02 May 2023

The cheapest way to improve your looks is to wear a smile
BBC Africa Live 02 May 2023. Wise words of the day. A proverb sent by Sulaiman Fofanah in Bo, Sierra Leone.

Ghana/Literature: Published 20 years ago, Amma Darko’s Faceless is a “childhood narrative of deprivation and danger”, a story about an investigation into the death of a child sex worker/street child, a book that has lost none of its relevance, which “wrestles with the structural violence that bleeds into people’s homes, affecting their everyday experiences” yet does show a remedy – on the individual level at least: the “discovery of voice and a sense of self”.

Sudan/Wagner: A very poor article: the title promises information about Wagner in Sudan, then all it boils down to is the pretended “growing evidence of Wagner’s role in arming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces” and Antony Blinken’s “about the engagement of the Prigozhin group (the Wagner Group) in Sudan”. The rest of the article gives an overview of (no doubt harmful) Wagner activities in Africa, but again, lots of that information is based on hearsay.

Uganda/”Rehabilitation” of LGBTIQ+ people: The Anti-Homosexuality Bill recently proposed by parliament includes conversion practices “to forcibly change the sexual orientation, gender identity or expression”. That mental health professionals from across Africa (and also from Uganda) have signed a declaration rejecting any such attempt obviously hasn’t stopped that. Conversion practices (e.g., talk therapy, exorcism, drinking herbs, healing prayers, beatings, sexual assault) are widely used in Africa – though they do not work and are “an attack on human dignity, well-being, autonomy and self-determination.” As Professor of psychology Kopano Ratele puts it: “Contrary to the sentiment of homosexuality as unAfrican, the bill expresses an unAfrican spirit. It seems that the bill is essentially about some people desiring to control the bodies, relationships, and the inner lives of others. What is so frightening about people loving others?”

01 May 2023

(South) Africa/Child work harmful or not: There are children who are harmed by the work they do and there are children who are forced to work, exploited or trafficked – but they are a minority within working children, the majority of whom work on farms and are not harmed by this work of theirs. “The problem is that the school-work dichotomy, and equating children’s work with child labour, leaves no room for the very real and difficult trade-offs and compromises that rural children and their families must navigate daily.”

Ethiopia: The Empire strikes back: A few days after the killing of a leading member of Amhara state Prosperity Party, 47 have been arrested for “executing a terrorist act” and for “attempting to overthrow the government” of Amhara state. Journalists, activists and campaigners are among the arrested. 11 more are wanted – politicians and more journalists, some outside the country.
BBC Africa Live 01 May 2023. 10:03