27 August 2022

Hadraawi/Political poetry: Recently deceased Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame Said – usually called Hadraawi – was “a prolific producer of poems and songs, a known soldier of the voiceless and a fierce voice of poetic political critique”. The article recounts his life, especially focussing on his political engagement – from anticolonial times to resistance against Mohamed Siad Barre to promoting peace. The Shakespeare of Somalia? No: Shakespeare rather was Britain’s Hadraawi.

Nigeria: Financing the war on terror and other insecurity (e.g. banditry in north-west and north-central Nigeria) may become more and more difficult as Abuja is facing a revenue crisis and does not even have enough money to service its debts. The country’s defence budget has increased to 4.5bn USD in 2021 – but the military alone will never be able to win against Boko Haram, much more holistic measures are necessary – and they too cost money. Something needs to be done about the country’s finances urgently.

Climate Change: Heat-related mortality of new-born babies will increase with further world-wide temperature increases. New-born babies are particularly vulnerable because they have limited control over their own body temperatures (little ability to “thermoregulate”). Growing older, their ability to thermoregulate improves – but communication of discomfort to carers may still be a problem.

26 August 2022

Fistula/Ethiopia: In low-income countries, as much as 100,000 women are estimated to be affected by obstetric fistula each year and 2 million are estimated to live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In Ethiopia, improvements in maternal and child health, maternal care as well as availability and accessibility of emergency obstetric care have brought down numbers considerably (from 25,000 at the start of the millennium to 3,000 now) and the country seemed set to achieve its proclaimed objective of eliminating fistula by 2025. But with the Tigray war, the problem is back in force. Add rape as a cause for fistula…

Nigeria/Germany: Wasn’t it high time? Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) has signed an agreement with the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage (SPK) to transfer ownership of 512 Benin bronzes stolen in colonial times. “Around a third of the objects transferred will remain in Berlin on loan for an initial period of ten years and will be exhibited in the Humboldt Forum.”
BBC Africa Live 26 August 2022. 6:36

Nigeria: Human trafficking – one of the forms of modern slavery – employs force and other methods of coercion to exploit vulnerable people, e.g., “through prostitution or sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage, indentured servitude, and the removal and sale of human organs.” Core components of Abuja’s anti-trafficking policies are rehabilitation and reintegration of the trafficked. But according to a study by the authors of the article, it doesn’t work, at least not well. Part of the reason is that the trafficked are mostly treated as “vulnerable victims without agency”.

Chad: The just launched national inclusive dialogue is to draft a new constitution and guide the country back to democracy. But the two most important politico-military movements (FACT and CCMSR) have not signed the peace agreement that came out of the pre-dialogue after five months of negotiations in Doha. What is more: “Civil society and political opposition published a calculation on 8 August 2022 showing that 90% of the more than 1,400 delegates are close to the” junta – which prompted the political and civil opposition (Les Transformateurs and Wakit Tama prominently among them) to boycott the national inclusive dialogue. The circles that have ruled and continue to rule the country do not seem ready to relinquish power. And Paris-led international community supports the junta.

FranceAfrica: Macron was in Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau last month and is in Algeria now: “Macron’s visits tell a story in which France is doing penance for its colonial crimes while simultaneously trying to maintain the influence it gained through colonialism.” To counteract Russian and Chinese influence in Africa, the French president joins in calls “for the more fundamental decolonisation of African societies”, but in reality, he uses this only “as a cover to exercise continued influence on the continent.” And despite more emphasis on France’s cultural diplomacy, the focus remains military – in substitution for being thrown out of Mali.

Women refugees in South Africa: 35% of an estimated 250,000 refugees and asylum seekers are thought to be women. The article’s authors’ research found that, among them, the “(m)any women who flee violence in the hope of finding safety and protection in South Africa instead find themselves still vulnerable and at risk.” Women refugees and women asylum seekers thus face a “continuum of violence” with different forms of violence intersecting along their way/their biography.