Daily Archives: August 8, 2018

Driving environmental awareness in Mauritania

Proving small initiatives can have great impact

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wanting to raise awareness about the unhealthy and unsanitary conditions in her home country, now 26-year-old Aminetou Bilal launched the “Selfie Mbalite” campaign in February 2017. She was inspired by the “Selfie Déchets” campaign run by blogger Fatoumata Cherif in Conakry, Guinea.

Bilal is the president of Selfie Mbalite, an NGO that focuses on awareness campaigns against unsanitary conditions and promotes ecological development in Mauritania. She is also part of the first class of 200 Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme.

Born and raised in Mauritania, Bilal completed her Bachelor’s degree in Geosciences and is currently busy with her Master’s degree in ‘Territorial management of the effects of climate change and environmental risks’ at Sup Management University in Nouakchott.

Bilal decided she wanted to make herself useful after completing her studies and integrated into the NOG ‘Rim Youth Climate Movement’ fighting climate change. Even though she is no longer a member, she is grateful for her learnings.

“When I launched Selfie Mbalite, I did not expect such quick reactions. Everyone was taking selfies near waste on the national territory and posted them on Facebook with the Hashtag #SelfieMbalite,” says Bilal. Thanks to this initiative, authorities in Mauritania have reduced the contracts of companies that manage waste and have started to review their strategies.

Bilal also went to be an AU-EU Youth Ambassador. “Being part of the AU-EU Youth Plug-In initiative is one of the most beautiful things that happened to me and is the result of my civic commitment,” says Bilal. This lead to her being chosen by the African Union Commission to represent and deliver the speech on behalf of the African Youth at the “Women in Power” Conference on the sidelines of the 31st African Union Summit.

On being chosen to be part of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme, Bilal said that it was more than a pride and honour. She added that “President Obama is an inspiration to the whole world.”

Bilal sees herself as a business leader in the environmental sector in the future. She’s made a promise after her pare in the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme to pass on her knowledge and skills to the young people of her country through a mentorship program that she will launch shortly.

beverley.bradley@mslgroup.com Laura Lucas Magnuson llucasmagnuson@obama.org

Plessislaer rapist sentenced to 20 years imprisonment

The Pietermaritzburg Regional Court convicted and sentenced Mduduzi Mzolo (40) to an effective 20 years imprisonment for rape. A 12-year-old victim said that in August 2017 the accused asked the victim to talk with him outside after her brother had disciplined her about playing away from home. The accused acted as if he was concerned about the incident, he then asked the victim to come with him to the back of the house where he raped her.

A case of rape was opened at Plessislaer police station and the docket was transferred to Plessislaer Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit for further investigation. The accused was eventually arrested and bail was opposed. He made several court appearances till he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

Source: South African Police Service

With a Positive Spin, Chinese News Outlets Cover Africa

In Rwanda, a Chinese-owned garment factory provides jobs to hundreds of local workers. In Ethiopia, a Chinese-built railway makes life easier for business owners and travelers. In Zambia, a Chinese-funded television project will bring satellite TV to 500 villages.

Each of these stories, published by Xinhua, China’s state-run news organization, typifies the country’s coverage of Africa.

Rather than focus on corruption or disasters, China’s news about Africa emphasizes positive angles, especially when it comes to the Communist Party’s deepening involvement across the continent.

It’s a media strategy that highlights China’s mutual interests with Africa and reflects its broader approach to soft power, even if the whole story isn’t told.

Positive news angles

In Chinese media, what comes across is the government’s interests, Emeka Umejei, a research associate in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, told VOA.

Chinese news organizations don’t perpetuate outright disinformation, Umejei said, but coverage of Africa is shown in a positive light when stories implicate China. That amounts to propaganda, according to Umejei, because the goal isn’t just to inform, but also to shape perceptions of the ruling Communist Party.

Unlike Western outlets, which tend to focus on corruption, misdeeds and transgressions, Chinese media highlight good things happening in Africa.

One example is Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway, a project financed, built and managed by China.

Local media have reported on a range of concerns tied to the railway’s impacts on Kenya’s wildlife, economy and workers.

Last month, the Sunday Standard, one of Kenya’s largest and most reputable newspapers, published an expose on the treatment of African workers involved with the railway.

In the report, the Standard alleged widespread racism, discrimination and mistreatment of Kenyans, based on interviews with locomotive drivers and other workers.

The news wasn’t acknowledged in Chinese media. Instead, its coverage of the SGR has focused on the benefits the project brings to Kenya.

In a recently published opinion piece, He Wenping, a senior research fellow at the Charhar Institute, a think tank focused on China’s foreign relations, underscored how well the SGR has moved people and freight.

The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has also greatly facilitated the mobility of people between Mombasa and Nairobi, and the freight transport time has been shortened from more than 10 hours to more than 4 hours, thus reducing the logistics costs by over 40 percent, she wrote.

Paying dividends?

Some research suggests that China’s soft power campaign and media strategies are working.

Afrobarometer, an African research network, reported in 2016 that about two-thirds of Africans see China’s influence as somewhat to very positive. And more African countries now see China � not the U.S. � as the biggest foreign influence.

In 2017, Pew Research found that 72 percent of Nigerians viewed China favorably � a higher percentage than any other country polled. More than half of respondents in Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia and Kenya also reported favorable sentiments.

Chinese media

Chinese news organizations are large, centralized and well-funded.

Xinhua is the country’s official news agency, with English reports published across the web via a network of affiliates.

In research published in 2011, Junhao Hong, a professor at the University of Buffalo, concluded that Xinhua evolved from a pure propaganda machine in the late 1970s to a multifaceted enterprise concerned with generating revenue, serving the Communist Party’s interests and producing news for a worldwide audience.

Xinhua’s distribution partners include state media in Africa. Fana Television, a state broadcaster in Ethiopia, has republished or relied on reporting from nearly 20 Xinhua news stories since the beginning of the year.

China Central Television, or CCTV, is the most dominant broadcast news organization. In March, the Communist Party announced it would merge CCTV with two other broadcast entities to streamline operations and enable what Umejei called a unified narrative.

‘Win-win’ coverage

In China, investigative reporting isn’t allowed, Umejei said.

That means the powerful aren’t held to account. But it also creates space for uplifting stories that show another side of Africa. It’s an approach that resonates with African audiences, Umejei said, given what can come across as a fixation in Western media on Africa’s problems.

Unrelenting stories about conflict, famine, disease and corruption have led to criticism that Western portrayals of Africa, at times, play to outmoded stereotypes, perpetuate myths and underrepresent positive developments.

China has taken a different tact with what Umejei calls a win-win media strategy that puts both Africa and China in a flattering light. The strategy also complements China’s approach to soft power in Africa, wherein it frames itself as a benevolent partner with similar goals and challenges.

But critical coverage has an important role in the new ecosystem, according to Umejei.

Investigative journalism is good for Africa because it holds powerful people accountable, he said.

Source: Voice of America

Eastern Cape ladies soccer team proudly represents the province in ...

While we are celebrating Women’s Month countrywide, honouring importance of women in our societies, our Ladies Soccer team is showcasing their talent in the SAPS National Soccer Championships in Limpopo.

The confident Eastern Cape Ladies Soccer Team is part of a week-long National Soccer Championship that kick-started on Monday, 06 August 2018, in Limpopo.

Their loss against Head Office on their opening match on Monday did not deter our young lionesses as they managed to beat Free State with 3-2 yesterday. Their team manager, Constable Busisiwe Nkuzo is confident that the Eastern Cape team will do well this week. “I am very confident that we will do well this week, despite of our loss against Head Office on our opening match. We are fit and ready for the two matches today,” she explained

Constable Khanyisile Dukada from Bhisho SAPS Academy outshined during the Free State clash, and she was named the Woman of the Match.

Source: South African Police Service