28 June 2022

Cesária Évora/Film: A documentary about the Cabo Verdean morna singer, combining “director and journalist Fonseca’s storytelling and editor Cláudia Rita Oliveira’s organisation of myriad archival resources” following the ‘barefoot diva’ from her humble beginnings in Mindelo on São Vicente island to international fame until her death in 2011 at the age of 70.

Cameroon: In Bakinjaw village (Akwaya area/South West region), clashes over land between neighbouring communities – the Oliti and the Messaga Ekol – have killed at least 30 on Saturday and Sunday. Apparently, this fighting has nothing to do with the civil war in South West and North West regions which has killed more than 6,000 over the past few years.
BBC Africa Live 28 June 2022. 4:44

The same water that makes the yam soft makes the egg hard
BBC Africa Live 28 June 2022. 4:31. Proverb of the day. Sent by “Greater Sugar” to BBC News Pidgin.

Senegal: Yesterday, opposition MP Dethie Fall got a six-month suspended sentence because he participated in banned protests ten days earlier. Today, opposition politician Guy Marius Sagna faces court for the same issue. Opposition leader Ousmane Sonko had demanded his and other activists’ release. “He has threatened to mobilise his supporters to ‘come and get them’ if they are not freed by the government.” In spite of a ban on gatherings of the opposition, Sonko has called for further protests for tomorrow Wednesday.
BBC Africa Live 28 June 2022. 7:39

Nigeria: The country produces around 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually – 88% of which is NOT recycled. Though there has not been much research into the question, it is clear that water sachets and shopping bags are the major contributors, with schools, markets and households the major conduits.

Abortion: US policies can have disastrous effects on African women – now that the global gag rule (imposed by Trump, abolished by Biden) is gone, the US Supreme Court has overturned the landmark Roe v Wade decision of 1973 which had given American women the right to an abortion. Beyond its effect on abortion in countries that look to the US for guidance and funding, this could encourage “national and international opposition to sexual and reproductive health services such as family planning (…) and comprehensive sexuality education”. Everyone knows that forbidding or restricting abortion does not reduce it but only makes it more dangerous. Already, at least 77% of African abortions are unsafe. And it is the poor and marginalised women and girls that are most at risk – the better-off can more easily find solutions.

Polio: While the cases of “wild poliovirus” have come to almost zero in the world, there is also the vaccine-derived poliovirus which comes from the use of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) which uses weakened poliovirus to produce an immune response. “(I)n rare cases, this weakened poliovirus can change to a more dangerous strain of the virus that can cause disease.” OPV has proven very effective and has brought about the near eradication of poliovirus world-wide and it remains widely used though there is a safer alternative: the (chemically) inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) – Britain, for example, has switched from OPV to IPV in 2004. But for producing IPV, lots of infectious poliovirus must be produced in order to be inactivated – there being a risk of breach of biocontainment should the infectious virus “get out” and infect people. There is potentially an alternative that avoids the risks of both OPV and IPV: virus-like particles (VLPs), a sort of empty shell similar to the virus which prompts the immune system to react and triggers a protective immune memory response without the danger of infection in use or in production. On top of that, this VLP can be produced with yeast – which is very cost-effective.

South Africa: Power utility Eskom is increasing “load shedding” (power cuts) to up to 6 hours a day as the strike of its workers demanding a 10% pay rise continues.
BBC Africa Live 28 June 2022. 14:25

27 June 2022

Drought/Eastern Africa: The present drought is not unprecedented: in the 1820s and 1830s, the 1880s and around 1900, eastern Africa experienced droughts which were at least as bad as the present one. Lake Baringo in central Kenya dried up completely, there was prolonged famine of up to 20 years, with areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda most affected. “As with any semi-arid region, droughts are an integral part of the climate of eastern Africa and will continue to be so into the future.” In comparison to past centuries, the advantage now is that there are forecast systems, that resilience has been strengthened, that there are humanitarian interventions.

Africa/Homosexuality: The article’s author, a philosopher, postulates that many Africans “oppose homosexuality because they feel they have a culturally sanctioned moral commitment to have children” which is derived from “the ultimate goal of promoting community welfare”. But being gay and being African need not be seen as a contradiction. But sexuality and sexual orientation are central to people’s humanity. And the ultimate value of building and sustaining community can be achieved in many other ways than having children.

Nigeria: The governor of Zamfara state (north-west) wants people to arm themselves to be able to protect themselves against attacks of criminal gangs, saying “he would issue hundreds of guns to those without training and direct(ing) the commissioner of police to issue licences.” In three districts, markets have been ordered closed and motorcycles and sales of petroleum products have been banned.
BBC Africa Live 27 June 2022. 6:21

Nigeria: Other Supreme Court judges have made “allegations of nepotism, corruption, neglect of personnel welfare” against him – now Chief Justice Tanko Muhammad has resigned because of ill health.
BBC Africa Live 27 June 2022. 10:26

Nigeria: Lithium is in high demand – especially for high-performance batteries for mobile phones, computers, electronics, energy storage systems and electric vehicles. If high-grade lithium has been found in Nigeria, it is still a long way before – if ever – lithium will be mined and extracted.

Tunisia: In protest against the government’s economic policies, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) has called for a second general strike. So far, no date has been set for the strike.
BBC Africa Live 27 June 2022. 16:00

South Africa: Why did Ramaphosa conceal the theft of money from his farm in 2020 and not open a court case? Now a “former spy boss laid criminal charges – including money laundering and defeating the ends of justice – against him in early June 2022.” This may shatter his image of an anti-corruption warrior. Should he have to quit, this would be a heavy blow to the ANC, already in difficulty. There is no credible successor in view and the ANC’s chances of winning the absolute majority that it is used to at the next elections would diminish dramatically.