27 July 2021

Malaria: German drug firm BioNTech, which has made billions from anti-Covid-vaccines, believes it can develop a malaria vaccine that will be ready for clinical trials in 2022. Advances in “MRNA technology used to develop the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines” are reportedly responsible for BioNTech’s optimism.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 18:46

Zimbabwe: In the midst of Rhodesia’s struggle for freedom, an art gallery was opened in Harare in 1975 by artist Helen Lieros and her husband and former policeman Derek Huggins. Improbably, it still exists. It has since been the venue of approximately 500 exhibitions (also of book launches) and has been “teaching, mentoring and supporting the production of new art”, also “produc(ing) and publish(ing) a visual art magazine under the title of Gallery”. The two founders died about a week ago, Helen Lieros a few days before her husband. The article tells the story of their gallery.

Booker Prize longlist: The South African writers Damon Galgut (“The Promise”) and Karen Jennings (“An Island”) and the Somali/British writer Nadifa Mohamed (“The Fortune Men”) are among the 13 on the Booker Prize longlist. The shortlist will be published on 14th of September. The winner – to be announced on 3rd of November – will get 50,000 GBP.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 10:22

Côte d’Ivoire: 8 mosques in Tengréla, Kouto, Sorobango, Samatiguila, M’Bengué, Kong and Kaouara in the country’s north have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. They are “highly important testimonies to the trans-Saharan trade” and are the best conserved among 20 such mosques that remain where there were hundreds before.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 19:22

Côte d’Ivoire: Former president Laurent Gbagbo, recently returned to Abidjan after having been acquitted of war crimes at the International Criminal Court, is to meet President Alassane Ouattara today Tuesday in the interest of peace and reconciliation. In 2010, violence after elections won by Ouattara over Gbagbo had killed 3,000 and displaced up to a million.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 8:08

Internet: The global internet dominance of the US – according to the author and his colleagues’ estimates “U.S. corporations, nonprofits and government agencies could block a cumulative 96% of content on the global internet” – is likely to be reduced in future. Such a “splinternet” could endanger the stability of the internet. And there are other dangers…

Tunisia: The President has declared a one-month-long night-time curfew. He has also dismissed some ministers after sacking Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Sunday. The UN has called for dialogue.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 6:38

Nigeria: The lawyers of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra, have taken Nigeria and Kenya to the African Union's commission on human rights because of the circumstances of his arrest and extradition.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 7:20

Hepatitis: 70 million Africans are infected and 200,000 die each year from hepatitis. “The childhood vaccine given at birth is effective, but in many rural and remote parts of Africa over 40% of children are still unable to get the vaccines when they need them.” With Covid, it has become more difficult than before to get.

Rwanda: Venant Rutunga, arrested in the Netherlands in 2019 because suspected of complicity in the genocide (orchestrating the killing of around 1,000 Tutsi), has been extradited to Kigali. The 72-year-old had fought against his extradition in vain.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 15:04

Mozambique: A jihadist base at Awasse close to coastal Mocimboa da Praia is reported to have been conquered by Rwandan and government troops after a fierce battle. If true, this could make it easier to retake Mocimboa da Praia from the jihadists who have held it for a year.
BBC Africa Live 27 July 2021. 18:59

26 July 2021

South Africa: The authors’ nationally representative panel survey proves that “hunger and food insecurity – the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources – have increased in South Africa” due to Covid. While hunger in the country had declined over the previous almost 20 years, the percentage of households that had gone hungry in the week preceding the survey increased from 11% to 15% in 2020. The first hard lockdown had a big effect, then there was some improvement (“because of the partial economic recovery, top-ups of existing social grants, and the introduction of the new Social Relief of Distress grant and Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme(, f)ood support by government, NGOs and faith-based and community organisations”), but then hunger increased again (if not to first lockdown levels) with the “phasing out of emergency social assistance and social insurance from October 2020. By the end of April 2021, all forms of emergency assistance had ceased.” With the National School Nutrition Programme not operational in many parts of the country, children have been hard hit. Needless to state that hunger would have been a lot worse without social protection and emergency assistance.

Ghana: Young Muslim women in southern parts of Ghana’s are exposed to stereotypes and clichés and are sometimes marginalised and excluded.

Ghana: Amidst concern that the country is approaching a third wave, restrictions on funerals have been issued – Ghanaians often engage in very elaborate funerals. They must not be longer than 2 hours, attendance is restricted to family members, masks are mandatory and they must (like weddings) be held in open spaces.
BBC Africa Live 26 July 2021. 9:39

Caine Prize: This year’s prize goes to Meron Hadero for “The Street Sweep”, a short story “about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa”. Meron Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in the USA by her parents, both doctors.

Tanzania: Freeman Mbowe, chairman of main opposition party Chadem, arrested last week along with 11 other party members, is facing terrorism charges. Is this the end of hopes that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has changed course and was moving the country towards democracy?
BBC Africa Live 26 July 2021. 19:50