What we’re reading (& listening to) this week: rhinos, music and poetry in Gambia, term limits in Benin, Africa newsletters, and more

White rhino photographed in Lake Nakuru National Park. (Mike Richardson/Flickr)

Agatoni asked in this week’s episode: Did you know that rhino horns actually grow backThis week, South Africa’s constitutional court dismissed an appeal by the government to keep the ban on rhino horn trade in place. The trade was originally halted in 2009 and now, anyone with a permit will be free to trade rhino horns, with foreigners granted the right to export two horns for “personal purposes,” which is interesting since the international ban on rhino horn trade remains firmly in place.

Related: In Episode 4, we briefly talked about China’s decision to ban domestic ivory trade and what effect this would have on conservation efforts for the African elephant. Listen also to this 2015 RadioLab podcast (HT listener Robert Wishart), called “The Rhino Hunter.”

For your listening pleasure, the blog Africa is a Country has resumed its Weekend Music Breaks. Below is a bonus video from the musical artist we featured this week, Tanzanian Vanessa Mdee. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, and Instagram.

A nice little update from Gambia: Al-Jazeera English producer Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) wrote a piece earlier this week on how music and poetry are thriving now that artists can express themselves freely following the ouster of long-time president Yaya Jammeh. One interesting tidbit I read in the piece was  about a poem  about presidential term limits which the poet says is a warning to Gambia’s new president, Adama Barrow, not to stay in power beyond two five-year terms.

We also talked in this week’s episode about Benin’s national assembly voting against limiting the presidential mandate to one term. Current president Patrice Talon proposed that his successors only serve single six year terms. Although a supermajority voted for the bill (60 YEAs, 22 NAYs, 1 abstention), the bill needed 63 votes to be passed to go to a referendum.

Last but not least, after this week’s episode, we learned that Rachel Strohm (@RachelStrohm) has begun curating a weekly newsletter called Africa Update to keep you up-to-date on all things African politics and culture. You can sign up here. If you haven’t already, you might also want to sign up for Jeff Paller (@JWPaller) and Philip Dube’s (@ThephilospherThis Week in Africa newsletter.



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