29 August 2021

South Africa: Aged 72, Agnes Sithole had to take her husband to court to stop him from selling their home. Being black, when they married, in Apartheid South Africa of 1972, they had no choice but to marry “out of community of property”, which meant the man had all property rights. In 1988, a new law allowed black couples to change their marriage status to “in community” with equal property rights for the wife. But this was not automatic. “Black women had to have the consent of their husbands, pay for an application, and lodge it within a two-year period.” When, after more than 40 years of marriage, she realised that her husband wanted to sell the house they were living in, she “in early 2019 (…) filed an order citing financial abuse – arguing she had equally contributed to building their family and shared wealth.” She won – and in what a resounding way! In 2021, extending the judgment to all women in Agnes Sithole’s situation, “South Africa's Constitutional Court confirmed an earlier High Court ruling that the existing laws had discriminated against black couples, and black women in particular. It ruled that all marriages before 1988 would be changed to ‘in community of property’ - giving women equal property rights.”

South Sudan: Anti-government protests are planned for tomorrow, Monday. A coalition is “calling President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar to step down”. According to rights groups, several people linked to the protests (amongst them a bishop) have been arrested and a radio station in Jonglei state has been taken off air. “A police spokesman denied the arrests.”
BBC Africa 29 August 2021. 11:04

28 August 2021

Missionaries’ education: To this day, “educational outcomes are generally better in places that were exposed to Christian missions in the colonial era”. But polygamous societies benefitted less – polygamy in the missionaries’ eyes being “one of the gross evils of heathen society which, like habitual murder or slavery, must at all costs be ended”. Often, polygamists had to divorce before their children could enrol – which they often chose not to do, despite the advantages that schools promised for their children (speak/write the colonisers’ language, opportunities like prestigious jobs in colonial administrations and European enterprises).

Mali: The European Union has been training the Malian army (FAMa) for years, but makes absolutely no effort to monitor the trained soldiers – and FAMa is know to commit atrocities on civilians. It “is accused of killing more civilians last year than the jihadist insurgents it is supposed to be battling”.