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Deadly Flooding in Southern Africa Continues as Region Reels from Cyclone Idai

The full devastation of the storm is still being discovered as international rescue efforts continue.

The death toll is now in the hundreds in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which hit parts of Southern Africa late last week. So far the official death toll in Mozambique has reached 200, and 98 in neighboring Zimbabwe, according to Al Jazeera.Numbers are expected to rise as many people are still reported missing.

Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that the catastrophe may have killed up to 1,000 people in the country. Citizens in Malawi were also affected.

Many survivors of the disaster are seeking safety, shelter and basic resources as the flooding has destroyed homes, roads and public buildings. The devastating effects of the cyclone are being felt by many and the full effects are still being discovered. The destruction has left hundreds of thousands of children in the region at risk, according to an eye-witness BBC Africa report and millions have been affected by severe flooding.

The UN has called Cyclone Idai, "the worst weather disaster to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere."



Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosadeployed the military to assist Mozambique with rescue efforts. The Zimbabwean government has reportedly raised 18 million UDS to rebuild roads, provide water and sanitation as well as restore communication lines and electricity.

Rescue efforts have been compromised in remote areas, where rescue crews say homes have been submerged, possibly trapping people inside.

The response from the international community has been widespread, as major institutions such as the Red Cross and UNICEF continue to assess the damage and send workers to affected areas. Some Mozambicans, however, are questioning the government's efforts and are critical of what they believe was a lack of preventative measures the government could have taken to lessen the destruction caused.

Many have shared their support for the victims of Cyclone Idai online, and are seeking out ways to lend further support to victims of the disaster.



Photo by: Yuri Kriventsoff

Moroccan Government Issues First Permits For Legal Cannabis Production

This marks the first time the Arab country is issuing these permits.

The Moroccan government recently gave 10 farmers permission to grow cannabis legally. This marks the first time the country will issue permits following the legalization of cannabis production last year.

According to the Institute of Security Studies, Morocco is part of a growing group of African countries who would like to position itself as a booming international legal market for cannabis. This new legal development will allow farmers in the northern mountain regions of Taounat, Al Houceima, and Chefchaouen to grow cannabis that will meet the legal market's demand. Before now, cannabis had been widely cultivated in Morocco illegally; however, the law passed by the Moroccan parliament last year does not permit the use of cannabis for recreation. The national agency, which regulates cannabis activity in Morocco, issued the permits and said that farmers would be encouraged to increase legal cannabis production to meet the demands of the market.

According to the Morocco World News, the Moroccan government is optimistic that this new development will help to improve the lifestyles of farmers, and increase their livelihoods amid a growing legal global market for the element. The global cannabis demand is growing and is projected to reach over US$ 100 billion in the next five years. If more African countries legalize legal cannabis, the industry could be worth more than $7 billion by 2023.

Because of Morocco's close proximity to Europe, it could potentially become a leading legitimate cannabis exporter. In 2020, Moroccan farmers collectively experienced a drastic income dip that fell from approximately $497 million a year in the early 2000s to less than $321 million dollars in 2020, according to an interior ministry study last year.

Before the legalization was implemented, Moroccan farmers indicated that they wanted the implementation to be sped up. In an earlier statement, Mohamed Abbout, head of the Rif Mountains Association said that the legalization would be a step in the right direction for the country

"Farmers are desperate when it comes to the drug trade,’ said Abbout. ‘That's why they're waiting for the legalization, so we can create a medicinal market."

'Skhanda Republic 3' Is Testament to K.O’s Relentless Staying Power

After 16 years, the legendary South African MC’s pen and musicianship remain sharp-as-ever on his fourth album, SR3.

Never knew, 2022, ngizobe ngisathel’ induku,” veteran South African lyricist and musician K.O raps on “THE CALLING”, from his newly released fourth studio album SR3 (Skhanda Republic 3). While it’s a simple line for an MC with revered penmanship like him, the bar is packed and provides a sneak peek into the rapper’s current state of mind. With more than 16 years in the game, the artist born Ntokozo Mdluli has been through and seen it all.

Really made it back, when these niggas thought it was over. Heart of a soldier, nobody can hold us. Asisenabangani kule game cause a lot of them bogus,” he expresses in the first verse of the song.

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Photo: Anh Trần

South African Artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu on Creating the Sound of Dreams

The internationally-acclaimed multidisciplinary artist is the youngest participant at this year's Venice Biennale, where she is showing her latest work. But, as she tells OkayAfrica, she wants her art to be viewed beyond the parameters of age.

South Africa's Simnikiwe Buhlungu is the youngest artist at this year's International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. But Buhlungu, who hails from Johannesburg, would almost rather speak about anything else — from her daily uniform (all black) to her favorite music (Gospel) and what future passions she wants to pursue (beekeeping).

The 59th International Art Exhibition features Buhlungu's project: And the Other Thing I Was Saying Was: A Conver-something, an interactive sound installation which plays recorded sounds from various sources and explores the relationship between theremins, electronic musical synthesizers, and our bodies.

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