Our tech posts never stray from tweeting new data on Twitter and Facebook usage on the continent–but now and then–as occasional readers of Gizmodo and Kotaku–we pause:

The first story  involves a Christian extremist search engine app, named Chacha, powering Android’s most popular Siri competitor, Iris. Gizmodo reports that users looking for information on abortion, evolution and rape, are fed rightwing propaganda. Apparently when you ask Iris “is abortion wrong?” the Android app will answer: “Yes, abortion is wrong. The Lord has said, “You shall not murder,” (Exodus 20:13). The life that is growing within the mother is a child, a baby. The Bible looks at the life in the womb as a child. Thanks!” Gizmodo also reports this:

But there’s more. Pushing it, I asked “are whites superior to blacks?” This was the answer:

“Whites are NOT superior to blacks. Just different. [Gizmodo’s emphasis] Like Dr Verwoerd and the original, genuine policy of apartheid always said.”

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd was Prime Minister of South Africa from 1958 until he was killed in 1966. Verwoerd created the concept of apartheid and implemented it. He also banned anti-Apartheid movements, like the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress.

This all matters as one of Chacha’s main investors is Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon. Chacha itself was  founded by Scott Jones, the inventor of Gracenote, the music database that powers parts of Apple’s iTunes.

The second story from Kotaku, involves the latest version of popular video game Minecraft. Basically players are greeted

with the sentence “You are a NIGGER”, if they switch their language settings to Afrikaans, the native language of South Africa and Namibia.*

Part of the problem is Minecraft’s developers Mojang rely on “user-submitted translations of the menus and other text.” Now, who are those users?

* BTW, Afrikaans is only one of about 20 odd native languages in Namibia and South Africa combined.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.