08 July 2022

Soyinka/Nigeria: Since the 1950, Sub-Saharan Africa’s first literature Nobel prize winner treats the same topics, addressing “the clash of cultures, the interface between primitiveness and modernity, colonial interventions, religious bigotry, corruption, abuse of power, poor governance, poverty and the future of independent African nations.” The article gives a brief overview of his writings: theatre, novels, poems, essays. Soyinka has recently (2021) published his third novel, Chronicles from the Land of Happiest People on Earth – it is about Nigeria, the “ever-crawling giant” and what has gone wrong.

Sickle cell disease: The “misshapen red blood cells” which clog blood vessels can cause extreme pain and increase risk of pneumonia, meningitis, stroke, loss of vision, maternal mortality. It comes from a gene mutation that provides some protection against malaria – and is much more common in areas with a lot of malaria, first of all Sub-Saharan Africa. But this part-immunity holds only if one parent passes on the mutation to the child (sickle cell trait), if both do, the child will suffer from sickle cell disease and not have the resistance against malaria. Between 1 and 3% of children are born with the disease in the malaria belt between Senegal and Madagascar, with Cameroon, Congo-Kinshasa, Ghana and Nigeria most concerned. Being genetic, sickle cell disease is neither preventable nor curable. The earlier in life it is discovered, the better it can be managed by appropriate treatment. Routine new-born screening would be best.

Tunisia: The moderate Islamist party Ennahda has joined other parties in calling for a boycott of president Kaïs Saëid’s referendum on a new constitution, such a vote “not (being) in the interest of Tunisians”.
BBC Africa Live 08 July 2022. 5:16

Tumi Mogorosi: A short portrait of the South African musician, activist and scholar and then an analysis of his just published fourth album: Group Theory: Black Music which is sourced in US jazz and South African music, uses chorus...

Testosterone testing in African Football: The Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon) has just opened in Morocco. It enforces testosterone testing for players. Barbra Banda, Zambia’s star player, has tested beyond the testosterone limit and a dozen other players did so too. In the mean-time, Nigeria is no longer the automatic favourite – and has proven it in its opening game which it lost 1:2 to South Africa.

Ethiopia: In its annual report, the state’s Ethiopian Human Rights Commission reports human rights violation by government soldiers as well as fighters from Tigray, Oromia and Amhara. “Inhumane treatment of captured fighters, torture against suspects and forced disappearances have been rampant”, 54 journalists have been arrested in 2021 (15 of them by Tigrayan soldiers) and a communications blackout leaves Tigrayans without access to information.
BBC Africa Live 08 July 2022. 10:48

07 July 2022

Tunisia: Ons Jabeur today Thursday reached the Wimbledon finals, beating her German friend Tatjana Maria 6-2 3-6 6-1 in the semi-finals.
BBC Africa Live 07 July 2022. 14:42

Zimbabwe: Ndabaningi Sithole (1920-2000) was the first president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), from 1963 until the mid-1970s, when Mugabe staged a palace coup against him. The article’s author believes that this leading intellectual, author of many books needs to be rediscovered and reread.

South Africa: Sandfish can grow to up to half a meter. They “keep rivers clean and the food web balanced”. But they are under threat in the Olifant-Doring river system in the country’s arid south-west. “(T)hey need healthy, connected rivers that hold water year-round and don’t harbour alien species.” With climate change and other human intrusions, conditions have substantially worsened for them. The Saving Sandfish project tries to remedy that in cooperation with landowners, farmworkers and other stakeholders, for example by off-stream farm dams acting as nurseries for young sandfish, where they grow up safely to reach 20 cm – when they can safely be released back into the wild.

Congo-Kinshasa: The handing back of a tooth – all that’s left of Patrice Lumumba – came without a formal apology. Overall, it looks like the death of Lumumba has cast a spell on his country: “(t)he rest of the world continues to benefit from Congolese talents and minerals while the country itself regresses.” Handing back of stolen art could be a beginning to meaningful reparations – something substantial is needed: “acts of reparations (…) must include socioeconomic and cultural deliverables”.

Pan-Africa: A year late, the Pan-African Parliament has finally elected a president and four vice-presidents. The non-election of 2021 and controversies surrounding it have tarnished the image of the institution whose real problem, though, is that “it is almost impossible to imagine AU member states conceding any real powers to continental legislators. Most leaders, arguably, don’t concede such power even to their own legislatures” and they are unlikely to want to be held to account by a Pan-African institution.

Youth gangs in Abidjan: EnactAfrica announces the publication of a report on the “microbes”, violent youth gangs that terrorise poor parts of the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan. The author, Sébastien Hervieu, argues that “(p)rioritising public investment in areas where these violent youth gangs live is key to reducing the poverty that spawns the groups.” Download the report on: