It is estimated that 1 out of every 20 jobs on the African continent is related to tourism, especially in key tourism countries and attractions such as those found in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Egypt, Mali, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Being a predominantly male-dominated industry, however, with a high male patronage, tourism needs to be held accountable for its impact on women in varied and serious ways.
In this month’s Karibu - Voices from the South, Ms. Omega Bula of Zambia explores the implications and impacts of commercial tourism on women’s rights and dignity. She argues that the ‘good news’ from tourism today lacks a class, racial, and gender justice analysis, and is hence not true for the majority of impoverished and marginalised women working in the tourism industry in Africa. This situation therefore demands life-giving economies and theologies that secure gender justice in the tourism industry in Africa, as well as the wider Global South.
The text consists of excerpts from Omega’s chapter in the newly published book, “Deconstructing Tourism: A Theological Reading from the Global South” (2014).
This talk begins with a personal story of sexual violence that may be difficult to listen to. But that’s the point, says citizen journalist Meera Vijayann: Speaking out on tough, taboo topics is the spark for change. Vijayann uses digital media to speak honestly about her experience of gender violence in her home country of India — and calls on others to speak out too.
"We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't," says slam poet and teacher Clint Smith. A short, powerful piece from the heart, about finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.
Young men with machetes manning road blocks is usually a bad sign. In Nigeria’s North Eastern city of Maiduguri, for years tormented by the Boko Haram insurgency, it actually signifies progress.
Rather than the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF), it is these volunteer vigilantes dubbed “Civilian JTF” that are largely credited with pacifying the city over the past year. Whereas the often blundering and brutal JTF regarded everyone in Maiduguri as a potential Salafist, the community-rooted volunteers - officially the Borno Youth Association for Peace and Justice -actually know who Boko Haram members are. They are the eyes and ears of the security forces watching for infiltration and, though the best of their weapons are antique single-shot “Dane” guns, or the odd shotgun, they are often the first responders to trouble.
“Before, the community was afraid. If you opened your mouth against Boko Haram, that night they would kill you. But Borno State youth are tired of it,” Civilian JTF secretary and second-in-command, Abba Tijjani Sadiq, told IRIN. “God lifted us up. No matter you come with a gun, we will pursue you. For now there are no Boko Haram in Maiduguri.”
Borno was the birthplace of Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad), better known as Boko Haram. It was founded in 2002 by cleric Mohamed Yusuf and grew into a popular grassroots movement based on its strict adherence to conservative Islamic values and rejection of the political corruption and venality that has come to epitomise Nigeria. The execution of Yusuf and a number of his lieutenants in 2009 while in police custody won Boko Haram sympathy, but that popularity has soured as the death toll has soared in the shootings and bombings by the militants of their perceived enemies - the majority of them Muslims. The supposed support from the community was one reason the JTF meted out such indiscriminate punishment.
“The army took us as the enemy and vice-versa. We didn’t see them as here to protect us,” explained school headmaster Suleiman Ali. “[If there was a Boko Haram attack] they don’t come on time, they arrest whoever they see, or open fire, or burn shops and houses in revenge… The boys [Boko Haram] used to come and hide among us in the community. But later on we saw that couldn’t work. You hide them, then later on they can come into your house and kill your father. People were pressed to the wall, we needed to stand, to protect ourselves.”
He sees Borno’s insecurity as “a failure of government and ourselves” and celebrates the new-found “spirit of self-sufficiency” animating the civilian JTF. What began in just one of the city’s 14 wards in June last year has snowballed. “Everybody is a civilian JTF. Whenever we hear gunshots we pick up our axes and cutlasses [machetes] and go and see what’s wrong.”
Source: Irin News
Africa, already the world's second most populous continent with more than 1 billion people, is experiencing a demographic shift unprecedented in it scale and swiftness, according to Generation 2030 Africa, a new report released by UNICEF on the continent's child demographics.
Consider this: on current trends, in the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent's under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion; and Africa's overall population will double in size, reaching 2.4 billion. By 2050, Africa is projected to be home to one in every four of the world's inhabitants, and almost 40 per cent of its children under 18 years.
The continent's demographic surge is overwhelmingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, and fuelled by high fertility and declining mortality. Although falling, fertility rates remain high: on average, each African woman of reproductive age (15-49 years) will have 4.5 children in 2015 – far above the global average of 2.5. The fertility rate for Africa's adolescent girls is double the global average.
Although Africa currently accounts for more than half of the global total of under-five deaths and faces the challenge of accelerating progress in saving children's lives, it has made notable progress in reducing child deaths since 1990, and particularly since 2000 and in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Africa's burgeoning population presents an unprecedented opportunity and several challenges. The opportunity lies in the potential for a so-called demographic dividend of sustained rapid economic growth in the coming decades.
President Barack Obama has said the US will help establish a peacekeeping force in Africa.
Obama said Wednesday the US would set up a rapid response force to support United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions.
"We will join with six countries that have demonstrated a track record as peacekeepers," he told reporters at the conclusion of a three-day Summit of 50 African nations in Washington.
"We're going to invite countries beyond Africa to join us in this effort because the entire world has a stake in the success of peacekeeping in Africa," Obama added.
Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda are to be the six countries involved in the effort, he said.
Obama did not specify how the new peacekeeping plan would relate to existing African Union missions.
He said the US was working with Africans to develop an "early warning and response network" to identify emerging crises.
Source: AP, AFP, Reuters, DPA