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African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

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Queer African Reader

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China and Angola

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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
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Africa: Urban Africa - just how accurate are the numbers

2012-11-07, Issue 605

Rapid urbanisation is being portrayed – by the UN, the World Bank and many others – as a potential developmental 'silver bullet' for Africa. Cities, we are frequently told, will be the drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction on the continent in the years to come. At present, such claims are too simplistic, and counter-productively over-optimistic, states this article from Africa Review.

Zimbabwe: Water pollution problem for Harare

2012-11-13, Issue 605

Studies have revealed that residents of Zimbabwe's capital Harare literally drink their waste. A government owned newspaper at the weekend described pollution levels at Harare's water source – Lake Chivero – as comparable to a 'sewage pond'. It said recent tests on water samples detected about 2mg/l (two milligrammes in every litre of water) of phosphates or human and animal waste, exceeding the 0,5mg/l recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

South Africa: The psychological strain of living in Tin Can Town

2012-10-31, Issue 604

A recent academic study has identified a range of mental health disorders suffered by shack dwellers in South Africa's Western Cape Province, from chronic insomnia to low self-esteem. The study, 'The Impact of Living in Transitional Communities; The Experiences of People in Blikkiesdorp and Happy Valley', was conducted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Because of budget considerations, the study was constrained to two settlements.

Africa: Partners join forces against acute malnutrition and stunting

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Efforts to tackle the silent emergency of acute and chronic malnutrition in Africa will receive additional traction this week when the African Union and partners join forces in Addis Ababa to celebrate the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security. The high-level event on 31 October which will be opened by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. More than 30 percent of all children under five in sub-Saharan Africa are suffering from stunted growth due to chronic malnutrition.

South Africa: Racial income inequality persists, census shows

2012-10-30, Issue 603

South Africa’s first census in a decade shows wealth disparities between race groups that persist 18 years after the end of apartheid. While incomes for black households increased an average 169 percent over 10 years, their annual earnings are 60,613 rand ($6,987), or a sixth of that for whites, Statistics South Africa said in a report released in Cape Town. About 80 percent of South Africa’s 51.8 million population is black.

DRC: DRC has high malnutrition rate: Unicef

2012-10-30, Issue 603

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest rate of malnutrition in central and west Africa, affecting 43 percent of children under five, UNICEF said. In central Africa, 'some countries have a rate of chronic malnutrition which is still alarming,' Marianne Flach, the representative of the UN children's agency in Congo, said at the opening of a regional workshop on reducing malnutrition. At least 75 experts from different countries in central Africa came to take part in the workshop, which will continue until Thursday in a northern suburb of Brazzaville.

Southern Africa: Food shortages worsen

2012-10-30, Issue 603

The UN deputy humanitarian chief says food shortages are 'a chronic problem' in southern Africa. More than 5.5 million people in eight countries need aid this year, a 40% increase compared to 2011, said Catherine Bragg. Bragg, winding up a five-day southern Africa trip over the weekend, said worsening food shortages are the result of drought or floods and rising world food prices.

South Africa: Great disparity in lives of SA children

2012-10-18, Issue 602

South African children have equal rights under the Constitution, but the worlds into which they are born and their opportunities in life are very unequal. This was the message Katharine Hall, senior researcher at the Children’s Institute (CI) at the University of Cape Town shared at the launched the South African Child Gauge 2012, an annual review on the state of South Africa's children.

Cameroon: Students and researchers evaluate the welfare system

2012-10-23, Issue 602

Welfare Systems are rapidly evolving in Sub-Saharan Africa, with some countries having implemented systems allowing evaluation of measures taken several decades ago. Students and researchers from Cameroon have closely examined social public policies and private sector initiatives in their country, as reports Global Voices.

Tunisia: Unemployed revolutionaries head to Europe

2012-10-11, Issue 601

The revolution last year brought a dramatic increase in the number of migrants heading for Italian shores after the Tunisia's security forces reduced their patrols. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 27,000 Tunisians arrivals on Lampedusa out of a total of 60,000 - including those fleeing the Libyan war and migrants from other countries. A crackdown by Italian authorities has meant that this year, many less have successfully made the journey to the island with about 3,300 migrants from all nationalities arriving between January and June.

South Africa: Report shows sorry state of South Africa's prisons

2012-10-15, Issue 601

The correctional services department owes about R1.3-billion in damages to prisoners and former inmates for bodily injury and rape while in prison. A recent report by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Jics) – the government-appointed oversight body – identified R71-million in wasteful expenditure and R215-million in irregular expenditure. There also appears to be confusion over how many prisons exist in South Africa. According to the department's annual report, there are 243 correctional centres, but according to the report there are 236. The department has not explained the discrepancy.

Zambia: Minimum wage leads to steep food price rises

2012-10-03, Issue 600

The euphoria that greeted the government’s imposition of minimum wage increases has quickly soured, with prices of food and other essential commodities escalating as higher wage costs are passed onto consumers. In July 2012, President Michael Sata’s government upped the minimum monthly salary in line with the 2011 election promise of “more money in the pocket” for poorly paid workers. Wages for domestic workers increased from US$30 to about $105, while general workers such as office orderlies, shop assistants, sweepers and farmworkers saw their monthly earnings more than quadruple from $50 to $220. In the past month, the cost of 25kg bag of the staple ground maize meal has increased by $1 to $8.50, while other farm produce prices have also risen.

Sudan: State of Sudanese children report

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Sudanese Children 2011 report, published jointly by the National Council of Child Welfare NCCW and UNICEF Sudan, shows Sudan’s progress in childhood indicators between 2006 and 2010, and outlines specific actions for every state that need to be taken in order to meet remaining challenges. 'The report is a call to fulfill children’s rights and provide welfare, protection and other services for every child. The growing awareness of communities on the child rights will support our efforts to improve the life of our children. Strengthening the concerned institutions at national and state levels is crucial for a joint action to guarantee the child rights in coordination with national and international partners,' says Fathelrahman Mohamed Babiker, NCCW Secretary General, officer-in-charge.

Niger: Child marriage rises due to hunger

2012-09-25, Issue 598

This drought-prone country of 16 million is so short on food that it is ranked dead last by international aid organization Save the Children in the percentage of children receiving a 'minimum acceptable diet'. The consequences are dire. A total of 51 per cent of children in Niger are stunted, according to a report published in July by Save the Children. The average height of a 2 1/2-year-old girl born here is around 3 inches (8 centimeters) shorter than what it should be for a child that age.

DRC: Two children may have died for you to have your mobile phone

2012-09-17, Issue 597

'It’s possible that two children died so that you could have that mobile phone,' says Jean-Bertin, a 34-year-old Congolese activist who wants to end the 'absolute silence' around the crimes committed in his country to exploit strategic raw materials like coltan. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has at least 64 per cent of worldwide reserves of coltan, the colloquial African name for a dull black ore composed of two minerals, columbite and tantalite.

South Africa: Welfare sector in crisis

2012-07-24, Issue 595

South Africa has mostly delegated the care of its poor and vulnerable to NGOs, but with funding drying up, these groups are struggling to keep their heads above water. This Mail&Guardian multimedia presentation provides a visual insight into the situation.

Africa: Record aid shortfall abandons millions to their fate

2012-07-25, Issue 595

Global funding for humanitarian aid interventions saw the biggest shortfalls in 10 years in 2011, according to a new report, raising questions about the international community’s ability to meet a 20-per cent greater need for 2012 driven by drought and conflict. The launch of the 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report last week coincided with the release of new mid-year data by the UN that scaled up earlier projections of humanitarian needs from 7.9 billion to 8.8 billion dollars for 2012.

South Africa: Education the only way to reverse inequality, says World Bank

2012-07-30, Issue 595

Inequalities in South Africa are threatening economic growth, with children born into poor families unlikely to ever to escape poverty or reap the rewards of living in Africa's largest economy. The World Bank's sobering assessment, released last week, found that a child's gender and ethnicity at birth, combined with a lack of education, largely determine that person's chances of success in life - even 18 years after the end of apartheid.

Madagascar: Teaching mothers to combat malnutrition

2012-07-18, Issue 594

Every Friday, mothers and their children gather at the community nutrition centre in the little village of Rantolava, 450 kilometres north east of Antananarivo, the Malagasy capital, to learn more about a healthy diet. The weekly workshops are part of the 3.5 million dollar National Community Nutrition Programme (PNNC) being implemented at 6,000 centres across the country. Madagascar is among the six countries suffering the worst rates of malnutrition in the world – half of all children under five on this large island nation suffer from chronic malnutrition, and diversifying their diet is a key element in the national programme.

Ghana: Understanding the roots of child labour

2012-07-18, Issue 594

Child labour is on the rise in Ghana, particularly in urban areas. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) 2012 State of the World’s Children Report, 34 per cent of Ghanaian children aged between five and 14 years are engaged in child labour – up from 23 per cent in 2003. Emilia Allan, a Child Protection Officer at UNICEF Ghana, noted that Kumasi alone makes up eight per cent of that figure.

Angola: The Chinese-built ghost town

2012-07-10, Issue 593

Perched in an isolated spot some 30km (18 miles) outside Angola's capital, Luanda, Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a brand-new mixed residential development of 750 eight-storey apartment buildings, a dozen schools and more than 100 retail units. Despite all the hype, nearly a year since the first batch of 2,800 apartments went on sale, only 220 have been sold. Apartments at Kilamba are being advertised online costing between $120,000 and $200,000 - well out of reach of the estimated two-thirds of Angolans who live on less than $2 a day.

Cameroon: Death of conjoined twins generates debate

2012-07-10, Issue 593

The death of rare conjoined twins in Cameroon last week stirred debate about society’s perception of the disabled and children with birth defects. While the government and nongovernmental organizations offered support to the twin’s family, community members and local leaders vary on whether they call the rare medical condition a gift or a curse, reports Global Press Institute.

Uganda: Parliamentarians seek to curb childbirth

2012-07-10, Issue 593

A Ugandan legislator has proposed to penalise Ugandans who give birth to many children, saying the unchecked population growth was outstripping the country's resources. Uganda has an annual growth rate of 3.1 per cent, but legislators say this is too high and should be slowed down. Parliamentarian, Peter Claver Mutuluuza called for enactment of a policy that would limit the number of children produced by Ugandans.

Kenya: Persistent violations of children's rights

2012-07-16, Issue 593

This page on the Child Rights Information Network highlights violations of child rights in Kenya. 'The violations highlighted are those issues raised with the State by more than one international mechanism. This is done with the intention of identifying children's rights which have been repeatedly violated, as well as gaps in the issues covered by NGOs in their alternative reports to the various human rights monitoring bodies.'

Ghana: Move to end child labour

2012-07-02, Issue 592

One in three children in Ghana are engaged in child labor, which is increasing in Africa. Ghana’s government, international organizations and local associations used the recent World Day Against Child Labor to pledge their commitment to getting children out of the workplace and into the classroom, reports Global Press Institute.

Burkina Faso: Children toil in gold mines

2012-07-08, Issue 592

Burkina Faso is enjoying something akin to a gold rush. The precious metal generates a huge amount of money for the government, but there is a downside to the boom. Of the thousands taking up work in illegal gold mines, many are children, often opting out of school to enjoy the meagre gains earned at mine pits.

Global: ILO seeks new global economic order

2012-06-13, Issue 589

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for a shift in the global economic paradigm. Director-General of the global job watch body, Juan Somavia, stressed the need to turn around the current inefficient growth patterns of world economy, for a redefinition of priorities and the political conviction to overcome the dogmas of the past. Somavia said 'there has been too much ideology in defining policies and too little human sensitivity to the individuals, families, communities. Too much financial, too little social.'

Global: 'Over 100m children subjected to worst forms of child labour'

2012-06-13, Issue 589

The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, has said more than half of the 215 million children working throughout the world are subjected to the worst forms of child labour, including sexual and labour exploitation. In a statement she issued in New York to mark the World Day Against Child Labour, Ms. Shahinian said one of the most abhorrent forms of child slavery is found in mining and quarrying, where children start work from the age of three.

Tunisia: Confronting social and economic challenges

2012-06-17, Issue 589

Formidable social and economic challenges threaten to undermine – or even halt – progress in Tunisia, despite the country’s positive transition to democracy. 'Tunisia: Confronting Social and Economic Challenges', the latest International Crisis Group report, shines a spotlight on the economic problems that largely were at the root of Tunisia’s uprising and that remain unresolved in its aftermath: rising unemployment, stark regional inequalities, smuggling and corruption.

Africa: The evolution of social welfare systems

2012-06-11, Issue 588

Considering the debate generated by healthcare reform in the United States and the gradual withdrawal of the French state from public-funded social action, one might think that social protection is an endangered idea. On the contrary, the right to security is an integral component of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 22) and an important part of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG), as conceived by the United Nations. This Global Voices blog examines social welfare systems in several African countries.

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