i Editor's Letter: The real story of Aids in Africa


Click to follow
The Independent Online


In a former life I was an occasional foreign correspondent. One trip took me to Uganda to investigate the trinity of born-again Christianity, George W Bush and HIV/Aids. I remember a pro-chastity student, Simon, telling me in Kampala: “Don’t go in a room with one man and one woman otherwise your pants will go off! Sex is so powerful.” Abstinence was clearly an effective way to avoid contracting HIV, but not a realistic national health policy. The fortnight touring verdant, friendly Uganda was eye-opening, especially the time spent in Kisenyi slum and the visit to a brothel to talk to sex workers. This week we run a special report by our correspondent Jeremy Laurance, one of the finest writers on health in the English language, who has spent months on the road to bring us the real story of Aids in Africa.


According to Pulp Fiction, what do the French call a quarter-pounder with cheese? Which is the first country in the world to legalise the production and sale of marijuana? David Cameron and Nick Clegg were born three months apart – but which is older? Which radio theme tune has the same tempo as “Nellie the Elephant”? The driving test became compulsory in Britain in which decade? Santa Clara Valley is more commonly known as what? In 1909, which newspaper put up a £1,000 prize for the first cross-Channel flight? Whose government led the first anti-smoking campaign of the modern era? What do Oliver Baker, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton and Julia Samuel have in common? (Answers below.)

Tomorrow night will see teams around the country battle in the campus qualifying rounds of our student iQuiz. It’s like University Challenge, but fun, and with a much less cantankerous quizmaster, i’s captain of trivia (and Voices editor) Simon O’Hagan.

Si, an alumnus of the University of Birmingham, likes setting questions which involve a little lateral thinking, like the teasers above. His advice to our contestants? “Don’t change an answer at the last minute,” and “Keep your voices down.” The winning team at each university will progress to our national grand final in February, where the champions will bag a two-week tour of Europe courtesy of Topdeck Travel. For the rest of us, well, Si’s iQuiz appears every week in your Saturday i, where the prize is honour – and bragging rights at the breakfast table.


Twitter.com: @olyduff

(Royale with cheese; Uruguay; David Cameron, born in October 1966; The Archers; the 1930s; Silicon Valley; the Daily Mail; Adolf Hitler; they are godparents to Prince George.)