November 2017

Mies Makeover: Artists Cover Barcelona Pavilion’s Marble Walls with White

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

A minimalist icon by Mies van der Rohe is becoming even more minimal thanks to a series of vinyl screens installed over its ornate marble walls, making the full-size building look like a blown-up miniature model.

Spanish architects and artists Anna and Eugeni Bach are behind this temporary Mies Missing Materiality installation at the Barcelona Pavilion, installing white vinyl screens to compliment the simplicity of the steel-and-glass structure.

Like the marble panels, dividing lines in the applied surfaces create a ‘mirroring’ effect, evoking a sense of symmetry across the horizontal axis like a reflective plane floating in space.

Why elections don't always equal democracy: the case of Kenya

Kenyan opposition supporter is confronted by policy during clashes in Nairobi. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya’s transition to a multiparty democracy in 1991 was one of the most promising cases of political change in Africa. Before then, the Kenya National Union Party (KANU) had monopolised power since outlawing political opposition in 1982. The transition from a single to a multiparty state was a truly significant event.

KANU faced its first real challenge since independence in multiparty presidential elections held in 1992. But the party didn’t lose its grip on power until president Daniel arap Moi lost to opposition leader Mwai Kibaki in the 2002 elections. The next presidential elections of 2007 were marked by political violence in which more than 1,500 people were killed following claims that the two major candidates had manipulated the results.

Despite this history of political instability, the country’s new democratic direction was seemingly confirmed when the Kenyan Supreme Court overturned the results of the August 8, 2017 elections. In a historic ruling for Africa, it called for the presidential election to be repeated.

Man electrocuted on city councillor’s train in Cape Town

Commuter was travelling on the roof of overcrowded train

By Ashraf Hendricks

Photo of overcrowded train
Councillor Brett Herron was travelling on a train from Khayelitsha to Cape Town, when a man got electrocuted. Photo from Brett Herron’s Twitter Feed

A commuter was electrocuted on a Metrorail train at Nyanga station on Thursday morning.

Metrorail confirmed the death. Photographs on Facebook show the man lying face down on top of the train.

His name has not been released.

In a statement, Metrorail Western Cape Regional Manager Richard Walker appealed to commuters not to “put their lives at risk by travelling on top of the train, hanging onto the outside of the train or travelling in front of the drivers”.

“It is dangerous and commuters who do so, risk life and limb as this tragedy proved.”

The statement also said trains would be delayed by an hour at least as a result of the death.

According to the Railway Safety Regulator, 495 people died on trains in South Africa in the 2016/17 year, and 2,095 were injured. The Western Cape had the second highest numbers of fatalities and injuries, after Gauteng.

Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development Brett Herron was on the train on which the man was electrocuted. Herron was taking a train from Khayelitsha to Cape Town to “experience for himself the conditions thousands of rail commuters face on a daily basis”.

There is money to fix our schools, but it’s not being spent, says Equal Education

4,624 schools still have pit latrines

By Thembela Ntongana

Learners at Vukile Tshwete Secondary School in the Eastern Cape during a protest over poor conditions at the school. Photo: Thembela Ntongana

Equal Education held demonstrations in Limpopo, Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape on Wednesday to demand action from national and provincial government to fix South Africa’s schools.

The #FixOurSchools campaign highlights the conditions of some of the schools in these provinces and demands that the department of education abide by the Regulations Relating to Minimum Uniform Norms and Standards for Public School Infrastructure.

In 2013 a deadline was set for 29 November 2016 for the replacement of schools made of “inappropriate structures”, the provision of basic levels of water, sanitation and electricity to schools. The department did not meet the deadline.

There is money to fix South Africa’s schools but it is not being spent, Equal Education said.

“On the one hand the DBE is not able to implement its own infrastructure plans - for the 2017/2018 financial year, the basic education budget was adjusted by R415 million as a result of infrastructure under-spending,” the organisation said in a statement.

Committee looking at ways to resolve water debt

The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation is looking at ways to try to resolve its R10.3 billion debt by the municipalities.

The South African Local Government Association (Salga), the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta), National Treasury and the Department of Water and Sanitation made representations to the committee on Wednesday following an announcement by Water and Sanitation that it will cut bulk water supply to at least 30 municipalities on account of water debt.

National Treasury informed the Joint Portfolio Committees of Cogta and Water and Sanitation that R53 billion was unspent by local government, as of 30 June 2017.

Contrary to common belief, it emerged that a lack of money is not the problem for municipalities.

National Treasury noted that some municipalities are failing at effectively delivering services, billing for services and collecting the revenue that is due.

“Consequently, outstanding debtors are increasing and they are not able to maintain positive cash flows to pay creditors within the 30 days’ timeframe, as legally prescribed,” Treasury told the committee.

Failure to prioritise essential services

It was also noted that failure to prioritise essential services was central to the challenges of local government. Other challenges include the lack of internal controls, inadequate leadership and the large scale mismanagement of resources.

Cogta acknowledged this, and the need for strategic and sustainable interventions.

Parliament further re-affirmed the role of Cogta to provide municipal support and emergency relief to municipalities, as well as its function to support operations and maintenance at municipal level.

Debt re-arrangement still possible

Virgin exercises its green credentials

Virgin Active Collection Menlyn Maine
Virgin Active Collection Menlyn Maine</span>Virgin Active Collection Menlyn Maine is the second of the health club group's facilities to be awarded a 4-star Green Star SA rating for interiors, a tool that assesses the environmental attributes of interior fit-outs.
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Out of Focus: Classic Works of Art Reimagined in Abstract Pixelated Form

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

Some centuries-old works of art are so imprinted upon the collective consciousness, our brains recognize them even when they’re blurred, disguised, abstracted or otherwise remixed. You could break them down into their simplest elements and somehow, you’d still be able to identify them as the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s statue of David, American Gothic or Nighthawks at the Diner. After previously breaking down images of iconic celebrities and pop culture figures, artist Adam Lister has turned his attention to ‘Art History 101.’

Cats! Cats! Cats! 20+ Fun Feline-Focused Works of Art & Design

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Photography & Video. ]

In ancient times, after their domestication by the Egyptians, cats may have saved many humans from starvation and disease, which might help explain why we still worship them to this day. Or maybe it’s because they’re the perfect combination of haughty, mischievous, playful, mysterious and affectionate. Or maybe it’s because they’re actually controlling us through parasites transmitted by their poop. Whatever the explanation, people tend to love cats, and when we’re not busy feeding, petting, entertaining and otherwise serving them, our reverence often takes the form of art and design.

Neko Sushi

Mnangagwa has the capacity to focus on the new Zimbabwe. But will he?

Zimbabweans welcome Emmerson Mnangagwa back from his brief exile in South Africa. EPA-EFE/Aaron Ufumeli

Emmerson “Crocodile” Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s crafty new interim President, is known as a ruthless, deeply unprincipled and a political infighter. He has lost several recent parliamentary elections but retained his party positions over four decades largely because he was ex-President Robert Mugabe’s chief enforcer and tribute collector.

But now President Mnangagwa has a golden opportunity to leave that unsavoury reputation behind and revive Zimbabwe’s economy and spirit. It is not unlikely that he could recast his legacy and even become genuinely electable in next year’s national presidential poll.

Governance in Zimbabwe is terrible and the rule of law is mostly only honoured in the breach. Mismanagement throughout the entire apparatus of administration, and outright theft by political and military elites are the ingrained, Mugabe-imposed, impediments to Zimbabwe’s regrowth.

If Mnangagwa can truly break from those inherited modes of rule – and if he has the inner strength to do so – his interim presidency could really become a leadership that all Zimbabweans, even nominal opponents, could celebrate.

SA Treasury covering up grand-scale corruption at PRASA

Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi and former CEO Lucky Montana implicated over and over again

By Steve Kretzmann and GroundUp Staff

Photo of overloaded Metrorail train
Metrorail’s service has deterioriated over the past few years. Leaked reports commissioned by Treasury show why. Archive photo: Mandla Mnyakama

For almost a year, National Treasury has kept the lid on almost 200 investigations into PRASA contracts which show that up to R2.5 billion was siphoned off in contracts which should never have been signed.

The investigations, into contracts worth R10 million or more, were ordered by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela following her 2015 report on mismanagement at PRASA. The Treasury parcelled them out to 13 different auditing and legal firms.

The documents, given to GroundUp by the UniteBehind Coalition, paint a picture of incompetence, corruption and mismanagement on a grand scale.

There are more red flags in the 1,000-odd pages of reports than at a Moscow May Day parade.

New road set to ease Durban congestion

Durban residents can look forward to free flowing traffic with the official opening of the new Dumisani Makhaye Drive (Main Road 577) in Clermont, Durban, by President Jacob Zuma on Saturday, 2 December 2017.

“The completion of the R1.3 billion road infrastructure project makes it the biggest road infrastructure development in the country in five years and epitomises government’s service delivery excellence,” said the Presidency on Wednesday.

The project forms part of government’s nationwide programme of infrastructure development.

The road is being named after the late struggle hero, Dumisani Makhaye, who also served as MEC in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Council.

The Dumisani Makhaye Drive spans the uMngeni River and provides a strategic link between Duffs Road in KwaMashu to Dinkelman in New Germany. It cuts off a massive 16 kilometres for traffic using N3 to connect to N2, and will help eradicate the legacy of colonialism and apartheid-based spatial planning.

For the first time, the road will connect, among others, the communities of Newlands, KwaMashu, Inanda, KwaDabeka, Clermont and Pinetown.

Significantly, the road will serve as a new alternative route to the King Shaka International Airport for traffic coming from the Pietermaritzburg and Pinetown areas, which will now ease traffic congestion on the N2/ N3 interchange.

The naming of the road is part of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government’s Roads Naming and Renaming Legacy Project, which is aimed at naming and renaming roads and bridges infrastructure in the province’s roads. The renaming is an effort to help communities reclaim their historical legacy, pride and heritage by giving new meaningful names to new and existing provincial roads and bridges.

The completion of the main road paves the way for use by members of the public, especially motorists.

Property developers booted off Observatory Civic Association

“The attempted ‘hijacking’ of the civic body has actually energised the community in a way that we haven’t seen for years.”

By Maxwell Roeland

Photo of Observatory meeting
Observatory residents came out in numbers on Tuesday night to remove three property developers from the suburb’s civic association. Photo: Maxwell Roeland

On Tuesday night, Observatory residents voted unanimously to nullify the controversial election that put three property developers into top positions in the Observatory Civic Association last month. The three are Theo Kruger, Ebrahim Abader and Tertius van Zyl.

The packed meeting saw hundreds of residents queue up for registration outside the Observatory Community Centre. Registration for new OCA members was cut off 35 minutes past the meeting’s scheduled starting time at about 200 members, a record turnout.

Olivia Andrews, chairperson of the OCA business forum, gave residents a detailed recap of suspicious activity noticed on the night and irregularities found on the voter’s roll including:

  • Abader allegedly paid the joining fees for several new members, all of whom voted together for certain candidates.

  • This bloc of new members was ushered back in by Abader after they had mistakenly left the venue thinking the voting had concluded.

  • The same bloc of members left immediately once the voting actually concluded despite other items on the meeting’s agenda.

New law will stop abuse of South African home owners who default

Shutterstock

There are few things as devastating as losing your home because you cannot pay your debt. But if this cannot be avoided, you’d certainly prefer that your property is sold for the best price possible. Then you can hopefully settle your debts and perhaps have enough money left to start over with.

This ideal should now become a stronger possibility for South Africans who struggle to pay back their home loans. A new law, which is due to come into effect shortly, will for the first time enable courts to set a “reserve price” (minimum price) at which the residential property of a defaulting owner should be auctioned off.

Until now many South Africans have lost their properties to speculators who snap them up at prices that are far below market value. But to sell someone’s home for an unreasonably low price is a violation of their constitutional housing and property rights – not to mention the negative impact on their dignity and social wellbeing.

In a paper that looked at a case where a home valued at R81 000 was sold at auction for only R10, I argued that a sale like this would be unconstitutional. I also argued that our law regarding auctions are in drastic need of change due to loopholes like this.

Why signs for transitional justice in Zimbabwe don't look promising

EPA-EFE/Kim Ludbrook

When the first reports appeared of military tanks approaching Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, questions started flooding my mind: would this mean a transition in power? And would it be a transition of the kind regarded as “model” transitions – transition from dictatorship to democracy?

Ever since it became clear that Emmerson Mnangagwa would be inaugurated as the next president, there are fears that the country wouldn’t go through a genuine transition, that one dictator might simply replace another as was the case in Egypt.

Transitional justice is a term coined by the scholar Ruti Teitel in 1990. She defined it as a form of justice that could address the legacy of human rights violations and violence during a society’s transition from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one. Transitional justice refers to the ways in which countries emerging from periods of conflict and repression address large scale human rights violations so numerous and serious that the normal justice system is unable to provide an adequate response.

Old-world diction, flawed punditry and the fight for Zimbabwe's future

EPA/Kim Ludbrook

Words and phrases aren’t empty vessels – they carry the weight of human experience, and the hopes they generate help to set actual agendas.

I was reminded of this as I listened to Robert Mugabe’s now infamous “address to the nation” recorded in State House the previous Sunday evening, November 19, 2017, delivered at the midpoint of the six-day transitional drama in Zimbabwe. He commented on the developments swirling around him, and gave his reasons for refusing to step down.

Drawing on a vocabulary from the early 20th century, and delivered in his trademark old-world diction, his remarks could well have been directed at the arch-imperialist Cecil John Rhodes – one of the few people in history to have a country named after him during his own lifetime – rather than the people of Zimbabwe.

At one point he said:

The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public.

6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism

6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism

04-06 December 2017. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

+INFOwww.destination.unwto.org/event/6th-global-summit-urban-tourism

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), at the kind invitation of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia, will organize the 6th Global Summit on Urban Tourism: "Sustainable and Competitive Tourism on the New Urban Agenda" from 4 - 6 December, 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

The 6th Summit is an opportunity to explore the way forward on how to capitalize upon the opportunities for a sustainable and competitive urban tourism by clearly analysing the key factors and parameters for success.

More information:

UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)

UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)

04-06 December 2017. Nairobi, Kenya

+INFO: www.web.unep.org/environmentassembly

The UN Environment Assembly is the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment. It will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution.

This year's Assembly will launch the interactive Leadership Dialogues, which will provide participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet.

More information:

Igor Gurovich designs retro poster for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

The official poster for next year's FIFA World Cup features legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin, along with 1920s-style postconstructivist graphics. Read more

Local power and global policies for the right to housing

By Paula Marques and Laia Ortiz, Brad Lander

Housing councilors from New York, Barcelona and Lisbon demand a greater commitment from national governments to tackle speculation

Cities are our common home, the place where we share our dreams and worries, where our differences are on display, but also where our solidarity is born. Cities are where we live and they’re where the right to housing, one of the most basic but most underprotected rights, is most at threat.

In recent years, urban housing, particularly in dynamic, global cities like ours, has become an object of speculative investment. This phenomenon is putting our cities under growing pressure from large investment funds.

Developers accused of hijacking Observatory Civic Association (OCA)

Legal action threatened following attempt to hold new elections

By Maxwell Roeland

28 November 2017

Photo of a street
There has been a groundswell of community support for questioning the election of the new committee of the Observatory Civic Association. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Residents are up in arms after the Observatory Civic Association (OCA) elected property developers to be the chairperson and secretary of its committee.

Outraged residents of the Cape Town suburb include people who were at the meeting when the election took place and some members of the outgoing committee. Irregularities and corruption in the election procedure are alleged.

The OCA consists of Observatory residents and local business owners and represents the interests of the community. Observatory has historically faced issues with gentrification and large developments.

On 31 October, the OCA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elected its new committee. Property developer Theo Kruger, founder of TwoFiveFive Architects, was elected chairperson. Property developer Ebrahim ‘Himmy’ Abader was elected secretary. Architectural technologist Tertius van Zyl became committee member for architecture and heritage.

Although the OCA does not have any direct control over the approval of proposed development projects, its endorsement matters, as the municipality is obliged to take the community’s concerns into account. A question of conflict of interests has arisen as both Kruger and Abader have faced opposition from the OCA or unsuccessfully lobbied it for support for developments they were involved in.

SA Municipality accused of corruption opposes audit

“We want our houses back” shout residents

By Nompendulo Ngubane

28 November 2017

Photo of protesters
Picketers outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court chanted, “We want our houses back.” Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

The problem of local politicians allegedly unfairly profiting off RDP houses came to a head in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

The High Court reserved judgement in a case where it is alleged that RDP houses allocated to needy residents have been given to ward committee members who then rent them out.

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwathi said she needs time in the case between Endumeni Municipality and Endumeni Civic Organisation. Beneficiaries of wards 4 and 5 in Dundee say RDP houses allocated to them in 2015 were given to other people. As a result, they are now forced to rent RDP houses. Some have built shacks for themselves as they have nowhere to stay.

Advocate Nkosikhona Gama for the plaintiffs said they want the municipality to conduct an audit. He also asked that the municipality set out in an affidavit what criteria were used when the houses were allocated and explain in detail and transparently how the placing was done and who was responsible.

Advocate Peter Blomkamp for the municipality said an audit would be enormously costly for the municipality. He suggested both parties conduct an investigation and the court grant 30 days for this.

Picketers outside the court, many of them elderly, chanted, “We want our houses back.”

At last, some hope for South African injured workers

Compensation Fund starts to work properly again

By Pete Lewis

28 November 2017

Photo of construction worker
Attempts to fix the troubled Worker’s Compensation Fund are finally bearing fruit. Archive photo: Masixole Feni

Attempts to fix the bottleneck of claims to the Worker’s Compensation Fund are finally showing results, with pension payouts for permanently disabled cases more than doubling in three years.

The Fund pays compensation and medical bills for workers who are injured or contract diseases due to their work. An exception is lung diseases due to dust in mines, which are handled by the Department of Health.

For many years the Fund and the Compensation Commissioner’s Office that runs it have been the subject of complaints by the office of the Auditor-General, by Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Labour, trade unions, employers’ associations, the medical and pharmaceutical professions who treat injured and sick workers, and in court judgements. The complaints have been about wasteful and irregular expenditure, fraud, corruption, and poor service.

Eskom's Medupi’s Unit 4 Goes Commercial

Eskom’s Medupi Unit 4 has achieved commercial operation status.

“The unit was officially declared commercial after the completion of control, performance and the 30-day reliability run, putting all performance guarantees to effect,” said the power utility on Tuesday.

Unit 4 of the power station, which is located in Limpopo, reached full power 19 June 2017. The significant achievement came after 20 days since its successful synchronisation on 31 May 2017. Five months later after further tests were conducted, this unit is now declared to be in full commercial operation.

This milestone was achieved ahead of the scheduled timeline of July 2018.

With an output of 794 megawatts going to the national grid, Unit 4 joins its sister units, Unit 6 and 5, which have been contributing to the balancing of electricity supply and demand since 23 August 2015 and 3 April 2017, respectively.

“We are proud of this achievement. This accomplishment is a reflection of hard work and team effort. Eskom applauds the Medupi team, under the leadership of Phillip Dukashe. This is indeed an embodiment of delivery and excellence. Well done to the Medupi team!” said Peter Sebola, the Acting Group Executive: Group Capital Division.

Eskom Interim Group Chief Executive, Sean Maritz said: “Eskom’s new build team is giving the country an assurance that we are indeed serious about delivering the New Build projects on time and within budget.

“Despite all the challenges we are faced with as an organisation and our perceived image in the public domain, these amazing results strengthen our determination to make sure that despite our challenges, we continue to deliver on our projects. New build is at the core of making sure that we continue to build excess electricity capacity and contribute to the economic growth of the country at large.”

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has commended Eskom for a job well done.

How a rural community built South Africa's first ISP owned and run by a cooperative

A Zenzeleni cooperative member carefully aligns some equipment in the village of Mankosi, Eastern Cape. Bill Tucker

Mankosi is a remote rural community in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. It is home to almost 6,000 people. The nearest city is Mthatha, about 60 kilometres away, as a bird flies.

Most homes are not connected to the electricity grid; residents charge their cellphones at a local shop or shebeen, for which they must pay. Both data and airtime for those phones also cost a lot: a survey shows that people spend up to 22% of their income on telecommunications. This is money that could be spent on food, education, transport and other needs.

They’re not alone. South Africa has some of the highest mobile voice and data costs in the world.

Yet, things are changing in Mankosi. A research team at the University of the Western Cape has worked with residents to develop a solar powered wireless community network.

The Zenzeleni Networks project – Zenzeleni means “do it yourself” in isiXhosa, the Eastern Cape’s most prevalent language – is, as far as we’re aware, the South Africa’s first and only Internet Service Provider (ISP) that’s owned and run by a rural cooperative. Just like any ISP, Zenzeleni installs and maintains telecommunications infrastructure and also sells telecommunications services like voice and data.

How the world needs to change as regions get drier

Some homes in Cape Town are now harvesting rainwater from their roofs. Flickr/Inhabitat

Water is likely to become scarcer in northern and south west Africa. This is partly due to changes in weather patterns. In addition populations are increasing. Already water supply is becoming a serious concern, especially in drought-prone areas such as northern Namibia.

The University of Cape Town is working with partner organisations in southern, west and east Africa as well as India to investigate how to adapt to climate change in semi-arid regions. In examining various approaches that have already been tried, we identified four types of changes that can be made to adapt to water scarcity. These are:

  • introducing new practices or technologies, such as wastewater reuse;

  • doing more of what we’re already doing, for example installing rainwater tanks at people’s homes.

  • changing the way water is governed, for example integrated watershed management and more consultative and equal water allocation; and

  • changing social values and attitudes.

Highlights of the agenda of the UCLG World Council meetings in Hangzhou

From 6 to 9 December the city of Hangzhou, China, will host the UCLG World Council at the kind invitation of the Mayor of Hangzhou, Xu Liyi. The World Council will meet for first time following the election of the new Presidency of the Organization during the Congress in Bogotá last October. Though plenary and business sessions, Policy Councils and meetings of thematic committees, the World Council will discuss the implementation of the decisions taken by the World Council in Bogotá and its 2018 work plan. 

 

Key moments of the programme

On Thursday 7 December, as a prelude to the World Council, a session on Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be held to provide updates on the localization process of the SDGs and introduce the Local4Action Hub.

On the same day, preparatory and committee meetings will take place, including the meeting of the UCLG Committee on Local Economic and Social Development. The meeting of the Committee on Statutory Affairs will also be held on the morning of 7 December, with the meeting of the Financial Management Committee taking place on the afternoon of the same day.

Things are going south in the private building sector

Things are going south in the private building sector
© Romolo Tavani [[www.123rf.com 123rf.com]]</span>Building plans passed are a strong indicator of the future health of the construction industry, and statistics for the South Africa private sector point to an economic shift down south.
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What drives instability in Africa and what can be done about it

French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to French counter-terrorism forces in northern Mali, in May. EPA/Christophe Petit Tesson

Africa will remain turbulent because it is poor and young, but also because it is growing and dynamic. Development is disruptive but also presents huge opportunities. The continent needs to plan accordingly.

Levels of armed conflict in Africa rise and fall. Data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, the Global Terrorism Database and others indicate that armed conflict peaked in 1990/91 at the end of the Cold War, declined to 2005/6, remained relative stable to 2010/11 and then increased to 2015, although it peaked at lower levels than in 1990/91 before its most recent decline.

Armed conflict has changed. Today there are many more non-state actors involved in armed conflict in Africa – representing a greater fracturing of armed groupings. So it’s not a matter of “government vs an armed group” but a “government vs many armed groups”. Insurgents are often divided and sometimes even fighting amongst themselves. This greater fragmentation complicates peacemaking.

Business schools have a role to play in fighting corruption in Africa

Corruption pollutes the African business environment. Shutterstock

In 2002, the African Union reported that Africa lost about USD$148 billion through corruption every year. This represented 25% of the continent’s combined GDP at the time. Nothing much has changed.

Last year, the global business advisory firm KPMG estimated that if South Africa reduced its corruption by one point, as measured by Transparency International’s corruption perception index, it could add R23 billion to its GDP.

The thrust of these facts is that the lost monies could have been used to finance institutional development and reduce the constraints to doing business in Africa.

In spite of the effects of corruption on the private sector, businesses in Africa are relatively silent about the menace. Efforts to combat corruption are largely championed by civil service, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies.

It’s Getting Steamy in Here: 14 Modern Sauna Designs Heat Up

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

When it’s cold and dreary outside, the relaxing ritual of steaming oneself in a cozy sauna is more tempting than ever. In some places, like Finland, there are almost as many saunas as there are residents, while in others, the tradition is disappearing in the bustle of modern life. These modern interpretations of the classic sauna aim to revive the practice by making the structures mobile, floating them on lakes or adding compact versions no bigger than bookcases to apartment interiors.

Cave-Like Grotto Sauna in Canada