09 April 2023

Cat-accompanied Ramadan prayers: He chants beautifully. That his cat climbs up to his shoulder, caresses his cheek, even his mouth, in no way distracts him, in no way disturbs his praying, he caresses her. She then jumps down and wanders before the first row of attendees of a Ramadan prayer in Bordj Bou Arreridj, Algeria, who do not object in any way either. Watch the 0:44 video.

Niger/Terrorism: Niamey combines dialogue and military action in its fight against terrorism, following the Algerian and Mauritanian examples. Dialogue with jihadist leaders was initiated in Tillabéri in 2022 “after several Nigeriens defected from their extremist groups, and violence in the Diffa region decreased after a disarmament and reintegration process launched in 2016. A total of 386 former Boko Haram fighters went through deradicalisation and professional training.” President Bazoum is a strong supporter of the dialogue approach which strives for a broad base, involving “political, religious and civil society leaders, as well as security and administrative officials”. The approach comes with its challenges (e.g., coordination and also the choice of community emissaries) but seems overall a lot more successful than military-only approaches.

08 April 2023

Tanzania/South Africa: The strong bonds between the two countries are based on history, in the time of South Africa’s fight for freedom. In 1959, Julius Nyerere was one of the speakers at a meeting in London where the first boycott of South African goods in Britain was launched. After the Sharpeville massacre of 21st of March 1960, South Africans fled mostly to Tanganyika. And Dar es Salaam’s importance as a centre of anti-colonial activity grew further after Tanganyika’s independence from Britain (December 1961) as “(i)n the early 1960s, Tanzania was the southernmost independent African country from which armed operations could be carried out into unliberated territories in southern Africa.” The article follows history, including “contradictions or moments of ambivalence” in bilateral relations (e.g., at the end of the 1960s/beginning of the 1970s). After the Soweto uprising and land donations by the Tanzanian government in the late 1970s and 1980s, the ANC opened a school and a vocational centre there and up to 5,000 South Africans lived in Tanzania – not all of whom lived to see freedom back home…