Welcome to otherPriorities

otherPriorities.com was supposed to become a site for texts and think pieces, written exchange and debate on Africa, the West, and the Rest of the World. It didn’t work.
Since early 2021, I use it to offer short stories in which I pursue the origins of humanity and explore what has since gone differently in Africa and the West. The stories are based on facts, occurrences, and images from the media and science as well as my personal and professional life as a Swiss diplomat in Africa.
I invite you to follow the evolving story. And a notice to the reader: All of this is eclectic, anecdotal, and apodictic.
Dominik Langenbacher

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The longer I live, the more I get to understand that I am just passing through – a migrant – on this wonderful Earth of ours. I spent my childhood in migration with my parents on the three continents of Europe, America, and Asia. The bigger part of my diplomatic career, in labour migration, I spent on a fourth one, Africa. And not even in my retirement here in Nairobi do I get to be a sedentary local. In summer of 2023, Bilha and I visited an old Swiss friend and his Zimbabwean wife in their retirement in the

Let’s take the 3.2 million years since Lucy took us down from the trees and stepped away from our chimpanzee ancestors as one day, 24 hours. About nineteen and a half hours ago with Homo habilis, the Stone Age began. Homo sapiens evolved one and a half hours ago. And those that left Africa did so only 27 minutes ago. Considering that this is 60’000 years, it is still a very long time. To put it into perspective: In the same anthropological time measurement of one day since Lucy, my own lifetime is only the last 1.97 seconds of

‘Mwalimu’ is the Swahili word for teacher and the modest Swahili I speak, I learned from Mwalimu James. Someone recommended him to me when at the arrival of my first stay in Nairobi, I wanted to learn the local language. I must immediately add that my Swahili is not modest because Mwalimu James was a bad teacher. It is so for two different reasons: First, contrary to Tanzania where Swahili alone is the official language, in Kenya, English joins Swahili as official language and much of public life happens in English. Official publications of the government, the leading newspapers,