Americans You May Have Missed this News from Africa

Africa is alive and well and the news is plentiful. Here is a summary of a fraction of the reporting from the vast continent and its 54 countries – and some select details , as well as a link to a  column – “Why is Science Fiction White?”

  • F A M I N E – 20 million at risk –
  • Kenya government and doctors sign deal to end long-running health strike
  • South Africa police arrest four suspects of last week’s airport heist
  • Kidnappers release eight South Sudanese aid workers
  • Ethiopia’s parliament declares three days of mourning following rubbish dump deaths
  • Ethiopia officials say 72 people were killed
  • Haftar ‘launches offensive’ in Libya
  • Somalia observes a day of prayer to end the drought
  • Ghana’s Essien set to play in Indonesia
  • Suspected Somali pirates ‘board ship’

The most critical story for some time– UN aid chief urges global action as starvation, famine loom for 20 million across four countries

10 March 2017 – Just back from Kenya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia – countries that are facing or are at risk of famine – the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged the international community for comprehensive action to save people from simply “starving to death.”

“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council today.

Without collective and coordinated global efforts, he warned, people risk starving to death and succumbing to disease, stunted children and lost futures, and mass displacements and reversed development gains.

“The appeal for action by the Secretary-General can thus not be understated. It was right to sound the alarm early, not wait for the pictures of emaciated dying children […] to mobilize a reaction and the funds,” Mr. O’Brien underscored, calling for accelerated global efforts to support UN humanitarian action on the ground. READ MORE



Residents rebuild after a devastating fire in Mandela Park Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, 14 March 2017. According to the City of Cape Town, over 15,000 residents of Mandela Park have been affected with about 4,500 informal structures gutted by a blaze that swept through Hout Bay on 11 March 2017, claiming at least two lives.

South Africa airport heist suspects arrested – Milton Nkosi , BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South Africa’s police have arrested four people suspected of being involved in a daring robbery last week at the OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg.

Armed thieves masquerading as police made away with containers of cash. The four suspects are facing charges of “armed robbery, ” police chief Khomotso Phahlanetold a media briefing in Pretoria. Only two suspects appeared in court today, the other two – one of whom is a police officer – are still being questioned.

Mr Phahlane said investigations point to “an inside job” and praised the intelligence network for helping to apprehend the suspects:  We are not solely reliant on tip offs. We must congratulate crime intelligence for helping to apprehend those involved”.  He said that the money that was stolen has not yet been recovered.   READ MORE

Malawian Airlines to fly with all-female crew

Malawian Airlines is planning a flight later this week with an all-women crew and support staff,which will be a first for the company, the  Malawi Times reports .The flight on Thursday will take passengers from Blantyre to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania.The newspaper quotes a statement from the company saying that it wants to create a “more gender inclusive world”. It adds that the aircraft will be under the command of Captain Yolanda Kaunda and assisted by Lusekelo Mwenifumbo.

Red Cross appeal for Madagascar Cyclone displaced – BBC World Service

The International Red Cross is appealing for assistance for tens of thousands of people displaced by a cyclone in Madagascar. It says dozens died, 200 were injured and more than 80,000 people were made homeless by Cyclone Enawo, which battered the island last week. The Red Cross adds that storm damage, landslides and widespread flooding have hampered humanitarian access to some of the worst-hit areas. It says people are in need of food, shelter, medical care, clean water and other essential services.

Mourners who just came from the funeral at nearby St.Aregawi church of 29 victims of Koshe garbage landfill collapse sit together:

Ethiopia’s parliament has declared three days of national mourning for the victims of the rubbish dump collapse in the capital, Addis Ababa, as recovery operations continue.

Seventy two people have now been confirmed dead following a landslide at the weekend.

More bodies have been retrieved from under the debris of the rubbish dump nearly three days after the landslide destroyed makeshift houses at the Koshe landfill.

Column – Mako Muzenda, a Zimbabwean journalist, currently studying at Rhodes University. Her areas of interest include African youth, development and culture:

Why is science-fiction so white?

For years, the works of HP Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert have sparked the imaginations of readers all over the world. These names are just a few in the pantheon of speculative fiction, a broad genre that encompasses horror, science-fiction and alternative history.

However, for a field of literature that’s meant to venture boldly into new terrain and embrace all kinds of ideas, it’s not the most diverse. A 2016 report by Fireside Fiction states that 1.96% percent of the science fiction stories in 2015 were written by black authors. That’s less than a piece of the pie – it barely qualifies as crumbs. With the majority of these stories originating from the United States of America, it begs the question: how much representation do African writers have in that 1.96%?

In a 2014 essay, “African science fiction is still alien”, published on her personal blog, Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor reflects on why it’s important for Africa to be represented in science-fiction. As she recounts her train of thought, she reaches two conclusions: READ MORE

Melanie Nathan

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