News in Africa: 01/17/2013

I’m back with more news from Africa. We have lots to talk about in the news, so why don’t we jump right in?

In North Africa, we have some exciting anniversaries to celebrate. Tunisia has been celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Arab Spring that rocked the Middle East and North Africa. During their revolution, Tunisians ousted their former dictator, but they are still trying to establish a new constitution.

Speaking of North African dictators, this newsletter discusses and even praises Libya under former and deceased dictator Gaddafi. The post is by Garikai Chengu, a fellow of the Du Bois Institute for African Research at Harvard University, so I’m inclined to think he’s not just a radical spouting off conspiracy theories. Chengu lists various progressive ideas upheld within Libyan democratic processes and points to the various human rights improvements that took place under Gaddafi’s rule. Chengu points out that prior to the Arab Spring spreading to Libya, the UN had prepared a lengthy dossier praising Gaddafi’s human rights achievements. This seems to fly in the face of everything I thought I knew about Libya and Gaddafi, and I’m not sure what to make of it myself. What do you all think?

The ongoing conflict in Mali between rebels in the north and military troops has expanded to include French military support. This support, which began last Friday, has included aerial bombings. France is urging African nations to get involved in sending troop support. As a reminder, the extremist rebels have Al-Qaeda ties.

At the inauguration of the newly-established Africa Institute at Valparaiso University in Indiana, former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed dismay while highlighting several factors that have contributed to Africa’s underdevelopment. He cites insecurity, corruption, and lack of infrastructure as major contributors.

To be fair, African nations aren’t the only ones to blame here. Recent studies have revealed Iranian involvement in small-arms trafficking which have fueled multiple African conflicts. Iran broke trade embargoes and “infiltrated African markets with massive amounts of illegal, unmarked 7.26 mm rounds for the Kalishnakov-style AK-47 rifles.” Many militias favor these rifles.

Most Africans don’t consume alcohol. Both Christianity and Islam have well-established bodies of practicers which encourage teetotalism, so this makes sense. However, those who do drink consume a lot – 25% of those who drink are binge drinkers.

Football, or soccer to Americans, is Africa’s favorite sport, closely followed by rugby. In just a few short days, the Africa Cup of Nations will kick off – pun totally intended! – and this short video will show you what you need to know about this exciting tournament. Footie!!

More from Nigeria…their President Goodluck Jonathan promises to empower women both politically and economically. I wish him luck in his endeavors, especially if his intentions are pure and not merely to make himself look good.

Speaking of women, Bishop-elect Margaret Brenda Vertue will be the second woman to be a bishop appointed to the southern region of Africa. She will be consecrated and enthroned this Saturday, January 19, at 10:30am local time.

That wraps it up for this week! What do you think about these updates?

By Dormouse

Bilingual (and a half) white girl who spent thirteen of her formative years in Africa. She is a writer, mentor, coffee drinker, wife, cat owner, language lover, photography dabbler, aspiring speaker, and a lifetime student. She keeps her writing going over at

4 replies on “News in Africa: 01/17/2013”

I’m just as befuddled as you about the Libya article. My minor in college was international relations with a heavy emphasis on African politics (I wanted to cover African politics for AP) and I can’t remember ever hearing any of this during my studies. One of my professors was from Libya and he didn’t mention anything pleasant about his country. I may have to do some more reading now.

For awhile, my family lived in Chad, which is just south of Libya. Chad’s president was “friends” with Gaddafi, and a couple of times while we were there, Gaddafi came south for official visits. He did this by crossing the Sahara with an army (not flying from Tripoli to N’Djamena?) and sort of disrupting everything in the city while he was there. All American citizens were strongly encouraged to stay home while he was in town. When Gaddafi visited the biggest mosque in town, there was a red carpet laid out that was just for him. Of course, there were crowds eager to see him, and rumor has it that someone was pushed onto the carpet by accident and was shot. (I’m not entirely sure if that was true.) Still, everything I know about Gaddafi and Libya seems to be very contrary to that article. More research for sure!

Leave a Reply