The Handwritten Heritage of South Africa’s Kitabs (AramcoWorld) by Alia Yunis, March/April 2019

24 April 2019

In an orange house along one of the sloped lanes of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s Muslim neighborhood, 92-year-old Abdiyah Da Costa deftly climbs the stairs to the second floor to what essentially has become a personal museum. Meticulously dressed and made up—she used to own what she describes as four “high-fashion” clothing shops—she’s been waiting to show us around. Outside her window is a view of Cape Town’s iconic, flat-topped Table Mountain, which overlooks the city and the Atlantic Ocean.

Embedded with the Beating Heart of Madagascar’s Literary Life (Literaly Hub) by Allison M. Charette

24 April 2019

It’s cold in the pizza joint. Winter nights in Madagascar are chilly, and the tiny restaurant is in shadow until mid-afternoon. Those who attend Opération Bokiko’s lunchtime meetings are bundled in peacoats, sweaters, and elegantly tied scarves. As each person shows up, they shake the hand of the director, the manager, anyone else who’s already there. They usually start late—on “Malagasy time”—but Michèle Rakotoson is always punctual. No matter that she’s coming from outside the city in a little Citroen 2CV that doesn’t go higher than third gear anymore—she arrives promptly.

The Arab Spring of 1919 by Hussein A.H. Omar (LRB blog), 4 April 2019

8 April 2019

1919 was a year of travelling revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. The uprisings were triggered by the efforts (sometimes secret, sometimes not) of Britain, France, Italy and Spain to colonise the Middle East and to divvy up its territories at the end of the First World War. As their intentions became apparent – after both Britain and France had repeatedly promised otherwise – thousands of men and, for the first time, women took to the streets in protest.

Capturing History, 280 Characters at a Time ( The Mellon Foundation) by Bergis Jules and Edward Summers, March 2019

5 April 2019

When massive protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014 in reaction to the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson, a duo of archivists were inspired to explore how to preserve social media posts as a means to document history for the ages—and to empower social activists to take control of their own narratives.

How Ipsos got ANC support completely wrong in 2016 (WWW.INSIDE-POLITICS.ORG) by Gareth van Onselen, 1 April 2019

2 April 2019


It is election season, and that means a raft of political polls. One of the mainstays of the South African market research universe is “research giant” Ipsos. It has, since July 2018, already released three such polls. They have included a range of numbers – particularly with regard to DA support – that are deeply problematic, for a wide range of reasons.

Buthelezi: IFP lost support because of Zuma by Ngwako Modjadji (News24), 26 March 2019

28 March 2019

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi believes that support for his party waned in the last elections because Jacob Zuma was ANC president – a situation which fuelled a rise of Zulu nationalism among IFP supporters, who became convinced that it was their turn to govern the country.

In an interview with City Press on Friday, Buthelezi spoke about how Zuma’s leadership of the ANC affected support for the IFP, saying that Zulus who deserted the IFP for the Zuma-led ANC were now returning to the party.

UN team to investigate 'horrific' massacre in central Mali (News24), 27 March 2019

28 March 2019

The United Nations is deploying crime-scene investigators, human rights officers and a child protection expert to central Mali to investigate intercommunal violence over the weekend that killed more than 150 people, one-third of them children.

Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani of the UN human rights office says the massacre in Ogossagou, in Mali's Mopti region, mostly targeted people from the ethnic Fulani, or Peuhl, community.

Why the notion of a Fourth Industrial Revolution is so problematic by Tim Small (Tim Unwin's Blog), 9 March 2019

25 March 2019

Watching a video last Wednesday at UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week produced by Huawaei on the Fourth Industrial Revolution reminded me of everything that is problematic and wrong with the notion: it was heroic, it was glitzy, women were almost invisible, and above all it implied that technology was, and still is, fundamentally changing the world.  It annoyed and frustrated me because it was so flawed, and it made me think back to when Klaus Schwab first gave me a copy of his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016.  I read it, appreciated its superficially beguiling style, foun

People must take back the municipalities by Fani Ncapayi and Lungisile Ntsebeza (Mail and Guardian) 8 March 2019

12 March 2019

Addressing MPs on May 15 last year, the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Zweli Mkhize, lamented the state of the municipalities, describing 87 out of 283 of them as dysfunctional. In his words, there are a growing number of “municipalities which are becoming distressed or dysfunctional, including those that are regressing in audit outcomes”.

He identified “mismanagement and political instability or interference, corruption and incompetence” as contributory factors.

The Challenge of Preserving the Historical Record of #MeToo by Nora Caplan-Bricker (The New Yorker) March 11, 2019

12 March 2019

Around the height of the #MeToo revelations, in the fall of 2017, I interviewed an archivist at a prominent research library for a piece about social-media preservation. It quickly became apparent that he knew less about the subject than I did; he saved Facebook posts by painstakingly copying and pasting them into Word, comment by comment, and manually pressing print. The longer we spoke, the more visibly annoyed he grew by my questions, to which he offered no answers. He leaned farther and farther back in his chair and gazed over my left shoulder.