26 May 2023

When a ripe fruit sees an honest man it drops
BBC Africa Live 26 May 2023. 4:30. Proverb of the day. An Ngoni proverb sent by Khosa Jk Chambalo in Embangweni, Malawi

Antimicrobial resistance: Excessive use of antimicrobials (antibiotics and antivirals which treat infections in humans, animals, plants) has resulted in resistance of many microorganisms to these medicines. To know more about what resistances are present in a country, wastewater analysis can provide important information – but is rarely done on the continent.

Sudan: During the Darfur genocide – committed by Arab militia with government backing – “half of Darfur’s population of 5-6 million was displaced”, 200,000 or more died and thousands of girls and women were raped. In 2009/10, Omar al-Bashir along with five others was indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. To no avail. “Meanwhile, Darfuri lands, emptied of their African inhabitants, were rehabilitated with generous foreign aid and re-populated by Arab groups.” Darfur rights abusers were never held accountable – in the author’s view, there can thus be no peace. As to foreign powers, continuing like they have done so far – “appeasing the generals and further consolidating their power at the cost of civilian democracy” – will lead nowhere.

Sudan: In the authors’ view, the African Union is the best-placed to mediate in the ongoing Sudan conflict – like it has already done in 2019. Thus, “regional realities, dynamics and the interests of Sudan’s neighbours” can better be taken into account (than by, for example, US-Saudi mediation).

OAU/AU: The article’s author tries to take stock of the continental organisations’ achievements and failures and comes up with a rather positive picture. They compare well with ASEAN, Organisation of American States, and Arab League. Only the EU is better – let us say that Africa is lucky not to have achieved what the EU has made Europe undergo. And to call OAU/AU Pan-Africanist without flinching implies a rather strange concept of Pan-Africanism.

Eskom/South Africa: The article is a critique of former (until very recently) Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s “pacey, racy adventure thriller” named “Truth to Power. My Three Years Inside Eskom” and how the public utility, that was in 2001 praised by Great Britain’s Financial Times as “the world’s best state-owned enterprise”, was run into the ground.

Cholera/South Africa: The present outbreak in Hammanskraal (Tshwane) et al, is “the result of a combination of factors. These include dysfunctional and non-compliant wastewater treatment works, mismanagement, under-investment and misappropriation of funds” before a background of “lack of political will and action over the past two decades”. Across the country, wastewater treatment is in a sorry state. The picture is more than grim. Add to this that “151 municipalities are close to collapse. And 43 municipalities have already collapsed”.

Sign language/South Africa: It is about to become the country’s 12th official language. This is symbolically important, even though, “(f)or all practical purposes, the current language regime is in fact dysfunctional. The state primarily uses only one language, English.” There is only one South African sign language – but there are geographical variations: dialects.

25 May 2023

Sierra Leone: The hundreds of years old cotton or kapok tree in the very heart of the country’s capital Freetown was a historic symbol. Yesterday Wednesday night, it was felled by a storm. The President called it a “great loss to the nation”.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2023. 5:21

Sudan: The one-week-ceasefire agreed by army and RSF is far from being respected entirely and the two sides are trading accusations that is the other side that is guilt of breaches. But the fighting has apparently calmed enough for “some residents to venture out of their homes for food, water and medical care”.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2023. 13:10

Côte d’Ivoire: The IMF is granting a 3.5bn USD loan to the country “designed to tackle financial challenges and assist economic transformation”, challenges caused by Covid, global monetary tightening and the Ukraine war.
BBC Africa Live 25 May 2023. 6:08