July 2017

Where Gods Live: Forest Environment Enhanced by Live Digital Projections

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

As if forests aren’t magical enough already, the Japanese art/technology collective Teamlab will be live-projecting their signature transforming visuals onto the surfaces of Mifuneyama Rakuen Park, giving visitors the feeling of being on an alien planet. ‘Forest Where Gods Live’ is a collection of individual installations with names like ‘Ever Blossoming Life Rock,’ Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats,’ ‘Memory of Continuous Life’ and ‘Resonating Forest.’

Rethinking the Refugee Camp: 8 Architectural Proposals for Asylum Seekers

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Refugees fleeing the worst humanitarian crises of our time don’t just need tents – they need safe and stable long-term housing, a sense of community, access to transitional resources and plans for permanent integration into existing cities. Smart and sensitive design solutions may play just one small role in addressing the crisis, but they can help provide the architecture and infrastructure needed to start a new life.

Mannheim Refugee Pavilion, Germany

Why the quest for a single currency for West Africa won't materialise soon


It’s been nearly two decades since the idea of a single currency for West Africa was first mooted. Yet the sub-region is still far from having a common legal tender. What is ordinarily a good idea seems to have fizzled into a fantasy.

Now, the story is that the single currency has been scheduled for 2020. But there is scepticism about the prospects of this coming to pass, especially at a time when economic blocks like the European Union are struggling.

The decision to create a single monetary zone for West Africa was reached by Heads of State of the 15 member countries at a summit of the Economic Community of West African States, the region’s economic commission, in Lome, Togo in 1999.

At the time, a currency union of Francophone West African States already existed to facilitate economic integration among countries which use the CFA Franc (courtesy of the Communauté Financière Africaine, or the African Financial Community) as their currency.

Why Kabila's bid to remain in power is bad news for the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The DRC says presidential elections would probably not happen this year as President Joseph Kabila holds on to power. Nic Bothma/EPA

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has barely five months to save his 17-year regime from a cataclysmic ending. According to the 31 December 2016 all-inclusive political agreement, Kabila should organise elections and hand over power.

But in a recent interview, Kabila said he wasn’t going to “promise anything” on when he would leave office. This stand is in violation of the political agreement brokered by the Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO).

The agreement sets clear terms for Kabila’s exit. His second presidential term ended on 19 December 2016. The agreement allowed him an extension of one year on condition that he would neither seek a third term, nor attempt to amend the constitution to remain in power beyond December 2017.

What's in a name? Towards genuine economic transformation in South Africa

'Radical economic transformation' in South Africa needs to move beyond rhetoric. Flickr/Ryan McFarland

While much froth and babble has accompanied the debate over “Radical Economic Transformation” in South Africa, the bottom line remains: the country urgently needs real economic transformation. Calling it “radical” is to invite politicking and point-scoring and take our eyes off the ball – the need for real economic transformation.

How far South Africa has moved in altering the economic landscape is open to debate. It certainly has moved, but how far, and at what point will monopolistic tendencies be challenged?

While much has been achieved in many areas – meeting basic needs for example – there’s still an enormous distance to travel, and impatience is growing.

For the democratic period, economic growth has been singularly anaemic. Unemployment has been rising consistently, and income inequality has worsened. This despite a plethora of policy documents, the most recent being the National Development Plan.

The 7 main styles of graffiti

Having existed even in ancient times and not just being being a medium of artistic expression, graffiti has also had many underlying tones of political and social messages/satire as well.

Enough examples of graffiti have been found all over the world, particularly at archaeological sites of the ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires. Clearly even back then, graffiti was very much a worldwide phenomenon.

EcoMobility World Congress

02-04 October 2017. Kaohsiung, Taiwan 

+ INFO: www.ecomobilityfestival.org

During the EcoMobility World Festival, the fourth EcoMobility World Congress 2017 will be held from 2 to 4 October 2017 in Kaohsiung. The EcoMobility Congress series enables international actors, united by a shared interest in sustainable transportation, to come together to share good practices and spark synergies in a setting that promotes creative collaboration, local initiatives and the EcoMobility agenda. Our Congress theme for this year is: Livable, Shared, and Intelligent.

Monday, 2 October, 2017 to Wednesday, 4 October, 2017

Getting it Right: Promoting change through early childhood development and education in southern Africa

Getting it Right captures insights into the changes brought about for children and communities through an initiative to promote access to high-quality early childhood development and education (ECDE) for the poorest and most vulnerable children in six southern African countries.


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Roads set to boost intra-regional trade in Africa

Photo by Seb Creativo via Unsplash
Photo by Seb Creativo via Unsplash</span>The initial free trade agreement between 26 Africans countries was recently signed in Uganda. Transport infrastructure - road, rail, shipping, and air cargo - will be a vital ingredient in this agreement.
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earthworks video series: National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown

A visit to the National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown. This 5 Star GBCSA Green Star SA rated building marries beautiful dynamic architecture with exemplary sustainability initiatives.

Read the full feature in issue 39, August-September 2017, of earthworks magazine.

The post earthworks video series: NELM appeared first on Earthworks magazine South Africa.

Kenya's Government Agencies, Corporates Compete for Office Space

By Bernard Busuulwa

Government institutions and big corporates drove demand in Uganda's real estate sector during the first six months of 2017, analysts say.

The rising appetite for Grade A commercial office space - premises that offer a parking bay for every 40 square metres of space rented, a centralised air conditioning system, digital building management system and a prime location close to the city centre or major urban centre - has been attributed to some government agencies that have moved offices to new, upscale premises since mid-2016.

The Financial Intelligence Authority, a government agency, moved into Rwenzori Towers in Kampala during the second half of 2016 while the Uganda Tourism Board shifted its offices to Lugogo House last month.

READ MORE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707280127.html

As Threats Grow, Expanding Cities Push for Stronger, Safer Societies

By Sophie Hares

Tepic, Mexico — Urban resilience, no longer just a buzzword, is fast becoming part of the fabric of cities around the world, which need to ramp up strategies to ensure the wellbeing of their booming populations in the face of growing threats, experts say.

Developing new technologies and flexible financing, and finding nimble ways to operate are needed for cities to take the lead in tackling diverse issues such as climate change, transport and housing.

"Cities are so important as they're the centre of innovation on one side, and they're also the concentrations of the largest populations," said Arnoldo Matus Kramer, chief resilience officer for Mexico City, home to more than 21 million people.

"The behavioural change we need... to be more resilient societies will come from cities."

READ MORE: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cities-climatechange-resilience-idUSKB...

Valhalla Park Building Project Held Hostage By Gangsters - De Lille

The City of Cape Town was forced to cancel the construction of more than 700 homes in Valhalla Park following ongoing threats from gangsters in the area, Mayor Patricia de Lille said on Thursday afternoon.Speaking during a council meeting, De Lille said gangsters are holding the housing project hostage.

"We will not negotiate with or give into the extortion attempts by these criminals, but we will do everything we can to navigate our way out of this delay so that we bring progress to the people of Valhalla Park," she said.

In her address, De Lille reiterated the need for Capetonians to save water.

On Monday, City of Cape Town storage dams stood at 17.4% compared to 37.6% for the same period in 2016.

READ MORE: www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/valhalla-park-building-project-held-host...

South Africa To Fight Bogus Institutions & Fake Qualifications

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande will soon present a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Bill to Parliament for approval.

Minister Nzimande explained that the NQF Amendment Bill strengthens all the mechanisms to deal with misrepresentation of qualifications, as well as the verification by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) of all qualifications of public servants, members of boards and staff of public entities, and consultants to government departments and entities.

"Its other objective is to strengthen the quality assurance and credibility of the post-school education system, which will require private colleges and private higher education and training institutions which offer qualifications registered on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) to be registered with the Department of Higher Education,” Minister Nzimande said.

By tightening up this area, the Minister said the department will more effectively deal with bogus institutions and misrepresentation by institutions of the status of teaching and learning.

This comes as the department, SAQA, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the Quality Council on General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi), and the Council for Higher Education (CHE) recently signed and issued a joint communiqué on the registration and accreditation of private education and training providers offering OQSF qualifications.

As the local, regional and international demand for quality qualifications grows, Minister Nzimande added that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) also recently finalised the SADC Qualifications Framework (SADCQF), “a development that will make the movement of learners and workers across the region much easier”.

The SADC Regional Qualifications Framework will be formally launched at the SADC Education, Training and Science and Technology Ministers meeting later this year.

Fuel price set to increase in August

The price of petrol is expected to increase by 19 cents a litre from Wednesday, the Department of Energy announced.

In a statement issued on Friday, the department said the main reasons for the petrol increase was the slight decline in the rand against the US Dollar Exchange rate and increase in prices of petroleum products in the international markets, in line with the higher crude oil prices.

“The rand depreciated slightly on average, against the US Dollar during the period under review. This led to higher contribution to the Basic Fuel Price on petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin by 11.15c/l, 10.93c/l and 10.88c/l, respectively.

“The Crude oil prices rose, partly on drawdowns of global inventories including in the closely watched US market. The market has been anticipating a return to balance at some point this year and there are signs now that it is happening,” the department said.

The department added that the current expectations are that the rising crude oil prices will hit a ceiling as higher prices may tempt OPEC members to start producing above the output cuts agreed late last year and reconfirmed in June this year.

The 95 and 93 Octane ULP and LRP will increase by 19 cents per litre, diesel (0.05% sulphur) will increase by 29 cents, while diesel (0.005% sulphur) increases by 30 cents per litre.

Illuminating Paraffin (wholesale) will increase by 26 cents per litre, SMNRP for IP by 35 cents per litre, and maximum retail price for LPGas will increase by 40 cents per kg.

The fuel pricing schedule for the different zones will be published on 1 August 2017.

– SAnews.gov.za

Vape Trails: 12 Hot Vape Shops & E-Cigarette Retailers

[ By Steve in Design & Graphics & Branding. ]

E-cigarette and vaping supply shops have sprouted up like mushrooms in recent years but when it comes to branding, this youthful industry is still in a fog.

'Dancing the Death Drill': historical fiction that tells us about today

The Mendi shown here in pre-war days in use as a mail ship. Courtesy of the John Gribble Collection

In his keynote speech at the recent Sunday Times Literary Awards novelist, Zakes Mda, said that “we write historical fiction to take history to the level of what was it like to be in what happened”. Mda said that as a historical novelist, he writes,

historical fiction to grapple with the present. Great historical fiction is more about the present than it is about the past.

This is a truism that has always informed, I suspect, most practitioners of historical fiction. It is one not different for Fred Khumalo in his latest novel, “Dancing the Death Drill”. Although Khumalo says that he wrote the novel in order to remember black South African soldiers who played a role in World War 1, and those who perished in the SS Mendi ship, this is equally a novel about the present, and the ills that continue to bedevil us.

While doing his early education, Khumalo’s protagonist tells his teacher, Madame Christine, that,

I want to be a voyager, I want to travel on ships, I want to discover new places, engage in long conversations with strangers, play with ideas, experiment with things.

The global food system still benefits the rich at the expense of the poor

Bustling scene at a market in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Shutterstock

Ramen noodles in Sweden, wheat bread in Tanzania and Chilean wines in China. The cross-Atlantic transit of the potato and the tomato from the Andes to Europe, and back again as French fries and pasta sauce. We think of the world as globalised and sophisticated in its food tastes, and our palettes as curious and ever-expanding. Food spreads cultural acceptance and understanding.

But the spread of food also exposes a darker underlying history of globalisation and industrialisation. Patterns in the way that food is distributed around the world follow colonial-industrial trends from the past. And while global trade has helped lift many out of poverty, it has not done so evenly. It has kept a colonialist imprint on the planet in a different way: with differentiated access to nutritious food and the rise of obesity and other food-related health problems.

Beyond adding unusual grains or fancy foods to their palettes, wealthy shoppers might have their pick of green beans imported from Kenya to the UK, or beef and grains grown in Uruguay by US farmers.

Meanwhile, eaters in developing countries are more likely to eat “exotic” foods like white bread, maize or rice. These are less nutritious because of the way in which they are processed. In addition, exotic food crops tend to require unsustainable farming practices, like using more water in places where it’s already a scarce resource.

Africa's cities face unique risks. What can be done to manage them?

A woman walks through a market in Luanda, Angola. People who live in Africa's cities rely heavily on the informal sector. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are growing fast. Nigeria alone is projected to add 212 million urban dwellers by 2050, equivalent to the current population of Germany, France and the UK.

But focusing on population growth leads many to overlook the other unusual features of African cities. Urban economies across the region are markedly different from those of other cities around the world: they are more expensive to live in, more informal and less industrial.

In a recently published paper, we explore how these distinctive traits are increasing vulnerability.

Environmental risks range from everyday hazards such as waterborne diseases (cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery) to larger, less frequent disasters (tropical storms, flooding, fires). Their impact is much greater where people and governments can’t afford to invest in basic infrastructure.

In our research we demonstrate that African cities are too often developing in ways that perpetuate poverty and marginalisation. The amount of money that people have to spend on basic necessities, the precarious nature of their employment and their exclusion from the formal economy mean that they have limited resources to cope with environmental risk.

There are ways around these problems, but they need governments to work much more collaboratively with people living in informal settlements and working in the informal economy.

Election guide: what you need to know about the Rwandan presidential poll

Rwanda’s election is being watched closely by observers concerned about an erosion of democracy. Shutterstock

On 4 August 2017, Rwandans head to the polls to elect a president. They will choose between Frank Habineza, Philippe Mpayimana and the incumbent Paul Kagame.

Most observers expect a landslide victory for Kagame. But there’s controversy around the election because of a 2015 constitutional amendment that allowed him to seek a third seven-year term followed by two further five-year terms.

The Rwandan election is being watched closely by observers concerned about an erosion of democracy in the country. While some of these concerns are valid, they must be qualified against Rwanda’s historical and developmental realities.

At best, Rwanda can be characterised as an illiberal democracy, but this should not detract from the current regime’s successes. Nor is it a suggestion that Kagame shouldn’t lead. Under his tenure the country has enjoyed year-on-year socio-economic progress. In most situations, this would secure electoral victory.

Morocco, China Sign Deal to Build Africa's Tallest Skyscraper in Rabat

Rabat — A Chinese firm has signed a deal with Moroccan companies to build the tallest skyscraper in Africa in the capital of Morocco, local media reported on Sunday.

The deal was concluded in Casablanca by China Railway Construction Corporation and Morocco's BMCE Bank of Africa and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, Morocco's leading construction company, le360.ma news site said.

The 55-storey tower will reach 250 meters high, with the adoption of ecological and sustainable design concepts. It will include offices, hotels and luxury apartments, according to the report.

READ MORE: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1057654.shtml

President Mutharika Visits New Mzuzu International Airport Site

By Andrew Mkonda

Mzuzu — Construction works for the new Mzuzu International Airport are scheduled to start in November this year to the tune of U$20 million (approximately K14.6 billion) funded by the Exim Bank of China.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Francis Chinsinga disclosed this on Thursday when President Arthur Peter Mutharika visited the site at Lusangazi.

The site is 10.5 kilometres from Mzuzu Central Business District (CBD) and about three kilometres from Lusangazi Roadblock to the west.

READ MORE: https://www.nyasatimes.com/mutharika-visits-new-mzuzu-international-airp...

Building Collapse - Raise the Alarm On Suspicious Construction

The Lagos State Government wednesday urged Lagosians not to hesitate to raise the alarm if they suspect any discrepancy in the construction of any building within their vicinity.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowoshe, who spoke when he visited the site of the building which collapsed at No 3/5 Massey Street in Lagos Island on Tuesday, said Lagosians must join hands with the government and report property owners and developers where they sense any irregularity during construction.

"My advice for Lagosians especially the tenants that live in these houses, we have been saying this times without number, if you see your landlord doing anything dangerous to your safety, please be a whistle blower, make noise, tell us, let government know in advance. We were informed that this mast was erected two weeks ago. If the mast had not been erected we might not have had this ugly situation. Please be on the look-out, let us be our brothers' keeper," Anifowoshe said.

Anifowoshe, who commiserated with families of victims who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, said the state's emergency response team spent over 24 hours combing the rubbles to rescue trapped victims and convey them to the hospital, adding that a thorough investigation would be conducted to unravel the cause of the collapse.

READ MORE: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/07/building-collapse-raise-alarm-suspici...

Lagos Building Collapse Day 2 - Death Toll Rises to 8, 16 Rescued

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Two more bodies were, yesterday, recovered from the debris of the collapsed building at 3, Massey Street, Lagos Island, bringing the death toll to eight.

Among the dead was an 11-year-old boy, whose body was reportedly recovered at about midnight, while 16 people were rescued alive from the rubble.

According to eyewitnesses, the building went down at about 2.43p.m., Tuesday, during a rainstorm. Two bodies were recovered in the evening of the same day.

The rescue effort, which lasted throughout the night till the early hours of yesterday, saw many more bodies recovered.

READ MORE: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/07/lagos-building-collapse-day-2-death-t...

Harare Council reclaims ‘invaded’ wetland from war veterans

Harare City Council yesterday deployed municipal police to repossess an internationally recognised wetland on the east side of Monavale Vlei and demolished all illegal structures erected at the site by a group of suspected war veterans.

By Tinotenda Munyukwi

When NewsDay arrived at the scene, the illegal settlers were still collecting their belongings, although they claimed they had paid $6 000 to Limpopo Housing Co-operative for the stands.

The settlers’ spokesperson, Noah Kambanje, is on record claiming they were granted permission to settle on the wetland by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

But Kasukuwere denied it, saying his ministry followed recommendations given by the Environmental Management Agency.


Four Injured As Wall Collapses in Parkmore

Four construction workers were injured when a wall collapsed on them during renovation of a home in Parkmore on Wednesday afternoon, paramedics said.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, the four were found lying in a pile of rubble, surrounded by their colleagues, ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said in a statement.

READ MORE: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/4-injured-as-wall-collapses-in-pa...

Many Trapped, Five Rescued As Another Building Collapses in Lagos

By Chiemelie Ezeobi

Barely two years after a three-storey building collapsed at Swamps Street on Lagos Island, another building yesterday collapsed in the same axis, trapping scores underneath the rubbles.

As at 7p.m., five children and 10 adults had been rescued, with many still trapped under the rubbles.

An eyewitness said some customers who were eating in the restaurant downstairs were still trapped, including a woman and her four kids, who are residents in the building.

Also trapped are two women who sold rice and yam and some of their customers.

READ MORE: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/07/26/many-trapped-five-rescu...

Death Toll Rises to Eight in Collapsed Building, 15 Rescued

By Odita Sunday

The death toll in Tuesday's collapsed building on Lagos Island, rose to eight with 15 others rescued though unconfirmed reports from residents put the toll at 12 dead bodies recovered and 24 others rescued. A four-storey building had collapsed at Tokunbo, off Odunfa Road, Carrena/Martins Street, Lagos Island, on Tuesday around 2:30p.m. with many people trapped in the building.

As at Tuesday evening, two dead bodies were evacuated from the building while 14 others were rescued. But working overnight till around 11a.m. yesterday, six more dead bodies were recovered.

Residents. however, countered the official figures, claiming they counted 12 bodies as at the time the rescue operation by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other emergency responders were concluded on the site.

READ MORE: https://guardian.ng/news/death-toll-rises-to-eight-in-collapsed-building...

Death Toll in Lagos Collapsed Building Now 6 - NEMA

The number of deaths from the Tuesday’s collapsed building in Lagos has increased to six, Ibrahim Farinloye, the south-west spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has said.

Mr. Farinloye told the New Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday that 15 people had so far been rescued.

He said that the incident happened at Tokunbo, off Odunfa Road, Carrena/Martins Street, Lagos Island.

According to him, another 11-year-old boy was pulled out of the debris alive at about 4.00 a.m. on Wednesday.

READ MORE: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssouth-west/238176-death-toll-lag...

Mother and Daughter Die in Another Collapsed Building in Lagos

A woman and her daughter died on Saturday in a collapsed building at Abule-Egba, a Lagos suburb, according to the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA).

LASEMA, however, said a five-year-old girl was rescued alive and was immediately taken to the General Hospital, Ikeja, by the State Ambulance Service.

The agency’s spokesman, Mr Adebayo Kehinde, said a distress call via the Emergency toll-free number 767 or 112 was received at 11.48 a.m. following a collapsed building at No. 7 Saidu Okeleji St., off Alaro Street, Meiran in Abule-Egba on Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta Expressway.

READ MORE: https://guardian.ng/news/mother-daughter-die-in-another-collapsed-buildi...