News Brief

'Using the Poor as Accessories'—South Africans Respond to #67Minutes

Every Mandela Day the world is called to spend 67 minutes to serve in honor of Mandela's 67 years fighting for justice—but South Africans are fed up with the hypocrisy of it all.

It's Mandela Day and South Africans are once again encouraged to take a day of service to continue Nelson Mandela's call for us to make the world a better place.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation spearheads the campaign, where they have asked the world of the following since 2009:

Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We're asking you to start with 67 minutes. We would be honored if such a day can serve to bring together people around the world to fight poverty and promote peace, reconciliation and cultural diversity.

Although this initiative appears to intend to spark the service bug in the global community beyond 67 minutes, many South Africans have used this action step hashtag on social media and beyond the digital realm to criticize those in privileged and political positions to make real change and a sustainable impact beyond an hour and 7 minutes every July 18.

Protestors and activists from the Housing Assembly Youth Collective built a shack with a portable toilet outside the official home of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille Wednesday morning. The came with the challenge encouraging Zille to spend her 67 minutes on Mandela Day inside the shack so she can experience what many South Africans are forced to utilize everyday, News24 reports.


"We are sick and tired of living in these shacks," Mihlali Xalisile says to News24.

The youth collective also demand in a statement for "decent jobs and houses for all from the age of 18." The minimum age for one to apply for a home under the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP) is 21.

"This has been the experience of our parents and grandparents, dying in overcrowded backyards and informal settlements," the collective adds.

Back on Twitter, South Africans continue to call out the hypocrisy #67minutes come with—including the photo ops of "service" as a means of baseless validation. Take a look at some of their thoughts below.










News Brief
Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

South Africa Responsibly Reported A New Variant of COVID-19 - And Now The World Is Making Them Pay For It

In the world's latest attempt at making COVID-19 Africa's disease, South Africa is now being punished for good use of the advanced technology that identified the Omicron variant.

If there's one thing Western media is going to do, it's going to make African countries out to be the bad, irresponsible kids on the team.

Last week, South African scientists informed the globe that they had discovered and identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, which the World Health Organization went on to name Omicron. The variant's influence and characteristics are yet to be understood, as leading scientists in South Africa — and across the world — scramble to understand the next layer of the COVID-19 virus. It also means that it is impossible to dictate exactly where the variant originated from.

The news broke, and the world began to panic, with the brash reactions manifesting as a near-global travel ban, to and from South Africa, over fears of the latest variant. The almost immediate ostracization has resulted in hordes of foreign nationals within South Africa being "stranded", and South African citizens abroad not being able to get back home.

The Omicron strain was identified in neighboring country Botswana at the same time, but among a group of foreign diplomatic visitors, with two ministers warning Western onlookers from "geo-politicizing this virus". Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera went on to openly accuse Western countries of "Afrophobia" for shutting their borders with such haste, and in a manner that seems as if they've been waiting for the opportunity to do so. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director on the African continent said, "With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity." Israel announced over the weekend that they would enforce travel bans on all African countries... except those which reside in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, etc). U.S Governor Greg Abbott received backlash after ignorantly tweeting on Sunday that, "Immigrants have recently been apprehended crossing our border illegally from South Africa."

According to Reuters, South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and relevant parties have requested an urgent sitting this Friday with WHO's working group on virus evolution, to discuss the new variant and what this could mean for this next phase of the global pandemic. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the countries that have implemented travel bans on the country to rethink and ultimately lift them, vocalizing his disappointment in the ease with which world leaders are prepared to shut African countries out of an issue we are experiencing as a global unit. Ramaphosa also argued that the bans would not successfully stop the transmission of the newer variant, "The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic," he said.

This is not the first time that South Africa has been held liable for a newly discovered variant of the COVID-19 virus. Last December, a Beta variant was detected in the Southern African country and the world reacted in a similar way — inappropriately. Claims that the newly identified variant is the most dangerous are irresponsible are simply not true — scientists have little to no real information on how this variant may affect people, as it has just been discovered.

Informed individuals and social media warriors alike took to their handheld devices to set the records straight, with some congratulating South Africa's team for being responsible in their handling of a global pandemic. Even Piers Morgan got it right.


M.anifest’s 'Madina to the Universe'  Marks a Creative Shift

The Ghanaian rapper recalibrated his creative process for his fifth full-length project.

It’s the middle of a very hot midweek afternoon and Ghanaian rapper M.anifest welcomes me into his place of residence.

The rapper’s home is located in a busy suburb of Accra, Ghana’s bustling capital city. His front yard is full of green shrubbery and flowers, a picturesque and serene haven that’s a sharp contrast to the busy road it’s located on. As we enter he exudes a joyful and carefree demeanor, and I’m reminded that's the only state I’ve ever seen the rapper in every time we’ve met. There’s a possibility that the momentary euphoria that precedes an album release could have a part to play in his mood, but regardless of whatever the source of his joy may be, you can just tell M.anifest is in a good place.

M.anifest is wearing his own merchandise, a black t-shirt adorned with custom artwork based on his upcoming album, Madina to the Universe, the self-promoting hallmark of his all-black getup. After some friendly discourse, the eccentric rapper proceeds to tell me the inspiration behind the album, the interesting stories behind some of its songs, and the inner details of his creative process.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo: Josef Yohannes / The Urban Legend

How A New Generation of Comic Book Creators is Sharing Africa’s History

From Uganda to the DRC, Nigeria to Côte d'Ivoire, comic book creators and graphic novel illustrators are taking full advantage of the art-form to tell uniquely African stories.

For many outside of the continent, Captain Africa, with his solar-powered cape enabling him to fly at super-speed, was the first African superhero comic to go global. Created by Ghanaian Andy Akman and published by Nigeria's African Comics Limited, Captain Africa spent the late '80s on a mission to "fight the evil and dark forces that threatened Africa and the whole world," particularly in a post-colonial world.

While the comic book series as it was originally known may have sputtered out, the influence of Captain Africa lives on, in a new generation of comic book creators and graphic novelists who're using the art-form to engage readers with various parts of the continent's history. In illustrating their own brands of African superheroes and everyman characters, they're envisioning a future of Africa wholly anchored in its past.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Influential Louis Vuitton And Off-White Designer Virgil Abloh, Dies at 41

The popular Ghanaian-American designer had been battling a rare form of cancer in private for several years.