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Tribute to Manu Dibango: Cameroonian jazz pioneer loved across Africa and the world

David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images Rogers Orock, University of the WitwatersrandAfrican jazz has lost another of its best-known icons.Emmanuel N’Djoké Dibango, popularly known as Manu Dibango, was, like Hugh Masekela who died last year, a global star of Afro-jazz and funk. The saxophonist Dibango leaves a huge legacy spanning more than ...
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China's investments in Africa: a fresh lens offers more balanced insights

Coverage of Chinese presence in Africa has been somewhat misleading. Shutterstock Simon Manda, PhD, University of ZambiaThe rise of China in Africa has triggered an ongoing debate about whether Chinese capital is a barrier that entraps African governments in practices that hinder poverty reduction. The most recent contribution to these debates is a...
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Why a one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 could have lethal consequences

A deserted street in Cairo after the government ordered the closure of shops, restaurants and cafes. Photo by Ziad Ahmed/NurPhoto via Getty Images Alex Broadbent, University of Johannesburg and Benjamin T H Smart, University of JohannesburgSuppose you had the choice between two health policies, A and B. Policy A would result in the death of a lot o...
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Why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa – and why we can expect more

On Feb. 18, 2020, in Seoul, South Korea, people wearing face masks pass an electric screen warning about COVID-19. AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon Suresh V Kuchipudi, Pennsylvania State UniversityThe coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, is a frightening reminder of the imminent global threat posed by emerging infectious diseases. Although epidemics have...
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Africa's destiny depends on building a vibrant middle class

African nations can look to Nigeria and Tanzania for recent examples of smart policies that boost the middle class. Flag map via www.shutterstock.com Yvan Yenda Ilunga, Rutgers UniversityThe global financial crisis felled many nations and companies, leading to the collapse of banks and recessions in the biggest economies in the world. But most Afri...
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Ancient DNA is revealing the origins of livestock herding in Africa

Livestock, like these goats in the Rift Valley of Tanzania, are critical to household economies in East Africa. Katherine Grillo, CC BY-ND Mary Prendergast, Saint Louis University – Madrid and Elizabeth Sawchuk, Stony Brook University (The State University of New York)Visitors to East Africa are often amazed by massive herds of cattle with a ...
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Anthony Bourdain's window into Africa

In Season 3 of ‘Parts Unknown,’ Anthony Bourdain took viewers to Tanzania. CNN Jacob Henry, University of HawaiiAnthony Bourdain might have been a celebrity chef, but viewers of his Emmy Award-winning travel show, “Parts Unknown,” didn’t tune in for curry and noodle recipes.Cooking was simply the conceit Bourdain used ...
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Can African smallholders farm themselves out of poverty?

Hard work and poor prospects for smallholder farming households in Africa. Swathi Sridharan (formerly ICRISAT, Bulawayo), CC BY-SA David Harris, Bangor University; Jordan Chamberlin, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and Kai Mausch, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)A great deal of research on agriculture in Africa is organi...
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Is it Ebola, or just a drill? How to test a public health crisis response

Hugh Kinsella Cunningham/ EPA-EFE Mosoka Fallah, Harvard Medical School There wasn’t an Ebola outbreak in Lesotho – but for a few hours in November 2019, you may have heard that there was.On November 14, Lesotho public health authorities conducted a simulation exercise involving a woman who was rushed to hospital and tested positive for...
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From slavery to colonialism and school rules: a history of myths about black hair

One of the first dilemmas that black people face is whether to let strangers touch their hair – and under what circumstances. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters Hlonipha Mokoena, University of the Witwatersrand“Your hair feels like pubic hair.” That was one of the first insults that someone hurled at my hair. She was a junior at my school. She...
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How digital technologies can help Africa's smallholder farmers

Digitisation includes the delivery of agronomic advice and information via text messaging and interactive voice response. www.cta.int/ Abdul-Rahim Abdulai, University of Guelph; Emily Duncan, University of Guelph, and Evan Fraser, University of GuelphDigitisation could change the game for agriculture in Africa. That’s a key message in a repor...
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Why we're involved in a project in Africa to promote edible insects

The development of an industry in edible insects such as these mopane caterpillars has been slow. Shutterstock Robert Musundire, Chinhoyi University of TechnologyThere is a wealth of indigenous knowledge about capturing and eating insects in sub-Saharan Africa. But the development of edible insects as a food industry has been very slow, despite its...
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Why all children must learn code

Coding can enhance children’s creativity and their understanding of mathematics. wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock Bitange Ndemo, University of NairobiAcross the world, the conversion of information into a digital format – also called “digitalisation” – has increased productivity in the public and private sectors. As a resul...
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There's been a spike in fake African art. What's being done to fight it

A fake Lucky Sibiya investigated by the art school. Gerard de Kamper, University of PretoriaThe art world has been dealing with fakes for more than 2 000 years, with perhaps the most notorious case being the forgeries of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer’s paintings by artist Han van Meegeren during the Second World War. Now African art is becomi...
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What lost photos of Blue Notes say about South Africa's jazz history

Mongezi Feza on trumpet at the concert in 1964 that is the source of the rare new photos of The Blue Notes. Norman Owen-Smith Lindelwa Dalamba, University of the WitwatersrandIn 1964 a young South African student and photography enthusiast, Norman Owen-Smith, took his Leica camera along to a jazz concert at the then University of Natal Pietermaritz...
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