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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 459: Land grabs, food security and Africa's resource curse

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Pan-African Postcard, 5. Books & arts, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 10. Highlights French edition, 11. Highlights Portuguese edition, 12. Zimbabwe update, 13. Women & gender, 14. Human rights, 15. Refugees & forced migration, 16. Social movements, 17. Africa labour news, 18. Emerging powers news, 19. Elections & governance, 20. Corruption, 21. Development, 22. Health & HIV/AIDS, 23. Education, 24. 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, 25. Environment, 26. Land & land rights, 27. Food Justice, 28. Media & freedom of expression, 29. Conflict & emergencies, 30. Internet & technology, 31. Fundraising & useful resources, 32. Courses, seminars, & workshops

Help Pambazuka News become independent. Become a supporting subscriber by taking out a paid subscription. Donate $30 a year.

Highlights from this issue

- Khadija Sharife asks whether land is Africa's new ‘resource curse’
- Olivier De Schutter's contribution to the preparation of World Summit on Food Security Declaration
- Civil Society Organisations call for food sovereignty
- Henning Melber on the pathology of power and paranoia in Namibian politics
- Nikolaj Nielsen on Eritrea, alone against the world
+ more

- Public discussion with Pambazuka editors on online activism, hosted by Oxford Internet Institute

- Stage set for ICC intervention in Kenya
- Thoughts on Nyerere for young intellectuals
+ more

- Concerned about South Africa's genetically modified potato
- The kind of analysis Zimbabwe needs
+ more

- An interview with Masimba Musodza, pioneer in Rastafarian literature
+ more

AND LOTS MOREANNOUNCEMENT: Discussion on Internet and social activism in Africa
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Zuma appoints new Zimbabwe team
WOMEN & GENDER: Zimbabwe’s women and children on decline
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Congolese women live in fear of rape
HUMAN RIGHTS: Kenya on collision course with UN
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: No end to displacement in Nigeria
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: UN calls for reversal of ban on Burundi Civil society group
AFRICA LABOUR NEWS: Africa labour news roundup
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Group wins right to observe Namibia poll
CORRUPTION: Angola to name corrupt officials
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: Punitive laws threaten HIV progress
EDUCATION: African ministers meet to discuss progress
DEVELOPMENT: Africa plans merger of trading blocs
ENVIRONMENT: GE crops linked to pesticide increase
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Land grabbing in Ethiopia
FOOD JUSTICE: FAO seeks stronger world food security
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Prominent Tunisian journalist jailed
INTERNET& TECHNOLOGY: APC assesses 4th Internet Governance Forum
PLUS: jobs, fundraising & useful resources, courses, seminars and workshops

*Pambazuka News now has a page, where you can view the various websites that we visit to keep our fingers on the pulse of Africa! Visit


Land grabs: Africa's new ‘resource curse’?

Khadija Sharife


cc D Maritz
As developed nations attempt to secure supplies of food and biofuels to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the food and energy security of their populations, Khadija Sharife writes in this week’s Pambazuka News about the rush by foreign investors to buy up agricultural land across Africa, all too often at the expense of the wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities.

Realising the right to food

Contribution to the preparation of the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security

Olivier De Schutter


cc E Labrador
In a report prepared in the run-up to the World Summit on Food Security, which took place in Rome from 13-17 November, Olivier De Schutter, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, called for the negotiation of a declaration that was ‘coherent, ambitious and unambiguous on five issues: The right to food, governance, sustainability, trade, and the strengthening of international cooperation.’ De Schutter noted that the declaration would determine ‘our ability to take the necessary steps towards a global food system that will make decisive progress towards realising the human right to adequate food and building our resilience against the risk of future economic shocks and increasing volatility of food prices’.

We demand food sovereignty now!

Declaration from Social Movements/NGOs/CSOs Parallel Forum to the World Summit on Food Security, Rome, 13-17 November 2009


cc O V I
‘Food sovereignty is the real solution to the tragedy of hunger in our world’, representatives from social movements, NGOs and CSOs have said in a declaration issued at a forum parallel to the World Summit on Food Security, which was held in Rome from 13-17 November 2009. The declaration asserts that ‘all people have a right and responsibility to participate in deciding how food is produced and distributed’ and that ‘governments must respect, protect and fulfil the right to food as the right to adequate, available, accessible, culturally acceptable and nutritious food’. It also sets out a series of civil society commitments to defending food security.

GM: The food of the future?

Khadija Sharife


cc P Blanchard
As a range of eminent scientists back genetically modified crops as the answer to food security in Africa, Khadija Sharife asks in Pambazuka News whether proponents of the ‘Green Revolution’ have the interests of the continent’s people and the environment at heart, or are more concerned with generating profits for the companies that control the technology.

Namibian politics: The pathology of power and paranoia

Henning Melber


cc Wikimedia
With Namibia's parliamentary and presidential elections fast approaching on 27–28 November, Henning Melber discusses the paranoia currently gripping many within the ruling SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organisation) party. Many in the party seem to regard any form of political dissent as unpatriotic at best and as the act of an agent of outside imperialism at worst Melber notes, an all-consuming sentiment that is severely jeopardising the very liberation the party ostensibly once sought.

Eritrea: Alone against the world

Nikolaj Nielsen


cc C T Snow
Commenting on events at a Brussels conference for the promotion of peace and human rights in Eritrea, Nikolaj Nielsen reports on a country which Reporters Without Borders ranks lower on press freedom than North Korea. 'Eritrea', Nielsen writes, 'was the promise that never evolved' and a country 'unable to come to terms with lasting peace'.

Football and false consciousness

Haidar Eid


cc M Ramallah
Lamenting the apparently greater importance accorded the recent Algeria–Egypt World Cup qualifying match than Palestinians' ongoing difficulties, Haidar Eid wonders why the prayers muttered by football supporters have far surpassed those for families in Gaza suffering 'till the last day of Israel's last and continuing genocidal war'.

Waving the Ethiopian flag: Its beauty and contradictions

Etyopian Simbiro


cc Wikipedia
Looking back on the historical and political significance of the Ethiopian flag, Etyopian Simbiro considers the role and use of the 'tri-colour' in developments in the country. The flag has proven a double-edged sword in its ability to both divide and unify, Simbiro contends, but should ultimately prove the inspiration for a new Ethiopia based on tolerance, trust and respect for the rule of law.

Witness for Ethiopia's future: Honouring Meles Zenawi's victims

Alemayehu G. Mariam


cc A Heavens
In the wake of the May 2005 Ethiopian parliamentary elections, paramilitary forces under the command of Meles Zenawi orchestrated the massacre of 193 innocent men, women and children and wounded a further 763 people involved in civil protest, writes Alemayehu G. Mariam. Ignoring the efforts of the country's regime to besmirch their memory, Ethiopians must honour these victims of oppression as patriots, Mariam stresses, and recognise their sacrifices as profound inspiration for future generations.

Getting out of the political leadership trap

William Gumede


cc D B King
South Africans and Africans define leadership too narrowly – that it is why societies on the continent time and time again end up with the most terribly disappointing leaders, William Gumede writes in this week’s Pambazuka News.


Medium and message: The internet and social activism in Africa


Join the editors of Pambazuka News, an award-winning online platform for social justice in Africa based in Oxford, Dakar, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro, for a discussion on using the web to facilitate and transform activism and citizen journalism across the continent. Firoze Manji, Tidiane Kassé, Joshua Ogada and Alyxandra Gomes will share their experiences of electronic activism in Lusophone, Francophone and Anglophone Africa with the Oxford Internet Institute's Dr Mark Graham on Tuesday 1 December.

Comment & analysis

Stage set for ICC intervention in Kenya

Stephen Kabera Karanja


cc Tom Maruko
Stephen Kabera Karanja looks at the legal principles underpinning the ICC’s intervention in Kenya and the objectives of Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo’s visit to the country earlier in November.

Thoughts on Nyerere for young intellectuals

Marie M. Shaba


Young African intellectuals should revisit the philosophies of visionary leaders like Nyerere and Nkrumah for inspiration and a sense of self-belief, rather than looking to ideas from outside the continent, Marie M. Shaba argues in this week’s Pambazuka News.

Pan-African Postcard

Kenya's nationalist electoral system

L. Muthoni Wanyeki


With a mere 30 days remaining until Kenya's Harmonised Draft Constitution makes its way to Parliament, L. Muthoni Wanyeki stresses that throwing out the idea of proportional representation altogether would ignore the efforts of the report's Committee of Experts to address potential concerns with the system.

Books & arts

How Africa found its voice at Ibadan

The rise of modern African literature

John Otim


It was ‘from Ibadan that modern African literature rose’, John Otim writes in this week’s Pambazuka News. ‘There was a buzz, people sat up and took note. They examined the new thing, seeking out signs of deference to Empire, some acknowledgement, some appeal to European authority. Things Fall Apart showed none of that. It was Africa recreating Africa. The college and the city of Ibadan had found its voice’.

Hip Hop, youth culture and globalisation

Review of Mwenda Ntarangwi's 'East African Hip Hop – Youth Culture and Globalization'

Caroline Mose


Caroline Mose reviews Mwenda Ntarangwi's 'East African Hip Hop – Youth Culture and Globalization', a book she regards as a 'welcome addition to the scanty but growing academic work on popular music and popular culture in East Africa'.

Somaliland and the struggle for nationhood

Review of Iqbal D. Jhazbhay's 'Somaliland: an African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition'

Hussein M. Adam


Hussein M. Adam reviews Iqbal D. Jhazbhay's 'Somaliland: an African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition', a book he finds to be 'highly original, relevant, valid and timely'.

Literature and independence

Kenyan poets on 'Literature and independence' at the Stockholm International Poetry Festival

Shailja Patel


Stockholm's International Poetry Festival in October had a special focus on Kenyan women poets. Ngwatilo Mawiyoo and Shailja Patel shared poems and reflections on 'Literature and independence in Kenya' at the festival's headline seminar. The audience represented a sizeable contingent of Africans based in Stockholm, including Okoth Osewe, whose Kenya Stockholm Blog is the go-to resource for all things Kenyan in Sweden. Osewe videotaped portions of the seminar, and has generously made them available to the public.

'TRANS: Transgender life stories from South Africa', eds Ruth Morgan, Charl Marais and Joy Rosemary Wellbeloved; Jacana Media


A new book published by Jacana Media takes the reader on a journey into the many worlds inhabited by transgender South Africans. The life stories recounted in this collection are both inspiring and compelling and reveal the courage and strength of each of the story tellers involved. The narratives detail the constant challenges of living in a country, that, despite its progressive constitution, is still host to myriad prejudices and misunderstandings when it comes to trans people.

Letters & Opinions

Concerned about AfricaBio: South Africa's genetically modified potato

Trevor Wells


Trevor Wells writes of his problems with AfricaBio's opposition to consumers knowing what they are eating and its attempts to manipulate farmers' views.

The kind of analysis Zimbabwe needs

Proudly Zimbabwean


Zimbabwe will be a better country in the not far distant future, if the country’s politicians have access to papers with the same level of indepth, balanced analysis as Mary Ndlovu’s recent article, writes Proudly Zimbabwean.

African Writers’ Corner

Masimba Musodza: A pioneer in Rastafarian literature

Masimba Musodza


Zimbabwean wordsmith Masimba Musodza talks to Conversations with Writers about the ‘distinguished honour of being a pioneer in Rastafarian literature’ and persuading his parents that writing ‘is as respectable a profession as the ones they had in mind’ for him.

Blogging Africa

Inventiveness in the streets of Nairobi

Dibussi Tande


In this week's blogging roundup by Dibussi Tande, Nairobi's power outages call for innovative local solutions, Adidas launches a new Kente-theme line of footwear, but gets the history wrong, and the recent stoning of a young Somali woman calls into question the justness of Sharia law and its application.

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

Paving the way for the next stage in China-Africa relations

Chris Alden


Chris Alden reviews the recent Forum for China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) ministerial held in Sharm El Sheik in early November this year, highlighting China's plans for greater economic ties with the continent and efforts to defend itself against what it considers unfair criticism.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 124: Vingt ans après le Mur de Berlin, le capitalisme en ruines


Highlights Portuguese edition

Pambazuka News 24: O jogo das relações raciais no Brasil e o embate com a branquitude


Zimbabwe update

Talks in break as Mbeki role ends


Zimbabwe’s three governing parties have suspended until Saturday their negotiations on outstanding issues impeding the work of the unity government after three days of marathon meetings.

Zuma appoints new team to monitor Zimbabwe


President Jacob Zuma has appointed a new team to monitor Zimbabwe's embattled unity government accord, effectively ending former president Thabo Mbeki's mediation role. Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that as part of the evaluation process, the facilitation team would be visiting Zimbabwe in the near future.

Women & gender

Global: Launch of Respect, Protect and Fulfill


The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network is proud to announce the launch of this two-volume legislative resource that offers concrete ways to reform laws to tackle sexual and domestic violence, and family and property issues and protect women’s human rights. The launch of Respect, Protect and Fulfill is timed to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign

Global: Nobel Peace Prize 2010 for African Women


Women are the backbone of Africa. They have never known life to be different, accustomed throughout the ages to a responsibility, that they must cope with the problems of daily life and their families’ struggle for survival. The international community must find a way to make a crucial difference. This includes awarding the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 to the African Woman so that her daily struggle might be better publicized, appreciated and held as an example to facilitate human growth in Africa and the world.

Kenya: "Gender Against Men" documentary wins award


The Refugee Law Project (RLP) documentary "Gender Against Men" has won the prize for BEST DOCUMENTARY at the Kenya International Film Festival which was held from 21 to 31 October 2009. The festival, which had the theme of "celebrating our cultural diversity through cinema", attracted over 300 entries this year.

Zimbabwe: Women and children on decline - UN


Some 100 children under five years of age will die today in Zimbabwe, a bleak statistic that is part of new social development data released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government, revealing that the situation there for women and children has deteriorated in the past five years.

Human rights

DRC: ICC trial of former leaders to begin


The trial against two former Congolese rebel leaders for crimes allegedly committed by their militias in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2003 is set to begin in The Hague at the International Criminal Court.

East Africa: Kenya on collision course with UN


Kenya could once again find itself in a United Nations agency’s bad books for failing to submit a crucial report on torture. The UN Convention Against Torture and other cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment or punishment (UNCAT) last November gave the government a year to put in place measures to guard against state-sanctioned torture as well as opening avenues for justice to victims.

Kenya: Human rights violations of the Samburu people


Kenya has had a deplorable record of honoring the rights of its Indigenous citizens, both during colonization and after. For most of 2009 the government’s treatment of its Indigenous populations has been especially egregious, with massive and well-organized attacks on Samburu villages by combined police and military forces and the use of government-funded mercenaries from Somalia.

Kenya: Threats to victims, human rights defenders

International Center for Policy and Conflict


International Center for Policy and Conflict express concern on the deepen crisis in Kenya of human rights defenders and victims of post-election violence threats and intimidation. This is unacceptable and in contradiction of all human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.

Morocco: Saharawi activist refuses Madrid refugee offer


Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar has declined an offer by Madrid to grant her refugee status following her expulsion from the territory by Morocco, a representative said Saturday. Jose Morales Brum, a trade union leader in Spain's Canary Islands, said that Haidar, a winner of several human rights awards, was continuing the hunger strike she began at midnight on Sunday.

South Africa: Government deports Israeli airline official spying on citizens


South Africa has deported an Israeli airline official following allegations that Israel's secret police, the Shin Bet, had infiltrated Johannesburg international airport in an effort to gather information on South African citizens, particularly black and Muslim travelers.

Refugees & forced migration

Nigeria: No end to internal displacement


Internal displacement caused by both communal violence and internal armed conflict is a recurrent phenomenon in most states in Nigeria. The parties to the fighting have sought political, economic and social advantages in a country with endemic poverty, low levels of education and a huge and alienated youth population.

Zimbabwe: Mapfumo to mount camapign on refugees


Thomas ‘Mukanya’ Mapfumo, the legendary king of Chimurenga music will address a gathering in Bristol this Saturday where he is expected to highlight the plight of people seeking sanctuary in particular those from Zimbabwe, his homeland.

Social movements

Burundi: Reverse ban on civil society group


Burundian authorities should immediately retract an ordinance outlawing the Forum for the Strengthening of Civil Society (FORSC), an umbrella organization representing 146 Burundian civil society associations, said Amnesty International, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, and Human Rights Watch in a joint statement.

Global: WTO : Cooking up crises !

Peasant mobilizations against the WTO


From November 27 to December 3, the international peasant movement La Via Campesina and Uniterre will gather for the 7th Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva. Thirty delegates from Africa, Asia and Europe will be present to remind ministers of their responsibilities in the current food, financial, economic and climate crises.

South Africa: Protest against state repression planned

Western Cape Anti-eviction Campaign


Our movement is under serious attack in Durban. Our comrades in Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban have been attacked and had their homes destroyed by an armed ANC militia supported by the local police and politicians. We will be holding a protest against state repression at New Road, Maccassar Village, from 11:00 on Saturday 28 November 2009.

Kenyan civil society to undergo peer review

Zaya Yeebo


cc Shimriz
Following the completion of the Democratic Governance Civil Society Week (DG–CSW) in Kisumu, Western Province, Kenya, Zaya Yeebo rounds up the discussions and highlights the increasingly recognised need for civil society to demand the same accountability of itself that it does of the country's government.

Africa labour news

Africa labour news roundup


In this week’s labour news from the African continent and beyond [mp3], South African domestic workers get wage increase, Mozambican unions decry paltry fine for workers’ deaths, and Zimbabwe’s unions demand parliamentary inquiry into worker shootings. This bulletin is part of a partnership between Worker’s World Media Productions and Pambazuka News that seeks to highlight labour issues affecting Africa’s workers.

Emerging powers news

Emerging powers news Roundup

Stephen Marks


In this week's emerging powers news roundup, China seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions, increases investment in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, and Africa's trade with the BRIC countries show a marked increase of the last eight years.

Elections & governance

Côte d’Ivoire: UN calls for speedy new date for yet-again-delayed elections


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all parties in Côte d’Ivoire to fix a new date as soon as possible for their much-delayed elections, now postponed yet again from their latest deadline of this month.

Kenya: ICC prosecutor seeks OK on inquiry


The request by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to the court's judges to open a Kenya investigation is a decisive step toward justice for the country's 2007 post-election violence, Human Rights Watch has said.

Namibia: Group allowed to observe vote as polls open


A court in Namibia has ruled that the National Society for Human Rights must have its status as an election observer reinstated, hours after polls opened. The electoral commission withdrew the group's status days before the vote, saying it was not impartial.


Angola: Government to name officials involved in graft


Angola will name Treasury and Finance Ministry officials involved in the illegal transfer of government funds abroad after concluding investigations in 45 days, a prosecutor has said.


Africa: New report on development cooperation lauded


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has lauded a new report which outlines steps to be taken by Africa and its development partners to help lift millions of people across the continent out of poverty.

Africa: Plans for merger of three top trading blocs stepped up


Countries across Eastern and Southern Africa have stepped up plans for the establishment of Africa’s largest economic bloc with the opening of negotiations that may culminate in a Free Trade Area (FTA) spanning Cape to Cairo by May 2010.

Angola: Government mulling Norway-style oil fund


Angola is considering setting up a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund to manage its oil revenues. Angola has said it plans to have the new sovereign wealth fund ready to invest its oil money abroad this year but has yet to announce a date for its launch.

Global: 1.5 billion people live in darkness - UN


A new report by the UN has said almost a quarter of the global population, or 1.5 billion people, live without electricity, and that 80 per cent of those people live in the least developed countries (LDCs) of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya: Job losses, collapsing sectors in the wake of Doha


The consequences of the Doha Round of trade talks for larger developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa could include job losses and deindustrialisation if a new study forecasting how Kenya is set to be affected is anything to go by.

Nigeria: World Bank projects collapse in Lagos


With a whopping credit facility of $200 million (N25.2 billion), World Bank Assisted Improvement projects in Lagos State have reportedly not lived up to expectations. Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) supervised and executed most of the projects under the World Bank-Assisted Road Improvement Scheme, towards the end of the administration of former Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, between 2006 and 2007.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Home-based care as effective as clinical care


A new Ugandan study adds to a growing body of evidence that providing home-based antiretroviral (ARV) care in low-income settings can be as effective as facility-based interventions.

Africa: New tools to improve access to healthcare services for the worst-off


What can be done to ensure that the poorest Africans have access to a healthcare system that charges user fees? Many options have been proposed to address this situation, but currently the decision-makers involved have little or no access to these. To support them in their reflection, a team of researchers from the University of Montreal, with support from the international NGO HELP (Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V.), has produced a thorough compilation of all existing knowledge on this subject, in four bilingual policy briefs.

Global: Criminalising HIV transmission harms women, undermines universal access - ActionAid

World Aids Day


A growing trend towards criminalising transmission of HIV – including transmission from mother to child – puts women at risk and will undermine progress in fighting AIDS, warns international development agency ActionAid.

Global: HIV treatment preventing deaths; infections fall by 17% - report


Increasing access to antiretroviral therapy is starting to have a major impact on the global AIDS epidemic, according to a report released by UNAIDS and WHO. Prevention is also having an impact on new infections, although some of the decline in new infections is due to the natural course of the epidemic.

Global: World AIDS Day: Punitive laws threaten HIV progress


HIV prevention efforts - and the promise of antiretroviral therapy as prevention - are being undermined by punitive laws targeting those infected with and at risk of HIV, Human Rights Watch has said on the eve of World AIDS Day.

Global: World facing multiple and evolving HIV epidemics - UNAIDS


The United Nations Project on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organisation (WHO) AIDS Global Epidemic update shows that sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV. In addition, the number of new infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has increased massively since 2001, and HIV incidence amongst gay men remains high in western countries.

South Africa: Male circumcision plan almost there


South Africa has moved swiftly to develop a male circumcision plan that would have buy-in from all stakeholders and will go beyond being a purely medical intervention, ideally also engaging men on among others HIV prevention, gender issues and alcohol abuse.

Southern Africa: Zimbabwe gets US$180m for AIDS


Health authorities in Zimbabwe announced that the country would get US$180 million from the Global Fund to fight HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.


Africa: Education ministers discuss continent's progress, prospects


Education ministers from member states of the African Union (AU) have converged in Mombasa, Kenya, for two-day meeting on the continent's progress and prospect in education, the AU has said.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

"I" Stories: Rape will not be my daughter’s legacy!


Thandeka*: I was fourteen when I was first raped. The perpetrator was in his early thirties. My friend and I were walking to the shop to buy bread when a man came out of the long grass. He showed us a gun and told us to do what ever he said or we did. My friend and I went with him. He then started to ask us questions about sex.

"I" Stories: Using my body for freedom


Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service


Mooshoo*: “intoni ingxaki?” That is what the taxi driver said to me after he had repeatedly spoken to me in Xhosa since I had first hopped into the taxi. I usually just ignore them. I say where I am going, give them the correct change and keep quiet. But this time, there was no chance of that happening.

Give me back my movement!

Everjoice J. Win


"We must involve the bosses. We can not move without them. The bosses are our partners. Many of them are just victims of the system too. Most of the employers mean well. All we need to do is raise their awareness and they will be ok. We did a workshop with some of the most senior bosses last year, just one workshop.

Southern Africa: Halve gender violence by 2015

Score a goal for gender equality


Gender Links has urged Southern African governments to put prevention at the centre of national action plans to end gender violence during the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence. It has also called on governments to ensure that these plans include comprehensive legislation and services, harness the energies of all sectors of society, are based on baseline surveys with measurable indicators and are adequately funded.

Speaking out can set you free

Colleen Lowe Morna

Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service


What do you think of when you see a butterfly? Beautiful colours! Freedom after the struggle to break out of a cocoon! The sky is the limit! Reaching up; reaching out! These were just a few of the answers given by survivors of gender violence who over the last five years have come out to tell their stories. Gathered together at a workshop convened by Gender Links (GL) ahead of the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence from 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day), the women took some time to pause to recall what speaking out has meant to them.

Unsung heroes need resources to fight gender violence

Perpetual Sichikwenkwe


As we commemorate 16 Days of Activism, along with highlighting how extensive the problem still is, we also need to pause a moment to thank the people who work tirelessly 365 days a year to help and support survivors. Iriss Phiri, whose home in Lusaka's Chilulu residential area is a haven for women fleeing violence, is one such person.


Global: New report shows link between GE crops and pesticide increase


Genetically engineered (GE) corn, soybeans and cotton have increased use of weed-killing herbicides — a type of pesticide — by 383 million pounds in the U.S. from 1996 to 2008, according to a new report titled “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Thirteen Years” announced by The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Global: RealClimate: Commentary site on climate change


RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science. All posts are signed by the author(s), except ‘group’ posts which are collective efforts from the whole team. This is a moderated forum.

Kenya: Saviour trees turn scourge


A tree introduced to Kenya to combat desertification has itself become a problem, invading farmland and damaging farmers' livelihoods. Prosopsis juliflora, known as the 'devil tree' in some areas, was introduced from Latin America to semi-arid districts of Kenya by nongovernmental organisations in the 1980s.

Land & land rights

Ethiopia: ‘Land to the Grabber’

The Rise of the Neo-Gebbar System


In recent years, powerful and rich middle-east and Asian countries have been on a quest for the ultimate ‘breadbasket’ of grains to feed their growing population and to combat rising food prices. These powerful and rich Asian countries have gone to poor African countries, such as Ethiopia, with corrupt governments to grab farmland for the purpose of growing grains there, and then exporting them to feed their own people.

Morocco – Drop in foreign farm investment


Morocco has the resources to press ahead with farm sector reform, even if many foreign investors are unwilling to commit for now, industry officials said. Foreign investment in the north African country had fallen by a third in September compared to a year earlier, according to government figures, as the global banking crisis made investors loath to venture into new markets,

Food Justice

Global: FAO seeks stronger world food security


The Food and Agriculture Organization's top governing body has cleared the way for setting up a stronger and more effective system of global food security governance.

Media & freedom of expression

Cote d'Ivoire: Press Council bans publication of polls on election


The Ivorian National Press Council (CNP) has banned the publication of opinion polls conducted on presidential candidates for the forthcoming election. "Within the framework of the electoral process, the National Press Council informs the media that in accordance with Article 39 of Ruling Né 2008-133 of 14 April 2008 on adjustments to the electoral code for out of crisis elections, it is prohibited to publish or issue estimates of vote or conduct polls of any kind, from any place, based on the provisional electoral roll,' a statement from the Press Council said.

Guinea: Independent press group threatened by military


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has raised alarm with the safety and protection of the media in Guinea following an alleged plot by the military junta, targeting the independent media.

Somalia: Two foreign journalists released


Somali gunmen have released two foreign journalists who were held for 14 months in the capital city of Mogadishu of war-torn Somalia. Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Canadian freelance reporter Amanda Lindhout were abducted in Mogadishu in August 2008 while they were visiting a refugee camp outside of the capital.

Tunisia: Prominent journalist jailed


A Tunisian journalist has been sentenced to six months imprisonment on for slander and assault after a trial criticised by rights groups. Accused of assaulting a woman in public, Taoufik Ben Brik, 49, was arrested on October 29, four days after Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with nearly 90 per cent of the vote.

Conflict & emergencies

CAR: Town 'empty' after rebel raid


Most residents have fled Ndele town in northern Central African Republic after clashes between rebels and the army. The CPJP rebels attacked at dawn on Thursday but the army is now in control. Casualty numbers are unclear.

DRC: Women live in fear of rape


Julie* had just blown out the kerosene lamp and was lying in bed next to her husband when suddenly the stillness of the night was pierced by enraged shouts and the sound of a door being kicked open. Eight armed men burst into her house in a small village in Congo’s North Kivu province, wielding machetes and automatic rifles.

Guinea: Soldiers raped 100 in crackdown, says group


Guinean soldiers raped at least 100 women during a crackdown on protesters in September, a human rights group has said. The findings were released as United Nations experts began to investigate the repression, in which about 160 people were killed. The crackdown has drawn widespread condemnation and brought sanctions against the ruling military junta.

Nigeria: Prosecute killings by security forces


The Nigerian government has not brought a single prosecution or even begun investigations a year after Nigerian policemen and soldiers killed more than 130 civilians in responding to deadly sectarian clashes in the central Nigerian city of Jos, Human Rights Watch has said.

Somalia: Rebels seize key border town


Islamist hardliners in Somalia have taken over the control of strategic town, Dobley, a southern border between Somalia and Kenya, after clashes with a rival group, reports say on Thursday. Al-shabaab fighters attacked and took over the town in the early hours of Wednesday from rival group Hizbul Islam.

Sudan: Over 300 former combatants discharged


More than 300 former combatants in Darfur, including women and disabled persons, have participated in a three-day discharge programme organized by the Government of Sudan with support from the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur.

Internet & technology

Global: Fourth Internet Governance Forum - APC assessment


This year the fourth internet governance forum was playing it safe – perhaps because next year could be its last – but we still saw real progress. Privacy no longer plays second fiddle to security, people’s rights online are recognised as central by all sides. Social networking was the new star centre stage.

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: Fitzgerald Prize


The FitzGerald Prize is a scholarship set up by Reuters outgoing Board to honour Niall FitzGerald, its Chairman, and now Deputy Chairman of Thomson Reuters. Niall has a long-standing interest in Africa, having served as CEO of Unilever’s foods business in South Africa in the early 1980s. He also co-chairs the Investment Climate Facility for Africa

Global: Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) research network 2010 competition


The Poverty and Economic Policy (PEP) research network announces a call for proposals for its 2010 competition for research grants with a total vlaue of up to $CAN 50,000 each.

Global: Survivors Connect


Survivors Connect is a collaborative project to build global advocacy & support networks of survivors and activists working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Survivors Connect uses innovative instruments such as social media, new technologies and other interactive media to empower and enhance protection, prosecution and prevention efforts.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Global: Dorothy Marcus Senesh Fellowship


The International Peace Research Association Foundation invites applications for the Dorothy Marchus Senesh Fellowship in Peace and Development Studies for Third World Women. Dorothy Senesh was a long-time activist for international peace and justice. Her husband Lawrence established this fellowship following her death in 1989. The first award was made at the IPRA 25th Anniversary meeting, July 1990, in Groningen, Netherlands and has been made biennially since. The eleventh award will be made at the 23nd biennial IPRA meeting in Syndey, Australia.

South Africa: Durban International Film Festival 2010


The Durban International Film Festival's 31 st edition will take place from 22 July to 1 August 2010 and will present over 200 screenings of films from around the world, with a focus on films from South Africa and Africa. Screenings will take place throughout Durban including township areas where cinemas are non-existent.

South Africa: Masters, Doctoral & Post-Doctoral Study - PLAAS


Professor Ben Cousins of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at UWC has been awarded the South African Research Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (funded by the Department of Science and Technology and administered by the National Research Foundation.) This will allow him to support and supervise a number of post-doctoral fellows and masters and doctoral students, who will undertake field research in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces. Applications are invited for these positions.

South Africa: PDFs and studentships with NRF Chair in social change


Universtiy of Johannesburg’s Professor Peter Alexander has been awarded the South African Research Chair in Social Change (funded by the Department of Science and Technology and administered by the National Research Foundation). This prestigious chair will enable him to support: three post-doctoral fellows, three doctoral students, three masters students and two honours students. Applications are invited for all of these positions.

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