19 August 2021

South Africa: When interpreting recent looting and sabotage in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, what needs to be born in mind is that violent protest in the country have a long history – and their number has been steadily rising over the past 20 years. Protests do not arise where needs are highest. Service delivery protests are concentrated in metropolitan areas, for example, not in rural areas where provision of electricity/water/sanitation is much worse. Then, it is not levels of provision that spark protests but perceived inequality/unfairness in provision. People living in squalor in informal settlements are incited by comparison with neighbouring communities and their much more comfortable lives. Also, “communities are more likely to protest when they can clearly attribute blame, and where visible institutions are perceived to possess the means for redress” – particularly relevant where mismanagement and corruption are causing bad service delivery.

Nigeria: Many issues were left unresolved after the 1967-70 Biafra War and continue to stoke resentment amongst many Igbos. Nnamdi Nwannekaenyi Okwu Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, represents the radical, largely confrontational and separatist wing of Igbo nationalism. Other groups are non-violent, favouring diplomatic negotiations. The central government’s reaction to Kanu’s militancy was repressive and brutal, Buhari’s politics are perceived as non-inclusive of the country’s southeast.

Boko Haram: According to Institute for Security Studies (ISS) research, over 4,000 have deserted from Boko Haram up to 2020. Their reasons for deserting were military operations against Boko Haram, poor living conditions, disillusionment and misalignment of objectives. In 2021, after the death of Abubakar Shekau, another more than 2,000 have deserted. The figure includes civilians who under Shekau had been kept against their will as forced, unpaid labour and/or human shields. And it includes fighters who do not want to join the now dominant Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). This may be the perfect moment, the article argues, for stepping up efforts to make more Boko Haram fighters desert and thus weaken the terrorists.

South Africa: “Fewer guns mean fewer femicides.” So tighter gun control would be beneficial for women. In South Africa as elsewhere.

18 August 2021

Not only malaria: Beyond malaria, mosquitoes “are carriers of a number of other parasites, viruses and nematodes (roundworms)” which are harmful to humans. “There are around 3,500 mosquito species belonging to five genera.” Mosquitoes of the Culex genus – active at night – can carry the West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis. The common house mosquitos/gnats (gemeine Stechmücken/Gelsen) belong here. Aedes mosquitoes are active during the day. Potentially carriers of dengue, yellow fever and Zika, they lay their “eggs on the damp sides of a water body rather than directly onto water”. And then there are 460 Anopheles species, at least 70 of whom can transmit malaria. Not all mosquitoes bite or sting.

Infertility in Malawi: Women “who aren’t able to reproduce can face stigmatisation, mental distress, marital instability, and even exposure to domestic violence.” For women with perceived fertility impairments, there are five ways of seeking help: a hospital/clinic; a traditional healer; a church/mosque/praying; a new partner; a secret sexual partnership to try to conceive. The article’s author has interviewed concerned women and briefly reports her results.

South Africa: In 1988, anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September, at the time the ANC’s chief representative in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg, was assassinated in Paris. Murder in Paris is a recent documentary that set out to “un-erase” Dulcie September. And also to help the family reopen the case.

Congo-Kinshasa: 334 of 335 MPs have voted for the sixth extension of the state of emergency in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the country’s east.
BBC Africa Live 18 August 2021. 8:14