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28
NOV
11am

The ‘market square’ in South Africa and Colombia — a universe of potential unity to explore

Markets can support community links in contexts that would otherwise be difficult to build because of spatial geography and disconnect across communities — something South Africa could greatly benefit from.
Hernan, a vendor of fresh fruit and vegetables, started working at the “Twelfth of October” food market in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1979. Back then he says there weren’t so many big supermarket chains, and his sales went a long way. Nonetheless, the market has improved a lot over the past years, especially since the space and its infrastructure have been renovated. The market was constructed originally in 1952 and is one of 19 ‘market squares’ (or food markets) on public land, supported through a food market programme by a unit of the local government administration called the Institute for Social Economy (Instituto Para La Economía Social — Ipes).
Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city with nearly 10 million people, stretches from north to south along the Andes’ eastern corridor, with the city becoming considerably poorer the further south it goes. Market squares — as the name suggests — play a crucial role in the life and culture of every neighbourhood, the broader food system, and the economy.
Indeed, the markets are “cultural epicentres” as Francisco Rodriguez from Ipes explains, where communities themselves develop around food — in the market, there is an “entire series of events associated with food”, the preparation, the conversation, and the environment. For Francisco, the market is both a “social and cultural experience and also a sensory experience — the smells, the colours, the flavours.”
The market as an expression of its neighbourhood
In the southern Bogota district of San Cristobal, the “20th of July” market has existed for around 50 years. San Cristobal is amongst the city’s four districts with the lowest household incomes.
Dora has been working at the market for 30 years. She sells a range of products, particularly medicinal plants and herbs. She says the economy is tough right now. But on the weekends the market is a draw for the huge crowds that come to the well-known church, Divino Niño. People make pilgrimages to the church from all around the region and even from outside of the country and the market serves these crowds on weekends. There is also now a pop-up farmers market during the weekends with produce coming directly from surrounding small-scale farmers.
Still, on a Thursday morning, the market is bustling, selling a wide variety of products ...
28
NOV
11am

Prisons watchdog needs sharper teeth to demonstrate effectiveness and commitment

Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services is struggling for independence.
After 27 years in apartheid’s prisons, Nelson Mandela emerged free, the world’s most famous prisoner. He never forgot others who, like him, suffer imprisonment. One practical innovation he bequeathed was a commitment to a radically new vision of prisons and how we treat prisoners.
Our new democracy’s leaders — many of them former inmates — understood that apartheid’s prisons enforced a brutal, discriminatory system. By contrast, our democratic aspirations embraced human rights and dignity for everyone — including arrested and detained persons.
The new dispensation explicitly guaranteed incarcerated people all rights — except where justifiably limited. Most particularly, the new Bill of Rights promised all detained people conditions of detention “consistent with human dignity”.
In accord with this, Mandela’s Parliament enacted the Correctional Services Act (CSA) in place of apartheid’s prisons statute. The CSA guaranteed rights and obligations, minimum standards of detention, parole processes and community corrections — plus accountability and oversight.
Its brightest innovation was the creation of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (Jics). Unlike many prison inspectorates abroad, which are headed by medium-level functionaries, Jics would have a judge at its head, insulating its independence. It was supposed to make a difference.
Jics’s job is to inspect, investigate, report and make recommendations on conditions in correctional centres and the treatment of inmates.
The statute gives Jics a broad mandate plus specific powers. Jics can enter any correctional centre, interview all staff and any inmate, facilitate the resolution of complaints, and cast a searchlight on the darkest corners of the carceral system.
Despite our history, and great legislative promise, Jics has not transformed South Africa’s prisons.
As Jics’s reports repeatedly record, they are overcrowded, dilapidated, and dangerous. The great majority inside are not offered a chance of meaningful rehabilitation. Many are plunged into a culture of violence and gangsterism, which squeezes out the chance for reform and reintegration on release.
Most unsettling of all is this: there is a nearly-unbroken line connecting prisons of the apartheid era with those of our democracy.
Apartheid disproportionately locked up men of colour: in democratic South Africa, we still do. Despite efforts at reform, South Africa’s prison population is overwhelmingly black and coloured. We have — by far — the highest number of people in prison anywhere in Africa — and the 12 highest in the world. It is a lamentable situation.
Worse, serious human rights violations are rampant in our prisons — and they ...
28
NOV
11am

Pandemic Preparation – the government needs to set up a permanent response initiative urgently

A pandemic preparedness strategy should be a high-level, cross-cutting mechanism to coordinate the national components of a robust public health initiative that plans for future pandemics and activates emergency responses when a new pandemic risk develops.
This is an updated version of an early essay on Daily Maverick in April
The Covid-19 pandemic came as no surprise to infectious disease specialists, as this had been anticipated for decades. Although the spread of a virus from one species to another is, fortunately, a relatively rare event, viruses do have potential to adapt to a new species environment with the potential to spread to become a pandemic. Therefore, it is imperative that countries develop robust strategies for responding to pandemics, supported by clear operational plans at national and subnational levels. This piece argues in favour of a structured, nationally mandated and coordinated, permanent programme to achieve this.
Almost two decades before Covid-19, we were warned of this risk with the spread of two other coronaviruses to humans. There was the “first” Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1 virus) in 2002-4, which spread from bats and infected about 8,000 people in China and had a mortality of 8%. Again in 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus spread from camels to humans and infected 2,500 people, killing more than 30% of those infected. Pandemics such as HIV/Aids, influenza and Zika are among those that have spread to humans and added to significant human suffering and death. The 2013-16 epidemic of Ebola in West Africa caused 11,323 deaths and had significant human suffering and socioeconomic impact on Africa.
Despite these warnings, the world was still caught unprepared for a pandemic such as Covid-19. As millions succumbed to the various waves across the globe, hospitals became overwhelmed, PPE supplies were in short supply, oxygen was unavailable for severely ill patients, diagnostic tests were unavailable and scale-up took months instead of days/weeks. Surveillance systems were lacking in most parts of the world, and appropriate national intervention teams often did not exist – even in the most resourced countries. Even when effective vaccines were developed in a timely manner, there were limited national plans for acquisition and equitable distribution. Manufacturing capability in LMICs was limited to countries like India. Investing in long-term public health does not garner votes and is just not attractive politically almost anywhere in the world.
The result of this lack of pandemic preparedness was that millions died, the ...
28
NOV
8am

African Worry Dolls re-dress the lives of Cape Town homeless

Precious powerful African women dolls – each the size of the palm of a hand – are being designed by the once homeless and jobless.
Each one of the thirty dolls at the centre of the table is unique and handmade from recycled materials. Collectively they are the day’s target for a dozen men and women who belong to the Souper Squad, an empowerment programme run by Souper Troopers, the Cape Town homeless advocacy and service non-profit organisation.
Their creativity is next level: one doll wrapped in a cape imprinted with a smiling Madiba, another crowned with purple and black braids, one in a fuchsia shweshwe dress with a gold medallion at her neck. Ready to be shipped to new homes, they will be tucked under pillows to take the worries away from anxious sleepers.
The African Worry Doll project
The African Worry Doll project began as a workshop in July 2022 and has since blossomed into an income generating stream for Souper Troopers and employment for the Souper Squad, a select group of 25 unhoused people who are participants in a job creation and psychosocial support programme. Their progress since the Squad’s inception 10 months ago is extraordinary.
Of the 25 Squad members, 22 are clean and no longer using the substances they were addicted to, 20 no longer live on the streets, 25 have bank accounts and ID documents, eight have managed to save for their future, 25 send money home to their families every month and 25 have achieved the goals they set for themselves.
Great things come in small packages
The African Worry Dolls are loosely based on the handmade miniature dolls to which Guatemalan children whisper their worries before placing them under their pillows at night; to be gifted in the morning with the wisdom and courage they need. Applying this concept, the team of Cape Town makers have used their imagination and camaraderie to create distinctively African dolls out of unwanted fabric scraps, stockings, paper clips, pompoms, tassels, beads and pretty much any small object of adornment.
This is more than an exercise in upcycling. Not only do these discarded odds and ends become characterful dolls, the dolls themselves are injected with the love and sense of community that is pivotal to this programme. “It’s almost like they develop their own personalities; it’s like they speak to you,” says Hans, who is dressing a doll in brown shweshwe.
The dolls’ personalities are important, ...
28
NOV
7am

E[art]h — SA activists employing striking visual tools to fight climate change

Extinction Rebellion’s imaginative protests are entertaining. But they are also deadly serious.
South Africans usually take to the streets, in their thousands, to protest for better housing, human rights, or against corrupt presidents.
But Extinction Rebellion is doing something a little different.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
They have poured fake blood and oil over themselves, dressed up as horses, and held theatrical meetings. Using theatre and art, this is how Extinction Rebellion Cape Town is protesting against climate change. DM
First published by GroundUp.
28
NOV
6am

Gay pride comes to Gqeberha as learners march to stand against discrimination and violence

About 60 learners and some adults marched on Saturday in New Brighton to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community.
As the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) got underway, about 20 learners marched from New Brighton police station to Ithembelihle Comprehensive School in Gqeberha on Friday. They were linking GBV to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community.
Then on Saturday, the group increased to about 60 learners and a dozen adults who marched along the streets of KwaMagxaki to a recreation park to hold an LGBTQI+ community celebration.
Gqeberha Pride Festival spokesperson Mbulelo Xinana, who is from the Isixebise Social Inclusion, said their organisation works focuses on fighting discrimination against LGBTQI+ people, especially in schools.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
Lusi Mahote, who joined the march, said he told his parents he was “gender non conforming” in 2015. “Coming out in the open is a very personal thing. I don’t think that everyone should come out unless they are safe to do so. It means a different thing to everyone . We don’t have to force everyone to come out,” he said.
A 16-year-old in grade 10 said she hasn’t told her mother and grandmother yet that she is lesbian, but some friends know. She said some accepted her sexuality but others don’t.“I don’t care if they say anything,” she said, but added: “I don’t know how my parents will react.”
Anelisekile Nana in grade 10 is not gay but was there to show her support for LGBTQI+ rights. “If they are happy, then I am happy too. I try my best to intervene and reason with people who want to bully them,” said Nana.
Sitembinkosi Somlota, whose stage name is Sasha, said, “People in Motherwell are used to me. The more they get used to you, the better.” DM
First published by GroundUp.
28
NOV
6am

World Aids Day — It is vital to be vigilant on quality as we rush to test people for HIV

The theme for this year’s World Aids Day is ‘Equalise and Integrate to End Aids’. One aspect in which more equality is needed is between the quality of HIV testing services and aiming to test as many people as possible, argues René Sparks.
As we approach World Aids Day on 1 December, healthcare providers will be offering HIV screening and testing as part of a comprehensive health service.
The theme for this year’s World Aids Day is: ‘Equalise and Integrate to End Aids’.
One aspect in which more equality is arguably needed is between the quality of HIV testing services and aiming to test as many people as possible.
Progress against targets?
It is estimated that 13.9% of South Africa’s population is living with HIV and that the absolute number of people living with HIV in the country has increased from 3.8 million in 2002 to 7.8 million in 2021. This number has continued to rise since the death rate has declined much more rapidly than the rate of new HIV infections.
The most widely used measure of a country’s HIV response in recent years has been the UNAids 90-90-90 targets. These aim at 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of those diagnosed started on ARVs, and 90% of those on ARVs being virally suppressed by 2020. The goal post has now shifted to 95-95-95.
Earlier this year, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla said that in South Africa we are on 94-78-89.
This indicates that we are close to reaching the first 95. It also suggests that our HIV testing efforts have generally been a success, including the introduction of HIV Rapid Testing and HIV Self Screening as HIV testing models. But, as we collectively meet these targets, it is important to focus on the quality of HIV rapid testing to ensure that we align with HIV testing standards.
Focus on quality
The quality of HIV Rapid testing to some extent depends on laboratories, but often it is driven by HIV counsellors and service delivery NGOs. As a public health professional managing the National HIV Testing Quality Assurance and Laboratory Systems Strengthening programme, seconded to the Department of Health through Sead Consulting, it is my job to support NGOs, the Department of Health, and the Department of Correctional Services in implementing quality assurance of HIV Testing and in improving the laboratory systems between health facilities and the National Health Laboratory Service.
As someone who has worked in ...
27
NOV
4pm

Parents of Enyobeni 21 livid after tavern owners charged with crimes against a few victims — but not for causing their deaths

Kicking off their campaign to have President Cyril Ramaphosa order an independent inquiry into the deaths of 21 young people at Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, East London in June, parents were left fuming when tavern owner Vuyokazi Ndevu and manager Siyakhangela Ndevu were charged with selling alcohol to a few of those who died at the tavern.
The parents of 21 young people who died during a party celebrating the end of exams in June this year, were infuriated on Friday (25 November) as tavern owner Vuyokazi Ndevu and manager Siyakhangela Ndevu were formally charged only with selling alcohol to the underaged victims.
The pair has not been charged with causing the deaths of any of the youngsters — only for the selling of alcohol to minors and other charges relating to the transgression of liquor licence conditions.
This left many bereaved family members without a sense of justice for the deaths of their loved ones.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said, “We asked the court to postpone the case to 25 April. That is a prosecutorial strategy to ensure that when we go for trial we are ready.
“We need to be able to distinguish this case of selling liquor to underage persons and the one that everyone is interested in that relates to the deaths of the 21 children. That one is still under investigation and as soon as the docket is ready to be enrolled in court it will be enrolled.
Charges ‘laid according to evidence’
“When we enroll a matter we follow evidence. based on the information that is at our disposal.”
On Friday State advocate Tango Pangalele mentioned only the names of nine victims and one survivor. Parents demanded that their children should be included on the list. Ntombizonke Mgangala, Sinothando Mgangala’s aunt, said they are not happy with the postponement of the case:
“It is too far. if it was postponed to January it would have been better. But there is nothing we can do. All we want is to get justice for our children.. they only mentioned nine children in court yet we had 21 children who died there. Four of them were over 18. Where are the rest?
“They must tell us why they did not include the other children.”
The parents also called for those who caused the deaths of their children to be held accountable. The children mentioned in court are: Nathi Ngqoza (18), Bhongolwethu Ncandana (15), Sikelela Tshemese ...
25
NOV
7am

Long walk to education — rural EC learners travel on foot 20km to and from school daily

15,000 learners who need transport are not getting it. And from next year there’ll be 22,000 more.
Grade 11 learner Sinethemba Nkululeko wakes up daily at 3am to walk ten kilometres from his village to school in Willowvale, Eastern Cape. At 3:10pm he walks the ten kilometres back home. He is one of 15,000 learners in the province who are eligible for scholar transport but are not getting it, because there is no budget.
Responsibility for school transport was moved from the Eastern Cape Department of Education to the Department of Roads and Transport in 2011. According to Unathi Binqose, spokesperson for the provincial department of Roads and Transport, about 140,000 learners are in need of school transport, but currently 125,000 are being transported. Binqose said even this number is stretching the department’s budget.
Binqose said that the department has to cut costs on events, travelling and accommodation for its employees in order to pay for scholar transport. Next year the department will only have budget to transport a bit more than 100,000 learners, leaving over 20,000 more learners without transport.
This means over 35,000 learners will likely be without school transport next year.
Long walk to education
Teachers in rural areas are worried that their schools might shut down because the learner numbers are dwindling every year due to the high rate of school dropouts.
Seventeen-year-old Sinethemba goes to LM Malgus Senior Secondary School in Willowvale. “Since 2020 there has been no scholar transport here. I wake up at 3am everyday because I walk about 10km from Zenzile Village to get to school. I leave my home at 4am and it is very dark in winter. For safety, I walk with my two classmates. We cross the rivers and walk through the thick bushes. Then we arrive at school at 6am for morning classes.
“By 3:10pm the school closes and it is another 10km back home. I get back home about 5pm. Then I have to go to the river and fetch the water to wash my school uniform, bath and cook. I also have to collect the livestock and still do my homework. Then at 9pm I go to bed and sleep. But in the classroom sometimes it’s hard to concentrate because I feel tired.”
His classmate Luzuko Bohlo, 20, from Bikana Village also complains about the distance. He said, “I wake up at 4am and then go to school at 5am. Our school shoes are worn ...
25
NOV
3am

South Africa needs to establish a Pandemic Preparedness Initiative now

A pandemic preparedness strategy should be a high-level, cross-cutting mechanism to coordinate the national components of a robust public health initiative that plans for future pandemics and activates emergency responses when a new pandemic risk develops.
The Covid-19 pandemic came as no surprise to infectious disease specialists – it had been anticipated for decades. Although the spread of a virus from one species to another is fortunately relatively rare, viruses can potentially adapt to a new species environment, then spread to become a pandemic. Therefore it is imperative that countries develop robust strategies for responding to pandemics, supported by clear operational plans at national and provincial levels. This piece argues in favour of a structured, nationally mandated, permanent programme to achieve this.
Almost two decades before Covid-19, we were forewarned of this risk with the spread of two other coronaviruses to humans. There was the “first” Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2 virus) in 2002-4, which spread from bats and infected about 8,000 in China and had a mortality of 8%. In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus spread from camels to humans and infected 2,500 people, killing more than 30% of those infected. Pandemics, such as HIV/Aids, influenza and Zika are among others that have spread to humans and added to significant suffering and death. The 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa caused 11,323 deaths and had a significant human-suffering and socioeconomic impact on Africa.
Despite these warnings, the world was still caught unprepared for a pandemic such as Covid-19. As millions succumbed to the various waves across the globe, hospitals became overwhelmed, PPE was in short supply, oxygen was unavailable for severely ill patients, diagnostic tests were unavailable and scale-up took months instead of days or weeks. Surveillance systems were lacking in most parts of the world, and appropriate national intervention teams often did not exist – even in the most resourced countries. Even when effective vaccines were developed in a timely manner, there were limited national plans for acquisition and equitable distribution. Manufacturing capability in low-middle-income countries was limited to countries like India. Investing in long-term public health does not garner votes and is just not attractive politically almost anywhere in the world.
The result of this lack of pandemic preparedness was that millions died, the global economy tanked in many regions and, as usual, the poor and marginalised of the world were worst-hit.
We write in support of the South ...
24
NOV
3pm

Three children are murdered every day in South Africa — we need action, not outrage

Four-year-old Bokgabo Poo’s horror rape, murder and dismemberment united government and communities in grief and fury. But in a country with under-reported statistics of three child murders a day, outrage on the part of authorities is a poor substitute for action.
Little Bokgabo Poo was described as an outgoing, confident four-year-old with a big and engaging smile who loved her daddy. Her granny Lilian Poo believed that she had a bright future ahead of her.
“We saw a doctor, a teacher, a minister and a lot of good things [in her],” she said.
But on 11 October 2022, Bokgabo’s dismembered leg and arm were found in a shallow grave the day after she went missing while playing in a park in Wattville.
Piecing together eyewitness statements, CCTV footage and media accounts, a picture of her gruesome death appears.
In the late afternoon of 10 October, while her mother, Tsholofelo Poo, was at a community meeting, Bokgabo was playing in the park with a five-year-old friend when she was approached by a man.
Well-known in the community as someone who was always around children, and who had sweets and money in his school bag, he gave the boy she was playing with R2 to buy lollipops at the local tuckshop. He agreed eagerly. When he returned, Bokgabo and the man were both gone.
Bokgabo was never seen alive again, but CCTV footage captured at a tavern showed the four-year-old girl approaching a shop with Ntokozo Zikhali pictured close by.
Zikhali, self-titled “Harry Potter”, was out on bail for the rape of a nine-year-old at the time. Tragically, in the footage she was skipping happily alongside the man alleged to have raped, murdered and dismembered her shortly thereafter.
A week after Bokgabo’s death, The Sowetan published a front-page article titled, “How many more must die?” On it are the faces of 19 children, all murdered in the past four years.
Among them is six-year-old Bontle Mashiyane from Mganduzweni near Hazyview. When she, like Bokgabo, was raped, murdered and mutilated for muti in April 2022, she was the third child from her school, Sincobile Primary, to die in this way.
One of the four people arrested for Bontle’s rape and murder was out on parole at the time of her death. He was released in December 2021 after being convicted of murder in 2016, a murder he had committed while out on bail for the attempted murder of a teenager, a crime for which ...
24
NOV
1pm

‘The air is different in a free country’ – The power of Mandela’s legacy in today’s democratic SA

While not blind to the flaws of a democratic system, the late Nelson Mandela believed in giving people a voice and trusting them to find solutions. Addressing The Gathering 2022 on Thursday, Richard Stengel – author and former Time magazine editor – spoke of the power of Mandela’s legacy in today’s South Africa.
“This is wrong. I have seen it. What are you going to do about it?”
For Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratic president, the purpose of democratic rule was to uplift all of the country’s citizens. The role of government was to do for people what they could not do for themselves – give them a hand and allow them to live up to their aspirations.
“That’s what always motivated him: giving people a voice, allowing them to choose. He believed in consensus because he believed human beings, in the aggregate, make the best choices.”
These were the words of Richard Stengel – author, former Time magazine editor and former US deputy secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs – during a video address at Daily Maverick’s The Gathering 2022. The event was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Thursday, 24 November.
Stengel is well known for collaborating with Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. In the more than 60 hours of tapes that went into creating the book, Mandela never took his eye off his “great and abiding goal” – freedom for his people and all South Africans.
“I’ve never known anyone so focused . To him, everything, and I mean everything, was subservient to the freedom struggle,” said Stengel.
Mandela once shared a story of witnessing an assault on Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 27 years. In response, he confronted the head of the South African prison system, saying, “This is wrong. I have seen it. What are you going to do about it?”
“There aren’t many sentences that crystallised Nelson Mandela better than that,” said Stengel. “That is who he was as leader. He was a pragmatist, yet he was also a moral leader.”
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
Democratic struggles
While Mandela believed in South Africa as a democratic country, he knew that democracy did not solve all the world’s problems, according to Stengel. In 1997, Mandela warned of the dangers of majority rule within South Africa. Once established, he said, many people would go into politics for power ...

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