Africa Top10 News

1Sudanese Women Get a Seat at the Table

Sudanese Women

In a solemn ceremony in Khartoum, Sudan, 11 people placed their hands on Korans to be sworn in to lead the country. The moment was historic for many reasons, including the group’s composition — the council includes two women. The representation raises expectations that women will be granted additional rights and minority groups of all types will be given a voice in a new Sudan. Hopes are resting with women such as Ayesha Musa Saeed, an educator and longtime women’s rights activist named to be one of six civilians on the sovereign council. The other woman on the council, Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh, is a Coptic Christian. Some observers hope she can be a voice for the many ethnic and religious minorities who were persecuted under Bashir. 


2Testing Uganda’s Freedom of Speech

Uganda's Freedom of Speech

A Ugandan student living in the US is suing President Yoweri Museveni for blocking him on Twitter after he referred to the head of state as “a dictator” and said he had to go. In the lawsuit, Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya, a global youth ambassador and master’s student of international relations at Harvard University, contends that by blocking him on Twitter, Museveni bars him from online conversation. It leaves him unable to see or respond to tweets on the president’s official handle which is used as a public forum to disseminate information relating to the activities of his public office in his official capacity and to get feedback from citizens. Seguya has petitioned the civil division of the high court in the capital, Kampala, to declare Museveni’s action as illegal, procedurally improper, unreasonable and irrational. The case comes less than a month after Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan women’s rights activist who branded Yoweri Museveni “a dirty, delinquent dictator” and “a pair of buttocks”, received an 18-month jail sentence for cyber harassment against the president. She was acquitted of a charge of offensive communication.


3The Woman Keeping the Health of Rwanda’s Endangered Gorillas in Check

Rwanda's Endangered Gorillas

Elisabeth Nyirakaragire is not just the first female vet treating the precious mountain gorillas in Rwanda but she is the first vet to work with the mammals. Being the first and the oldest veterinarian for mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the 56 year old doctor, is still passionate and determined to spend the next few years taking care of the mountain gorillas. When Nyirakaragire began her job in 1987, the mountain gorilla population of the Virunga Massif was estimated to include only 240 individuals, with 4 habituated tourist groups. Today, there are an estimated 1000 gorillas in the Virunga Massif with 12 habituated tourist groups. Nyirakaragire is a proud to have contributed to the survival and the growth of the mountain gorillas, whose status has recently changed from being “critically endangered” to just “endangered” species.


4The Main Transit Route for Cheetah-trafficking in the Horn of Africa


Some 300 young cheetahs are trafficked out of Somaliland every year — around the same number as the entire population of adult and adolescent cheetahs in unprotected areas in the Horn of Africa, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). The animals are smuggled across Somaliland’s porous border, then stowed away in cramped crates or cardboard boxes on boats and sent across the Gulf of Aden towards their final destination: the Arabian Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of these cheetahs end up in Gulf Arab mansions, where Africa’s most endangered big cats are flaunted as status symbols of the ultra-rich and paraded around in social media posts, according to CCF and trafficking specialists. As the world’s fastest land mammal, cheetahs need space to run and a special diet. Vets says most Gulf owners do not know how to care for the cats, and the majority of captive cheetahs die within a year or two.


5A Fund Created by African Children to Help their Peers

African Children

Brain Squad, a group of five Nigerian girls, has invented an app that helps less privileged children go to school. Ivana Mordi, Munachi Chigbo, Jadesola Kassim, Ayomikun Ariyo and Pandora Onyedire came up with this idea when studies showed that over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria, with problems mainly from poverty. The app, Handsout, won the People’s Choice award at this year’s global Technovation competition in Silicon Valley, California. More than 19,000 teenage girls were featured. Handsout allows people all over the world to easily donate to Nigerian children and their families to help them pay for school fees, stationary and medication. BrainSquad is partnering with financial institutions to open a trust to handle all cash donations and are looking to partner with organizations and foundations to select the recipients as well as logistic companies to assist with transportation of any non-cash donations to designated communities. Handsout is a hub for children by children where donors’ funds can be directed to the children who need it, using charities like International Women’s Society (IWS) and Slum2School. Credible NGOs who work directly with children and orphanages around Nigeria

6Is this How Kenyan Athletes Become so Fast?

Kenyan Athletes

Al Jazeera says it has uncovered doping among Kenyan athletes, training alongside some of the world’s top runners. The country’s officials say they are doing their best to stop it. But banned drugs – such as the blood-booster EPO – are easily available, their use is an open secret. Kenya suffered international embarrassment in 2016 when a string of doping scandals brought the country famed for its distance runners within a whisker of disqualification from the Rio Olympics. Between 2004 and August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a World Anti-Doping Agency report published in September 2018. The report concluded that nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, corticosteroids and EPO were the substances most used by local athletes. However it found there was “no evidence of an institutionalised system” of doping in Kenya.


7Gambia Mourns its Founding Father

Dawda Kairaba Jawara

Dawda Kairaba Jawara, Gambia’s first post-independence president who led the West African country for 24 years before being deposed in a 1994 coup, has died at the age of 95. The office of President Adama Barrow, whose election in 2016 brought an end to the rule of the army officer who toppled Jawara, Yahya Jammeh, hailed the late president as “an elder statesman” and Gambia’s “founding father”. A veterinarian by training, Jawara in 1959 founded the Protectorate People’s Party, later rechristened the People’s Progressive Party, which emerged as the dominant political force following independence from Britain in 1965. He served as prime minister from 1962-70, as the newly-independent Gambia, a sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River and Atlantic coast surrounded by Senegal, remained a constitutional monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II. In 1970, Gambia adopted a republican constitution by referendum and Jawara was elected its first president. Over the next two decades, he presided over a multi-party political system in a region plagued by authoritarian rule and frequent civil unrest.


8Transforming the Fate of a Community Ravaged by War

Marial Ajith community

Marial Ajith community in northwestern South Sudan is very fertile and has plenty of rivers and basins. Agricultural production used to be high and vegetables were exported from the region to the rest of South Sudan. Years of conflict, however, made this area a dangerous place to harvest the land; many people left their homes and lost their livelihoods. But with FAO’s help the community is doing its part to realize the area’s potential. In late 2018, FAO started helping mothers enhance and diversify the diets of their children to fight malnutrition. To complement their diet over the long term, FAO provided investment vouchers to every family in the community to buy a minimum of three goats and five chickens. With the training they received, they can now get milk from goats and eggs from chickens and sell their surplus. Women’s skills in farming as a business have improved, and so has their income, filling the current local production gap and demand for vegetables, which were mainly imported from neighbouring countries before.


9Kenyan Inventor of 1st Flying Taxi in Africa

Morris Mbetsa

Morris Mbetsa, a 28-year-old Kenyan, surprised many with his ingenious invention, of Africa’s first flying taxi. He joined the exclusive club of renown aeronautical engineers with his giant leap to the sky, in 2018, when he came up with a drone big enough to fly passengers. Mbetsa acknowledged that his interest in technology, started as far back as to when he was six years old, when he realized that he had a knack for technology. He began his dream of flying taxis when he realized that the developed countries were not planning to share this innovation with Africa. The electrically powered drone can carry one passenger for up to 25 minutes at a speed of over 120 kilometres per hour with an elevation between 10 and 30 feet above the ground level. More than one way has been designed to fly this impressive invention. One can manually fly it or control it using a remote control. Mbetsa also affirmed that he, together with his team, were working on an air traffic control system, to enhance communication between all the flying taxis while on a flight.


10South Africa’s Capital on Edge

Pretoria CBD

Chaos descended on parts of the Pretoria CBD on Wednesday as foreign-owned shops were looted and burned by a mob that was on a mission to rid the city of drug dealers. The morning started with taxi drivers blocking several roads in the CBD, protesting against the shooting of one of their own on Tuesday. After the shops were looted, they were set alight. Police officers and firefighters were eventually forced to retreat as the looting continued. A large police contingent finally moved into the area firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Taxi drivers said they had taken to the streets on Wednesday to rid the CBD of drug dealers – targeting mostly foreign nationals. This came after a taxi driver was shot and killed on Tuesday after taxi operators allegedly found the police were involved in drug dealing.