March 2018

India building city from scratch to challenge Singapore & Hong Kong financial hubs

A new city is being built on barren lands in India’s western state of Gujarat to give foreign investors easy access to its booming economy.

Called Gujarat International Finance-Tec City, or GIFT City, it is planned to be on a par with global financial hubs.

“Except for the fact that we are not sitting in Singapore and GIFT City is not Singapore, I think from a business perspective we have everything that is required,” the city's CEO Ajay Pandey told CNN.

READ MORE: https://www.rt.com/business/422843-india-new-city-investors/?utm_source=...

Ethiopia's Feb. 16 state of emergency: Over 1,100 people detained

Over 1,100 people have been detained under Ethiopia’s February 16 State of Emergency, authorities in the country have disclosed. A total of 1,107 detainees are currently being held across six different zones classified under the marshal law. The inquiry board, led by MP Tadesse Hordofa, said over 1000 men and twenty women make up the figure. The board is tasked to investigate the actions of the command post administering the State Of Emergency. Activists and local media portals have severally reported arrests by the authorities. People who criticized the measure were among those being held. Although a full list has yet to be provided, the reasons for the detentions ranged from deadly violence to the obstruction of social activities. Ethiopia says more than 1000 men + 20 women have been arrested since a state of emergency was declared last month. Reasons given vary from killing to blocking roads. Lots of hope in Ethiopia that a new Prime Minister will mean political reform + stability.— will ross (@willintune) March 31, 2018 The most publicized arrest by the Command Post has been that of recently released journalists and politicians in the capital of Amhara Regional State, Bahir Dar. The February 24 arrests took place during a gathering reportedly to honour the ex-detainees. A lawyer for a number of them said they had been arrested on two main issues. The display of a banned national flag which is punishable by law and the failure to get appropriate clearance for the gathering.

Atlas Garden / Sweco Architects

© Tim Meier © Tim Meier
  • Architects: Sweco Architects
  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden
  • Lead Architects: Sidsel Wållgren
  • Other Participants : Bonnier Fastigheter AB, Arcona
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Tim Meier
© Tim Meier © Tim Meier

Text description provided by the architects. The renovation of the Lokstallet block in central Stockholm transformed an anonymous building into a modern office building - Atlas Garden. The land on which the building stands conceals an historic locomotive shed built in conjunction with the adjacent railway.

Leaders Intervene As Waste Battle Takes New Dimension

As the battle for the control of waste collection in Lagos State rages on, party leaders, commissioners and the house of assembly have stepped into the fray.Despite criticism from stakeholders, Visionscape has continued to rollout and it appears that aggrieved parties may have resorted to more extreme measures as there are unconfirmed reports of violence.

There has been a stalemate as to how the state government can achieve its goal on Cleaner Lagos Initiative while the PSPs demand a more robust plan for huge investment on infrastructural upgrade by Visionscape beyond mere waste collection.

Consequent upon a meeting held last week Thursday, all parties have now reached an agreement which allows waste operators collect residential waste and enable Visionscape commit to scale up waste infrastructural development in the best interest of the people. In addition, the company will continue to provide waste bins and waste bags for all residential customers in partnership with operators of LAWMA.

READ MORE: https://guardian.ng/news/leaders-intervene-as-waste-battle-takes-new-dim...

Kampala Roads Are Death Traps - Report

By Justus Lyatuu

Every year, more than 1.2 million people are reported killed in road traffic accidents around the world, while another 50 million are injured.

These alarming figures are real. Also, statistics show that about 90 per cent of all road crashes occur in low and middle-income countries. In Uganda, accidents are occurring in an environment where emergency response is low or non-existent.

The country's roads are so high-risk that one social media commentator noted, "Uganda is the only country where at a zebra crossing you have to look left-right-left before crossing".

READ MORE: http://observer.ug/news/headlines/57356-kampala-roads-are-death-traps-re...

Zimbabwe Commissions Chinese-Built Power Plant

Kariba — Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday commissioned the 533-million-U.S. dollar Kariba South Hydro Power expansion project, arguably the country's biggest power development project since independence in 1980.

The project is expected to ease power shortages for the country that has faced perennial power shortages due to ageing plants and has had to rely on imports to plug the shortfall.

The project, which entailed the addition of 2x150 MW units, was done by China's hydro power engineering and construction firm, Sinohydro from 2014.

READ MORE: http://www.focac.org/eng/zxxx/t1546849.htm

Forex Scarcity Derails Old Mutual Project

By Tinashe Kairiza

CONSTRUCTION of Old Mutual's US$21,4 million small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) complex, which was initially set to be finalised during this year's first half, will be delayed owing to the debilitating foreign currency crisis affecting the country, businessdigest has learnt.

The cost of the project, initially pegged at slightly over US$21 million, is also forecast to soar.

Zimbabwe abandoned its local dollar and adopted a basket of currencies in 2009 to arrest spiralling inflation, but local industries are currently struggling to access foreign currency to import key raw materials required to sustain operations.

READ MORE: https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/03/29/forex-scarcity-derails-old-m...

Kamara vs. Maada Bio: Sierra Leone votes in keen presidential runoff

Voters in Sierra Leone take a second bite at the electoral cherry as they line-up today to pick the country’s next president – i.e. a successor to outgoing Ernest Bai Koroma.

Today’s vote is a direct fight between a former military head of state, Julius Maada Bio and a former foreign affairs minister Samura Kamara. Maada Bio who leads the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) won the first round vote held on March 7.

Samura Kamara running on the ticket of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) will be looking to overturn Maada Bio’s first round victory. Incidentally two candidates who came third and fourth refused to back the two frontrunners.

The runoff originally slated for March 27 was pushed to today after a failed legal challenge halted preparations by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). NEC subsequently got a court order to push the date to March 31.

pic.twitter.com/9dqqfR3DJi— National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (@NECsalone) March 30, 2018

The runoff is the last leg of the March 7 general elections which has so far produced lawmakers, the APC won a majority of the seats according to the NEC.

Kamara and Maada Bio – each buoyant about their chances have – pleaded with their supporters to remain calm ahead of today’s vote. NEC says it is ready to deliver credible polls.

“Any government will come, the basic challenges (are) education, youth employment, medical, then they are looking into the affairs of the feeding (then there is food security) of this nation, the food affairs,” a potential voter said.

Another added, “It doesn’t matter who wins this election as a citizen of this country we want to see a very good government regardless of the APC or the SLPP of the NGC. We want to see our people, people like the Sierra Leoneans move forward in life in terms of education.”

U.K. cautions citizens over Anglophone crisis in Cameroon travel alert

The United Kingdom has issued a travel alert for Cameroon warning nationals to totally avoid travel to within 40km of the country’s borders with Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic.

It also said Brits should not travel to the Bakassi Peninsula and specifically to the Ndian Division of the South West region. For the other parts of the Anglophone region, the directive said all but essential travel should be undertaken.

A summary of the March 27 directive issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) read: “the FCO now advise against all travel to within 40km of the Cameroon/Nigeria border and Ndian division, and against all but essential travel to the rest of the North West and most of the South West regions; updated information on kidnaps and clashes in the North West and South West regions.”

The U.K. position follows that of France earlier this week. The French Ambassador to Cameroon, Giles Thibaut tweet on Monday that the Anglophone regions were a no-go area for French nationals. The alert also cautions against all but Cameroon’s borders with Gabon and Congo.

Cameroon’s Anglophone regions no-go areas – France warns citizens https://t.co/DhV87uHDqn— africanews (@africanews) March 27, 2018

It specifically mentioned the Koupé-Manengouba, Lebialem, Manvu and Meme divisions in South West region and the rest of North, North West and Adamawa regions as places that citizens should be careful when going to.

“The FCO recounted the March 2018 kidnapping of Tunisian and Cameroonians workers which rescue operation led to the death of a Tunisian. They also related recent armed exchanges between suspected separatists and security forces.

“Kidnaps of Cameroon officials have been reported in the North West and South West regions. There have also been multiple exchanges of fire between the Cameroonian security forces and armed groups over the past few months in some towns and villages in the North West and South West regions.

Condition of Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria worries top UNHCR official

A top official with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has bemoaned the deplorable conditions under which Cameroonians fleeing the Anglophone crisis are living in Nigeria.

Antonio Canhandula, a Programme / Operation Manager and UNHCR representative made his reservations via his twitter handle after visiting some of the refugees in Nigeria’s Cross River and Benue States earlier this week. Other refugees are living in the Akwa Ibom and Taraba States.

One tweet disclosed how some women said they had so little food to feed their families that they had to carry bricks to earn money to supplement what relief agencies provided.

Accompanying a photo of young children lined up in a school he wrote: “Beautiful Cameroon refugee students. Children do not deserve the unfortunate situation of a refugee. This is freedom and human growth arrested. Robbing children of a future. An urgent solution is called for. Ikom.”

“Children need to continue with their learning. I teach them outside here to make sure they can learn something” Odi Geraldine, trained teacher #Cameroonian #refugees in Ikom, #CrossRiver state. #CameroonRefugees pic.twitter.com/83ouKfPvM5— UNHCR Nigeria (@unhcrnigeria) March 27, 2018

Then there was the story of how a expectant mother who fled the crisis back home had delivered a day before the UNHCR visited. Ernestine Etioe, 23, gave birth at a clinic located in Cross River State.

The UNHCR’s records indicate that 20,000 plus Cameroonians have fled the country’s North West and South West regions due to what has become known as the Anglophone crisis.

Canhandula’s reservations are the same as those of the agency he represents. The UNHCR aside pushing that a political solution be found to the crisis holds that it does not have enough funds to cater for the growing number of refugees.

Trashpresso: Solar-Powered Mobile Recycling Plant Turns Trash into Tiles

[ By SA Rogers in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

You know how China stopped taking our plastic recycling waste because Americans can’t seem to figure out how which items are actually recyclable and which ones clog up the machines and contaminate the resulting materials? Now that China’s ban on imported plastics has gone into effect, we have a whole lot of unwanted stuff to contend with. At this point, it’s clear that robots are very likely the future of recycling, helping to sort through refuse and remove non-recyclable items so people don’t have to. But they could be useful in the interim, too, as proven by the ‘Trashpresso’ mobile solar-powered recycling plant.

RAC Coffee & Bar / MASS DESIGN

© Feng Shi © Feng Shi
  • Architects: MASS DESIGN
  • Location: 322 Anfu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
  • Lead Architects: Vladimir Dyduch
  • Client: RAC
  • Area: 160.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Feng Shi
© Feng Shi © Feng Shi

Text description provided by the architects. At the intersection of Anfu and Wukang roads in the former French Concession, you’ll find RAC Bar & Coffee. The locale has been long-known for its many Western restaurants and desirably central location - that also means the standards for design in this area are higher. The owners of RAC aimed to stand out with their authentically French vibe, speciality coffee, French pastries, crepes and organic wines.

Congolese doubt credibility of upcoming polls, mistrust for Kabila soars - Survey

Eight in ten Congolese have an unfavourable opinion of President Joseph Kabila – but nearly seven in ten don’t think the December vote to replace him will be fair, according to a national poll published on Friday.

The survey, conducted last month by the Congo Research Group at New York University and Congolese polling firm BERCI, gives a rare glimpse into the national mood as Congolese wait to see if Kabila finally steps down after 17 years in power.

Elections in Democratic Republic of Congo are scheduled for Dec. 23, two years after Kabila’s mandate officially expired. But Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, has refused to publicly commit to stepping down.

Uncertainty about his intentions and the prospect of the vote being delayed again have bred mistrust among Congo’s 80 million people. Security forces have killed dozens of people during street protests against the president’s extended rule.

The political crisis has also contributed to rising militia violence in eastern Congo’s borderlands with Rwanda and Uganda, where millions died from hunger, disease and conflict in wars around the turn of the century.

The Congo Research Group is directed by Jason Stearns, a former U.N. investigator in the country. Over 1,000 Congolese citizens in all 26 provinces were questioned.

When asked if they had a “good opinion, bad opinion or no opinion at all” of their president, 80 percent said they had a bad opinion and 20 percent said they had a good opinion. In an indication of Kabila’s polarising effect, zero percent had no opinion.

Congolese are eager for change, according to the poll. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote in December and 64 percent said they were optimistic about the country’s future in the next five years.

Exiled opposition leader Moise Katumbi would lead the presidential vote with 24 percent, trailed by another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, with 13 percent.

Senegal court jails former Dakar mayor 5 years for embezzlement

A court in Senegal sentenced opposition leader Khalifa Sall, a former mayor of the capital Dakar, to five years in prison on Friday for embezzlement and falsifying documents.

Sall was arrested a year ago on suspicion of embezzling 1.8 billion CFA francs ($3.40 million). Prior to his arrest, he had been seen as a potential rival to President Macky Sall in elections set for next year. The two men are not related.

Two of the former mayor’s accomplices also got five years. His supporters say the trial was politically motivated, a charge the ruling party denies.

“I feel shame for my country,” deputy Dakar mayor Cheikh Gueye told Reuters. “This decision is meant to prevent Khalifa Sall from putting his name forward as presidential candidate.”

Senegal is seen as one of West Africa’s most stable and fair democracies, an image reinforced by a peaceful and well organised 2012 presidential poll.

But in recent years, opponents of the ruling party say standards are slipping. Last year’s legislative polls were marred by problems, with many hundreds of Senegalese voters prevented from casting ballots because of delays in issuing biometric voting cards.

Opposition supporters also decry what they say is a growing intolerance of dissent. Demonstrations in Dakar are often scattered by police tear gas.

The coalition of 91-year-old former president Abdoulaye Wade has said his party would boycott future elections over these complaints. Wade’s group has the second highest number of seats in parliament while Khalifa Sall’s party is third.

With little natural resource wealth, Senegal has been largely free of kleptocracy on the scale of the mineral-rich countries in the region, but has sometimes suffered corruption scandals nonetheless.

Karim Wade, the son of former president Wade, served three years in prison for corruption, including hiding funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama.

REUTERS

Morocco ranked most attractive investment destination in Africa

Morocco has been named the most attractive investment destination in Africa, followed closely by Egypt and Algeria.

According to the latests Africa Investment Index 2018 by Quantum Global Research Lab, an independent research arm of Quantum Global, Morocco has a receptive business environment and low risk profile.

‘‘Morocco has been consistent in attracting an inward flow of foreign capital, specifically in banking, tourism and energy sectors and through the development of industry,’‘ said Prof. Mthuli Ncube, Managing Director, Quantum Global Research Lab

The index which was released on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan measures six major factors: growth, liquidity, risk, business environment, demography and social capital, to determine the investment attractiveness of countries in the medium term.

Ivory Coast which is the fastest growing economy in Africa was ranks 5th on the investment index while Botswana, previously ranked as Africa’s top investment destination in the first edition, ranks 4th scoring well in risk factors as well as the business environment.

The other countries among the top 10 most attractive investment destination in Africa are Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Senegal.

The bottom 10 African countries in attracting investment are Central African Republic, Liberia, Somalia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe as well as Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has made attraction of foreign investment his priority since taking office in November last year.

Studio Fuksas Releases Images of Competition-Winning Double-Ellipse Tower in Slovenia

Courtesy of Archivio Fuksas Courtesy of Archivio Fuksas

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas have released images of their competition-winning “Capo Grande Tower,” a tower and bridge situated on the Slovenian coastline linking Giusterna Beach to Monte San Marco. Designed in collaboration with Slovenian architect Sandi Pirš, the scheme consists of a 365-foot-high (111-meter-high) double-ellipse structure inclined slightly towards the sea, seeking to “immediately become a new symbolic element of the city.”

Ghana's controversial US military deal [The Morning Call]

“Ghana first”! This was the slogan, as Thousands of Ghanaians rallied in the streets of Accra on Wednesday to protest a deal that would give the United States military an expanded role in Ghana. Struck last week when the Ghanaian parliament ratified the deal, the defence cooperation agreement (DCA) as it is known, would give the united states access to facilities including Ghana’s airport runways. The deal also allows the U.S. to deploy troops in Ghana, access to Ghana’s radio channels and allows the U.S. to operate its own telecommunications system.

Egypt 2018 polls: Moussa concedes defeat, pledges to lead constructive opposition

Egyptians await official results of the presidential election from the National Elections Authority (NEA), the presidential candidate and head of El Ghad Party, Moussa Moustafa Moussa has said he plans to champion constructive opposition after his ‘electoral defeat’.

While the NEA is set to announce results on April 2, Moussa has literally conceded defeat as local media report a landslide victory for incumbent president Abdel Fattah el Sisi.

Moussa, whose presidential ambitions were questioned by many, has repeatedly acknowledged his support for Sisi and his government policies.

In 2017, Moussa launched a campaign to mobilise support for Sisi’s second term before he was revealed as a surprise challenger to Sisi in January.

The opposition is not likely to accept Moussa’s leadership, having called for a boycott of these elections that they called a ‘masquerade’.

Many potentially strong contenders for the position of president withdrew their bids citing state intimidation and bias from the electoral authorities.

Moussa believes that opposition to the ruling government must work in favor of the Egyptian people, arguing that the country needs all political parties to cooperate to face the challenges ahead.

He has declared the Egyptian people as the ultimate winners in the election and stressed his willingness to cooperate with Sisi in his next four-year term.

KZN Wars : Only one conviction out of 85 in murder hotspot

Part three of a series on political violence and the frustrated search for justice in KwaZulu-Natal

Text by Christopher Clark. Photos by Shaun Swingler.

Photo of one of the Glebelands\'s blocks
Many of the murders at Glebelands Hostel in Durban remain unsolved years after they took place.

From her front stoep in Umzimkhulu, a rural town in KwaZulu-Natal’s Harry Gwala District, Jabulile Msiya can see the imposing two storey house that Sindiso Magaqa was building for his family before he died. The construction work has now ceased indefinitely, leaving an unfinished grey shell of a building as a reminder of Magaqa’s untimely death. “It still makes me very sad,” Msiya says. “Magaqa was one of my best friends. We would have been neighbours.”

Msiya was travelling back from a local ANC meeting with Magaqa when two masked gunmen opened fire on their vehicle, hitting Magaqa multiple times. Msiya was shot in the leg, but recovered after a few weeks in hospital. Magaqa, who appears to have been the primary target, died from his wounds two months later.

A former ANC Youth League leader and a rising star on the local political scene in KwaZulu-Natal, 35-year-old Magaqa was arguably the highest profile victim in a wave of political violence that has claimed an estimated 40 lives in the province since early 2016, and more than 500 since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy in 1994.

Rebels attack Kabila's residence in eastern DRC, deaths reported

Armed rebels killed at least one soldier during an attack on a house owned by Congo President Joseph Kabila in the restive east where a number of conflicts have flared in recent months, rebel and Congo military sources said on Thursday. Kabila was not present when Mai-Mai militiamen attacked the house near the town of Beni and clashed with state soldiers, who were able to fend off the attack. The second assault on a presidential residence in three months points to a deteriorating security situation in Congo stoked in part by Kabila’s refusal to step down in 2016 when his mandate expired. A home belonging to Kabila was attacked and set on fire in North Kivu province in December. A policeman died in the incident. The security situation in the east, already a tinderbox of ethnic tensions, has worsened this year as state authority slips, forcing tens of thousands to flee and threatening to destabilise the whole country. A spokesman for the Mai-Mai rebel group said it killed three soldiers during the attack. An army spokesman said one of its soldiers and one assailant were killed. A spokesman for the president was not available for comment. The Mai-Mai comprise a number of armed bands that originally formed to resist Rwandan invasions in the 1990s. They have since morphed into a wide variety of ethnic-based militia, smuggling networks and protection rackets. REUTERS

Muhammadu Buhari vows to consolidate Nigeria's unity

President Muhammadu Buhari made his first official visit to Lagos on Thursday since coming to power in 2015. During the visit, the head of State went ahead to inaugurate a vast public transport station. The state government declared Thursday a work-free day for civil servants to allow them to welcome the 75-year-old leader. Buhari used the occasion to call on Nigerians to preserve their unity despite the diversity. “Our goal is to bring together all sections of the nation and all Nigerians of every creed, region and ethnic group into a mutually beneficial productive, social, economic and political relationship,” Muhammadu Buhari said. The visit comes less than a year to the presidential election scheduled for February 2019. Muhammadu Buhari is still to make his intentions clear about a possible second term. Nigeria, a major oil producing country in Africa went through an economic recession last year aggravated by the fall in oil prices. The head of state suggested the way forward. “We seek to replace corruption with correctness, insecurity with safety and poverty with prosperity. The road we thread is rough and hard in spots; the search for progress and reforms has its rough patches,” he added. President Buhari was widely criticized – even by his own party – for his passivity and the rigidity of his economic policies which allegedly discouraged foreign investors. His popularity within the ruling APC will be tested during party primaries expected to hold later this year.

Construction of Muslim University Business School Starts

By Ibrahim Yamola

Dar es Salaam — The Muslim University of Morogoro (MUM) has started the preliminary stages for the construction of the new business school campus in Dar es Salaam.

The foundation stone for the Morogoro based University was laid down on Saturday, March 24, this year at Lingato area in Kisarawe II ward, Kigamboni district.

MUM vice chancellor, Prof Mustapha Njozi said architectural design for the new campus and its drawings have been completed.

READ MORE: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Construction-of-Muslim-University-Busin...

Transforming Construction Industry

By Bilal Derso

Globally, the construction industry hugely influences the economy, the environment and the society. In 10 trillion USD revenue and added value of 3.6 trillion, the sector is account for about six percent of the world GDP, according to World Economic Forum's 2016 report.

The sector's contribution is greater in the case of developing countries including Ethiopia and the industry has been playing a crucial role in sustaining country's rapid and equitable socio-economic development and changing the livelihood of millions of peoples.

Information obtained from Ministry of Construction indicated that the sector had a 9.5 percent share from Ethiopia's total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016.

READ MORE: http://www.ethpress.gov.et/herald/index.php/technology/item/11350-transf...

Chinese Construction of New Parliament to begin in Mount Hampden

By Blessings Chidakwa

The construction of the new Parliament building in Mount Hampden will begin in two months' time, and Government will accordingly create a new local authority to superintend over the development of a modern city in the area, it has been learnt.

Government, with the help of a grant from the Chinese government, will build a 650-seater Parliament.

Addressing a workshop for district administrators here recently, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the new city will be a product of joint venture between three councils -- Harare, Zvimba and Mazowe.

READ MORE: https://www.herald.co.zw/new-parly-construction-begins/

NEMA Invites More Views on Runda Hotel Plan

By James Kariuki

The environmental watchdog has once again invited residents' views over a planned Sh1 billion four-star hotel and luxury sites in the plush Runda estate, Nairobi.

National Environment Management Authority (Nema) said the public hearing will take place on April 11 chaired by Nairobi County Commissioner William Kang'ethe.

Renewed activity at the 8.4 acre land follows conclusion of a court case where the investors were instructed to listen to Runda residents' grievances.

READ MORE: https://www.nation.co.ke/business/Nema-invites-more-views-on-Runda-hotel...

Construction Starts On a Shs28.4bn Insurance Towers

By Isaac Khisa

Kampala — The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA-U) has started the construction of a Shs 28.4billion tower office and commercial block in Kampala.

The 16,500 square meter project known as Insurance Towers with 11 floors and two basements, is situated along Lumumba Avenue near the Rwenzori Courts.

The project, whose ground breaking was held on March 14, undertaken by Roko Construction Company, is to be completed in September 2019.

READ MORE: https://www.independent.co.ug/construction-starts-on-a-shs28-4bn-insuran...

Community lives in fear of giant rock

Residents in KwaXimba say they want to be relocated as a matter of urgency

By Nompendulo Ngubane

About 15 homes beneath the giant granite rock have experienced tremors and rock falls. Photo: Nompendulo Nguane

Residents in KwaXimba, half way between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, say they are living in fear and would be happy to be relocated. This comes after a rock fall two weeks ago and similar incidents over the years. About 15 homes in the area are affected.

The houses stand beneath Isithumba Mountain, an enormous 200 metre high granite rock, known as Old Baldy, a tourist attraction for sport climbers on the Durban Green Corridor and the iSithumba Adventure Centre.

A resident for 30 years, 68-year-old Zanele Duma said she was already up at 7am, getting her grandchildren ready for school, when the house started shaking. “It was like an earthquake, followed by a big sound. It sounded like lightning … We all vacated the house and stood outside … The shaking of the houses still continued. Everyone in the area was standing outside. There were pieces of the rock that were still falling down … Neighbours across the river were screaming ‘phumani endlini’ – get out of the house,” said Duma.

This was two weeks ago. In 2002, there was also a major incident.

Residents say tremors have caused cracks in the walls of their houses. Duma said they are waiting for the worst to happen. She says they cannot afford to move and rebuild. None of the seven members of her family have work and they share her pension.

Sierra Leone prepares for election run-off

Sierra Leone’s ruling party candidate Samura Kamara has pleaded with his supporters to remain calm ahead of the run-off with opposition leader Julius Maada Bio. The West African nation will hold a run-off election on Saturday to replace President Ernest Bai Koroma, after neither of the candidates secured enough votes for an outright victory during the first round. “Any government will come, the basic challenges (are) education, youth employment, medical, then they are looking into the affairs of the feeding (then there is food security) of this nation, the food affairs,” a potential voter said. Another added, “It doesn’t matter who wins this election as a citizen of this country we want to see a very good government regardless of the APC or the SLPP of the NGC. We want to see our people, people like the Sierra Leoneans move forward in life in terms of education.” The run-off will be held after a Sierra Leone High Court lifted an injunction in an order following accusations of fraud in the first round made by a member of the ruling party. President Ernest Bai Koroma is stepping aside after his maximum two terms in office.

Dutch Pavilion at 2018 Venice Biennale, WORK, BODY, LEISURE, to Address Automation and Its Spatial Implications

Anthropometric Data - Crane Cabin Operator vs Remote Control Operator. Drawing by Het Nieuwe Instituut 2017. Image Courtesy of Het Nieuwe Instituut Anthropometric Data - Crane Cabin Operator vs Remote Control Operator. Drawing by Het Nieuwe Instituut 2017. Image Courtesy of Het Nieuwe Instituut

As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Dutch Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words. 

Guinean women renew anti-government protests

Hundreds of Guinean female opposition activists once again took to the streets of Conakry on Wednesday. They were condemning deadly police violence and demanding justice for those killed in opposition demonstrations. These anti-government protests left at least 12 people dead according to the authorities, a figure that the opposition rejects. “What we want for the victims (that you see on the posters) is justice because enough is enough, it has to stop,” said Halimatou Diallo, a wife to opposition leader Celou Dalen Diallo. “We give life and we are tired of seeing our children killed in the streets like chicken by those who are supposed to protect them,” reiterated Bah Mariama Tata. This message was taken to the Ministry of Justice. Playing the card of impartiality, the Justice Minister promised to prosecute all those responsible for this violence. “We need to overcome political differences in this country. You said you came to see the minister of justice. I have been nominated by a political clan and I take responsibility for that. But as Minister of Justice I am in this country, in my country, to apply the law to everyone, including to your supporters and to the people in the ruling majority, Minister Cheick Sacko responded. Guinea has been facing anti-government protests for a month. However, the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea decided on Wednesday to suspend its protests until 5 April because of the Passover holiday.