29 October 2021

Mozambique: In December, 16 offshore blocks for new oil and gas exploration will be available for bidding, “five in the Rovuma Basin near the Tanzanian border, seven in Angoche off the coast of Nampula province, two in the Zambezi Delta and two in the area of the Save river”. This comes while Total has still suspended all activities in its gas field near Palma.
BBC Africa Live 29 October 2021. 7:16

Uganda: Schools are to reopen in January, almost two years after closing because of Covid. But in the meantime, “(m)any teachers have left for other jobs to make ends meet, and some say they won’t return.”
BBC Africa Live 29 October 2021. 4:31

African time: There are multiple ways of considering and organising time, not only streamlining it into past-present-future/plan-execution/before-after. The stereotype “African time” serves “to discredit alternative forms of organising things, which depart from the dominant visions of development.” The state’s and other powerful players’ interests “are not neutral in this. Their interests lie in getting things ‘lined up’ and organised ‘according to plan’.

Sudan: The military has by no means been successful at ruling the country, but in doing so, “it grew ever larger and ever more focused on control of the state”. The ballot box (through carefully controlled elections) and religion (by means of enforcement of a particular vision of Islamic law under al-Bashir) were co-opted. From the late 1990s, oil revenue was used to “reward loyalty to the regime. The army benefited most of all, acquiring its own industries and investments, in a shadow economy beyond any scrutiny.” With economic woes increasing, in 2019, after months of wide-spread protests, the army and the Rapid Support Forces turned against al-Bashir “not because they wanted change, but because they feared it.” The part-civilian government was never strong enough to wrestle back those parts of the economy that the army had “conquered”. As economic recovery proved elusive, popular support for the government diminished. Yet if protests against the putsch are widespread and sustained, the military may be forced to relinquish or loosen their grip on power.

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