1Gambians have Been Gripped by Revelations of their Past
The day Malick Jatta confessed to shooting one of Gambia’s best-known journalists, he wore the camouflage uniform of the armed forces and said the kill order came right from the former president. The testimony was streamed live, and tens of thousands watched.Officials have been methodically interviewing killers and victims, eliciting testimony into the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of people. Central to their effort is a live feed that sends that testimony through YouTube, Facebook, television and radio — directly into phones and homes around the country. In Gambia, an overwhelmingly young and quickly urbanizing nation that now has one of the highest rates of mobile phone use in Africa, listeners stretch from the capital, Banjul, into the countryside and abroad to the diaspora. Many have been devastated by the testimony; others doubt its veracity.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
2Police’s Hands Full with Spread of Violence in South Africa
The South African Police Service says 91 people had been arrested in and around Johannesburg over the past two days amidst a spate of violence and looting of shops owned by foreign nationals. The violence started in Pretoria last week, following an apparent shooting of a taxi driver by a drug dealer. Several shops were looted and burnt, leaving a trail of destruction in South Africa’s volatile capital city. The violence and looting soon spread to Johannesburg where more foreign-owned shops were looted. Police officials say the irresponsible “use and abuse of social media” also played a part in fuelling the violence. The suspects face crimes including public violence, malicious damage to property and theft. The Zambian government last week issued a travel advisory, warning its truck drivers to avoid travelling on South Africa’s major routes on Monday, amid threats of violence in the haulage sector targeting foreigners.
SOURCE: THE SOUTH AFRICAN
3Building Africa’s Population of Researchers
Postdoctoral training is vital for new PhD graduates. This is a period of “apprenticeship” for a newly-minted researcher to hone their skills in a research environment. Yet, very few African universities offer postdoctoral training, primarily due to a lack of mentorship. There are simply not always enough senior, qualified faculty staff—those with PhDs—who can provide the necessary support. And even if they are able to get postdoctoral places at African institutions, young early career researchers from the continent face four main challenges. First, they lack access to resources at their home institutions. Second, they haven’t been properly trained in grant writing, an essential skill for accessing competitive funding for their research. Third, they lack mentors or supervisors. And finally, postdoctoral positions tend to be poorly paid. The continent needs to develop its capacity for globally competitive postdoctoral training, as this is essential to promoting scientific and research excellence and leadership. These globally competitive scientists are key to transforming universities into research hubs equipped with skilled staff to mentor the next generation of well-trained scientists to feed ongoing knowledge-based African economies.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
4Zimbabweans Rely on Tesla to Keep the Lights On
Amid power outages of as long as 18 hours a day, Econet Wireless Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile-phone operator, is turning to the Palo Alto, California-based automaker and storable-energy company for batteries that can keep its base stations running. The southern African country faces chronic shortages of physical cash, so almost all transactions are done digitally, and many via mobile phones. The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has participated to date. With Econet having about 1,300 base stations in the country and two other mobile-phone companies operating there, Distributed Power intends to install more batteries and could eventually roll the project out to other power-starved countries in Africa, such as Zambia, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said. Base stations in Zimbabwe often use diesel-fired generators as backup, but fuel is also scarce in the country. The Powerwalls, which cost $6,500 each, will step in when solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity because it’s night or when heavily overcast. The lithium-ion batteries can power a station for as long as 10 hours, according to Econet. They are charged by the sun. Tesla is working with a number of telecommunications companies around the world and sees a combination of solar panels and battery storage as a good opportunity to expand its business in countries and areas where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent.
5Famous Kenyan Park Closes after Tragedy
At least six people have been killed and one person is missing in Kenya after flash floods at a national park swept away their tour group, according to authorities. The incident on Sunday occurred at Hell’s Gate National Park in the Rift Valley region, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on its Twitter account. The group included five Kenyan tourists, a local guide and a non-resident whose nationality was not disclosed. Two survivors from the group alerted park rangers, who sent out a search party. The park is famous for its steam plumes from geothermal activity under its ground, and in areas adjacent to it, the steam is harnessed to generate electricity. Established in 1984, the park is home to three geothermal stations. Gorges in the park are prone to flash floods and have in the past killed visitors. In 2012, floods killed seven who were part of a church group on a trek.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
6Creating Safe Spaces for South African Men to Talk
Kabelo Chabalala launched the Young Men Movement, a nonprofit support group creating safe spaces for men to talk about their feelings. Members participate in open discussions designed to restore “a safe environment for women,” he says. This involves having open debates around self-awareness, exploring how the men behave and how they carry themselves. They learn that “you are not less of a man if you say ‘I am sorry,'” said Chabalala. “We play board games, Scrabble, chess. We also try to make it fun.” These safe spaces have now been rolled out in schools and other community venues such as local churches and gardens in the town. According to Chabalala, the Young Men Movement is a direct response to the crisis of masculinity today as societal norms, such as those around sexuality, demand conflicting behaviors from men. The global rate of femicide for 2015 was 2.4 per 100,000 women. In comparison, South Africa’s rate for the same year was 9.6 per 100,000 women according to a 2018 report by Statistics South Africa.
7Ivorian Artist’s Send Off Turns Sour
Ivorian police have detained 12 people as part of an investigation into the desecration of DJ Arafat’s tomb after fans opened the musician’s coffin to take pictures of him shortly after his burial, according to officials. The incident took place on Saturday following an overnight funeral concert at Abidjan’s main stadium, where tens of thousands paid tribute to the singer who died aged 33 in a motorbike crash last month. Events took a dark turn when fans tried to enter the Williamsville cemetery where the singer’s family had given him a private burial, prompting clashes with police. Several made it past security, forced open the fresh grave and coffin, and took photos and videos they then shared on social media. According to witnesses, police fired teargas to disperse the crowd and several people were injured.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
8What $2,000-a-Month Will Get You in Africa’s 10 Biggest Cities
Africa’s real estate industry is flourishing on a daily basis. However, in recent times, various factors, most of which are economic-based, have caused rents to skyrocket. This has increasingly made it difficult for many people to secure decent accommodations, especially in Africa’s largest cities. The houses sampled are mostly in upmarket areas of the city, where you are guaranteed to live in a secure and well-developed neighborhood, complete with top-notch facilities and easy access to social amenities spending $2,000 rent in Africa per month. An exclusive 3-bedroom apartment in Ikoyi, an exclusive Lagos suburb. A plush 6th of October City in Bamboo Palm Hills Compound, Cairo offers a stunning 3-bedroom apartment. Situated in the plush neighborhood of Lavington in Nairobi, you can rent this 4-bedroom triplex townhouse that is set on 3 levels and commands excellent views of the surroundings. Kinshasa is known as one of Africa’s most expensive cities, with rents hitting the roof in a majority of good neighborhoods in the city. Located in the upmarket neighborhood of Gombe in Kinshasa’s Central Business District, this luxury 2-bedroom apartment lies in a spacious compound that consists of 4 flats per floor.
9Rewriting Sudan’s History
After the battle on the streets, comes the battle for their names. Campaigners in Sudan have been unofficially renaming public spaces and roads in the capital Khartoum after those people killed in the uprising that started in December last year. “Changing the names of the streets means documenting our revolution. People will keep remembering the martyrs for thousands of years,” said Mohamed Hannen, from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), one of the main pro-democracy groups. “We are also changing the … ideology and building a new Sudan with new names of the streets, and a new way of thinking.” The initiative comes against a backdrop of frustration among young people at the compromises forced on the pro-democracy movement by the military rulers who took power in the aftermath of Bashir’s fall.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
10Eco-friendly Surf Shop Starts New Wave
A lack of infrastructure and education surrounding proper waste disposal in the Senegalese capital has resulted in piles of litter inundating the city’s streets and beaches. Babacar Thiaw, in 1970 by Thiaw’s father, is taking matters into his own hands by turning his restaurant into a waste-free haven. It’s the first of its kind in the region. Thiaw has spent the past year working with local conservation groups to transition his business into a zero-waste restaurant. He hopes other beachside restaurants will follow suit. At the official launch of Thiaw’s newly transitioned restaurant, attendees could read any of the roughly dozen plaques that described the steps Copacabana has taken to reduce waste. Plastic straws were abandoned in favor of those made from metal and bamboo, and a refillable water jug had replaced the 100 bottles customers used to consume each week. The restaurant also switched from disposable napkins to reusable fabric, and instead of cleaning with harmful chemicals, they use natural soaps and vinegar. Leftover food is composted. Copacabana also eliminated its single-use pods to make coffee. But it’s a radical idea in a country where the typical person uses multiple plastic cups throughout the day to drink tea – a treasured ritual – and consumes water in small plastic sachets. Despite having a relatively small population of 15 million, Senegal is one of the world’s largest contributors to plastic pollution.