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African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
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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

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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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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 588: Bread, freedom, justice and solidarity

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

Pambazuka News is delivered free to you with the support of donations from Friends of Pambazuka.


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Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Advocacy & campaigns, 3. Books & arts, 4. Podcasts & Videos, 5. Cartoons, 6. Zimbabwe update, 7. African Union Monitor, 8. Women & gender, 9. Human rights, 10. Refugees & forced migration, 11. Africa labour news, 12. Elections & governance, 13. Corruption, 14. Development, 15. Health & HIV/AIDS, 16. Education, 17. LGBTI, 18. Racism & xenophobia, 19. Environment, 20. Land & land rights, 21. Food Justice, 22. Media & freedom of expression, 23. Social welfare, 24. News from the diaspora, 25. Conflict & emergencies, 26. Internet & technology, 27. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 28. Courses, seminars, & workshops


Egypt’s revolution: Bread, freedom, social justice and why global solidarity matters

Comrades from Cairo


cc J R
The Egyptian revolution is important for all struggles against militarized power, exploitation, class stratification, and police violence. Join the resistance to the counter-revolution.

NATO's Libya blitzkrieg and the coming colonial wars

Dan Glazebrook


cc US Navy
If you want a vision of Africa under AFRICOM tutelage, look no further than Libya, NATO’s model of an African state: condemned to decades of violence and trauma through military colonialism.

Algeria and the Arab Spring

Hamza Hamouchene


cc Marcovdz
Algeria’s fratricidal war has divided democrats, seriously damaged civil society and left a political vacuum in the face of the ruling parties. There is almost no opposition with a proper base that can take the demands of the people forward.

Resisting capitalism: How views from the global south matter

‘This volume constitutes scholarship of the highest quality’


© Pambazuka Press
In ‘Global History: A View from the South’ Samir Amin shows us how we can overcome the exploitative pressures of global capitalism.

The Wisconsin recall vote

Another wakeup call for the left in the United States of America

Horace Campbell


cc D H
The recall election serves as a wakeup call for progressives. The future of the struggles against capitalism cannot be decided by electoral struggles, which are one of the many forms of mobilization.

Nigeria: How do we make sense of our predicament?

Sokari Ekine


cc D M
One terrorist attack, one plane crash with the evidence pointing to serious criminal negligence and one ‘accident’ due to an incompetent crane driver or malpractice.

Will Istanbul conference engender a common vision for Somalia?

Mohamud M Uluso


cc I H H
In the light of growing Turkish influence and the confusing pattern of conflicting interests and international gatherings, will Somalis receive the help and respect they so desperately need from the Istanbul II conference?

Destination oblivion: the failure of Western policy in Somalia

Ahmed M.I Egal


cc B-K
Why has peace in Somalia been so hard to come by? Someone needs to get rid of the Western powers and their roadmap to nowhere.

Bahrain: The dragonfly’s eye

Ahmed Kanna


cc Al Jazeera
The story of Bahrain, like other small countries, reveals the truths of a bigger story of geopolitical power and its disregard for the dignity of people in distant places.

Position paper of La Via Campesina

The people of the world confront the advance of capitalism: Rio +20 and beyond


cc A d P
‘We are profoundly alarmed that the meeting will serve to deepen neoliberal policies and processes of capitalist expansion, concentration and exclusion that today have enveloped us in an environmental, economic and social crisis of grave proportions.’

International dimensions of the conflict in Eastern Congo

Gary K. Busch


cc F P
The profits and riches to be gained from exploitation of Eastern Congo’s natural resources continue to propel violence, pillage and the suffering of the Congolese people.

South Africa: Victory as students strike over sacked workers

Micah Roshan Reddy


cc J P
The hunger strike is the latest victory for workers, with encouraging support coming from a wide range of political ideologies – from anarchists to left-leaning liberals and radical members of the youth wings of the governing ANC-led alliance.

Lightning and rainbows

Paula Akugizibwe


cc P T
A painting on a wall sparks a bit of animosity when area residents realize it is done in Arabic. But later a lively conversation about change ensues.

On Intisar’s Zina charges and stoning sentence

What is behind religion?

Hala Alkarib


cc L A
The recent sentencing to death by stoning of a young woman accused of adultery stands against all the values, traditions and heritage of the Sudanese and signifies the reactionary political agenda of a tyrannical regime.

Open letter to President Barack Hussein Obama

‘What About We People Who Are Darker Than Blue?’

Norman (Otis) Richmond (aka Jalali)


cc US Gov
Black Music Month is going unnoticed by President Barack Obama.

Uganda: the wrong transition?

Lucy Hovil


cc UN Photo
Long before the ICC, or even Invisible Children, made Kony an Internet sensation, local activists were shouting themselves hoarse trying to get the world to understand the broader context of the conflict in the north – President Museveni’s stranglehold on the country for almost three decades.

Political kidnappings in Angola

Rafael Marques de Morais


cc S J C
The puzzling question remains: Why would the two political activists be kidnapped when the protest they had planned had already been aborted?

Violence: The way of politics in Angola

Rafael Marques de Morais


cc J G
Violence against the youth, who have been organizing anti-government protests, is the most prominent aspect of the campaign by the regime to entrench itself in power. Yet, a more sinister operation has been unfolding: kidnappings and torture.

Bilderbergers beware

Populists confront US-European ‘.0001%’ in Washington

Patrick Bond


cc Siro 09
The secretive Bilderbergers aren’t normally a protest magnet. But last weekend, protesters hurled creative abuse at the black limousines rolling past towards the Chantilly Marriott Hotel.

Advocacy & campaigns

Equatorial Guinea: Opposition figure pardoned

Judicial reforms needed


Dr Mansogo was convicted for professional negligence and sentenced to three years in prison in a politically motivated trial.

Open letter to Commonwealth Secretary-General


CHRI's concern about the human rights situation in The Gambia

Fears for health of Darfuri detainees as hunger strike continues

Press release 3/6/12


A doctor examined the detainees and told them that they were in a bad condition and should stop their hunger strike.

Born again in the United States of Uganda


Born Again in the United States of Uganda is the story of how well financed U.S. evangelicals, fundamentalists and neoconservatives conspired in the incitement of hatred against gays and how this led to the introduction of the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill to Uganda’s parliament.

Another Tunisia is possible, in another Maghreb and in another World

Monastir (Tunisia), 12th to 17th July 2012


We invite you to join us in Monastir from the 12th to the 17th of July where we will launch together the process towards the World Social Forum 2013.

3,000 Bedouins attack Egyptian reactor site


The Egyptian government, amid opposition by Bedouins and environmentalists, has reaffirmed its nuclear energy program.

Books & arts

Are you that place?


Are you that concrete jungle
Crumbling under the weight of
Maneuvering, manipulative matatus
Where passengers are shuka’d at whim

Are you where darkness whispers sweet lullabies
Or where lights play dirty tricks

Where money is mobile
And glass ceilings tower as high as KICC

Where freedom is plastered on bus stops
And injustice deeply rooted
Into territorial boundaries

Where few attest their tribe is indeed Kenyan

Where tusker runs like maji

Where unga is revolutionized
And revolutions are most definitely not televised

Where radios relentlessly relay well kept secrets

Where the rain commands the city
And payday drives traffic

Where the likes of Kibera & Sinai make way
For the likes of Karen & Spring Valley

Are you the capital of thieves and robbers
Or a mega polis of IT geeks, business gurus and self made men

Where every pocket is packed with dreams
But not every dream packs pockets

Tell me, Nairobi, are you that place?

© Nebila Abdulmelik, February 2012
[email protected]

Shailja Patel: Dressed in scarlet she strides danger zones

A review of ‘Migritude, when saris speak’

Philo Ikonya


In ‘Migritude’, Shailja Patel bares her soul, mine and yours, the world’s. And out come storms of life that fill every cranny you know, a gust that nobody should stop.

‘From Françafrique to Mafiafrique’ by François Xavier Verschave

Peter Wuteh Vakunta


Verschave is convinced that the inception of Françafrique calls into question the meaning of political independence granted to French colonies in Africa more than five decades ago.

Podcasts & Videos

Africa Today discussion on West Africa


In this broadcast, Africa Today speaks with Dame Babou, Senegalese journalist and host of 'Africa Time' and Hamadou Tidiane Sy of on recent developments in West Africa - the coup in Mali and the Tuareg insurgency in Northern Mali.

Cuba, a revolution in motion


In this podcast, Africa Today speaks with Dr. Isaac Saney on Latin American Studies, Race in Cuba, and Cuba's role in Southern Africa. Dr. Saney is the author of 'Cuba a Revolution in Motion'.

Global: Seeds of Freedom


The film Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro-biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture. You can watch a preview of the film through the URL provided.


Diamond jubilee, Diamond injustice



The world joins the Queen of England to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee on the throne.

Gado: Janet Museveni for president


Change is about to sweep Ugandan politics after decades of Museveni rule...

Zimbabwe update

Zimbabwe: Fears of military coup mount


Fears are mounting that Zimbabwe’s military will seize power in the event of President Robert Mugabe’s death or electoral defeat. A top army general said they would not allow anyone who does not share the ideals of the veteran ruler’s Zanu PF party to lead the country. 'As the military, we do not only believe, but act in defence of these values and we will not respect any leader who does not respect the revolution,' Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) chief of staff Major General Trust Mugoba said.

Zimbabwe: Police target MDC supporters


Police have fired tear gas to disperse supporters of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party outside a courthouse. About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the high court in downtown Harare on Monday 4 June to protest charges being brought against 29 activists of the former opposition appearing there for a bail hearing. The activists are seeking bail on charges of murdering a police officer a year ago.

Zimbabwe: SADC meeting a game-changer, says Biti


MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti has described the Sadc meeting in Angola as 'probably the most important post-GNU summit' adding the regional body had made it clear that new elections could not be held without political reforms. President Robert Mugabe had hoped Sadc would endorse his push for new elections to go ahead this year even if political reforms that include the writing of a new constitution are not completed in time. But Biti said the troika meeting told coalition parties to implement all agreed electoral, political, security sector and media reforms over the next twelve months. However, Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo accused the MDC formations of misinterpreting the Sadc resolutions saying the bloc merely said reforms should be implemented within 12 months. 'We still have seven months before the end of the year. I am confident within the next few months, we will have implemented the reforms in time for elections in 2012,' he said.

African Union Monitor

Angola: Angola oils campaign to secure AU vote for SA


Angola is bankrolling a concerted campaign to secure SA's efforts to win support for Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to lead the African Union (AU) with a $200,000 pledge to finance lobbying ahead of the AU summit. Oil-rich Angola, signalling its foreign policy ambitions on the continent, has combined in the campaign with SA, which is chartering aircraft to take teams of cabinet ministers to lobby around the continent.

Malawi: AU summit hosting cancelled over Sudan's al Bashir invite


Malawi has said it will not host the African Union summit in July because the bloc insisted on inviting Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted on international war crimes charges. 'After considering the interests of Malawians, I want to inform Malawians that the cabinet met today and decided it was not interested to accept the conditions by the African Union, therefore Malawi is not hosting the summit,' Vice President Khumbo Kachali told journalists in a brief speech broadcast on state radio.

Women & gender

Cameroon: The complexities of matrilineal inheritance


James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line. But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits. Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family. Elangwe's wife belongs to a tribe where inheritance passes from father to son in a patrilineal system. Women cannot inherit, but he says at least it stays within the immediate family if there is a son.

Morocco: Calls for legalized abortions grow louder


Hundreds of Moroccan women a day are resorting to backstreet abortions, a leading doctor has estimated, prompting calls for reform in a country where the termination of pregnancies remains illegal. Campaigners say some of those resorting to illegal abortion are the victims of rape, driven at least in part by the social stigma attached not just to having a child out of wedlock but even having suffered rape.

Nigeria: Gender inequality at worrying levels


The 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report launched recently shows that gender inequality is at highly worrying levels. There is a lack of gender balance in the economy, education, politics, health, access to justice and almost all areas of human development. According to the report, 'Nigeria's 80.2 million women and girls have a significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies; 60-79% of the rural workforce is women but men are five times more likely to own land. '

South Africa: Traditional bill ‘dead in the water’


After weeks of countrywide public hearings on which hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ rands were spent, the department of justice and the select committee on security and constitutional development received a rude wake-up call on the controversial Traditional Courts Bill, reports City Press. Most of the provinces either rejected the bill or asked for massive changes. In what can be described as a victory for rural women, who have waged war against the bill since it was tabled in 2008, the department of justice will have to go back to the drawing board.

Human rights

Egypt: Court acquits 13 officers of killing protesters


An Egypt court acquitted 13 police officers who were accused of killing six people and injuring 18 others on January 28 and 29, 2011, during the uprising that ousted the former regime, outside a police station in Giza. The six men were killed in what was known as the Friday of Anger that saw hundreds of others die at the hands of the police, who tried to suppress the uprising. The police officers defense accused the families of the dead of trying to prosecute the officers 'out of greed' as they were accused of aiming for state compensation.

Libya: ICC sends team to Libya after delegation detained


Representatives of the International Criminal Court arrived in Tripoli on Sunday to try to secure the release of a detained delegation visiting Muammar Gaddafi's captured son, a Libyan official said. The four-member delegation was being held in the western mountain town of Zintan after one of its lawyers, Australian Melinda Taylor, was found carrying documents regarded as suspicious for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a Libyan lawyer and a militia member said.

Sudan: Ban death by stoning


The sentencing of a young Sudanese woman to death by stoning for adultery presents numerous grave violations of domestic and international law, Human Rights Watch said. The sentence also underscores the urgent need for Sudan to reform its legal system in accordance with its human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said. Intisar Sharif Abdallah, whose age has not been determined but is believed to be under the age of 18, was sentenced by a judge on 22 April 2012, in the city of Omdurman, near Khartoum. Since her sentencing, she been held in Omdurman prison with her five-month-old baby, with her legs shackled.

Zimbabwe: Call for end to rights violations


The Kimberly Process intersessional in Washington, with Human Rights Watch (HRW) urging the diamond monitor to tackle what it calls continuing human rights violations in Zimbabwe's Marange fields. The meeting, which ran from 4-7 June 2012, will take up a range of topics related to the mining and trading of conflict-free rough diamonds. Human Rights Watch Africa director, Daniel Bekele urged the Kimberley Process, under the chairpersonship of the United States, to address the ongoing rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s Marange fields and the lack of transparency by mining companies operating there.

Refugees & forced migration

Africa: Call to reverse soaring adoption rates


As the number of African children adopted by people outside the continent reaches record levels, experts, activists, government officials and academics have called for the practice to be stemmed, warning that adoption was too often motivated by financial gain rather than the best interests of the children involved. Between 2003 and 2011, for example, at least 41,000 African children were sent abroad for adoption from Africa, according to a study entitled 'Africa: The New Frontier' for Inter-country Adoption by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF).

Africa: Israel starts rounding up Africans for deportation


Israeli authorities have began a roundup of South Sudanese migrants ahead of their deportation, three days after a court ruled that their lives were no longer threatened in their homeland. 'The deportation operation is getting under way. We are starting the job,' Interior minister Eli Yishai told independent television station Channel Two. 'We told the infiltrators from South Sudan to come voluntarily; whoever doesn't, with the Lord's help we shall get them all...they'll be put on a plane,' he said.

Africa: Migrants targeted in Jerusalem attack


Four African migrants have been hospitalised after a deadly arson attempt on a Jerusalem building in which they were living. The incident, which police described as 'very serious', took place in an old two-storey building in a poor neighbourhood near the city’s Mahane Yehuda market.

Kenya: Enhancing information and transparency for IDPs


ARTICLE 19 has recently highlighted the critical issue of the right to information for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The international NGO delivered practical training sessions on the Right to Information for internally displaced persons to regional leaders and representatives of local community based organisations. Over 20 participants from the Coast province attended the training sessions held in the Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza regions of the country. The program aims to build the capacity of IDP leaders and civil society organisations to request and utilise government held information.

South Africa: Migrants and deportation in South Africa


South Africa receives more asylum seekers than any other country in the world with people mainly coming from Zimbabwe, the DRC, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, as well as from countries further afield to escape poverty, insecurity and political turmoil. Up to 1.4 million of South Africa’s refugees and asylum seekers are Zimbabwean, representing almost 15 per cent of Zimbabwe’s population. This is according to a new report, 'Perils and Pitfalls ‐ Migrants and Deportation in South Africa', from the Solidarity Peace Trust/Passop. This report brings to light the discrepancies between the legal requirements around deportation of migrants and the anomalies in its practical application. It is clear from the findings that South Africa is falling short of its lofty legal standards in the manner that the various government agencies are dealing with this huge challenge.

South Sudan: Airlift of 12,000 ends


An 'exceptional' airlift of almost 12,000 South Sudanese ended with a final flight from Khartoum on Wednesday but thousands more continue to live in makeshift conditions while they, too, await transport to the South, officials said. One hundred Southerners took the last chartered plane from Khartoum to South Sudan's capital Juba, Jill Helke, chief of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Sudan, said.

Uganda: Land row delays resettlement of Congolese refugees


The continued arrival of refugees fleeing post-election violence and militia activities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in western Uganda, and the government’s efforts to resettle them, have created a land row that has already cost the life of a government official. Alphonse Nteziryayo, commander of Rwamwanja settlement, in Kamwenge district, had accompanied humanitarian aid workers to assess the land the government had set aside for the settlement of Congolese refugees in Uganda when he was attacked and killed by squatters, who had settled there.

Africa labour news

South Africa: Strike threat as state holds civil servants in deadlock


Unions have given the government 24 hours to agree to terms to avoid a wage dispute that would throw the public service sector into disarray. Public sector unions have united in rejecting the government’s wage offer, which – as it is now – would see salaries in these sectors increase by 6.5 per cent and the housing allowance by R100. Unions are demanding an 8 per cent wage increment and R1,500 housing allowance, while the state is offering R900 for a housing allowance, an increase from the current R800. This adjustment would be effective for six months only.

Elections & governance

Angola: Parties to get state funding


All political parties in Angola will benefit from government financial support, it has been announced. Parliamentary Affairs minister Norberto dos Santos said every party and recognised coalition would be allocated at least $90,000 (9.6 million Kwanzas). The money is meant to help the parties prepare for parliamentary elections scheduled for August 31. Dos Santos said 77 parties and seven coalitions recognised by the constitutional would be funded.

Egypt: Call for presidential vote to be cancelled


Egypt’s popular political leader and former presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei has said the upcoming presidential runoff in the country should be canceled. He argued that the real battle in Egypt was 'writing Egypt’s new constitution and canceling the presidential elections, because the legitimacy of one of the candidates is highly doubtful', referring to presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last prime minister.

Egypt: Liberals quit constitutional meeting


Egyptian liberals have walked out of a meeting to select members of a panel to write the country's new constitution, charging Islamists of trying to take seats allocated for secular parties. The walkout could throw the writing of the constitution, which would lay out the powers of the presidency, into further disarray at a time when uncertainties mar both the course of the presidential runoff election on June 16 and 17 and the legality of parliament.

Egypt: Rally against Mubarak verdict continues


Egyptians continue their million-man march in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez to voice their anger at the lenient sentence handed to ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. The protesters gathered in the capital's iconic Liberation Square and other cities to urge the retrial of Mubarak and his two sons, demanding the death penalty for the octogenarian dictator. The demonstrators also called for unity among all political parties to prevent the re-emergence of the Mubarak-era dictatorship.

Ghana: Rawlings wants wife to 'rescue' Ghana from crisis


Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings has given the first hint that his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, might enter the presidential race in December. It is not clear whether the former First Lady would do so as an independent candidate or form a new party. Not too long ago, Nana Agyeman was rejected by delegates of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) when she took on party leader President John Evans Mills.

Guinea: President warned to keep off Sierra Leone politics


Guinea President Alpha Conde has ignited anger among a section of Sierra Leone’s opposition for a statement seen as interference in the latter’s politics. President Conde Saturday openly declared support for his Sierra Leonean counterpart in the forthcoming elections. The Guinean leader made the pronouncement as the two leaders inaugurated a new highway linking Conakry and Freetown, the respective capitals of the two states.

Libya: Assembly election postponed


Libya has postponed its landmark election for a constitutional assembly to July 7 because of technical and logistical issues, the head of the electoral commission said. The first elections since the fall of the country's longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi were due to be held on June 19. Two hundred representatives are to be elected and tasked with drafting the country's constitution, but authorities say they need more time to vet candidates.


Kenya: Law review needed over oil discoveries


The Energy ministry says it will re-examine laws to satisfy the emerging demands of transparency, disclosure, fairness and justice in the sharing of oil revenues among explorers, host governments and the local communities. 'The recent positive development in the exploration of fossils, especially petroleum and coal, also calls for a review of the current legal and regulatory frameworks to cater for emerging needs,' said the Energy PS Patrick Nyoike. ‘The National Energy Policy recognises that. We have a five- year window to put issues in place,' he told stakeholders discussing a draft Bill.

Nigeria: Nigeria urged to prosecute 16 foreign firms for bribery


A Nigerian civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Nigerian government to prosecute 16 foreign companies involved in bribery in the country. In a statement made available to PANA in Lagos Sunday, SERAP said it would seek leave of court for an order of mandamus to compel the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Mohammed Adoke, to act if the companies are not prosecuted 'within 14 (fourteen) days from the receipt and/or publication of this letter (to the AGF).'

South Africa: Communications tender finding a victory of civil society


The Writing Rights blog has an article about a communications tender that was awarded to TBWA/Hunt Lascaris in December 2010 by the Western Cape provincial government. During 2011, a group of civil society organisations lodged an independent and separate complaint with the Public Protector about the legality of the procurement of the tender. This group of complainants consisted of Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), Social Justice Coalition (SJC), Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC), Right 2 Know Western Cape and Equal Education (EE). Recently, the public protector found, among other things, that it was improper for two of the premier's special advisers to be on the bid evaluation committee.

South Africa: Hawks investigate cell giant


Crime-fighting unit The Hawks have said they were investigating the MTN Group - Africa's largest mobile phone operator - over allegations of bribery related to its Iranian licence. 'We can confirm that we are conducting a formal investigation,' McIntosh Polela, a spokesman for the unit, said. Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri, based in Istanbul, is suing MTN in the US for $4,2bn, alleging the SA-based company bribed Iranian government officials, arranged meetings between Iranian and SA leaders, and promised Iran weapons and United Nations votes in exchange for a licence to provide services in the Islamic Republic.

Uganda: Dominion pull-out begs questions about mysterious Ugandan oil company


The withdrawal of Dominion Uganda Ltd from exploration around Lake Edward - an area which, according to independent petroleum geologists, may hold between 90 million and 1.1 billion barrels of oil - leaves a plethora of unanswered questions swirling around an industry that, in Uganda, remains no more transparent than a dollop of waxy crude. Why did Dominion pull out? What happened to a ‘Letter of Intent’ its parent company, UK-based Ophir Energy, signed in March 2012 with Canadian wildcatter, Octant Energy Corp., giving Octant an 80 per cent share in, and operatorship of, Exploration Area 4B? Did the government of Uganda approve these deals? And where does this leave the mysterious Alpha Oil - a Ugandan owned company that, in one of the sector’s best kept secrets, for many years held a five per cent stake in Exploration Area 4B?


Africa: Can cities or towns drive African development?


Rapid urbanization is an important characteristic of African development and yet the structural transformation debate focuses on agriculture’s relative merits without also considering the benefits from urban agglomeration. This UNU-WIDER Working Paper argues against an ‘agro-fundamentalist’ approach to African development, but says the short-term imperative of reducing poverty necessitates further agricultural investment.

Namibia: State, miners head for clash over nationalisation


Namibia's Chamber of Mines believes that the government has no role to play in the country‘s mining sector apart from regulating the operating environment. The position is likely to put miners at loggerheads with the state, which is following the global trend of resource nationalism. Namibia in 2011 declared all minerals - except zinc and fluorspar - strategic and handed over all exploration rights to state miner, Epangelo Mining Limited.

Uganda: No development plan for the oil region, officials admit


As midwestern Uganda gears up for oil production that will entail billions of dollars in investments, a range of central government officials interviewed by Oil in Uganda admit that there is no overall development plan for the region, and no mechanism for coordinating the efforts of different departments. 'Government has not designed any development plan for the oil region. We did not even have a development plan for the oil refinery in Hoima District until recently when the Ministry of Energy came up with one,' admits Johnson Mugume, a senior advisor to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The refinery plan itself, he adds, is still in its infancy and will take years of work to finalise.

Health & HIV/AIDS

DRC: Cholera outbreak worsens


A growing cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed nearly 400 lives and affected more than 19,100 people since January, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 'The total number of cholera cases in 2012 is around 90 percent of cases reported last year. Since January 2011, 983 people have died from the outbreak affecting eight of 11 provinces of the country,' Yvon Edoumou, OCHA spokesman, told a news conference.

Global: Treat pneumonia and diarrhoea and save infants, says Unicef


According to a report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading killers of children under five years despite the fact that there are a number of cost effective interventions to curb these illnesses. Far fewer children are dying today than 20 years ago – In 1990, 12-million child deaths were recorded, compared to 7.6-million in 2010.

Malawi: Where Is HIV/AIDS on Banda's to-do list?


Malawi's new president, Joyce Banda, has inherited an unenviable to-do list from former president Bingu wa Mutharika, and AIDS activists are hoping that bolstering the donor-dependent AIDS response will be one of her most urgent priorities. A lot is at stake. An estimated 10 per cent of the adult population is HIV-positive, with about 70,000 Malawians newly infected with HIV every year. Yet the country is almost entirely dependent on external funding for its AIDS programmes, and ambitious plans to scale up treatment have been derailed after the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria rejected a succession of funding proposals.

South Africa: Stavudine trial causes split


AIDS activists and researchers are at loggerheads over the planned South African trial of a lower dose version of the controversial antiretroviral stavudine, which has in the past been responsible for debilitating side-effects in HIV patients. In the one camp, the Treatment Action Campaign, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders) and the Treatment Action Group have serious concerns about the proposed trial.


Swaziland: Mass caning violates human rights


Save the Children Swaziland condemned teachers for beating all the children at a school after one pupil made a noise in assembly. It said the school violated their human rights. The mass caning happened at Lusoti Primary School. Parents have now asked the Ministry of Education and Training to investigate.

Swaziland: Teachers vote for strike


Teachers in Swaziland have voted to strike indefinitely, almost certainly closing down schools in the kingdom. A total of 98.7 per cent of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) members who took part in a vote opted for a strike. The strike for a pay increase of 4.5 per cent is due to start on 13 June.


South Africa: The Ikhaya Project


Ikhaya (Home) is a part of the Photo XP community project supported by Greatmore studios, co facilitated by Zanele Muholi and Lindeka Qampi. It is a collection of 60 hours of photographic memories that were taken in different areas of Khayelitsha. All of them are black lesbians between 21 and 31 years of age, from various places within and outside of Khayelitsha. So far 2012 PhotoXP has been exhibited at three (3) different events in May 2012. The first Ikhaya show was at Greatmore Studios on the 10th May, followed by Exuberance on the 12th May 2012 which was part of UCT GIPCA event. The recent, third show was during the OSISA: Money, Power & Sex conference on the 22-24 May 2012 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Uganda: New documentary on pre-colonial gay life


Gay rights activists in Uganda have launched a new documentary tracing gay love in pre-colonial Ugandan society. Kabaka Mwanga II, widely believed to have been gay, ruled Buganda from 1884 to 1897. The documentary, 'Gay Love in Pre-colonial Africa: The Untold Story of Ugandan Martyrs' was premiered in Kampala last week ahead of the 3 June public holiday to commemorate the burning to death of Ugandan martyrs.

Racism & xenophobia

South Africa: NGOs join forces in Malema hate speech case


The Freedom of Expression Institute and Section 16 have applied to become friends of the court in the hate speech case against Julius Malema. The Freedom of Expression Institute and Section 16 have applied to become friends of the court in the hate speech case against Julius Malema. 'Hate speech is a very important and delicate issue for South African democracy,' said Melissa Moore, executive officer for the non-governmental organisation Section 16.

South Africa: Safe House


This post from the blog Africa is a Country reflects on the film Safe House, starring Denzil Washington, which was filmed in Cape Town. Washington had previously been quoted as saying he felt more comfortable making the film in a 'black' country, but as Loren A Lynch points out, the film perpetuates Hollywood stereotypes. 'The majority of audiences rarely see past guise of set dressing into the political and racial implications of not only the film but also of the film industry itself. Western audiences remain content with Hollywood’s constructed perceptions of both countries and cultures outside of their own, when in reality the differences stick out almost as much as Denzel Washington in a “brown” country.'


Africa: African nations agree to put a price on nature


Ten African nations have pledged, ahead of Rio+20, to include the economic value of natural resources in their national accounts. Africa has taken the lead in the quest to persuade nations to include the full economic value of their natural resources in their national accounts, with the promise last month by ten of its nations to do so. The heads of state or government of Botswana, Liberia, Mozambique and Namibia, along with ministers from Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania, signed the 'Gaborone Declaration' at the Summit for Sustainability in Africa (24-25 May), co-hosted by the government of Botswana and the nongovernmental organisation Conservation International.

Global: Confronting the advance of capitalism at Rio+20


Governments from all over the world will meet in Río de Janeiro, Brasil from 20-22 June to commemorate 20 years since the 'Earth Summit', the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. In this statement, La Via Campesina says they will mobilize for the event, 'representing the voice of the peasant in the global debate and defending a different path to development that is based on thewellbeing of all, that guarantees food for all, that protects and guarantees that thecommons and natural resources are put to use to provide a good life for everyone andnot to meet the needs for accumulation of a few.'

Global: Monsanto DroughtGard corn 'doesn't outperform' non-GMO alternatives, report claims


New genetically altered corn aimed at helping farmers deal with drought offers more hype than help over the long term, according to a report issued by a science and environmental advocacy group. The Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) said the only genetically altered corn approved by regulators and undergoing field trials in the United States has no improved water efficiency, and provides only modest results in only moderate drought conditions.

Mozambique: Establishing environmental flows in the Zambezi


Forty years ago, the Incomati flowed through the Magudi District of Maputo, in majestic splendour, more than 700 metres wide during the wet season. Now, except during extreme flooding, the river broadens to a little more than half that width during the rains, and dwindles to a trickle during the dry season. The lower water levels in the Incomati River are attributed to increased demands upstream, where thousands of new arrivals draw water for irrigation, domestic use and livestock. The diminished river can no longer support the diverse aquatic plant and animal life that it used to.

Nigeria: Bid to save rain forests


Nigeria was recently approved $4million from the United Nations Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) programme to conserve rainforest trees. Part of this was used to carry out 'REDD readiness', a series of workshops and campaigns aimed at forest communities and oil companies. The aim is to help them get to grips with conservation and the importance of curbing carbon emissions. Most of Nigeria's UN REDD money will be poured into Cross River, a reward for what its officials describe as government’s 'conscientious efforts to save the forests'. In a country that has lost over 90 per cent of its lowland rainforests, Cross River has been recognised as Nigeria's environment capital and contains over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s remaining rainforest. Many on the ground are already aware of the REDD money and expectations are high.

Land & land rights

Africa: Behind every land grab is a water grab


Food cannot be grown without water. In Africa, one in three people endure water scarcity and climate change will make things worse. Building on Africa’s highly sophisticated indigenous water management systems could help resolve this growing crisis, but these very systems are being destroyed by large-scale land grabs amidst claims that Africa's water is abundant, under-utilised and ready to be harnessed for export-oriented agriculture. In this report, GRAIN looks behind the current scramble for land in Africa to reveal a global struggle for what is increasingly seen as a commodity more precious than gold or oil - water.

Global: The legal niceties of land theft


A paper in the Journal of Peasant Studies situates the current land rush in its historical context, focusing on legal mechanisms. 'Even before capitalist transformation this feudal-derived machination was an instrument of aligned class privilege and power, later elaborated to justify colonial mass land and resource capture. Now it is routinely embedded in the legal canons of elite-aligned agrarian governance as a way to retain control over the land resources which rural communities presume are their own.'

Zimbabwe: ANCYL warns of Zim-style land invasions in South Africa


Farm invasions are 'inevitable' should white South Africans not voluntarily hand over land to the government, says the ANC Youth League. “If they don’t want to see angry black youths flooding their farms they must come to the party. Whites must volunteer some of the land and mines they own.' Lamola was speaking at the end of a youth league policy workshop held in preparation for the ANC policy conference later this month.

Food Justice

Global: Brazilian farmers sue Monsanto


Five million Brazilian farmers are locked in a lawsuit with US-based biotech giant Monsanto, suing for as much as 6.2 billion euros. They say that the genetic-engineering company has been collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own. The farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from 'renewal' seed harvests.

Malawi: Farm Input Subsidy gets K40 billion


Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy program, touted for improving food security for the past six years, has been allocated a whopping K40.6 billion in the 2012/13 budget which represents about 60 per cent of the Ministry of Agriculture allocation. 'The major allocation is for the Farm Inputs Subsidy Program (FISP) which has been allocated a total of K40.6 billion for the purchase of 150,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers comprising 75,000 metric tonnes of Urea and 75,000 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizers which will be distributed to 1.5 million farm families at a price of K500 per bag,' said Lipenga when he presented the financial plan.

Media & freedom of expression

Africa: First pan-African health journalism network created


Journalists from across Africa announced the creation of the first continent-wide professional association of health journalists. The new organization, the African Health Journalists Association, aims to improve the quality and quantity of reporting on health issues so that people across the continent can make healthy choices for their lives. The group’s media coverage will encourage the best possible public health programs and policies throughout the continent.

Egypt: Verdicts, lifting of emergency law not enough to guarantee free expression, say IFEX members


Recently, Egypt's 30-year-old emergency law expired and former President Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during Egypt's uprising. Yet the future for free expression in Egypt remains in doubt, say the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and other IFEX members.

Ethiopia: Government steps up control of information


Ethiopia’s only ISP, state-owned Ethio-Telecom, has just installed a system for blocking access to the Tor network, which lets users browse anonymously and access blocked websites. At the same time, the state-owned printing presses are demanding the right to censor the newspapers they print.

Uganda: Amid assaults on press, Uganda police promise reforms


Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura is forming a new press unit of police to act as an ombudsman for complaints by journalists and as a public relations department. 'The inspector general is committed to professionalizing the police force,' Simon Kuteesa, who will run the new unit, said. 'We are not re-inventing the wheel here - it's all part of a strategic initiative.' The new unit is expected to be operational in three months, he said.

Social welfare

Africa: The evolution of social welfare systems


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

News from the diaspora

Global: The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean world


Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.

Haiti: Cholera and the right to water


Scientists have shown that the cholera pathogen came to Haiti with foreign UN troops who carried the bacteria in their bodies, and whose military base was dumping its sewage into a nearby river. The imported disease has claimed more than 7,000 lives and continues to ravage communities across Haiti. Read more about the this issue on the website.

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: US army brigade to deploy


A brigade will deploy to Africa next year in a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe, the US Army announced in May. Roughly 3,000 soldiers - and likely more - are expected to serve tours across the continent in 2013, training foreign militaries and aiding locals.

CAR: Security hopes improve after main rebel groups disband


A near decade-long insurgency which stoked insecurity in the Central African Republic’s (CAR) northern regions has eased after the disbandment in May of two main rebel groups there, bringing hopes for stability. The Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) and the Republican Forces Union (UFR) dissolved and their fighters begun to disarm under peace agreements with the government.

DRC: US ‘concerned’ about M23, silent on Rwanda role


The United States said last week it is 'concerned' about a troop mutiny in the Democratic Republic of Congo and by 'recent reports of outside support' for mutineers operating under the name M23. But the US statement refrained from identifying Rwanda as the reported outside supporter of the M23 rebellion led by Gen Bosco Ntaganda. While expressing support for the DRC’s recent move to arrest Ntaganda, the US did not explicitly call on Rwanda to aid those efforts, even though Rwandan military officials are said to be supplying the M23 leader with weapons and recruits.

Kenya: Ministers killed in helicopter crash


Kenya has been plunged into mourning after Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his assistant Joshua Orwa Ojodeh were killed in a helicopter crash in Ngong Forest. The accident occurred on Sunday minutes after they had taken off from Wilson Airport in a new police helicopter, heading for a fundraiser in Mr Ojodeh’s Ndiwa constituency. The cause of the crash was yet to be established.

Liberia: Border closed after attack


Under mounting pressure, Liberia on Saturday announced it was closing its border with neighbouring Ivory Coast following a fatal attack on UN peacekeepers. Seven Nigerien UN peacekeepers died in the attack on Friday which also claimed the lives of eight civilians and an Ivorian soldier. Both the UN and the Ivorian government believe the attackers came from Liberia.

Libya: At least 16 killed in two days of Libya clashes


Fighting between government forces and tribal fighters in the southern Libyan town of Kufra has continued for a second day, officials said. At least 16 people have died since the clashes began on Saturday, with women and children among the dead. Libya's government has been struggling to maintain security since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi last year.

Mali: Rebel groups 'clash in Kidal'


Two rebel groups that seized northern Mali two months ago have clashed following protests in the town of Kidal, witnesses say. A source told the BBC that fighting broke out between Tuareg MNLA rebels and the Ansar Dine Islamist group on the third day of protests in the town. Last month, the two groups agreed to merge and turn their vast northern territory into an Islamist state.

Somalia: Al-Shabaab offer 10 camels for Obama's 'capture'


A senior official of the radical Islamist Al-Shabaab group has announced that his movement was ready to reward anybody bringing in information leading to the killing or capture of top American leaders. Sheikh Fu’ad Mohamed Khalaf alias Shongole specifically mentioned US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Sheikh Shongole was reacting to a statement from the US State Department putting a bounty of $33 million for the capture of top Al-Shabaab leaders. 'We are offering 10 camels for any information concerning (Barack) Obama,' said Shongole.

Somalia: Tension in southern Somalia as Al-Shabaab mobilise forces


Somali militants Al-Shabaab are amassing troops in lower Juba region, reports indicate. Consequently, tension was mounting among the civilians over an imminent major military operation. 'Militants loyal to Al-Shabaab (the radical Islamist group) were Wednesday seen positioning ‘technicals’ (battle wagons mounted with machine guns, in and around the town,' a resident in Kismayu, who did not disclose his identity for security reasons, told the local media.

Sudan: Rival Sudans fail to agree on disputed border


Sudan and South Sudan have broken off security talks after failing to agree on a demilitarised zone along their disputed border. After 10 days of talks, the two sides were unable to agree on Friday where to draw a demilitarised buffer zone along the 1,800km-long border. Khartoum's delegation accused South Sudan of making new land claims, most importantly to the Heglig oilfield whose output is vital to Sudan's battered economy. The southern army had temporarily occupied Heglig during the recent fighting.

Internet & technology

Global: Study questions Twitter's role in disaster aftermath


A study has cast doubt on the innovative role that some claim Twitter, the 'microblogging' social media tool, can play in generating new information during disasters, although it did find that 'tweets' speed up the exchange of existing information. An analysis of tweets sent by people in the United States following the emergency at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant found that most linked to traditional news outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, for updates.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

South Africa: Ndifuna Ukwazi release first e-newsletter


South African social justice organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi have released their first e-newsletter. Visit the website through the URL provided to subscribe.

South Africa: Thinking Africa newsletter available

2012-06-11 Africa Newsletter 6th Issue.pdf

The second issue of the Thinking Africa Newsletter for 2012 is available. Articles include:
- uBuntu, the Law and Public Secrets
- Conference on Land Practices reminder
- uBuntu and Subaltern Legality
- Programme of the Thinking Africa 'uBuntu: Curating the Archive' colloquium, 9-20 July 2012.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

KILOMBO 2012: Annual Event of Kilombo Centre for Civil Society and African Self-Determination


This is to invite you to Kilombo 2012, which is an event on Africa, Africans and Social Justice. This is going to be an annual event and the first which is Kilombo 2012 will lay the foundation for launching the Kilombo Centre for Civil Society and African Self-Determination.

Panel discussion of Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

2012-06-11 james flyer _ 8 june (2).jpg

Walter Rodney's classic study, 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa' has just been republished by Pambazuka Press. You are invited to a Panel Discussion on the book at the Cipriani Labour College, CLR James Auditorium, on Wednesday June 13 at 6 PM. Click on the link for more information.

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