02 September 2021

South Africa/Portuguese slave trade 500 years ago: The author, curator at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum, takes us on a journey into the past around a few kilogrammes of money cowries found at the bottom of the sea – they sank with the Portuguese ship that had left Cochin (south-western India) in February 1554 with goods destined for Europe and West Africa and ran into trouble off the eastern coast of what’s today South Africa. Two thirds of the vessel’s passengers were slaves. And the cowries found centuries later were almost certainly destined to buy more slaves.

Congo-Kinshasa: Lifting the moratorium on new industrial logging permits that has been in place for 19 years (like the government has said it wants to do) could cause “a climate and biodiversity catastrophe” according to environmental groups.
BBC Africa Live 02 September 2021. 18:52

Côte d’Ivoire: A 12-month suspended prison sentence and a 3,600 USD fine have been handed to Yves de M'Bella for hosting a show with a convicted ex-rapist demonstrating on a mannequin how he assaulted women. “De M'Bella (had) laughed and joked as he helped the man lay the dummy on the floor and pretend to rape it.”
BBC Africa Live 02 September 2021. 7:22

01 September 2021

Rwanda et al.: The article resumes the author’s book Making the World Safe for Dictatorship: “a good image abroad affords many advantages to authoritarian leaders. It makes achieving foreign policy goals easier and helps marginalise foreign critics. It also makes it tougher for exiles and domestic activists to work together and solidifies the government’s legitimacy domestically.” The book’s case studies deal with countries and systems as far apart as China, Rwanda and North Korea. (Not only) Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Front, his party, pay a lot of attention to PR abroad. And image management also includes silencing of criticism.

Kenya: According to the government, 257 police officers guard vice president William Ruto and his property. “Observers say the revelations would undermine Mr Ruto's rebrand as a "hustler", identifying with poor Kenyans.” Ruto has fallen out with president Kenyatta who “has reneged on a deal to back his deputy to succeed him next year”.
BBC Africa Live 01 September 2021. 14:55

Côte d’Ivoire: After the latest laboratory test, the WHO no longer thinks there was a case of Ebola in Côte d’Ivoire. An 18-year-old woman who had travelled from Guinea had originally been diagnosed with Ebola. “Further analysis on the actual cause of her illness is ongoing.”
BBC Africa Live 01 September 2021. 7:21

Zambia: According to the new president, the treasury is “literally empty” and the amounts of money stolen are “horrifying”. And the president and his finance minister will quickly have to do something about the debt situation which is apparently worse than admitted by the old government.