13 October 2021

Sudan: 16 Pages, 666 Facebook accounts, 69 groups and 92 Instagram accounts linked to the powerful Rapid Security Forces (RSF/led by Sovereign Council Vice-Chairman Mohamed Dagalo, aka Hemeti) have been deactivated by Facebook for “suspected coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. Some posed as independent news entities, others as freelancers, journalists or students, some used celebrity photos as profile pictures.
BBC Africa Live 13 October 2021. 2012:20

Kenya: President Kenyatta is to be hosted by Joe Biden at the White House tomorrow Thursday. It almost looks as if the US President wanted to support his Kenyan counterpart whose name has recently appeared in revelations of secret deals in the Pandora Papers.
BBC Africa Live 13 October 2021. 13:10

12 October 2021

Andrew Watson: At the end of the 19th century, he was to make the game of football change forever. “Andrew Watson captained Scotland to a 6-1 win over England on his debut in 1881.” Born in 1856 in Georgetown, Demerara, nowadays the capital of Guyana, he was a descendent of slaves and slave traders, rich, educated in the best of British schools, he went on to teach England a better way of playing football. But he was as good as forgotten when he retired from sports in 1888 or 1889. Was that whitewashing English football? He died in 1921, his grave is in Richmond Cemetery, in south-west London.

Architecture: 12 – or really 13 – examples of outstanding architecture across Africa, old and new, mainly photographs, little explanation. From the recently published Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa (7 volumes).

Guinea/Ebola 2014-16: Unlike Liberia and Sierra Leone, Guinea downplayed the Ebola epidemic 2014-16. President Alpha Condé’s insisting that his country had everything under control was to calm investors, thus prioritising politico-economic health over the health of his citizens. The US-Africa Leaders Summit held of August 2014 was considered essential for attracting investment in the country’s mining sector. It was only after this summit that a national health emergency was declared – months after the outbreak of the epidemic. The delay “contributed to growing infection rates and deaths in the country”. But it helped Condé plunder the country’s wealth, his relations with investors creating “a stronger patrimonial network and tighter personal and familial control over the country’s mining interests”.

Plastic pollution: “(B)y 2060 eight African countries will be in the top 10 nations with the highest plastic waste generation rates”. To dispose of plastic waste, Africa first needs data – research needs to be done in international networks.
For estimates for mismanaged plastic waste in countries with a sea-coast world-wide in 2010 see https://slacc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/10.-Jambeck2015.pdf

Malaria vaccine: The RTS,S vaccine is a great step forward, but it is no panacea, it needs to be used alongside other prevention methods (first of all bed nets). RTS,S comes with a number of shortcomings, first of all that it is best suited to very small children (5-17 months old), that it needs three (ideally four) doses and that it is effective only against plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest and most common form of malaria in Africa, but there are four others.

Abdulrazak Gurnah: An appraisal of the work of this year’s winner of the Nobel prize for literature by Tina Steiner, Associate Professor in the English Department at Stellenbosch University.

South Africa/gang violence: Gang members, “‘emasculated’ by poverty”, “think they have no options except violence to prove that they are ‘real’ men in their communities”, thereby eradicating “all traces of femininity or weakness within them”. Women and girls suffer – rape is used by gang members to assert their masculinity or the gang’s dominance over a territory. The article is a summary of the study, The Interconnection between Youth Gangs, Toxic Masculinity and Gender Based Violence in South Africa, which is a chapter in the book Negotiating Patriarchy and Gender in Africa: Discourses, Practices, and Policies.

eSwatini: After weeks of protests by students, police and the army have been deployed in schools throughout the country. It would certainly not be the first time that the king uses “violence to clamp down against political dissent”.
BBC Africa Live 12 October 2021. 15:02

Somalia/Kenya: “The International Court of Justice has ruled largely in favour of Somalia in its dispute with Kenya” over a 100,000km2 triangle off the coast, a ruling that is important for the exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the concerned zone.
BBC Africa Live 12 October 2021. 14:45