinal martyrdom by which he calls congregants to seek out death by fever. The article is split into three sections. The first section situates the argument amidst recent scholarship on Antiochene space, religious affiliation and ambiguity, and John’s rhetorical strategies. The second situates John’s anxiety regarding the religious ambiguity of amulets and other medicinal practices alongside late ancient Antiochene material culture. The final section provides a close reading of Adv. Iud. 8 that underscores how John uses biblical exempla to produce his model of anti-medicinal martyrdom.

Andrew Bull, “The British Empire in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Music: Early Observations,” Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies 11, no. 1 (2023): 7. OA

To date, the colonial links between Scottish music from the long eighteenth century and the burgeoning British Empire have not been analysed. Colonial elements and links have occasionally been noted, but their impact and implications have not been examined in detail. This article seeks to open this topic up to further investigation. The evidence presented here is only the beginnings of a detailed survey of this issue, and so does not focus on any one source type. Instead, it takes a variety of sources from the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to piece together a suggestive picture that requires further work, in order to fully understand this issue.

Animesh Chatterjee, “Manual and Electrical Energies in the Visualisation of ‘Electrical Calcutta’, c. 1890-1925,” Journal of Energy History/Revue d’Histoire de l’Énergie [online], no. 8 (2023) OA

Through examinations of domestic servants in electrical advertisements and writings this article looks at the imaginations and realities of visions of an “Electrical Calcutta” at the turn of the twentieth century. It argues that the diverse conceptions of an “Electrical Calcutta” were intimately linked to not just the technological and mechanical benefits of electrical technologies, but also the centrality of servants to societal notions of morality, class and social hierarchy, and cultures and discourses of human bodies, labour and energy within the domestic sphere.

Kristin M. Franseen, “‘Legendary In-Reading’: Musical Meaning, Analysis, and Biography in Edward Prime-Stevenson’s Music Criticism and Sexology” in Queer Ear: Remaking Music Theory, ed. Gavin S.K. Lee (Oxford University Press), 266-293.

Mark Geldof, “Cut and Paste: Re-Arranging British Library MS Additional 39564,” Acta Periodica Duellatorum 10, no. 1 (May 2023): 97-105. OA

London, British Library Additional MS 39564 is an anonymous collection of English lessons for the two-hand sword, tentatively dated to the first quarter of the sixteenth century. This manuscript is peculiar in several ways, aside from it being one of only three such texts known to scholars. This paper discusses two aspects of this manuscript that speak to its origins and its survival in its present form. The lessons appear to be out of order and while there is no challenge in rearranging them in a logical fashion, this paper explains why that disorder tells us that Add. MS 39564 is a copy made from loose bi-folds from a now lost exemplar. This also explains the placement of the ‘Amen Quod J Ledall’ formula between lessons, rather than at the end of the text (where such an attribution is traditionally placed). Finally, this paper explains the significance of that attribution, suggesting it does not identify an original composer or user of the text, only the name of the scribe who produced the unbound sheets that acted as the exemplar for our surviving text. Both of these points remind us that these texts were part of a complicated community of composers, scribes, and readers and that the path of survival is often indirect and meandering.

Morgan Golf-French, “Teaching Race in the German Enlightenment: Christoph Meiners’ History of Humanity in Institutional Context,” History of Universities XXXVI, no. 2 (2023): 243-260.

This chapter traces the development of racial thought in the German Enlightenment, looking at Christoph Meiners’s Outline of the History of Humanity, a work primarily concerned with his profoundly hierarchical theory of human racial difference. First presented in the Outline, Meiners claimed that humanity is divided into various races, each unequal in moral, physical, and intellectual characteristics. He defended racial slavery, opposed Jewish civic emancipation, and advocated unrestricted European world domination. Investigating Meiners’s position as professor at the Georgia Augusta University of Göttingen sheds important light on the complex relationships between texts, ideas, and institutions in the German Enlightenment. The chapter then draws inferences about Meiners’s expectations for the impact of his racial theory, the empirical limitations to understanding his work as a whole, and the discursive development of racial thought across the period.

Morgan Golf-French, “Inventing (British) Empiricism: Christoph Meiners and the Atheismusstreit,” in Christoph Meiners (1747-1810): Anthropologie und Geschichtsphilosophie in der Spätaufklärung, Stefan Klingner and Gideon Stiening, eds., (De Gruyter, 2023), 295-319.

Mia Martin Hobbs, “Healing Journeys: Veterans, Trauma, and the Return to Vietnam,” Journal of American History 110, no. 1 (June 2023): 82-107. OA

James Keating, “‘We seem to shake hands across the seas’: Dora Meeson Coates and the Lost World of Australasian Suffrage Activism,” in The Making and Remaking of ‘Australasia’: Mobility, Texts, and ‘Southern Circulations’, ed. Tony Ballantyne (Bloomsbury), 115–32.

James Keating, “’Trust the Women’: Dora Meeson Coates’s Suffrage Banner and the Popular Construction of Australia’s Feminist Past in the Late Twentieth Century” Histoire sociale / Social History (2023)

In 1988, the Australian federal government purchased Anglo-Australian artist Dora Meeson Coates’s “Trust the Women” banner as part of the country’s belated efforts to memorialize the suffrage victories that once made its White citizens the most enfranchised people on earth. However, between the fin de siècle and the 1970s, which witnessed the concurrent rise of women’s history and state feminism, feminists had been ambivalent about commemorating the suffrage campaigns, especially at the national level. Since the late 1980s, the banner has experienced a transformation from an artefact few Australians had known about, much less forgotten, into the most familiar symbol of the country’s suffrage movements. Brought about by memory agents—activists, bureaucrats, historians, and politicians—this shift reveals the public appeal of British suffrage iconography over the material record of Australian activists’ “quiet” toil, a sentiment which has increasingly shaped the memorialization of local suffrage stories.

Brooks Marmon, “Transnational Revolutionary: Noel Mukono’s Navigation of Zimbabwe’s Fractious Liberation Struggle, 1957–77,” International History Review 45, no. 5 (2023): 768-786. OA

This article recovers the role of Noel Mukono in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. The defence chief of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1964 to 1973, his pioneering role in instigating the armed struggle against the white settler government in Rhodesia is largely overlooked today. Mukono is a leading casualty of ‘patriotic history’, the contemporary Zimbabwean state’s manipulation of the independence struggle narrative. A journalist, Mukono left behind an unfinished memoir and personal papers which facilitate a deep examination of his political engagements. This material highlights Mukono’s status as a transnational revolutionary, instrumental in the internationalisation of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle. Through Mukono’s personal journey, this account explores transnational networks linking Zimbabwean nationalism with Zambia, the United Kingdom, Malawi, and Ghana. It provides new information regarding the extent of ZANU’s collaboration with the Mozambican nationalist movement, Frelimo. Finally, Mukono’s case illuminates an enigmatic period of ZANU infighting in exile which saw the Nhari Mutiny and assassination of Herbert Chitepo, the party’s National Chair. During this time, his globetrotting lifestyle was strategically used against him.

Sara Mohr and Sam Butler, “The Agamemnon Problem: The Fluidity of History-Making and Myth-Making in the Dune Universe,” New Classicists 8 (July 2023): 2-31. OA

G. Patrick O’Brien, “Duty and Love: Flora Lee’s Resistance to Slavery in Revolutionary Marblehead,” The New England Quarterly 96, no. 2 (June 2023): 96–120. OA

This study explores the life of Flora Lee, an enslaved Massachusetts woman, who had her daughter spirited away from her during the Revolution. Lee’s efforts to be reunited with her daughter in Nova Scotia, and to protect other vulnerable Black children, highlight enslaved women’s resistance to their family’s enslavement during the Revolutionary Era.

Kelly O’Donnell, “Tech-ing the Trade: Notes on Reformulating Abortion and Its History,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 97, no. 1 (Spring 2023): 57-66. OA

Kelly O’Donnell and Naomi Rogers, “Introduction: Revisiting the History of Abortion in the Wake of the Dobbs Decision,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 97, no. 1 (Spring 2023): 1-10. OA

Alexander I. Parry, “Delivering Bacteriology to the American Homemaker: Correspondence Education, Kitchen Experiments, and Public Health, 1890–1930,” Isis 114, no. 2 (2023): 317-340.

Over the course of the Progressive Era, revised scientific accounts of the connections between dust, germs, and disease recast debates over public health. The American School of Home Economics and other institutions affiliated with the emerging subfield of household bacteriology regarded detecting and eliminating pathogens as necessary means to achieve safer homes and communities. Although several historians have attributed the rise of early twentieth-century technocracy and the decline of grassroots health activism to germ theory, household bacteriology complicates this standard narrative. Educators like Sophronia Maria Elliott (1854–1942) rejected the command-and-control tactics of the “new” public health and instead instructed women how to culture microorganisms and to measure the risks of infection within their surrounding environments using kitchen experiments. Household bacteriologists aspired to train “sanitary citizens” with the right and the duty to test for germs with everyday equipment, to prevent disease with effective housekeeping, and to advocate for policies and infrastructure to keep society well.

Naomi Rendina, “Controlling the Uterus: A History of Labor Augmentation Drugs in Childbirth, 1900–1970,” History of Pharmacy and Pharmaceuticals 64, no. 2 (February 2023): 133-153.

Eliminating and easing pain in childbirth has long been considered a major obstetric achievement. But what about the ability to control the uterus and when childbirth happens? Why have augmentation and induction drugs not been central to historical analysis of medicalization of childbirth in the United States? Our understanding of how birth became medicalized is complicated when augmentation drugs are the central analytical lens. At the turn of the twentieth century, the emerging field of endocrinology and hormone-based therapies influenced the growing authority and professionalization of medicine and introduced the chemical manipulation of childbirth. This article explores two main points: first, the development of chemical interventions, like ergot and oxytocin, used to start and hasten labor; and second, how different drug categories pushed the boundaries of what was and was not “natural.” These drugs were valuable tools that helped solve public health concerns of maternal and fetal health outcomes, further entrenched women’s reliance on male physicians, and illustrate the complexities of how childbirth became a medical event in the United States.

Mikko Toivanen, “A Nordic colonial career across borders: Hjalmar Björling (1848–1885) in the Dutch East Indies and China,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 51, no. 3 (2023): 421–441. OA

Building on the latest literature on transimperial mobilities, this article analyses the career of the Finland-Swedish Hjalmar Björling, a merchant and colonial careerist who moved out to the Dutch East Indies around 1870, later also working in assorted roles on the coast of China and in Sumatra’s then-developing plantation economy. He was also an active writer, relaying colonial news and market intelligence as well as accounts of his personal experiences in various Finnish newspapers. This article examines the global, cross-border structures that facilitated Björling’s migration to Southeast Asia and his integration there, arguing that his colonial career sketched out the contours of a pre-existing transnational and specifically Nordic subcircuit of Western imperialism that straddled the boundaries of the Dutch and British empires. Moreover, through his correspondences and ventures, Björling sought to establish himself as an active node in that network connecting northern Europe and maritime Asia. The article argues that a careful consideration of ‘outsider’ experiences like Björling’s challenges conventional, nation-centric understandings of nineteenth-century European empires and helps to uncover the multi-layered systems of mobilities that underpinned their expansion around the world.

Edward Valentin, “Off Duty: Black Soldiers and Mobility in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1866-1890,” Western Historical Quarterly 54, no. 2 (Summer 2023): 103-116.

Throughout the post-Civil War era, Black soldiers in the U.S. Army were at the vanguard of U.S. expansion in the U.S. West. Rather than focusing solely on their official military duties however, this article examines Black troops’ off-duty activities, specifically the complex economic and social ties they developed with civilians who resided near the posts they garrisoned in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. In many cases, these connections transcended the very geographic, racial, and ethnic boundaries that Black soldiers were charged with policing, illustrating that relationships between local people and agents of the U.S. government in the region were more complex than scholars have previously acknowledged. Relying on transcripts from U.S. Army general courts-martial proceedings, this article demonstrates how these interactions shaped Black enlisted men’s perceptions of themselves, army life, and the locales they policed and inhabited. These interactions between Black soldiers and local people often undermined the Army’s official missions, but they allowed Black troops to improve the quality of their lives and demonstrate the persistent fluidity and porousness of the southwest borderlands.

Imogen Wegman, “Meehan’s Mapping of the Derwent River in Van Diemen’s Land, 1803–04,” Australian Historical Studies 54, no. 4 (2023): 772-793. OA

In 1804, the Irish convict-turned-surveyor James Meehan drafted a map (Monmouth 0) of the area around Britain’s new settlement in the colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania, Australia). This map describes the terrain and vegetation and guided decision-making by the colonial government for the first few years of the colony’s existence. Despite its importance, it was neither copied nor distributed further than the immediate land it described. For the first time, it has been fully transcribed so that we might examine the fine details. This article argues that despite remaining as a manuscript map, Monmouth 0 is a perfect demonstration of British colonial land management policy as it directed the colonial effort to make their presence permanent on the island of Van Diemen’s Land.

Contingent Magazine believes that history is for everyone, that every way of doing history is worthwhile, and that historians deserve to be paid for their work. Our writers are adjuncts, grad students, K-12 teachers, public historians, and historians working outside of traditional educational and cultural spaces. They are all paid.

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Mtamangira challenges filmmakers – NewsDay

Mtamangira (in yellow outfit) is popular for talk shows on which she gives the audience and filmmakers adequate opportunities to explore her imaginative capacity.

AWARD-WINNING fashion designer, filmmaker and television personality Nyasha Mtamangira has challenged filmmakers to be at the top of their game to win the hearts of audiences.

Mtamangira is popular for talk shows on which she gives the audience and filmmakers adequate opportunities to explore her imaginative capacity.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style soon after the Euro Film Festival capacitation workshops at Ster Kinekor in Bulawayo, Mtamangira said she embraced a culture of integrity and commitment to perfection through emulating local icon Rebecca Chisamba and the globally acclaimed Oprah Winfrey.

“In addition to mastering their content, presentations for filmmaking and documentaries should be information laden in an entertaining and captivating way. Presenters should always dress to best fit the occasion while they deliver accurate content in a way that draws listenership to their programmes,” she said.

“The audience are very sensitive to anything that is in contempt of their precious time reserved for entertainment and relaxation.”

Mtamangira noted that Winfrey owes her success to being consistent and assembling teams that drive stories to audience’s satisfaction.

“Delivery is the most important thing and look at the subject or person inside out and bring the script alive. Presentation and delivery are the most important things,” she said.

Mtamangira said Zimbabwe has abundant talent in filmmaking, acting and presentation and if resources were available, every local community could nurture its idols.

“The Euro Film Festival short film competitions have a level ground and entries can be received from any part of the world and therefore making the contest of universal repute. I am against the idea of regionalising the competition because people must think locally with a universal mindset,” she said.

“People can work from wherever they are. There is a lot of creativity in Zimbabwe. Winners are selected based on their best input and finishes of their film products.”

She pointed out that being selected to be one of the workshop facilitators was a result of her consistency in the film and television industry, including her active role in fashion and design, which to a greater extent popularised her programmes.

“I have managed to be consistent in the industry and at the same time got to be known as a fashion brand. I encourage my fellow filmmakers to build empires out of their earnings from the film industry. As a perfect example, Winfrey has investments born out of her tremendous work as a film and television personality,” the filmmaker said.

Mtamangira noted with concern that there has been very limited resourcing of the film industry.

She hinted that building good and adorable personalities can help in luring the corporate world to accept the arts as an effective means for raising product mindfulness and advertising in general.

“Arts industry offers diverse solutions to business prosperity and viability only when both parties co-operate.”


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