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Edgar Pieterse to Deliver Keynote Speech at the All Change! Symposium in Johannesburg

New Architectural and Urban Narratives on the African Continent

Africa's Urban RevolutionThe Goethe-Institut Johannesburg invites you to a symposium entitled “All Change! New Architectural and Urban Narratives on the African Continent”.

The exhibition, curated by Lesley Lokko and Andres Lepik, aims to explore contemporary and emerging architecture as more than just buildings but a transformative force of new ideas and solutions. Guest curators include architectural experts from Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, the UK, the US, Angola and Cape Verde.

Professor Edgar Pieterse, co-editor of Africa’s Urban Revolution, the SA Research Chair in Urban Policy and Director of the African Centre for Cities, will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, 26 May, at 6 PM. The symposium will kick off on Wednesday, 27 May, and will run from 9:30 to 4 PM.

Don’t miss it!

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Video: Morten Jerven Explains What Statistics Really Tell You About a State’s Priorities

Poor NumbersMorten Jerven was recently interviewed by capacity4dev about his new book Poor Numbers: How we are mislead by African development statistics and what to do about it.

In the video Jerven explains how the priorities of statistics mirror policy priorities. For instance, he says: “If you want to know whether Sierra Leone is serious about studying and improving the lives of small farmers, then check when they last collected data on their small farmers.”

Watch the video:

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  • Poor Numbers: How we are mislead by African development statistics and what to do about it by Morten Jerven
    EAN: 9781775820659
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

“Gay People Do Not Have Ancestors”: Workshop Highlights the Plight of Gay Sangomas

Traditional African Religions in South African LawA workshop on the challenges faced by gay traditional healers was held in Cape Town last week as part of the Khumbulani LGBTI Pride events.

Michael Khumalo and Sindiswa Tafeni shared their experience of what it meant to be gay sangomas in the township. Both healers said that people often don’t want their help when they find out that they are gay, or they blame them if their children come out of the closet.

The workshop addressed the idea that homosexuality can be cured and sought to find ways to educate one other through public dialogue.

For more insight into traditional African beliefs, religion and traditions, have a look at Traditional African Religions in South African Law edited by Tom Bennett.

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Another healer said that in some communities a gay traditional healer was called umthakathi (witch).

“People say that there is no such thing as a gay sangoma, and that there is no gay ancestor and that gay people do not have ancestors, so for them to become sangomas is just evil vibes and they are bewitching people and turning them gay,” the healer said.

Sindiswa Tafeni told the workshop that being lesbian in the township was hard enough, and being a lesbian sangoma was even harder because of the attitude of other sangomas.

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Zanele Muholi Nominated for Photographers’ Gallery Deutsche Börse Prize (Video)

Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 - 2014Jacketed WomenZanele Muholi has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Prize convened by The Photographers’ Gallery for her work published in Zanele Muholi: Faces and Phases 2006 – 2014, with text by Gabeba Baderoon. She is one of the contributors in Jacketed Women: Qualitative research methodologies on sexualities and gender in Africa.

“In the work of Zanele Muholi, the personal and political are also interwoven in her tender, unflinching portraits and testimonies of the South African LGBTI community,” the gallery writes on their website. A self-titled visual activist, her black and white portraits offer focused and much needed insight into black LGBTI identity and politics in post-apartheid South Africa.

Watch a video interview with Muholi in which she talks about her work, explaining why she feels so strongly that the stories she tells with her work absolutely need to be heard:


This year’s shortlist reflects a diversity of attitudes towards the medium underpinned by an exploration into new and unexpected modes of presentation incorporating video, text, object and wall-based photographic displays.

The New York Times‘ Holland Cotter wrote a short profile of Muholi, including information on an upcoming event where she will discuss her work and show a photo-and-video series about same-sex marriage:

The South African photographer Zanele Muholi, born in Durban in 1972, specializes in portraiture of a particular kind: Almost all of her subjects are members of South Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.

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Image courtesy of NY Times

How Can Business Rid Africa of Poverty? Presenting The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation

The Business of Social and Environmental InnovationUCT Press presents The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation: New Frontiers in Africa edited by Verena Bitzer, Ralph Hamann, Eliada Wosu Griffin-EL and Martin Hall:

The role of business in developing innovative responses to complex social and environmental problems is becoming increasingly urgent as a subject of study. A more proactive role for business is especially pertinent in sub-Saharan Africa which, although plagued by conflict and poverty, shows signs of a brighter future as the world’s second fastest-growing region. Yet there is very little research on this subject in Africa. This book seeks to contribute to the growing body of scholarly work on social and environmental innovation with the two-fold aim of studying the role of business in creating such innovation and focusing on the African context.

The chapters and case studies within this book address the role of entrepreneurs, large companies, cross-sector collaboration initiatives, and academia and teachers in social and environmental innovation. Cutting across these sections are four themes: social innovation as a process and outcome; mapping and scaling up innovation; the tension between social purpose and profit generation; and socio-economic and institutional context.


PART I: Introduction

1. The Business of Social and Environmental Innovation: Introduction – Verena Bitzer and Ralph Hamann

PART II: Entrepreneurs

2. Innovations in Social Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Biofuel Production: The Case of Tanzanian Outgrowers Cultivating Jatropha for the Global Biofuel Chain – Annelies Balkema and Henny Romijn

3. Social Innovation Through Development Franchising: Compensating for a Lack of Entrepreneurial Expertise and Connecting to Formal Supply Chains – Isaac H. Smith and Kristie W. Seawright

4. Social and Environmental Enterprises in Africa: Context, Convergence and Characteristics – David Littlewood and Diane Holt

PART III: Corporations

5. The Evolution of a Sustainability Leader: The Development of Strategic and Boundary Spanning Organizational Innovation Capabilities in Woolworths – Ralph Hamann, Nadine Methner and Warren Nilsson

6. Obstacles To Firms’ Adoption of Socially Embedded Approaches To BOP Markets – Clare Bland and Ralph Hamann

7. An Integrated Approach To Poverty Alleviation: Roles of the Private Sector, Government and Civil Society – Kevin McKague, David Wheeler and Aneel Karnani

Part IV: Partnerships

8. Practitioner Case Study: Key Factors for The Successful Implementation of Stakeholder Partnerships: The Case of the African Cashew Initiative – Petra Kuenkel and Andrew Aitken

9. From Concord To Conflict: A Conceptual Analysis of a Partnership for Social Innovation – Rob Moore

10. Fostering Innovation for Sustainable Food Security: The Southern Africa Food Lab – Milla McLachlan, Ralph Hamann, Vanessa Sayers, Candice Kelly and Scott Drimie

PART V: Teaching

11. Against Inequality: Towards a Curriculum for Social and Environmental Innovation – Martin Hall

12. The Social Innovation Lab: An Experiment in the Pedagogy of Institutional Work – Warren Nilsson, Francois Bonnici and Eliada Wosu Griffin-EL

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“Should the Photographer have Intervened?” – Herman Wasserman on the Death of Emmanuel Sithole

Tabloid Journalism in South AfricaProfessor Herman Wasserman wrote an article about the murder of Emmanuel Sithole, a Mozambican national who was killed during the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The professor of Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and author of Tabloid Journalism in South Africa: True Story! writes about Sunday Times photojournalist James Oatway’s documentation of the attack and his actions afterwards when he rushed Sithole to the hospital in Edenvale.

Wasserman interrogates the public outcry around objectivity and involvement that followed: “Should the photographer have intervened? Should he have intervened earlier?” He unpacks the media’s role as watchdog, the ethics behind publishing the pictures of a dying man on the front page of a national newspaper and the public’s involvement in the making of editorial decisions.

Wasserman also puts the language used in articles about xenophobia under the microscope and concludes with a quote by Stuart Hall: “Against the urgency of people dying in the streets, what in God’s name is the point of journalism?”

Read the article:

The case of Emmanuel Sithole should prompt us to ask more substantive questions about how decisions are made in newsrooms, how journalists see their role in society, whose stories get told, and who gets to speak. But perhaps even more importantly than questions around how stories get covered, Sithole’s story should also force us to confront the news values that determine which stories do not get covered. Is it ethical, for instance, for a newspaper to lead with a story on a prominent theologian and youth movement leader’s alleged extra-marital affairs, or an online new service to lead with a story on the injury of a rugby player, while people are being mowed down in our streets? We see a lot of criticism of the public’s right to know when the state exerts pressure on the media, but the same scrutiny is not brought to bear on pernicious market forces that determine news agendas to the extent that they also feed into an ignorance of the “other” who fall outside the narrow interests of commercially-defined news markets.

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Podcast: Morten Jerven Questions the Validity of “Doubly Biased” Statistics in Developing Countries

Poor NumbersMorten Jerven, author of Poor Numbers: How we are mislead by African development statistics and what to do about it, was interviewed on the KLPU’s Humanosphere show.

In the interview, Tom Paulson asks Jerven about his “highly controversial” book. He emphasises the importance of good data in order to guide policy and strategy for development in Africa.

Jerven deals with the “knowledge problem” in his book. He says “We have grown accustomed to thinking that we can download facts, statistics, on all the countries in the world.”

The assumption that these macroeconomic indicators and social indicators are grounds for meaningful comparison is “doubly biased” when applied to developing countries, because it does not really represent the economy or the people.

Listen to the podcast:

Book details

  • Poor Numbers: How we are mislead by African development statistics and what to do about it by Morten Jerven
    EAN: 9781775820659
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Don’t Miss Herman Wasserman’s Seminar on China’s Influence on Editorial Agendas in SA at HUMA, UCT

Tabloid Journalism in South Africa: True Story!UCT Press would like to invite you to a seminar on “China’s ‘Soft Power’ and its influence on Editorial Agendas in South Africa” on Thursday, 30 April.

Herman Wasserman, the author of Tabloid Journalism in South Africa, will be presenting the seminar at HUMA Institute for Humanities in Africa. The event takes place from 1 to 2:30 PM.

Wasserman is a professor of Media Studies in the Centre for Film and Media Studies at UCT. His book examines the success of tabloid journalism in South Africa at a time when global print media are in decline. He considers the social significance of the tabloids and how they play a role in integrating readers and their daily struggles with the political and social sphere of democracy.

Don’t miss this seminar!

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Nature’s Retort: Beautiful Photos Showing New Life after the Cape Fires

Burning Table MountainCape Town Etc, an online magazine, recently shared incredible photos of nature’s retort to the devastating fires that raged through the deep south for the first few days of last month, showing the first states of new life in the Silvermine area.

Have a look at the beautiful images, taken by Justin Williams at the end of March:



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Video: Salma Ismail Shares the Triumph of The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project in Victoria Mxenge

The Victoria Mxenge Housing ProjectSalma Ismail, author of The Victoria Mxenge Housing Project: Women building communities through social activism and informal learning and academic based at UCT’s Higher and Adult Education Studies and Development Unit, held a launch for the book at the Derek Hannekom Community Center in Victoria Mxenge.

The event was imbued with an air of celebration and triumph. Ismail spoke about the history of the Victoria Mxenge Housing Association, a collection of rural women who succeeded in build their own houses. She says it was a great triumph for the women, and a model for citizenship and advocacy.

Patricia Matolengwe, chairperson of The Victoria Mxenge Housing Association, and Tumi Mabelane from the Department of Human Settlements, also spoke at the event.

Watch the videos:

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