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August 26 & 29, 2010 from: Cairo - Lusaka, Zambia - Burundi - New York

Hassan with his band, Rango.

No Strings Attached; a feature documentary on China's very different approach to exploiting the resources of Africa.

Hear the sound of The Last Rango Master. A forbidden instrument is finding a new global following.

Then, Pulitzer prize-winner Tracy Kidder tells a story of triumph over memory of the massacres in Burundi.

And, a quest for relevance in the land of the Pharoahs. Why some Egyptians prefer their glorious past to the unremarkable present.

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An encore edition of Dispatches in the summer  

No Strings Attached: China in Africa

China has huge ambitions in the natural resources of Africa.

And unlike Western countries, its investments come with "No Strings Attached."

A Chinese company is building Zambia's largest soccer stadium near Ndola in the Copperbelt region. (Anthony Germain/CBC)
That's the title of a series by our China correspondent, Anthony Germain.

To see how China works it, he's been to Zambia, which has one of the most enduring relationships with Beijing of any country in Africa.

China's been a presence there since the '60s, and has a big interest in the rich copper deposits.

The Chinese make no secret of the fact they're only in it for trade and natural resources. But that's stirring up resentment among the human ones -- as Anthony finds out, at the mine site.

Anthony's documentary...

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The Last Rango Master

Hassan with his band, Rango.

Well down through history, music has had the power to move and incite, prompting some regimes to ban it.

And on rare occasions, the instruments that play it too.

Bagpipes were once forbidden by the British which feared they were a Scottish weapon of war.

But that was nearly 300 years ago.

Imagine our surprise to learn that Egypt had forbidden the playing of another kind of instrument as recently as the 1970s.

The rango is fashioned from vegetable gourds, but Egypt viewed it as black magic which caused women to shake evil spirits from their bodies.

The forbidden instrument and its music had all but died out.

Until Zakaria recently found Hassan, the last Rango Master.

Hassan's story...

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Hassan displays the rango.


Hassan is touring Britain this month playing his first recording, called Sudani Voodoo.

He recently performed it at the Barbican Theatre in London.

The tracks featured in this piece are from the band's debut recording, Sudani Voodoo on 30IPS Records.

Click here to see their website.










Strength in What Remains

In the '90s, the genocide in Rwanda got the headlines, but neighbouring Burundi suffered much the same fate, and had many times before.

And fleeing the violence, a young medical student named Deo made his way past the assassins, eventually arriving in New York City.

He slept in Central Park. Worked scuzzy jobs. And wrestled with the memory of the slaughter he'd seen.

Eventualy though, he was adopted by a series of Samaritans who saw him through medical school and eventually, he built his own clinic back in Burundi, now an oasis of ethnic tranquilty.

Deo's story is told in the new book Strength In What Remains,  by Pulitzer prize-winning writer Tracy Kidder, a master of narrative non-fiction.  

Rick's interview with Tracy...

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Strength In What Remains is published by Random House.


Cairo culture clash

Once, in Cairo, Rick was politically-corrected by a taxi driver.
They were discussing Egypt's place in the Arab world, the way you do with Cairene cabbies.

"We are not Arabs," Pony said. "We are Pharonic people."

That some Egyptians still identify with long-dead Pharoahs from the pre-Islamic past was...a surprise.   

So there are Egyptians who view themselves as part of a royal race, occupying a special place in the world.  Some.  Not all.

But among Cairo's cultural elite, CBC correspondent Margaret Evans found others who feel the long reign of the current Pharoah is reducing Egypt to a cultural afterthought.

Margaret's documentary...

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Coming up: Zimbabwe - high cost of living, low price on life. 

Next week on the program, a story about expensive tastes.

In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and his political opponents have reached a kind of Cold Peace, and runaway inflation has cooled somewhat.

But people still pay a high price for living there.  And it starts in the grocery store as we'll hear from correspondent Laura Lynch.

An excerpt from Laura's documentary.......

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This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally, with technical producers Tim Lorimer and Victor Johnston, Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

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