1Johnny Clegg’s Death Adds to List of South African Icons who Have Passed
President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to music legend Johnny Clegg, who died on Tuesday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three-and-a-half years ago. “It is our collective sadness of the country to also have learned of the passing away of Johnny Clegg, known to many of us as Juluka Johnny, who was one of the early persons in the country to demonstrate the reality of not only social cohesion but cultural integration.” Mr. Clegg had pancreatic cancer, his manager Roddy Quin told the state broadcaster. Sometimes called the “White Zulu,” Mr. Clegg was a British-born singer whose multiracial bands attracted an international following during the era of white minority rule in South Africa. He crafted hits inspired by Zulu and township harmonies, as well as folk and other influences. One of his best-known songs is “Asimbonanga,” which means “We’ve never seen him” in Zulu. It refers to South Africans during apartheid when images of then-imprisoned Mandela were banned. Mandela was released in 1990 after 27 years in prison and became South Africa’s first black president in democratic elections four years later. Introducing the Presidency’s budget vote debate, Ramaphosa also recognised the late ANC veteran Lesiba “Ike” Maphoto and the actress Nomhle Nkonyeni. He also paid tribute to soccer star Marc Batchelor and former Springbok rugby player, James Small.
2Nigeria’s Gains in an Immunological War
Two years ago, the country had just over 3 million people with HIV, second in the world only to South Africa. Roughly 8 percent of all the HIV-positive people in the world lived in Nigeria, which has less than 3 percent of the world’s overall population. It wasn’t a hopeless fight. There were antiretroviral treatments available for the disease, after all, but many Nigerians weren’t getting them. Instead, many were refusing to get tested at all, and those who did were often kicked out of family homes or ostracized socially, and didn’t have much access to treatment or support. In 2016, only about 10 percent of Nigerians said they had ever taken an HIV test. According to this year’s Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, the number has dropped to 1.9 million by an active drive fo counseling and testing. Antiretroviral therapy sites in the country doubled between 2012 and 2014, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS, while sites focused on preventing mother-to-child transmission increased eightfold.
3UK Visa Issues Leave Bitter Taste with Africans
British MPs have warned that the UK visitor visa system is “broken” and doing “severe damage” to UK-Africa relations. The problems faced by experts trying to visit the UK are so widespread that many Africans believe the Home Office to be prejudiced against them and deliberately trying to reduce visitor numbers. After six months taking evidence from people working across a range of sectors, cross-party parliamentary groups for Africa, Malawi and diaspora, development and migration report that UK visitor visas are “inaccessible to many Africans, under-resourced, unaccountable and widely perceived as biased or even discriminating against Africans”. One problem faced by visa applicants was being required to travel hundreds of miles simply to apply for a visa. Another was financial discrimination, such as people being rejected because they don’t have enough money in their bank accounts. This was given as a refusal reason even where all expenses were being paid by British sponsors. The lack of an appeals system was also cited as a major problem, meaning that the only way to challenge a refusal is to begin again with a costly new application.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
4Placing Education Above Differences
Cameroon’s civil society groups are urging young people to return to schools in the country’s volatile English-speaking regions. Most schools in the two regions have been closed because of attacks and kidnappings stemming from the war between separatists and the military. The back-to-school campaign is being carried out by associations of traditional rulers, clergy, parents and members of Cameroon’s national assembly. An estimated 80 percent of the schools in the north and southwest have been closed since separatists began their uprising in 2017, citing the alleged overbearing use of French in the African country. The only schools still open are in big towns such as Bamenda, capital of the northwest region, and Buea, capital of the southwest region, where there is relative calm. Cameroon’s minister of secondary education, Nalova Lyonga, praised children and teachers who want to brave the crisis and return to schools in their villages.
5Big Returns For Businesses In Rutenderi Thanks To New Mini-Grid
A new 50kW mini-grid in the village of Rutenderi in eastern Rwanda, has kick-started the local economy and is beginning to transform the sleepy rural village into a productive hub. The new mini-grid was formally launched on 16 May 2019 and is now making electricity accessible to the whole village, including its 560 households and 36 businesses. The new mini-grid was commissioned by Absolute Energy, an off-grid utility developer that specialises in renewable energy solutions for businesses in Africa. Energy 4 Impact is a key partner of Absolute Energy, providing the expertise to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the newly available source of power. Energy 4 Impact helps businesses to realise the benefits of having a reliable source of energy and supports them in developing new lines and activities. This in turn gives a boost to the economic and social development of the whole village as new products and services become available. The company is mentoring eight micro enterprises in the village, six of which are now connected to the new mini-grid: two millers, a popcorn maker, a bar, a welder, and tailor. A video showroom and a carpenter will soon be connected. Energy 4 Impact business mentors help them to see the opportunities of using electricity to make their businesses more efficient, cut costs and diversify.
6The Uphill Battle of Recovering From War
Sierra Leone is on the road to recovery after years of civil war, but the ruinous effects of the conflict continue to be felt. Nearly half of the population is illiterate, drinking water is scarce, and electricity is practically non-existent. While there have been improvements in the country’s infrastructure, daily life for most people is still a struggle. After Fatimata’s husband died a few years ago, her brother’s friend agreed to house her and her seven children. The whole family lives in a single 10sq metres sized room in the ramshackle house. To make a living, they work together in a stone quarry, breaking down granite into gravel. Around 100 men and women toil away in the quarry every day. Their fate rests in the hands of the foreman who has taken advantage of the country’s reconstruction and subsequent demand for gravel. But the slightest challenge to his authority can lead to their dismissal, and put their livelihoods at risk.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
7Is this a Historic Moment for Sudan’s Transition?
Sudan’s ruling military council and opposition leaders have signed a power-sharing accord after all-night talks. The deal lacks crucial details which are expected to be debated on Friday. The two sides have agreed to rotate control of the sovereign council for just over three years. That council will be made of five civilians, five military figures, and an 11th civilian, to be chosen by the 10 members. A military general will be in charge of that council for the first 21 months, then a civilian will lead for the following 18 months, followed by elections. They also agreed that there will be a cabinet in which the prime minister will be chosen by the protesters and two key posts – defence and interior minister – will be nominated by the military. The military has been pushing for immunity from prosecution after protesters’ deaths, but this is absent from the signed deal. It does, however, promise an investigation into the violence.SOURCE: BBC
8Clampdown on Sports Betting in Kenya
Kenya has ordered the deportation of 17 foreign directors of betting firms operating in Kenya, the interior ministry said on Wednesday, almost a week after ordering telecoms firm Safaricom to stop processing payments for sports betting firms. Online sports betting companies such as SportPesa have grown rapidly in the East African nation in recent years, riding a wave of enthusiasm for sports, with the government putting their combined revenue at $2 billion last year, up from the previous year. However, that has raised government concern about the social impact of betting. In May, the country introduced new gambling regulations, including banning advertising outdoors and on social media. The gaming companies rely largely on Safaricom’s popular M-Pesa financial digital mobile platform to take bets, communicate with users and process payments. Each betting firm is assigned a unique number, known as a pay-bill, which is used to process payments from users who place bets on their mobile phones and to pay off those who win.SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
9In the Hot Seat: Zuma’s Day 3 at Zondo Commission
South Africa’s deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Wednesday adjourned until Friday morning a public inquiry into state corruption, after lawyers Zuma’s lawyers said he was being questioned unfairly. “Chair I hear you, and I appreciate what you’re saying, but I’m really being cross-examined very thoroughly on the details. And I don’t know how come,” Zuma told the chairman of the inquiry. Zuma’s lawyers have argued that the inquiry’s lawyers should not cross-examine the former president because they say evidence given by other witnesses does not directly implicate Zuma in corruption and fraud. Zuma’s lawyers told Zondo that the former president, who has been testifying since Monday, had been brought to the inquiry under “false pretenses” because he was being cross-examined, whereas he thought he would only have to answer straightforward points of clarity.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
10Afrobeats and Gqom Featured in New Lion King Soundtrack
The tracklist for the ‘The Lion King: The Gift’ has been revealed ahead of the film’s release on Friday, July 19, 2019. The 14-song album features original Beyoncé tracks and collaborations with other artists. Beyonce said in a statement said the collaborations with African musicians were important because the film is set in Africa and “authenticity and heart were important to [her].” “This is a new experience of storytelling. I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film. It is a mixture of genres and collaboration that isn’t one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop, and Afro Beat.” Nigerian pop stars Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi perform the song Keys to the Kingdom, with the latter also appearing alongside fellow Nigerians Tekno and Yemi Alade on Don’t Jealous Me. Nigeria’s Burna Boy has a solo track, Ja Ara E, while Cameroonian artist Salatiel appears alongside Beyoncé and Pharrell on Water. Other African artists include Nigeria’s Wizkid, Ghana’s Shatta Wale, and South Africa’s Busiswa and Moonchild Sanelly.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA