Life Style News

By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek — Incidences of hepatitis E virus (HEV) have been steadily increasing across Havana and Goreangab informal settlements in Windhoek, with 70 new cases reported in four days.

Yesterday the Ministry of Health and Social Services' acting permanent secretary Dr David Uirab confirmed to New Era that the number of cases of hepatitis E now stand at 237, compared to 167 last Thursday.

He said no more lives have been lost apart for the ones previously reported. Uirab said to date four patients have been admitted to the Katutura State Hospital and are being kept in isolation.

Uirab said a team consisting of stakeholders such as the City of Windhoek, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Social Services is currently in Havana and Goreangab working vigorously to contain the disease.

Last week, the deputy representative of UNICEF, Marcus Betts, told New Era that the organisation, together with its development partners, has not been very active in Windhoek's sanitation and water supply projects because access to sanitation is "much worse in rural areas".

The outbreak of hepatitis E was detected in mid-December 2017 and the virus is concentrated in the informal settlements of Havana, Goreangab, Hakahana, Greenwell Matongo, Ombili and the broader Katutura.

"The health ministry is now putting emphasis on hygiene education where community members are being encouraged to maintain cleanliness, boil their water, and to wash their hands.

"We are also distributing water purification tablets to make sure that if people use water from compromised sources the water is safe," Uirab said last week.

Since hepatitis E is a waterborne disease, the health ministry is currently testing water in the affected areas.

According to WHO, hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) - a small virus with a positive-sense, single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome.

The virus has at least four different types: genotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Genotypes 1 and 2 have been found only in humans. Genotype 3 and 4 viruses circulate in several animals (including pigs, wild boars, and deer) without causing any disease, and occasionally infect humans.

The virus is shed in the stools of infected persons, and enters the human body through the intestine. It is transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water. Usually the infection is self-limiting and resolves within two to six weeks. Occasionally a serious disease, known as fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure) develops, and a proportion of people with this disease can die.

Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

A man washes his hands during cholera prevention session (file photo).

By Aron Mushaukwa

Katima Mulilo — The Namibian government has resolved to provisionally ban the importation of all perishable food, fruits, unprocessed food and water from neighbouring Zambia - where there is a cholera outbreak that has claimed 66 lives - until further notice.

Those dead are mostly slum dwellers in Zambia, New Era understands.

The ban came into effect on Monday this week - January 8 - and is necessitated by attempts to help contain the current wave of the cholera epidemic in Zambia, where it first surfaced in September last year.

Recently, one case was reported in Livingstone, Zambia, about 200km from that country's border with Namibia. This case seems to have played a part in the government banning the import of food from the neighbouring country.

Many Namibians in the eastern Zambezi Region buy - and in some cases smuggle - maize flour and fruits such as mangoes from Zambia.

Health officers from the Namibian ministry of health held an emergency meeting at the Wenela border post yesterday to inform border officials that no food items should be allowed into Namibia from Zambia.

Speaking to New Era, health officer Lempie Onesmus said health officials are on alert and have taken precautionary measures, including screening people entering Namibia from Zambia.

"When a person arrives, the health officer uses an infrared thermometer to check the body temperature [of that visitor]. If the body temperature is too high, maybe 37 degrees, the device will ring as it has a programmed alarm. It also depends on what symptoms the person has. For instance, if that person has cholera, they will be vomiting and having diarrhoea," she explained.

Onesmus however stressed that the public should not be too alarmed as the stoppage of food imports is only a provisional measure until such time the situation in Zambia returns to normal.

She added that apart from the one case reported in Livingstone, no other case has been reported in areas close to Namibia.

Meanwhile, the media in Zambia reported on Monday that cases of cholera have continued to rise in the capital Lusaka, and currently the number stands at about 2,600, while 66 people have died so far.

The Zambian government has decided to invoke statutory instrument number 79 to ban all public gatherings in affected places - such as church services, funeral gatherings and gatherings to drink at bars, among others, in order to ensure that there are no further transmissions through contact.

Analysts say Zambia should quickly put in place measures to contain cholera as the prolonged outbreak may have a negative impact on the economy and tourism of the copper-exporting nation

Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

A man washes his hands during cholera prevention session (file photo).

By Aron Mushaukwa

Katima Mulilo — The cholera outbreak in Zambia and the food import ban implemented by Namibia with effect from Monday this week means Namibian fish traders will not be allowed to import boxes of frozen fish from the north-eastern neighbouring country.

Fresh fish traders in the Zambezi Region - whose livelihoods depend on importing fish from a farmer who has several commercial fish ponds in Zambia - have been left in despair after the government's decision to ban the import of perishable and unprocessed food from that country.

The ban came effective on Monday, due to the cholera outbreak that has besieged Zambia for the past three months.

Fishmongers who spoke to New Era were despondent after learning they were no longer allowed to import fresh produce from that country.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is enforcing a moratorium that prohibits fishing in the Zambezi, Linyanti and other perennial rivers in that region to enable fish stocks to recover from overfishing that has decimated fish populations in water bodies such as Lake Liambezi.

Fish traders told New Era they had already ordered fish from the farmer in Zambia, and that they had also already paid the farmer on Friday, only to be told yesterday that they can no longer bring the fish inside the county because there is a ban on all food imports from Zambia because of the deadly outbreak.

They were also worried that the farmer was not going to refund them their money because the fish had already been packed in containers and was ready for transport to Namibia.

"I am very disturbed right now. I feel like dying and being taken to the cemetery. Because that money I paid to the white man is the same money I was supposed to use to pay for my child at school," said one of the fishmongers, Erica Lyamupu.

"Health inspectors in Zambia always inspect them (fish) before we buy, even our health officials here always inspect them, they are healthy. They are not like tomatoes and vegetables, which are in an open place. We transport them in sealed containers, not just openly or in sacks, which means they are protected," lamented another frustrated fishmonger, Vivian Munguli.

The health officer at the Wenela border post, Lempie Onesmus, pleaded with the fishmongers to accept the situation, saying these efforts by the government are for their own wellbeing. She promised to give them letters to take to the farmer explaining that food can no longer enter Namibia.

By Faith Zvorufura

Zimbabwean artist Takura wrapped up 2017 with a bang following the release of his Extended Play (EP) titled "Relationship Goals" to rave reviews by his adoring fans.

Speaking to 263Chat, Takura said he avoided Hip Hop tracks on the EP as he wanted to explore different genres.

"People that know me from way back know that I have always moved across genres, I don't like to box myself and I was happy working on the love EP with different genres,

"Now I am currently working on my new album which is Trap, sometimes I just feel I want to talk about love and sometimes feel brutal or turn up music,

"Music is like a feeling or language and you cant box art and that's what people think in Africa so we end up doing the same thing when we can do so much more." he said.

"Relationship and Goals was Produced by Youngnash from Anashe Media Group and he did a remarkable job in delivering.

"Youngnash did a remarkable job delivering Afro Beat and RnB productions,

"It took us two-three weeks working on the songs, it was an idea I had and I thought why not release a five track EP real quick because I have not released much music in 2017,

"Moving across genres as an artist helps you know how far you can go, If i had to feature with Yemi Alade, Patoranking or Wizkid I know I will kill it because It's nothing new, I don't limit myself," added Takura.

Speaking to Keabetswe Ncube, an online presenter at Transafrica radio commented on Takura's EP and said it has received really good feedback.

"We recently got Takura's new EP and I listened to it and I really like it, he also reminds me of Maleek Berry, a production from the both of them will be good

"We have received many retweets and likes, so the people out there want to hear more of his songs and the reach so far has been good,

By Eddie Nsabimana

Fans from all walks of life attended the live concert.

"This is an annual show to celebrate Christmas with our fans and our supporters. The year has just begun and we have bigger plans in future, where we want to reach out to all people, especially the youth through gospel music," Mushinzimana explained.

The crowd beamed with satisfaction after a thrilling performance. Other performers of the day included Bright Five Singers, who also put up a great performance and did not disappoint. The concert ended at 9.30pm.

Choeur International et ensemble instrumental de Kigali started in 2006 with its main offices at St Paul in Kigali. It is made up of artistes from different choirs across the country.

By Jayne Augoye

American Gospel sensation, VaShawn Mitchell, was the lead act at a music concert tagged Praise Blast.

The star-studded event held at the Hi-Impact Planet Nigeria, Lagos, on Saturday.

The Grammy award winner was also supported on stage by Nigerian gospel music stars like Bukola Bekes, Tim Godfrey, Tope Alabi, Bola Are, Chioma Jesus and Senwele Jesu.

Others include Baba Erujeje and Yetunde Are, daughter of popular gospel singer, Bola Are.

The wave-making RCCG Praise Team, Day Star Choir, TREM Evangel Voices and The Lagos City Chorale, also supported them.

Hosted by Wazobia FM's on air personality, Yaw, the event was powered by Solution Media & Infotech.

The annual event also featured a special appearance by the former leader of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Mike Okonkwo.

By Nasra Bishumba

Members of the Senatorial Committee for Social Affairs, urged the Ministry of Education to ensure coordination of research in institutions of higher learning.

The Senators said this while meeting the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Isaac Munyakazi, and his team to discuss what the government was doing to promote innovation.

Senator Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo said that if education is the determinant baseline for research in the country, there was need to, for instance, promote mathematics and other sciences more since they are the backbone of quality research.

He pointed out that, for better results, there was need to start with basic research before advancing to applied research.

"For you to be able to do that, you must have skills. Where do we get these skills? In quality education. You cannot talk about a researcher when he has not studied mathematics, physics, biology or chemistry. No matter what you are researching about, you will need mathematics. It will cost us a lot to upgrade the person to an international standard of research to be competitive," he said.

He pointed out lack of internships and funding issues which makes student field trips almost impossible.

"There is no money. Any student who completes a bachelor's degree should be able to write a paper if indeed you want them to get research experience. Dissertations were scrapped but everywhere in the world, a student must write one and be evaluated. We don't have that but we are insisting that education will provide the research baseline. Something needs to be done," he said.

The same sentiments were raised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rwanda (UR) in charge of institutional advancement, Dr Charles Murigande, while appearing before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in October.

At the time, Murigande said that University of Rwanda budget constraints were derailing students, especially, those doing sciences pointing out that in some instances, students have had to contribute money to buy fuel so they can go to the field.

"Our students did not study well the last two years. Whoever was supposed to go to a laboratory 10 times was able to do so only once or twice," he said.

Senator Narcisse Musabeyezu said, yesterday that there was need for coordination of research done by different institutions of higher learning.

"When you go to medicine, they are doing their own research. It is the same in agriculture, but who really does the follow-up and coordinates these findings so that there are no overlaps? It is important," he said.

He expressed his concern over the UR's College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Busogo and the Nyagatare campus which he said had not done a lot to improve the lives of those that live around them.

"In Nyagatare, that institution should be helping those around it but it doesn't. In Busogo, they are studying agriculture but soil erosion is still an issue in the area. It's ISAR that is trying to do research that has benefited the residents around it. Let's focus on research that will improve the lives of our people," he said.

Minister talks restructuring

Addressing the Senators, Minister Munyakazi admitted that the number of researchers, especially in agriculture, was still inadequate but a lot was being done to push universities and other higher institutions of learning to invest more time into research.

Addressing the issue of mathematics, Munyakazi said this had already been fixed with changes made to the curriculum to give the subject priority.

"There were gaps in previous years but the curriculum changed last year and mathematics was given the attention it deserves and, so far, we can see some positive changes," he said.

On the issue of internship and fieldwork, Munyakazi said that there had been an overhaul of the entire funding model and the challenge would be history soon.

"There has been restructuring and an overhaul of the funding model. The new one will soon close all the gaps," he said.

Research is still being conducted in various institutions in different areas like agriculture, industries and others, he added.

But he warned that, though there have been some achievements, a lot more needs to be done.

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By Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop — //Kharas education director Johannes //Hoeseb has issued a stern warning to schools operating without the blessings of the education ministry that the ministry will ensure they face the law.

In an interview with New Era yesterday, //Hoeseb said the directorate has learnt with great concern that some people illegally run home schools, or private schools.

He said as the custodian of education in the country, the education ministry is responsible to give approval to anyone that wants to run a school, but he said some have however bypassed this procedure and started home schools without seeking permission from the ministry first, which he said is against the law, and warned those responsible that the law will catch up with them.

"These schools are supposed to be registered with the ministry - so whoever is running such schools should note that it is illegal and we will take the law and involve the police to stop this."

He noted that the problem seems to be rife at the zinc mining town of Rosh Pinah, where 17 home schools are known to be operating illegally, adding that there might be others in different towns which are not yet known.

The //Kharas education head further explained that the exercise is not only illegal, as it goes against the guidelines and policies of the ministry, but also compromises the quality of education, saying some of these schools might not use the approved curriculum and books, while the qualification of the teachers is also questionable.

He therefore stressed the need for anyone who wants to start a school to follow the right procedures and seek approval from the ministry before operating one, so that they get the necessary assistance in enhancing the quality of education.

"We need to see the curriculum of these schools, and ensure that learners attending these schools receive the same quality education as the rest," he stated.

As schools reopen for 2018, //Hoeseb urged teachers to work hard, and respect learners so that the learners can emulate and respect the teachers, while he called on parents to discipline their children, saying ill-discipline is a problem and teachers spend valuable teaching time on solving disciplinary issues, which should come to an end.

By Eveline De Klerk

Swakopmund — Additional classrooms are currently being constructed at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to accommodate about 1,800 Grade 1 learners that were placed on a waiting list last year, after they could not be accommodate at primary schools at the two coastal towns.

Learners were placed on the waiting list due to a shortage of space last year,

The two coastal towns face challenges in terms of Grade 1 placements yearly, but were thrown a lifeline this year by the government that availed financial assistance to construct 15 classrooms.

Walvis Bay will receive eight classrooms and Swakopmund seven, although the buildings are unlikely to be ready this week. Public schools reopen for the first semester of the year today, countrywide.

The total number of learners enrolled for Grade 1 at Walvis Bay stood at 2,260 in December, while about 1,200 could not secure space at the 10 primary schools at the town.

Swakopmund itself could only place 1,018 learners while a further 620 were placed on a waiting list.

The education ministry says it will by all means try to accommodate the learners who are on the waiting list of Walvis Bay, in four classrooms that were constructed last year after Namport availed N$610,000 to assist with relieving the shortage of classrooms.

Education inspector for the Walvis Bay circuit, Monica Gawises, yesterday told New Era that the construction of the classrooms already started last week at the project school behind Tutaleni Primary School.

She also indicated that the construction of seven classrooms at Swakopmund will start once the contractor is done at Walvis Bay. The classrooms will be constructed at Hanganeni Primary School.

Gawises added that they will first try to accommodate all the learners that are currently on the waiting list before they accept any new applications for Grade 1.

"Even the learners currently on the waiting list have to be divided so that some attend school in the morning and some in the evening, so that we make sure that all learners have access to education," Gawises explained to New Era yesterday.

Gawises earlier also indicated that the intake of Grade 1 learners from private pre-primary schools is much lower than the previous years, due to the fact that primary schools offer compulsory pre-primary classes and should ensure that those learners, alongside those failing Grade 1, also be accommodated.

According to her, five of the primary schools at Walvis Bay cannot enrol any new learners as they have to accommodate their pre-primary learners as well as make way for some of the afternoon learners who will attend Grade 2 this year.

"This is a huge concern for the ministry and that is why the ministry is calling upon the municipalities of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Henties Bay to provide land to the ministry free of charge, so that more schools can be constructed," said Gawises.

By Seye Olumide

As preparations for the Sierra Leone presidential election scheduled for March 7 heat up, Nigeria business interest has become a major focus of campaign between the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and the major opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and its splinter faction, the National Grand Coalition (NGC).

While it is being perceived that Nigerian businesses are facing veiled threats from the two leading opposition parties in the country, which has persistently alleged that the ruling party has sold the country's economy to business leaders from Lagos and Abuja, APC has promptly dismissed the allegation as baseless and untrue.

Although, Nigerian banks and trading firms are said to occupy prominent place in the economy of Sierra Leone, on two occasions in recent weeks, top opposition leaders were alleged to have threatened to clip the wings of foreign businesses in the nation's economy, accusing Nigerian businessmen in particular of invading the country.

An NGC opposition leader was quoted accusing the Bai Koroma administration of having sold the economy to foreign business leaders.

During another campaign held in the north of the country last week, an SLPP leader was quoted to have raised the alarm against the domination of the country's economy by Nigerian businesses, assuring that his party would introduce appropriate law to address the development.

While representatives of the opposition parties denied the reports, describing it as a cheap blackmail by the ruling party, clips from campaigns across the country however proved otherwise. A top Nigerian banker in the country, who did not want his name mentioned said the anti-Nigerian rhetoric among opposition, is widely reported in the country.

The APC candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara denied any Nigerian hijack of the Sierra Léone economy, saying, "If anything, Nigeria has been pivotal to the economic growth and recovery of the country.

Kamara, while applauding the involvement of foreign partners contributions to the development and growth of his country's economy said, "It would be unfair to attack Nigerian businesses. Nigerian businesses are safe under an APC government and we pledge to do more in term of deepening the relationship between the two countries."

A man believed to be an Egyptian tourist has been stabbed at least 10 times in an apparent robbery on Noordhoek Beach in Cape Town on Saturday night.

Andre van Schalkwyk, spokesperson for Table Mountain Watch, told News24 that the incident happened at about 20:30 near the Kakapo shipwreck.

He said the man was stabilized by local paramedics and members of neighbourhood watches before he was transported to hospital.

Van Schalkwyk said he was not sure what the robbers managed to take.

"This guy is fighting for his life now. I really hope that he doesn't succumb to his injuries," he said.

He said more than eight muggings have occurred on the same beach in less than two months.

"This is one of many muggings in only a couple of weeks now. An Austrian couple was stabbed in November and they ended up in hospital. There was also a German tourist who was recently attacked at the same beach," he said, adding that there were no rangers from the Table Mountain National Park in the part of the beach where the attacks take place.

Van Schalkwyk said criminals who target unsuspecting tourists around the beach "have become really aggressive".

"They attack and stab their victims for their valuables," he said.

He said they've raised safety issues with the authorities numerous times.

Van Schalkwyk warned tourist to stay away from that area.

"BnBs and hotels must warn people about the crime in the area. They know where the hot spots are. They (tourists) should be warned about these hotspots so that these people's holidays are not spoiled. Tourists must stay away from the beach," he said.

He said a safety plan must immediately be put in place in order to curb such crimes around Noordhoek Beach.

Source: News24

Photo: News24

Police inspect the site of the hot air balloon crash landing in Luxor.

Three South Africans were aboard the sightseeing hot air balloon, which crashed in Luxor, Egypt on Friday, killing one tourist and injuring seven, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has confirmed.

Dirco's Nelson Kgwete confirmed in a statement that the man who had died was 34 years old. His name cannot be confirmed yet.

The remaining two South African citizens - both 24-year-old women - sustained injuries, but were said to be in stable conditions.

SEE: SA tourist killed in Egypt hot air balloon crash

There were 16 people on the balloon trip with the South Africans, which apparently took off at sunrise.

The other persons are 5 from Australia, 4 from France, 2 from Argentina and 1 from Brazil, a statement from the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria said.

"[The pilot] tried to land and unfortunately because of the strong winds he crashed to the ground," it added.

Source: News24

opinion By Christopher Farai Charamba

In the spirit and tradition of making New Year resolutions, this columnist invites you to add to yours the intention to read more in 2018. To aid you on your reading journey, here is a list of 12 categories and suggestions of books you could go through.

The list is not in any specific order and various books can fit into various categories, however the idea is to read 12 books in total, during 2018. At the end of each month, this column will review one of the categories on the list and some of the books that fall under it. So without further ado, here are the categories for the 2018 reading challenge.

A book by a Zimbabwean

This category has a number of options, both classic and contemporary, fiction and non-fiction. For something old, one can turn to Dambudzo Marechera, Charles Mungoshi or Chenjerai Hove. Contemporary writers include Petina Gappah, Tendai Huchu and Brian Chikwava. Specifically, on my list this year is a book written in vernacular.

A classic novel

A throwback to literature in English during high school, this category can be completed by going through anything by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Harper Lee, Leo Tolstoy and many others. If one has read very little Russian literature so, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina might be on the list this year.

A play

Plays are very interesting reads. There are a variety to choose from, the antiquated works of William Shakespeare or the latest edition to the Harry Potter series, The Cursed Child. My 2018 read will by The Trial of Dedan Kimathi by Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

A book translated from another language

Going through a book in its original text is perhaps the best way to read them but that depends on how many languages one knows. A translated book allows one to get to engage with literature from different parts of the world.

An autobiography or biography

Reading about people is always an interesting experience especially when you are used to experiencing only one side of them. On the list for this year are biographies of comedians as a lot of them have interesting background stories. If one is looking for a biography to read, I recommend The New Tsar by Steven Lee Myers, which is a book on Russian leader Vladmir Putin.

A book by a person of colour

The world of books tends to be dominated by white authors yet the world is far more expansive than that. This challenge is therefore to read something by an Asian, South American, Middle Eastern or African author.

A collection of short stories

This is perhaps one of my favourite types of writing. Short stories are quick reads but also often witty and the best one finds end with cliff-hangers or twists. Many writers have such collections, if you're looking for something close to home then Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly and Rotten Row is where I'd go.

An anthology of poems

Poetry is good for the soul. As a recommendation, I would say Tapiwa Mugabe's Zimbabwe is a great place to start. It is short but also quite touching.

A book by a woman

Again this category is wide open and one can choose from something old or new. There are writers from all over the world who fit into the category, a lot of the acclaimed contemporary African writers are women, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Yaa Gyasi, and Taiye Selasi.

A graphic novel or comic book:

Books with pictures are some of the first that we encounter when our reading journey begins. Graphic novels are fun to read and I am specifically looking forward to getting my hands on Kariba by Blue Forest Collective, this year.

A science fiction/fantasy book

Isaac Asimov is perhaps the one that shall make my specific list, but there are different options depending on whether one wants robots and technology or magic and aliens.

A non-fiction book

It could be a self-help book, a book on engineering, a book on understanding how the world works, a book on a historical event -- the options are endless. On my specific list will be reading on the Middle East and Central Africa, with the more specific intention of understanding the conflicts in those regions.

opinion By Tanaka Chidora

I wanted to write about the literary text I am currently reading titled "Rotten Row" (2016) by Petina Gappah, 2016. This is a very interesting text and my promise is that I will talk about it in my next instalment. Because I believe that life itself is a text, today's text is January 1, 2018.

Today is January 1, 2018. Yesterday was December 31, 2017. In fact, yesterday was the last day of the year, the last day of the month and a weekend! Who wouldn't want to go motivational here? Or to send those links with the instruction, Touch here , for the recipient to be motivated and psyched up for 2018? My own WhatsApp profile picture is a very wide, clearly marked and straight road written 2018. There are no potholes on it. It holds promises to a stress-free 2018.

An inventory of WhatsApp and Facebook posts that contain 2018 in them, reveals that the bulk of them are motivational texts, some clichéd, some ingenuous. The most recurring one, another cliché is of 2018 being depicted as a flight. So the post inevitably starts with, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome aboard the 2018 flight. . ."

Another one, an ingenuous one, is of a wall clock whose hours are all the things that made 2017 a burden: darkness, stress, failure, sickness . . . you can fill in the blanks to make them twelve. So as the hour hand clocks 12 midnight on January 1, the second hand starts deleting all the undesirables of 2017 and putting in their stead all the hoped for desirables of 2018.

Every New Year brings hope and optimism. For example, one post in which the account holder expresses boredom with his old self, has these words: "New Year, New Me." Another one in which the account holder is looking forward to a pay rise reads, "New Year, New Salary."

Then of course, the prophetic declarations, "May 2018 Give To You What 2017 Failed To Give!" or "May 2018 Be Your Year", or, "May 2018 Be A Year Of Supernatural Speed", or, "In 2018, May All Your Enemies Be Scattered In 8 Directions" (Type Amen if you believe).

The most hilarious of all 2018 social media texts, for me, came in the form of a Press conference. It features a press release by a general who is flanked by two other generals.

The mood is a very serious one. The general promises us that 2018 is safe and sound, that they are only targeting criminals around him (disappointment, sickness, failure, 2017 etc.), and that once all these criminals are dealt with, things will return to normalcy (in this case, normalcy means the coming of 2018).

Another version of this Press conference features a table on which one can see one bottle of Jack Daniels and another one of Amarula. These two are surrounded by numerous bottles of Castle Lite. So, the general's Press conference is actually a response to the restlessness and massive drinking that characterise the festive season.

According to him, Jack Daniels and Amarula are safe; the generals are only targeting criminals around them, which criminals seem to be the numerous bottles of Castle Lite. Of course he concludes his address by imploring us to stay safe and be responsible during this period before inserting, Asante Sana as his parting shot.

Another group of social media (motivational) writers are those who make their 2018 resolutions public. Some of the resolutions read: Stop drinking; Stop smoking; Lose weight; Start a project; Do away with fake friends; Stop cheating, and a plethora of other resolutions.

The irony is that for many, these will be the same resolutions for 2019! Why? Because the magic is not in the numerical name of the year; the magic is in the person!

The truth is, we think of the New Year as the coming of new beginnings. We think things will magically change. We think all problems will disappear because the name of the year has changed. Some people celebrate so much the coming of the new year that by the time the first day of the new year ends, they would have actually added more problems to those they would have carried over from the previous year.

It is good to have great expectations for each new year. But we should not burden the new year to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The motivational quotes, prophetic slogans and church themes are not bad. But what is bad is when these slogans and themes are not met by action.

You will discover that even though it's a new year, the sun still rises from the east and sets in the west; winter is still biting cold; you still need to pay your fees; you still need to deal with the things that you failed to deal with in the previous year; you still need to take your car for service; you still need to work hard and do something with your life!

Unless something about you improves or changes, the new year is still another number on the calendar that you hang on your wall. Even the things that you blamed for taking you down in 2017 might still be around in 2018. So, unless you change your attitude and habits for the better, you will be shocked to discover that the change in the name of the year does not translate to any change in your fortunes.

Don't leave anything to luck or fortune. As we psyche ourselves for 2018 using all those posts, we should know that it is what we do in 2018, not 2018 itself, that matters. If there is anything special in the coming of the new year, that special something is you.

It is you who can make 2018 what you wish it to be. 2018 is a blank slate upon which you can create your life.

So from me, Tanaka Chidora, Happy 2018! May you dream big and act big!

book review By Elizabeth Uwandu

Often times than not, we forget the aftermath of terrorist attacks, especially on women and children. What becomes the fate of girls forcefully turned into women, what becomes the fate of the likes of Alele Williams, Funmi Ransome Kuti, Chioma Ajunwa , etc who due to insurgency get deprived of education, the hope of the common man?

Rape in the Desert by Olayinka Kadiri and reviewed by Mature Tanko Okoduwa tells story of the family Baba Ahmed and Laraba, blessed with four children, Hauwa, Hadiza, Musa and Shehu that got torn apart by ravaging beasts of Boko Haram in Konduga village in Borno State,

Armed with the desire to educate all his children irrespective of their gender, Baba Ahmed who strongly believes in education sent his daughters to boarding school to allow them mature not only academically but emotionally and physically.

However, the lofty narration of bliss and comfort of the Ahmed family in 226 paged novel, published by Dagamone Nigeria Limited, changed one Friday evening when their village was attacked and that changed the course of their lives. As everyone took safety only to return days later, Hauwa and her siblings could not find their parents already killed by the helmsmen.

Left at the mercy of Uncle Mumuye who they simply called kau, the children's lives got messier as they got separated with Musa going to stay with his mother's cousin in Lagos. While the girls were sent back to boarding school on the meagre income made from the sale of their parents' properties by Kau, until for them to be abducted and sent to Sambedi forest where their dignity was abused and some of them put in the family way against their wish.

Also highlighted in the novel is the inner strength of the girl child who defied odds to come out established as seen by Hauwa, the heroine who got trained to become a secret agent and was of assistance to the villagers and the larger society.

In the words of Okoduwa," the book superbly captured the hostel life of the girls held against their will and wish by the Boko Haram terrorists' group. Its narrative is gripping, revealing and exposing the danger of terrorism and its menace to the society.

" This book will serve as a foundation to those that want to teach Hausa language as the language was carefully integrated into the story like spices. This book will be a good read for secondary school students and tertiary institution General Studies courses, " noted the reviewer.

Health institutions have been asked to be on the lookout for a man with a severely injured penis after a pregnant woman he had raped, in full view of her 5-year-old son, bit his genitals.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the woman had been hitchhiking with the 5-year-old, on her way to a clinic on Monday.

The occupants of a white Toyota Tazz offered them a lift. They held her gunpoint while they were driving and ordered her not to scream, he said.

The two then drove her to a plantation on the Spioenkop Road outside White River.

"One of the men forcefully raped her at knifepoint in front of her child. Further information revealed that, during the process, the woman managed to bite the private part of the man, who ran away after the ordeal and [has] currently not [been] found."

Hlathi appealed to health facilities who "[find] a man with an injured private part", to contact Constable Solly Mabuza on 082 730 7590 or phone Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Source: News24

By Diana Mwango

Women with breast implants are at risk of getting cancer, a new study has shown.

More women with implants are increasingly being diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma and doctors may be missing the signs, according to a research published in Jama Oncology, a medical journal.

Daphne de Jong, a pathologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute and one of the authors told the Business Daily in an e-mail interview that textured implants or those with rough surfaces pose a higher cancer risk compared to smooth ones.

RISK WARNING

"We and others have also found lymphoma (cancer) associated with microtextured breast implants. Smooth implants are still somewhat under debate, but likely these bear the least risk. However, it should be noted that market shares and use of implant types have varied over the years and therefore we cannot make strong conclusions on specific risks for lymphoma with specific types," she said.

The researchers who studied women aged between 24 to 68 years said, although the risks are minimal, someone considering putting silicone breast implants for cosmetic reasons or after mastectomy should be warned about the risks and symptoms of cancer.

The cancer which forms around the implant is typically slow-growing and can develop even 14 years after the surgery. Cosmetic surgery has become popular in Kenya as more people with disposable income enhance their looks with implants and fillers.

Surgeons are battling for the growing market, offering reconstruction procedures such as tummy tucks, thighs, neck, cheeks and nose reshaping.

Breast enhancement and butt lifts, for instance, cost about Sh550,000 each. Although an increased risk of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma in patients with breast prostheses has been speculated, no studies had been conducted.

However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a link between implants and the disease in 2011, and warnings were added on the product labels.

Since the introduction of breast implants in the 1960s, their safety has sparked debate globally. Silicone-gel implants were temporarily banned between 1992 and 2006 by the FDA.

TOTAL BAN

Saline-filled and silicone-covered implants stayed on the market, but several women reported ruptures, change of shape and hardening of the breast.

In Europe, the national health inspectorates are currently re-discussing the risks and doctors are waiting for recommendations as well as FDA's reaction, Dr Jong said.

Does the cancer risk mean that the breast implants should be banned? Dr Jong adds that for now the most important thing is that women who consider breast implants, and they generally do this for good reasons, should be aware of the risk and the alternatives for breast reconstruction and augmentation so that they can make a well-informed choice.

According to Prof Ronald Wasike, a consultant breast surgeon at Aga Khan University Hospital who is combining cosmetic surgery with breast conservation in women with cancer, other options to implants include creating volume or fullness by using a tissue flap or filling the breast with fat.

Lymphoma symptoms include fluid buildup around the implant and lumpy swellings in the breast and the armpit. In some cases, the lump is not cancerous and may be a hematoma, which is a blood-filled swelling.

This story first appeared in the Business Daily.

By John H. T. Stewart

The election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005 as President of Liberia shattered forever what was once considered a glass ceiling. The election of another female, Jewel Howard Taylor in 2017, this time as Vice President is another first. But how have women fared generally over the years, especially during the prolonged civil conflict is a story that still needs to be told. The 2009 Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC) provides glimpses in this portion entitled "Women: Survivors and Peacemakers"

Historically, women were generally excluded from participation in political life, as it was only until 1947, a full century after independence that women were accorded the right to vote. There is no mention anywhere in historical accounts of women participation in the political life of the colony, prior to 1947, except for their participation in the making of the Liberian flag at independence.

In gender terms the dichotomy betwee n rural and urban Liberia are even more manifest in present day Liberia. For example, only 31 percent of women in Harper, located in southeastern Liberia and surrounding areas receive birth assistance from trained health professionals; in Monrovia 84 perc ent of such women received birth assistance from trained health professionals.

During the armed conflict, women and girls were by are far more vulnerable to sexual assault and predation than men. Women exposure was due mainly to their daring to move about away from their homes to venture out for food and succor for their families. The further away from their homes they went, the higher the risk of vulnerability.

Many parents hid their young girls (and boys from conscriptions) from the fighters when they entered the town or village and forbid them, the children, from moving about without caution. More than half of victim's testimonies to the TRC alluded to women being vulnerable or victimized during the war in places other than their place of residence , having been displaced internally by the war, suggesting, therefore that displaced women were more vulnerable to sexual assault than those who did not flee their homes.

The TRC also noticed that women are significantly over-represented among rape victims and all victims of sexual slavery and sexual violence, as might be expected. In particular, the proportion of rapes with female victims aged 15 - 19 represents more than five times the proportion of women aged 15 - 19 in the general population. However, we see relatively more male than female victims for sexual abuse.

The definition of sexual abuse included stripping the victim naked and was employed by many perpetrator groups to humiliate the victim. Unfortunately, the data include very few reports of rapes for which the victim's age is known. Still, it is interesting to note that the majority of reported rapes for which the victim's age is known were committed against adolescent women, rather than against socially taboo categories such as older women or very young children.

The distribution of all violations by age is roughly similar for males and females. Similarly, analysis of violations documented with the TRC with complete age and sex information suggests that all ages were equally at risk and that the ge nerality of perpetrators' attack was at random, deliberate and systematic in the instigation of violence against the general armless population.

From the statistical data, women participation in the TRC process was impressive as over fifty percent of stat ements gathered during the statement - taking exercise are attributed to women. Women account for 28 percent of all violations while on the other hand men account for 47 percent. From these statistics, it is clear that as a class of victims, men comprise the larger proportion, although both men and women appeared to have been targeted in about equal proportions.

Forced displacement which accounts for the largest category of violations took a particularly heavy toll on women, many of whom, faced with the los s of their spouses, assumed leadership roles in their families. Given the difficulties and threats to life (increased mortality) that usually accompany forced migration, it can be assumed, in the absence of reliable statistical information, that elderly wo men and very young children especially girls, were at great risk and might have suffered disproportionately as compared to males.

Many found themselves in displaced or refugee camps with little or no coping skills to deal with the harsh realities of thei r new environment. Already victimized by their displacement some, especially young girls, in desperation turned to prostitution including the exchange of relief food for sex.

As the statistics show, all factions routinely targeted women simply on account of their gender. This is strongly reflected in the level of sexual violence perpetrated against women. For example, women account for 63 percent of all cases of rape reported to the TRC, as compared to only 6 percent for men.

It can be concluded thus that women were singled out for abuse simply on account of their gender. For instance, the proportion of rape with female victims aged 15 - 19 represents more than five times the proportion of women 15 - 19 in the general population. Finally, it is important to note that aside from these reported cases of violence directed against women, the data does not account for the marginalization; exclusion and outright denial of opportunities for self actualization women have, for over a century, endured in Liberia.

These age old inequalities find expression in current statistics reflecting the status of women. For example, according to the 2007 Liberia Demographic and Health Survey, HIV prevalence is higher among women than men 224 in both urban and rural areas. School enrolment and retention rates are also low for girls as compared to boys, as well as illiteracy rates which are higher as compared to men.

High teen pregnancy rates, high abortion rates, high infant and maternal mortality rates are all indicators of the long standing prejudice and inequality that have been the lot of Liberian women for well over a century. Additionally, according to the same survey report, vaccination coverage is much higher in urban than in rural areas (53 versus 33 percent). There is marked vari ation in vaccination coverage by region, ranging from 13 percent fully vaccinated in the Southeastern Region to 55 percent in Monrovia.

Such data is but reflective of long standing elitist rule and the policies of over centralization that has served to marginalize and alienate the vast majority of the country's population. As noted earlier, the effects of such alienation and marginalization can be clearly seen and felt in areas outside the coastal urban enclaves along the country's littoral, and are particularly acute in the southeast where local resistance to the expansion of the Liberian state was quelled, only as recently as the 1930s.

The TRC public hearings held in all fifteen political subdivisions around the country provided not only glimpses into the impact of such marginalization but also perceptions of how government is viewed by rural peoples and how such perceptions are shaped by the conduct of public policy. The public hearings also provided good insight into the pattern of violations and abuses that occurred during the period of the civil conflict, the perpetrators as well as the victims.

More importantly, the public hearings, particularly the thematic hearings served as a sounding board for measuring expectations of not only individual victims of abuse but also of communities that are still struggling to come to terms with the effects of the prolonged civil conflict. Women became involved in the peace process and therefore constituted a critical voice for peace.

Despite afflictions of the war, reduced earning potential, single parenting, etc., women had public marches, petitions, prayer crusade, and attended and participated in peace conferences as part of their agenda for peace.

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