Molweni from the HQ Squad.
May 25th was Africa Day, and we are on top of it this week on the Beat with stories that speak to the creativity, resilience, ingenuity, and drive of the people on the continent. This week's newsletter includes a feature on the multidimensional impact of coronavirus in Africa; and how real life in the 'new normal' can sometimes be stranger than fiction as expressed vividly in another one of the HQ stories.
“The evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from the ashes. Whatever the setbacks of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace!” – Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, in his “I Am an African” speech delivered on 8 May 1996.
Alright. Here we go. Enjoy.
With an unprecedented wave of support and love across the globe, many celebrated Mama Africa especially in light of the continent's grit and resilience through the pandemic. Even as the virus delivered significant blows to the continent and the world, we made the necessary adjustments, one of a myriad of reasons to celebrate Africa and her people. A great piece on a great continent.
As India continues to grapple with its COVID-19 surge, there have been bans on vaccine exports, with ripple effects especially the delay of vaccination rollout campaigns across the continent. According to Africa CDC chief John Nkengasong, “Countries should be looking at options on how to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are available through the African Union’s vaccine acquisition task team as an alternative."
Apocalypse now! Oluwatobi Tijani writes vividly (we like that word so much, we used it twice in the newsletter) about how a real-life apocalyptic scenario woke him up to the fact that while sci-fi novels can have nice and tidy endings, real life is more than often stranger than fiction.
HQ's Zain Verjee has a great TED Talk about how the storyteller, the creator is the most important person in Africa, and should be supported as such. During the lockdowns across the continent, that importance was in full view as the creative sector kept Africans and the world entertained and captivated. African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat believes that African culture and thought are integral to promoting good governance on the continent. In his Africa Day address, he stated that culture, art and heritage can and should contribute to an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. Absolutely.
Here is Zain's TED Talk, just in case you have any doubts about who the most important person in Africa is.
As they like to say on Twitter, here is a timeline cleanser—A pastoral community in Kenya struggled to make ends meet when Covid-19 negatively impacted the tourism industry. This is the story of the Chui Mamas and how they sustained themselves and their community. Good stuff.
We've been resilient, but it's also been quite tough. Africa reported its first case of COVID-19 on the 14th February 2020 in Egypt. Since then, the continent has dealt with tremendous challenges when it comes to healthcare infrastructure and expert manpower, a glaring gap that was exposed even further by the pandemic. The Observational Research Foundation gives a sobering overview of Africa's response even as we celebrate Africa Day.
And we close with this head scratcher. Seychelles has a 71% vaccination rate, and yet the country is seeing a rising number of infection cases. Peter Mwai of BBC Africa's drops the details on this mystery.
Beat Pic of The Week—The Pink Panther