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August 29 2012

Assessing Quality of Life in African Cities

A study by The Economist Intelligence on the most liveable cities in the world (PDF of the complete report), suggests that six out of the ten least liveable cities in the world are situated in Africa.

However, another ranking by the New Economics Foundation shows that, based on the HPI (Happy Planet Index), residents in certain African countries are happier than those in several European nations [fr]. So where are we exactly, when it comes to urban quality of life in Africa?

Urban versus rural life 

As Sabine Cessou points out, the Happy Planet Index is fundamentally subjective and seems to favour African countries in terms of respect for the environment. She states [fr]:

Le cas de Madagascar illustre bien la particularité des mesures de HPI. Ce pays, plongé depuis 2009 dans une profonde crise politique et sociale, glisse chaque jour un peu plus dans le gouffre de la pauvreté. Ce fléau touche 76% de sa population, contre 68% en 2010, selon le rapport Perspectives économiques de l’Afrique de l’OCDE [..] Mais le respect de l’environnement et le relatif optimisme de ses habitants jouent en faveur de la Grande île. Avec une empreinte carbone de seulement 1,2, Madagascar se classe avantageusement, dans le palmarès HPI, entre la France et l’Autriche.

The case of Madagascar is a good illustration of the peculiarity of the measurements used in the HPI. This country, which was plunged into a profound political and social crisis in 2009, slides a little deeper into the grips of poverty every day. This scourge affects 76% of the country's population, compared with 68% in 2010, according to the OECD report on economic perspectives on Africa […] But respect for the environment and the relative optimism of its inhabitants works in favour of the island. With a carbon footprint of just 1.2, Madagascar achieves a favourable position on the HPI, ranked between France and Austria.

However, an overall carbon footprint of just 1.2 for the nation stands in stark contrast to that of the Madagascan capital, Antananarivo, often ranked amongst the most polluted cities in the world [fr]:

En deuxième position, on trouve la capitale du Bangladesh, Dacca, qui s'illustre par une pollution de l'air au plomb. Les deux autres villes suivantes sont Antananarivo et Port-au-Prince, capitales respectives de Madagascar et de Haïti, “confrontées à une croissance rapide de la population urbaine et à des besoins toujours plus importants en matière de gestion des déchets et de l'eau”.

In second position we find Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the air of which is contaminated by lead. The following two cities are Antananarivo and Port-au-Prince, the capitals of Madagascar and Haiti respectively, “faced with rapid population growth and ever-increasing needs for waste and water management”.

This video uploaded to YouTube by user WbMadagascar on 30 June, 2012, is from the World Bank in Madagascar on social protection in Madagascan cities [fr]. The video depicts the daily hardships that the malagasy population is facing while they transition from the rural to the urban areas:

Such is the paradox of life in Africa; urban capitals in full expansion despite endemic poverty, surrounded by abundant natural spaces, which cast into especially sharp relief the unique contrast between rural and urban life.

The capital city of Windhoek in Namibia by Bries on Wikipedia. License CC-Attribution-Share Alike 2.5.

The capital city of Windhoek in Namibia by Bries on Wikipedia. License CC-Attribution-Share Alike 2.5.

The state of affairs in Namibia [fr], as described below by Antoine Galindo, is one which the residents of several African cities would recognise:

C’est principalement contre ces violences que mettent en garde les différentes chancelleries. Ces vols peuvent être assorits d'agressions physiques dans les grandes villes. En dehors des agglomérations, le pays reste calme et prisé pour ses paysages spectaculaires et très variés. Seulement, en raison de l’insécurité qui règne encore dans les rues de la capitale, le tourisme piétine, et l’afflux des étrangers demeure faible.

It's principally this type of violence that the various ministries are issuing warnings about. These thefts can sometimes occur alongside physical attacks in larger cities. Outside urban areas, the country remains calm, popular for its spectacular and richly varied landscapes. Still, due to the insecurity which continues on the streets of the capital, tourism is making little headway, and the influx of foreign visitors remains weak.

Growing infrastructure problem

Amel Bouzidi analyses the study conducted by The Economist Intelligence, noting the following [fr] about Algeria:

 Sur les 140 villes passées au crible, Alger arrive à la 135 position, derrière Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Teheran (Iran), Douala (Cameroun) et  Tripoli (Libye). Dacca, capitale du Bandgladesh, ferme la marche.  Le mauvais classement de la capitale algérienne qui compte une population de plus 3 millions d’individus ne surprend guère. Alger est dépourvu de lieux de loisirs, les salles de cinéma se comptent sur les dix doigts de la main, la circulation automobile y est épouvantable et ses habitants se plaignent de la saleté des trottoirs. A tout cela s'ajoutent aujourd'hui les coupures fréquentes du courant électrique ainsi que les coupures en eau potable.

Of the 140 cities put to the test, Algiers came in in 135th, behind Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Tehran (Iran), Douala (Cameroon) and Tripoli (Libya). Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, came in last. The poor ranking of the Algerian capital with a population of over three million comes as little surprise. Algiers lacks leisure spaces, its cinemas can be counted on one hand, traffic is terrible and its residents complain of the filthiness of its streets. Added to all this are the frequent cuts in the power and water supply.

In Douala, Cameroon, power cuts are one of the symptoms of a dire economic situation [fr]. Global Voices contributor Julie Owono describes a state of affairs in which the country's infrastructure cannot keep up with its rapidly increasing population:

According to certain estimates, just 20% of the Cameroonian population has access to a regular electricity supply. In fact, those who have access to electricity are accustomed to power cuts every three days. Electricity is also becoming more and more costly for the rest of the country's citizens. The private provider, AES Sonel, for example, recently announced a 7% rise in prices starting June 1st, 2012.

Rapid changes to quality of life in urban areas 

The urban quality of life study also shows that the rankings are susceptible to rapid change. One of the criteria taken into account, the city's economic power, sees three Chinese cities dominate the list. The report explains that other criteria such as the efficiency of its institutions, human capital, cultural attractions, and the financial maturity of the cities weigh more heavily in the balance.

Looking to the future, the report suggests certain points of improvement that cities in emergent countries (including African cities) must accomplish to improve their position in the rankings:

The rise of emerging markets will likely make a number of largely unknown cities rather more prominent by 2020. Bandung, Hangzhou, Lagos and Lima, for example, all feature growth rates of 6% or higher, but are familiar to few outside of their home countries today. That will change. A key question is the speed with which this will happen [..] To do so, they need to adapt their investment attraction policies, but this in turn requires more fundamental shifts. “They have a good stock of infrastructure, but it’s highly polluted and there are no public spaces and things like this. They now understand that they have to move to something more qualitative.”

June 13 2012

Africa: Improving Governance and Accountability with New Media

Kwami Ahiabenu, II, is a team leader of International Institute for ICT Journalism, the co-ordination organisation for African Elections Project (AEP). With over nine years of experience in management, marketing, new media, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and development, Kwami was Executive Director of AITEC Ghana and a former board member of Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS).

He served as a key committee member for the organization of World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) African Regional Meeting 2005. He has undertaken several training sessions on new media across Africa. He is a Steve Biko and Foster Davies Fellow.

African Elections Project was established in 2008 with the vision of enhancing the ability of journalists, citizen journalists and the news media to provide more timely and relevant elections information and knowledge while undertaking monitoring of specific and important aspects of governance.

AEP has covered elections in Ghana, Cote d‟Ivoire, Guinea, Mauritania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Togo, Niger and Liberia. African Elections Project uses social media tools and ICT platforms such as blogs, interactive maps, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Facebook.

L. Abena Annan (LA): What is your affiliation with the African Elections Project?

Kwami Ahiabenu, II (KA): I am part of [the] founders, currently serving as a consultant to the project, providing management support and serving as the training director.

LA: How long have you been involved with the project?

KA: Since the birth of the project in year 2008. We started the project by launching the coverage of Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea elections. Ghana elections did take place in 2008 but Cote D’Ivoire and Guinea took place in subsequent years.

LA: How would you describe this project for the average person to understand? What do you intend to accomplish with it?

KA: It is an online, SMS, mobile service which provides authoritative elections information and knowledge specifically news, analysis, elections powered by ICTs and new media. The service is brought to our audience by a team of dedicated journalists supported by civil society actors and citizen journalists


LA: What countries have you worked in? Do you intend to go to other countries as your website states only 10?

KA: We have worked in 11 countries to date, namely Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique, Malawi, Togo, Liberia and Niger working across English, French and Portuguese speaking countries. We currently cover each election happening on the continent on our homepage with Ghana elections 2012 being the current country we are covering. In addition to elections coverage, we have done some work in post-elections focusing on transparency and accountability issues and currently in partnership with Africatti we are monitoring health and education issues in two districts of Ghana under “Enabling Governance and Economic Transparency in Ghana using new media Project,” with plans to roll out to other African countries in the near future.

LA: How can people effectively use your website or information provided on it?

KA: Our audiences come to our website because of the high quality content which we generate and they consider it useful for themselves, so we can only improve our services by ensuring we constantly provide timely and relevant content to our audience base.

LA: Do you believe new technologies have improved democracy in Africa? Why?

KA: Democracy is a long journey, in this direction new technologies are assuming important roles in ensuring our people benefit from the fruits of democracy. That said, the journey is a long one; though we are recording some improvements we still have a long way to go to ensure that Africa as a whole nurtures its democracy.

LA: How empowering would you say technology has become to citizens of Africa?

KA: Technology can only play a role when the fundamentals are in place. If there is no true freedom of speech or free press, technology role becomes limited, though one may argue that technology can contribute to empowerment but it is important to stress the fact that technology plays a facilitating role and it works best when empowering environments are in place and protected to ensure technology’s role strive.

LA: What do you think the effect of technology on democracy will be 10 years from now?

KA: Technology roles cannot be discussed in isolation. Rapid growth of the tenets of democracy on the continent is a sure guarantee that technology impact on democracy is going to grow and become very important each passing day.

LA: What are your biggest challenges as an organization?

KA: We like to deploy cutting edge technologies in our coverage, but the high cost of ICT tools coupled by expensive bandwidth are always a challenge. Also user content generation is picking albeit slowly and our work will be made more interesting if the grandmother in the village can also contribute to our project.

LA: Any successes so far?

KA: The project has contributed significantly to building the capacity of journalists and citizen journalists in covering elections using new technologies, more importantly providing them with skills set they need to cover elections impartially thereby contributing to better elections which is a cornerstone of any democracy. One key achievement worthy of mention is the successful pilot of Ghana Post elections Project (”Because Accountability Counts”), where we contribute to the promotion of the culture of political accountability by providing a mechanism for citizens to match campaign promises and manifesto versus action and inaction of the ruling government.

The project incorporates citizen journalism mostly driven by mobile phones and has so far covered elections in 11 African countries namely Botswana, Cote d'lvoire, Ghana, Niger, Togo, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Liberia and Namibia. This is one of key result area.

The project has also contributed local content from an African prospective for the global market, thus, presenting the African story using African voices.

We have also contributed to the body of knowledge in African elections and democracy through our country specific countries and recently we contributed “A JOURNEY THROUGH 10 COUNTRIES - Online election coverage in Africa” article in the Journal of Journalism Practice.

At its innovation fair, “Moving beyond Conflict”, Cape Town, South Africa 2010, the World Bank ranked African Elections Projects as innovative in the area of improving governance and accountability through communication technologies.

Thumbnail image: An elderly lady being escorted by his son to vote. Photo courtesy of @liberiaelection.

February 22 2011

Video: Learning a New Language Through Online Video

Written by Juliana Rincón Parra

February 21st is the International Mother Language Day and this year's theme is Linguistic Diversity and New Technologies. With that in mind, we bring you a series of examples of how people are celebrating and sharing their mother language with others through online videos and websites.

out of order sign in several languages.


No Funciona by Ciro Durán, CCBY


Our first linguistic stop is Aymara; this language, used by more than two million people is spoken in Bolivia, Peru and Chile and is recognized as an official language in the first two.  Aymara speakers are becoming more active on the web through projects such as Jaqi Aru in El Alto, Bolivia and thanks to their efforts in translation, now Global Voices is available in Aymara. Following, through this short video by Choice Humanitarian Org we can learn a few phrases in Aymara from the native speakers:

Another Amerindian language family is Quechua: from Ecuador to Argentina, different dialects of Quechua are spoken by more than 10 million people.  It is also an official language in Peru and Bolivia.  Jaime Salazar learned to love Quechua as an adult: when he was younger he considered that it was a dying language and that there weren't enough books in Quechua to consider it worth his time, although he admitted to liking several songs in that language. Now he teaches Quechua online both to English and Spanish speaking audiences through his YouTube channel.  In this next video he teaches us how to say “I love to learn”

Lets head over to Namibia, and learn a bit about KhoeKhoegowab. It is one of the most widespread languages of the Khoe language family,  recognized for their particular clicking sounds in certain words.  Primary school teachers Thusnelda Dausas and Gabriel /Khoeseb will teach us the four clicking sounds: !, /, # and // in this next video.

Learning through song is a fun way to learn, and not only for children. This next song lesson will teach us how to greet people in Swahili, the Lingua Franca or common tongue in most of East Africa.

Welsh is the official language of Wales, but is also spoken in some places of England, New Zealand, Australia and even Argentina. In this next video, Ben Low will teach us (while he teaches his friend David) how to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the name of a Welsh town whose claim to fame is its very, very long name.

And last but not least, lets revisit the origins of the International Mother Language Day. This commemorative event can can trace its story to the University of Dhaka in 1952 when students protesting for the conservation of Bengali as an official language of Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) were killed. Bangla is now the official language of not only Bangladesh but also India and Sierra Leone. Susan is the one who will teach us how to greet people in Bangla.

Global Voices Online deeply cares about linguistic diversity and multilingualism: GVO is made up of of hundreds of volunteers, translators, authors and editors who speak or write in more than one language. Many of our readers are also bilingual, but we work very hard for those who may not speak English as a second language and who deserve to be able to read worldwide content in their mother tongue. So please feel free to check out the different Global Voices Lingua sites and if you wish to, leave a comment and show your support.

October 08 2010

September 21 2010

Namibia: Teaching English in Namibia

By Ndesanjo Macha

Lynn shares her experience teaching English in Windhoek, Namibia: “English is the official language of Namibia and my understanding is that public school classes are taught in English. I think most pre-school kids hear Afrikaans and/or their indigenous languages in their homes and arrive in first grade without a kindergarten experience and no real exposure to English.”

Africa: The Black Venus

By Ndesanjo Macha

Africa is a Country posts a 30-second trailer of the movie “Venus Noire” (Black Venus) about the life of Sara Baartman, the 18th century young Khoi woman publicly exhibited as a circus freak in Europe.

September 12 2010

Africa: HIV Positive Women Sterilized, Discriminated Against and Stigmatized

By Abdoulaye Bah · Translated by Lova Rakotomalala · View original post [fr]

On August 31st  2010, PlusNews and IRIN in Johannesburg highlighted the story of Veronica (a pseudonym), a HIV+ woman, who found out that she has been sterilized by nurses without any warnings [fr]:

Veronica* did not realize she had been sterilized while giving birth to her daughter until four years later when, after failing to conceive, she and her boyfriend consulted a doctor.
“I was like ‘Okay, fine', because there was nothing I could do by then, but I was angry. I hate [those nurses],” she told IRIN/PlusNews. Veronica tested HIV-positive during a routine antenatal visit and was given a form to sign by nurses at the hospital where she went to deliver.
“I didn't know what it was all about, but I did sign,” said Veronica, who was 18 at the time and had been scolded by the nurses for being unmarried.

On June 4th,  Servaas van den Bosch of IPS asked: «Are Namibian Women Being Forcibly Sterilised? (Les femmes sont-elles en train d’être stérilisées de force?)»[fr] :

Un procès historique, prétendant que des femmes séropositives ont été stérilisées de force dans des hôpitaux publics en Namibie, a commencé le 1er juin à la Haute cour à Windhoek, la capitale du pays.
Des groupes de défense des droits humains affirment que la pratique a continué longtemps après que les autorités ont été informées.
Le Centre d'assistance juridique (LAC) basé à Windhoek est en train de défendre 15 cas présumés de stérilisation forcée. Les cas de trois femmes seront entendus au début. Chaque femme demande l'équivalent de 132.000 dollars US de dommages et intérêts.

A historical trial took place June 1st at the High Court of Windhoek, the capital city. HIV+ women assert that they were sterilized by force in public hospitals of Namibia.
Human rights activist groups affirm that the practice continued long after the authorities were informed
The Legal Assistance Center (LAC) based in Windhoek is defending 15 cases of alleged forced sterilization. Three cases will be heard first and each women are asking for $132,000 USD for damages and interest.

The first cases of sterilization were found first by the International Community of Women (ICW) living with AIDS. Veronica Kalambi of ICW declares [fr]:

Les premiers cas sont apparus au cours des réunions communautaires au début de 2008. Dans les mois qui ont suivi, nous avons interrogé 230 femmes, parmi lesquelles 40 ont été stérilisées contre leur gré”,

The first cases appeared during communitarian meeting in early 2008. In the following months, we interviewed 230 women, of which 40 were sterilized against their will.

Reacting to the article about forced sterilization in 2009 in Namibia in the comment section, Maxi opines:

Despicable brutes! - do you also castrate HIV+ men ? So Dr Menguele's legacy is still alive and well in Namibia. What a shame, these doctors who soil the ethics of their mission.

Zimunina M. adds:

Hi there! Dear doctor, what will you tell these women that you just sterilized if tomorrow a cure for AIDS becomes available in Namibia ? In my opinion, you belong in prison and the government and the WHO should take away your diploma

The website osi.bouake.free.fr also reposted an article on The Guardian by David Smith from  Johannesburg that denouces those practices:

In South Africa, cases are being referred to the Women’s Legal Centre with a view to a possible action. Promise Mthembu, a researcher at Witwatersrand University, said coerced sterilisations were happening in “very large areas” of the country.
Many patients were forced to undergo the operation as the only means of gaining access to medical services, Mthembu told the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

rmbengou, on AIDS RIGHTS CONGO also denounces these medical practices. He writes in a post entitled: “In Central Africa, HIV-positive women are blamed for their sexuality“:

Gabriel Maliyere, the head of the AHVV program, emphasizes how “the behavior of medical personnel is deplorable. After their prenatal exams, HIV-positive women are condemned for the fact that they’re pregnant.”

HIV-positive women are expected to cease having sex and conceiving.  In this sense, women are blamed for their sexuality. Yafouta-Kaïe, a member of the National Congress of Young Women Living with HIV/AIDS (CNJFV+), claims: “Above all, it is the hurtful words and the coldness of certain midwives, during childbirth, towards women living with HIV.”

.

In the same article, he indicates that a few projects are underway to change this situation:

Other public campaigns, HIV/AIDS film screenings, and debates over the rights of HIV-positive persons, were organized on December 8 and 9, 2009, northwest of Bangui and in the 8th arrondissement. During these campaigns, speakers presented on the following themes, which were especially chosen for this educational day : “I am secure, I am accepted, I am receiving treatment, I am in firm possession of my rights, the right to live, and to wellbeing.”

Unfortunately those are not isolated cases. In an article on afrik.com, Habibou Bangré reveals that [fr]:

…exceptée celle du Togo, toutes les lois des pays africains - et celles d’autres Etats hors du continent - peuvent s’appliquer pour pénaliser la transmission du VIH de la mère à l’enfant. En conséquence, une femme séropositive qui transmettrait le virus à son enfant au cours de la grossesse, l’accouchement ou l’allaitement pourrait être poursuivie en justice. La Sierra-Leone va même plus loin et condamne spécifiquement la transmission mère-enfant, remettant ainsi en cause le droit des femmes séropositives à procréer.

Except for Togo, the legal write-up of most african countries- and as a matter of fact, outside the continent- can be implemented in a way that will penalize the the mother to child transmission of HIV. Therefore, a HIV+ woman who would transmit the virus to her child during pregnancy, child birth or nursing can be charged in a court of law. In Sierra Leone, it goes further and condemns specifically the mother-to-child transmission, therefore possibly revoking the reproductive rights of HIV+ women.

Two bloggers were outraged and commented thusly:

pvvih says :

A state that implements such measures must make ARVs available to all first. I am an African student and I am taking ARVs. ARVs that many consider a panacea are not easy to take. They sometimes bring more suffering than good. Countries must support research for better treatments and therefore give more money.

Mona adds:

Some of these women were abused, violated and raped etc. Why must they be punished? And men in all that, don't they have some responsibilities in this matter? Let's cure these women instead of punish them. Let's give them contraceptives, guidances etc… this is really scandalous.

August 17 2010

Africa: Putting arts and culture on SADC's agenda

By Ndesanjo Macha

Arts and culture is on SADC's 30th Anniversary: “Zimbabwean renowned poet, Albert Nyathi performs on the 17/08/2010 for all of SADC’s Heads of State during the 30th Anniversary of the regional body here in Windhoek, Namibia.”

August 13 2010

Africa: It's time for Big Brother Africa All-Stars

By Ndesanjo Macha

On July 18, 2010 Big Brother Africa, a television show produced by Endemol, entered its fifth season with Big Brother Africa All-Stars. The show, which has become the most popular TV reality show in Africa, is being taped at the Big Brother House at Sasani Studios in Johannersburg, South Africa and will run for 91 days.

Other editions were Big Brother Africa 1, Big Brother Africa 2, Big Brother Africa 3 and Big Brother Africa 4: The Revolution.

Bloggers are following the show closely; discussing and sharing information about the show with their readers.

Here are the names of participants from Nigerian blogger Oluniyi Ajao:

Big Brother All Stars will see 14 housemates from 14 African countries come together to compete 24/7 for 91 days in the search for the ultimate winner prize – USD 200 000, watched by audiences on DStv channel 198.

The Big Brother Africa 5 housemates in the order they entered:

Mwisho from Tanzania
Jennifer from Mozambique
Paloma – Zambia
Munya – Zimbabwe
Code – Malawi
Sheila from Kenya
Yacob from Ethiopia
Sammy from Ghana
Kaone from Botswana
Merly from Namibia
Uti from Nigeria
Lerato from South Africa
Hannington from Uganda
Tatiana from Angola

Bella Naija discusses the first “eviction” and housemates' revolt:

It was the first eviction show of the ‘All Star’ season of Big Brother Africa. All the housemates were up for eviction and we just knew that ‘biggie’ had something up his/her sleeve!

Before we get back to the evictions, its been an interesting week in the Big Brother Africa All Stars house all week. The housemates have spent the week getting to know each other and basically getting reacquainted with the Big Brother Africa experience. We’ve had Munya and Meryl take a steamy shower together (well not really ‘together’ but at the same time in neighbouring shower stalls), there has been some sizzle between Sheila & Hannington – she seems quite open to the idea, though she warned him that he might not be able to handle her lifestyle.

Finally, the other big news was the Housemates’ Revolt. The housemates got really rowdy on Saturday as they were protesting the lack of food in the house. When things got out of hand and guards were sent in by “Biggie” to calm the situation, the housemates took them hostage and didn’t let them leave. After discussions between the housemates, Tatiana (Head of House) and Biggie; Eventually, the guards were let go and Big Brother rewarded the housemates with an abundant supply of food.

Back to the evictions, Tatiana and Kaone were evicted because they got the lowest amount of viewer votes. However, Big Brother nullified the evictions and reinstated them into the house. That wasn’t all, they were allowed to issue two ‘daggers’ to the other housemates.

JMK of Big Brother Africa Forum describes what happened on Day 25 Diary Session:

During his Day 25 Diary Session, Hannington admitted that he will miss Max for the pranks that he has been pulling on the Barnmates. He told Big Brother that the Barnmates have decided to give him a smelly gift for his troubles.

Sammi told Big Brother it has been a busy day, preparing the outfits for the Big Brother Movie auditions. He admitted he would miss Max and all the jokes they shared. He did, however, add that they gave him a send away gift he is unlikely to find amusing.

Lerato described her costume as a corset-boobtube-cape fusion and her name is Intergalac Chic. Lerato told Big Brother she wasn't sure if Max was going to leave or become a Barnmate. She admitted that his departure saddened them.

Ameyaw Debrah also writes about housemates' Diary Session:

During his Diary Session, Munya begged his fans to vote to keep Tatiana in the house this week. He told Big Brother that he was appealing to his fans to support Tatiana because she had also done the same for him. He said that though he did not know who else was up for eviction, Tatiana had to stay – little does he know that Head of House Sheila replaced herself with him and he is going head-to-head with the Angolan to stay in the house this week!
Lerato got a surprise visitor to The Barn on Tuesday when her ex-boyfriend Maxwell (from Big Brother Africa Season 2) appeared through the doors. Lerato screamed “Oh my God!” and gave him a huge hug. “What are you doing here! Oh my freaking word,” she exclaimed, before reaching for a cigarette to calm her nerves. After the introductions, Max quickly made himself comfortable with a beer and settled into life in The Barn.
He was quickly up to no good, playing tricks on the Barnmates. First, he hid away cigarettes and drank a few beers. He then set about isolating them and talking to each Barnmate individually, telling them different theories about how the game will pan out.
First up, he told Hannington that he didn’t expect to see Lerato when he came into the Barn. He admitted he and Lerato remained friends after he got married. He also told Hannington that Sammi believes he is from Nigeria. Next, he took Sammi aside and flattered him for having a good character. They shared their experiences about Nigeria. Max even volunteered to prepare a Nigerian specialty for dinner. As soon as he was done chatting to Sammi, Max went back to talk to Hannington and told him he was a big fan.

Finally, sadness fell upon the Big Brother House on 9 August 2010:

Today [9 August 2010] in the Big Brother house, Uti, the Nigerian house mate received a call from home and got very bad news that his dad had passed.

After recieveing the message, Uti wept (Watch Clip Here) and confided in Sheila before making it known to other house mates.The barn mates however watched everything from the Barn and other house mates have advised that Uti leave the house for his fathers burial and come back afterwards?

Should Uti leave or stay and finish what he already started???What are your thoughts???

August 01 2010

Africa: 5 Things You Did Not Know About Africa

By Ndesanjo Macha

A list of 5 Things You Did Not Know About Africa by Tolu Ogunlesi: “When Western tourists talk about Africa somehow it seems to me that what they really mean is East and Southern Africa, places like Namibia and Kenya and Botswana and parts of Uganda where you will find safaris and zebras and elephants and lakes in abundance.”

July 29 2010

Africa: Should Africa care about space exploration?

By Ndesanjo Macha

Should Africa care about space exploration?: “As Africans, we have always had an interest in the sky – the Dogon of Mali were found to have an advanced astronomical knowledge without the use of telescopes.”

June 29 2010

Africa: Africa's old men

By Ndesanjo Macha

Africa's old men: “I haven’t checked the maths but here’s something interesting sent in to us from a subscriber: Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) age 86, Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) age 82, Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia) age 74, Rupiah Banda (Zambia) age 73, Mwai Kibaki (Kenya) age 71…”

December 17 2009

Namibia: First step victory in forced sterilisation case

The forced sterilisation case in Namibia has achieved its first victory: “The High Court today agreed with the Legal Assistance Centre that the Public Service Act does not apply to the forced sterilisation cases, in which the LAC is representing several women suing the Government of Namibia for damages.”

December 09 2009

Namibia: Traveling in Namibia

David writes about his travel in Namibia: “Twyfelfontain is a UNESCO World Heritage site West of Khorixas where there are world famous rock paintings and engravings.”

December 07 2009

Namibia: One woman's story

Watch a video of a woman's story related to forced sterilisation case going on in Namibia: “Have a look at this story, by Esther Sheehama. Esther’s story is an example of the kinds of stories we are hearing from many women, and highlights why we are fighting forced sterilisation.”

December 02 2009

Namibia: The role of new media in 2009 elections

Namibia's presidential and national assembly elections took place on 27–28 November 2009. Fourteen political parties participated in the elections. The ruling party, the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) is expected to win. Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) is SWAPO's main challenger.

Political parties and non-governmental organisations used a number of social media tools to campaign, monitor and report on Namibia Elections 2009.

The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) used Ushahidi to monitor the elections. Ushahidi, which means testimony in Kiswahili, was a tool created in the aftermath of disputed Kenya's elections in 2007. Ushahidi collected eyewitness reports of violence placed them on a map.

NSHR used Ushahidi to collect reports about fraud, undue influence, intimidation, violence, etc. Reports were sent in three ways: SMS, email and filling a form on the website.

Pre-election violence reported on Ushahidi:

Last Friday evening between 20hoo and 21hoo in Eveline Street in the Goreangab suburb of Windhoek, fighting started between a group of 15 Swapo party and 7 RDP supporters after the former singing ‘We are Nujoma's soldiers' removed a RDP poster from a municipal light pole. Members of the Wanaheda Police precinct rapidly intervened and no further incident occured that evening.

The African Elections Project uses new media to monitor and report on elections in African countries. The project set up a Namibia page, a blog and Twitter page to keep track of elections news and results.

From African Elections Twitter page:

This is day 3 of verification process, The Electoral Commission has received 40% of results and 30% have been verified #namibiaelections2009
about 12 hours ago from web
Retweeted by 1 person

Elections results on its blog:

Below are confirmed results of Namibia Elections 2009 (Presidential and National Assembly) from different constituncies:

Confirmed constituency result for Tsumeb, in Oshikoto:
Beukes
9
Garoeb
352
Goagose
9
Hamutenya
1131
….

Election Watch is a project of the Institute for Public Policy Research. Election Watch has a blog of live election results.

Claims of irregularities:

The RDP and several other opposition parties held a press conference on Saturday afternoon alleging a string of irregularities including indelible ink that didn't work, ballot papers that did not have the official stamp, and the ever-changing voters register (of which there is a new version with yet another figure for the number of registered voters).

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) also used social networks such as Facebook to allow people from all over the world to express their views and opinions about Namibian elections.

The ruling party, SWAPO, has a channel on YouTube, a blog and an SMS service, which will enables members to keep in touch with the party. The number for the SMS line is 79276.

The opposition DTA of Namibia has a Youtube channel and a page of Facebook.

The main opposition party, RDP, is also on YouTube

Social media has not become popular in Namibia as in other African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania. We will keep our eyes on Namibia to see the future of social media in the country.

November 28 2009

Namibia: A quick update from VSO volunteer

A quick update from a VSO volunteer in Namibia: “As part of the immunisation program I’ve been on two crazy adventures into the deepest darkest Namibian bush, over mountains and through deserts (literally) to take nurses and other health staff out to do health education and immunisations.”

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