Monday, 30 November 2015

They’re Burning Girls’ Breasts in Africa Philip Obaji Jr.

  When Grace Tchami started showing signs of puberty at age nine, her mother, hoping to protect her, began to torture her. At about seven o’clock every morning, her mother would take one of the heavy stone pestles used for grinding food and heat it burning hot over a charcoal fire, then press it on Grace’s breasts, attempting to flatten them.

Rebels in Central African Republic kidnap, burn 'witches' in public ceremonies

An anti-Balaka soldier holds a handmade gun as former child soldiers wait to be released in...
An anti-Balaka soldier holds a handmade gun as former child soldiers wait to be released in Bambari, Central African Republic, May 14, 2015. REUTERS

Rebels in Central African Republic have kidnapped, burnt and buried alive "witches" in public ceremonies, exploiting widely held superstitions to control areas in the war-torn country, according to a leaked United Nations report.
The report by U.N. human rights officers, seen exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, contains graphic photographs of victims tied to wooden stakes being lowered towards a fire as well as the charred torsos of those subjected to the ritual.

Over 1mn CAR children in dire need of aid – UNICEF

© Siegfried Modola

Nearly three years of shockingly brutal religious conflict in the Central African Republic has left more than a million children in state of humanitarian disaster, the UN body announced, hopeful that the Pope’s Sunday visit to the country will bring some relief.
“The violence that has plagued this country has had a devastating impact on the lives of children,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF representative in the Central African Republic (CAR), a mostly Christian state of some 4.6 million people.

South Africa: The justice system is failing women By Kubi Rama

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Indeed, a television production company is reported to be shooting a reality show on Pistorius’s house arrest. It is alleged Pistorius is earning $25,000 (over R340 000) per episode for a planned 26 episodes depending on rating. The show is entitled “Oscar Shoots for the Moon” with the tagline “Wait until you see what cool and fun adventures Oscar gets himself into next!

Photos: President Buhari In Paris for United Nations Climate Change Conference

more pics after cut...

Africa without borders could soon be a reality

Agenda 2063 is a call to action to African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny.


African Union Commissioner on Political Affairs, Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, said part of Agenda 2063 was to see free movement for Africans.
He was speaking at the Africities summit in Sandton yesterday.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What does China’s role in Africa say about its growing global footprint? By Mark Esposito and Terence Tse

Asian and African leaders march together, with China’s President Xi at the center.
Image by: Reuters 
The run-up to the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held early next month in South Africa is under way. The forum – in its 15th year and the first held under President Xi Jinping’s administration – has been the main venue for setting the investment, trade and integration agenda between China and countries in Africa.

Women scramble for condoms Zimbabwe after pastor anoints them

According to, the Zimbabwean pastor said a congregant brought the condoms asking if it was proper for her to use them.
"I prophesied to a certain woman that her husband would return two years after his mysterious disappearance... the husband called her telling her he would come back home.

Monday, 23 November 2015

South Sudan: Horrid Conditions for Displaced People in Malakal : MSF

For the first two months of her life, Mary James slept with no blanket on a steel bedframe inside a small, damp shelter in the middle of an overcrowded displaced persons camp. Now, she’s sleeping in an MSF hospital bed, fighting for her life.
Each time the three-month-old exhales, her breath rasps in her tiny, infected lungs. When the infant cries, her body contorts with the effort of breathing. Until recently, she’s been connected to an oxygen machine.

Karabo Mogane Wins 2015 Idol SA

Karabo Mogane celebrates with fellow contestants after he was announced as the winner of Idols 2015, 22 November 2015, at Carnival City. Picture: Michel Bega
The nation tuned in to their screens to watch the season finale of Idol SA this Sunday – with what many are describing as some of the most amazing events taking place with Idols being broadcast for the first time in 5.1 surround sound.
Standing for the title of the 2015 Idols SA was Karabo Mogane and Mmatema Moremi.

Photos: More Pics from President Buhari and Nigerian Delegate to Iran.

President Buhari, Dr Ali Magashi the Nigerian representative in Iran and the Minister of works, power and housing, Babatunde Fashola and others. More pics after cut..

The Crisis in Burundi Takes a Troubling Turn for the Worse : Global Voices

Burundians living in Nairobi, Kenya and friends of Burundi says no to third term for president Pierre Nkurunziza. -- by Vincent Munga for Demotix
Burundians living in Nairobi, Kenya and friends of Burundi says no to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. 
Burundi has been in crisis since April, but the country is still too rarely mentioned in international media. However, in the last two weeks of October, the level of violence and random assassinations have reached proportions that make crisis observers fear the worst.

Video: Zimbabwe's Mr Ugly pageant turns ugly

William Masvinu, a three-time Mr Ugly winner who walked off with a $100 second prize this year, cried foul. 

Maison Sere, who was missing several teeth and dressed in torn overalls, beat off five other contestants for the $500 Mr Ugly prize -- a large sum in a country facing massive unemployment.
Video after cut...

Women to blame for rape because of clothes they wear: Grace Mugabe

Mrs Mugabe's disapproval of miniskirts is well-known: last year she expressed her disgust that then vice president Joice Mujuru had (so the first lady said) worn a short skirt. File photo

The Zimbabwean first lady, 50, told rally-goers in Mberengwa, southern Zimbabwe that "if you are raped, it's your fault", according to an update from the private Newsday online.
Speaking in Shona, she reportedly castigated miniskirts.

Photos: President Buhari Official Visit to Iran.

President Buhari is presently in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran for the 3rd Summit of the Gas Exporting Country's Forum. More pics after cut...

Photos: Former President Goodluck Jonathan 58th Birthday Celebration.

Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Friday 20th November 2015 
celebrated his 58th birthday. More pics after cut....

Photo: Afro Beat Legend, Femi Kuti Undergoes Surgery.

Yeni kuti was online to tell his fans that her brother is fine after the surgery. 
Read Yeni's message at the African shrine below:


Friday, 20 November 2015

Mali Hostages: 'Did you load it? Let's go': Freed Mali hostage says gunmen spoke English; 70 still held

In this TV image taken from Mali TV ORTM, a woman is led away by security personnel from the Radisson Blu Hotel hotel in Bamako, Mali. Picture; AP
About 80 of 153 hostages (140 guests, 13 staff) have been freed from the Radisson Blu hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako, reports are saying.
Mali special forces have entered the building, and are freeing hostages 'floor by floor'.
The 80 hostages who are now free include three Turkish Airlines staff, 12 Air France staff and Guinean singer Sekouba Bambino.
 Sekouba Bambino said he heard the gunmen talking in English in the next room, saying: 'Did you load it? Let's go'. More pics after cut....


Johannesburg, Wednesday 18 November 2015- ‘Award winning hip hop artist with no album’ is a magnificent title that hip hop/ rap artist, Laylizzy acquired on the night of the 31st of October 2015. Lay Low now Laylizzy had been nominated for the 2015 Mozambique Music Awards in the past month and word was received on set during the music video shoot for his latest single “Tha Crew”, that he scooped the award for the Best Hip Hop Song for his previous hit single ‘Chapa’ featuring Hernani da Silva. More pics after cut....

Nigeria may be Africa’s biggest economy, but most of the continent’s wealthy don’t live there By Omar Mohammed

President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote
South Africa’s economy may play second fiddle to Nigeria these days, but the “rainbow nation” still boasts the richest individuals on the continent.
In Forbes magazine’s latest list of Africa’s 50 richest, South Africans take up 16 spots compared to Nigeria’s 10. Overall, Africa’s 50 richest are worth a total of $95.6 billion. This is almost as much as the combined GDPs of Kenya and Tanzania, two of the biggest economies in East Africa.

The Pervasiveness of Patronage Politics in Africa By Jonathan Bissell

During his recent trip to eastern Africa, President Barack Obama highlighted a number of challenges that characterize bilateral relations between the United States and countries in the sub-Saharan region. The U.S. has both long-term economic and political interests, along with short-term security goals, in the resource-rich area. With the rise of regionally-based transnational security threats (Boko Haram and al-Shabbab) growing and China’s increasing influence over the continent, it is imperative the United States strengthen relations with its African partners. For these partnerships to be sustainable, the U.S. needs to apply its soft power, and encourage the strengthening of democratic institutions while mitigating the corrosive influence of existing patronage networks.

Is Kenya at 50 Teetering on Failed Statehood? By Washington Osiro

Uhuru Kenyatta Kenya gay rights
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta
A year ago this month my son and I celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends in the Washington DC area. In one of the gatherings I attended during the weeklong sojourn in the nation's capital, I got into a discussion with a group of Kenyans where I posed the question (or made the claim according to some):
Is Kenya @50+ teetering on failed statedhood?

Gunmen seize 170 hostages at Radisson hotel in Mali capital

Security forces drive near the Radisson hotel in Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015. Gunmen shouting Islamic slogans attacked a luxury hotel full of foreigners in Mali's capital Bamako early on Friday morning, taking 170 people hostage, a senior security source and the hotel's operator said.
Image by: REUTERS

Malian security forces are storming the hotel and at least a dozen hostages have been freed after the attack by "two or three" assailants, a spokesman for the security ministry told AFP.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees : Adam Taylor

Migrants wait to register at a refugee center in the southern Serbian town of Presevo on Monday. (AP)
As the Syrian refugee crisis mutated from a regional problem to a global one, security concerns have increasingly been cited as a justification for keeping borders closed and refusing to resettle migrants. This argument has gathered momentum in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday, after a Syrian passport with the name Ahmad al-Mohammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib province, was found near the body of a suicide bomber. French authorities say fingerprints from the suicide bomber match those of someone who passed through Greece in early October.

It’s Not Just Paris: From Nigeria to Egypt, 10 of 2015’s Worst Terrorist Attacks: Foreign Policy

Last Friday, Islamic State terrorists carried out a series of coordinated attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people, causing a global outpouring of outrage and sympathy. The strikes highlighted a disturbing and dramatic increase in the number of large-scale terrorist attacks — and raised uncomfortable questions about why some deaths receive so little attention from Western media.

Burundi: Is This Nation on the Verge of Genocide? The Daily Beast

Burundi security forces stand guard around the dead bodies killed by unknown gunmen in Bujumbura's Ntahangwa district on October 4, 2015. 8 dead bodies were found in Bujumbura's Ntahangwa district on October 4, 2015. (Getty)
When Lt Gen. Romeo Dallaire was informed he was leading a United Nations peacekeeping force to Rwanda in 1993, he replied, according to his memoir, “Rwanda, that’s somewhere in Africa, isn’t it?”
The peacekeeping force that Dallaire lead was hamstrung by its lack of resources and political will from Western nations. Roughly 800,000 people were killed in 100 days during the Rwandan genocide.

How mobile phones are making childbirth safer in Ethiopia

The "Safe Delivery App" iPhone app.
The "Safe Delivery App", created by the Danish development organisation the Maternity Foundation, provides simplified instructions and animated films to deal with emergency situations, be it haemorrhaging, birthing complications, resuscitating newborns or infections.
"Midwives may have skills and knowledge," said Mesfin Wondafrash, the Maternity Foundation's program manager in the Horn of Africa state. "But they may not apply the right procedures when complications arise -- even simple complications."

Rwandan senate clears Kagame for third term

Rwandan President Paul Kagame
Image by: REUTERS
The vote was unanimously passed, an AFP reporter in the senate said.
The changes to the constitution will now be put to a national referendum, widely expected to be passed with little outspoken opposition.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Narendra Modi must lift the ban on my film about rape in India By Leslee Udwin

An Indian student at an anti-rape demonstration
 An Indian student at a 2013 demonstration after four men were convicted of rape and murder of a student in New Delhi the previous year. Photograph: AP

On the evening of 3 March 2015, I was in Delhi about to attend the first media screening of my film India’s Daughter, about the 2012 gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in the city. I had chosen 8 March (International Women’s Day) as the date that seven countries across the world, including India, would broadcast the documentary, symbolically joining hands in a global gesture recognising the pandemic of violence against women and girls.

Report: Kenyan Troops Smuggling Sugar From Somalia

Kenya Military

Kenyan troops in Somalia are heavily involved in the smuggling of about 150,000 tons of sugar a year into Kenya, a local watchdog group said Thursday.
Kenyan soldiers and a pro-government militia based in Somalia's port city of Kismayo make $13 million a year from taxing the illegal sugar shipments which are smuggled to Kenya, Journalists for Justice said in a report. It didn't break down the share of profits that each party allegedly makes.

‘Our Guitars Are Our Kalashnikovs’: The Musicians Who Helped Save Mali

In 2012, Mali was in turmoil. Tuareg separatists disenfranchised by the country’s central government had joined forces with Islamic extremists linked to al Qaeda and took control of cities in the north, forcing tens of thousands of Malians to flee their hometowns in and around the ancient cities of Gao and Timbuktu.
Music, one of Mali’s oldest forms of storytelling, was banned, and those who stayed and continued to play it were subject to a harsh version of sharia law. Radio stations were burned down, instruments were destroyed, and musicians were forced to flee or face persecution and even death.

The legacy of a Nigerian human rights hero By Kayode Ogundamisi

Siro-Wiwa's activism and his demise inspired ethnic nationalities and their sympathisers across the world, writes Ogundamisi [AFP]
 Siro-Wiwa's activism and his demise inspired ethnic nationalities and their sympathisers across the world, writes Ogundamisi [AFP]

Twenty years ago I was privileged to be part of a blossoming pro-democracy movement in Nigeria that was opposing the military government.
As we called for a return to democracy after years of military rule, a fragilely built man was focusing on an issue other activists were neglecting. It concerned the control of natural resources in the Niger Delta, and in particular, the devastation caused by oil-producing companies in Ogoniland.
That man was Ken Saro-Wiwa and he changed and enriched the Nigerian cause for human rights and environmental protection.
Nigerian oil spill haunts locals four years on

In Kenya, Improving Food Security and HIV Outcomes through Farming By Layla Eplett

A Shamba Maisha participant farming irrigated crops in Kenya's Nyanza region.

There is an inextricable link between HIV and food insecurity, with each heightening and reinforcing the other. A new pilot trial published in AIDS addresses this relationship with an agricultural intervention that increased food security and also improved HIV outcomes.
“Food insecurity and HIV--we can think of them as intertwined in a vicious cycle, each enhancing the vulnerability to, and exacerbating the severity of the other condition,” says Dr. Sheri D. Weiser, the trial’s co-primary investigator and associate professor at UCSF.

Super ministers and other stories, by Reuben Abati

“Have you congratulated our new Ministers?”
“I am still thinking about it, actually. I don’t know whether to congratulate them or to commiserate or to pity some of them. They have merged Ministries that need not be merged. Some Permanent Secretaries are now floating. Six months and this is it?”
“What kind of talk is that? You have come again oh.”

El Niño sows death, destruction in Africa

About 350000 Ethiopian children have severe malnutrition, Unicef said, meaning that they are likely to die without therapeutic feeding.

Food and water shortages brought about by drought and floods are causing malnutrition, which increases vulnerability to killer diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, cholera and dengue fever.
"The consequences could ripple through generations unless affected communities receive support," Unicef said, referring to stunting, which affects children getting too little protein, vitamins and minerals in their food. Stunted children have poor cognitive development and health, achieve less at school and, as adults, earn less than children who had adequate nutrition, studies show.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Exodus from Eritrea after independence dream became a nightmare

 President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrean

In the brutal misery driving an exodus of Eritreans to Europe, Feruz Werede sees both a national tragedy and a very personal betrayal.
Werede’s parents belonged to a guerrilla movement that spent 30 years fighting for Eritrean independence from Ethiopia, finally defeating one of Africa’s strongest armies in 1993 and propelling charismatic rebel leader Isaias Afwerki to power.

A Critical Look at Beggars and Witch hunts in Africa By Leo Igwe


The lynching of a female beggar for witchcraft in Kebbi Northern Nigeria underscores the link between begging and harmful magic in African cosmologies. This superstitious pattern that persists in the minds of people across the region motivates many to commit atrocious acts. A lynch mob in the tourist town of Argungu burnt a woman to death after accusing her of going from house to house to snatch the souls of people while begging.

Peacekeeping: The Mess In Central Africa

A man wounded in sectarian clashes rests on a bed at the General hospital of Bangui on September 30, 2015
A man wounded in sectarian clashes rests on a bed at the General hospital of Bangui on September 30, 2015 (AFP)
Many parts of the world suffer from endemic disorder that even peacekeepers have a difficult time dealing with. For example in late September, after nearly a year of relative peace there was an outbreak of fatal violence in the capital of CAR (Central African Republic). Peacekeepers were able to halt the heaviest violence but the unrest continues. So far over 70 have been killed and several hundred people wounded in rioting and fighting between Moslems and Christians over who was responsible for the recent murder of a Moslem man. 

Photos: Nigeria: The thousand widows of Maiduguri

Nigeria: The thousand widows of Maiduguri
Maiduguri, Nigeria. Aisha Ishaku, who was widowed after her village was attacked in 2014, sits in the small room she shares with her six children. Her eldest child disappeared on 4 August 2014 during the attacks.

The conflict in north-eastern Nigeria has left thousands of women widowed. Lacking a formal education, many have been reduced to begging and are unable to feed their children. Working with local widows' associations, the ICRC is providing food for widows and their families, and providing grants that enable them to set up small businesses and become self-sufficient.
Aisha Ishaku (42) will never forget 4 August 2014. That was the day of the attack on her village of Gwoza in Nigeria's Borno state, which left one of her seven children missing and her husband with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Photos: TV personality Lungile Radu and wife Bobo Mokgoro Wedding Ceremony in Stellenbosch

Image Title
 Bobo Mokgoro and Wife, Lungile Radu

The couple already got married in an equally lavish traditional wedding back in October 2014.
The location of the Western ‘White Wedding' was at a romantic, luxurious and stunning countryside in Stellenbosch on Friday.
Friends and family of the couple – including actor Thapelo Mokoena and wife Lesego Tshepang Mokoena – shared the exquisite wedding snapshots on Instagram.
Among Radu’s debonair groomsmen included DJ Dimplez and Thomas Gumede.
We at FOB are saying HML More pics after cut...

Meet: Three-year-old Oratile Hlongwane, known as DJ Arch Jnr, South Africa's Got Talent 2015 Winner

 Three-year-old Oratile Hlongwane, known as DJ Arch Jnr, is the youngest DJ in the world
 At three years old, Oratile Hlongwane - DJ Arch Jnr - is the world's youngest DJ and the youngest winner of South Africa's Got Talent.
After the live finale on Sunday, the toddler was more captivated by the glitter on the floor than the accolades or the title. While there's no denying that Arch Jnr is a talented boy, DJ Euphonik has cautioned fans not to equate his ability with the idea that being a DJ is easy. Another pic after cut

Monday, 9 November 2015

Why textbooks are a crucial part of every child’s learning journey

Extensive research shows that textbooks are crucial to children’s learning. Shutterstock
South Africa’s education system is widely accepted to be in crisis. An alarming number of its children are functionally illiterate and innumerate. Many schools lack equipment, infrastructure and even basic necessities like furniture.
In this context, could improving access to textbooks make any real difference?
The answer is yes. Textbooks matter. That’s why their absence from one South African province’s classrooms made headlines in 2012. The country’s Department of Basic Education failed to deliver textbooks to learners in the Limpopo province that year.

Burundi On Edge as Disarmament Deadline Passes

Security forces went door-to-door in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura on Sunday to enforce a disarmament deadline that diplomats and analysts warned could tip the already fraught security situation over the edge into widespread violence.

Hundreds of soldiers and police deployed to opposition strongholds in Bujumbura, many of which had emptied out ahead of the Saturday night deadline set by embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza. Those caught with weapons after midnight risked being “dealt with as enemies of the nation,” the president said on Nov. 2. Thousands of people fled Bujumbura over the weekend in order to avoid being caught up in the security sweep.

Iraq, Syria and Libya no longer exist By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

In the West, we have a pretty good idea of what countries are. They are areas of land where nations or peoples live, and roughly correspond to states which cover the world map. And all of the world except Antarctica is covered by some state or another, because humans live permanently everywhere except Antarctica. The world map is thus made of countries and states.

Man City target Kelechi Nwakali shines for Nigeria at U17 World Cup By Nick Dorrington

Kelechi Nwakali poses with the Golden Ball after being named the best player at the FIFA under-17 World Cup.
Nigeria capped off an impressive tournament by securing their second consecutive under-17 World Cup triumph with a 2-0 victory over Mali in Sunday's final in Vina del Mar.
Striker Victor Osimhen took home the Golden Shoe as the top scorer, while Kelechi Nwakali received the Golden Ball award for the competition's best player.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tias Arms: Making a Difference in South Africa


The most prevalent concentration of individuals living with HIV in the world is in South Africa, according to the Current HIV/AIDS Reports. These reports state that, of all the people worldwide who have HIV, almost one fifth of them, or 6.4 million, live in South Africa. In the 1990s, South African officials did not give much thought to the HIV epidemic since their focus was on putting a democratic government in place and past racial inequalities, so instances of HIV skyrocketed and millions of youth in South Africa became orphans because of AIDS. There are significant challenges in responding to HIV, including cost of treatment.

Photos: In Uganda, many find it difficult to believe that Museveni could ever be defeated in an election By Nic Cheeseman, Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis

A fading campaign poster featuring President Yoweri Museveni photographed outside Kisoro, in southwestern Uganda in 2012. 

Ugandan politics is more interesting and unpredictable now than it has been for over a decade. As the country approaches the next general elections, scheduled for early next year, President Yoweri Museveni faces a challenge to his authority that has awakened fresh excitement in the political process. But this challenge has not come from a more effective or united opposition.

FGM in Kenya: 'Cutters' Tell Tales


Prisca Korein, a 62-year-old traditional surgeon, holds razor blades before carrying out female genital mutilation on teenage girls from the Sebei tribe in Bukwa district, about 357 kms (214 miles) northeast of Kampala, December 15, 2008.

While young girls run around parks and enjoy playing with friends in other areas of the world, some girls as young as eight can't have the freedom of play since they are still in pain from female genital mutilation (FGM).
In the slums of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a mother and daughter tandem hidden by the names Hawa and Fatima shared to CNN how they are illegal "cutters" in town. While FGM has been illegal in Kenya since 2011, many families practice the grisly tradition as tradition says a woman's sexual desires will be quenched when part or all of the external female genitalia is removed.