01 June 2023

Uganda/Anti-homosexuality: The brutal new law punishing homosexuals recently signed into force by the president needs to be seen before a background of “a growing coalition of global players – including far right political parties and Christian evangelical groups” that pay good money to willing African partners to put in place such policies “(i)n the name of protecting ‘family values’.”

Nigeria: While the country is waiting for Dangote’s mega-refinery to open in July, a parliamentary report has found that 25bn USD have been spent over the last ten years to fix dilapidated refineries in the country. As they work at less than 30% of capacity despite this massive spending, “parliament called for a forensic audit”.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2023. 8:50

Child marriage & IDPs: “(I)n communities displaced by conflict as well as communities affected by natural and environmental disasters”, the danger for girls to be married “before they are ready” i.e., before they reach adulthood increases significantly. Actions that do work in “normal” times and reduce child marriage will need to be adapted to crisis situation. Maintaining girls in school will, for example, be more difficult. Families may, for security reasons, also be more reluctant to see their daughters participate in various courses. Little research has so far been done into this question of anti-child marriage strategies under conditions of crisis.

Kenya: There were few whites in Nairobi in colonial times, but they were the masters. The author’s article and research draws our attention to the fact that ”the naming of streets, places and landmarks was used to show the political, ideological and ethnic dominance of the British.” Blacks had to wait for independence to stand a chance of being honoured by street names.

Kenya: Patriotic choral music is and has been important in the country. It “has been used to influence behaviour and the forming of a national identity”. After independence, it was used to urge forgiveness for colonial atrocities and injustices (Jomo Kenyatta’s “forgive and forget” rhetoric leading to national “selective amnesia”) and to make individuals (like the said Jomo Kenyatta) into heroes instead of the many who had fought for independence. To exert control over patriotic choral music, a Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) was instituted in 1988.

Kenya: The article tells about Nairobi’s airports’ colonial history, how they developed, how decisions about them were taken.

Heat & Migration: Increasing temperatures are one of the factors leading to migration, though they do not always do so, other factors may be more important. The article’s author’s research has found that “in at least some contexts, (heat) is and will continue to play a part in peoples’ intention to move, while also threatening their health when on the move and settling.”

eSwatini: Two MPs have been found “guilty of murder and terrorism” and face up to 20 years in jail. They had taken part in pro-democracy protests which were violently dealt with by police, leaving “dozens” dead.
BBC Africa Live 01 June 2023. 17:21

31 May 2023

Ama Ata Aidoo: The world-renowned author (of Anowa, Changes, and many others) and feminist and university professor has died today Wednesday in the morning aged 81. Ghana’s minister of education for some time – she “resigned upon realising she couldn't achieve her aim of making education free” –, she has also lived in Zimbabwe and the US. In 1992, she was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.
BBC Africa Live 31 May 2023. 11:12

Tigray/Ethiopia: Dabba Selama village in Tigray’s Dogu'a Tembien district escaped destruction during the November 2020 to November 2022 war. This was in great part due to its isolation, also the community bonds held and relatively high agricultural productivity assured availability of sufficient food.

Tobacco: Most smokers live in poor countries and most of the smokers in these countries are poor. Those who try to quit and succeed are mostly the better off. According to WHO, the policies that work best in reducing smoking are “warning about the dangers of tobacco use, banning advertising, offering help to quit, and taxing tobacco products”. Bizarrely, the most effective among these – taxing – is the least used.