By Fungai Maboreke

Jan. 24 (GIN) - South African Model C primary schools have been quietly removing Zulu and Xhosa languages from their curriculum leaving English and Afrikaans, popularly known as “the oppressors’ language” during the apartheid era as the medium of Instruction.

 

Officially, students should be taught in their mother tongue from Grades 1 to 3, but a survey by the Sunday Times newspaper found this was not happening. In fact, by the time they got to 12th year, most pupils were opting for Afrikaans as their first additional language after English with 68,455 choosing Afrikaans, 10,943 choosing Zulu and  1,547 choosing Xhosa.

 

A letter from Mntomuhle Khawula of the Inkatha Freedom Party and an education advisor, was particularly critical: "Exclusion of African languages (isiZulu and isiXhosa) in some former Model C Primary schools is systematically discriminating and singling out certain racial groups."

 

"We cannot sideline our African languages because not only is it an insult to those who speak it but it's reviving the struggle of languages like it happened many years ago with Bantu education, we need to find a curriculum that will accommodate each and every language."

 

Bobby Soobrayan, director of basic education, countered: “It is misleading to say that because of government policy, schools are scrapping African languages in favor of Afrikaans…” However, he added, “Because school governing bodies determine the language policy, some schools choose to offer Afrikaans as the first additional language.”

 

Soobrayan insisted: “What we want to see is every pupil being competent in an African language when they leave school.

 

 Maputo Lashed By Storms And Flooding Is Cut Off From Northern Provinces

Jan. 24 (GIN) – The southern African coastal nation of Mozambique and its capital city Maputo were walloped by a triple play of torrential storms, floods and a tropical cyclone. The government is reported to be housing more than 56,000 people in schools, churches and on sports fields after their homes and belongings were swept away.

 

Over 20 fatalities were reported with most in the central province of Zambezia. The floods, from the Incomati River and its tributaries, cut off communications and broke apart the highway connecting the north and center of the country.

 

The disaster is likely to worsen conditions for a vulnerable population both urban and rural. Despite skyrocketing revenues from its main industry, coal, the government grossly underfunds schools with a student-teacher ratio of 58 to 1, and understaffs its health centers – with only one doctor per 30,000 inhabitants and one nurse per 3,000, according to African Economic Outlook.

 

The 2010 Human Development Index ranked Mozambique 165th out of 169 countries.

 

The size of California, Mozambique has a population of 22.9 million. Its capital, Maputo, is a low-lying area, vulnerable to flooding. The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center sees a continuing threat from the category four cyclone “Funso” whose winds can knock down homes, tear the roofs off buildings, and rip up trees.Jan. 24 (GIN) – The southern African coastal nation of Mozambique and its capital city Maputo were walloped by a triple play of torrential storms, floods and a tropical cyclone. The government is reported to be housing more than 56,000 people in schools, churches and on sports fields after their homes and belongings were swept away.

 

After Attacks, Malawi Prez Retracts Negative View Of Women In Pants

By Fungai Maboreke

Jan. 24 (GIN) - Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has stepped back from remarks earlier this month criticizing women for wearing pants or miniskirts. The remarks triggered an outbreak of beatings and of tearing clothes off women over their choice of attire.

 

In a 15 minute national address, President Mutharika condemned the recent attacks on women mainly by vendors who claimed that the President had ordered it.

 

“Women who want to wear trousers should do so as you will be protected from thugs, vendors and terrorists,” the president said in a local language, Chichewa. “I will not allow anyone to go on the streets and start undressing women and girls wearing trousers because that is criminal.”

 

On Friday, Jan. 20, hundreds of girls and women, among them prominent politicians, protested the attacks while wearing pants or miniskirts and T-shirts emblazoned with such slogans as: “Real men don’t harass women.” A recording of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” got a loud cheer when it was played during the protest. Men also took part.

 

Even the President’s VP chimed in with support for the protestors. “Some of us have spent our entire life fighting for the freedom of women,” Vice President Joyce Banda told the protesters. “It’s shocking some men want to take us back to bondage.”

 

During the reign of Malawi’s first President Kamuzu Banda, women were not allowed to wear trousers and miniskirts until 1993 when Kamuzu was about to leave power.  w/pix of women supporting the protest

 

 

Opposition Goes Out For Votes In Historic Election First

Jan. 24 (GIN) – Municipal elections in Chad saw members of the opposition on the ballot in a first ever poll in the country’s history for local office.

 

Mayors in this central African country were previously appointed by the government of President Idriss Deby itno.

 

Deby, who has ruled Chad since 1990, was reelected in April 2011 with 83 percent of a disputed vote. His Patriotic Salvation Movement won an absolute majority in parliament two months earlier.

 

The opposition said both elections were rigged but decided to take part in the local elections. Observers say they may win many municipalities.

 

Rather than multiple parties competing, the opposition formed a 16-party umbrella group, the Coordination of Political Parties for the Defense of the Constitution.

 

"We grouped together because there is a real challenge," said CPDC spokesman Saleh Kebzabo on Friday. "Being able to control the cities is a key step prior to 2016," when presidential and legislative elections are held, he said.

 

President Deby is currently under suspicion, along with family members and close associates, of receiving $10 million in bribes from the Chinese builder of a refinery that opened recently. A dispute over pricing by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation International led to the indefinite suspension of plant operations earlier this month. w/pix of a Chad voter

 

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