Celebrated South African writer Es'kia Mphahlele has died.Raks Seakhoa, a close family friend, said Mphahlele died at a hospital near his home in Lebowakgomo, in northern South Africa. Seakhoa says the 88-year-old writer had been in poor health for some time.
Mphahlele is best known for "Down Second Avenue." The vivid autobiography was published in 1959 and describes his early years in rural South Africa and later in a bustling Pretoria black township. The book ends with the politically active writer's exile from apartheid South Africa in 1957. Mphahlele returned to South Africa in the 1970s.With the end of apartheid, he emerged as an eloquent proponent of the need to nurture the arts to feed a culture traumatized by colonization and oppression.
African Countries Finance Ministers to Meet Over Crisis
The African Development Bank has invited African finance ministers and central bank Governors for a conference at which they will discuss possible solutions for the continent as the global financial crisis continues to be felt all over the world.
In a press statement, AfDB said that the upcoming conference in Tunis will enable African finance ministers and development experts to share perspectives on how to deal with the crisis, should it show up on the continent's shores."Africa might have been spared in the short term; it may not go untouched in the long run as its economies are intertwined with those of other regions. A common stance will certainly give the continent a leg up on the crisis," AfDB warned.
Africa which was originally said to be cushioned against the troubles of the West has now caught the cold. The continent's currencies like the Uganda and Kenyan shillings are losing ground to the dollar, stock markets and share prices are plunging, remittances from abroad are also falling and capital flight. The meeting scheduled for November 12 in Tunis, Tunisia has been organized in cooperation with the African Union Commission.
Financial Crisis May Increase Pressure for Debt Repayment
According to of Munyaradzi Gwisai of the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) of Zimbabwe, the collapse of the financial markets may force the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to come down hard on African countries to repay their debts because the huge rescue packages for collapsing banks will need to be recuperated.
He spoke at the recently held seventh Southern Africa Social Forum in Manzini, Swaziland. He said the demand for repayment "will result in further cuts on education, health and social services budgets, which will result in severe and savage cuts on the standards of living of the people in Africa and will leave the attainment of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in danger."
Africa: UN Report Warns of Urban Housing Crisis
The State of the World's Cities 2008/9 report by UN-Habitat shows that the total urban populations of the developing world will be more than double by the middle of the 21st century. Launched by Executive Director of UN-Habitat Anna Tibaijuka, the report demonstrates that the major demographic shift will take place mainly in Africa and Asia.
In the report, Nairobi, Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire and the US cities of Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington DC and Miami are criticised for being above an internationally recognised "alert" line used to warn governments of the consequences of a growing rich-poor divide. Tibaijuka warned that "High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences. They create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest."
Only a dozen sub-Saharan African cities are predicted to be among the largest 120 cities in the world by 2025 with the biggest being Kinshasa expected to have 17 million people. Nairobi is predicted to be the third largest of all the East African and Horn of Africa states with a population of 5.68 million behind Khartoum with 7.4 million and Addis Ababa with 5.72 million.
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