21 October 2022

South Africa/Protest Music: Also called struggle or liberation songs, protest music, in a colonial context, “was an important tool used by oppressed peoples in their quests to overthrow oppressive regimes”. In South Africa, they were “effective instruments of confrontation” with the “oppressive race-based apartheid state” and also served to remember martyrs (e.g., Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Solomon Mahlangu), prisoners (like Mandela) or those in exile (for example Oliver Tambo). The article gives a brief historical overview, also of changing styles (reflecting changing context).

Kenya/Rock Art: Rock art has been made for 60,000 years or more, but it is nowadays only still practiced in some places in Papua New Guinea and Australia – and by the Samburu, pastoralists in Kenya’s north. Learning it is part of boys’ initiation. Recent research has shown that the current Samburu rock art tradition does not represent rituals or myths, but rather real-life events such as an animal hunted, a girl back in the village, dances... This rock art is made as a leisure activity. While rock artists are subject to norms, styles have changed with the generations.

Burkina Faso: Junta head Ibrahim Traoré has been sworn in as the country’s interim president. With his oath, he also “promised to win back territory from Islamist militants, and to hold elections in July 2024.”
BBC Africa Live 21 October 2022. 13:25
Watch the ceremony (1h16’47’’) on https://youtu.be/4q_Mlrgy61s

Mozambique: After an attack in a neighbouring mine, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) evacuated all contractors and employees except those considered essential to Montepuez town (in Cabo Delgado province). Since a discovery in 2009, half of the world’s rubies come from the area.
BBC Africa Live 21 October 2022. 5:19

Lesotho: Frustration with the country’s politics brought the turnout at the recent elections down to a historic low of 38%. Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity almost reached an absolute majority. There is now another chance for overdue reforms of the political system being decided and thus ending a state of perpetual instability caused by ever-shifting coalitions. The article briefly tells Matekane’s life and even more briefly discusses the challenges he now faces.

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone is planning to return from single-member constituencies to the former proportional representation system. According to the top electoral commissioner, “the country’s constituency boundaries had expired and could not be re-drawn within the constitutionally stated period ahead of the next election”. But APC (All People’s Congress/the main opposition party) calls the decision “ill-advised” – the proportional system having been the one used before 2002, during the civil war.
BBC Africa Live 21 October 2022. 17:03

20 October 2022

Chad: Following heavy rains in three-quarters of the country, more than 1 million people have been affected by flooding 5,000 km2 of fields have been submerged, thousands of cattle killed. Junta head Mahamat Idriss Déby has declared a state of emergency.
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 5:08

Chad: Clashes between protesters calling for a return to civilian rule and police have killed “a number of” people and injured “dozens” in N’Djamena. Protesters also attacked the headquarters of recently appointed Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo’s party and set fire to its main entrance. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission and an ex-Prime minister of Chad, condemned the repression and called for respect of lives and property. Later, a government spokesmen said that about 50 had been killed and that members of the security forces were amongst the dead and that 300 had been wounded. He also said that today’s “protests had turned into an insurrection”. A curfew has been declared in N’Djamena and two other towns affected by the protests. Today was originally supposed to be the end of the transition period to civilian rule (before it was extended by 2 years).
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 9:50
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 12:20
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 16:05
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 17:04

Ghana: Traders in Accra are on strike to protest against inflation which has risen to 37%/
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 6:43

Ethiopia/Tigray: AU-brokered peace talks in South Africa are now to be held on 24th of October. Fighting has continued despite the announcement of the peace talks with federal troops seizing three Tigrayan towns this week.
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 8:49

Sudan/Blue Nile state/Hausa: Despite a heavy security presence and an overnight curfew, inter-community violence – sparked by a conflict over land – continues and 15 people or more were killed and houses torched in the small town Wad al-Mahi.
BBC Africa Live 20 October 2022. 9:21

South Africa/Decriminalising sex work: “Sex work is a crime in South Africa, which means that all sex work that is performed on streets or in brothels is illegal and is policed as such.” This makes sex work unsafe, forcing sex workers – fearing to be arrested – “into unsafe spaces where clients are free to abuse them”. The article discusses the different alternatives (legalisation, partial decriminalisation and decriminalisation) and argues for decriminalisation: “Sex work becomes recognised as a legitimate business and falls under conventional employment and health regulations. Sex workers will, therefore, have the same rights as other workers and will also have the responsibility to pay taxes.”

Nigeria/Protection from floods: This year, floods have caused massive damage, displacing 1.4 million people in 27 states, killing more than 500 people, destroying more than 200,000 homes and leaving about 90,000 homes under water. Among the principal causes are “rapid urbanisation, poor spatial planning and poor solid waste management, including drainage systems being used as dump sites” and changed rainfall patterns (more extreme events) also play a role. To address the flooding menace, a multi-pronged approach is necessary, combining “hard infrastructural solutions” (such as dams, reservoirs, levees, spillways, appropriate drainage systems and storm water management regimes) and “ecosystem-based adaptation” (such as “reforestation in important river catchments, planting native vegetation on flood plains that have been claimed for cropping, and creating riparian buffers through vegetation”) and regulatory measures are needed as are improved spatial planning and regional and transboundary cooperation.