Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (74) recently returned to the U.K. for medical treatment, his fourth visit to the U.K. for treatment since his election in 2015. In the same week Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (93), flew to Singapore for a “routine medical check-up”. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos (74) has reportedly also been undergoing medical treatment in Spain. These cases have stirred debate around medical tourism. Health care systems in many African countries are inadequately funded. There are arguments that our African presidents need to lead by example, and ensure that healthcare systems in their countries improve to match or surpass the foreign countries they so much love to visit.
Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on Sunday defeating Marine Le Pen (48), a far-right nationalist. Macron’s win has been met with a global sense of relief, across Africa, the 39 year-old’s election has elicited mixed reactions. Macron is France’s youngest leader since Napoleon. Yearning for renewal, and generational political change in their respective countries, Africa’s young people have taken to social media, drawing parallels between the young French leader, whose win has shaken the country’s political landscape with African leaders who continue to cling on to power.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, showcased a Broadway musical based on the life of its most famous cultural icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Yet the state is in the process of illegally demolishing slum settlements to make way for luxury real estate developments, perpetuating exactly the kind of oppression that Fela stood against.
The revolutionary idea of Negritude turns 82 this year and the ‘trois pères’ of the movement, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon-Gontran Damas, will be celebrated as literary heroes. But perhaps it is time, as Edwige-Renée Dro writes, to remember the ‘mères’ of the movement and resurrect them from obscurity.
The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) is a bit of a slouch at taking credit for its achievements. But those in the know appreciate that the world would be much poorer without ITM’s input, particularly in the fight against diseases like HIV and Ebola. Indeed, ITM has been making valuable contributions to global health for the last century. Veteran Kenyan journalist Wycliffe Muga recently interviewed Roeland Scholtalbers, the Head of Communications at ITM, on the research institution’s work in Africa.
The Paris Agreement presents rosy opportunities for Africa, but putting them into practice will demand deliberate action. However, given the agreement’s potential to maximise socio-economic development on the continent, it should be the song and melody of all Africans.
Controversial South African artist Ayanda Mabulu has once again stirred a hornet’s nest with his latest painting The Economy of Rape showing President Jacob Zuma sodomizing late former President, Nelson Mandela. Social media has been up in arms with reactions criticising the painting as crass, crude, disrespectful, and offensive. Various organisations including the Nelson Mandela Foundation have called the artwork “distasteful”. The painting has divided opinion, with others defending the right of the artist to free expression, and artistic creativity. Mabulu’s latest painting comes on the heels of the Zapiro controversy in which the cartoonist was heavily criticised for using rape as a metaphor.
The Internet has great potential for the spreading of ideas and the promotion of debate. However,there is also the potential for abuse by governments and those in power, especially within volatile political climates. The increasing use of cyber laws to limit freedom of speech and attack those who hold opposing views is a worrying trend, says Tiffany Mugo.