About Mark Waller

a freelance journalist and translator from Finnish to English, currently living in South Africa. Mark has been freelancing for Finnish media and organisations since the early 1990s, and mainly focuses on issues to do with overseas development, foreign policy, social policy and the EU, and Southern Africa. Waller has visited the Southern African region frequently in the 1990s and early 2000s, and for the last 10 years has been based in South Africa, where he has covered aspects of the transition to democracy for Finnish papers and magazines.

Africa: What Obama didn’t say was more revealing than what he did

Africans are used to having heads of state from the global north coming and telling them what they should be doing to lift their countries out of poverty. President Barak Obama’s visit to Kenya and Ethiopia in East Africa at the end of July in many respects upheld that time-honoured tradition. But with an important difference. Obama’s Kenyan paternal family background made his presence in the country as much a homecoming as a state visit. He was welcomed with open arms by an adoring public and upbeat local media. The same went for his visit to Ethiopia. For many people … Continue reading

Marx and Nietzsche: Beyond the bourgeois world’s Yes’s and No’s

    Friedrich Nietzsche was three years old in the revolutionary year of 1848, and while he doubtless had little idea of what was going on the reaction of his father Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, pastor of Röcken, to what took place in Germany was to become a formative memory. When news of events in Paris reached Prussia’s Frederick Wilhelm IV and revolutionaries were mobilising in Berlin, the monarch agreed to a number of concessions and appeared to sympathise with the masses. His proclamation ‘To my dear Berliners’ led to the withdrawal of troops from the capital’s streets and squares, much to … Continue reading

Africa: ending poverty remains key to halting armed conflicts

Better peacekeeping and peace enforcement by African governments may wind down the growing number of conflicts on the continent. But only social and economic change will prevent new ones – and that’s going to take time. There are currently 28 countries in Africa involved in of affected by 21 armed conflicts. Their numbers have grown following a decrease in armed conflicts after the end of the Cold War. New ones have emerged, and they are principally rooted in the meagre levels of social and economic development that most African populations have to endure. According to the Pretoria-based Institute for Security … Continue reading