By Panashe Chigumadzi (@panashechig)
This week’s important news and newsmakers from South Africa and around the world.
1. Nigerian girls still missing
The more than 200 girls who were abducted from school by Boko Haram are still missing. After weeks of silence, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and made his first public pronouncement on the matter on Sunday, vowing that “wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out”. He also called on parents of the girls to give “maximum co-operation” after accusing them of withholding important information.
Pressure from within the country and the rest of the world has been mounting, both online with the frequently trending #bringbackourgirls hashtag, and ‘offline’ with protests being staged in major cities across the world.
International media outlets have begun to give more airtime to the matter and a number of Western governments including the United States and the United Kingdom have since pledged to give “practical assistance” to Nigeria.
2. Final build up to 7 May elections
Election rally mania hit South Africa’s major cities in the final weekend before the 2014 elections. The Democratic Alliance (DA) DA’s kicked off the campaigns on Saturday with the ‘Vote for Jobs’ rally at the Coca-Cola dome in Johannesburg. The next day, an estimated 100 000 people attended the African Nationalist Congress (ANC)’s ‘Siyanqoba’ rally at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. On the same day, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) held their ‘Tshela Thupa’ rally at the Moripe stadium in Atteridgeville, Pretoria.
An Ipsos poll on Friday predicted the ANC will lose their two-thirds majority, taking 63 percent of the vote, the DA would get 22 percent of the vote, (up nearly six percentage points from the last election) and new kid on the block EFF are predicted to garner five percent.
3. Rihanna’s Lui cover censored from Instagram
On Tuesday 29 April Rihanna appeared topless on the cover of French magazine Lui with a bucket hat, Coolio-inspired braids and a supreme ‘tan’. No suprises there. After posting the nude picture on Instagram, her account was temporarily taken down by the social network’s admin, reportedly taken down for violating their nudity policy, sending many of her more than 12 million followers into a frenzy. Instagram, soon apologized, saying the take down was a “mistake”. Coincidence much?
Rihanna responded on her Instagram by posting a number of witty images including a picture of a plumper version of herself and some artistic impressions of her shoot.
With all the Rihanna nipple we’ve been getting to see over the years (and increasingly so over the past few months), we have to ask if she’ll be successful in desexualising the nipple for us?
4. Erykah Badu under fire for performing in Swaziland
Miss FattyBella performed at the 46th birthday party of King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch. She came under fire from human rights groups across the world, who cited Mswati’s record of alleged human rights abuses and banning of political parties, amongst others.
Badu was reportedly invited by celebrity goldsmith Jacob “the Jeweller” Arabov, who asked her to sing Happy Birthday in an arena packed with thousands of people.
She pleaded ignorance and responded to the backlash saying, “I went into a situation not completely knowing [Swaziland’s] political climate,” Badu told the Dallas Morning News. “[But] I can’t be held responsible for the situation in the kingdom, because I signed up as an artist, not as a political activist. I don’t belong to anyone or to anything … And all the money that I got from the trip I gave to all the servants in the house.”
The singer, who has visited Swaziland before, also responded on twitter in a somewhat more defiant tone.
We wonder if the apparently apolitical Miss FattyBella will do a little more research the next time she’s asked to perform for a birthday party.
5. Kenyans on Twitter vs ‘Fiks’ and South Africa
At an ANC media breakfast meeting Minister for Sports Fikile Mbalula, made a huge gaffe and embarassed South Africa when he answered a question on quotas in sport saying, “You can’t transform sports without targets. But at the same time, South Africa wouldn’t be like Kenya and send athletes to the Olympics to drown in the pool'”.
The comment set off a twar with KOTs, or Kenyans on Twitter as they are often called, using the hashtag #SomeoneTellSouthAfrica. They brought it with fiery comments such as:
This reminds us of last year’s gaffe by the President when he spoke of public acceptance of e-tolls saying, “We can’t think like Africans because we are in Johannesburg and not some national road in Malawi.”
While President Zuma apologised for the statement, Mbalula refused to apologise for his. While his response that “South Africa and Kenya have a shared vision of a united prosperous Africa. Use Twitter to educate not for petty fights” may have merit outside the spat, off-the-cuff comments should seriously be limited until our cabinet members get a clue about the rest of the continent and learn how not to offend our fellow brothers and sisters.