Links this week: Tanzania expulsion of UNDP official, anti-malaria vaccine, podcast and book recs, and more

Side-by-side photos of London Marathon winners Mary Keitany and Daniel Wanjiru. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kenyan Mary Keitany broke the women’s world record for the marathon earlier this week at the London Marathon. Fellow Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru won the men’s race. Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa finished 12th, and crossed the finish line with his arms crossed overhead, a symbol of protest in solidarity with the Oromo Protests in Ethiopia. Lilesa made the same overhead gesture as he entered a news conference preceding the marathon. A spokesman for the Ethiopian government dismissed Lilesa’s claims of violence against Oromo peoples at the hands of the state.

Continuing our coverage of political events in Tanzania, this week the government expelled UNDP official Awa Dabo, a Gambian national. Apparently, the government was dissatisfied with the “deteriorating performance” of her office. Should we be under the impression that all the other international NGOs and multinational corporations with locations in Tanzania are performing well?

There’s big news in global health this week as the World Health Organization announced Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi would begin anti-malaria vaccination programs with the vaccine RTS,S. It’s important to note that the scientific study measuring the efficacy of the RTS,S vaccine should qualify our optimism. Quoting from the study, the vaccine “reduced the number of cases of clinical malaria in children (aged 5-17 months at first vaccination) by 36%”. The reduction was only 26% among infants. During this week’s podcast, we mentioned that there is another vaccine in development, PfSPZ, made by a small biotech startup, Sanaria, that seems to have a much higher efficacy in preventing malaria.  

At the end of this week’s podcast with Dr. Candis Watts Smith, we chat about three books: Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah, and Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe.

Here are a few more links we didn’t get a chance to talk about but thought our listeners might like or learn from:


Thanks to this post on top African podcasts, we learned of Talking Heads, “a leading Pan-African knowledge sharing platform created to disrupt the common negative narratives about Africa.” Listen to a recent Talking Heads podcast that features Sean Jacobs, founder of our fave blog Africa is a Country. There’s also a new episode of Africa Past and Present that features Harvard professor John Mugane; he talks about his recently published book, The Story of Swahili.

Check out this Op-Ed in Al-Jazeera English about NGOs “saving” children from slavery. In it, University of Antwerp Research Fellow Neil Howard warns against misrepresentations of young Africans migrating for labor.

Quartz Africa has a great piece on Mikael Owunna’s photos of queer Africans. We learn that one of the inspirations for his project Limit(less) is South African artist/photographer/activist Zanele Muholi.


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