\ A Stranger's London - Talking Drums - October 1, 1984

Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

A Stranger's London

The Swann song

Lord Swann, once chairman of the BBC, is the chairman of a committee which is about to submit a report to the Secretary for Education about coloured children in schools in this country.

According to the New of the World the report recommends that mathematics, history and geography and so on should be taught in language other than English.

It wants morning assemblies begun with a hymn and a prayer to be scrapped. It wants all children including white to be brought up in the cultures of the distant lands from which the coloured ethnic minorities came.

"Our coloured immigrants are mainly splendid people," commented Woodrow Wyatt. "But they were not brought here as slaves as they were in America.

"They came voluntarily and to be British. Over the centuries, many thousands of immigrants, including Jews and persecuted Protestants from France, have come here.

"They have adapted to our ways. Lord Swann is the first important person to suggest that we should adapt to the ways of the newcomers.

"The question is: Do we really want British children whose families have been in Britain for 1,000 years or more to be made to learn Punjabi at school?"

Breath test machine

The controversial intoximeter breath-test machine is expected to be given the all clear by the Home Office in the New Year.

The electronic device which gives an instant print-out of a motorist's alcohol level, sparked a storm of protest earlier this year.

It was claimed that the machine could be affected by cough medicine and Chinese food, and there have been a string of appeals against drinking convictions.

But months of tests by doctors have shown that the device is dependable and accurate. So drivers, hang on tight to your steering wheels!

Slaughtered lamb rumpus

Neighbours of Ringwood Gardens, Roehampton, last weekend witnessed the ritual slaughter of a lamb as part of a religious ceremony and have been brimming with anger and shock. According to reports, Sayed Abolghassem Mokhtari, an envoy of the Iranian Embassy, was seen with 'other Iranians pulling the lamb into the gutter, held it down while one, wearing a butcher's coat, slit its throat.

A police spokesman said a report would be made to the Foreign Office. The local Member of Parliament has also expressed utter horror at the act.

The moustache disaster

The owner of the 'World's longest moustache' has lost his claim to fame in the bath.

Retired publican John Ray accidentally sat on the end of his 6ft 2in whiskers and a 3ft length broke off.

John, 75 of Weelay, near Clacton, Essex said: "Years ago I used to wax my moustache. Then I carried it neatly curled up on either side. But over the years the strands must have become brittle and when I made a sudden movement half snapped off. "It's a terrible shame. My moustache has been my fortune for years and has taken me all over the world."

But John could still keep the record he has claimed for 30 years. So far no challengers have come forward to match his remaining 3ft growth.

Boy gun gang in a raid

Four schoolboys armed with an air pistol carried out a £45,000 robbery in their lunch break.

The youngsters, two aged 14 and two 15, wore nylon masks in the raid on a store owner's home. They bound the owner's wife, who was an aunt of gang member, Mukhatar Bains, and rifled a safe.

Then they hid their haul before returning to Smethwick Hall Boys School, Warley, West Midlands. Shrewsbury Crown Court was told that some parents who discovered their sons had been involved "positively assisted" their children in using or keeping the cash. Two mothers were jailed for handling stolen goods.


Rexhill magistrates have dismissed charges of begging against five women who had been arrested under the 1824 Vagrancy Act while carrying out a street collection for the Greenham Common women.

Look out for crates

The echoes of the Dikko kidnap affair continue to reverberate in the strangest of places. One of the stars of the current football scene in England is John Chidozie, a Nigerian national who plays with the Tottenham Hotspur FC.

It was announced recently that the Nigerian Football authority wanted Chidozie to join the national squad to play in the World Cup elimination matches. Even though Chidozie himself wanted to play for Nigeria, as a professional he knew the decision was not his but his bosses in his club.

Tottenham Hotspur were not particularly anxious to let their star go and play for his national team because they said they needed him.

The Guardian Diary told Spurs to be on the look out for any large crates around White Hart Lane (the playing ground for Spurs) because the Nigerians might just take Chidozie back should Spurs refuse to let him play for Nigeria.

Spain abolishes homework

Spain's 6 million primary and secondary school children were in for the greatest surprise of their lives when the new term started on Monday the government has banned homework.

The Education Minister, Mr Jose Maria Marvall, told reporters that the Socialist Government had decided to do away with homework and official exams in state and private schools for pupils between ages six to fourteen.

Pupils would be assessed by teachers' observations and other criteria and the decision would lead to higher standards of education.

Mr Miguel Basanta, secretary of a Madrid Parents Association was reported by The Guardian to have supported the move saying: "A child must study ... but what we are opposed to is that they should be given such a weight of work after school that it keeps them busy until they go to bed. They've got to have time to play and meet other children," he said.

talking drums 1984-10-01 Nigeria at 24 nothing to celebrate - Cameroon why the april coup failed