1Scientists Discover New Species in a Secret Rainforest in Africa
The Guardian speaks to a team comprising biologists, logistical crew, plant experts, and researchers on their first expedition to Mount Lico in Mozambique that took place last month. The dream team was led by Dr Julian Bayliss, who was looking at satellite imagery from Google Earth when he spotted an undisturbed tropical rainforest in Africa. The project is an academic partnership between 13 universities, museums and research institutions on three continents, funding was split by Ranulph Fiennes’s Transglobe Expedition Trust, UK-based Biocensus, as well as the African Butterfly Research Institute. At the end of the 10-day excursion, scientists confirmed a new species of butterfly and will reveal a line-up of potential new species in the months to come.
SOURCES: The Guardian
2A Unique Voice in Tunisia
Bouhdid Belhedi is the director of Shams Rad base in the capital, Tunis. The station operates in an environment that has since reformed after the Arab Spring, but still has its share of oppression. The 25-year-old showed the BBC around his office space that has been converted into what he calls “the Arab world’s first LGBT radio station”. It’s small but provides enough room for seven contributors and the corridors are painted in the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag. In six months the station has 10,000 listeners each week across 15 countries, and is streamed online and live via YouTube six days a week.
SOURCES: BBC Africa
3She Took on South Africa’s Closed Financial Services Industry now its Corruption
Last year was a big year for Magda Wierzycka. The finance PR guru shook up the finance world, as the Sygnia CEO, by introducing passive management to the country, disclosing all costs to clients and slashing fees by 70 to 80 percent. In 2017 she became the talk of the town again, this time in investigative journalist form after revealing a succession of scandals that ultimately led to the collapse of the Zuma government. She tells Ozy that when most business leaders “buried their heads in the sand, I decided to take an active stance.”
4African Migrants Receive the Welcome They’ve Been Longing For
Over the weekend Spain welcomed three ships with about 600 migrants aboard, more than a week after they had been rescued at sea only to be turned away by Italy and Malta. Arriving separately, the Aquarius, a rescue ship, and two Italian Navy vessels docked at the port of Valencia. The ships originally picked up the migrants — including pregnant women and children — from six rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya. Some of the migrants are expected to be transferred to France. The incident has underlined the deep divisions in Europe over how to handle an influx of migrants mostly from the Middle East and Africa.
SOURCES: New York Times, BBC, CNN, VOA
5Improving the Construction Sector in Uganda
Kampala has emerged as a building zone where government officials and building developers mostly get it right – even if this bustling capitol also faces extreme pressure from population growth and a housing shortage. According to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the capital alone has an estimated need of 500,000 new housing units each year. With this kind of boom in demand for residential and commercial construction, the sector requires that each work is up to standards to avoid accidents or incidences of buildings collapsing. The country has a set of legal framework and industry policies that guide all stakeholders.
6Why it can’t Be Business As Usual for Those Outside of Conflict Zones
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel Chikwanine has experienced civil war. The DRC has one of the world’s largest populations of child soldiers, Unicef estimates that up to 30,000 children are forced to serve various armed groups as soldiers, sexual slaves and labourers. Forced by these circumstances to leave his home country at the age of 11 as a refugee, Michel has since travelled to 35 African countries, witnessing firsthand the problems faced by the developing world. He believes that the international community is normalising war and not placing enough emphasis on attaining peace in order to heal many others like him.
7The Woman Taking on Togo’s Dynasty
Farida Nabourema has been fighting for democracy in her country at a high price; she’s had to sacrifice her family, friends and her safety. Nabourema has lived in exile from Togo for 10 years after speaking out against the regime of Faure Gnassingbé, whose family has ruled the West African nation for more than 50 years. “When I look at all the sacrifices that were made for us to get this far, from my grandfather’s generation to my father’s and now to mine, I am filled with gratitude and hope.” She tells CNN how her talks against the Togolese government have caused trouble when appealing in some African countries, but enthused when she sees that citizens are standing their ground for divergent voices.
8Morocco Failed to Convince Africans to Vote for its World Cup Bid
Despite its projection of a united front for “another African World Cup” Morocco only scored 65 votes, against the winning 134 votes for the North American bid, and needed the 54 votes held by Africa’s federations to stand a fighting chance. Some of the opposition stemmed from a four-decade old territory dispute; Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony in 1975. South Africa, the first African country to host the World Cup in 2010, has had a strained relationship with Morocco since 2004 when it recognized the Western Sahara’s independence. Similarly, Namibia voted against Morocco’s bid saying “it will never support nor align itself with a colonizer”.
SOURCES: Quartz Africa, EWN
9Here’s why Zimbabwe’s Elections are Easy to Predict
The country’s divided opposition could bolster the long-ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front’s (Zanu PF) chances of victory. Twenty-three candidates – the highest number in the country’s election history – are in the running for the presidential race after failing to agree over the allocation of parliamentary seats. A lecturer from the University of Zimbabwe, Eldred Masunungure says “It’s not the number of candidates that’s worrying but the phenomenon of rebels who are insisting on standing without the blessing of their parties.” However, presidential candidates like Lovemore Madhuku say they are in the election to introduce an alternative voice, “We are fed up with … having two dominant parties that are simply doing nothing except fighting each other”.
10The Deaf Community’s Expectations aren’t Met in Ghana
In 1957, Andrew Foster, an African American missionary, arrived in Ghana to establish a school for the deaf. Six decades later, the Ghana National Association of the Deaf is concerned by a lack of schools for students and limited availability of technical resources for the deaf. None of the 14 schools for the deaf in Ghana provides listening devices, such as hearing aids, or speech therapy. This makes people more reliant on sign language, which is rarely used outside of specialist schools. Deaf Ghanaians are often unable to communicate with their neighbours and their parents are unable to understand their deaf children’s basic needs.
SOURCES: AL Jazeera