By Panashe Chigumadzi (@panashechig)
A round-up of some of the biggest news pieces and newsmakers last week.
1. Our kidnapped Nigerian girls still missing
At least seven weeks since the Nigerian girls from the village of Chibok were reported missing, they have yet to be returned home. Four more girls escaped last week, but over 200 girls remain in the hands of Boko Haram.
Last week Monday, the Nigerian government declared that it had located the girls, but could not rescue them. The government has subsequently offered Boko Haram amnesty in return for the girls, a gesture similar to what was offered to the group in the Niger Delta a few years ago to end restiveness in the region of Nigeria.
While addressing the youth in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan said “my government, while pursuing security measures, will explore all the options, including readiness to accept unconditional renunciation of violence by insurgents and to ensure their de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and re-integration into the broader society.”
2. Maya Angelou passes on at 86
Cultural icon, Dr Maya Angelou passed away last week Wednesday. She was famous for her books such as ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and poems such as ‘Phenomenal Woman’. Aside from this, Dr. Angelou led a storied life as a Tony-nominated stage actress, a sex worker, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, single mother, magazine editor in Cairo, college professor, administrative assistant in Ghana and a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
The cause of her death was not immediately known, but her literary agent, Helen Brann has said Dr Angelou had been frail for some time and had had heart problems.
In a statement, President Obama said, “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time — a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman.”
3. Nigerian Bride Price App goes viral
The controversial BridePrice app, created by Nigerian digital agency called Anakle is less than two weeks old but it has gone viral, with hits from 56 countries and six million twitter mentions in three days, according to their CEO.
The application calculates how much in terms of cash a woman’s bride price is worth by asking a series of questions including level of education and tasks that the woman is able to carry out. While the app has been controversial, sparking debate worldwide, Anakle insists there is nothing sinister and it is just a joke.
“We started by wanting to create something, maybe a joke that gets attention and that we could use to record data. That’s really what happened.” Editi Effionf, CEO of Anakle told CNBC Africa.“The real inspiration came when we saw a picture that was a bride price list and we just upgraded that. We want to write about relationships and marriage which was the second most popular topic on social media in Nigeria, so we decided to do this,” he explained.
4. EWN offends with it’s cartoon depicting the ‘Congress of the Clowns and We, The Poephols’
Eyewitness News published a cartoon which depicted Cabinet members as clowns and South African voters as ‘poephols’ last week Wednesday. Following heavy backlash, including a march to Primedia by the ANC, against the cartoon which was decried as racist and derogatory, the outlet apologised for the ‘offence caused’ by the ‘Congress of Clowns’.
“We recognise that a political cartoon is open to individual interpretation. We accept that, however unintended, the commentary contained in the cartoon has offended some of our valued listeners, followers and readers, and we at EWN apologise for any unintended offence caused.” said EWN in a statement on the website.
The ANC accepted the apology, however it has since sparked debate over the right to freedom of speech in a country that is still in the process of nation building.
5. Malawi gets it’s fifth President
After some election drama, Peter Mutharika (a former Foreign Minister under the administration of his brother, the late former President Bingu wa Mutharika who was in office before Joyce Banda) was sworn in as Malawi’s president after the High Court rejected a request for a recount following allegations of vote-rigging on Saturday.
Mutharika obtained 36.4% of the vote, according to the electoral commission. Outgoing President Joyce Banda who had alleged ballot fraud has admitted defeat.