Life Style News

By Tare Youdeowei

Asaba — Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge, has said hypertension and diabetes are major causes of blindness.

Azinge made this observation at Ellu, Isoko North Local Government Area, while celebrating this year's World Sight Day organised by Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria, OSN, Delta State Chapter.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Minnie Oseji,

Commending OSN for focusing its efforts on cataract, the commissioner said; "The data generated from the free eye care services put together by OSN as part of activities to mark the 2017 World Sight Day would greatly enhance statistics on eye care in the state and country."

Responding, Chairman OSN, Delta State Chapter and Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Gloria Patrick-Ferife, disclosed that; "Over 2,000 persons were screened for cataract and surgery done for 25. More surgeries would be carried out before the end of the free services."

Stating the need for more professionals, Zonal Coordinator, OSN, Dr. Faith Ejegi, bemoaned the rate of blindness in the society and called on the state government to employ more Ophthalmologists, saying; "In a state of over five million people, only 15 Ophthalmologists are on ground in both government and private health institutions, including the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba and Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara."

The Chairman of the occasion and immediate past Secretary to the Government of Delta State, Comrade Ovuzuorie Macaulay thanked OSN for using their profession to give back to the society. "Leaders of oil bearing communities should utilize their share of oil revenue to boost the well being of their people. Deltans should desist from self medication and patronage of quacks to address eye problems because the eye is a very delicate organ and should only be handled by ophthalmologists," he said.

opinion

Johannesburg — Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as "orphan crops" shows they contain minerals and vitamins that are essential for the body and are mostly consumed by rural African people. Various agricultural research institutions in Africa are currently carrying out research among these crops mainly to improve yields and controlling and lowering disease tolerance.

This is because there is need to urgently match Africa's booming population with adequate food systems because if people are well nourished they become healthy and productive which is good for development. As the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) puts it "good nutrition begins with food and agriculture".

The continent is the second most populous after Asia with about 2, 1 billion people. One in three people suffer from some form of malnutrition according to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report. Societal costs of malnutrition have resulted in 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) being lost every year in Africa. Whereas the levels of stunting are generally on a decline over the past decade statistics are still unacceptably high with over 58 million of Africa's children stunted. Beyond the social cost, FAO notes that the cost to the global economy caused by malnutrition, as a result of lost productivity and direct health care costs, could account for as much as 5 percent of GDP equivalent to US$3.5 trillion per year or US$500 per person.

At the Graça Machel Trust we believe that good nutrition must start at an early stage, for example, the first 1000 days from conception to birth are very critical. We work with key regional partners to increase capacity and build up the institutional establishment of national civil society nutrition networks. Strengthening these national civil society nutrition networks helps to keep nutrition advocacy in Africa on the global agenda.

Innovation Now new research is looking at innovative ways to boost agricultural production to feed the continent's booming population by focusing on the orphaned crops that have been used for many years by Africa's poor to relieve famine. Agricultural research is mainly concerned at increasing yields, adding of essential nutrients otherwise known as crop Bio- fortification, and control and lowering of diseases. Research has particularly been targeted at traditional vegetables because there are highly nutritious. The Water Research Commission has identified three inter-related challenges in sub-Saharan Africa which are water scarcity, population growth, and food and nutritional insecurity of essential micronutrients one of it is vitamin A. This also means agricultural production needs to increase against a backdrop of issues such as climate change (extreme weather, flooding, and droughts), soil fertility depletion, and land degradation. The majority of Africa's population live in areas with poor soil fertility, and in addition, there are problems of access to capital and agricultural inputs and farming methods used by most Africans, which affects yields.

Traditional vegetables are capable of providing more than 50 percent of the recommended daily requirements of vitamins such as iron, zinc and beta carotene and they are also drought tolerant. Some of these vegetables are Chinese cabbage, pumpkin and water melon leaves, cowpea leaves and spider flower, which are widely eaten by mostly rural Africans in combination with thick maize meal porridge. These species often grow in the wild or as weeds, and collected for consumption as vegetables by African people. There are equally nutritious with iron, zinc and vitamins A and C and are also drought resistant.

The Water Research commission says: "The use of wild food forms part of the safety net that rural people use to cope with poverty, disaster and livelihood stress." And for many years researchers and policy makers have ignored these types of leafy vegetables, but during the past two decades this has changed, particularly in countries like Zambia, Malawi and South Africa. The Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, for example, is making an effort to promote the cultivation and utilization of these vegetables by farmers, especially women and other vulnerable groups to mitigate malnutrition, effects of climate change and create wealth for all participants along the entire value chain.

Researchers are also focusing on the sweet potato crop because it is the seventh most produced food crop in the world after maize, rice, wheat, potato, cassava and barley. That's according to FAO. And as a tuber crop it is the third most important after potato and cassava. It is a staple food in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It is also a common crop among poor farmers because it grows in marginal conditions with limited agricultural inputs and low labour requirements. And again, efforts are research is underway to improve sweet potato yield and make it more disease tolerant.

Sweet potato roots produce more edible energy per hectare per day than wheat, rice or cassava and contains considerable amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fibre, pro-vitamin A, Vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. It has been proven in many countries that Orange fleshed sweet potato variety, for instance, can be used to combat and alleviate vitamin A deficiency. This explains why Crop bio- fortification of sweet potatoes is in progress in most Sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana, Madagascar and South Africa.

This article was compiled by Regional Coordinator Women in Media Network Millie Phiri with the assistance of the Graca Machel Trust scholarship PHD student Sonia Naidoo and alumni Nadia Ibraimo.

ABOUT:

The Graça Machel Trust The Graça Machel Trust is an advocacy organisation that works across the continent to drive positive change across women's and children's rights, as well as governance and leadership. Through our support of local initiatives and connecting key stakeholders at a regional, national and sub-national level, we help to catalyse action where it is needed. By using our convening power the Trust seeks to amplify the voices of women and children in Africa; influence governance; and promote women's contributions and leadership in the economic social and political development of Africa.

ABOUT: Women in Media Network (WIMN) The Women in Media Network (WIMN) is the Trust's most recent network comprising 35 highly experienced journalists from 15 countries across Africa. A key focus of the network will be to challenge the current perceptions and mindsets about Africa's women and children and how they are portrayed in the media. We believe that through balanced storytelling we will be able shape a new reality - one that reflects more nuanced stories, told in the way that women want and deserve their stories to be told.

By Marelise Van Der Merwe

The start of 2017 saw concern over a sharp increase in the rise of drug- resistant TB in South Africa. TB is killing millions each year. Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières published promising early data on the use of two new TB drugs, delamanid and bedaquiline, among patients living with drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. But availability remains the biggest concern.

Sinethemba Kuse, 18, invited her friends and family to a celebratory party on 22 September. But it wasn't a birthday or graduation: the Khayelitsha teenager had taken the last of her TB medication.

Kuse was diagnosed with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) just before Christmas when she was just 16. Her grandmother had lost all hope, she says. She thought Kuse was going to die.

It was already a difficult time. "I lost my aunt in December, the one I was living with because my mother died when I was still a baby," says Kuse. "The day my aunt was laid to rest, I started getting sick. I did not have an appetite. My skin colour was pale and I was shaking, sweating a lot at night. I did not enjoy all the things I...

Photo: RFI

Cassette of Somali music, from the Red Sea Cultural Foundation archives, Hargeisa

By Alison Hird

In the 70s and 80s, before Somalia was torn apart by civil war, the east African country had a vibrant pop music culture; bars and clubs flourished in Mogadishu and Hargeisa. That "swinging Somalia" has been captured on the compilation Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa. Vik Sohonie from Ostinato Records told RFI about the treasure trove and how it was uncovered.

The compilation of 15 songs (16 on the vinyl edition!) includes some of Somalia's biggest time of the time. Bands like Iftiin, Dur Dur, Sharero, Waaberi and female songbirds like Faadumo Qaasim and Hibo Nuura whose voices were poetically described as "sweet as broken dates".

The music "tells us the best concise story of what was happening in Somali culture before the war," says Vik Sohonie.

"You had a city and a country that were doing something that was at the very forefront of global popular culture."

He says Somali culture is 'a culture of songwriters and theatre', intrinsically artistic and poetry-driven. Mohamed Siad Barre built on that when he came to power in 1969, nearly a decade after independence. His military regime took control of the music industry and set about developing it.

"You had a government in place that was really promoting the arts as a way of decolonising the country," Sohonie explains.

"What resulted was this incredible burst of youthful euphoria, which culminated in this incredible arts scene, endless amounts of bands and singers."

And Mogadishu provided an ideal setting for that music to flourish.

"Mogadishu was still a very beautiful city at the time," Sohonie continues, "with lavish hotels where well-heeled tourists as well as the Somali upper crust were able to go and enjoy these bands."

Precursors of reggae?

Bands developed their own unique style, reinterpreting traditional Somali melodies, incorporating a lot of the popular global sounds of the era such as funk and soul.

One genre known as dhaanto, an ancient Somali folk song, was reworked by bands such as Danan Hargeysa and shares similar rhythms to reggae. In fact, some musicians of the time maintain dhaanto came before reggae.

"It developed in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia but was perfected in the north of what is today Somaliland," says Sohonie. "And when we spoke to [some musicians from the north] and asked them 'were you guys listening to Jamaican reggae, Bob Marley, because it has that off beat sound to it?' they would almost get offended.

They said 'no we've been producing dhaanto far longer than perhaps Jamaica has been producing reggae'. But they said 'you know there's no difference between dhaanto and reggae, it's the same rhythm'."

Bands like Waaberi were quick to use the synths that were becoming so popular across the Atlantic.

Singer Hibo Nuura gained notoriety lending her soaring vocals to the Waaberi.

"The reason I adopted electronic music was because I had the versatility to be able to sing in many tones," she told Sohonie in an interview for the liner notes accompanying the album.

Rediscovering the lost music

With the outbreak of civil war in 1988, live music performance ground to a halt and many musicians fled abroad. And since very little music had been published under what was basically a nationalised music industry, all traces of this golden age of Somali pop could have been wiped out.

Thankfully some recordings, for the most part cassettes, had been hidden away by a few dedicated music lovers.

"A lot of these cassettes were dispatched to neighbouring countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia during the war to keep them safe," says Sohonie. They would later find a haven at the Red Sea Cultural Foundation in Hargeysa, now home to some 10,000 recordings.

"Some of this project came from an operator who worked at Radio Hargeisa, his private collection, some of them came from tapes in the diaspora, but the majority of this album is from this archive in Hargeisa."

Along with music researcher Nicolas Sheikholeslami, Sohonie began the long process of digitalizing the archives in a bid to conserve this remarkable period in Somali's pre-war history.

"Somalis are very well aware of the power of their music and culture, but the whole world needs to know that," says Sohonie.

"What drew me to the project was being able to tell a beautiful story of what a country was before its twenty or thirty years of war and famine and other unspeakable tragedies. And I think it's really important to recognise that a country should not be defined by its history of 20 to 30 years. If we just peak back a little more we can define people by their culture and music."

Where are they now?

Ostinato records has made every attempt to source the published music. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the artists are living abroad: in Europe (mainly the UK), Dubai, and the US.

They've taken many different avenues.

"Some, like the keyboard player Jerry now plays piano at a hotel bar in Dubai," says Sohonie. "Abdunour Daljeer who's the founder of Dur Dur band runs a small shop in Ohio. He's still trying to get his band back together to produce music."

Hibo Nuura lives in Minneapolis in the US and while she's no longer singing, looks back on the "swinging Somali" years with fondness.

"My peak was from about 1976 to about 1988. It was the best time I can describe because the love that as poured all over me," she told Sohonie. "All that adulation took me to heaven. Even until today, even though I don't sing, people still know me and love (me) as much, and that's something I cannot replace."

And, sign of the times in what was also something of a golden age for women, she says she "did not face any discrimination as a woman, not a single episode of negativity."

For others, the memories are bittersweet.

"In 1986 we played all kinds of genres - Reggae, R&B, Blues, and Pop... the audience in Hargeysa liked this type of music," recalls Cabdinaasir Maalin Caydiid from Danan Hargeisa band.

But the civil war changed everything, including people's attitudes to music and musicians.

"I was in a village outside of Hargeisa and I saw my kaban (Somali oud) - it was being used as a container to scoop water."

On returning to the city after the war he struggled to find work.

"We tried to re-organise Danan, but some people were against us and we did not succeed."

Sohonie says it can be painful for older musicians in particular to recall that period.

"There's almost a reluctance to continue producing music or look back at this time, because as fond a memory as it is, it's also attached to a lot of hurt and pain. Perhaps some musicians want to keep that in the past."

The compilation Sweet as Broken Dates, Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa goes some way to repairing that sense of injustice, highlighting the contribution of these Somali musicians made to 70s and 80s global pop.

Globacom recently gave residents of Ibadan a night to remember as it held its flagship music concert, Glo Mega Music Nationwide Tour, with Olamide Adedeji, Runtown and other music superstars.

The Jogor Event Centre, Ibadan, welcomed a capacity audience which seized the opportunity of the show to celebrate the Independence Anniversary with their music idols including the Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa, Inetimi Alfred Odon (Timaya); Yemi Alade and the new Rhythm and Blues sensation in Nigeria, Axterix.

While Nollywood legend, Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), most celebrated Yoruba movie actor, Odunlade Adekola, and another popular Yoruba movie star, Bolaji Amusan, known popularly as Mr. Latin, came as celebrity guests, the remarkable show had DJ Tops on the jukebox as the delectable duo of Nollywood divas, Ebube Nwagbo and Mercy Johnson-Okojie, compered the show. Mercy dazzled the audience when she spoke flawless Yoruba language interlaced with humorous Ibadan inflections and the trademark Ibadan call and response greeting line, kini soo to which the excited crowd responded Soo nsure!.

Axterix kicked off the show closely followed by the energetic female vocalist, Yemi Eberechi Alade, who came to the city with the full complement of her band of talented choreographers.

Douglas Jack Agu, a.k.a. Runtown, left no one in doubt that he had what it took to musically run the town as he put up such a beautiful performance that got the entire audience on their feet shuffling and gyrating to the rhythmic beats. His tracks, The Activity Pikin andSuperwoman, were the clincher as the crowd sang excitedly along with him.

King of the streets, Olamide, literally set the hall on fire when he sauntered onto the stage with his band as he hailed the "Omo Hobe" who surged forward to bond with the Shakiti Bobo and Skekeloboske exponent. As he traversed the full repertoire of his music from First of All, Voice of the Streets, Stupid Love, Durosoke to Alowomajaye and other hit tracks, the audience called for more.

Timaya put the icing on the show when he came on stage to join Olamide with whom he did a collabo before moving to his hit tracks and adding some spiritual flavour to the evening with some church choruses which got the crowd in a praise mood into the opening hours of October 1.

By Mohalenyane Phakela

THE second edition of the Fashion Meets Music Lesotho (FMML) show which will be held on 11 November at Lehakoe Recreation Club is expected to feature fashion designers from various African countries.

FMML was launched last year by fashion houses, Quiteria & George and Dazzle Collection as a platform to promote fashion and music in the country.

Quiteria & George is a fashion outfit owned by Lesotho-born, Quiteria Kekana, and South African, George Malelu.

It has dressed South African celebrities that include Boitumelo Thulo, Terry Pheto and Nomuzi Mabena as well as local beauty queens, Mojabeng Senekal, and Miss Lesotho 2017, Mpoi Mahao.

Dazzle Collection was launched in 2015 in Maseru and is owned by South African-born creative director, Mapula Mofokeng-Lebona and designer, Delma Tshabalala.

Event director, Motšoane Lebona, this week said they had invited designers from countries such as Mozambique, Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Nigeria.

"The event is specifically designed to promote the work of Lesotho's fashion designers, especially design students to educate them through practical experience," Lebona said.

"The aim is to familiarise them with the industry so that they can grow to become sought-after designers. That is why we invited designers from other countries to weigh in with international competency.

"Furthermore, FMML seeks to blend fashion with the development of music artistes based in the country. The artistes have the opportunity to perform alongside famous musicians from the continent. Last year local artistes shared the stage with South Africa's Motswako pioneer, HHP."

Liteboho Molise, who plays Teboho in South African popular soapie, Muvhango, was one of the MCs. She recently send a video message on the organisers' page asking people to support the initiative so as to develop local talent.

"While I was MC at the 2016 edition of Fashion Meets Music, I realised that there is so much talent in Lesotho that needs nurturing and exposure to take on the rest of the continent.

"I was also captivated by the musical talent with Nirex being my favourite of the night.

"Let us support the initiative which gives Basotho designers and musicians platform and let's make it bigger this time," Molise said.

opinion By Atukwei Okai

Accra — As the school year began this September, there was welcome news for Ghana's nearly half-million students entering high school: President Nana Akufo-Addo had fulfilled his campaign promise of free secondary education for children nationwide. He swore not only to do away with admissions fees, but also to provide free textbooks and meals, the cost of which had often remained a barrier for the poorest students.

Ghana had introduced free compulsory education at the primary and junior high school levels in 1995, but implementation had been painfully slow - and students' educational dreams were often cut off before high school. Even in 2014, only 37% of the nation's students were enrolled in secondary school, owing to high fees. The president's move is thus an inspiring example that Ghana's neighbors should follow.

Unfortunately, despite progressive reforms like these, students across Africa still face other steep barriers to a truly comprehensive education. In Ghana, for example, poor and rural children are unlikely to reap the full benefits of their new access to secondary education.

The situation is arguably worse elsewhere on the continent. The issue is not only lack of access to schools, but also lack of good schools. The results of a staggering new report from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics shows that six out of ten children and adolescents around the world - 600 million in total - are not achieving basic skills in mathematics and reading. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 88% of children and teenagers will enter adulthood without basic literacy.

This constitutes a moral and development crisis that demands immediate action. Having served as head of the department of Ga-Dangme education at the University of Education in Winneba, I know from first-hand experience that one of the main problems is lack of education and absenteeism among teachers themselves. The World Bank, which similarly raised the issue of "schooling without learning" in a new report, has corroborated my view.

Addressing this issue requires investing more in teachers' colleges, promoting teaching as the career of nation-builders, and encouraging the best and brightest students to aspire to a teaching career. We cannot expect students to learn from poorly educated, poorly paid teachers. We must also invest more in resources for schools and learning across the board, from scholarships for poor students to new libraries and classroom equipment.

With so many African governments already failing to provide equal, high-quality access to education for their citizens, this is not a challenge that they can take on alone. As the continent's population booms - half of the world's population growth between 2017 and 2050 is expected to occur here - African heads of state will have to work closely with key allies and multilateral organizations to bring in funding and share know-how.

Fortunately, with the launch of the UNESCO report, several partners have already stepped up. French President Emmanuel Macron is perhaps the most prominent of those who have promised to make investment in education in Africa a high priority.

As the UN's main educational and cultural organization, UNESCO itself will play a key role in promoting initiatives to bring free, high-quality schooling to students across the continent. And whoever takes over UNESCO, following the election of a new director-general next month, will have a make-or-break opportunity to craft the right agenda to meet this challenge. Currently, the organization is mired in a financial crisis and internecine disputes, and it will need a leader who has the vision to solve both internal and external problems.

Notably, France's candidate, former Minister of Culture and Communication Audrey Azoulay, has put both UNESCO's internal crisis and education at the top of her agenda. She has singled out the financial crisis as the biggest threat facing UNESCO and has stressed the need for greater dialogue with members in arrears, like the United States.

In her previous governmental roles, Azoulay helped launch a global plan for cultural diversity through books and introduced plans to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones. Azoulay also has called for UNESCO to treat education as a catalyst for development and gender equality, and as the best way to help combat the "radicalization of the mind." If elected, she has promised to put Sustainable Development Goal 4 - universal quality education - at the heart of UNESCO's mission, with a special focus on Africa.

The preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." Unfortunately, in Africa, we know all too well what happens when efforts to construct the defenses of peace ultimately fail.

Islamist insurgents continue to pose a threat to Mali, where in 2013, they set fire to a library holding thousands of priceless historical manuscripts in the ancient cultural center of Timbuktu. The incident was not only a devastating blow to world heritage; it was also a reminder of Africa's history as a center for cultural exchange, literacy, and learning, and a call to action.

The stakes for Africa are high. Our children are threatened not only by lack of access to schools, but also by lack of opportunities to learn, and by the loss of irreplaceable fragments of their rich history. We must hope that more governments follow Ghana's example, that more allies like France increase their support, and that the new director general will place a high priority on UNESCO's missions in Africa, which are more critical than ever. Project Syndicate

Atukwei Okai, an award-winning poet, is Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers' Association.

By Anjoya Mwanza

Nkhotakota — Dwangwa Primary School commonly known as JP (Junior Primary) is right at the centre of Dwangwa Township, a busy sugarcane growing and processing area in Nkhotakota.

With more than 20 years of existence, this learning facility still accommodates classes from standard one to five only hence the name JP.

The school has refused to grow despite ever growing figures of enrolment, leaving its learners crammed in the few structures it has.

Inadequate infrastructure and materials

Currently, there are six blocks of two classrooms each.

With enrolment pegged at a staggering 2930 during the 2016/2017 academic year, the school continues to use old facilities and resources except for two new blocks which are taking ages to finish.

Before 1997, the school used to operate in church structures until that year when a structure was built. As of two years ago, the old structures only counted to five.

The school's administration, with support from school management committee, tries to make sure that there are makeshift shades to protect those learning outside conventional classrooms from heat. Maintenance of the shades is erratic because they are expensive.

Teachers' houses are few. The school has 31 teachers with only two housed within the school premises, according to head teacher Benedicto Meramera.

"The deputy head teacher and I are the only lucky staff members to reside at the school's campus," Meramera says.

The school teachers' office is a tiny, shabby structure without proper definition. It is a room with no plastered walls and has two tiny single desks accommodating only the head and his deputy.

Entering into the office, one would think it was just detached from adjacent classrooms but history says it was a store room.

Furthermore, the office is untidy with poor circulation of fresh air. The two small windows have inadequate windowpanes and find honour because of the iron sheets that cover part of the openings.

Learners at JP envy those schools that have desks and chairs because they endure their learning hours planted on the floor. There is no single desk for learners.

Teachers are lucky because they use desks belonging to one of the churches that pray at the school premises during weekends.

The absence of a brick fence makes the school a sitting duck to vandalism. With the school blocks unlocked all the time, anyone can access the classrooms any time without fear.

Poor sanitation and hygiene

Dwangwa JP has few substandard toilets that add to its sorry state by compromising sanitation and hygiene.

The school has two toilets for 1397 boys. This translates to a toilet pupil ratio of 1 to 700 against the recommended ratio of 1 to 60.

As if that is not enough, the school shares most of its toilets with the community. It is very close to residential areas and the toilets are just a walk-in for people from surrounding areas to drop their wasted world.

The two toilets have no doors probably because the community members do not like to see them closed.

"They always break the doors and remove them completely. Staying close to the school make them feel that they have earned the right to use the toilets any time and anyhow," says the head teacher.

The school management committee thought of constructing urinals for boys to improve the situation but it is proving a tall order because the facilities have already been turned into new toilets by passersby and community members.

For girls, the school has five toilets but their conditions do not differ from boys' toilets despite having a ratio of 1 to 308.

The girls' toilets are also not immune to outside intrusion and indecency. The screaming of painted big words "Girls' toilet" counts for nothing because patronage is more male than female.

There are no washing facilities around the sanitary rooms; the available water tap is completely dry because huge water bills choked it to dormancy more than a year ago.

Any hope for a drop of water remains far-fetched because no one is coming forward to settle the bills.

"We used to pay the water bills using school management funds or School Improvement Grants (SIG). Unfortunately, the water bills accumulated during the construction of the unfinished classroom block were so huge.

We could not manage to pay any more hence the disconnection about two years ago," says Meramera adding that the bill is MK58, 000.

The only borehole that they could have pinned their hopes at the school decided to stop functioning several years back, leaving learners vulnerable to waterborne diseases.

As an alternative, every child is requested to bring drinking water when coming to school.

Politics of development

Efforts to upgrade the school to full primary by expanding and sprucing up its infrastructure have always been trapped in the politics of development.

The school maintained the Junior Primary status until 2015 when Member of Parliament for the area, which is Nkhotakota North, Frank Mphande declared that he would construct more classrooms using Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

"The proposal to turn the school into a full primary school came from the community members themselves.

Teachers, parents and guardians expressed concern that their children walked long distances to access senior primary education from surrounding schools and that there is congestion," says Mphande.

Two new classroom blocks constructed with CDF stand unfinished. So far, the amount of money released is not yet known.

Mphande states that he need to consult his documents to come with exact figures.

He says some materials for the project are already available.

"Currently there are windows and frames for the classroom block," says the law maker adding that he handed over the project to school management committee and councilor for the area, Nkhunga Ward, Charles Kamija.

Councilor Kamija says the project will recommence soon because they have "some materials like cement and window blocks for the classroom blocks ready."

"The project will be through anytime from today," says Kamija.

While MP Mphande asks community members to own the school by assisting with some minor issues that need few resources, secretary for the School Management Committee Apostle Michael Nyirenda says the committee has been sidelined in the project.

"The committee is not involved when planning and procuring materials. Resources are procured and that the structure is being erected without our knowledge," says Nyirenda.

The committee intends to implement its own initiated project. It is working tirelessly to construct a teacher's house after realizing that their proposals to seek support from companies around Dwangwa have yielded nothing.

Whatever the politics, this school needs saving for it to meet required standards for delivery of quality education through adequate teaching and learning facilities.

By Stellar Murumba

The budget for school laptops has been slashed by half to Sh6.7 billion in the year ending June, becoming one of the biggest casualties of the reorganised expenditure plans.

The Treasury had allocated an additional Sh13.4 billion to the Jubilee government flagship programme in financial year 2016/2017, down from Sh17 billion the previous year.

The National Assembly has further cut it through the supplementary budget aimed at freeing funds to run the repeat presidential election set for October 26 and other more urgent programmes.

The Jubilee administration promised to deliver one laptop per Class One pupil upon its election in 2013 but the programme has been dogged by delays over costs.

Its implementation started in May last year with 150 selected schools, setting stage for a national rollout.

The reckons the free laptops have not reached all schools estimated at over 22,000 -- which nearly all have grid electricity.

More than one million class one pupils had been targeted in the programme with the government saying that more than 60,000 teachers have been trained to support digital learning.

By Justus Lyatuu

Ethiopian Airlines is looking for tour and travel companies to partner in order to boost regional tourism and trade between Uganda and Ethiopia.

Abebe Angessa, the country manager for Ethiopian Airlines in Uganda, said Uganda's trade and tourism ties with Ethiopia have been the largest contributor to their business, and it is time the airline invested more to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

According to Angessa, promotion of tourism has been minimal as the concentration has been placed on trade and other travels.

"Ethiopians have a lot of disposable income and the country has many historical sites, which Ugandans can visit. The same applies to Uganda where we have a lot of fauna and flora; we are looking for people to work with on this."

Angessa said: "We have developed special packages for holiday makers. We are ready to enter partnerships with designated tour and travel operators and ticketing agents to exploit this tourism potential."

Angessa who was addressing the airlines travel agents in Kampala further said if need be, the number of flights from Entebbe to Addis Ababa will increase from three to five every day.

Angessa said tourists can visit special sites such as the place where the biblical covenant is kept, the Nagashi mosque, ancient buildings and churches of the 12th century.

"The sights, the scenery, the culture are already there. Ethiopia's ancient Orthodox Christianity has gifted the nation with thousands of churches and monasteries," he said.

By Mnaku Mbani

Dar es Salaam — Tourism stakeholders have been advised to be innovative and strategic in promoting the country's attractions abroad in order to boost the number of visitors.

The Vice President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan made the remark on Friday during the Swahili International Tourism Expo (SITE), which was held in Dar es Salaam.

"Tourism is growing very fast in Africa. It is high time stakeholders ensured that they attract more foreigners to visit our country," she said.

Ms Hassan added: "I know this sector very well because I once served as the minister for tourism in Zanzibar. Tanzania is among the few countries in the world that are endowed with abundant tourist attractions. About 28 per cent of our land has tourist attractions. Therefore, we have to be strategic and exploit our full potential to boost our revenue."

Over 180 tourism agents from 30 countries across the world attended the three-day Expo. 150 companies from different nations were well represented.

The participants were displaying their goods and services that come from the tourism industry.

Reports from tourism authorities have shown that in 2016 over 1.3 million tourists visited Tanzania and that by 2025, revenue from tourism will hit Sh16 billion per annum.

The minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Dr Khamis Kigwangala said if the Expo's potential was fully utilised, it would give an opportunity for small entrepreneurs to promote themselves on the international market.

"This Expo has gathered a lot of tourism stakeholders from over 30 countries worldwide, small entrepreneurs do not have enough resources to promote themselves internationally, therefore this is a golden opportunity for them," the minister said.

The Chairman of the Board of Tanzania Tourism Board (TTB), Judge (Rtd) Thomas Mihayo thanked President John Magufuli for his efforts in supporting growth of the tourism sector.

"These efforts of our President and his team will not be in vain, they will help make Tanzania a tourism hub, We hope that Tanzania will be the first country that comes to mind when the tourists think of where to visit," he said.

"Without government support, this sector will not grow because there are several issues that needs financial and policy support. Monetary support is needed especially in the infrastructural development such as roads, bridges and electricity in the areas where there are tourist attractions."

Earlier, while welcoming the guests and participants of the exhibition, the Executive Director of TTB, Ms Devota Mdachi said the TTB's expectations were to see the sector flourish after the exhibitions.

Photo: Nairobi News

Zari posted a video of herself and cheating partner Diamond Platinumz having a good time in Zanzibar, days after she had deleted pictures of the musician on her Instagram and also unfollowed him.

By Naira Habib

Bongo musician Diamond Platinumz and his Ugandan socialite girlfriend Zari Hassan are in Zanzibar to repair a love relationship that broke up after claims of cheating

Zari posted a video of the two having a good time in Zanzibar, days after she had deleted pictures of the muician on her Instagram and also unfollowed him.

Zari over the weekend arrived in Tanzania to a queenly reception for the launch of a furniture store opening. She was received by Diamond's bodyguard.

The musician's mother Bi Sandra wrote a sweet message on Instgaram welcoming her to Tanzania.

Zari's video showed the couple all affectionate to each other. It starts with the two walking from their hotel to a waiting car to take them to the famous food market on the island.

Diamond is seen paying extra attention to Zari, even going as far as playing the gentleman of opening the car door for her.

The two in the company of their bodyguards were swamped by fans who wanted to take pictures with them.

Night life in Zanzibar... . #ForozaniFoodMarket. Work smart, go out and play hard!

A post shared by Zari (@zarithebosslady) on Oct 15, 2017 at 3:29pm PDT

Photo: Pan Macmillan

This book is based on the testimony of Steve Biko, explaining and defending his philosophy at the trial of his comrades in 1976.

book listing

'Steve spoke his mind in that court. He could display his intellectual superiority so superbly, and there were times when we - as the audience - would wonder whether Steve himself was the judge and the judge the accused ...' - ANDILE M-AFRIKA

What comes first to mind when one thinks of political trials in South Africa are the Rivonia Trial of 1956-61 and the Treason Trial of 1963-64. Rarely, if ever, is the 1976 SASO/BPC trial mentioned in the same breath and yet it was perhaps the most political trial of all.

The defendants, all members of the South African Students Organisation, or the Black People's Convention, were in the dock for having the temerity to think; to have opinions; to envisage a more just and humane society. It was a trial about ideas, but as it unfolded it became a trial of the entire philosophy of Black Consciousness and those who championed its cause.

On 2 May 1976, senior counsel for the defence in the trial of nine black activists in Pretoria called to the witness stand Stephen Bantu Biko.

Although Biko was known to the authorities, and indeed was serving a banning order, not much about the man was known by anyone outside of his colleagues and the Black Consciousness Movement.

That was about to change with his appearance as a witness in the SASO/BPC case. He entered the courtroom known to some, but after his four-day testimony he left as a celebrity known to all.

The Editor, MILLARD W. ARNOLD is the Senior Adviser to Bowman Gilfillan, Managing Partner of Masakata Consulting and Chief Executive Officer of the South African Business Schools Association. Arnold has also served as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.

Arnold was a Professor of law at Touro University and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School. He was a journalist for the Washington Post newspaper and a Senior Fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Arnold holds a BA in Political Science and a Jurist Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

How to buy the book >>

Author(s): Millard Arnold

  • EAN: 9781770105584
  • eBook EAN: 9781770105591
  • Pages: 400
  • Format: Trade Paperback

 

Photo: Pan Macmillan

A compilation of quotes taken from the words of the activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.

book listing

'We are looking forward to a non-racial, just and egalitarian society in which colour, creed and race shall form no point of reference.' Steve Biko, IWWIL ('American Policy towards Azania'), p 158

First published in 1987, No Fears Expressed is a compilation of quotes taken from the words of the activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.

Sourced from the iconic I Write What I Like, including the collection of Biko's columns published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of 'Frank Talk', as well as from The Testimony of Steve Biko (edited by Millard W. Arnold), this book contains many inspirational quotes and thoughts that are still relevant in South African society today.

Biko's words fall under a wide range of topics including racism, black-white relations, remedies for apartheid, colonialism, black rage and township life. All are topics that reflect the ever-present divide that exists between black and white South Africans.

Steve Biko would have been 70 years old in 2017. His place in history is firmly cemented and the struggle that he gave his life for continues. He left a legacy of thoughts and words, and these words pay tribute to the courage and power of the young leader who was to become one of Africa's heroes.

How to buy the book >>

Author(s): Millard Arnold

EAN: 9781770105607

eBook EAN: 9781770105614

Pages: 160

Format: Gift Book

By Henok Tibebu

Back in the days, not only dreaming of being a writer or an author but also if one spoke of some contents from a book he/she read would make him/her one of the most admired and stylish members of the literate society of whatever age. Being a writer and a critical reader used to be a privilege. The way of knowing people's perspective about the past and the future is reading the wisdom of wise people who seriously observe the ways of peoples' life styles.

These days things seem to have changed in a way that poses threat to the intellectual wellbeing of the young generation. That must shake the entire scholar's society but the reality seems to be the reverse. I only see few scholars trying to promote initiatives that encourage reading.

When we are living in a time of technological boom and we can get access to every knowledge simply with a single tap on our smartphones, many young people incline to limit their interests only on entertainments, even worse on the bad ones and ignore the value of books or reading.

Everyone is indulging in the so called social media which false stories and bad rumours are taking over. Of course, there are constructive media outlets that tips the youth with significant information on the social media but they are outnumbered by the destructive ones.

People are spending too much time chatting and posting pictures on social media and never seem to find an hour for reading. Everywhere, I go people are chatting. I don't see what they are doing closely but I know when they are chatting when they smile or crinkle their faces without noticing people would watch. I wonder how they communicate and where they get new ideas to discuss without reading. The day today life bases of course could bring new issues to discuss but that only be about who did what, I did this and that and then too many lolls and emojis after each full stop. Isn't that a boring staff to do all the time? I'm just asking?

How can we chat a lot if there are no books in it? Of course, there could be too many Tv shows and famous people to talk about. But true knowledge is always abundantly found on books and the time gives us an opportunity of having digitized books. But we seem to be ignoring what's important and grabbing the harmful products of technology. And we are forgetting ourselves.

This reminds me a story of a famous Ethiopian writer. An older brother was telling his little brother the story of Axum, which was ones was the greatest civilization and empire in the world. He told the little brother about the great rock hewn obelisks of Axum and asked him what he thinks of them. The little brother, who has no idea about the precious historical value that the obelisks have, would simply say "I think the obelisks being built from single structure of rock indicates that there had been a shortage of stone at that time."

It couldn't be the little boy's mistake to have misunderstood his own historical wealth and undermine it. It could rather be the fault of the community he grew up in.

In this case, I believe religious institutes need to discharge their responsibility given to participate in building schools and shaping the ethics of children from the start. Religious institutes are the places where we can find our roots of early civilization. They are given the mandate to build schools but only few seem to have built. Most of them seem to have engaged in business activities like building multi storey houses and stores and renting them for companies or individuals. This is not really religious.

Somehow, nobody else has to tell an educated young generation of this era that it is necessary to grab a book. Our great grand fathers were not educated when they grabbed a goat skin and mad books to pass the wisdoms they learned from life and nature to generations.

Reading could be the answer to most of those who are wasting their time searching the meaning of life while they are breathing it or those who couldn't find themselves while they are not lost. The only loss is not having interest to reading.

By Staff Reporters

THAT president Robert Mugabe wants his wife Grace to be the next leader may have become undeniable at the weekend after Zanu PF's 10 provinces agreed to amend the party's constitution with the recommendation for a female VP taking centre stage.

The provinces also agreed that the extra-ordinary Zanu PF elective congress will go ahead in December and that the aged leader would be the party's candidate in next year's election.

Estry Mlambo-Madhuku, Women's League Chairperson, said the special congress will put the succession issue to rest.

"We want to reaffirm our position as the Women's League in Manicaland of being solidly behind President Mugabe. We have been advocating having one of the Vice-Presidents being a woman and the December special conference will help us to resolve this issue," she told the state media.

After the Harare Provincial Executive Council (PEC) meeting, provincial spokesperson, Abicia Ushewokunze, said:

"That President Mugabe is the sole candidate is not a debate, but idzokororo (repetition). We resolved that the constitution be amended as there are a number of issues yet to be addressed, especially the Women's League resolution on Vice Presidents. All conferences have passed this resolution... ..."

Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been left in the lurch after Masvingo and Midlands provinces viewed sympathetic to his cause have both endorsed party plans to turn Zanu PF's December conference into an elective congress.

VP Mnangagwa, who hails from Masvingo, enjoys support from the two provinces.

President Mugabe and Grace have not hidden their frustrations with the two provinces they describe as havens for factional politics within the party.

With all signs pointing to a Mnangagwa lynching, all eyes were on Masvingo and Midlands to see if they also supported a controversial move already supported by the majority of party provinces.

But as it turned out, the two provinces supported the move after all. This was during hastily arranged weekend meetings held by party provinces to decide on congress suggestions.

Zanu PF Masvingo provincial information and publicity secretary Ronald Ndava told New Zimbabwe Sunday the restive province was in support of the resolution.

"We met today (Sunday) as a province and we passed two resolutions; first we were agreed that we should request the President to convene the congress, and secondly to affirm our position as a province that the President is the sole candidate for 2018 elections," he said.

Similarly, Zanu PF Midlands secretary for information Cornelius Mupereri also confirmed passing the resolution.

"We have passed the resolution.

"We did that as a protocol observing and law abiding province and we resolved that in the extra ordinary congress, there are three issues that are going to be discussed; the first one is the affirmation of the candidature of His Excellency, Cde R.G Mugabe," Mupereri said adding that the province resolved to back the BVR and polling station based voting system for next year.

Mupereri also denied the province was among Zanu PF's two problem spots adding that the resolutions were passed unanimously.

President Mugabe, who at 93, has reached the twilight of both life and political career, is seen making frantic moves to position preferred loyalists for party take over.

The move is thought to be his strategy to manage the fears of his young family and secure a giant family business empire from any vindictive expropriation by enemies when he is gone.

Women are not taking full advantage of empowerment programmes that Government is putting in place to address economic gender imbalances. This was said by Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Permanent Secretary Mrs Evelyn Ndlovu at the Women in Energy Zimbabwe Conference held at HICC this past week.

"There are various funds that have been set aside for women to access capital from various institutions but the uptake is slow. Women need to take advantage of the opportunities availed by Government," said Mrs Ndlovu.

The conference was convened by Zimbabwe Energy Regulation Authority as "part of a series of a robust engagement with key stakeholders aimed at sharing experiences, exploring policy and legal provisions and gaps in respect of women's participation in the energy sector mindful of the vast potential that women have insofar as increasing access to modern energy and catalysing economic activities at different levels is concerned," according to conference literature.

Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Nyasha Chikwinya pointed out that women need to get into the energy sector as they are the most affected by the lack of modern energy sources.

Other speakers included Energy and Power Development Deputy Minister Tsitsi Muzenda, who said that her ministry is focused on empowering women to become players in the energy sector.

ZERA CEO Dr Engineer Gloria Magombo said that there are plans to make the conference a regular event at two year intervals following the success of the inaugural edition.

Women of Africa Fuels and Oils CEO Advocate Pria Hassan shared other women's experience from the perspective of her Durban based company.

Over 400 women attended the two day conference

By Daniel Nemukuyu

Adventist Lawyers Association (ALA), an 80-member group of lawyers belonging to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, on Saturday held a free legal clinic at Overspill shops in Epworth as part of the church's drive to end child abuse and prostitution in the area. Epworth is infamous for child prostitution and girls as young as nine years are being sexually abused at a spot popularly known as "paBooster", among other places.

The community's records for child abuse are alarmingly high and the Christian lawyers took their time to conduct a church service and later on one-on-one free legal advice sessions. Scores of children and parents with burning legal questions went home satisfied after meeting the team of experts free of charge. Prominent Harare lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was part of the team, said their aim was to conscientise the children of their rights in the war against child abuse.

"We have heard several stories about this place, some true while others were untrue. We carried out our own research and established the need for an awareness campaign and free legal advice to the people of Epworth. As a group of lawyers, we have decided to play our party by speaking loudly and boldly against child abuse. We thought of providing meaningful and practical assistance to children who find themselves in abusive set-ups and the assistance that we render is free of charge. To us, faith without works is dead," said Adve Mpofu.

Delivering a sermon during the full-day programme, Pastor Best Shambare said Epworth needed God to change the mind set of child molesters who take advantage of the vulnerable girls.

"Abusing the girls is tantamount to abusing Christ. God is watching you as you park your vehicle at the Booster and pick up a little girl for abusive purposes. Where do you get the guts to abuse a girl who, under normal circumstances, should look up to you as a parent?

"Men of Epworth, stop abusing Jesus. Jesus is crying daily for the lives of the little ones but u have the audacity to continue abusing them. Change your ways of life so that the children of Epworth will live peacefully. The money you spend on the girls after abusing them, should be better channelled towards sending them to school or providing them with fatherly care," he said.

Another lawyer Ms Nyaradzo Maphosa of Sawyer & Mkhushi Legal Practitioners said technological advancement and the social media was negatively impacting on the children. She urged children to report any forms of abuse without hesitation.

 

 

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