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TJ

Is the iPhone 6 Africa’s Hottest Gadget of 2014?

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Without doubt, one of the most hotly anticipated gadgets of 2014 has been the iPhone 6. Lo and behold, the good people of Apple Inc. have given the world not one but two iPhone 6’s – one with 4.7 inches of screen real estate and another super-sized version, aptly named the iPhone 6 Plus. The latter enters phablet (phone + tablet) territory with a generous 5.5 inches. Definitely not for those who are precious about one-handed use!

Whether you are an Apple fan or not (I’ll keep the haters away by keeping my opinion to myself), when Apple speaks, people generally take notice. At least on that point, we can all generally agree. Now that the iPhone 6 is out and shipping to early adopters, the reviews are starting to come thick and fast. Hit this link for a quick summary of reviews done so far, courtesy of www.businessinsider.com.

At 1Africa though, we like to give everything an African focus and hear what our fellow Africans have to say about what’s going on. The rest of the world may think something is amazing but Africa may think totally differently. So this is where we want to hear what you, the 1Africa community, think. Is the iPhone 6 the hottest tech gadget of 2014 so far? If you don’t think so, hit us up in the comments section and tell us which gadget takes that trophy for you and why! If you think the question is rhetorical, you should still get in touch and let us know if you’ll be getting yourself the iPhone 6.

Peace Day

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The 21st of September has been set aside each year by the United Nations (UN) as a day when the world observes the International Day of Peace. Known simply as Peace Day, it is a day, to quote the UN itself, “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples”. This is such a powerful statemeny because, though human beings are all so very different, the desire for peace is something that brings most of us together. We all yearn for some sense of peace in our lives. It could be that, because of the many challenges that come our way, we may give up on ever finding it. But deep within us, the search continues and is lived out in one way or another – whether positively or negatively.

It’s worth asking the question: what is real peace? Added to that, where can it be found? At the level of the personal, is it perhaps as simple as the absence of problems and a sense that “everything is OK”? At the national level, is peace simply the absence of war? Or is there something more profound to it? Can a young man in Liberia at high risk of being exposed to and infected with Ebola find peace? Is there really such a thing as peace in the midst of a storm?

Clearly, the list of questions is endless. I’m convinced I’m not the only one who asks them every so often, particularly when my inner world seems to be taking bullets.

Here at 1Africa, we ask questions. Loads of them! But ultimately, we look at everything through the lens of our faith and try to bring everything back ‘home’ to the core of our faith and our hope in Jesus Christ. When it comes to peace, two specific verses make it clear that Christ knew that humanity would always struggle with the question of peace. “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” (John 14:27 – The Message)

In another part of the Bible, Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

When I read this, I don’t see much about religion or philosophy. It’s about relationship. This is the kind of thing a friend would say to someone he/she really loves.

As we commemorate Peace Day – a very significant global observance – may we all take part in whatever activities go together with the occasion. More importantly though, let’s use the day to reflect deeply about what peace really is.

 

The Oscar Trial: Alone

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For the past year and a few months, the world has been intrigued by the Oscar Pistorius trial. From the moment it emerged that he had shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013,  it is probably safe to assume that every person who has followed the star athlete’s trial has an opinion about Oscar’s guilt or innocence.

As the Oscar trial has played out there have also been some very powerful images captured and published for us all to see. It really is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. For me, one of the most intense photographs is the one below where Oscar stands silent and alone in the courtroom during his bail hearing. So many questions come to my mind and, most likely, the biggest of these is: what was going through his mind? How was he feeling?

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder of Reeva Steenkamp, Pretoria, South Africa - 21 Feb 2013

In a sense, the specific moment captured by this image could be seen as a powerful visual metaphor for our lives. Often, we can find ourselves in a room full of people and yet totally alone, dealing with our own emotions and wrestling with our own thoughts. We may smile because society expects us to do that  – yet we feel like we are enigmas to everyone else.

But, the truth is, nobody is an enigma or mystery to God. And, based on what the Bible says, He doesn’t want to be a total mystery to us either.

I like the way the Bible says it in 1 Corinthians 2:11-12, “Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it.”

Through Christ and the love that He has for all of mankind, we get a glimpse of what is going on in God’s mind reagarding us, even if it doesn’t look that way in the moment. So, even when the pressure of life is upon us and it looks like we’re all alone, at least we know there is hope. It is good to know that we’re never as alone as we think we are.

Seymour Hoffman reality check…

Driving to work this morning, I learnt of the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, widely recognized as one of the greatest character actors of his generation. His presence onscreen was always one which fascinated me and he always brought something special and mysterious to the roles he played. Who can forget his Oscar-winning portrayal of author Truman Capote in the film Capote? What an actor! What a life! Yet, a wave of sadness came over me when I heard that the suspected cause of death was a heroin overdose. Anyone following Seymour Hoffman’s life and career would know that he was bold enough to announce that he had been battling with substance addiction for several years. He had managed to overcome the habit for over two decades but relapsed about a year ago. Now, he is no more.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

I watched an episode of the US TV series Scandal last night and, in it, the American first couple have a tender but slightly awkward conversation in the back of the president’s limo. The first lady asks the president to forgive her for all her wrongs towards him in the past and for all the things that led to their marriage reaching a rocky place. Context: they are driving from the funeral of a revered religious figure and, I suppose, they are thinking about their lives in that moment – weighing what matters and what doesn’t… There’s something about death that causes us to reflect and, as a Christian, I must say that Seymour Hoffman’s death has brought me to a place of deep reflection. As a lover of the movies and of people who do what they do with excellence, I took it hard. Life can be hard and we are often sold the idea that the more famous we are or the richer we are, the more life will make sense and the more fulfilled we will be. However, that school of thought is shaken to its core in moments like these when we realise that even those who have attained fame and fortune can hurt deeply too.

Those familiar with the words of Jesus Christ will have heard that he made quite an audacious statement:VERSE Philip Seymour HoffmanIn a world so filled as much with laughter and loveliness as it is with pain and misery, wouldn’t it be amazing to experience life in abundance? It need not be an elusive concept and it’s worth having a conversation about. What does the abundant life really mean to you?

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