2 April 2021

Egypt/Nawal El Saadawi: In this article, Professor Omnia Amin, who calls the recently deceased Nawal El Saadawi her “mentor, mother and friend” writes a very personal homage.

Egypt/Nawal El Saadawi: All her life, Nawal El Saadawi fought against patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism. After graduating as a doctor (psychiatrist), working as a countryside physician “(s)he witnessed first-hand the harmful consequences of entrenched patriarchal practices such as female genital cutting and defloration inflicted on the bodies of poor village women”. But she didn’t think the ‘barbaric’ practice made Arab or African women all that different, she “insisted that all women are circumcised if not physically then ‘psychologically and educationally’.”
In the 1970s, she wrote a series of feminist manifestos that made her well-known, first of all Women and Sex in 1971. “In it, she condemned the violence committed against women’s bodies including virginity tests, honour killings, wedding night defloration and genital cutting.” “Soon after publication, she lost her job and the magazine she had founded was closed down.” She wrote “with the authority of a physician, the knowledge of an intellectual and the passion of an injured woman.”
Prison or death threats by islamists never made her relent or give up. “Unwaivering, she ran against Mubarak in the 2004 presidential elections. During the 2011 uprising that deposed Mubarak, El Saadawi, in her 80s, held seminars in tents in Tahrir Square to radicalise a new generation.”

Mali: 4 UN peacekeepers have been killed today Friday in an attack on a camp run by Chadian peacekeepers in Aguelhok. In another attack, two Malian soldiers were killed and six injured by suspected Islamist militants in Diafarabé in central Mali.
BBC Africa Live 02 April 2021. 15:35

1 April 2021

Africa’s Gender Gap: Namibia 6, Rwanda 7, South Africa 18, Burundi 26, Mozambique 32… Ghana 117, Guinea 118, Sierra Leone 121, Burkina Faso 124… Chad 148, Mali 149, Congo-Kinshasa 151 – of 154 countries ranked. For the rest see p.10 of the report.
World-wide, the gender gap has widened substantially due to Covid-19.

Mali : Western has become a target of terrorist attacks, though not a primary one so far. The region produces 77% of Mali’s gold. If terrorist groups establish themselves here, they could exploit the gold and also expand into Guinea and Senegal.

Algeria: The Hirak has given feminists the opportunity to come out in the open. Before, they used to work secretly. In March 2019, feminist groups met and formed Feminist Square, an umbrella organisation. “Top of the group’s demands remains the creation of a civil family law to replace the one issued in 1984. (…) Feminist Square wants women to be guaranteed equal rights without any reference to Islamic law”.
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2021. 15:29

Madagascar: So far using the locally produced remedy “Covid-Organics”, the country seems to have “changed tack and decided to join the global Covid-19 vaccine initiative Covax.”
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2021. 7:03

Liberia: After days of protest by 20,000 and 30,000, mostly women, in Harper town near the Ivorian border over the alleged death of a motorcyclist by four unknown men, protesters “broke into the county’s prison compound in search of an alleged killer of (the) motorcyclist”, leading to the escape of at least 90 prisoners. A night-time curfew has been imposed on the county of Maryland.
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2021. 6:31
And also: https://frontpageafricaonline.com/county-news/liberia-president-weah-declares-curfew-in-maryland-following-violent-protest/

Tanzania: President Samia has reshuffled the cabinet. Ex-ambassador to the US Liberata Mulamula becomes foreign affairs minister. Hussein Yahya Katanga, ex- ambassador to Japan, is now chief secretary. Palamagamba Kabudi changes from foreign affairs to justice and Mwigulu Nchemba changes from justice to finance. A sign of continuity vis-à-vis eht Magufuli era? “President Samia said a major reshuffle was not necessary since most of the current ministers were recently sworn in.”
BBC Africa Live 01 April 2021. 4:35

San rock art: “The oldest rock art in southern Africa is around 30,000 years old and is found on painted stone slabs from the Apollo 11 rock shelter in Namibia.” The article looks into San art from a site in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain massif of South Africa and Lesotho – there, “rock paintings were made from about 3,000 years ago right into the 1800s.” The article gives an example from a site called RSA CHI1 in the Drakensberg, South Africa, explains it with the help of present-day San. Art that is both beautiful and deeply religious.

ECOWAS: The author gives an overview of what the regional organisation has achieved and what it has not achieved between 1989 and 2020 in terms of peace and democracy.

South Africa: Police still uses excessive force against protesters. “In the last two reporting cycles, the number of cases of deaths resulting from police action submitted to the oversight body (393 in 2018/2019 and 392 in 2019/2020) averaged more than one case a day.” There is still a lack of accountability and a lack of transparency – too little has changed since the times of apartheid. Recommendations for change include “the demilitarisation of the police, changing the culture in the police, and building better relations with communities. The criteria and process for recruitment, ethics, equipment and leadership should also be” revised.

Africa’s elephants: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now recognises the African elephant as two species: forest and savanna. It classifies savanna elephants as ‘endangered’ and forest elephants as ‘critically endangered’. This is good news for the protection of the elephants.
How the two species are different and what needs to be done to protect them.

Madagascar : Didier Ratsiraka, the ‘Red Admiral’, though a socialist, saw poverty increase during his long reign – he was in power from 1975 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 2002. He ruined the economy and the education system. A very critical evaluation of his legacy.