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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

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

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
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 484: Israel and the Flotilla: Piracy on the high seas

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

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Action alerts, 2. Features, 3. Announcements, 4. Comment & analysis, 5. Advocacy & campaigns, 6. Books & arts, 7. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 8. Highlights French edition, 9. Zimbabwe update, 10. Women & gender, 11. Human rights, 12. Refugees & forced migration, 13. Social movements, 14. Emerging powers news, 15. Elections & governance, 16. Corruption, 17. Development, 18. Health & HIV/AIDS, 19. Education, 20. LGBTI, 21. Environment, 22. Land & land rights, 23. Food Justice, 24. Media & freedom of expression, 25. Conflict & emergencies, 26. Internet & technology, 27. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 28. Fundraising & useful resources, 29. 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

– Call from Gaza for global response to killings on the flotilla
– Rwanda: Advocates demand immediate release of US Attorney Erlinder
– Statement on GALZ for international partners

- Vote for Sokari Ekine in the Nigerian Blog Awards!
- Celebration of Tajudeen's life and ideas - 17 June

– Horace Campbell: Israel and the Flotilla: Piracy on the high seas
– Dana Wagner: Africa condemns Israel’s strike on Gaza-bound aid
– Mahmood Mamdani: Beware bigotry: Free speech and the Zapiro cartoons
– Alemayehu G. Mariam: Of elections and diapers in Ethiopia
– Khadija Sharife: Egypt: Between a pyramid and the Empire State Building
– Chris Zambelis: A war of words in the new Middle East Cold War

– Savitri Taylor and Brynna Rafferty-Brown: African refugees in Indonesia: An uncertain future
– Karly Curcio: Africa's illicit financial outflows

– Presidential pardon for Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza: Statements from SAMWU/SADC Lawyers Association
– People's voices must be heard in climate negotiations

- Africa's Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere
– Imruh Bakari: 'Welcome to Lagos' and other adventures

– Adams Bodomo: Africans in Yiwu, China’s largest commodities cityZIMBABWE UPDATE: Friction in government over IMF monitoring proposals
WOMEN & GENDER: Accessing the Pill: Every woman counts
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Civilians killed in Somalia fighting
HUMAN RIGHTS: Human rights activist found dead in Kinshasa
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: UN warns of lack of funds for DRC displaced
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging powers news roundup
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Landless People’s Movement under attack in South Africa
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Burundi opposition alleges election fraud
CORRUPTION: UN Chief declares end to ‘age of impunity’
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: African mining makes TB epidemic worse
DEVELOPMENT: African rice gets status upgrade
EDUCATION: Free education becomes a reality in Swaziland
LGBTI: Malawi couple could face further harassment
ENVIRONMENT: World Environment Day
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Botswana Bushmen take government to court over water rights
FOOD JUSTICE: Fallout from Niger food crisis
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Ethiopia’s independent media gagged around elections
INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY: Ghanaian boy wins Google top prize
PLUS: Jobs, Fundraising & useful resources, publications, 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

Action alerts

Call from Gaza for global response to killings on the flotilla


Gaza-based Palestinian Civil Society Organisations and international activists called on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Rwanda: Advocates demand immediate release of US Attorney Erlinder


International Human Rights Advocates join the Erlinder family in condemning Rwanda's arrest of US Attorney Peter Erlinder and demanding his immediate release. Professor Erlinder, a faculty member at William Mitchell College of Law in the United States and president of the Association des Avocats de la Defense (ADAD), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Defense Lawyers Association, was arrested by the government of Rwanda under the leadership of President Paul Kagame. Peter Erlinder has been arrested in the course of his representation of Rwanda’s opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire.

Statement on GALZ for international partners

GALZ (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe)


On Thursday 27 May 2010, Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Mhambi were released on bail until a trial set for Thursday 10 June 2010, on allegations of possessing indecent material and displaying a placard seen as insulting to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. GALZ is now calling on organisations to send statements in support of GALZ, highlighting the raid of the GALZ offices, the arrest Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Mhambi, the torture of Ignatius while in custody, the continued harassment of GALZ staff and the police saying that they want to question all staff members.


Israel and the Flotilla: Piracy on the high seas

Who is above international law?

Horace Campbell


cc G C
Israel’s military attack on Gaza-bound humanitarian ships, the Freedom Flotilla, on 30 May, brings questions of piracy and the violation of international laws into sharp focus, writes Horace Campell. But the incident is only the latest example of the Israeli government’s policies to ‘dehumanise the Palestinian people and those in solidarity with them’, observes Campbell, as he calls for ‘peace-loving citizens all over the world’ to join forces with ‘peace-loving Israeli citizens and Palestinians who stand for peaceful coexistence to change the present apartheid leadership in Israel’.

Africa condemns Israel’s strike on Gaza-bound aid

Dana Wagner


cc F E
Israel’s raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip has left at least nine dead and several more wounded. On board were activists and aid workers from more than 30 countries, accompanying more than 10,000 tonnes of aid supplies intended for Palestinians in Gaza. Dana Wagner provides a round-up of responses from African governments and civil society groups.

Beware bigotry: Free speech and the Zapiro cartoons

Mahmood Mamdani


cc D B
Zapiro’s controversial cartoon featuring the Prophet Mohamed, published in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, prompts Mahmood Mamdani to ‘reflect on times and places when humour turned deadly’. Speaking at the University of Johannesburg, Mamdani explores the relationship between ‘two great liberal objectives, freedom of speech and civil peace’. Zapiro’s cartoon, Mamdani argues, has misread the real challenges we face today: The intellectual challenge of distinguishing between ‘two strands in the history of free speech – blasphemy and bigotry’, and the political challenge of building ‘a local and global coalition against all forms of bigotry’. We need to learn ‘how not to respond to a changing world with fear and anxiety, masked with arrogance, but rather to try a little humility so as to understand,’ Mamdani writes.

Of elections and diapers in Ethiopia

Alemayehu G. Mariam


cc BBC
In the aftermath of the May 2010 Ethiopian elections, many are left with the question: ‘Where do we go from here?’ writes Alemayehu G. Mariam. Mariam challenges the legitimacy of an election that saw Meles Zenawi reinstated in power with a 99.6 per cent share of the vote, and explores the future direction of the Ethiopian ruling class.

Egypt: Between a pyramid and the Empire State Building

Khadija Sharife


cc G C
Egypt’s majestic legacy of civilisation and empire appears to have lost its shine in the light of its current geopolitical positioning as ‘a brutal but glorified US ‘security guard’ at the expense of Egypt's citizens’, writes Khadija Sharife. Sharife explores the interaction between US foreign policy and this ‘draconian state’, which is ‘conveniently located astride both North Africa and the Middle East’.

A war of words in the new Middle East Cold War

The Hizbullah trial in Egypt

Chris Zambelis


cc Mateus
The Egyptian Emergency Supreme State Security Court (ESSSC) convicted and sentenced 26 individuals who Cairo accuses of being part of an active Hizbullah cell in Egypt on 28 April. The case, which ‘continues to arouse strong emotions inside Egypt and the wider region, marks the first time Egypt has prosecuted alleged members of Hizbullah,’ writes Chris Zambelis. But it also ‘showcased an underlying subtext behind the dynamic shaping some of the most important trends in Middle East politics today’, a shift in the Egypt’s pan-Arabian allegiances towards Western powers such as the US and Israel.

The fight for the full inclusion of everyone

Sokari Ekine


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Like many people around the world, Sokari Ekine is ‘elated’ by the news that Malawian couple Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, have been pardoned and freed. But, asks Ekine, ‘How can we claim justice has been done when the law used to convict the couple has not been successfully challenged?’ In this week’s round-up of the African blogosphere, Ekine finds her sentiments echoed by others across the continent.

Land investments are wholesale sell-outs for women farmers

Nidhi Tandon


cc Lukas
Uncertainty around food and fuel supply globally has sparked investor interest in the acquisition of large parcels of productive land around the world, for commercial production or long-term investment, writes Nidhi Tandon. But these developments, which effectively take land away from local farmers and in many cases perpetuate ‘environmentally damaging farming methods’, threaten to have ‘serious negative impacts for small farmers, in particular women, who have no say in the political and trade decisions around their lands,’ Tandon warns.

South Africa: The return of state repression

Jane Duncan


South Africans appear to have had their constitutional right to protest suspended during the 2010 World Cup, writes Jane Duncan, following a directive from the country’s police service (SAPS) to municipalities hosting matches. Sceptical of claims that the country does not have the capacity to police marches and the World Cup simultaneously, Duncan asks whether SAPS decision is motivated by ‘the need to remake South Africa's brand in the international media as a land of peace, reconciliation and stability’, or if it reflects, more seriously, ‘an intensification of a recent trend towards suppressing the waves of protest action’ by the Zuma administration.

World Cup 2010: Fifa's gordion knot

Khadija Sharife


cc Shine 2010
South Africa's 2010 World Cup 'feel good' factor is addictive. At taxi ranks, street bazaars and tea-rooms, South African citizens everywhere are filled with elation - and pride. Just sixteen years ago, within living memory, non-white South Africans were deprived of basic human rights by the brutal apartheid regime. From stadiums – completed in advance to fulfill Fifa's (International Federation of Association Football) insistence on a six month ‘buffer zone', to airports and other infrastructure, South Africa has fulfilled Fifa's requirements to the tee. But, writes Khadija Sharife, all is not well.

Challenges for integration

East African Community: A people, market or state-driven regionalisation project?

Edward Oyugi


cc Wikimedia
As the third phase of East African Community integration takes shape, Edward Oyugi provides an in-depth look at the history of efforts towards regionalisation, the concepts and actors behind them, and the challenges going forwards.


Maina Kiai to head International Council on Human Rights Policy

ICHRP: Change of direction


Maina Kiai, former Chair of the National Human Rights Commission of Kenya, will succeed Robert Archer as Executive Director of the International Council as of 15 July. Kiai will bring to the Council a tremendous reputation as an advocate of human rights in Kenya, and formidable communication skills. He will contribute a new voice and fresh energy to the Council's direction.

Speaking Truth to Power

A celebration of the life and ideas of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


Presentations and readings from his book ‘Selected Pan-African Postcards’ with Dr Ama Biney, editor, and Dr Patricia Daley.

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem's Pan-African postcards demonstrate his steadfast commitment to Pan-Africanism and his vociferous belief in the potential of Africa and African people.

Date: Thursday 17 June 2010
Time: 5.30–7pm
Place: Rhodes House, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RG

All welcome

Sokari Ekine nominated for Nigerian Blog Awards


We're proud to announce that Sokari Ekine, one of the writers behind Pambazuka News’ weekly ‘Blogging Africa’ column, has been nominated for two awards for her wonderful blog, Black Looks – ‘Best political blog’ and ‘Best theme’. Join us in supporting her by casting your vote at the Nigerian Blog Awards!

Comment & analysis

African refugees in Indonesia: An uncertain future

Savitri Taylor and Brynna Rafferty-Brown


cc Simminch
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Indonesia is working alongside its partner organisations to ensure the wellbeing of African refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia, write Savitri Taylor and Brynna Rafferty-Brown. But do the displaced receive the support they need and do they have reason to be optimistic about their future stability?

Plugging Africa's leak

The development paradigm and illicit financial outflows

Karly Curcio


cc Amalthya
Every year billions of dollars of potential development capital are drained from Africa through holes in the continent’s ‘bottomless bucket’ as a result of illicit financial outflows, writes Karley Curcio. Greater transparency and oversight of financial dealings is the only way to curb this monetary drain, which restricts the majority of ordinary people’s access to capital, Curcio argues.

Kenya: 36 reasons why we needed a new constitution

Cyprian Nyamwamu


cc O D
The issues of Kadhi’s courts and abortion are being presented as issues central to the debate on Kenya’s Proposed Constitution, writes Cyprian Nyamwamu, but in reality there are several others. Nyamwamu compiles a list of 36 reasons why Kenyans supported the draft of a new constitution.

The ‘Yes’ camp has it right

Why voting ‘No’ in Kenya's referendum is not a good thing

Samuel N. Omwenga


cc T Maruko
As debates rage over the proposed new Kenyan constitution, the dichotomy of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ is being forged amongst referendum voters, writes Samuel N. Omwenga. Omwenga critiques the ‘No’ camp’s motivation for rejecting the new proposals – does it have the interest of Kenyan society in mind, or simply that of a select few?

Advocacy & campaigns

SADC Lawyers Association statement on Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza

SADC Lawyers Association


SADC Lawyers Association condemns the conviction and imprisonment of Steven Monjeza Soko and Tiwonge Chimbalanga Kachepa and welcomes the decision of the President of Malawi to pardon the two individuals.

SAMWU statement on release of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza



Following the release of gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, who were initially sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in Malawi, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has issued a statement celebrating the pardon granted by President Bingu wa Mutharika but demanding greater steps towards the eradication of legislated homophobia and the desire to suppress human rights.

People's voices must be heard in climate negotiations


The World People's Movement demands that United Nations climate change negotiations be inclusive, transparent, and equitable, and include the proposal expressed by the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 20–22).

Books & arts

Africa's Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere

Edited by Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam

Pambazuka Press


Pambazuka Press is pleased to announce the publication of ‘Africa's Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere’. Edited by Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam, the book includes contributions from leading commentators, those who worked and fought imperialism alongside Nyerere, members of a younger generation – and Nyerere in his own words.

Celebrating Mwalimu Nyerere: The epitome of servant leadership

Dauti Kahura


A reading of Pambazuka Press’s new title, ‘Africa's Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere’, edited by Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam, prompts Dauti Kaura to reflect both on the legacy of the late Mwalimu – ‘a towering African leader who will always be remembered and missed for his cracking wisdom, unwavering commitment to African causes’– and the state of leadership on the continent today.

'Welcome to Lagos' and other adventures

Imruh Bakari


Countering Wole Soyinka’s fierce criticism of BBC documentary ‘Welcome to Lagos’, Imruh Bakari, offers a different reading of the three-part series about the lives of marginalised slum-dwellers: Where Soyinka sees people depicted as ‘noble savages’, Bakari is impressed by portraits of ‘self-assured and articulate’ individuals with a sense of social agency that prevents them from being cast as victims.

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

Africans in Yiwu, China’s largest commodities city

Adams Bodomo and Grace Ma


In this paper, Adams Bodomo looks at how Africans are received in Yiwu and in Guangzhou, which contains the largest community of Africans in China. Bodomo argues that because of the relatively negative reception of Africans in Guangzhou compared to the more efficient and civil treatment of Africans in Yiwu, Yiwu is fast overtaking Guangzhou as the best place for Africans to thrive in China.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 148: Les logiques de la Françafrique après 50 ans d'indépendances


Zimbabwe update

Chinese Communist Party delegation meets with Mugabe, Tsvangirai


A delegation of the Chinese Communist Party officials in Harare for a three-day visit at the invitation of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe has met with him and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The delegation signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday with ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and hailed the close ties between the two countries, sources informed on the meeting said.

Friction in government over IMF monitoring proposals


The MDC and ZANU PF parties in the coalition government are reported to be divided over how to respond to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposal for a ‘staff monitored program’ that will allow the institution to directly monitor projects that it is funding. A Voice of America report says ZANU PF is opposed to the concept, arguing it would erode the country’s independence, while those in the MDC are embracing the idea.

Weekend violence reported ahead of constitutional outreach


The MDC has accused ZANU PF supporters of embarking on an orgy of violence against its members, in various parts of the country, including an abduction, an arson attack and a disrupted rally. In Manicaland, Makoni South MP Pishai Muchauraya was also summoned to appear in a Buhera court on Friday, for allegedly making statements that were ‘derogatory to the office of the President’, before the 2008 elections.

Women & gender

Burkina Faso: Young girls at risk as they join exodus to cities


Migration in search of work has long been common in Sourou Province, northern Burkina Faso, but the trend is increasingly for younger girls to join the exodus, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the NGO Terre des hommes (Tdh). “Migration is after all a method of survival,” Herman Zoungrana, head of Tdh’s protection programme in Burkina Faso, told IRIN. He said traditionally after the harvest people would fill up their granaries then set out to find work until the next planting season.

Côte d'Ivoire: Zero tolerance of FGM/C


Progress on a "Zero Tolerance" national campaign in Côte d'Ivoire to eliminate female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) by the end of 2010, has been slowed down by health and education infrastructure, aid groups said. Since the campaign began, 180 villages in Marandallah prefecture, in the north-central Worodougou region, no longer practise FGM/C and the aim is to double this by the end of the year

Egypt: Women between injustice of law and injustice approval by community

New report by the Land Center


This report is the number "80" of series of economic and social rights that addresses some of the manifestations of violence against women in legislation and the Egyptian laws, which takes place as a result of the gap between law making and enforcement. The report contains an analysis of this gap and the reasons that led to the occurrence.

Global: Accessing the Pill: Every woman counts


Contraceptives should be taken out to women at their homes. Health Centres should be use to store these contraceptives but not act as distribution centres. Most healthy centres are far located from some people and only access them when there is a very serious illness. Most people even fail to get transport to access these centres when they are sick so image! Can such women access healthy centres for contraceptives which seem to be luxurious?

Namibia: HIV women sue over forced sterilisation


Three women in Namibia are suing the state for allegedly being sterilised without their informed consent after being diagnosed as HIV positive. The women say the doctors and nurses should have informed them properly about what was happening. The rights group representing them, the Legal Assistance Centre, says it has documented 15 cases of alleged HIV sterilisation in hospitals since 2008.

Uganda: Women demand answers and action from ICC


With the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) under way in the Ugandan capital Kampala, women are crying out for justice for gender-based violence inflicted upon them during the civil conflict in the country’s north. "Women who were raped, those who were once abducted and have since come back with children, as well as those who have lost property during this conflict are all crying out for some form of justice," says Jane Adong, Legal Officer of the Hague-based Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice (WIGJ).

Human rights

Africa: Human rights situation in parts of DRC extremely serious


The human rights situation in key parts of DR Congo remains extremely serious, according to a report by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston. The expert warned that killings, rapes, mutilation, village burnings and displacement would continue to take place unless civilian protection measures are urgently improved.

Cameroon: 4,000 children sexually exploited in Cameroon annually


Four thousand children are exploited sexually every day in Cameroon, according to an investigation by the Coalition, "Let's Protect our Children". The Coalition organizes an advocacy campaign against the exploitation of children for sexual purposes, Pastor Blaise Kemogné, one of the organizers of the campaign, told PANA.

DRC: Human rights activist found dead in Kinshasa


A leading rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been found dead in the capital, Kinshasa. Floribert Chebeya's body was discovered, partially clothed, on the back seat of his own car. Rights group Amnesty International says oppression of activists in DR Congo is growing.

Egypt: Extension of law becomes an emergency


The government's decision to renew Egypt's longstanding Emergency Law has drawn furious reactions from opposition figures and rights advocates. While government spokesmen say the law will only be used against terrorism and drug trafficking, critics say it is aimed primarily at stifling political dissent. Egypt voted in elections to the upper house of its parliament Tuesday with many denied the right to contest because of the Emergency Law.

Somalia: UNICEF calls for release of child soldiers


As reports warn of an alarming rise in the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia, UNICEF and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict are calling on all parties to put an immediate end to this criminal practice.

Uganda: ICC to investigate allegations of army atrocities


The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said on 3 June the ICC was assessing information accusing the Ugandan military of war crimes and atrocities committed in the 20-year civil war in the north of the country.

Zimbabwe: End persecution of activist group


Civil Society organizations, including Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, and Partnership Africa Canada, have condemned the state-sponsored harassment and intimidation of a Zimbabwean nongovernmental organization, the Centre for Research and Development (CRD). The group has been instrumental in exposing ongoing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe's notorious Marange diamond fields.

Zimbabwe: No hope yet for the homeless


In Hopley Farm, a resettlement camp about 10km south of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, Simon Dhewa's chicken coup has been converted into a bedroom for his three daughters, the eldest of which also uses it as a venue for her commercial sex activities. The 20-year-old is the sole bread winner for her 45-year-old widowed father, her two sisters and two brothers. The residents of Hopley Farm have nicknamed her "chicken".

Refugees & forced migration

DRC: UNICEF warns a lack of funding hinders efforts to assist displaced


Nearly 1.9 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – half of them children – continue to live away from their homes after having been displaced by armed conflict, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported, adding that a lack of funds was hindering efforts to continue assisting them.

Libya: Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers are the invisible people on this planet


We have seen great tragedy these days where around 80 Eritrean asylum seekers who departed to claim asylum in Italy, perished in the sea. Only five of them survived to tell the tragedy. They floated on the deep seas for more than 20 days on 12- meter rubber boat with no rescue.

Western Sahara: Refugee Film Festival joins independence struggle


During the 1960s, when decolonization movements were sweeping the world, it was joked that after achieving independence a country had to do three things: design a flag, launch an airline and found a film festival. Western Sahara has a flag but no airline and despite a 35 year struggle has yet to achieve independence. The closest it comes to its own film festival is the Festival Internacional de Cine del Sahara (known as FiSahara), the world's most remote film festival, which had its seventh annual gathering this week in a refugee camp deep in the Algerian desert.

Social movements

Global: Canada’s foreign aid community risks losing strong voice for world’s poor


CIDA funding to the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), Canada’s pre-eminent coalition to end global poverty, is in doubt. A critical and well-respected voice for the world’s poor risks being silenced if funding to CCIC is cut off. CCIC’s three-year contract with CIDA ended on March 31, 2010. Two months into a three-month temporary extension of CCIC’s contract and no word yet from CIDA on the contract’s renewal. In July, CCIC will start operating with no CIDA funds.

The attack on the LPM Continues - 5 More Arrests in Protea South


On the night of 3rd June 2010, the police went from door to door with an informer in the shacks of Protea South, Soweto. They arrested five members of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM). Three of the people that they arrested are children of Maureen Mnisi, chairperson of the LPM in Gauteng. The other two are her neighbours. Since the current wave of repression began when the LPM was attacked in Protea South by the Homeowner’s Association on 23 May 2010 two people have been killed. One was shot dead by the Homeowner’s Association in Protea South and one was shot dead by the police in eTwatwa. Other people have been beaten, shot, arrested and threatened with having their homes burnt down. Two people have had their homes burnt down in eTwatwa. There are now seven LPM members in jail in Protea South and thee LPM members in jail in eTwatwa.

Emerging powers news

Emerging Actors in Africa news round-up


In this week's roundup of emerging actors in Africa news, Industrial and Commercial Bank mulls acquisitions in Middle East and North Africa, France pushes for African presence on UN Security Council, presidents of Seychelles and South Africa set to visit India, and Kenya reaps billions from Sudanese separation plan.
In this week's roundup of emerging actors in Africa news, Industrial and Commercial Bank mulls acquisitions in Middle East and North Africa, France pushes for African presence on UN Security Council, presidents of Seychelles and South Africa set to visit India, and Kenya reaps billions from Sudanese separation plan.

Elections & governance

Burundi: Ex-rebel leader Agathon Rwasa quits elections


Five opposition candidates have withdrawn from presidential polls in Burundi due to take place on 28 June. They include the former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa, who was widely thought to be the key challenger to the current President Pierre Nkurunziza. All had called for the resignation of Burundi's electoral commission following local polls last month, which they say were fraudulent.

Burundi: Opposition alleges election fraud


The first in a series of elections has brought simmering discontent with Burundi's electoral commission to the boil. Just over a week after the May 24 communal elections, five opposition presidential candidates have demanded the resignation of members of the National Electoral Commission and announced that they will boycott the presidential poll scheduled for June 28.

Kenya: Government releases Sh553m for voter education


The voter education on the referendum has received a shot in the arm after the government announced the release of Sh553 million to the Committee of Experts, ending weeks of bickering between the two parties. The money is not in the budget, but has had to be reallocated from other ministries and will be regularised in next week’s budget, which will cater for all constitution review needs.

Madagascar: EU to extend aid suspension


The EU will extend next week the suspension of 600 million euros of development aid to Madagascar for 12 more months for failing to return to democracy after a March 2009 coup, a draft statement showed. The European Union, the island's largest donor, suspended the aid last year in response to the army-backed overthrow of Marc Ravalomanana's government.

Nigeria: Lawmakers back changes to succession rules


Nigeria's parliament approved a constitutional amendment on Thursday on transferring presidential powers, aimed at avoiding a repeat of a crisis when the late President Umaru Yar'Adua fell seriously ill last year. Under the amendment, when the president is absent or unable to discharge his duties, he must inform parliament that he is handing over power to the vice president. If the president fails to send a letter within 21 days, parliament can designate the vice president as acting president by a majority vote.


Global: Ban declares end to 'era of impunity'


More than one decade after the International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up, a new “age of accountability” is replacing the “old era of impunity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underlined. Twelve years ago when world leaders gathering in Rome for its establishment, “few could have believed, then, that this court would spring so vigourously into life,” Mr. Ban said at the first-ever review conference of the ICC held in Kampala, Uganda.


Africa: A changed Africa 'still needs our help to grow'


Five years ago, the Commission for Africa argued that supporting the continent’s quest for growth and development was not only a moral imperative but also enlightened self-interest. As the finance ministers of the Group of 20 leading nations meet this week, Nicholas Stern argues for the need to recognise that the futures of the rich world and Africa are ever more closely intertwined.

Africa: African rice gets a status upgrade


Africa's indigenous rice varieties are to be granted 'elite' status by scientists in the hope that they will play a central role in making farmers' crops more resilient. Elite rice varieties are recognised to be high-yielding and include Asian rice, which has sometimes been improved with individual traits taken from lower-yielding African rice. Now scientists have shown that African varieties are resilient and high-yielding in their own right.

Africa: Despite recovery, Africa needs more jobs, says ECA


This year Africa’s economies will generally perform better than in 2009. According to the just-published Economic Report on Africa, the continent’s average growth rate will reach 4.3 per cent, up from less than 2 per cent last year — a period marked by devastatingly bad performances worldwide following the global economic slowdown.

Africa: Nations turn to South Africa for agricultural expertise


African nations are increasingly turning to South Africa to improve their own agricultural production and skills, according to industry group Agri SA. About 20 countries from across Africa have approached Agri SA, South Africa’s largest farmers’ association, seeking to recruit commercial growers or learn skills from their neighbor on the continent’s southern tip.

Africa: Replace aid with trade, rich countries told


Rich countries need to change the way they deal with Africa, shifting from aid to trade if they are to avoid losing ground to the emerging economic players of Asia and South America, a top think-tank has said. In a report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs at London’s Chatham House analysing Africa’s small but evolving influence, the Western perception of Africa as a hopeless case was challenged, painting the continent rather as home to a billion people and up to 40 percent of the world’s natural resources.

Global: Cautious welcome for new UK aid commitments


Aid analysts have welcomed some of the international development priorities of Britain’s new coalition government, particularly the commitment to stick to the previous government’s pledge to boost aid spending to 0.7 percent of national income by 2013. But they also worry that the independence and impartiality of aid may be eroded under a new “coherence” push.

Global: Developing nations can help global recovery: W.Bank


Giving developing countries a bigger say in global economic governance could help the world economy recover more quickly from the crisis, the World Bank said on Friday. The Group of 20, bringing together the world's top developed and emerging economies has emerged as the leading global forum, representing over 80 percent of the world's economic activity, but over 170 poorer countries feel left out.

Global: Doubts over global economy return as G20 meets


Leading policymakers expressed concern on Friday about the health of the world economy even as they closed ranks behind the euro zone's efforts to tackle a debt crisis that has rattled global markets. Speaking before two days of talks bringing together the world's top 20 developed and emerging economies, South African Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said he could not think of a more challenging time than the present for the Group of 20.

Global: ILO discusses global employment challenges


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) opened its 99th annual conference, with a focus on employment issues following the global economic crisis. A statement by the ILO, stated that the conference, ending 18 June, would deliberate on a number of issues affecting employment opportunities and workers' well-being globally.

Global: World Bank urges Africa to lift trade


African countries are not doing enough to address the infrastructure backlogs hampering trade and regional economic integration World Bank chief economist for Africa Shantayanan Devarajan said. Devarajan is in South Africa to consult with policy makers and civil society organisations on a new World Bank strategy for Africa.

Kenya: Political economy analysis


How can donors contribute to governance reform in Kenya? What role can they play in strengthening state-society relations in particular? This report, published by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), makes recommendations for Norway’s strategic approach to governance in Kenya based on a political economy analysis of the country. More focus on state-society relations is needed, particularly at local government level. For example, donors could support CSOs that represent the interests of local groups. Systematic learning, analysis and social dialogue should also be emphasised.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Experts convene to discuss impact of influenza


African health ministers and representatives of international agencies have gathered today in Marrakesh, Morocco, at a meeting organized by the United Nations and its partners to discuss the impact of influenza on the continent. “We know that influenza has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality throughout Africa, but unfortunately, we don’t have a great deal of data that shows this,” said Keiji Fukuda, Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Africa: Mining industry is making TB epidemic worse


The presence of a large mining sector in African countries is a strong influence on the severity of a country’s TB epidemic, especially in countries with a high HIV prevalence, and more needs to be done in the mining industry to control TB, a new Oxford University-led study has found.

Global: Laboratory monitoring of ART could be cost-effective for many countries


Laboratory monitoring to determine when to switch to second-line treatment may be cost-effective for many countries and could substantially improve life expectancy, April Kimmel and colleagues reported in a modelling study using 1999 to 2008 data from the Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) published in the advance online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Lesotho: 630,000 children to be immunized against measles


The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is giving $646,000 to immunize hundreds of thousands of children in Lesotho, the Southern African country which since January has been grappling with a deadly outbreak of the disease.

South Africa: Green light for increased HIV testing


An amendment to the Health Act allowing counselors to draw blood for HIV testing will see more people being tested. Head of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, Dr Francois Venter said unclear policy on whether counselors could test for HIV meant there were less people allowed to conduct the testing and less people being tested.

South Africa: Patients with higher BMIs have reduced risk of death and TB


HIV-positive individuals who are obese or overweight are less likely to die or develop tuberculosis than people with HIV who are of normal weight, South African investigators report in the online edition of AIDS. “Our findings show a clear protective effect…of increasing BMI [body mass index] on both all-cause mortality and incident TB [tuberculosis] in a South African cohort”, comment the investigators, “person with obese and overweight BMI have a significantly decreased risk of both mortality and TB.”

South Africa: World Cup HIV prevention plans fall short


The excitement over the FIFA World Cup is not just about football, it's also about the party. Large quantities of alcohol are sure to be consumed as foreign football fans rub shoulders with locals, and inhibitions are likely to fall away. The World Cup has long been associated with boom times for the sex trade, but in a country where one in five adults is living with HIV, the price of throwing caution to the wind and having unprotected sex with a local, let alone a sex worker, could be extremely high.

Uganda: When do we tell children they are HIV positive?


A Ugandan draft policy recommending that HIV-positive children be informed of their status by the age of 10 has drawn mixed reactions from health workers. The previous policy required parental consent to tell children under the age of 12, but the new policy allows health workers - with the support of parents and guardians - to disclose HIV status after the child has been prepared and an assessment of their ability to understand and deal with the condition has been made.


CAR: Education for nomadic families


Fatima Yadik, a mother of 12 and grandmother of 18, recently settled in the Central African Republic town of Yaloké after 60 years with her nomadic community. Her camp of Peuhl nomads was attacked by bandits who killed all the men and stole their cattle. Peuhl people are often targeted by bandits because of the relative wealth of their livestock. Fleeing to safety, Ms. Yadik and her family joined the growing number of nomadic peoples across Africa’s interior who are escaping poverty and insecurity in the countryside in favour of life in towns and cities.

Swaziland: Free education becomes a reality


At sundown, Thulani Gama tells his 10-year-old twin siblings to collect firewood while he grinds corn for their supper. At sunrise, he wakes the twins and tells them to wash. Without breakfast, all three children begin their hour-long walk to school in rural Swaziland. Thulani, 13, is the head of his small household. He and his siblings Samkelo and Samkelisiw look after one another since, like many parents, their widowed mother left home to look for work in Mbabane, Swaziland’s capital. Thanks to a new programme supported by UNICEF and the Government of Swaziland, Thulani and his siblings are now able to attend school.


Burundi: How religious leaders fuel homophobia


Religious leaders and organisations have greatly fuelled homophobia in Burundi. These are the findings of a report titled Religion and homophobia, released recently by the Movement for Individual Freedoms (MOLI), a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organisation in Burundi.

Malawi: Couple could face further harassment


Amnesty International has warned that a Malawian couple given a presidential pardon following their conviction of “gross indecency” and “unnatural acts” could face further harassment unless the law is changed. Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were released from prison on 29 May 2010 after President Bingu wa Mutharika pardoned them on humanitarian grounds.

Malawi: Gay couple risk re-arrest


While the two Malawian gay men Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga have been granted a presidential pardon on “humanitarian grounds”, annulling a 14 year sentence for “gross indecency and unnatural acts”, speculation is mounting on the exact conditions of their release.

Uganda: Museveni says Ugandans 'opposed to homosexuality'


President Museveni has said Ugandans are opposed to homosexuality because it is not part of African culture. Speaking to Christians who gathered to mark the Uganda Martyrs Day at the Anglican shrine in Nakiyanja, President Museveni castigated Europeans for imposing what he called western culture onto African countries.


Africa: Indian Ocean Commission launches agro-ecology project in Mauritius


The Indian Ocean Commission (COI) on Tuesday launched the "Agro-ecology" project, which is a regional initiative for the adaptation of small-scale agriculture to climate change in the Islands of the Indian Ocean, PANA reported. The COI is comprised of five member countries -- Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, Comoros and the Seychelles.

Africa: Nigeria's agony dwarfs Gulf oil spill, but US and Europe ignore it


The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades

Cote d'Ivoire: Trafigura accused over toxic waste


Dutch prosecutors have accused multi-national oil trading firm Trafigura of illegally exporting hazardous waste to Ivory Coast in 2006. The allegations came at the start of a trial in which the firm is accused of breaking Dutch export and environmental laws and forging official documents. Tens of thousands of people in Ivory Coast said the waste made them ill.

Global: Activists protest Energy Strategy consultation in Brussels


Activists have staged a protest at the Energy Strategy consultation in Brussels The protestors, led by Friends of the Earth Europe, gathered peacefully outside of the meeting where they demanded an end to the World Bank's financing of fossil fuel projects. Outside the building, the protestors held signs, chanted, and put on several acts of street theater, including handing out mock contracts for coal and a "black comedy" representation of the World Bank's continued financing of dirty energy

Global: Fouls and goals for climate change at World Cup


South Africa, where the FIFA Football World Cup is to kick off Jun. 11, has introduced cleaner transportation, while Brazil is planning ecological stadiums for the championship it will host in 2014. But these and other initiatives clash with the countries' overall environmental performance. The first FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup to take place on the African continent will leave a carbon footprint more than eight times greater than the 2006 World Cup in Germany, according to a study conducted in February 2009 at the request of the South African government and the Norwegian embassy in that country.

Global: World Environment Day


World Environment Day, commemorated on 5 June since 1972, is one of the ways in which the United Nations focuses world attention on the environment and encourages political action. Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of people from countries all over the world have mobilized for individual and organized environmental action. Activities involve all sectors of society – governments, non- and inter-governmental organizations, businesses, industries, civil society, media and schools.

South Africa: New coal plant seeks emission credits for "cleaner" coal


On the heels of winning a $3.75 million loan from the World Bank, South African utility Eskom is now seeking carbon credits from the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. Environmentalists are outraged that one of the largest coal plants in the world could receive public funds from both the World Bank and the CDM.

Land & land rights

Botswana: Bushmen take government to court over water rights


Kalahari Bushmen are taking the government of Botswana to court over its refusal to allow them access to a water borehole on their land. The case is due to be heard at Botswana’s High Court in Lobatse on 9 June 2010.

South Africa: South Africans fight eviction for World Cup car park


For six families living in derelict changing rooms next to one of South Africa's official training venues in Cape Town, the prospect of the football World Cup has turned from a dream to a nightmare. The families who comprise 24 people, half of them children, are facing eviction to make space for the parking area next to the Athlone Stadium which has been upgraded to the tune of 406m rand ($53m, £36m) to bring it up to Fifa standards.

Food Justice

Global: FAO report says global food prices fall


A report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Thursday that international prices of key food staples dropped in the first five months of this year. The report stated that the development was driven largely by plummeting prices of cereals and sugar. It said: "The FAO Food Price Index' the average of commodity prices, including meat and dairy, averaged 164 points in May, down from 174 in January and subst antially less than its peak of 214, reached in the spring of 2008."

Nigeria: Fallout from Niger food crisis


Stocks of millet and sorghum in northern Nigeria's markets are dwindling as traders buy them up to export across the border to Niger, where some 10 million people face food insecurity. Grain merchants from Niger head to Dawanau market in Kano - West Africa's largest grain market – to buy truck-loads of millet and sorghum, locally known as Guinea corn, to bolster declining food stocks.

Media & freedom of expression

Africa: FAJ hails World Congress outcomes


The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), have welcomed the conclusions and outcome of the 27th World Congress of the IFJ, held from 24th - 28th May, in Cadiz, Spain.

Angola: Censorship shrouds journalist’s killing


On January 8, while Angola was hosting the African Cup of Nations, the country made worldwide headlines after a deadly attack on the Togolese national soccer team, which left a coach and a journalist dead. With international attention turning to the story, a shroud of state censorship and self-censorship by the Angolan media obscured the factual circumstances of the attack and its aftermath

Ethiopia: Independent media gagged around elections


Last week's Ethiopian presidential election result was no surprise, with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's governing party winning nearly every seat. Harassment and intimidation of voters and journalists, and the absence of a free, independent media was behind this smooth victory, report Human Rights Watch and the International Press Institute (IPI).

Zambia: Post newspaper, editor in chief convicted over contempt of court charges


On 3 June 2010, The Post newspapers and its editor in chief, Fred M’membe were found guilty of one count of contempt of court, a charge arising from an opinion article authored by United States of America-based Zambian Law Professor, Muna Ndulo and published by the newspaper on 27 August 2009. However, presiding Magistrate Simausamba reserved sentence to 4 June 2010. Meanwhile, M’membe’s lawyer, Remmy Mainza said the case in which his clients were convicted of was a misdemeanor which attracted a sentence of six months or a fine. He prayed to the court to give his clients a non- custodial or suspended sentence because the two were first offenders who had no track of a criminal record.

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: 19 killed in rebel attack


At least 19 people including five soldiers killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile east after the Hutu rebels attacked an army post, the army reported. About 150 fighters from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group staged a pre-dawn attack Wednesday on a military position in Nord-Kivu province, Vianney Kazarama, the army spokesman in the region said.

Kenya: Bumper maize harvest contaminated by toxins


There is growing alarm among Kenyan farmers about a government announcement that 2.3m bags of maize were unfit for human consumption. Health experts say the maize contained high levels of lethal aflatoxins, which have killed at least one child. The government has pledged to buy and destroy the contaminated maize.

Libya: Executions of foreigners are condemned


Human rights campaigner group Amnesty International has condemned the reported execution of 18 people in Libya. The 18, some from Chad, Egypt and Nigeria, were executed on Sunday in Tripoli and Benghazi, Libyan media reported. Amnesty International said they feared the accused had not had fair trials.

Somalia: Civilians killed in fighting


At least 17 civilians have been killed after Somali government forces, supported by African Union peacekeepers, launched attacks against fighters from al-Shabab, the armed anti-government group, in Mogadishu. Among the dead are six women and a family of five whose home was destroyed by shelling, Ali Muse, the head of the city's ambulance service, said on Thursday.

Somalia: Troops fight al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu


Clashes between Somali government forces and Islamist militants have killed at least 28 people and wounded about 60 in the capital Mogadishu. The fighting appears to be the start of a government offensive using troops trained in Ethiopia, analysts say.

Sudan: Government shelves peace talks with JEM


The Sudanese government has said it will no longer engage in peace talks with the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), Darfur's main anti-government group, saying instead its leaders will be prosecuted. Ghazi Atabani, chief negotiator of the talks, said mediators had been notified of the government's decision.

Internet & technology

Ghana: Boy, 12, wins Google top prize


A 12-year-old Ghanaian student Kwabena Asumadu has been crowned the national winner of the Doodle 4 Google 'Love Football' competition. The competition was for students to design a Google Doodle - the interpretation of the Google logo, around the theme 'Love Football'. Asumadu is now one step closer to being a global winner and will have his logo uploaded on the Google Ghana homepage - - for a day. For his prize he would receive a laptop, dongle, printer and a framed copy of his winning doodle.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

South Africa: Israel/Apartheid Connections

AfricaFocus Bulletin May 31, 2010 (100531)


"Polakow-Suransky puts Israel's annual military exports to South Africa between 1974 and 1993 at $600 million, which made South Africa Israel's second or third largest trading partner after the United States and Britain. ... He puts the total military trade between the countries at well above $10 billion over the two decades." - Glenn Frankel in review of new book "The Unspoken Alliance". Polakow-Suransky's book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (, is hardly the first to outline the open secret of Israel's military relationship with apartheid South Africa (see books listed below). But it is certainly the most well-documented and will arguably be the most influential.

Fundraising & useful resources

Call for entrants: RFI Discoveries Award 2010


France’s international public service radio station RFI (Radio France Internationale) has launched this year’s Prix Découverte RFI (RFI Discoveries Award). Since 1981 RFI has organised this award for singers and musicians which is open to entrants living in Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean islands

The New Path: African Forum for Intellectual Thought

Call for articles


The NEW PATH: AFRICAN FORUM FOR INTELLECTUAL THOUGHT is published quarterly by the African Research and Resource Forum (ARRF) and provides a forum for innovative thinking about our common future and about how we need to tackle the most intractable problems facing Africa today – focusing on Eastern Africa. The editor invites your articles (opinion and analysis) for the June 2010 edition. This edition of 'New Path' will cover Elections management in EAC Member States: Focus on upcoming elections in Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Human Rights Advocates Program, Columbia University

2011 Application


The application for the 2011 session of the annual Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) at Columbia University is now available. We would like to ask you to disseminate this announcement to eligible human rights activists and organizations. The application is available online. This web-based format is the only version of the 2011 application.

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