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Stories from Africa

Movement Calls for Review of Imprisonment of Cameroon's Former Chief of Staff

Marafa Watch is:

A U.S.-based, grassroots movement for appropriate international review of the politically motivated conviction and corresponding imprisonment of former Secretary-General (Chief of Staff) at the Presidency, Mr. Marafa Hamidou Yaya of the Republic of Cameroon.

Marafa Hamidou Yaya was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2012 on corruption charges linked to a deal to buy a presidential plane.

Should Women Starve Their Babies for Fear of Public Breastfeeding?

Olivia Kidula explains why breastfeeding in public should not stop:

A friend of mine recently gave birth to her first baby girl and is still getting the hang of motherhood. I began to notice she breastfeeds only when no men (besides her husband or father are around) and when she can “comfortably” hide away in a small space. When I mentioned to her that there should be no shame in feeding and nourishing her child in front of anyone, she responded,

“society would rather she starves than look at my breasts.”

The more I thought about the implications of her words the more upset I became. Who would want a child to starve? Who would truly want to deny a child nourishment and comfort at the chest of his mother?

12 Deaths and 27,000 Displaced Nigeriens Because of Floods

Flooding in Niamey in Niger - Public Domain

Flooding in Niamey in Niger – Public Domain

Heavy rains and flooding in Niger have killed 12 people and left thousands without homes. Rivers in Niamey and the extended regions have risen and destroyed thousands of houses. In the region, land degradation and cultivation of marginal land increase the risk that extreme events can develop into natural disasters. Some solutions for flood preparedness were being implemented by national authorities :

ANADIA Niger aims to develop methodologies and tools to assess flood risk, to support planning at different decision making levels, to increase the resilience of local communities and to develop a greater capacity for forecasting and response. In this context, the development of a floods database will contribute to a more effective decision-making. 

 

Zambia's Cabinet Should Probe President's Health

In view of widespread rumors regarding the health of Zambia's president, Michael Sata, Gershom Ndhlovu argues that the constitution mandates the cabinet to probe his health:

The last time Zambia’s President Michael Sata was seen publicly was on or around June 20 when he hosted a Chinese government delegation led by Vice President Li Yuanchao at the Presidential Palace. At that time, Sata’s appearance was that of an ailing man, a confirmation of his scraggy appearance at the High Court a couple of weeks earlier.

When pictures of a seemingly sick Sata went viral on social media, one online publication, the Zambian Watchdog, reported that the President had been evacuated to Israel for treatment.

Obviously, the expose did not go down very well with government whose senior officials at the level of vice president and ministers issued all manner of statements ranging from the president being on a working holiday to wooing investors and meeting that country’s President Shimon Perez.

Upon his return to Lusaka, the president’s office tried to show him as working normally and even posted pictures of him chairing a Cabinet meeting. The people were not convinced and called of the bluff, alleging that the pictures were photoshopped.

However, the most disastrous public relations stunt that spectacularly backfired was the picture of President Sata swearing in then Solicitor General Musa Mwenye who had been ratified by parliament for the position of Attorney-General but had been unsworn for weeks on end. There had been concerns that Mwenye would not perform in his new role without being sworn in.

The picture which was published on the Presidential Palace Facebook page, supposedly with the aim of showing that Mwenye had been sworn in as Attorney-General, had in it a deceased individual and another one who had been posted to the diplomatic service two years earlier.

How Kenyans Can Lead a Double Life in the US

Danstan Obara shows how Kenyans can lead a double life in the US:

The American double life starts by making sure that your social security card does not have the stamp that says “Valid for work only with INS authorization”. The things that people do to get rid of this stamp are amazing. I will not go into those details here.

The next step is to walk into an organization or business and apply for a job. You will have to pretend that you are an American, born and raised in America. This can be a very dumb thing to say sometimes because in many cases when you are fresh out of Kenya, it is difficult for anybody to miss the accent. Amazingly almost everybody I know has always gotten away with it. There is a law against racial and ethnic profiling in America so, employers would rather go with the information they are provided with and stick with what they can prove.

Individuals with visiting visas, who opt to extend there stay do not even get the social security cards. What this means is that they cannot legally work anywhere. The things they do are even more hilarious. It is a psychological fact that white people cannot easily differentiate black people. So people simply share identification documents. Imagine of a guy walking into an office to apply for a job with an identification card that has someone else’s photo on it. Once again, not even one person I know has ever been caught.

Clashes After an Attempted Theft of 450 Cattle Leaves 15 Dead in Madagascar

Armed forces and dahalos (highwaymen in Malagasy) clashed in Amboasary Sud in the southern region of Madagascar on Aug. 15 over a theft of humped cattle (Zebus), a type of domestic cattle with a fleshy hump on their shoulders. Thirteen Dahalos and two members of the armed forces died during the clashes. Official reports states that 450 Zebus were stolen by about 90 armed thieves when authorities intervened.

Zed Blog Social Media Awards

Zed Blog Social Media Awards identify and celebrate the best in blogging and social media in Zambia:

Meet our Judges| Bwalya Chileya or @MissBwalya as she is known by most is founder of the twitter based chats ‘Insaka’ which can be described as targeted at discussing cultural and societal issues in Zambia. Bwalya is also a freelance writer who has penned articles for Voices of Africa. She is also a blogger.

Meet our Judges| Merushka Govender is a travel blogger, social media strategist and freelance writer. In 2013, she was named one of the top 10 Travel bloggers in South Africa. She has been handpicked by brands like Samsung to test their products, as well as selected for numerous blogger campaigns, including a recent #GoToReunion trip.

Video: Listen to Nairobi Coffee Shop Entrepreneur

Meet Peter Owiti, coffee shop entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya:

The story of Peter Owiti, the brains behind Pete’s Coffee shop, speaks volumes of the great deal of effort that is spent when setting up a successful business. In the brief video below, Pete, who is a father of three, talks to Kuza Biashara about the challenges he encountered when he set up shop in 2004.

Peter resigned from a well-paying office job and, left with nothing other than his lifetime savings that amounted to Ksh500,000 ($6,000), he resolved to tread a path he was barely familiar with. Today, his business is valued at Ksh5,000,000 ($60,000). This admirable growth was recorded despite the scourge of Kenya’s Post Election Violence (PEV) in 2007/2008 which threatened to break his sequence of success.

Investors Should Explore Nigeria Despite Negative Reports

Chris Akor's investors’ guide to Nigeria intends to demonstrate how the negatives reports about Nigeria have no basis in reality and that investors who have ignored the reports have been making huge returns on their investments:

Undue clatter has trailed the release of Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures – a purely technical matter devoid of politics – from some groups in Nigeria. These groups are mainly opposition politicians, whose electoral appeal hinges on their ability to paint a grim and gloomy picture of abject poverty, underdevelopment, helplessness and the current government’s culpability in bringing about such a situation. Some civil society groups, who have been making a living from the ‘poverty status’ of Nigeria and who’s survival and funding are now threatened by Nigeria exiting the lower-income category. Ignorant social media activists, whose popularity come from insulting the government and the establishment and putting their country down, and some so-called experts on Nigeria, who make a living out of the ills of the Nigerian society and have been cleverly feeding and sustaining the ‘corrupt, fraudster, never-do-wells’ image of the country in the international community and discouraging well-meaning investors from coming to do business in Nigeria.

“Very Difficult to Care about Madagascar”

Thomas Friedman recently traveled to Madagascar and posits that Americans need to pay more attention to the economic and ecological disaster that threatens the island. Some of his readers did not quite agree, like Deosinon in Philadelphia, who argues that Madagascar is too far removed from his needs :

I apologize, but it is very difficult to care about Madagascar. What really concerns me is the valuable space given to this issue by the Times. We are here and need a paper that helps us [..] Today's paper talks of The Met and Madagascar. Please use your space and your writers considerable pool of intellect to speak to us here, and help us with our lives, and tell us things that will improve life here. Maybe I'll read more, I know I'll be happier.

To which Robert counters :

I see your point; after all, this is only a 226-thousand square mile island with over 22 million people living on it, the 47th-largest country in the world, with any number of absolutely-unique species living on it and on its way to becoming Haiti. [..] Beyond the moral considerations, the fact is that we're part of the world and can't wall ourselves off, whether we like it or not. As they say, you can manage the issues or the issues will most assuredly manage you.

In somewhat related news, a few citizens in Madagascar also are in favor of less attention from the West, especially the IMF.

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