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Work hard, Rest hard

It is also a time for discussions among labour unions on existing issues such as salaries, wages and working conditions.

News Central

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Today is International workers’ day – an event celebrated globally to appreciate the working class. Google is celebrating workers’ day with a doodle today.

On 1st, May 1886, there was a general workers’ strike in Chicago over labour conditions and a eight-hour workday request. More than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States left their jobs on the first workers day in history. In Chicago, 40,000 went out on strike in a peaceful protest; there were anarchists giving speeches, parades, bands and tens of thousands of demonstrators united in strength and purpose as their numbers increased.

Two days later, violence broke out between steelworkers and the police at the McCormick Reaper Works. For six months, armed Pinkerton agents and the police harassed and beat locked-out steelworkers as they picketed- resulting in the death of two workers and many casualties

Enraged by the actions of the Pinkerton agents and the police, some of the anarchists called a meeting the next day, in Haymarket Square to discuss the brutality. It is said that two detectives rushed to the main body of police, reporting the use of inflammatory language, inciting the police. As the police began to disperse an already thinning crowd, a bomb detonated in the police ranks.  the police fired into the crowd. The exact number of civilians killed or wounded remains undetermined.

May 1 was earmarked to be International Workers’ Day to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago.

In Africa, this is a time to drop work tools and appreciate the value of rest. It is also a time for discussions among labour unions on existing issues such as salaries, wages and working conditions.

This year’s workers day is particularly important to Nigerian and South African workers who have finally won a battle for minimum wages.

After nine years, Nigerian workers got a new minimum wage approved by its federal government; it was increased from 18,000 Naira to 30,000 Naira – a 66.6% increase.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law, the National Minimum Wage Bill which took effect in January 2019; the country’s first-ever national minimum wage. In this, he set a historic precedent in the protection of the working class. The legislation sets a minimum national rate of R20 per hour or 3, 500 rands per month, depending on the number of hours worked.

Significantly, most African countries, were colonies of various European powers and after independence took on most of these traditional celebrations.

On May 1, South Africa celebrates Worker’s Day commemorating the role played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid.

Ghana observed its first May Day celebration in 1965, eight years after its independence in 1957.

The May Day celebration was suspended in the wake of the first military coup on 24 February 1966, which toppled Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP) Government. The celebration was resumed in 1967 after January 13, 1972, military coup led by General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.

This event was marked with a Grand National parade held at the forecourt of the Accra Community Centre.

Zimbabwe also celebrates May Day on the 1st of May as well. A popular activity on May Day is to decorate a pole with paper streamers. Some people also add flowers and balloons. It’s also a day of convergence for most workers to reflect on working conditions and other issues affecting them such as salaries and wages.

In Kenya, May Day celebrations are held at Uhuru Park and generally well attended but this year’s low turnout is due to discontent among Kenyan workers. Labour unions demand a solution to rising unemployment and an increase of up to 25% in the national minimum wage.

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Environment

Uganda’s teenage environmental activist calls for urgent climate change action

Leah Namugerwa has led a campaign to urge Kampala to implement a ban on plastic bags blighting the country

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Uganda's teenage environmental activist calls for urgent climate change action
Leah Namugerwa, a 15 year-old climate activist, holds a placard next to her father Lukwago Cephas in Kampala on September 4, 2019. - Her activism includes striking around the city with a placard in order to raise awareness about climate change and the environment. She also misses out on school every Friday as a protest and has full support from her dad who is also her manager. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP)

When Ugandan Leah Namugerwa turned 15 last month, she decided to plant 200 trees rather than have a birthday party, in her latest effort to spotlight environmental damage in her country.

Juggling school, protests, and giving speeches in regional capitals rallying for action to save the planet, she is one of a generation of youths inspired by Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg.

“If adults are not willing to take leadership, I and fellow children will lead them. Why should I watch on as environment injustices happen before my eyes?” Namugerwa said in the Rwandan capital Kigali last week, receiving a standing ovation for her address on the climate emergency.

Back in Kampala, she told reporters she was inspired to do weekly school strikes after becoming aware of her own government’s “inaction” on environmental issues, and discovering Thunberg’s sit-ins outside Sweden’s parliament that led to a global youth movement.

Namugerwa was one of several activists with the Fridays for Future movement to receive this week Amnesty International’s highest human rights award for their work.

Uganda's teenage environmental activist calls for urgent climate change action
Leah Namugerwa, a 15-year-old climate activist, holds a placard in Kampala on September 4, 2019. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP)

She has led a campaign to urge Kampala to implement a ban on plastic bags blighting the country, and sounds the alarm about massive deforestation as well as prolonged droughts and flooding attributed to climate change.

“What made me get concerned and get involved in this campaign is because of the climate change and effects on our lives, like we have experienced high temperatures as never before, we have experienced flooding… diseases are spreading.

She said young people “have to speak out.”

“If we don’t, our future is not guaranteed. The current leaders will be gone but we shall be there to suffer the consequences of their inactions.”

A real danger –

The first time she held a protest for climate action was a Friday in February this year, on her own in a Kampala suburb.

Uganda's teenage environmental activist calls for urgent climate change action
Leah Namugerwa, a 15-year-old climate activist, holds a placard in Kampala on September 4, 2019. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI / AFP)

“I felt I was doing the right thing and on the right track but to most people including some of my family members it looked to them as weird. They were glancing at me, shaking their heads in disbelief as I held my placards,” she said.

Now, a group of teens join her every week in missing school to hold their strikes on Fridays.

“Some people have criticised me. They say at this age and on Fridays I should be in classroom not on streets holding strikes. Good thing my parents have supported me. They have encouraged me.”

Namugerwa — who will take part this Friday in co-ordinated worldwide climate protests — said she is heartened by rising interest in environmental issues in Uganda.

“Issues about climate change are not given the priority they deserve… but the debate is picking up now with our campaign.”

Another teen activist who has joined her strikes, Jerome Mukasa, 15, said Namugerwa had opened the eyes of young Ugandans to the environmental crises in their country.

“Before the message on climate and environment was not clear to some us but Leah has simplified it to us, that it is real and a danger to all of us.”

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Culture & Tourism

Moroccan TV show suspended for celebrity guest’s boast of “beating his wife”

No legal action has been taken against Miloudi, despite waves of outrage on social media

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TV show banned in Morocco for promoting violence against women
Courtesy: Chada TV, Morocco.

A Moroccan television show has been suspended for allowing a celebrity guest to boast on air of “beating his wife”, the country media authority said Wednesday.

“Whoever doesn’t beat his wife is not a man,” popular singer Adil El Miloudi said in June on a Chada TV show, Kotbi Tonight, drawing laughter from a fellow guest, actor Samy Naceri, and host Imad Kotbi.

“In Morocco, this is normal, anyone can do what he wants with his wife, hit her, kill her,” he insisted after  Kotbi jokingly said: “It’s forbidden to hit one’s wife all over the world.” 

Miloudi’s remarks amounted to “justification for violence against women, an express incitement to violence, presented in a positive way as a sign of virility… or even recommended behaviour”, the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) said in a statement.

In response to this “explicitly violent speech”, the host adopted a “playful tone” and allowed his guest to repeat his call for violence against women”, it added. The media authority said Kotbi Tonight was to be suspended for three weeks.

So far, no legal action has been taken against Miloudi, despite waves of outrage on social media in reaction to his comments. Misogynistic and sexist attitudes are commonplace in Morocco and rarely condemned by authorities.

Last year, HACA penalised a Chada FM radio show after a commentator said on air that “women who are the most exposed to uterine cancer are those who resort to prostitution or adultery”.

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Culture & Tourism

Ake festival 2019: A festival of arts and books

The preservation of African culture gave birth to the Aké Arts and Book Festival

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Ake Festival 2019 partners News Central
A panel session with speakers discussing at the Ake Festival

What happens when two Afro-optimist giants and pioneers of African cultural advancement form a partnership to host the biggest cultural and artsy event on the continent?

You guessed right. An invitation to an authentic African experience. From October 24-27, the 7th edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival will take place in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital. News Central will, this time, bring you all the action live from the venue.

Themed “Black Bodies: Grey Matter”, this year’s edition will feature book chats, readings, panel discussions, art exhibitions, films, music, theatre and many more creative expressions through black bodies that genuinely tell the African story.

The Ake Festival –  News Central Story

In the royal town of Ake, Ogun State, South-Western Nigeria, the birthplace of Professor Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, a passion for the preservation of African culture gave birth to the Aké Arts and Book Festival.

For 6 years, the festival, founded in 2013 by renowned Nigerian writer, Lola Shoneyin has converged Africa’s brightest and most artistically creative minds to engage in pro-African discourse.

And this year, News Central hopes to infuse the “Africa. First.” narrative, an important piece in the Ake Festival puzzle for a successful celebration of Africa in all of her uniqueness.

What does Africa. First. mean for Ake Festival?

In a recent interview, Lola Shoneyin revealed her delight in partnering with News Central, a frontier media platform that puts Africa and Africans in the driver’s seat of our stories.

“I love Africa. First…and I love it because it really resonates with me.”

Lola Shoneyin

Africa. First. is a movement by Africans and for Africa! It seeks to put the conversation on African culture and power back on the front burner.  The African culture is vibrantly expressive, uniquely diverse, progressively modern and enviably embodied in Black Bodies and Grey Matter.

Our boldness and power are sourced from the blood of great inventors, mighty rulers and pioneers of civilisations that courses through our veins. African power is rooted in this transfer and it is our responsibility to protect and prolong it.

News Central is proud to pioneer this movement and shared vision to promote the African culture and power at events such as the Aké Fest, using our balanced and Afro-optimist media platform in making these stories accessible to Africans.

As our Director of Content and Programmes, Becky Muikia puts it:

“We give them a voice on a pan-African scale.”

Becky Muikia

Africa, now is your time!

Promoting, amplifying and celebrating the African experience is at the heart of the Aké Festival and News Central partnership.

For four days, come witness a full blend of Afro cultural immersion and untold stories told by hundreds of writers, poets, dancers, artists, film-makers, and other creatives. Join us on this shared journey by registering to attend here Aké Festival.

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