28 October 2021

South Africa/Rural Women: In Agincourt on the Mozambique border, data has been regularly collected from 31 villages over almost 30 years. The article gives an overview of changes concerning women: “The trends seen over the last quarter century present a transitioning South African rural woman. She is living longer, is more educated and more mobile, and is opting for fewer children. When she does decide to have children, she is likely to deliver at a health facility and be attended by a healthcare professional.” Between 1994 and 2018, the total fertility rate has dropped from 3.3 to 1.7. Effects of Covid are yet to be determined.

Stanley statue: Henry Morton Stanley was born in Denbigh in North Wales and there is a bronze statue of him in the town. Petitions had called for its removal, seen Stanley’s cruelty and racism. But residents of Denbigh have “overwhelmingly” voted for keeping the statue.
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2021. 5:50

Ethiopia: War is raging, in Tigray, where air strikes continue in Mekelle, and also in Amhara state, in Kombolcha and close-by Dessie.
BBC Africa Live 28 October 2021. 9:50

27 October 2021

Nigeria: Jesus College of Cambridge University will today Wednesday hand back a bronze cockerel looted in 1897 by the British army to the Nigerian authorities, becoming the first British institution to hand over a Benin bronze. Tomorrow Thursday, Aberdeen University will also return one of its Benin bronzes.
BBC Africa Live 27 October 2021. 5:11

Sudan: The African Union has suspended Khartoum until civilian-led transitional authority is restored.
BBC Africa Live 27 October 2021. 12:01

Sudan: Never count the masses out of the equation – is the lesson to be drawn from history. The success or failure of the coup and thus the fate of the transitional government will depend on them. Also, there will be strong pressure from the international community from which Sudan had hoped for support to overcome its economic woes.

Sudan: The coup d’état “has endangered Sudan's international standing as a nascent democracy, imperilled essential debt relief and inter-national aid, and jeopardised peace with rebels in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains.” Why risk all that? According to the August 2019 power-sharing deal between the military and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), supreme power was to be handed over to a civilian chosen by the FFC in November. This might have speeded up the handover of al-Bashir to the ICC, which both General al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces’ head General Hemeti certainly fear. An investigation into the massacre in Khartoum in June 2019, for which they bear responsibility, would also have become more likely as would have security sector reform including the dismantling of “the commercial empires owned by senior generals”. Prime minister “Hamdok had become increasingly outspoken in his criticism of the military entanglement in the economy. Not only was the army commanding a vast - and still-increasing - share of the national budget, but military-owned companies operate with tax exemptions and often allegedly corrupt contracting procedures.”

West Africa/Child Slavery: “Modern slavery primarily involves the trafficking of children”. As it is becoming increasingly difficult for cocoa planters to migrate to new forests after exhausting existing forestland, with far more labour being needed to replant cocoa than to plant on pioneer forest soil. At the same time, less (migrant) labour is available nowadays. This is what underlies the use of (cheap) child labour (slavery) by cocoa growers – the chocolate industry has so far been able to block attempts to introduce effective rules preventing child slavery.

Nigeria/Slavery: In the country’s museums, if slavery is dealt with at all, it is presented from the colonists’ point of view, “the dominant narrative about slavery is that the Europeans arrived; the slave trade developed; and then it was abolished”. The focus is on economic factors. Local complexities are left out. This and over-simplification render this presentation of slavery irrelevant.