31 October 2022

Kilimanjaro fire/Tanzania: The fire on Africa’s highest mountain has still not been extinguished. It has been burning for ten days now. More than 700 people – firefighters, national park staff, tour guides, civilians – are trying to put it out. The cause of the fire is still unknown. An investigation has been ordered.
BBC Africa Live 31 October 2022. 12:19
BBC Africa Live 31 October 2022. 12:07

Ghana: What president Akufo-Addo had to say yesterday Sunday on TV about the country’s economic crisis (37.2% inflation and 50% depreciation of the currency against the USD) does not sound promising at all, blaming speculation and illegal forex traders for the Cedi’s depreciation, then accusing “malevolent forces” for Ghana’s woes, saying that he could not “find an example in history when so many malevolent forces have come together at the same time.” He did announce “a raft of measures to address the crisis”, amongst them the largely but positively symbolic continuation of the 30% cut in the president’s, vice-president’s, ministers’ and other government appointees’ salaries. A 3bn USD IMF bailout loan is in negotiation.
BBC Africa Live 31 October 2022. 4:31

Malaria vaccines: Of late, progress – after over thirty years of research – has been encouraging. Mosquirix (of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and partners) and R21 (of Oxford University Jenner Institute) are both very promising. Both of these vaccines target the sporozoite, “the malaria parasite stage that is transferred to humans when the malaria-infected female Anopheles mosquito is taking a blood meal. When effective, both vaccines ensure that the sporozoites are destroyed before they enter the liver. It effectively prevents malaria infection by halting the parasite life cycle in the human host.” Further testing is still necessary for R21. If this proves conclusive, the two vaccines could prove a very valuable addition to existing prevention measures against malaria.

Nigeria: The recent US Embassy advisory about possible terrorist attacks in Abuja “led to widespread public anxiety”. In an effort to “save face” and secure its “sovereignty” – not let foreign powers interfere with its internal affairs – the government reacted by downplaying the threat, calling for calm. The article’s author argues that it had better taken the warning seriously. The best way to react to a threat and a warning is “to take proper precautions”.

Nigeria: Alarmism is not only superfluous, but outright irresponsible. National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno has reacted to the US, UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia warning of possible terror attacks in Nigeria and urging their citizens not to travel there. Such warnings created an “exaggerated sense of insecurity”, while the situation was, in fact, under control.
BBC Africa Live 31 October 2022. 16:58

30 October 2022

Zimbabwe/GB/Restitution of skulls: A delegation from Zimbabwe “is looking for the skulls of late-19th Century anti-colonial heroes” from the First Chimurenga (1890s), which are believed to have been taken to the UK as trophies. While they got positive responses from London's Natural History Museum and Cambridge University concerning the returning of human remains, the anti-colonial heroes are not amongst them. “The Natural History Museum, with 25,000 human remains, and (Cambridge University's) Duckworth Laboratory, with 18,000, have some of the largest such archives in the world.” In Britain and Europe of the late 19th century, skulls were not only valued as trophies but also used for phrenological purposes (phrenology = the science studying skulls), sometimes for racial classification.
The most important of the anti-colonial heroes being looked for is spiritual leader Charwe Nyakasikana, known as Mbuya (Grandmother) Nehanda – “she was the medium of the revered ancestral spirit Nehanda”. She was arrested, hanged and decapitated. “With a death cry of ‘my bones will surely rise’, Nehanda became an increasingly potent symbol for those fighting against white-minority rule in what was then known as Rhodesia from the late 1960s.”