Mail & Guardian Thematic Spreads

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Even if women do own land, men decide what to do with it By: Teldah Mawarire The challenge for Africa’s women farmers is how to turn their activities into businesses that provide sustainable incomes. Traditionally, African women have fed their families through subsistence farming and are the labour mainstay on agricultural land, providing about 70% […]

Unexpected Trade Boon for Joburg

Women traders often run a gauntlet of harrassment from border officials By: Joël Roerig Informal cross border traders (ICBT) contribute up to R4.6billion a year to the economy of Johannesburg alone. But while the women and men from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and elsewhere often manage to drag their families out of poverty, they have to deal […]

Rose Nkoni

Small enterprises are embracing a new inclusive business model

Earlier this year about 50 spaza shop owners in Gauteng got together and decided it made more financial sense to buy together, in bulk, the baked beans, tinned fish, maize meal and other products they needed than it did to buy their stock individually. A representative of the group takes the orders from the other […]

More blessed to give than receive?

The concept of “The Philanthropist”brings to mind a rather colonial image: a portly gentleman who has made his pile of money and now, in top hat, waistcoat and tails, his luxuriant sideburns creeping down his whisky-reddened cheeks, he dispenses largesse to “The Poor”: barefooted children in ragged clothes. This image emerged during the early history […]

Women could feed the world – if we let them

The strengths of Southern Africa’s female farmers are many, but obstacles to development remain “We have life and we have power.” This confident assertion was made in the prayer that opened the first ever official gathering of women farmers in the Southern African Development Community. The group, numbering some 40 women, travelled from as far afield […]

Cultivating a democratic Africa

Created by the African Union (AU) in 2007, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance (ACDEG) entered into force on February 15 2012. The main goal of the ACDEG is the encouragement and promotion of democracy and human rights on the African continent. In essence, it has been designed to encourage better governance across […]

Making gender equality a practical reality

In May, President Jacob Zuma announced plans to replace the department of women, children and people with disabilities with the ministry of women. Susan Shabangu, who has been in charge of mineral resources since 2009, will head the new department. In a recent media interview, ministry spokesperson Kenosi Machepa said the move reflected how seriously the presidency […]

Twenty years of SA’s participation on the continent

It has been 20 years since South Africa was admitted back into the international system. Having emerged out of a bitter struggle dislodging apartheid, South Africa adopted a human rights based constitutional order, which is still celebrated across the continent and worldwide as one of the most progressive and aspirational constitutions. After 1994, the country quickly […]

Affording children their basic rights

The Organisation of Africa Unity (now the African Union) adopted the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Children’s Charter) in 1990. It sets out rights and defines universal principles and norms for the status of children. In the preamble to the Children’s Charter, the African Union (AU) states that the […]

Vendors sell fish in the eastern Congolese city of Goma

Making sure the poor get SADC’s attention

African Development Community (SADC) will meet in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in August, following the election of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to head SADC for a year after the summit. The high-level meeting will be an opportunity for Zimbabwe to showcase its prime holiday spot (according to local media renovations are in full swing to ready […]

Young people in Southern Africa face more than economic challenges

SADC ogles a double D shift for the youth

A well-worn catch phrase in the field of demographics is “demographic dividend”, often abbreviated to an undergarmentesque “DD”. According to an International Monetary Fund definition, a DD refers to “the transition from a largely rural agrarian society with high fertility and mortality rates to a predominantly urban industrial society with low fertility and mortality rates”. […]

Donald Kaberuka

It’s not just about economics

Despite this refrain being regularly used over the past few decades, it remains full of contradictions that have called into question the veracity of the statement. Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), suggested the question of “Africa ­rising” was less about the phrase’s accuracy than its scope. “The Africa rising story is […]