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Archive for May 6th, 2011

A Queen who got her title through the courts

Posted by African Press International on May 6, 2011

SOUTH AFRICA: Queen Tinyiko Nwamitwa-Shilubana, “People didnt want to come out”

Nwamitwa-Shilubana was the first woman in South Africa to legally contest her right to chieftancy

JOHANNESBURG, 4 May 2011 (PlusNews) – Queen Tinyiko Nwamitwa-Shilubana has often found herself at the crossroads of South African history and has helped usher in democracy and expand women’s rights. She has also helped define the role of traditional leaders in the fight against HIV.

In 1993, Nwamitwa took part in the multi-party talks that were part of South Africa’s transition to democracy and later became one of the country’s first female parliamentarians. Almost two decades later, she also became South Africa’s first female chief after winning a long court battle to reclaim the title from male relatives after her father’s death. She now presides over about 70,000 members of her clan in Limpopo Province.

She spoke to IRIN/PlusNews about how HIV/AIDS has affected her community:

“For 15 years when I sat in parliament, each time I went home, I knew that the parliament was in Cape Town but that my community was in Limpopo, in the most rural area. Being in parliament I had to go through all the workshops [on HIV] so I was aware of it but I didn’t have the mandate [to act before I assumed the chieftaincy].

“Women, men, children, when you looked at them you could see they were having real problems with HIV. Our culture usually waits to bury people on Saturday but now they were also burying people Monday through Friday because of HIV.

“But people in my community didn’t want to come out, so that’s why my first task as hosi [queen in Tsonga] was to visit the health clinic. We’ve got 1,000 people on antiretrovirals (ARVs) but strangely enough, people would only come between 4am and 6am because they were afraid to be seen. I had to say let me make an effort to… let these people know what it is to come out and say they are HIV-positive, and when they take the ARVs you immediately see the change.

“It does not end there; when we have the weekly lekgotla [royal meeting] with all my indunas [village headmen], we speak about HIV, that it is not a myth, it’s a reality. We even have rural doctors come to the lekgotlas to talk about HIV.

“I realized that [we needed] to have an intervention with the youth… The challenge was where to start with this thing because it was not a government programme. I had to sit down to find out who can fund us. We joined hands with the private sector; you cannot expect government to fund everything.

Someone told me that Elton John had a foundation that worked with AIDS and that he was coming to South Africa, so I went to see him. There I found him, a short guy with money and I said, ‘Oh mulungu (white person), I am coming to you,’ and I started telling him my story. He said, ‘When I go back to London I’m going to raise money for you with one song,’ and he did. It was like manna coming from heaven and those kids [in the project] were so excited. We created a legal body, a trust, for the funds and a team of external auditors. You have to work with other groups in the community.

“It’s not that traditional leaders don’t want to help, it’s just that many don’t know how to start; they think this is not their baby, that this is an issue for the Department of Health. But as traditional leaders we need to own our communities. Anyone with problems, like a quarrel or a death, they go to the traditional leaders first. We need to be advocating against things like gender-based violence because it’s only us as traditional leaders that can help. Traditional leaders are the first social worker [a woman] sees because they don’t see a traditional leader as a foreigner.”



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Fear of more violence after the death of Osama Bin Laden

Posted by African Press International on May 6, 2011

PAKISTAN: Revenge attacks feared after Osama death

Fear of more violence after the death of Osama Bin Laden

PESHAWAR, 4 May 2011 (IRIN) – The death of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden after an operation involving US aircraft and ground forces in Pakistan has raised fears of possible revenge attacks by militants against various targets, including civilians.

The first of these may already have occurred. A bomb blast near a mosque in the town of Charsadda, in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, killed a woman and three children and injured 11 other people [  ], but a police station in the vicinity may have been the target.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been responsible for many similar attacks in the past.

The media have reported attacks on Pakistan and US government targets by the Taliban to avenge Bin Laden’s killing, and the US has closed embassies and consulates across the country.

“We are angry – US planes flew in and killed a Muslim. There will be many protests,” Laiq Sayyid, 20, a seminary teacher, told IRIN. Demonstrations have taken place in the southwestern city of Quetta.

Many others are desperate to avoid a descent into further violence. “I lost a cousin in an attack on a police check-post two years ago. I have seen mayhem after bomb blasts here. I pray things will not erupt in violence,” said Muhammad Naeem, 40.

Few politicians and activists have issued statements, but the National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry warned of a possible rise in terrorism, and Pakistan’s Prime Minister described Osama’s death as a “victory”.

Others were less certain. “There is great apprehension among the security forces because we fear there will be a violent backlash and policemen die most often when this happens,” a policeman who did not wish to be named told IRIN in Peshawar, capital of KP.

Not all militant groups operating in Pakistan are linked to al-Qaeda, which has a presence in many countries, but a number are affiliated to it or draw ideological strength from it, which adds to the risk of violence.

“We can only hope and pray for peace, but who knows what is to come?” said Abdul Ghani, a mosque prayer leader. He believed the militants were still “in shock” after the death of Osama and their “reaction will be decided” in a few days’ time.



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St. Petersburg Summer Project

Posted by African Press International on May 6, 2011

Being at St. Petersburg, Florida this summer on July 9-August 9, 2011 you will be part of history making.

 You will get practical, ideological and political training. Experience organizing for black power in the city known for resisting oppression!

 In 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized the Mississippi Summer Project. Students, activists and organizers went to challenge the anti-African local governments in that area.

 In 1984, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) held the Oakland Summer Project. It waged incredible struggles following the defeat of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s.

 On July 9, 2011, the APSP kicks off another  Summer Project in St. Petersburg, Florida – the  place they call “City of Resistance.”

Your Participation in the struggle for black power will help to end the war on the African community!

By Uhuru Summer Project, USA

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »


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