Sunday, 20 February 2011

Michela Wrong - Telling the story of a whistle-blower on a crusade for the truth

At the inaugural TEDxEuston we heard Nuhu Ribadu speak eloquently on his struggles and challenges as the Chief Executive of the anti corruption agency in Nigeria. At the 2010 TEDxEuston, Micheala Wrong, a journalist who spent many years working in Africa spoke about how she met John Githongo the former anti corruption czar in Kenya who also had to leave his country when the truth became too uncomfortable for the powers that be. Why are these matters important to us? Well, while it is true that we seek to inspire ourselves and friends with the great stories of progress from our continent, it is also true that we will remain honest regarding the challenges we face and celebrate those people that choose to walk the difficult path of honour that hold people in public service to account. Michela's talk is about one of these people.

Michela tells this story honestly, with a clear sense of responsibility and clarity that is so rare in reportage on similar issues. She tells it without stereotyping or hyperbole....with calm and rectitude that left the audience deep in thought on why it has to get to this and why many of our leaders just do not learn. Watch again HERE.

Michela Wrong has spent the last 16 years writing about Africa. As a correspondent for Reuters news agency, based in first Cote d'Ivoire and then Zaire, she covered the turbulent events of the mid 1990s in west and central Africa, including the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko and genocide in Rwanda. She then moved to Kenya, where she became Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. In 2000 she published her first book, "In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz", the story of Mobutu, which won a PEN prize for non-fiction. Her second book, "I didn't do it for you", focused on the Red Sea nation of Eritrea. Her third book, "It's Our Turn to Eat", tracks the story of Kenyan corruption whistleblower John Githongo. It has been described as reading "like a cross between Le Carre and Solzhenitsyn".

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