An archive of the 50 previous news items

Lessons for Africa in the COVID-19 pandemic

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2017 Tutu Fellow Yap Boum II has written a post titled Coronavirus: Amid the global pandemic, lessons for Africa which was published by the Brookings Institution on 20 March 2020.  Yap, who is a microbiologist and epidemiologist and the regional representative for Epicenter Africa, the research arm of Doctors Without Borders, started the article by saying that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is unprecedented in modern times, bringing enormous human, social, and economic disruption. It's been a busy time for Yap, with the Coronavirus pandemic following the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was on the frontline in a Phase III trial ebola vaccine to reduce the numbers of people infected by the disease.

In the article, Yap says that for Africa, where most countries have relatively weak health systems, the relatively slow arrival of COVID-19 bought Africa time to prepare.

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Listen loudly with your whole heart

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2018 Tutu Fellow Nozipho Mbanjwa took part in the TEDxGreshamPlace session in Durban, South Africa in March 2020. She begins her talk by saying that she is a 'Conversation Strategist'. 

For those unfamiliar with the term, she is in demand for her ability to moderate global conversations - often difficult conversations - with insight, courage, depth and breadth. These have been for global and African institutions, leading listed and unlisted multinational corporations, business schools, and civil society organisations seeking to leverage conversations for change.

So the topic of her TED talk is entirely fitting.  Listen loudly with your whole heart, she says. 

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An account of violence for Women's Day 2020

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2018 Tutu Fellow Lynette Ntuli posted a thread on Twitter on International Women's Day 2020 that speaks directly to the reasons why the day is still needed. The powerful account highlights why Gender Based Violence (GBV) has no bounds: no age, demeanor, class, access, education, public standing, or colour will protect women from it. She says that for most women, it’s not a matter of if, but when it will affect them directly. It’s waiting at the supermarket, in the boardroom, in Direct Messages.

The thread begins in January 2020, when Lynette joined the legions of women in South Africa whose right to safety and justice had to be upheld by a court of law. Why? She did not respond to WhatsApp messages on her phone from a stranger.

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Francophone Africa faces triple penalty

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The Lancet has published an article by 2017 Tutu Fellow Yap Boum titled: Burden of disease in francophone Africa 1990–2017: the triple penalty? Yap co-authored the article with Yvonne Mburu. He looks into the triple penalty of disease burden faced by francophone African countries and unpacks why this is the case.

He outlines what this triple penalty is. The first is that francophone countries bear the highest burden of diseases in Africa; the second is that, despite carrying the highest burden of disease, francophone countries receive the lowest amounts of medical research funds globally. The third is linked to the inequalities arising from the dominance of the English language in global health.

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Fellow behind the first African original from Netflix

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2016 Tutu Fellow Dorothy Ghettuba has been busy in her new role as Manager of International Originals at Netflix since she took the post in 2019. She has been working with African creatives and in February 2020, Netflix released worldwide its first African original series, Queen Sono.

It's a series created entirely by Africans, with a majority African cast and produced on a Netflix budget. As such, Queen Sono is already different from the streaming channel's more typical fare, and its freshness has been drawing audiences in markets in which Netflix seeks to grow. Rumors are already circulating that the landmark spy drama will see a second season. The series taps into South Africa's divided history for Pearl Thusi's backstory as the title character and the plot unfolds against the backdrop of a South Africa still trying to find its footing in the world, 30 years removed from Apartheid.

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Tying party membership to prospects

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2006 Tutu Fellow Aidan Eyakuze has co-authored an academic article which was published in the Local/ Global Encounters Journal in February 2020. Co-authored with Khalifa Said, a freelance investigative journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the article is titled The Weaponization of Identity and Citizenship: The Case of Tanzania.  The article explores the weaponization of identity and citizenship in Tanzania, which is becoming increasingly authoritarian. Aidan is an economist and heads Twaweza East Africa.

It illustrates the types of discrimination that a citizen can face for not affiliating with the ruling political party. Penalties range from unemployment to statelessness; even refugees escaping persecution can’t find refuge and are expelled in such a climate.

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Ify Malo named as an African Power & Energy Elite 2020

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2013 Fellow Ify Malo has been named as one of the African Power & Energy Elites 2020 Projects and Leaders in their annual industry journal. Those selected were named by their industry peers. In a collaborative effort, the African Power & Energy Elites publication and the 2020 African Power, Energy and Water Industry Awards worked together in a unified nomination and selection process.

The journal said that these were people who were leaders in their industry at a time in which the world was entering a Peak Decade that would disrupt business and investment across all sectors. At the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, this decade was described as including Peak Globalisation; Peak Capitalism; Peak Inequality; Peak Youth; Peak Climate Change; Peak Oil Demand; Peak Cars - all of which were directly or indirectly connected to the modern power and energy network.

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A letter from China, by January Makamba

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At around the time the coronavirus outbreak was about to happen, 2013 Tutu Fellow January Makamba was wrapping up a visit to the country.  During his time there, he penned a post titled: Letter from China: Two stories and the fortune of nations that provides a great deal of insight into the country.

The political leader and former cabinet minister from Tanzania went to China to see the country first hand. January points out that China is the largest source of imports for 65 countries and that no country has achieved this feat in modern history. He notes that it shrank and completed the basic industrialization process within the span of 30 years, something that took the earlier industrial countries 100 years. This speed and scale has been disorienting to many, he says. The next stage will be even more so because the Chinese think and plan for centuries.

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South Sudan peace activist Peter Biar Ajak freed from prison

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The detention of 2016 Tutu Fellow, Peter Biar Ajak, has ended.  His wife Nyathon Hoth Mai confirmed in a Facebook post that he had been released. His release came several days after his pardon was first announced by South Sudan's President, Salva Kiir. 

The peace advocate was detained without trial by the South Sudan National Security Service on 28 July and held for almost a year.  When he was finally brought to trial on unsubstantiated charges, he was sentenced to two years imprisonment.  President Kiir issued a decree of pardon on 01 January to 30 people, most for minor offenses.  Kiir's list also included two critics of his regime - Peter, and Keribino Agok Wol.  Both were detained in 2018. 

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Rethinking the concept of digital disruption in new decade

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2010 Fellow Bright Simons spoke to the Daily Nation's technology journalist Faustine Ngila about rethinking the concept of disruption as we head to a new decade.  Bright is the President of mPedigree, a social entrepreneurship and technology company perhaps best known for its work in using SMS texts to reduce the counterfeiting fraud of prescription medicines. Recently, his technical paper published by the Centre for Global Development, A Farewell to Disruption in a Post-Platform World, drew global attention as it questioned common narratives such as ‘data is the new oil’ and ‘Big Data is everything’ in a period of rapid technological change.

He spoke to Nation's technology journalist Faustine Ngila about rethinking the concept of disruption as we head to a new decade.

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Fayelle Ouane joins Africa-only SME investment fund

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2017 Tutu Fellow Fayelle Ouane has joined Adenia Partners as an investment manager for their Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) fund. She remains a co-founder and board member at Suguba, the company she and 2019 Tutu Fellow Issam Chleuh started up together. Adenia is a private equity firm that specialises in private capital management, buyouts and investments.

Adenia is active in agribusiness, manufacturing financial services, IT and telecoms, hospitality and healthcare. It has offices in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar and its head office is based in Mauritius.  It invests only in companies based in Africa.

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Dalberg Advisors Elects Edwin Macharia as Global Managing Partner

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2010 Tutu Fellow Edwin Macharia has been elected by Dalberg's equity partners to serve a three-year term beginning on 1 January 2020 as their Global Managing Partner.  He will be the fourth Global Managing Partner since Dalberg’s founding in 2001.  Dalberg Advisors is a leading global consulting firm and social impact group specializing in inclusive and sustainable business, policy, and investment strategy. Edwin succeeds Yana Kakar who was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2016, serving the maximum of two terms.

Edwin has been with Dalberg for a little more than a decade, during which time he has served in a range of leadership roles.

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Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy

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2019 Tutu Fellow Ronak Gopaldas has had a paper, Digital Dictatorship versus Digital Democracy in Africa, published by SAIIA – the South African Institute of International Affairs. The paper kicks off with a quote from writer Umair Haque, ‘Twitter could have been a town square. But now it’s more like a drunken, heaving mosh pit.’ The quote illustrates the gap between the potential of social media and the internet, and its dark side.

Not that long ago, social media fueled the Arab Spring, bringing down governments. Since then, though, bots, trolls and disinformation campaigns pushing trending algorithms have subverted campaigns such as Brexit and the 2016 US elections and how smartphones and privacy have blurred the line between engagement and surveillance.

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Being honest about mental health

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2019 Tutu Fellow Sangu Delle delivered the keynote speech at the 65th Annual Employee Benefits Conference in San Diego in October 2019 and his topic was one that is often responded to with discomfort - that of mental health. The conference is the largest gathering of multiemployer and public employee benefit plan representatives, with nearly 5,000 people attending. In prepared remarks, the President of the Foundation, Gene Price, set the tone for Sangu's speech in which he himself shared a personal story that had deeply affected him and he implored all attendees to drop the social pretense and find solutions to help those struggling with mental health issues. Sangu picked up where Gene left off, sharing his own struggles with depression. He recounted how, when stress got to be too much for him, he had to confront his own deep prejudice: that men shouldn't take care of their mental health.

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Documentary examines the politics of pesticides

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Award-winning journalist John-Allen Namu's production company has released a new documentary series, Bitter Harvest. The 2017 Tutu Fellow examines the growing negative impact of pesticides on food being grown in Kenya.

Released on World Food Day, the series notes that importation of agrochemicals increased by 144% over the course of the past four years into Kenya.  Many of these are pesticides and herbicides linked to cancer and being used by small-scale farmers. Additionally, protective gear is frequently not used and workers are dying from exposure to these products.

The series is broken into three chapters.

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