Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Power cut dampens township’s World Cup mood

SOUTH-AFRICANwabisa Ingrid Jamekwana writes from Khayelitsha township on the outskirts of Cape Town on the difficulties of watching the World Cup there.

The excitement is here in the townships too. We have our flags, our caps, our second hand sport shirts. All that is missing are the games.

Our electricity was cut off just a few days ago in what looks as though it was a crackdown on irregular power connections by the power company Eskom. No light. No television.

The only way to get electricity now would be to run a cable from the nearby brick houses, but that’s not an option if you don’t have the money to be able to buy the wire as well as someone who will let you take from their supply.

A few lucky people still have the right connections. Their shacks will be full of neighbours coming to watch the games.

Work stops when Bafana is in town


They stood in the winter sun for up to two hours just waiting to catch a glimpse of their nation’s hope, Bafana Bafana. Some swopped their usual tie and shirts to don the South African National football jersey. Those who tried to work, it seems, eventually left their work stations and joined in the trumpet blast that gripped Johannesburg’s business hub also known as Sandton.


They blew their vuvuzelas, sang Shosholoza, blew the vuvuzelas some more and finally…..the green double decker bus carrying the national team emerged. Bafana Bafana supporters showed their love to the team ahead of their World Cup Opening match against Mexico on Friday. The players, led by captain Aaron Mokoena, could be seen perched atop the open bus taking pictures of the fans below and waving at them.

Could aid squeeze help Africa?


GUINEA/The dire state of rich countries’ public finances is likely to squeeze aid to Africa in the next few years, although it may be the bitter pill the fast-growing continent needs to wean itself off handouts.

Even though sub-Saharan economies grew at a pacy 5 percent before the 2009 global slump, aid to the poorest continent also rose after the Group of Seven (G7) richest states promised in 2005 to double development assistance.

World Cup buzz crosses South Africa


Nosimilo Ramela Nosimilo Ramela of writes on the growing buzz in South Africa’s cities, villages and townships ahead of the World Cup:

Jonathan Foster from Northcliff in Johannesburg is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his new, 42-inch hide-definition television. “I ordered it two weeks ago and they will be delivering it today,” he said. “I can’t wait. It’s the last item and the most important one to complete our preparation for this great event.”

Foster and his family have also invested in a wall-to-wall 10-seater couch, new braai (grill) stand, vuvuzelas (plastic trumpets) and football jerseys to get into the spirit of the game. “We bought a big brown couch because we will be hosting many of our friends for braais during the World Cup,” he said. “My friends and family love football, but we could not afford to get tickets to all the games, so we are creating the same vibe in our own house.”

West must change approach to Africa


SUDAN/Tom Cargill, Assistant Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, writes on the West’s relationship with Africa:

French President Nicholas Sarkozy put it best this week, when he spoke of the increasing important of Africa in Global Affairs: “Africa’s formidable demographics and its considerable resources make it the main reservoir for world economic growth in the decades to come.”

Bissau: the quiet coup?


 Bissau fishermen tend their netsSince 2008, there have been at least four successful coups in Africa — Madagascar, Mauritania, Guinea and Niger — all proof that the gun still trumps the ballot box as a means of taking power on the continent.

But there may be a fifth quietly happening now in former Portuguese colony Guinea Bissau, where ex-Navy chief and suspected drugs kingpin Bubo Na Tchuto appears increasingly to be calling the shots.

South Africa’s birthday party that isn’t


It is exactly one hundred years today since the formation of the Union of South Africa, but there are no signs of celebration over that. SPORT SOCCER WORLDWhat exactly is the Union, you might ask? On May 31 1910, the southern part of Africa that is today known as the Republic of South Africa became a unitary state under British dominion in pretty much the geographical shape which exists to this day.

Given that for most South Africans, history from 1910 until the end of white minority rule in 1994 was one of exclusion and oppression there may be understandable reasons why it is not a date to be accompanied by mass celebrations.

South Africa overshadowed by growth of the rest


KENYA DRAUGHTSouth Africa’s place as the sole economic giant in Africa is set to decline in coming decades as its growth is outstripped by countries to the north that have emerged as some of the fastest growing in the world.

As part of a package of Reuters reports on Frontier Markets, my colleague Ed Cropley takes a look at the importance for South Africa’s future of positioning itself as a springboard to the rest of the continent.

from Global Investing:

Africa-doing well, risks remain

Africa is doing well but there are a few worries around the corner. These include the impact of the euro zone debt crisis, the need for an orderly exit from domestic easing policies and overdependence on commodities, says Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte, head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's operations effectiveness unit.

The OECD, together with theDRC African Development Bank, published an upbeat report on Africa this week, saying the continent will grow 4.5 percent this year and 5.2 percent next.

Critics pan Africa’s new patron of the sciences


UN-ASSEMBLY/    Think scientific excellence and Equatorial Guinea may not
immediately spring to mind.

    Still less might you think of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo,
whose 30-year rule over the tiny central African oil producer
country has left him with an international reputation for
corruption and civil rights abuses.