24 February 2022

South Africa/Theatre: From 2017 onwards, the play-dance “What Remains” has conquered South African stages. A century-old cemetery, uncovered by accident, where thousands of slaves were buried, has people react in a multitude of ways to this past rarely remembered. Property developers, for one, just want to continue constructing, archaeologists want to learn all they can from the remains, slave descendants want to (re)bury the dead…

Somalia: With international pressure running high to hold elections quickly, “there are widespread allegations of vote-buying, bribery, intimidation and violent coercion”. From the start, the Somali people had been disenfranchised as the ongoing elections are indirect. Faced with drought, Covid and insecurity/Al-Shabaab, quick elections may be the safest bet. If the deadline is extended by one month, this seems possible – the 54 members of the Senate have already been elected while 105 of the 275 members of the lower house of parliament remain to be elected.

Mining: big vs small/Congo-Kinshasa: According to research of the article’s author in South-Kivu, artisanal and small-scale mining makes a much bigger contribution to development than generally thought. The total priority given to large-scale industrial mining does not seem to be justified. With 10 million estimated to be making a living from artisanal and small-scale mining in Africa, this is important news beyond Congo-Kinshasa.

Namibia: Ten – the ‘Fishrot 10’ – “stand accused of bribery and corruption for siphoning off millions of dollars from Namibia’s fishing industry”, a former fisheries minister, a former justice minister, a former board chairman and an ex-CEO of FISHCOR (the state’s fishing company), 5 other senior officials or business executives and a lawyer. The affair blew up in 2019 and has seriously damaged ruling SWAPO. The article draws parallels with South Africa – Namibia’s Fishrot state looting here, Zuma’s and the Guptas’ state capture there…

Sudan : According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 115 of 139 people arrested for protesting against the October coup d’état have been set free. He called on authorities to stop firing live ammunition and tear gas. But more tear gas was fired against demonstrators today Thursday.
BBC Africa Live 24 February 2022. 16:38

23 February 2022

Nigeria/Morocco/South Africa: According to a WHO-Unicef study, almost 50% of Nigerian mothers, 40% of Moroccan mothers and more than 20% of South African mothers have been advised to feed their babies formula products. Breastfeeding is clearly best for babies. Protection from unethical marketing practices of the baby formula industry – worth 55bn USD globally – needs to be improved.
BBC Africa Live 23 February 2022. 16:00

Mauritius: The Chagos Islands belong to Mauritius, no doubt about it. And faced with UK non-compliance with international law, the Mauritian government will not “let the dispute of sovereignty disappear any time soon” – the recent “scientific survey of the Blenheim reef” including some Chagossians and planting Mauritian flags on two of the islands is a clear sign of that.

Mauritius: Macaque monkeys, primates first introduced to the island as pets in 1602, are nowadays bred to be exported for research. Their wild population, estimated at around 30,000, are a big threat to Mauritian biodiversity – plants and animals. The article makes some suggestions what to do about them.

Somalia: If elections are delayed further, the IMF may stop its support programme to the country. In 2020, Somalia’s debt was reduced from 5.2 to 3.7bn USD. It is supposed to be reduced further to 560m USD – but “(t)he debt relief programme needs to be reviewed by 17 May by a new government”.
BBC Africa Live 23 February 2022. 5:53