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A legal battle is looming over plans to build Amazon’s multi-million-dollar African headquarters on land cherished by South Africa’s indigenous Khoi San people.

Amazon is setting up its African HQ in Cape Town — a project with the promise of thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment is cripplingly high.

City authorities last month approved the construction of a nine-storey business and residential complex on a greenfield site that will be anchored by Amazon.

Its offices will provide total floor space of 70,000 square metres (7.5 million feet) — equivalent to almost 10 football pitches.

But some of the country’s first inhabitants, the Khoi Khoi and San — whose presence in the southern tip of the continent has been dated by archaeologists to thousands of years — say the project desecrates ancestral land.

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They say it lies on a battlefield in which the Khoi defended the territory from Portuguese colonisers in 1510.

“Our heritage will be completely wiped out,” paramount chief Aran Goringhaicona told AFP this week. “There is so much spiritual significance to this place.”

He represents the Goringhaicona Khoi Khoi Indigenous Traditional Council, which is among the indigenous, environmental and community activists contesting the scheme.

Led by a neighbourhood group, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA), they wrote to the developer Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT) this week stating their intention to appeal the project in the courts.

Construction of the four-billion-rand ($283 million / 234 million euro) complex is due to start little more than a month from now.

The group is also questioning environmental approvals for the riverside site, said OCA chair Leslie London.

Cape Town is already struggling with episodes of severe floods and drought — a risk that could be amplified when climate change goes into higher gear, London argued.

City authorities say the impact on floods is “minimal” and the site will be built up above the 100-year flood

Amazon, which has been operating in South Africa for 15 years, declined to comment on the development.

A Gauteng woman has given birth to 10 babies, and has now set a new record in the book of Guinness World Record.

The South African woman, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, 37, who underwent a caesarian operation to birth three girls and seven boys at 29 weeks, now holds the record for the woman who birthed the most children at once.

According to reports, Sithole and her husband, Teboho Tsotetsi had expected eight babies when they had their scan but the scan missed two of the babies.

She takes the record which was held by Malian Halima Cissé who gave birth to nine children in Morocco last month.

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“I am shocked by my pregnancy. It was tough at the beginning. I was sick. It was hard for me.It’s still tough but I am used to it now. I don’t feel the pain anymore, but it’s still a bit tough. I just pray for God to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition, and for me and my children to come out alive. I would be pleased about it,” Sithole said told local media.

Speaking to the Pretoria News, Tsotetsi said Sithole gave birth to their bundles of joy 29 weeks into her pregnancy and that her pregnancy was natural as she was not on any fertility treatment.

 

Reports show that only two other sets of nonuplets have been recorded since the 1970s, but the babies all died within days.

LeBron James is teaming up with Ghanaian-born designer Mimi Plange for a four-part LeBron 18 Low collection that celebrates diversity and a sense of community. The series of colorways collections is the second collaboration between the NBA star and a female designer. It is the first-time-ever Plange is designing sneakers.

Plange is a household name in the fashion industry and most notably known for her designs worn by former first lady Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Gabrielle Union.

“We are so honored to have created ‘Higher Learning,’ our first sneaker design in collaboration with LeBron James and Nike,” Plange announced on Instagram. “We are beyond excited and thankful to have had this opportunity to continue to share inspirational stories with the world.”

She added that the latest design was inspired by James and varsity style.

“There is nothing more empowering and enlightening than education,” said Plange. “The design is inspired by Lebron James and varsity style. The shoes are a powerful symbol of sport and school.”

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Plange, who migrated to the United States from Ghana at the age of five, said she has had a lot of experiences with many different groups of people. “…So I’ve lived through contrasts, like coming from Ghana and growing up in California, like not having a lot of money growing up and yet participating in honors classes, which included a specific kind of student. I think those experiences, along with the ability to travel as an adult, were big reasons why I design the way I do, because you’re able to see that the world is a lot smaller than you think, and that people are not as segmented or opposite in thought as you might think they are.”

Working with James, according to Plange, has been nothing short of amazing. She got the opportunity to bring forth his personality and influence in education, sport, and culture in her designs, thus making the world see James from four different perspectives. The four-part series will show him as a young superstar, as a family man, as an educational advocate, and more.

The collection of four shoes will drop throughout the Holiday season, with the first going up on Plange’s website, SNKRS and other select retailers from June 2.

North Carolina-born rapper J. Cole recently popped back up with the announcement of his latest project and documentary, The Off Season. But, it looks like the entertainer has been preparing more than hit classics. According to The New Times Rwanda, Cole will soon be suiting up for an appearance on Rwanda’s Africa Basketball League team.

He has been spotted in Kigali and his name was also found on the team’s roster.

The 36-year-old rapper’s original name is Jermaine Lamarr Cole. He had a standout high school career at Sanford High School (North Carolina) and was a walk-on at St. John’s men’s basketball team. He pivoted to his music career before ever playing in a Division I basketball game.

The Basketball Africa League is a partnership between the NBA and FIBA to bring more awareness to the sport in African nations. There are currently 12 teams in the league, and each team must have at least 8 local players, leaving room for only 4 foreigners. Countries include: Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda.

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J. Cole is said to be taking one of the foreign slots for Rwanda for at least one game.

While the Dreamville rapper, nor his team, has yet to officially confirm his participation in the league, he has been known to express his desire to play professional basketball at some point in life. In 2019, rapper Master P spoke on a conversation the two had where Cole described plans to go out for an NBA team.

With former NBA tryout experience himself, Master P told Cole, “…this is a different time we’re in. They’re going to pick you apart! You’re gonna have to be able to hit every shot and if you don’t hit every shot, they — you know in the NBA, they don’t hit every shot but they believe in them. So, you’re gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believes in you and the players believe in you.”

This announcement comes at the perfect time to go hand-in-hand with the rappers documentary set to release today. There is no word if he will feature his time in Rwanda in the film, but we sure hope he does.

 

Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaore, has reportedly been indicted by a military court in the country’s capital for the 1987 assassination of political revolutionary, Thomas Sankara. Hailed as a national hero, Sankara was assassinated alongside 12 other government officials in a coup led by Compaore before he ascended to power. In 2014, Compaore was forced to resign from his 27-year-long rule and seek exile in the Ivory Coast after continued mass demonstrations. Thirteen other people were charged in connection with the killing, including Compaore’s former right-hand man, Gen. Gilbert Diendere. Charges against Compaore include undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to military documents seen by The Associated Press

According to AFP, lawyer to the family of Sankara, Guy Hervé Kam, responded to the news saying, “The time for justice has finally come. A trial can begin. It will be up to the military prosecutor to determine a date for the hearing.”

The indictment is certainly a pivotal moment in the now 34-year-long quest for justice for not only Sankara’s family, but the entire nation. While Compaore had repeatedly denied calls to exhume Sankara’s remains during his time in office, following his resignation, Sankara’s remains were exhumed in 2015 and described by his widow, Mariam Sankara, as having been “riddled with more than a dozen bullets,” Al Jazeera reports.

Sankara, who was known as a vocal Pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist, was beloved among the Burkinabe people with his assassination at the tender age of just 37, cutting deep into the socio-political fabric of the country even till today.

In four years as president, he became the first African leader to denounce the menace of AIDS, took a stand against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and promoted women’s rights by opposing female genital mutilation and polygamy.

 

While a date for the trial has not as yet been set or announced, Kam is optimistic that it will be soon. There have also been several attempts to extradite Compaore in the past, however, Ivory Coast has refused to hand him over.

 

Twitter announced today that they are building a team in Ghana to establish their presence on the continent. Twitter’s mission is to serve the public conversation, and the positive power of Twitter is what connects them and allows them to impact the world around us. “To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent,” they wrote in a company blog post today

🇬🇭 Twitter is now present on the continent.

Thank you Ghana and @NAkufoAddo. #TwitterGhanahttps://t.co/tt7KR3kvDg

— jack (@jack) April 12, 2021

Twitter posted job openings for a variety of positions ranging from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications. Individuals will occupy these positions remotely, though, as Twitter expects to open an office in the country later.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed delight at the news, saying, “the choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country.”

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He also announced that he met with Dorsey virtually on April 7th, where the two parties may have finalized the contract.

“As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana,” he added

Twitter’s decision to begin its African expansion with Ghana is based on the country’s AfCFTA negotiations and access to the internet, according to the company.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.

Kenya has imposed a new lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus infections.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday announced a ban on all inland travel in the capital Nairobi and out four other counties.

Kenya’s Covid-19 positivity rate has jumped from 2% to 22% between January and March and Nairobi accounts for nearly 60% of the cases-

Kenyatta said that hospital admissions had increased 52% in the past two weeks and that at least seven people are dying every day from coronavirus.

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What do the new measures mean?

No road, rail or air transport will be permitted in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos and Nakuru.

In person, meetings will also be banned.

As for curfew, hours now start at 20:00 until 04:00 am (instead of 22:00 until 04:00 am`) in the five counties. Special passes that allowed people to travel during curfew hours have also been revoked.

Alcohol sales in the areas have also been banned and restaurants can only provide takeaway services.

The president also ordered “an immediate suspension of all face-to-face teaching, which includes universities”, with the exception of students currently taking exams.

Kenya reopened its schools and colleges in early January, which had been closed for ten months.

All sporting events are also suspended.

International travel is permitted but subject to a negative coronavirus test.

The new measures begin on Friday at midnight.

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This week Kenya recorded between 1,000 and 1,500 cases per day.

“According to our health experts, our third wave started to gain strength in early March,” said Kenyatta.

The peak of this wave is expected in the next 30 days, with more than 2,500 to 3,000 cases per day,” he added.

Recognising the impact these decisions will have on the economy, Kenyatta added that these “measures are temporary and necessary to contain the spread of the disease and therefore to stop further loss of life.”

“I am convinced that the cost of inaction would be much worse,” he said.

Senegalese citizens staged a widespread demonstration against Macky Sall‘s administration, which kidnapped opposition leader Ousman Sonko on his way to a court hearing two days ago .

Sonko, is a 46-year-old leader of the opposition Pastef party and a former presidential candidate who finished third in the 2019 elections. His political career was cast into doubt last month when an employee at a spa where he claimed to have gone for back massages filed rape charges against him.

Sonko’s recent arrest has triggered “the worst unrest seen in the capital of Senegal in years”. Leader of the Pastef Les Patriotes party and a former presidential candidate, Sonko is seen as a formidable opposition figure to current President Macky Sall especially with elections in three years’ time. France24 reports that there is continued uncertainty as to whether President Sall will seek a third term in office.

According to him, the accusation of rape is an “attempt at political liquidation,” as he accused President Macky Sall of fomenting a political conspiracy against him. Despite the fact that the young woman accusing Ousmane Sonko of rape testified in a closed court hearing last month, her case is yet to be resolved.

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“Ousmane Sonko was heading towards the court following a summons from the judicial authority when he was arbitrarily arrested due to the presence on his route of demonstrators and sympathizers. The charges of disturbing public order and unauthorized demonstration against him must be dropped and, as long as these are the only charges justifying his detention, he must be immediately released, along with the three individuals who were arrested in same time as him, ”said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s regional director for West and Central Africa.

Senegal is one of the very few stable African democracies and the country has never experienced a coup. But the ongoing protests, vocally supported by opposition political parties as well as some in civil society, are the worst in years. As of Saturday, March 6, reports say some five people have been killed with many protesters and police injured. What started as a call for the release of Sonko is now about socioeconomics, as clearly seen on placards and posters. Unemployment is high in Senegal while the strains brought about by COVID-19 have devastated the informal sector.

A Mississippi school district is facing criticism after a class assignment asked middle schoolers to put themselves in the shoes of an enslaved person, and write letters to friends and family.

The assignment given to eighth-graders at Purvis Middle School told students to “pretend like you are a slave working on a Mississippi plantation,” according to a screenshot of the assignment that Black Lives Matter Mississippi posted to Twitter.

Other tasks in the assignment included: “You may discuss the journey to America, as well as the day-to-day tasks you perform [as a slave]” and “You may also want to tell about the family you live with/work for [as a slave] and how you pass your time when you aren’t working.”

More than 12 million enslaved Africans were shipped to the Americas and the Caribbean during the Middle Passage – what the assignment supposedly refers to as the “journey.” Over two million of the enslaved Africans who were forcefully packed into the ships for that arduous and dangerous journey lost their lives.

Following the backlash after the details of the assignment were made public, Lamar County School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Hampton claimed the aim of the exercise was to “show our students just how horrible slavery was and to gain empathy for what it was like to be a slave,” KCRG-TV reported. “We do not discriminate against race. We want to be sensitive to what happened in the past,” Hampton added

The principal of the middle school, Frank Bunnell, also sent an email to parents apologizing for an assignment of such nature to happen under his watch. In his apology, however, Bunnell claimed the assignment was taken out of context as the slide in question was part of a PowerPoint presentation, according to the Daily Beast.

“A person could read just the assignment and draw a very unrealistic view of the true tragedies that occurred. That was not intended,” Bunnell wrote. “However, intent does not excuse anything. There is no excuse to downplay a practice that (even after abolished) spurs unjust laws, unfair economic practices, inhumane treatment, and suppression of a people.”

Activists who spoke to the news outlet expressed their dismay behind the assignment and questioned the logic behind it. “I don’t know how a logical person teaches this,” Jeremy Marquell Bridges, the social media manager for Black Lives Matter Mississippi said. “Like someone who went to school to teach children could think this exercise was helpful in any way. It’s not helpful, it’s hurtful.”

Jarrius Adams, the president of Young Democrats Mississippi, also referred to the assignment as “extremely tone deaf”, adding that it was also “inappropriate to have Middle Schoolers put themselves in the shoes of slaves without proper context.”

“It does not matter what the intention was, the impact is the only thing that matters,” Adams continued. “If I were a parent of a student in the classroom, I would be pissed. There are proper ways to educate students about the history of this nation—this was not one of them.”