Cato Crest residents battle continuous demolitions

1 day 14 hours ago
“All of my son’s school books have been burnt, books that I had bought with my last cents. What will I tell him? Where will he even sleep?”

By Nomfundo Xolo

Phot of man watching home burning
Yongama Myeni, 27, watches his home smoulder. He says he’s lost all clothing, furniture and food after the Anti-Land Invasion Unit burnt down his home. Photo: Nomfundo Xolo

More than 30 families sit destitute. People are crying. About 20 Anti-Land Invasion Unit officers as well as metro police have been burning and demolishing their shacks in Ekhanana, Cato Crest.

Friday’s eviction is the third in January. The shack dwellers movement, Abahlali Basemjondolo, believes the evictions are illegal following a court agreement with the eThekwini Municipality last year. GroundUp was not able to get comment from the municipality by the time of publication.

Abahlali Basejondolo’s Mqapheli Bonono said: “On 27 December 2018 we approached the High Court for an urgent interdict against the repeated attacks on the eKhanana occupation. The municipality was allowed time to prepare responses on the case. The court ordered that no evictions should take place until the matter had been resolved. These evictions were therefore in violation of both the law and the specific instruction of the court.”

Evictions took place on Monday and again on Thursday. But soon after the land invasion unit left on Thursday, residents quickly rebuilt their homes only to watch them destroyed once again on Friday morning. Evicted families, many with children, said Friday’s eviction had been the worst.

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How investment in irrigation is paying off for Ethiopia's economy

2 days 17 hours ago
Ethiopia has harnessed the value of irrigation technologies. Shutterstock

After rapid economic growth averaging 10% every year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia has emerged as an engine of development in Africa.

And there are no signs that ambitions for further growth are fading. This is clear from the government’s blueprint to achieve middle-income status – or gross national income of at least US$1006 per capita – by 2025. This would see a rapid increase in per capita income in Ethiopia, which is currently US$783, according to the World Bank.

Ethiopia’s growth has been propelled by at least two factors: the prioritisation of agriculture as a key contributor to development and the fast-paced adoption of new technologies to boost the sector.

A third of Ethiopia’s GDP is generated through agriculture, and more than 12 million households rely on small-scale farming for their livelihoods.

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Showdown with Herman Mashaba looms over housing court order

2 days 18 hours ago
Municipality has missed deadline to find accommodation for Hillbrow residents, but Johannesburg official says backlog is the fault of past administrations

By Zoë Postman

Photo of Hillbrow apartment
Ingelosi House in Hillbrow is severely dilapidated. Photo: Zoë Postman

“It’s difficult because we are living in fear … most of us have children and at any moment we could be evicted and left on the street,” says Thulisile Ngubane, 40, a resident of Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

Ngubane lives with her husband and four children in a ground-floor room in Ingelosi House, a privately owned building that was occupied after it had been left vacant for a few years.

Ngubane moved into the building after her husband, who was the only breadwinner, lost his job. She says they could not afford rent elsewhere.

The building has three floors with 21 rooms and about 90 residents. When GroundUp visited the building, it was severely dilapidated. All the residents share two toilets on the ground floor.

The showers and bathtubs were not functional, the windows were broken and one of the two staircases had collapsed. The electrical wires were exposed in the corridors and parts of the building were in complete darkness.

Ngubane currently pays about R500 a month for rent. “Rent is more expensive out there. It will be more than R1,000 which we just cannot afford … Most of us here are unemployed and we still need to send our children to school and put food on the table for them.”

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Why Nigeria should first support rice farmers before it cuts off imports

5 days 17 hours ago
Rapid urbanisation is one of the reasons that Nigeria's demand for rice is so high. Jeremy Weate/Flickr, CC BY-ND

Nigeria spends an average of US $22 billion (₦7.92trn) each year on food imports. Its major food imports include wheat, sugar and fish.

Another big import, rice, accounts for about US$1.65 billion, or ₦0.59trn. Most of the country’s rice is imported from Thailand and India.

This has led analysts to predict it will be the world’s second largest importer of rice after China in 2019.

There are a few reasons that Nigeria’s demand for rice is so high. Among them is rapid urbanisation; people who arrive in cities and seek out cheap, nutritious, filling food invariably turn to rice. More traditional coarse grains like sorghum and millet have become less popular over the years. This, according to research, is because rice is “a more convenient and easy staple to prepare compared to other traditional cereals across income levels in the urban areas”.

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Why more people in Africa should farm guinea pigs for food

1 week 2 days ago
Guinea-pig farming is popular in Peru and is an option for African farmers. dubes sonego/Shutterstock

For thousands of years South Americans have farmed guinea pigs - but this hasn’t taken root in most other parts of the world, including Africa. We spoke to Brigitte Maass about the opportunities that they offer as livestock and what challenges there are in producing them.

What are guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs are native to South America. In Peru they call them “cuyes”, but the animal has many different names all over the world. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), farmers call them “dende”, and we think this comes from the French name “Cochon d’Inde”, meaning “pig from India”. But they are not pigs, or from India or Guinea. We therefore prefer to call them “domestic cavies”.

Cavies have many uses. They were domesticated thousands of years ago as a small livestock species and continue to be farmed. They’ve also been used by medical researchers to investigate diseases and, mostly in western society – like Europe or northern America – they’re kept as pets.

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