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July 28 & 31: from Kwa Dabekaa, South Africa - Vancouver - Haiti - Zimbabwe - Kolkata, India - New York

What's whoonga!? Who is it killing? Photo/Anders Kelto

Heroin's terrible handmaiden. An old drug with a deadly new additive hits the streets of South Africa.

We'll hear from the Canadian who's resurrected some lost music from Haiti, and earned a Grammy nomination for doing it.

Zimbabwe's contribution to the glossary of dictatorship.  It's called Smart Genocide.  Less killing but more torture, and dirty diamonds are the prize.

You learn a lot about a country by its gumshoes. From India, a private eye who busts counterfeiters by day -- and busts out Bollywood dance moves by night.

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Powdered whoonga is sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana providing an addictive and toxic high. Photo/Anders Kelto

Heroin's Handmaiden

They say addictive street drugs are poison, but there's a new one in South Africa that really is.

Junkies get sick if they take it, and sicker if they don't.

The other bitter irony is the way it's getting cover from the AIDS crisis, even as it starts one of its own.

Journalist Anders Kelto followed it from the streets of Kwa Dabekaa township near Durban right into the laboratory, to discover what's hooking people on whoonga.

Listen now to Anders's dispatch from Kwa Dabekaa

Since that story first aired, the drug treatment and awareness program Whoonga Free closed its doors, after running out of funds.

Robert Mugabe "liberated" Zimbabwe then perfected something called "smart genocide". Photo/AP

Mugabe's style: smart genocide

Zimbabwe recently marked 31 years since President Robert Mugabe helped lead an armed revolt against white rule.  But it's a grim anniversary.

Amnesty International says arbitrary detention and torture cast a shadow on celebrations.

Today, many view Mugabe as the oppressor.

His political opponents have been attacked in the streets. There's been ringing condemnation from Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.

And it all conicides with a standoff in Parliament, where they'd brokered a dysfunctional "government of national unity" between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

Mugabe's brutality is fueled by fear, and by diamonds, according to Peter Godwin. 

The Zimbabwean journalist recently wrote about it in his book called, The Fear: Robert Mugabe And The Martyrdom of Zimbabwe.

Listen to Peter's interview from New York City

The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe is published by Little, Brown and Company.

Senzeni Na? - "What have we done?,  performed by Vusi Mahlasela and the Harmonius Serenade Choir.   Have a listen to this haunting lament that Peter and Rick talk about.


Prof. Gage Averill plays lost recordings of Haitian music to earthquake victims. Photo/Averill

 Haitian hits back on the charts

For 50 years, nobody paid much attention to a  stack of scratchy old aluminum recordings in Washington's Library of Congress.

Nobody remembered they held more than 50 hours of rare Haitian music, recorded by the legendary American folklorist, Alan Lomax, who'd brought the likes of "Leadbelly" and southern blues to international attention.

Everything from work songs, to the world's first recorded voodoo ceremony, sung in archaic French and kryole.
They were recently released in an album nominated for two Grammy Awards this past winter -- one of them, for the translations, essays and comprehensive liner notes penned by renowned Canadian academic Gage Averill.

He's a scholar of Haitian music, and Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia. 

  Listen to our musical interview with Gage now


The little guy's little guy 

Speaking of Haiti, this year on the program and our website, we started what we call The View From Here -- brief dispatches from our CBC correspondents and contributors.  Single scenes that tell entire stories. 

And while he was shooting some TV footage in the hills of Haiti, CBC correspondent David Common  sent us this one


Bengali Detective 

Rajesh Ji, a private eye by day and Bollywood dancer by night. Stranger than fiction, but true. Photo/The Bengali Detective

In the Indian city of Kolkata,  there's this paunchy private eye with a lust for life, and an ailing wife.

Rajesh Ji may not be the world's greatest detective, but in a society where many distrust the police, a gumshoe's in growing demand.

In some respects, a the job of a P.I. in India's pretty much like  anywhere else.  A suspicious wife who wants him to tail her philandering husband, .

  As we hear in this excerpt

"Rajesh P.I. also deals with issues that tell us a lot about India. He raids businesses flogging knockoffs of name-brand goods.

But when he's not doing that, he's herding his hapless employees into joining him in his other favorite past time. Bollywood dancing.

It has the makings of a compelling film and director Phil Cox has made one he calls The Bengali Detective.

 Phil joined us from our studio in London


Next week, on Dispatches: Ramadan Road Trip

Islam's holy month of Ramadan begins this week.  A year ago, two young American-born Muslims completed an eye-opening road trip, crossing the U.S. in a quest to worship at 30 mosques, in 30 states, in the 30 days of Ramadan. 

The previous year, in a kind of rehearsal, they broke their 30 daily fasts at 30 mosques -- in New York City.  Both times, they reported their progress on Dispatches.

  Here's Aman Ali -- with what he learned about Islam in Oklahoma last August.

Next week on Dispatches -- more of the Ramadan adventures of Aman and his travelling companion Bassam Tariq from their 2010 20,000-kilometre Ramadan roadtrip through 30 American states. This year, they're doing the other 20 states.

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall and Alison Masemann with technical producer Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae


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