26 July 2021

South Africa: The authors’ nationally representative panel survey proves that “hunger and food insecurity – the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources – have increased in South Africa” due to Covid. While hunger in the country had declined over the previous almost 20 years, the percentage of households that had gone hungry in the week preceding the survey increased from 11% to 15% in 2020. The first hard lockdown had a big effect, then there was some improvement (“because of the partial economic recovery, top-ups of existing social grants, and the introduction of the new Social Relief of Distress grant and Temporary Employer-Employee Relief Scheme(, f)ood support by government, NGOs and faith-based and community organisations”), but then hunger increased again (if not to first lockdown levels) with the “phasing out of emergency social assistance and social insurance from October 2020. By the end of April 2021, all forms of emergency assistance had ceased.” With the National School Nutrition Programme not operational in many parts of the country, children have been hard hit. Needless to state that hunger would have been a lot worse without social protection and emergency assistance.

Ghana: Young Muslim women in southern parts of Ghana’s are exposed to stereotypes and clichés and are sometimes marginalised and excluded.

Ghana: Amidst concern that the country is approaching a third wave, restrictions on funerals have been issued – Ghanaians often engage in very elaborate funerals. They must not be longer than 2 hours, attendance is restricted to family members, masks are mandatory and they must (like weddings) be held in open spaces.
BBC Africa Live 26 July 2021. 9:39

Caine Prize: This year’s prize goes to Meron Hadero for “The Street Sweep”, a short story “about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa”. Meron Hadero was born in Ethiopia and raised in the USA by her parents, both doctors.

Tanzania: Freeman Mbowe, chairman of main opposition party Chadem, arrested last week along with 11 other party members, is facing terrorism charges. Is this the end of hopes that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has changed course and was moving the country towards democracy?
BBC Africa Live 26 July 2021. 19:50

25 July 2021

Tunisia: Unexpectedly, 18-year old Ahmed Hafnaoui has won Africa’s first Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the 400m freestyle, improving his personal best by 3 seconds on the occasion.