Links this week: Ethiopia’s new female president, #BecauseWeBleed protests in South Africa, and more

In this week’s episode, we featured a chat with Jennifer Kyker on the mbira, gender, and music from Zimbabwe’s liberation movement. Much of the conversation referred to her 2014 article, “Learning in Secret: Entanglements between Gender and Age in Women’s Experiences with the Zimbabwean Mbira Dzavadzimu.” Somehow, we didn’t get a chance to talk about her excellent book, Oliver Mtukudzi: Living Tuku Music in Zimbabwe, published by Indiana University Press.

At the end of the episode, we asked for a music (in lieu of a book) recommendation and Jennifer Kyker told us about an artist who came to be known through songs he wrote during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle: Comrade Chinx, aka Dickson Chingaira; Kyker specifically pointed our listeners to his “Nzira Dzemasoja” (which she translated to as “the path of soldiers”, and based in Mao’s principles of moral military combat):

Here are a few links to other things we mentioned in this week’s podcast: 

  • In late October, Ethiopia’s parliament appointed its first ever female president, Sahle-Work Zewde. Her appointment came just after a cabinet reshuffle, when Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, reduced the size of the cabinet and also made appointments such that women now make up half of cabinet.
  • The recent “Economic Development in Africa” report from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) documents African migration trends and highlights the economic impact of migrants and their potential for augmenting growth.
  • The African Development Bank also released its “Annual Development Effectiveness Reviews,” which included an analysis of migration as well. The key takeaway from both reports is that the majority of African migration is within Africa -usually to neighboring countries.
  • There was some good news out of South Africa last week: Tito Mboweni, the minister of finance, announced that the government would stop charging a 15% value-added tax (or VAT) on menstrual products. Students, academics, and women in parliament have been advocating for abolishing VAT on menstrual products. The student movement had even created a hashtag #BecauseWeBleed, and organized a march in Johannesburg to bring attention to their cause.

Tell us what you’re reading and learning from the continent. Or just share with us what topics you would like to hear featured or guests you think would be great on the show. Leave us a comment below or contact us via Twitter (@UfahamuAfrica) or email (

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