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A Zimbabwean Scholar will be Honored with a Life-size Statue in New York  

Tererai Trent

Tererai Trent alongside media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, and the popstar Pink will receive this honour for their work championing gender equality, they are among 10 women who have been named most inspiring women in the world. The list includes conservationist Jane Goodall, activist Janet Mock, chemist Tracy Dyson, author Cheryl Strayed and Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas. All 10 women will have life-size bronze figures unveiled by StatuesforEquality in the United States on Women’s Equality Day on August 26. Trent, 54, was kept out of school for most of her childhood because of poverty and being a female but she taught herself how to read and write while living with her parents in rural Zimbabwe. She relocated to the US in 1998 after she was discovered by an American non-profit that visited her village. She has since achieved her dreams of getting a masters and a doctorate. The US-based academic faced domestic abuse in the pursuit of her dreams and continues to champion girls and women empowerment through education. Her inspirational story caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey who gave Trent $1.5 million donations to rebuild her elementary school in Zimbabwe in partnership with Save the Children in 2011.


Creating a Cashless Africa

Cashless Africa

Across Africa, there has historically been a heavy reliance on cash, with around 95 percent of retail transactions taking place in cash. Global and local organisations are investing in innovative digital payment systems and new disruptive payments tools to displace cash, while delivering new levels of inclusion to the benefit of consumers, businesses and governments. One of the leading technology companies in this realm is Mastercard. From a consumer perspective, cash is inconvenient, dangerous to carry and expensive. This remains true across several other African countries where people often have to trade off the demands of an hourly job with the need to travel long distances to access cash or stand in line to pay a bill. Many people also face the danger of being robbed when they come home with their wages.​ Cash also has several negative implications for merchants and small businesses. Not only does it cost these businesses to access, secure, transport and store cash, but it can also hamper business growth if they do not accept electronic payments. For example, entrepreneurs cannot access the credit or loans they need to grow their businesses without a financial record or credit history. They can also lose out on revenue when their customers don’t have enough cash to pay for goods.


Tackling the Socialisation of Young African Girls

Young African Girls

Breast ironing is common in West and Central Africa, including Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Zimbabwe. It’s particularly prevalent in Cameroon: there, the number of girls who have been subjected to breast ironing is estimated be as high as one in three (around 1.3 million).There has been renewed calls for stronger action against the practice, which is observed to prevent the development of a girl’s breasts and subsequently reduce the sexual attention she may receive. It involves using an object to massage, pound, or press the breasts flat. According to the United Nations, 3.8 million teenagers worldwide have been affected by breast flattening. It’s estimated that about 1,000 girls from West African communities across the UK have been subjected to the practice, but the figure could be much higher. UK Aid, for example, funds a social movement called The Girls Generation which works throughout Africa to reverse the social norms underpinning female genital mutilation.


The Road from Teacher to Principal isn’t an Easy One for South African Women

South African Women

Of Africa’s 54 nations, South Africa ranks fourth on the United Nations’ gender equality index. As in most countries, South African women face barriers of patriarchy. What’s contributed to making the country’s education leadership gender gap worse than others is the legacy of decades of apartheid-era laws that mandated women be paid less than men. In 2013, in an effort to redress the balance, the DBE introduced a program called Support Networks for Female Principals. Thus far, says the DBE’s chief education specialist, Selaelo Makatu, six of South Africa’s nine provinces have launched their own support networks for female principals, and discussions have reached 3,283 female leaders.


Putting Africa Firmly on the Biennale Map

Biennale Map

The Venice Art Biennale, the world’s most celebrated international art event, has a history that is inextricably bound up with colonialism. Although states such as China have in recent years begun to present prominent national pavilions, African countries have been thin on the ground. This year, however, that balance is subtly shifting: Ghana has burst on to the scene with an exhibition featuring artists based in the country and from its diaspora. The paintings, photographs, films, sculptures and installations are presented in a series of deftly curving spaces designed by the architect Sir David Adjaye, whose most celebrated work includes the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. He is also the architect of a planned interdenominational National Cathedral of Ghana. The first-ever Ghana pavilion officially opened on Wednesday in the presence of the country’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo. The artists shown include Turner-prize-nominated painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Nigeria-based, Ghana-born El Anatsui, who is exhibiting some of his glimmering sculptures made from reused bottle tops.


The Indian Ocean has made its Mark on the Global News Cycle this Year

tropical cyclone Idai

In March, tropical cyclone Idai made headlines as one of the most severe storms to have made landfall in Mozambique. Current estimates indicate that more than 1,000 people died. This makes it the most deadly tropical cyclone ever to have made landfall on the southern African subcontinent. Six weeks later tropical cyclone Kenneth, a category 4 tropical cyclone made landfall over the border of Mozambique and Tanzania.  Tropical cyclones require a sea surface temperature of 26.5°C to form, while the highest intensity storms require much warmer sea surface temperatures of 28-29°C. This is important because it’s one of the reasons why southern Africa is experiencing more intense tropical cyclones. The South Indian Ocean is warming rapidly. This means that regions that previously experienced the temperatures of 26.5°C that facilitated tropical cyclone formation are now experiencing temperatures as warm as 30-32°C. 


Eyes on the Leaderboard after South Africa’s Most Contested Poll

South Africa’s Most Contested Poll

Votes are being counted in South Africa’s election, with President Cyril Ramaphosa hoping to prevent a slide in support for the governing African National Congress (ANC). With results declared in some 54% of districts, it has won about 57% of the ballot, well ahead of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on 23%. The ANC took 62% at the last general election in 2014. Anger over the economy and corruption may have eroded its appeal. The radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is in third place with 10%, based on the official early results. Turnout was about 65% in the twin parliamentary and provincial elections – a drop compared to the 73% registered five years ago. Some six million young people didn’t register to vote. Full results are due on Saturday.


Zimbabwe is Open for Business, at what Cost?


Zimbabwe has clamored for outside investment in recent years, but villagers north of the capital are resisting a Chinese mining project they say will spoil the environment and fail to bring them much benefit. The villagers are from Domboshava, a rocky area north of Zimbabwe’s capital, and they are disputing a Chinese company’s decision to start quarry mining. The villagers do not think Aihua Jianye will create the 500 jobs in the area it promised. They also say the quarry mining will leave large ponds filled with dirty water. Zimbabwe Deputy Minister of Information Energy Mutodi – who is the parliament member for the area – is also against the $500 million quarry mining project. He says he is not going against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business.” “It is open to business, but not to business that is going to affect our environment. We want to preserve the environment. We want our community to develop, yes. But let our environment remain intact. We cannot have a situation come here take the proceeds, enjoy it in other countries, yet our people remain poor,” Mutodi said. Some locals say the project will affect a graveyard and a natural spring. Now the project waits for the country’s Environmental Management Agency to make a final call if the Chinese company can go ahead.


All Hands on Deck to Curb Surge in Ebola Cases

Ebola Cases

World Health Organization experts recommended a dramatic expansion of vaccination against Ebola in Congo after a surge in cases showed that the strategy of vaccinating those known to be exposed to the disease was no longer sufficient. Health workers fighting against the second worst Ebola epidemic in history are now implementing a “ring” strategy, vaccinating anyone directly exposed to known cases of Ebola, and a second ring of those exposed to people in the first ring. But after four weeks of sharp increases in cases, the World Health Organization’s strategic advisory group (SAGE) of outside experts said the vaccine programme was no longer big enough. It recommended a number of changes, including expanding vaccination to a third ring of people exposed to those in the second ring, and “geographic” vaccinations that would target everyone at a location without trying to track their exposure. To prevent supplies of the vaccine, made by Merck, from running out in a much larger vaccination programme, the WHO experts recommended using smaller doses. A second experimental vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson should also be rolled out.


How to Document the History of Loango 

History of Loango

Loango kingdom existed at the turn of the 15th century. Its territory included parts of present day Republic of Congo, Angola and Gabon. With a powerful king at the helm, Loango was complete with an economic, military and political structure unique from others. The kingdom however began losing its influence owing to a series of misfortunes. One of those was slave trade. Loango Bay, on the Atlantic coast in south-west Republic of Congo was the point to departure for millions of slaves from central Africa. Congo recently held a symposium to discuss ways to document the history of Loango and how it took a disturbing turn with slave trade. The initiative is supported by UNESCO.


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