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Accurate statistics are needed for the SA farm murder debate

Africa

The extent of violent crime in the farming community is hard to define without better data.
11 DEC 2017  /  BY JOHAN BURGER

Recently thousands of farmers, supporters and sympathisers took to South Africa’s streets in an emotional but peaceful protest against the violent attacks on and murders of those involved in farming.

The protest action referred to as Black Monday originated from a call on social media by a friend of murdered Western Cape farmer Joubert Conradie for people to wear black on Monday 30 October 2017 in support of farm-attack victims.

While the initiative had substantial support, much of the public debate was dominated by accusations that it was racist in nature. This was due to the display of the old South African flag by a small number of protesters. The phenomenon of fake news also raised its ugly head, apparently aimed at polarising public opinion further and distracting attention away from the impact of violent crime on those involved in farming.

Violent crime is exceptionally high in South Africa and those who suffer the brunt of it typically live in poor and underdeveloped areas – evident in the extraordinarily high numbers of murders in places such as Nyanga, Inanda, Umlazi, Delft and Khayelitsha.

We have also seen increases in the most serious and reliable violent crime categories of murder and aggravated robbery in the past five years. Since 2012 the number of murders has increased by 22% and the number of armed robberies by 40%. All provinces have experienced a rise in armed robberies with the rural provinces of Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape and the Free State recording some of the biggest increases. It is therefore not surprising that those involved in farming, commercial and otherwise will be negatively affected.

Those living in rural areas, particularly in isolated areas, are particularly vulnerable to armed attacks where help may take long to arrive. In cities, criminals involved in home and business robberies generally leave the crime scene quickly as police and private security responses can be fast. In rural areas perpetrators are able to stay on the property for longer, and are then more likely and able to subject their victims to extreme forms of torture and brutality.

Commercial farmers are well organised and have formed various agricultural unions, and so are better able to publicly draw attention to the way violent crime affects their sector. Because farmers are a relatively small minority in terms of numbers and are often seen to represent a particular sector of society, some people feel they’re drawing attention to their plight only and are unconcerned with what is happening in the larger society.

The lack of government statistics on farm attacks and murders makes it hard to clearly define the extent of the problem. This can largely be blamed on the decision by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to cease publishing statistics on this phenomenon in 2006/7. Then in 2014, the SAPS made a submission to the SA Human Rights Commission hearings on safety in farming communities on farm attacks. Earlier this year, in reply to a question in Parliament, they also released the statistics for 2016/17 which revealed that for some undisclosed reason, while they have the data, they’re not releasing it regularly.

Due to the lack of information from the SAPS, the Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (TAU SA) established their own capability to monitor farm attacks and murders. AfriForum also developed a capacity for this purpose. While they claim to use the same definition of a farm attack, there are discrepancies in the numbers of attacks and murders, as seen below:

Period

Murders

Attacks/Incidents

SAPS

TAU SA

SAPS

TAU SA

SAPS

TAU SA

   2011/12

2012

56

53

514

174

   2012/13

2013

60

59

556

231

   2013/14

2014

58

61

492

279

   2014/15

2015

60

64

490

318

   2015/16

2016

49

71

446

369

   2016/17

2017 (until end Oct)

74

71

638

360

 (Note: SAPS use financial years and TAU SA calendar years)


The issue is further obscured by attempts to place a ratio on the risk that commercial farmers face compared to the national average. However Kate Wilkinson, in her analysis in Africa Check on 8 May 2017, points out some of the difficulties related to accurately calculating a ratio for farm murders, and for the murder of farmers in particular. This article was published in response to an article by this author in Africa Check in 2013, where a ratio for the murder of farmers was suggested as 120.3 per 100 000.  This was arrived at by using the official statistics for farmers involved in commercial agriculture as found by the Statistics SA survey of 2007.

Nevertheless, it is conceded that a ratio for ‘farmer murders’ (as opposed to farm murders more generally) is also problematic since we really don’t know how many of the murdered farmers qualify as ‘commercial farmers’ according to the criteria applied by Stats SA. Further research is under way.

South Africa faces a serious threat with the crimes of murder and robbery. No one is immune from these types of crime and we must find a way to stand together to address this problem. Different strategies may be needed to address the various types of murder.

Society will only be safer if all groups support the development of effective strategies that reduce any type of murder. The response to the recent Black Monday gatherings revealed how far we still have to go to bridge differences. But until we do, the only people to benefit will be those involved in violent crime. 

South Africa’s ‘short-term pain’ or ‘long-term gain’ future

Africa

Much depends on the outcome of the ANC’s elective conference – what is the best scenario for the country?
12 DEC 2017  /  BY JAKKIE CILLIERS

South Africa is at a crossroads. The political choices to be made during the African National Congress’s (ANC) leadership elections on 17 December will determine the country’s economic and developmental future for years to come.

This is essentially a choice between short-term pain (a Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma or #NDZ win) and subsequent long-term gain (the introduction of competitive politics during the 2019 elections), versus short-term gain and long-term pain (a Cyril Ramaphosa or #CR17 win) and the probable continued dominance of the ANC in government. Single-party dominance is seldom a long-term asset, and by 2019 the ANC will have been in power for 25 years.

If #CR17 and his reformist faction win decisively in December, it will probably mean an ANC victory in 2019, as the party will be able to attract disillusioned ANC supporters currently not voting. In Fate of the Nation I estimate that the ANC could obtain a comfortable majority of around 59% of support in this scenario.  South Africa would revert to its average historical growth rate of around 3.4% of GDP over time, although annual rates would fluctuate. 

In his ANC election manifesto published in Business Day in November, #CR17 has committed to a 2018 growth target of 3%. This is only possible if South Africa can avoid the downgrade of our long-term local currency debt ratings by Moody’s in February 2018. That downgrade is virtually assured if Jacob Zuma remains president into 2018 and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba presents the 2018/19 budget. Once South Africa is downgraded, growth will remain constrained for years.

The only way to avoid a downgrade is for the newly elected ANC leadership to recall Zuma in early January, and for the National Assembly to elect a new South African president (#CR17 in this instance) who will appoint a new cabinet, including an experienced and trusted replacement finance minister. 

The more likely muddling-along scenario – which I’ve named after the national soccer team Bafana Bafana – is of a compromise outcome, where #CR17 narrowly beats #NDZ to the top spot in the ANC’s elections. We know the conference won’t immediately proceed with the elections of the other members of the top six (or top nine if the ANC constitution is amended the previous day). This is a scenario where, after the announcement of #CR17 as president, #NDZ is nominated for election as deputy president of the ANC from the floor, and elected as such. The national executive committee (NEC) emerges as a mixed team of Reformers and Traditionalists, and #CR17 will take time to consolidate his grip on power.

The outcome is the bumbling-along, talk-left walk-right governing party and increasingly dysfunctional alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) we’ve seen for years.

Even this divided party would be an improvement on the current chaos within the ANC and in government. Instead of a cabinet comprising people of questionable ethics, proven incompetence and friendship with the Guptas, the Bafana Bafana future is one of some improvements in the coherence of government policy and implementation. This outcome though would be constrained by the need to include prominent figures from the #NDZ camp in cabinet, many of whom are ethically compromised or corrupt. 

South Africa would still be downgraded by Moody’s due to its inability to rapidly agree and implement the obvious measures required to unlock growth. Zuma and his cabinet would probably be recalled in about mid- to late-2018, but too late to improve our short- to medium-term economic prospects. In this scenario, I expect the ANC to get around 53% at the polls in 2019 but to lose Gauteng to a DA-led alliance.

An unlikely, but not impossible, scenario is that of a Nation Divided – where #NDZ and her traditionalist faction within the ANC triumph in the December 2017 elections. Should that victory not be found to be tainted by substantial corruption and subsequently overturned in court, it would result in the elevation to national power of a socially conservative ANC faction, not unlike the current administration. This grouping includes a profoundly corrupt clique who have excelled at patronage and abuse of state resources for private gain.

Under #NDZ, government is likely to emphasise redistribution as the path to growth (unproven elsewhere), and will pursue fiscally expansive policies such as free tertiary education, a higher minimum wage, expansion of social grants, more efforts at land redistribution without compensation and possibly even an adjustment to the mandate of the Reserve Bank. South Africa grows slower in this scenario than any other, partly due to increased debt and because it takes longer for the country to emerge from its ratings agencies downgrade with these policies in play.

The ANC is likely to split early in 2018 in the Nation Divided scenario. The first steps in this direction may already have started with the establishment of a new party, African Democratic Change, by Makhosi Khoza at the end of November – although it is more likely that she’d join a new party formed after a split than lead it. This new party would comprise the rump of the Gauteng ANC and other members of the reformist faction within the ANC defeated during the December 2017 elections.

Critical here is what #CR17 decides to do. It seems unlikely that he’d be prepared to serve under #NDZ.  Would he retire to his farm(s), return to the private sector or lead the split in the ANC? The latter would split the ANC down the middle and open a new and exciting chapter in South Africa’s future.

Even a smaller split, not led by #CR17 but by a smaller faction such as the ANC in Gauteng, would be different for two reasons. First, the new ANC splinter party could probably enter into a governing alliance with the DA in Gauteng after the 2019 elections. Once the ANC loses South Africa’s economic heartland its future is dim. Second, given the damage done to the ANC under Zuma, even a relatively small split within the ANC would pull it below the 50% majority at national level in 2019 and it would require the support of other parties to create a governing coalition.

Looking at the state of votes just days ahead of the elective conference, it is clear that a #NDZ win is only possible through the manipulation or purchase of branch delegates. Even then a Nation Divided outcome could, ironically, be good for South Africa in the longer term if it leads to a realignment of national politics in 2019.

Change is in the air, and may come sooner than we expect – but only if we are prepared for the associated pain.

Creating conditions conducive to stability in Guinea-Bissau

Africa

The organisation of elections cannot be considered a lasting solution to the country’s crisis.

Para a versão em Português, clique aqui

The conclusions of this weekend’s 52nd Ordinary Summit of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be decisive in resolving the political deadlock in Guinea-Bissau.

Despite the three-month time limit given to Guinea-Bissau authorities at the Monrovia Summit in June 2017 to implement the Conakry Agreement, the country’s political stalemate remains. This was concluded after an ECOWAS mission conducted on 1 and 2 December in Bissau, after consultations with the political actors.

The main deadlock to the agreement’s implementation is the appointment of Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embaló over Augusto Olivais, which wasn’t in line with the agreement. In an interview with Radio France International in November this year, ECOWAS mediator – Guinea’s President Alpha Condé – said a consensual decision on a prime minister had been reached out of the possible candidates submitted by president José Mário Vaz.

The maintenance of Sissoco’s government, despite the expiry of the constitutional deadline for the adoption of his governance programme by MPs and the numerous pleas of the international community calling for the implementation of the Conakry Agreement, has aggravated political tensions.

As the deadlock persists and the deadline for the 2018 legislative elections looms, those responsible for the political crisis must be held accountable. Consultations must resume to find a solution that will allow reforms to be implemented. The organisation of elections cannot be considered a lasting solution to this crisis which should be analysed in the context of the country’s recurrent political instability. The mandate of the National Assembly ends in May 2018, and legislative elections are to be organised in the same year.

In theory, these legislative elections could clarify the political game by leading to the emergence of a parliamentary majority and the formation of a legitimate government. This would also prevent the National People’s Assembly’s mandate from expiring and Vaz from standing as the only actor with democratic legitimacy. His mandate ends in 2019.

In reality, holding an election without the political crisis being resolved, is likely to further divide an already polarised political class and create conditions conducive to results being contested.

The Collective of Democratic Opposition Parties of Guinea-Bissau, composed of 18 political parties, which has been demanding the implementation of the Conakry Agreement for months, says no election should be organised by the Sissoco government, which it considers illegitimate. This position is reinforced by the role played by the Ministry of Territorial Administration in the electoral process, through the Technical Office for support to the Electoral Process (GTAPE). This entity is responsible for voter registration and the establishment of the electoral register, hence the mistrust by the opposition.

Moreover, the stalemate in the National Assembly risks undermining the normal functioning of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). The NEC depends on the National Assembly for the management of its budget, as well as the appointment of its president and the members of its executive secretariat.

Even in a best-case scenario, where parliamentary elections are held despite the institutional crisis and then lead to a clarification of the political game, the risk of a relapse into crisis remains high. This is because the major weaknesses and shortcomings of the institutional architecture are yet to be resolved.

The crisis has had a devastating impact on state institutions because of the inadequacy and vagueness of some of the constitutional provisions governing the semi-presidential system in Guinea-Bissau. This further highlights the need to implement reforms that have been scheduled for several years, including a revision of the constitution and the electoral framework.

There is broad consensus on the need to clarify important parts of the constitution, including the organisation and functioning of political power. There are also many political and civil society actors who advocate revisions to the electoral laws as required by the NEC report drafted after the 2014 general elections.

To find a solution to the deadlock, an additional round of consultations is needed, following the inclusive talks of 2016. This must be done in the spirit that guided the Conakry process. It must be inclusive and consensual, placing emphasis on the importance of implementing the major reforms that the country needs.

In these consultations, ECOWAS – supported by the other international actors of the five groupings involved in the peace process in Guinea-Bissau (the African Union, United Nations, European Union and Community of Portuguese Language Countries) – should adopt a more directive and firm stance. The continuation of the crisis, despite the efforts of national and international actors, clearly shows certain key players’ lack of interest in stabilising the country.

The authorities have not been able to find a consensual solution, despite the three months granted by ECOWAS and threats of individual sanctions. There is little hope for goodwill, and for political actors’ ability to go beyond self-interest. ECOWAS’s failure to respond after the deadline for implementation of the agreement expired is also unlikely to encourage actors to honour their commitments.

ECOWAS’s 52nd Ordinary Summit on 16 December is an opportunity for the regional organisation’s leadership to consolidate its position. Its credibility is at stake.  

A follow-up consultation – which should not elevate the president over other stakeholders, as he is a protagonist in the crisis – should lead to the establishment of a government that includes a substantial number of competent technocrats and individuals who are as apolitical as possible within the current context.

Finally, this process should define, on a consensual basis, an electoral calendar that allows for the adoption of specific priority reforms before the legislative elections. The coupling of legislative and presidential elections in 2019, which would allow more time for the necessary reforms, should also be considered.

Ultimately, such a process should be guided not only by the urgent need to end the current political crisis, but also by the desire to create the economic, social and political conditions that will provide lasting structural responses to the chronic instability that has characterised Guinea-Bissau since its independence.

Natural gas won’t solve Mozambique’s development challenges

Africa

Without basic service delivery and better budget management, gas reserves won’t help Mozambique’s poorest.
04 DEC 2017  /  BY ZACHARY DONNENFELD AND ALEX PORTER

The discovery that Mozambique holds one of the largest reserves of natural gas in the world has generated great optimism about the country’s future. But the recent sovereign debt crisis has cast serious doubt on the ability of the country to effectively manage the associated profits and better promote human development.

Without a concerted effort to ensure transparent management of gas revenues and channel that windfall into investment in basic human development, the country will continue to face barriers to inclusive growth.

A recent report from the African Futures Project (AFP) used the International Futures (IFs) forecasting system – housed at the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures – to assess Mozambique’s long-term development prospects and help frame uncertainty around the future of natural gas, economic growth and human development.

This research finds that even with the significant boost to economic growth from natural gas production, Mozambique will have essentially the same number of people living in extreme poverty in 2040 as it has today. This is largely due to rapid population growth, and continued lack of access to basic services experienced in the country.

Mozambique has averaged 7% GDP growth per annum over the past 20 years, but it still has some of the lowest levels of human development in the world. Of the 186 countries ranked by the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index, Mozambique ranks 183rd.

More than 65% of the population lives in extreme poverty and most of the country lacks access to basic infrastructure, health and education. Only 5% of the population has completed a secondary education, life expectancy is 5.5 years lower than the regional average and 22 million Mozambicans have no access to improved sanitation facilities.

IFs forecasts that Mozambique will improve access to education, health and infrastructure services over the next 23 years. But the country’s growing population, which is forecast to nearly double by 2040, will make it increasingly difficult to extend basic healthcare and education to the country’s poorest and most vulnerable. This challenge is best illustrated by looking at the forecast for extreme poverty in the country out to 2040.

Figure 1 below shows that the percentage of people in Mozambique living in extreme poverty will fall from around 65% in 2016 to about 35% by 2040. However, the absolute number of people surviving on less than US$1.90 per day will be roughly the same in 2040 as today.

Figure 1: Change in the percentage and absolute number of people living in poverty

Source: IFs v. 7.28 initialised from World Bank data

This trend is mirrored in other areas of service delivery, where the absolute number of Mozambicans in need of basic services is forecast to increase across various dimensions of human development. Table 1 shows the number of people (in millions) in need of basic services in Mozambique in 2016 and 2040 and highlights the increase in a number of key categories.

Table 1: Increase in number of people (millions) in need of basic services

 

2016 

2040 

Increase 

 Primary and secondary aged children

12.4 

18.7 

6.3 

 Population with piped water

26 

31.6 

5.6 

 Population without improved sanitation

22.5 

25.9 

3.4 

 Population without electricity

21.9 

34.3 

12.4 

Source: IFs v. 7.28 initialised from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organisation (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Bank data


Further adding to this challenge, the discovery of over US$1 billion in undisclosed government debt in the spring of 2016 triggered a suspension of aid from a number of donors and has called into question the government of Mozambique’s ability to effectively manage and distribute government revenue.

Although Mozambique faces stark challenges, there are opportunities to improve the future of the country. As part of this research, the AFP used IFs to explore alternative future scenarios for Mozambique that represent a successful five-year policy push in different areas of development.

Our research shows that concerted efforts to improve family planning and care, extend health and nutrition services and advance education outcomes over the next five years would help ensure that more of Mozambique’s young population have the opportunity to live full and productive lives. Meanwhile, boosting agricultural production and improving government transparency and effectiveness could help ensure that human development outcomes are paired with inclusive growth.

Further, if Mozambique can effectively manage gas extraction and ensure windfalls are used to advance human development and inclusive growth, 4 million fewer people could be living in extreme poverty by 2040. But if gas production is delayed, government budget management continues to deteriorate and the country fails to invest in human development outcomes, 11 million more people could be living in extreme poverty by 2040.

In other words, unless there is a significant improvement in budget management and basic service delivery, Mozambique’s vast gas reserves will do little to improve human development for the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.

Can South Sudan’s peace agreement be revitalised?

Africa

IGAD’s initiative is encouraging, but it’s unlikely to overcome obstacles that have bedevilled previous efforts.
08 DEC 2017  /  BY MERESSA K DESSU

With the civil war in South Sudan concluding its fourth year, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is maximising its efforts to revitalise the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) through the establishment of a High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF). IGAD says this is the only viable way to build peace and stability in the country. But it faces multiple challenges.

The ARCSS was signed by four parties on 17 August 2015 through IGAD-led mediation and the support of the Norway-United Kingdom-United States Troika. The signatories were the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army in Government (SPLM/A-IG), Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), former detainees, and a coalition of other political parties.

But this agreement only temporarily halted the catastrophic civil war that erupted in mid-December 2013 between the SPLM/A-IG and SPLM/A-IO. According to the ARCSS, a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) was established on a power-sharing basis that gave the SPLM/A-IG presidential power, and gave the vice presidency to the SPLM/A-IO. But this agreement collapsed in July 2016 when fighting resumed between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the SPLM/A-IO chief and TGoNU vice president Riek Machar Teny. Machar went into exile and Kiir replaced him with General Taban Deng Gai, a move that divided the SPLM/A-IO into two armed factions.

After the violation of the ceasefire agreement and collapse of the ARCSS, IGAD and its partners – including the Troika – took no effective measures against the perpetrators. As the fighting goes on, South Sudanese civilians continue to suffer human rights abuses, sexual and gender violence and denial of access to humanitarian aid. These violations are committed reportedly by both the government and the opposition forces.

The IGAD Assembly of Heads of State on 12 June 2017 decided to revitalise the ARCSS and directed its Council of Ministers to discuss with relevant parties how to restore a sustainable ceasefire, fully implement the ARCSS, and develop a revised and realistic timeline for elections.

An official working on the revitalisation plan told the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) that the process has three phases: pre-forum consultations, the establishment of an HLRF and the implementation of the agreements made by the HLRF. The first phase comprises discussions with various parties to identify those who should be included in the HLRF and mapping the complex interests of the different parties. IGAD has finalised the pre-forum consultation and is moving forward to establish the forum in the near future, the source says.

While IGAD’s revitalisation initiative is encouraging, the question remains how this initiative will differ from previous efforts in overcoming the inevitable obstacles. First, the varied actors in the process will challenge the revitalisation of the peace agreement. Since the collapse of the ARCSS, rebel forces have grown in the country. Like the parties to the ARCSS, these rebel forces are Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) factions who should be included in the process – any agreement without them will fail. As IGAD wants to apply inclusivity in the process, the challenge is on managing the actors’ many differing interests and views.

Second, the University of Juba’s Dr Jacob D Chol tells the ISS that the different parties involved in the conflict conceptualise the IGAD initiative differently. He notes that the SPLM/A-IG says the revitalisation is the same as what the government is trying to implement; SPLM/A-IO’s Taban Deng in the TGoNU argues that the revitalisation is pushing for the implementation of the ARCSS; and the SPLM/A-IO – led by Machar – disputes the process as rebooting and renegotiating a new peace deal that incorporates all the newly emerged rebel outfits.

From IGAD’s perspective, the revitalisation is about restarting the ARCSS – with some amendments to accommodate the interests of estranged groups, and a revision of the schedule for a realistic implementation process.

The third challenge is that no party to the ARCSS has fully embraced the initiative yet. IGAD announced recently that all parties unconditionally supported it and affirmed their readiness to engage in the process. But none seems to appreciate the initiative as the common and best forum for creating and building peace and stability in the country. They instead appear to be redefining and translating it based on their own needs and interests. Furthermore, the government doesn’t seem that keen on IGAD bringing on board the HLRF with such a multiplicity of actors.

Lastly, there is distrust and a lack of confidence among the ARCSS parties regarding IGAD’s mediating role. The government says it is being used by the Troika powers to impose their interests on the country. On the other hand, Machar’s SPLM/A-IO accuses IGAD of supporting only the government – and sees the HLRF as an initiative aimed at supporting Kiir’s National Dialogue project. That’s why Machar has expressed his frustrations with the peace process, saying IGAD is ‘no longer qualified’ to play the mediation role. He has further called on the African Union and the international community to support a resumption of new peace deal.

Overall, these obstacles to the peace initiative in South Sudan are not surprising. Since the conflict erupted, different initiatives such as ceasefire agreements, the reunification of the SPLM/A, the deployment of a regional protection force, and the establishment of a hybrid court were proposed and at times agreed on. But none have come about. This failure lies in the military and political leadership of the conflicting parties who, as splinter factions from the SPLM/A, have similar patterns of behaviour – as they all fought together against the government of Sudan.

The SPLM/A leaders lack vision for the statehood. So far they have been characterised by high-risk violent behaviour leading to conflicts being triggered in the country, more fighting, and the undermining of many peace efforts.

So considering all these challenges, what can be expected from the revitalisation process?

Nothing much. It will perhaps bring about a temporary cessation of hostilities that may also create another opportunity for rethinking better approaches, but it will not go beyond that to solve the problem.

As Chol argues, the solution to South Sudan’s problems lies in excellent political leadership that can address the demands of all the people. It is hard to expect this from any of the SPLM/A factions including the government – as long as they refuse to refrain from violent behaviour, and are reluctant to learn from their own mistakes.

South Africa’s squandered chance to show real leadership

Africa

Instead of threatening to leave the International Criminal Court, SA should be fighting for global justice.
14 DEC 2017  /  BY MAX DU PLESSIS

Last year South Africa announced its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). But the country’s efforts were stalled when the Pretoria high court ruled in February this year that President Jacob Zuma’s administration had acted unlawfully, forcing the country to revoke its notice of withdrawal.

For the court, South Africa’s decision was particularly problematic as it went against efforts to advance international justice; and, tellingly, the executive tried to bypass Parliament in doing so. The executive had also tried to bind South Africa – and future generations – to a toxic international nuclear power treaty with Russia. This move was blocked by the Cape Town high court in May. Again, Zuma’s executive had unlawfully attempted to bypass Parliament.

Yet the executive is back at it.

Last week, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha flew all the way to New York to announce that South Africa would try, again, to withdraw from the ICC. For a government so intent on leaving the court, it is curious that the minister saw it necessary to expend public funds to deliver the message in person. Why not simply send a diplomatic note?

More damaging were the optics and the timing. On the one hand, Masutha straight-facedly sought to suggest that South Africa had to withdraw so it could better pursue its role as peacemaker in Africa. On the other, Zuma’s government was perceived as cosying up to the likes of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and other African strongmen. 

Masutha’s speech was a depressing one to the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties (ASP) – not only because of its message, but also because it comes at a time when South Africa’s standing in the world’s eyes is near Zuma-bottom. People sat in frustration and quiet (in)dignity while he told them he’d soon submit to Parliament South Africa’s intention to withdraw. He would also introduce a bill to scrap South Africa’s Implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC Act 27 of 2002 (a piece of legislation heralded by our courts as world-leading, and considered by the world to be so). The ultimate motivation for this, said Masutha, was that South Africa was upset with the ICC’s decision against it on 6 July 2017 for failing to arrest Al-Bashir; and the court’s failure, in particular, to recognise the immunities that Al-Bashir was said to be entitled to as head of state.

The tragedy of lost leadership was apparently lost on Masutha.

The issue of immunities for heads of state is one that deserves serious attention, and the ICC and the United Nations Security Council have done themselves no favours by not confronting it clearly and promptly.  But instead of using this as the basis for withdrawal, South Africa could lead the legal and political details of those debates.

As the Institute for Security Studies’ (ISS) Ottilia Anna Maunganidze notes: ‘These discussions are critical for the future of international criminal justice. South Africa has great potential here instead of acting like a petulant spoiler.’ South Africa could set the tone by working to improve the ICC from within, and could help set the ICC’s agenda.

This is Masutha’s opportunity to act like a leader. Had he been more like Nelson Mandela, and Zuma less like Al-Bashir, we might have considered ourselves poised to lead in the following ways.

First, South Africa would accept the ICC’s 6 July decision as the last word (for now) on the topic of immunities. Then, South Africa could have engaged with other States Parties to reform the Security Council process of referring matters to the ICC. The fear of politicised and opportunistic referrals by the Security Council, and the financial burden placed on the court that results from them, should be carefully considered by the ICC to ensure it isn’t doing anyone’s business but its own. In Africa alone, 33 countries are parties to the Rome Statute; if coordinated, their joint effort would represent the most powerful bloc within the treaty system.

Second, South Africa could help the ICC dispel a sense that its prosecutor is overly selective in the cases her office is willing to entertain, avoiding cases (think Palestine) where powerful proxy states like the US would prefer the court to look the other way. South Africa could lead the pack of states that genuinely want a court liberated of its political shackles and that puts its resources where its mouth is: towards prosecuting suspected war criminals without favour.

Third, South Africa could help solve the issue of immunities and constructively debate the problem of heads of state charged by the ICC. Here, South Africa and others would direct efforts at the UN Security Council by insisting that where the council intends to remove immunities from state officials when sending cases to the court, it should do so unambiguously.

The council could also be encouraged to improve its consultation process with African states and the African Union (AU) on ICC matters. South Africa is ideally suited to contribute to this process of reform and to serve as a bridgehead. This would also provide a worthy entry point to UN Security Council reform more generally.

Unless it is improved to build impartiality and neutrality in its work, the Security Council will continue to contribute to a view that its referrals are sinister political ploys rather than efforts at achieving universal accountability for mass atrocities.

Now is the time to get serious about Africa’s and South Africa’s commitment to international criminal justice, reform of the ICC, the Security Council’s relationship with the court, and how to resolve the real tensions between the AU and the ICC. For its part, the ICC should be consistent and seriously work to revitalise commitment to international criminal justice.

By re-engaging constructively with the ICC, South Africa would display a recommitment to values so sorely lost or threatened under Zuma’s government: accountability, the rule of law, shared values, and principle.

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The IBD 10 Secrets to Success...

There is a question many people ask, why are some people more successful? Is it smartness? Working harder? Risk takers? Having powerful and infl uential friends?

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) research concluded that the following 10 reasons account for these diff erences in levels of success. These IBD 10 Secrets to Success are:

1. How you think is everything: Always be positive. Think Success, not Failure. Beware of a negative environment. Your belief that you can accomplish your goals has to be unwavering. The moment you say to yourself “I can’t…”, then you won’t. Positive things happen to positive people.

2. Decide upon Your True Dreams and Goals: Write down your specifi c goals and develop a plan to reach them. Remember, a New Year’s resolution that isn’t written down is just a dream, and dreams are not goals. Goals are those concrete, measurable stepping stones of achievement that track your progress towards your dreams.

3. Take Action. Goals are nothing without action. Do something every day towards your goals. It may be small, but it’s still an action.

4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training & acquire skills. Become a lifelong learner.

5. Be Persistent and Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

6. Learn to Analyse Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes. Avoid making decisions with incomplete data – both are traits of successful people. Spend time gathering details, but don’t catch ‘analysis paralysis’.

7. Focus Your Time And Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you. Remain laser focused on your goals and surround yourself with positive people that believe in you. Don’t be distracted by the naysayer’s or tasks that are not helping you achieve your goals.

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate: Be diff erent. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity. Follow through on that break-out idea you have. Ask yourself “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”

9. Deal And Communicate With People Eff ectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others. Successful people develop and nurture a network and they only do that by treating people openly, fairly and many times fi rmly.

10. Be Honest And Dependable: Take responsibility, otherwise numbers 1 – 9 won’t matter.

6 Steps to Sarting a Business from Zero

Interviews, Tips & Ideas

Start your business now!

Every great business started with drive and a passion. Even moguls like Richard Branson, Oprah, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett started at zero.

If you know my story, you know that after I was injured in professional football, my lifelong dream of playing came to an end. I spent a year and a half broke and sleeping on my sister’s couch trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

At that time my main passion was sports, and that was my focus for as long as I could remember. I wanted to have the flexibility to do what I love, and make a living that would set me up for the rest of my life. But I had no idea where to begin.

Through equal parts luck and persistence, that year I found a brilliant mentor. I interned with him for close to a year and he paid me about $500 a month. I poured myself into learning from him. I also did whatever I could to earn income on the side working event marketing gigs and other odd jobs.

As I put one foot in front of the other, I started seeing where my passion and skills intersected. I loved connecting people and adding value to their lives. I loved providing whatever service I could to them that would help solve a problem they had. As I pursued the things that interested me, I began to put together networking events. I started to form what would become my business and brand, ever evolving along the way.

Related: How to Connect With High-Profile Influencers

It wasn’t as if I had a perfect plan mapped out. I combined my passions, strengths and vision to create the ideal business for me along the way. The most passionate entrepreneurs are driven by more than just money. They’re driven by living a fulfilled life.  

If you haven’t yet discovered your passion, I encourage you to do so. That’s part of the reason I started The School of Greatness Academy -- to help people pursue their passions. Think about what excited you as a kid, or the thing that when you do it you lose all sense of time and space, you are so lost in the moment. You will be happiest when you follow your passion. I love what Steve Jobs had to say about this:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

Once you have figured out what you want to do, here are some important things to keep in mind while starting your business from zero:

 

1. Research your market.

Knowing what the competition knows won’t cut it. Go deep. Dive in to your market and study it like an expert.  

 Search Google for keywords that are related to your industry. Don’t get discouraged if the market seems flooded. You can use this to your advantage. It means that it is working for those people and you can make it work for you. There is money there.

 

2. Set a tangible financial goal.

I set new goals every six months and always stretch my initial mark. Work backwards and figure out what you need to do each day to get to where you want to be. Set a goal that is a stretch for you and look at the steps you need to take every day to accomplish that goal.

 

Related: 3 Keys to Designing a Life You Wouldn't Trade for Anything

 

3. When you create a website, make the content shareable.

It’s great to reference some the leaders in your space, but when you are developing your own brand, it’s important to create unique content on a single hub. A site that your readers and viewers can reference back to, for more of your incredible content. I lean on Derek Halpern who’s a pro at this.  

 

4. Build a list.

Email is best form of currency online and building an email list is one of the most important tools in building a business. As you develop your shareable site, begin building a list of emails of the people that visit your site. Then continue to provide them with value. This will translate into buyers for the future launch of your product or service.

 

Adding in an opt-in form on your website and having a place to store your emails are the first two steps to building your email list. Free resources like HelloBar.com and AppSumo.com allow you to collect email information on your website. To store email addresses, I recommend the program Aweber, which even offers a free 30-day trial.

 

5. Launch a product or service you can sell.

If you have a financial goal that you’ve set out for the next six months, then you have to sell something. Take the time to figure out the biggest challenges your audience is facing and build your relationship with them. Then create something that solves their problem. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s critical. Your leads come from your list, you convert them to customers, follow up and build a relationship.  

 

6.  Start NOW and improve as you go.

A lot of people waste time thinking about making things perfect before they launch their business. The logo, the website, the copy -- everything. This is a waste of time. Sell your product before you make it by offering a pre-order. Focus on getting sales and attracting leads. Successful companies launch all the time and they aren’t perfect.  

 

Think of Facebook and all the changes and improvements it has made. Start with a small product and always be improving.  Launch online you can sell over and over and not have to trade time for dollars.

 

The most important thing is to enjoy the process and know that you don’t have to make it perfect. Start today. If not now, when? This article was found at the flowing address https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243887 if you like this article or want more information go to  Lewis howes 

blog he also wrote this article 

http://lewishowes.com/ 

Bookkeeping tips for small businesses

Interviews, Tips & Ideas

Emily Coltman, 26th January 2016

When you’re running your own business, it’s important to make sure you keep your records and bookkeeping in order. Not only does this help you to keep on the right side of the taxman, it also means you’ll have useful, up-to-the-minute information about your business’s profit and its cash flow.

Emily Coltman FCA, Chief Accountant to FreeAgent – providers of award-winning online accounting system for small businesses and freelancers – gives her five top tips for making sure you stay on the right track when it comes to your bookkeeping.

Track your cash in and out

Remember that cash is the lifeblood of any business. If you don’t know what’s come in and what’s going out, you won’t know if you’ve got sufficient money to pay your upcoming bills or to cover your taxes. If you don’t already do so, try making use of the speed and convenience of online banking. You should find that monitoring your account online makes it quicker and easier to track the money that’s going in and out of your business. You can even download statements from online banking and upload them to FreeAgent, making it even more straightforward to work out where you’re earning and spending money.

Invoice online

You can save time and paper by e-mailing your estimates and invoices to your customers, and chasing non-payments with automatic email reminders. This will also help you make sure you get paid the money you've earned for your work!

Keep on top of your bills

Don’t sour the relationships you have with your suppliers by forgetting to pay your bills. Instead, try to keep track of any bills that you’re not going to pay straight away, and make sure you keep a record of when they’re due to be paid - so that you can pay them before the deadlines. Not only will this help keep your suppliers happy - and you never know when you might need a supplier to do you an urgent favour, such as a rush order - you may also be able to take advantage of early payment discounts. You can do all four of these easily, and produce management accounts, by using a simple online accounting system like FreeAgent.

Track all your expenses

As well as spending money from your business bank account, you’re bound to spend money out of your own pocket on business expenses. But it’s easy to forget to keep track of these expenses when you’re doing your bookkeeping. For example, if you travel to visit a client and buy your train ticket using a personal credit card, remember that this still counts as a cost of your business. If you don’t put it in your accounts, then your profit will look higher than it actually was, and worse, you’ll pay too much tax. Consider using a tool like Receipt Bank to photograph your expense receipts on your iPhone and feed them automatically into your accounts - so you won’t run the risk of forgetting about them.

Keep your records carefully

Make sure that you keep all your paperwork, either as hard copies, or by scanning them onto your computer. HMRC is quite happy for you to keep your business records as soft copies, so long as you can access them readily - but remember that if a document has writing on both sides (such as terms and conditions), you must scan both sides. The exception to that is anything that has a tax deduction written on the piece of paper, such as a dividend voucher, or bank interest certificate. In these cases you must keep the hard copy.

However you keep your records, have a system and stick to it. Make sure that you can easily lay hands on any piece of paper in your system, in case of a query from your accountant or from HMRC as well as in case you need it. Sort documents by type (e.g. invoices, bills, bank statements) and by order such as date or alphabetical or both - rather than just filing them in one big pile.

You may also want to consider using an online accounting system such as FreeAgent to help you manage your record more efficiently. This will also allow you to attach scanned copies of documents such as bills to the entries in the software, which will save you having to look for them later.

Bookkeeping isn’t the most interesting of jobs, but it’s much easier to manage if you make use of all available tools and keep your records regularly updated. It’s easier to do an hour a week than to have to spend a month collecting your information at year end - and you could also save on accountants’ fees by keeping your records and paperwork in perfect order.

Emily Coltman FCA is Chief Accountant to FreeAgent, who provide an award-winning online accounting system designed to meet the needs of small businesses and freelancers. Try it for free at www.freeagent.com

Families join forces to detect brain cancer early

Technology

Families affected by childhood cancer joined forces to launch a new fundraising campaign celebrating 20 years of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC). The University of Nottingham’s annual fundraising campaign Life Cycle will this year focus on raising more money for research into the deadly form of cancer.

 To launch the £500,000 appeal, which this year will involve a ‘superhero stroll’, children at different stages in their treatment and their families, as well as families who have lost loved-ones to the disease, came together on International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day along with University experts, surgeons and students. University Sports teams, who have launched a partnership with the appeal, were also on hand to give the children fitness challenges as well as sports demonstrations.

The CBTRC has been at the forefront of examining and removing childhood brain tumours since the 1980s. Parents who understand the benefits of the work include Neenu Minhas, 45, and her husband Raman, 45. The family moved from Leicester to Nottingham to be nearer to the centre after their son Aiden was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive tumour when he was only two years old. Aiden was always an active child until the couple realised that he was becoming more restless and was suffering from sickness. He was rushed to hospital where a scan found an aggressive tumour. Luckily it was removed, but Aiden is still undergoing treatment after doctors discovered two new lesions. Raman said: “We were extremely lucky that Aiden’s tumour is an area of special interest for Professor Richard Grundy who is always willing to look beyond what is conventional and look at other options to choose a treatment protocol based on best current data.

 “We are grateful every single day for what Mr Macarthur and Professor Grundy at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre have done for our family". At the launch Aiden was reunited with his surgeon Donald Macarthur, honorary clinical associate professor in neurosurgery at CBTRC. Mr Macarthur said: “The centre was founded 20 years ago and now has a number of distinct but overlapping research groups with a very large number of staff. We have been very successful in driving down the time to diagnosis of children’s brain tumours through a programme over the past five years called Headsmart and we’re beginning to develop enhanced understanding of how we can treat children more safely and more effectively.

"If you can pick up a child’s tumour when it’s smaller it’s far more likely that I as a surgeon will be able to remove it and being able to completely remove a tumour makes a difference to the chances of curing that child of the brain tumour. Children who present later with brain tumour are more likely to have symptoms and signs due to damage of the brain and the nature of the nervous system is that you cannot reverse the damage once it’s happened.

 "Sadly, although brain tumours are the commonest cancer killer in children they currently attract less than one per cent of national cancer research budget so they make the biggest impact in the children’s cancer world yet receive a very small amount. We’re at a very exciting time for brain tumour research and we are very pleased to have this support from The University of Nottingham through Life Cycle 7.”

 Steve Mills, 66, and Cheryl, 61, of Ruddington, were at the event after their granddaughter, Eloise, 12 also a patient of Mr Macarthur, was diagnosed with a tumour when she was four. Steve said: “When Eloise first went for her operation we were very upset and scared that we might lose her as we didn’t realise her tumour was benign at the time. The university does far more research than just brain tumour research for example some of the research being done in lighting up solid cancers that will be able to tell us immediately whether a woman has got breast cancer without having to do a scan. It’s all state of the art, breaking news and it’s being developed here where we live - we’ve always lived in Nottingham and this shows why Nottingham is one of the best universities you can go to."

 And families of those who weren't so lucky were also on hand to add their support to the campaign. Halim Mjeshtri, 37, of Leicester, has raised nearly £50,000 for the research centre after his four-year-old son Alfi died from an aggressive tumour. He said: "It was too late for Alfi and he passed away. He turned four-years-old in hospital when we found out what was wrong with him. We have raised money ourselves for the research centre for the last five years. We went through some difficulties when coming to terms with it and why we didn't have a chance. We were told that what Alfi had is very rare and there is not much research on it. It is not just about raising money, it is also about awareness, because the earlier you find it, it will be treated before it grows too big."

Each month, more than 45 parents in the UK are told their child has a brain tumour. Almost 40 per cent of children diagnosed with ependymoma do not survive and of those that do, two thirds are left with major disabilities.

Researchers at the CBTRC are trying to change that and their world-leading research is working to understand what causes ependymomas to develop. This would be a major breakthrough that could lead to screening tests to detect brain cancer early, and safer, more effective treatments that don’t have the long-term side effects that many patients suffer.

The innovative chef

Business

Interview with Philip Nucca

Philip Nucca was a teenager when he came to the UK from Kenya. From his homey kitchen back in Nairobi to the kitchen in an English pub in Sheffield, Nucca has always cooked with determination and an ever-running innovative mind.

It was late night when Nucca finally stepped out of the kitchen, having wrapped up an intense dinner rush. There was, however, not a trace of exhaustion on his face, “I don’t really get tired from cooking.” Although not chatty, Nucca projected a relaxing temperament. He had a sniff of the beer I ordered for him and named it immediately. “A sharp sense of smell is important; I need it all the time when cooking,” Nucca tried to elaborate on his remark, “like determining the freshness of meat and deciding on the right spices to go into dishes.” 

The culinary experience in Kenya is very different from here, especially in terms of heat. “Food in Kenya is a lot spicier, I need to bring down the heat for diners here,” says Nucca with elaboration, “also some of the ingredients we use in Kenya are not easy to find, so I have to find substitutes sometimes.” The experience and memories from Nucca's childhood back home are the main source of his innovation in cuisines. “I never cook with any recipe that’s not my own,” Nucca asserts. His cooking style is much based on the learning from his mother and grandmother, although he never tries to duplicate the recipes. And this style of cooking is usually very spontaneous. “I depend a lot on my instinct, usually I just go with whatever ingredients that I feel could work, and then I’ll just find out if it does,” the proud chef says while casually leaning back against the chair. This is also influenced by his family, “we rarely write down any recipe; we often just go with whatever that feels right.” And now it's the supreme principle in his kitchen. So far, his attempts have seemed to be successful. “Last week I introduced my latest dish, and it was sold out in one day,” says Nucca with a proud smile. 

His latest experiment was lamb stew- a Kenyan dish adapted to British taste and with a touch of his own innovation. “I use oregano, we don’t use that back home, but I think it goes really well with lamb.” The stew is cooked with a variety of spices and two types of chillies- green and red- and thus is expected to strike the taste bud with a blow of spiciness. Apart from the stew itself, Nucca also makes a new attempt to the side, replacing the standard potato chips with baked sweet potato mixed with potato mash. “You’d be amazed how sweet potato could enhance the texture and flavour,” says Nucca confidently. And the dish does seem to be a success given the quick sold-out. 

Nucca learns from everything that he encounters, be it a recipe, a cooking show or an incredible dish; then out of instinct, his mind starts to run all the probable adaptations to the cuisine. “You’ve got to have passion, to cherish what you do so that you can carry on for a good long time.” To still talk about cooking with such a high spirit after standing in a small kitchen for more than 10 hours, doing nothing but making food, it takes sole passion. 

 Although enjoying the status quo, he has a big picture in mind. His habitual brainstorming for new and unique dishes is a means through which he achieves the ultimate goal- inspiring more tastebuds with mature skills and fresh ideas for cuisines. “This is only my first stop,” the chef's face shines with a hopeful glare. And indeed Nucca has gone back to university to build his capacity in business management since 2015. "This will enable me to run my own catering business and cook for people with adventurous tastebuds."

"I wanted to bring something new to the community"

Business

nterview with Godson Ogwudire

“Zanzibar,” formerly known as “UK Mama,” is celebrating its 23rd  anniversary this year. And a long history is not the only thing that makes this African-Caribbean restaurant unique; being the first of such kind in Yorkshire also contributes to its prestige.

For Godson Ogwudire, “Zanzibar” is a dream come true, literally. The idea of running a restaurant first hit Ogwudire in the form of a dream while he was in the final year of post graduate study. “I studied clinical pathology…nothing to do with food,” Ogwudire said with a hearty laughter. “I didn’t think at all there was any way that I’d run a restaurant,” Ogwudire had never thought of any other prospects until he dreamed of running a restaurant, then he decided to follow the dream and see what would come of it. 

 Initiating an African-Caribbean restaurant in an English community in early 90s was not an easy task; Ogwudire had to deal with pressure from both his family and the society. “There is no history of culinary industry in my family,” Ogwudire said with a thoughtful expression; to them, running a restaurant while holding a medical degree was unimaginable. Even so, Ogwudire persisted in scratching out his dream with a brilliant business plan. But such a restaurant was an unprecedented attempt and needed more than a piece of paper to take form. The initiation of Zanzibar was a slow stew, which Ogwudire flavoured with “a lot of marketing resolution and faith.” 

 When finally launched in 1993, the restaurant took the name “UK Mama.” What Ogwudire had in mind was the image of his mother cooking in the kitchen back home in Nigeria, “I remember my mother always singing and happy cooking in the kitchen.” Ogwudire’s mother is the muse for his cooking style and business philosophy, “There’s always love for the food and the people we’re cooking for.” With such value, UK Mama had built a good reputation over years until Ogwudire felt the need to re-identify his business. “People often took us for an Italian restaurant due to the term ‘mama,’” Ogwudire recalled. After a search and brainstorming, UK Mama was re-launched as “Zanzibar,” which bears a denotation that promotes drinks, “we’re letting people know that it’s more than a restaurant, that they can also have a drink here if they want to.” Alongside the literal implication, Ogwudire picked the name with the view to replicating the quality of “Zanzibar-” one of the least polluted places in Africa- in his restaurant. “It’s a beautiful place- homely, full of good food and hospitable people,” says Ogwudire in a vigorous tone. Starting a new page with his business, Ogwudire reinforced his determination, “I want it to be a unique place of Africa in the UK, established for all people- across races.”

At ‘Zanzibar,’ members of staff know each other’s tricks. To maintain the authenticity and quality of both African and Caribbean cuisines, all the chefs- including Ogwudire himself- need to cook in both styles properly. “I have to learn the way my chefs know, and they have to learn both styles,” Ogwudire explains his strategy of quality control, which is partly attributed to the fact that he works part time at the hospital a few days during the week, “so that when I’m not around, they can still prepare every dish with consistent quality.” Apart from inclusive proficiency, respect is another key that binds the team. Ogwudire regards his chefs as competent professionals and even leaves his menu open to input, “if they come in with a good recipe that I didn’t know, I would add it to the menu.” Such respect derives from an accommodating perspective, “it’s about realising the heritage that all black people come from the same continent- Africa.” And heritage is inevitably related to the history of slave trade, which caused migration from the continent of Africa to the Caribbean region. Ogwudire explains the cultural aspect in food using the deviation of ‘Jololff rice’ as an example: it was cooked with black eye peas in Africa but turned into ‘rice and peas’ (with kidney beans) over time after reaching the Caribbean. This is how history is reflected in food; deviation is inevitable while traces of common origin can often be found. 

 ‘Zanzibar’ takes pride in its authentic cuisines, “the inspiration for our menu comes from my mother, so it’s definitely traditional and authentic.” But in line with the insistence in originality lies flexibility. “Chilies are essential especially to Caribbean cuisines,” but this principle never impedes adaptation; Ogwudire is always ready to adjust the spiciness of his dishes- oftentimes reducing the heat for customers. Still chilies never work alone, not in African-Caribbean cooking anyway, “how you balance different spices with chillies that go into a dish is very important; it affects the aroma and flavour of the food.” “Cooking is like creating art,” Ogwudire believes that ingredients in a dish- as colours in a painting- need to complement one another so as to achieve polyphony to please the taste bud. 

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Lubaina Himid Nominated For Turner Prize

Art & Culture

Rowan Windsor 1st June 2017

Tanzanian Lubaina Himid nominated for the most prestigious global art award 

Over the past 30 years, Tanzanian born Lubaina Himid MBE has been at the forefront of challenging the institutional visibility of black culture and identity through contemporary art. Focusing mainly on cultural and individual histories, her work celebrates black culture and creativity through paintings, print, installations and drawings. Much of her work is based around reclaiming the black identities that are overlooked or overshadowed by historical events and making unheard voices audible.

She is regarded by many as a pioneer for the British Black Arts Movement. Throughout the 80s Himid began exhibiting the works of her peers in an effort to promote art from underrepresented groups on the contemporary art scene. Unwittingly, her exhibits brought together and gave visibility to the artists that would go on to form the Black British Arts Movement—a politically motivated, radical movement challenging racial and gender representations. The movement created a platform exposing black art that was able to “...fill the gaps in history...the experienced histories which you have to interpret.”—a frequently visited theme in Himid’s work; rather than present “written histories or taught histories”, Himid’s art challenges institutional visibility by examining individual pasts and experiences, as opposed to rudimentary historical documentations of black people. Her 2004 installation Naming the Money addressed historical european art that depicts white aristocratic families alongside a single black servant. Himid humanised the histories of black servants and labourers historically covered up by Europe’s moneyed classes; each of her 100 cardboard cut-outs are accompanied by their story and their name. She described this arrangement as a representation of a gathering between the figures, sharing conversations and stories that would have been overlooked by the wealthy who disguised and glamourised slavery.  

Himid continues to challenge institutional invisibility through her art work. She regularly explores ‘belonging’, what it means to belong, and as a result, how black people contribute to the cultural landscape of Britain, historically as well as currently. Hmid is passionate about that people of the black diaspora feel they belong wherever they are and that their contribution to the history of a place is acknowledged, creating “...room for dialogue and progress”.  One of her recent exhibitions Invisible Strategies shown at the Modern Oxford from the 21st of January to the 30th of April , uses the same provocative themes to demand thought and discussion from its audience. The works exhibited range from the 1980s to the present day, including Revenge: A masque in five tableaux series, a collection of paintings which retell European artworks from the perspective of two black women. Five (1991) depicts two women in the midst of intense dialogue, a space at their table facing the audience which Himid described as an invitation for the audience to join the conversation.

Himid has received increasing positive critical reception in past years for her work years for her work and has recently been nominated and made it to the final four nominees shortlisted for the 2017 Turner Prize, the most prestigious visual arts award in the world. Lubaina is the oldest person to have been nominated for the prize, since the award began to accept artists over 50 earlier this year. The Turner prize will be staged outside of london at Hull’s Feren art gallery and will run from the 26th September to the 7th January 2018. Good luck Lubaina and thank you for being a voice representing race, gender and age.

Sociology Symposium With Nottingham Trent University: looking at public engagement with educational achievements

Education News

Penny Cooper, 27th July 2017

We engaged together, all in the same room, Practitioners, Students MSc and PhD, Lecturers and Department Heads, Representatives of Community Groups and Guest Speakers.  The day was set up to engage in questions about public sociology.  Nottingham Trent University, and the Sociology Department, Sharon Hutchins and her team, have been piloting projects which come from the Community, for students to learn and actively engage with different local community organisations.

The pilot of this service learning began 4 years ago at Nottingham Trent University, about 200 students and fifty community partners, with a social justice focus to benefit mutually both student and community organisation, and can see how well practice and theory connections come together. They get to grips with real issues and sometimes highlight aspects they had not thought of before.

Here at Mojatu, we have engaged with the universities in Nottingham, at all levels of achievement, PhD, MSc, undergraduates and graduates.  If it had not been for the work of such students engaging with our project choices, we would not have achieved so much in the Community, local, national and international engagement.  They have a big vote of thanks from Mojatu. Mojatu have worked with the universities in Nottingham to improve the service to students and by students when working in the Community, and have successfully committed to projects in: Africa, Kenya and working towards an end to female genital mutilation; GAIN Diaspora has grown and formed with the help of students; the Mojatu magazine is being organised by a graduate, students have engaged with Mojatu regular volunteers to help at the Eco Farm in Screveton; students have worked on the Committee of the Hyson Green Cultural Festival to formulate ideas about community cohesion, bringing different communities together, with an understanding of the reasons we do it; and there is much more we can be grateful for.  They are learning about community issues, events and celebrations.  Their employability will improve with their hands on experience, and it does not end there, many students enjoy their experience so much, their passion is ignited and they wish to continue volunteering after their course module is finished.

This is a great forward approach for universities, and is a modern take on education.  We are pleased to be a part of it at Mojatu.

Ending FGM

End FGM

FGM is ending…

Through the work of programmes that are based on education and empowerment. Bringing about a change in communities where FGC is practised involves a shift in social norms, and has to be felt throughout the entire community. This kind of change can come slowly at first, but once one community abandons the practice there is plenty of evidence to suggest that other communities follow, bringing about real change in a relatively short period of time.

The most important thing when trying to effect change in communities where FGM is carried out is to be non-judgmental and non-directive. Ending the practice is much more likely to happen when, instead of issuing directives, programmes open up a dialogue and a conversation that involves the entire community, including men and women, girls and boys, and religious and community leaders. This opening up of a conversation leads to self-directed questioning of the practice, so that eventually the community members begin to question the health and humanitarian issues surrounding FGM, which in turn leads ultimately to abandonment of the practice.

A big part of this comes from the acknowledgment that FGM is a constructed norm, and is not in fact, a useful or positive part of people’s lives or their communities. When a community publicly denounces the practice they are not only declaring to themselves, but to other communities, that they have abandoned FGM, which then helps in paving the way for other communities – especially those with which they regularly inter-marry – to do the same.

To learn more about the abandonment of FGM please read more about our work with our partner Tostan.

 

 

FGM could end within the next generation…

As stated by the UN. Here at Orchid Project we also believe that FGM can and should end within the next generation, and that this aim is entirely achievable. At this point in time there is more attention being paid to FGM at a local, regional, national, and international level than ever before. This momentum has built up gradually, but we have recently reached an unprecedented moment in the history of FGM.

The movement to end FGM within a generation has been inspired by the successful end to footbinding in China, which happened within 20 years. Where once footbinding was practically universal among some groups in the country, it is now non-existent, despite dating back to the tenth century. The fact that footbinding was also a social convention means that the movement to end FGC can utilise the same strategy to change social norms as a way to bring about an end to the practice of FGM.

 

 

For FGM to end…

There needs to be wider awareness of the issue itself and its scale and impact. Awareness leads to a better understanding of the practice, and a realisation that FGM needs to end. In turn stakeholders contribute to an environment and a movement that allows for the changes and progress needed in order to bring about an end to FGM.

For change to happen, it needs to happen most importantly at a community level. Communities must bring about this change themselves, and one of the ways this is most likely to happen is through human rights based education. There is also a need for health education and a community’s understanding of all the impacts of FGM whether physical, emotional, and mental is often crucial to their decision to abandon the practice, in addition to deeper understanding of their human rights. Health education alone is not enough, however, and should always be combined with human rights based education and an opening up of the conversation around religion where relevant.

FGM is not linked to any one religion, and while the influence of religious leaders in certain areas and regions is important to the successful end of the practice, it is also important to stress the fact that the procedure is not a religious requirement. Read more about FGC and religion here.

FGM is most likely to end when a community realises that it is not a positive tradition, and is in fact harmful. Where FGC is in decline it is often due to this combination of non-judgmental, non-directive education that is based in human rights, health, and awareness raising.

 

 

Over 12,000 communities have abandoned FGM…

According to the UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme, with communities in countries such as Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Mali being at the forefront of this movement for change. Even in countries such as Somalia and Sierra Leone, where the rates of FGM are very high, attitudes towards the practice are changing. It is this shift that needs to be harnessed in order to bring about real change and an end to FGM

Since 1997, when the first community in Senegal declared their abandonment of FGM, over 5,500 villages in the country have followed suit. In fact, West Africa has led the way for change in the rest of the continent and throughout the world, providing other communities, regions, and countries with the encouragement needed to end FGC and change the lives of millions of girls worldwide. Since 1997, when the people of Malicounda Bambara, the first village to abandon, publicly declared their abandonment of FGM, other communities in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali and the Gambia have all publicly declared their commitment to abandon the practice. For a deeper understanding of how change has come to over 7,700 communities in West Africa, learn more about our partner Tostan’s efforts in the area.

How Boko Haram specifically targets displaced people

Special Reports

 
Understanding how Boko Haram has targeted displaced people might be key to understanding the group’s true threat.
06 DEC 2017  /  BY AIMÉE-NOËL MBIYOZO

Since 2009, Boko Haram has proven to be a highly adaptable foe, routinely realigning its tactics to suit changing circumstances. In recent years, this has increasingly involved focusing on soft targets, including displaced people (both refugees and internally displaced people). Understanding how Boko Haram has targeted displaced people and what some of its specific objectives might be is key to understanding their true threat.

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