In South Africa, the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign seldom provides reasons for optimism, let alone celebration. It has, instead, become a time to lament failures and point to the mountain of shattered lives that gender-based violence and violence against children contribute to our national landscape. Yet this year, there are several reasons to celebrate.
On 20 November, the Malian capital of Bamako once more became the scene of a terrorist attack.
Last week #WhatWouldMagufuliDo was trending on twitter as people, inspired by the frugal and conscientious leadership of Tanzania’s new president, John Pompe Magufuli, created memes in which they forego expensive options for more economic ones.
High prevalence of adolescent pregnancies is a great concern, both as a health risk and a challenge to the realisation of girls’ sexual and reproductive rights in sub-Saharan countries. By 2030, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund, there will be 26 million more adolescent girls in the world. The largest absolute national increases in adolescent girls will mostly happen in sub-Saharan African countries, with Nigeria at the top of the list. At least one of every five adolescent girls aged 15 to19 has given birth, according the 2014 Nigerian National Demographic Survey.
On 28 October, University of Cape Town management signed an agreement with NEHAWU (the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union) which commits the university to employ catering, transport, cleaning, security, and maintenance workers who work at UCT but are employed by outside companies. This promise of “insourcing” came in response to longstanding worker demands, and a period of intense protest in which outsourced workers were joined by many students and some UCT staff.
The readiness of the African Union’s (AU’s) African Standby Force (ASF) was put to the test during a major field exercise over three weeks in October and November. Troops marched into mock battle to take back territory seized by rebels in the fictional state of Carana, set up for Operation Amani Africa II at the SA National Defence Force’s combat training centre in the Northern Cape.
El Niño has hit Africa particularly hard this year. The unpredictable weather cycle has been more intense than past iterations, and is being blamed for everything, from drought in southern Africa to excessive typhoons in Madagascar.
Makerere University researcher Dr. Misaki Wayengera’s story attracted interest when it emerged that the Ugandan government had not supported his ground-breaking invention, an Ebola rapid detector test. TIA’s Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire looked for him to talk about his journey to finding the Ebola rapid detection paper strip.