Zimbabwe looks to reverse Mugabe-era land reform policies amidst economic instability
Source: CGTN America via YouTube
- Since independence, the land ownership reform and redistribution of farmland from the white settler minority to the indigenous black majority has been central to Zimbabwean politics, with most viable land having been legally restricted to white owners and large—largely white-owned—corporations in the colonial era.
- The government began allowing for the seizure of white-owned farms without compensation after a period of voluntary land sales, and some militant groups and security forces occupied farms and drove out their owners.
- Following the effective coup that brought about the end of President Robert Mugabe’s nearly three decades of rule, the new government, led by former Vice President Emmerson Mnangawa, has begun returning expropriated land to white farmers in an attempt to stabilize the fragile economy.
“Ululations, tears as white Zimbabwean farmer returns to seized land” (Reuters | December 2017)
“White Zimbabwean farmer get back land seized under Robert Mugabe rule” (Sky News | December 2017)
“Why Zimbabwe has failed to sate the yearning for land and to fix rural hunger” (The Conversation | December 2016)
“Robert Mugabe admits Zimbabwe’s land reform flaws” (BBC News | February 2015)
South African president announces free higher education for poor and working-class students
- The change affects students from households making up to 350,000 South African rand (~USD26,715) enrolled in the country’s TVET (Technical Vocational Educational and Training) colleges.
- President Jacob Zuma has pledged to implement the shift from loan- to grant-based subsidies in a “fiscally responsible manner,” with aid to higher education institutions set to increase from 0.7% to 1% of GDP over the next five years.
- Critics continued to question the financing for such a sweeping initiative, with the finance minister indicating details will be deferred to the 2018 budget unveiling in February.
“Zuma announces free higher education for poor and working class students” (News24 | December 2017)
“Gigaba: How government will fund free education to be clarified at 2018 budget” (The Mail & Guardian | December 2017)
“Zuma says South Africa’s free higher education to be done in a fiscally sustainable manner” (Reuters | December 2017)
Danish journalists wounded in knife attack in Gabon capital
- Two Danish reporters for National Geographic were wounded after a Nigerien national living in Gabon attacked them with a knife in Libreville.
- The attacker told police the assault was in retribution for the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, although it was unclear if the Danes were mistaken for Americans.
- The attack was reportedly the first of its kind in Gabon, a Christian-majority country with peaceful interfaith relations.
“2 Danish journalists violently attacked in Gabon” (The Associated Press | December 2017)
“Two Danish journalists wounded in Islamist knife attack in Gabon” (Reuters | December 2017)
“Two Danish journalists wounded in Gabon knife attack” (AFP, via France 24 | December 2017)
The Fall Before the Rise in South African Higher Education
Over the last two years, a new set of student movements has situated the South African university as the site of a contentious conflict over higher education’s role in the perpetuation of racial and economic inequality. As the battle has shifted from public representation to economic access in the transformation of Rhodes Must Fall into Fees Must Fall, black South African students have taken on the deeply entrenched systemic and institutionalized inequality of South Africa’s higher education system. But beyond education, the struggle has called on South Africans to examine the “unfinished business of apartheid,” as one scholar has described it. BuzzFeed News investigates the emergence of the new student movements in South Africa and the stories of those driving its evolution.
“Poor, Gifted, and Black” (BuzzFeed News | May 2017)
“The faces behind South Africa’s Fees Must Fall movement” (CNN | October 2016)
(Image Credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)
The Entrenched Legacy of Housing Segregation in Cape Town
Like many global metropolises, Cape Town faces conflicts over how to secure housing rights for low- and middle-income households inflected by histories of racist social engineering. Cape Town’s situation is complicated by the legacy of housing apartheid in South Africa, which continues to render historically white-only neighborhoods financially inaccessible for many black households and threatens to uproot others as the high tide of gentrification approaches. A number of media outlets have recently examined the persistence of housing segregation in the city and political and guerrilla efforts to promote inclusive urban planning and secure affordable housing rights for black Capetonians.
“‘End spatial apartheid’: why housing activists are occupying Cape Town” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Profile: How gentrification is creating a new apartheid in South Africa” (The National | May 2017)
“We must end Cape Town’s housing ‘apartheid’ – think-tank” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp, via The Guardian)
Mandisa Maya first woman appointed President of South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal
- Justice Maya was named to the third-highest post in the South African judicial system by embattled President Jacob Zuma.
- Maya has been on the Court since 2006 and is the first woman to be appointed its leader in its 107-year history.
- The Supreme Court of Appeal is the nation’s highest appellate court and the second-highest court in the country.
“Justice Maya makes history as first female SCA head” (South African Broadcasting Corporation | May 2017)
“South Africa gets first female president of second highest court” (africanews | May 2017)
“Judge Mandisa Maya is new president of the Supreme Court of Appeal” (Times LIVE | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Simphiwe Nkwali/Gallo Images/Sunday Times, via Times LIVE)
U.N. food cuts lead to desperate food situation for refugees in Uganda
- The U.N. cut food rations by half in refugee camps, adding to an already critical famine driving displacement in the region.
- Refugees have taken to stealing crops and other food from locals to sustain themselves, and while no widespread violence has broken out yet, tensions have worn at the historically amicable relations between Ugandans and refugees.
- Nearly 1 million refugees have fled from South Sudan into neighboring Uganda, a significant fraction of the 3 million driven from the country since the outbreak of civil war in 2013.
“South Sudan refugees scrounge for scraps as rations slashed in Uganda camps” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Tensions rise as Uganda neighbourly refugee policy starts to feel the strain” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Faced with slaughter they fled, now their safe haven teeters on the brink” (CNN | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via CNN)