19 January 2023

Sierra Leone: As from now “30% of government and private sector jobs in the country are reserved for women”. According to the new law, women will also have a right to maternity leave of at least 14 weeks, “equal access to bank credit and training opportunities”. Contraveners will pay hefty fines or even go to prison.
BBC Africa Live 19 January 2023. 17:03

Jollof rice: The invention of the dish is claimed by Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria. But as the name tells, its origin is Senegalese, Jollof referring to a Senegalese kingdom of the 12th and 13th centuries. But the dish’s popularity, indeed its invention came later, in early colonial times. And it is linked to the colonisers’ promotion of rice: “The first act of the settlers was to make all those disconnected from agricultural activities dependent on rice.” The French were resoundingly successful with their rice promotion. Isn’t it time “to enhance the rich Senegalese heritage (… by) promoting all the remarkable Senegalese consumables based on millet, cowpea, bissap, ditax and (monkey bread) bouye”?

South Africa/Russia/China: From 17th to 27th of February, joint military drills will be held off coast with China and Russia in Durban and Richards Bay. The three are part of BRICS. This is the second time such exercises will take place, the first was held in Cape Town in 2019.
BBC Africa Live 19 January 2023. 11:05

Russia/Mali/eSwatini: With Wagner group believed by many to be active in the country, Russian warplanes and helicopters have reportedly been delivered to Mali. Moscow has been accused of also becoming involved in eSwatini. The Russian ambassador there said “it was just giving scholarships for military education”.
BBC Africa Live 19 January 2023. 17:42

Migration Africa-Spain: According to Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, 2,500 died or disappeared in 2002 trying to get from Africa to Spain, most of them en route for the Canary Islands, around 500 trying to get from Algeria to Spain’s eastern coast.
BBC Africa Live 19 January 2023. 14:55

eSwatini and South Africa: Regina Twala has been all but forgotten – she was a most impressive writer, academic, political activist and feminist, but she was black and she was too critical, for example of the eSwatini king. Joel Cabrita has now published a biography of Regina Twala in Ohio University Press.

South Africa/Press & land: The land question was at the heart of the liberation struggle. To this day, the country’s press does not provide faire coverage to the views of the “dispossessed”. The five themes that dominate discussions as reflected by press articles are “land grabs, private property rights, food insecurity, negative consequences to the economy and investor confidence” – which clearly reflect the worries and views of owners, of the elite.

Ethiopia: The two year-long Tigray war has made looting and trafficking of century-old relics easy. So far, little has been done to even estimate the number of the thousands of thefts. For the artefacts that have left the Ethiopian territory, Addis had better strengthen international cooperation to get them back.

18 January 2023

Algeria: Amnesty International calls for the release of Ihsane El Kadi, a journalist and government critic remanded end-December, who, according to Amnesty, is a victim of a “ruthless campaign to silence critics”. He “is accused of illegally receiving money from people and organisations ‘in exchange for carrying out activities that could harm state security’.” Trumped-up charges, according to Amnesty.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 5:35

Angola/Peatlands: Besides being a carbon sink (storing more carbon than forests), peatlands also “conserve biodiversity, purify water and reduce flooding and soil erosion” and are even good “for planting certain crops, such as potatoes and carrots.” Yet they have been largely overlooked so far – so the author, for his PhD thesis, “set out to quantify and map recently discovered peatland deposits in the (…) Angolan Highlands“, the 1,634 km² of them. Of course, “(p)reserving these important peatland deposits will help facilitate carbon capture.”

Central Africa/IDPs: The 7 million internally displaced people in Central Africa (5.5 million of them in Congo-Kinshasa) are not getting the support they need. The article’s author proposes to address this on the regional level, by adopting a protocol, a legally binding instrument. This protocol “must include a number of articles dedicated to stringent enforcement of the provisions of the Kampala Convention” which, on a continent-wide level, deals with the return, relocation or resettlement of IDPs but lacks an enforcement mechanism.

South Africa: State of the art technology was used to make Gwakwani in the extreme north of Limpopo province South Africa’s first smart rural village. The village only has 70 to 100 inhabitants. Beyond stating what was done (diesel borehole pumps replaced by solar borehole pumps; a network of taps and tanks installed; solar lights installed in villagers’ homes and solar streetlights installed; a solar bakery built; large cold storage units were; a solar-powered crèche built), the article does not tell anything about concrete results – you get almost nothing but hot air.

Equatorial Guinea: Ruslan Obiang Nsue, one of the president’s sons, is thought to have illegally sold a plane of the national airline to a Canary Island company. The 74-seater turboprop “had gone missing last year while undergoing routine maintenance in Spain”.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 10:14

Congo-Kinshasa: After the UN troops, the East Africa regional force is the target of protests in Goma. It is being accused of “inaction”. Tear gas and live bullets have been fired at the protesters.
BBC Africa Live 18 January 2023. 11:03