Month: August 2022

Modeling the Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 Among Five High Burden African Countries


The disease, now caused by a novel coronavirus called severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, was first identified in the outbreak of the respiratory disease in Wuhan, China.1 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) raises ongoing and serious public health concerns around the world. As of 07th February 2022, the ongoing global pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 has spread to at least 225 countries and territories causing 410,837,662 cases and 5,829,542 deaths (case fatality rate (CFR) = 1.42%) globally.2 The United States of America (USA) reported the highest number of cases (79,293,924) (3, 4) and 942,944 deaths3–7 with a CFR of 1.18%, followed by India (42,631,421) cases and 508,665 deaths with a CFR of 1.19%.3,4,7–10 The first case of coronavirus in Africa was reported in Egypt on February 14, 2020.11,12 By the end of October 2021, 47 African countries were affected, with over 150,000 deaths and over 6.07 million confirmed cases.13 Africa is considered one of the most vulnerable continents due to its strong trade relations with China and poor health care system.4,14,15 As of 07th February 2022, the ongoing global pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 has spread to at least 58 African countries,14,16 including South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and, Libya, and resulted in approximately 6,632,037 cases of COVID-19 and 151,537 deaths only on these five Africa countries.2 In South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and, Libya, COVID-19 infections 3,623,962, 1,147,243, 944,175, 466,539, and 450,118 and deaths reached 95,835, 15,593, 26,679, 7363, and 6067, with case fatality rate (CFR) of nearly 0.15%, 0.042%, 0.22%, 0.006%, and 0.086%, respectively.2 This disease has left a permanently dark mark on the history of the human race.12 The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic will be infamously recorded in history forever.12

In the case of the Southern African countries, the basic reproduction number (R0) for South Africa was estimated to be 7.02.17 This was followed by Zambia with R0 = 2.59 and Namibia with R0 = 2.37.17 The reproduction number for Malawi was 2.16.17 Among the Central African countries considered, Cameroon had an R0 of 3.74, Chad (2.03),17 Gabon (2.37),17 and the Republic of the Congo (2.54).17 Of these countries, Cameroon was the first to be infected with COVID-19, followed by the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Chad. Among the African island nations,18 Madagascar (4.97) and Mauritius (9.66) showed the highest breeding numbers.17 In North Africa, Morocco (3.92) is estimated to have the highest basic reproduction number, followed by Tunisia (3.87), Algeria (3.31), and Egypt (2.72).13,17 Similar results were obtained in East African countries. Sudan has the lowest reproduction number (1.98), followed by Ethiopia (2.55), Kenya (3.77), and Rwanda (4.04).17 In addition to this, a new type of COVID-19 emerged in the world.19–21 The virus is constantly changing, which can lead to the emergence of new variants or strains of the virus.19,22 Variants usually do not affect the behavior of the virus. But sometimes they make it work differently.23–25 Omicron variants spread more easily than the original virus that causes COVID-19 and delta variants.17,19,20 The Omicron COVID19 variant was first reported in South Africa on November 24, 2021 (26). It is quickly spreading across the world.20,21,26 The severity associated with Omicron is still unknown, but early reports suggest a mild illness, at least in the younger population.19–21 Individuals infected with the Omicron variant may show symptoms similar to those of previous variants. The presence and severity of symptoms can be affected by COVID19 vaccination status, the presence of other conditions, age, and previous history of infection.20,22,27

The biggest burden of COVID19 depends on the medical system and on the prompt and timely response to the pandemic.27–33 But the problem is that almost all African countries respond slightly too slowly, and some of them cannot use their vaccines effectively.34–36 A series of critical factors can lead to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some of these factors do not seem to be well understood.17,37 Infectious disease modeling is a powerful tool for infectious disease control that helps to accurately predict characteristics and understand infectious disease dynamics.38–40 In infectious disease models, the incidence rate plays a vital role in the transmission of infectious diseases.38–40 From an epidemiological point of view, the number of people infected per unit time is called the incidence.38–40 Here we consider the incidence of non-linearity, as the number of effective contacts between infectious and susceptible individuals can be saturated by the accumulation of high levels of infectious individuals.38–40 This model is also used to calibrate and predict the number of COVID-19 case data in five high-burden African countries, including South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Libya, to estimate the model parameters. We assessed the impact of year structure on the dynamics of COVID-19 cases in all five high-burden African countries. The study performed an intervention analysis to identify the essential intervention that could support policymakers in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak in the five high-burden African countries. The model findings can be also helpful to many other countries which are dealing with the critical outbreak of COVID-19 and predict what will happen in the future. The COVID19 pandemic continues to spread in uncertain ways around the world, despite vaccines being available. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is necessary to properly understand the development of the disease in the community. More research is needed to adequately understand the transmission dynamics of the virus and its variants in Africa. In this study, researchers used a SIMCR model to estimate the basic reproduction number of COVID-19 among five high-burden African countries based on the number of susceptible, infected, mild severe, and series critical severe. The prediction results and the incidence rate estimation could be used by public health officers to plan, and map out strategies to prevent COVID-19 adequately in Africa.


Study Setting

The study was conducted among five COVID-19 high burdened African countries. These are South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Libya.

Our study is deterministic modeling where the population is partitioned into five components based on the epidemiological state of the individuals. The model structure that we selected is based on the nature of COVID-19 and general model assumptions to make it simple. In this model, the population is partitioned into five compartments or classes namely: Susceptible S(t), infected I(t), mildly infected population M(t), critical infected population C(t), and recovered R(t) compartments (Figure 1).41 According to this model, a susceptible individual in contact with an infected person is prone to get infected.41–44

Figure 1 Flow chart of the SLMCR mathematical model showing the five states and the transitions in and out of each state.

The flow chart of the SLMCR mathematical model shows the five states and the transitions in and out of each state. S: susceptible population; I: Infected population; M: mildly infected population (moderate symptom); C: critical infected population (critical case); R: recovered population; Λ: recovered rate, λ: infected rate; μ: death rate; β: Recovery rate from M to R; ω: progression rate from latent to a mild compartment; ω2: progression rate from the latent critical compartment; α: the force of saturation infection; γ: recovery rate from mild compartment to recover compartment; β: recovery rate from critical compartment to recovery compartment; ϕ: the rate of progression from mild to critical compartment due to comorbidities with other diseases (Table 1).41

Table 1 The Assumed and Fitted Values of Model Parameters for Five High-Burden African Countries

Ordinary Differential Equations (ODE)

ODEs describe the rate of change in the number of the susceptible, latent, acute, carrier, and recovered compartments at time t.41

These equations are written as follows:

The SICMR model is a compartmental model describing how a COVID-19 disease spreads among the population. The subjects of the SICMR model are susceptible, infected, mild, critical series serious critical, and recovered cases.41

In the model, natural birth rate and natural death rates are considered equal. We use the following symbols to mark the number of individuals in each compartment:41

  1. S(t): susceptible, representing the number of individuals who do not have COVID-19 diseases at time t but are likely to have COVID-19 disease in the future
  2. I(t): infected, representing the number of individuals who get COVID-19 disease at time t
  3. R(t): recovered, representing the cumulative or total number of the recovered groups at time t
  4. C(t): serious critical infected population, representing the cumulative or total number of patient who has critical symptoms at the time of t
  5. M(t): mild severe, representing the cumulative or total number of patient who has mild symptoms at the time of t

Results and Discussion

The output below shows the number of people in each compartment. It was modeled for 30 years. As it is shown, the total populations for every five compartments are estimated for each year (Table 2).

Table 2 The Number of Populations in Each Compartment of the COVID-19 Model Structure Modeled for 30 Years, South Africa, February 2022

This section estimated the model parameters based on the available five African countries’ COVID-19 reported case data from The figures (Figures 2–6) present the pattern of infected individuals, susceptible, mild severe, critical mild severe, and recovered individuals for the next 30 years if the number of infected individuals follows this trend in South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Libya.

Figure 2 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 model structure modeled for 30 years, South Africa, February 2022.

Figure 3 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 model structure modeled for 30 years, Morocco, February 2022.

Figure 4 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 model structure modeled for 30 years, Tunisia, February 2022.

Figure 5 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 model structure modeled for 30 years, Ethiopia, February 2022.

Figure 6 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 model structure modeled for 30 years, Libya, February 2022.

To parameterize the model, we obtained some of the parameter values from the literature (Table 2). Others were fitted or estimated from the data. The model was fitted using R version 4.0.5 using starting points from the data (South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and, Libya, COVID-19 infections 3,623,962, 1,146,041, 940,223, 466,455, and 445,876 and deaths reached 95,817, 15,593, 26,679, 7363, and 6067 respectively).2

The prediction results from the model are also shown in the figure below to show direction and to understand the importance of intervention in the evidence-based decision-making process. The predicted result shows that if the number of infected individuals, number of recovered, and critical series severe follow this trend for the next year, there will be around 6,932,672 in South Africa, 1,568,144 in Morocco, 1,770,862 in Tunisia, 929,366 in Ethiopia, and 853,195 in Libya patients infected. In addition to this, if this trend continues in the next 10 years, there will be around 29,221,559 in South Africa, 5,144,339 in Morocco, 5,925,190 in Tunisia, 5,002,988 in Ethiopia, and 3,545,001 in Libya recovered from COVID-19 by April 30th, 2032, as shown in tables and figures below. This is consistent with the report of WHO, which stated that the number of newly confirmed cases was higher among African countries.42 The pattern of increasing cases is driven by South Africa and Ethiopia, which continue to report the highest numbers of new cases.42

If this trend continues for the next 3 decades, the number of susceptible individuals will decrease, but the number of infected, mild severe patients and recovered individuals will increase. The number of susceptible individuals decreased by 50,732,068 in South Africa, 11,782,920 in Morocco, 10,876,563 in Tunisia, 13,482,005 in Ethiopia, and 6,007,478 in Libya in the next 3 decades.

The following are the ggplots of the above table (Table 2). As those graphs clearly show, the number of susceptible individuals decreased among five high-burden African countries. But the number of infected, mild severe, critical severe, and recovered populations will increase at the end of the studying years. The population in the three compartments will increase over the next 30 years. The population in the critical severe compartment will remain almost constant throughout the study period (Figures 2–6).

Intervention Implementation

Providing COVID-19 vaccine to the population of five high-burden African countries is 70–95% effective to prevent COVID-19 transmission from individual to individual.

Now we can think of the COVID-19 vaccine as an intervention to reduce coronavirus transmission from person to person. Currently, the distribution of vaccines is being offered in all African countries. We want to plan the intervention, by assuming that it is possible to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to half of the population in five high-burden African countries. The model formulation considering the intervention is done as follows.

Let the intervention to be offered is labeled as: “CD_ COVID-19”

Coverage of COVID-19 vaccine (C_ CD_ COVID-19) =0.5(50%),

Efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine (E_ CD_ COVID-19) = 0.76(76%)

Lambda intervention for South Africa=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

 The value of the force of infection (lambda) after intervention will be:

  Lambda intervention=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

  Lambda intervention=0.64*(1-(0.5*0.76))

  Lambda intervention=0.64*(1–0.38)



Therefore, the intervention will reduce the force of infection by 62%.

Lambda intervention for Morocco =lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

 The value of the force of infection (lambda) after intervention will be:

  Lambda intervention=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

  Lambda intervention=0.03*(1-(0.5*0.76))

  Lambda intervention=0.05*(1–0.38)



Therefore, the intervention will reduce the force of infection by 62%.

Lambda intervention for Tunisia =lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

 The value of the force of infection (lambda) after intervention will be:

  Lambda intervention=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

  Lambda intervention=0.85*(1-(0.5*0.76))

  Lambda intervention=0.85*(1–0.38)



Therefore, the intervention will reduce the force of infection by 62%.

Lambda intervention for Ethiopia =lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

 The value of the force of infection (lambda) after intervention will be:

  Lambda intervention=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

  Lambda intervention=0.004*(1-(0.5*0.76))

  Lambda intervention=0.05*(1–0.38)



Therefore, the intervention will reduce the force of infection by 62%.

Lambda intervention for Libya =lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

 The value of the force of infection (lambda) after intervention will be:

  Lambda intervention=lambda*(1- (C_ CD_ COVID-19 * E_ CD_ COVID-19))

  Lambda intervention=0.068*(1-(0.5*0.76))

  Lambda intervention=0.068*(1–0.38)



Therefore, the intervention will reduce the force of infection by 62%.

The prediction results after intervention are shown in Table 3. If 50% of the population is vaccinated and if the number of infected individuals, recovers, and critical severe follow the same trend for the next 10 years, it is possible to reduce the number of infected individuals in Africa. There will be around 9,847,641 in South Africa, 15,183,777 in Morocco, 3,773,632 in Tunisia, 2,255,118 in Ethiopia, and 1,893,279 in Libya infected. In addition to this, if this trend continues in the next 10 years, there will be around 9,158,288 in South Africa, 14,268,506 in Morocco, 3,525,578 in Tunisia, 2,117,100 in Ethiopia, and 1,399,768 in Libya recovered from COVID-19 by April 30th, 2032 as shown in figures and tables below. A similar study reported that COV2.S given two months after the initial immunization increased vaccine effectiveness in the short term to 100% against severe disease.45 The previous study has also found that vaccination is an important protective factor against COVID-19.46–55

Table 3 The Number of Populations After Intervention in Each Compartment of the COVID-19 Model Structure Modeled for 30 Years, February 2022

If this trend continues for the next 3 decades the number of susceptible individuals will increase but the number of infected, mild severe patients, and recovered individuals will decrease. The number of the susceptible individual increased by 30,711,930 in South Africa, 5,919,837 in Morocco, 3,485,020 in Tunisia, 7,833,642 in Ethiopia, and 2,145,404 in Libya in the next 3 decades with compare to the unvaccinated population and the number of infected individuals decreases by 30,479,271 in South Africa, 19,809,751 in Morocco, 3,456,406 in Tunisia, 7,761,993 in Ethiopia and 2,125,038 in Libya.

The following are the ggplots of the above table result after intervention (Table 3). As those graphs (Figures 7–11) clearly show, the number of susceptible individuals decreased among five high-burden African countries. But compared to the previous result (before intervention) the number of susceptible increased and the intervention reduced the number of infected individuals throughout the study period. From the figure, the number of Infected, Mild severe, critical severe, and recovered populations will increase at the end of the studying years. But compared to the previous results (before intervention) there is a dramatic decrease in the number of infected individuals.

Figure 7 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 modeled for 30 years after the intervention, South Africa, February 2022.

Figure 8 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 modeled for 30 years after the intervention, Morocco, February 2022.

Figure 9 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 modeled for 30 years after the intervention, Tunisia, February 2022.

Figure 10 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 modeled for 30 years after the intervention, Ethiopia, February 2022.

Figure 11 The number of populations in each compartment of the COVID-19 modeled for 30 years after the intervention, Libya, February 2022.

The incidence rates of symptoms and diseases in the general population are important indicators of a population’s health status. The incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic is shown below for the next 30 years among five high-burden African countries. The incidence in the first year will be 55 cases per 1000 in South Africa, 984 cases per 10,000 population in Morocco, 1216 cases per 1000 population, 769 cases per 100,000 population in Ethiopia, and 1097 cases per 10,000 population during one year at risk before intervention. The incidence rate of the COVID-19 pandemic will then decrease till the end of the next 30 years in all countries. But if 50% of the population is vaccinated, the incidence rate in those countries decreases dramatically compared to the unvaccinated population. The Incidence rate after the intervention is 3652 cases per 100,000 in South Africa, 2076 cases per 1,000,000 population in Morocco, 4915 cases per 100,000 population, 3 cases per 1000 population in Ethiopia, and 4385 cases per 100,000 population during one year at risk (Table 4).

Table 4 Incidence Rate per 1000 Population Before Intervention and After the Intervention, February 2022


SIRD and SIRS models are classical and effective stochastic models of infectious diseases. In this research, the SIMCR model is used to describe the transmission of COVID-19 among five high-burden African countries. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Libya are the top 5 COVID-19 high-burden African countries. Through the analysis of the recent data, the number of infected individuals has increased today. If this trend is continuous for the next 30 years we will have around 86 million infected individuals and millions of deaths only in those five African countries. Also, the incidence rates of those countries are high before intervention compared to after intervention. To reduce those problems, vaccination is the best and most effective mechanism. So, vaccinating half of the population in those countries helps to control and reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19 in Africa for the next 30 years. This will lead to preventing 17,212,405 people from becoming infected and millions of deaths being reduced in those five high-burden African countries for the next 30 years. Finally, we hope that the governments will impose the strictest, most scientifically effective containment measures to quickly conquer COVID-19.

Many research works have been done for short terms forecasting periods like 25, 30, and 60 days. Where in this study, the authors took data for the last year and predicted the scenario for the next 30 years. Moreover, the SIRD model showed excellent accuracy in the prediction force of infection and the best intervention method which previous models could not achieve.

So, this model should be applied for forecasting future analysis and identifying the force of infection for any dataset. The limitation that was observed during prediction was that SIRD models upturn the number of susceptible, infected, recovered, and deaths. But SIRD model is the greatest and most effective model to identify the best intervention method and force of infection. In the future, investigators can explore some predictive models such as the ARIMA model and Bayesian networks in COVID-19. This model is also recommended to be applicable for future pandemics and to identify the most effective intervention method.

Ethics Approval

The study was based on aggregated COVID-19 surveillance data in South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and, Libya taken from the worldometer. No confidential information was included because analyses were performed at the aggregate level. Therefore, no ethical approval is required.

Data Sharing Statement

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available on the following website:


We acknowledge worldometers for their valuable work.


The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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49. Martı´nez-Baz I, Miqueleiz A, Casado I, et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing SARS CoV-2 infection and hospitalisation, Navarre, Spain, January to April 2021. Eurosurveillance. 2021;26:2100438. PMID: 34047271. doi:10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2021.26.21.2100438

50. Pritchard E, Matthews PC, Stoesser N, et al. Impact of vaccination on new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United Kingdom. Nat Med. 2021;27:1370–1378. PMID: 34108716. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01410-w

51. Thompson MG, Burgess JL, Naleway AL, et al. Interim Estimates of vaccine effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers—Eight U.S. Locations. 2021;70:495–500. PMID: 33793460. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7013e3

52. Amit S, Regev-Yochay G, Afek A, et al. Early rate reductions of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 in BNT162b2 vaccine recipients. Lancet. 2021;397:875–877. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736

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55. Thompson MG, Burgess JL, Naleway AL, et al. Prevention and Attenuation of Covid-19 with the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines. N Engl J Med. 2021;385:320–329. PMID: 34192428. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2107058


Kofi Time: The Podcast

Armed Conflicts, Civil Society, Climate Change, Food and Agriculture, Health, Multimedia, Peace, Podcast

Aug 24 2022 –  

About the Podcast

Regarded as one of the modern world’s icons of diplomacy, what is Kofi Annan’s legacy today? What can we learn from him, and how can we prepare for tomorrow, based on his vision for a better world?

In this exclusive 10-part podcast, Ahmad Fawzi, one of Kofi Annan’s former spokespersons and communication Advisor, will examine how Kofi Annan tackled a specific crisis and its relevance to today’s world and challenges.

Kofi Annan’s call to bring all stakeholders around the table — including the private sector, local authorities, civil society organisations, academia, and scientists — resonates now more than ever with so many, who understand that governments alone cannot shape our future.

Join us on a journey of discovery as Ahmad Fawzi interviews some of Kofi Annan’s closest advisors and colleagues including Dr Peter Piot, Christiane Amanpour, Mark Malloch-Brown, Michael Møller and more.

Listen and follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud

Brought to you by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the United Nations Information Service.

Kofi Time: The Official Trailer

Join us as we take a journey of discovery about Kofi Annan’s leadership style and what makes it so relevant and important today.

Multilateralism: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Lord Mark Malloch-Brown | Episode 1

In this episode, Lord Malloch Brown shares insights with podcast host Ahmad Fawzi on how Kofi Annan strengthened the United Nations through careful diplomacy and bold reforms, and how significant advances were made during his tenure as Secretary-General. He comments on the state of multilateralism today, as the organization is buffeted by the crisis in Ukraine and the paralysis of the Security Council.

Making Peace: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Christiane Amanpour | Episode 2

In this episode of Kofi Time, host Ahmad Fawzi interviews renowned journalist Christiane Amanpour. Together, they discuss a world in turmoil, and what would Kofi Annan – who did so much for peace – do today?

Christiane shares her thoughts on the ‘Kofi Annan way’, the difficult job mediators and peacebuilders face, and the courage they must show. With Ahmad, they deliberate whether there is a type of ‘calling’ for those who work in this field.

Health Crises: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Dr Peter Piot | Episode 3

In this episode of Kofi Time, our special guest is Dr Peter Piot. Dr Piot discusses how he and Kofi Annan worked together to reverse the HIV/AIDs tide that swept through Africa in the 1990s, through patient but bold diplomacy, innovative partnerships and an inclusive approach that brought to the table previously marginalized communities. Dr Piot and podcast host Ahmad Fawzi discuss whether this approach be replicated today as the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and must prepare for future heath emergencies.

Fighting Hunger: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Catherine Bertini | Episode 4

In episode 4 of Kofi Time, our special guest is Catherine Bertini. Ms. Bertini discusses how she worked with Kofi Annan to fight hunger and malnutrition around the world. Not only is access to food far from universal, but it is also severely impacted by conflicts and climate change. As food prices increase and access becomes even more challenging, how can we replicate Kofi Annan’s approach to improving food systems to make sure no one gets lefts behind on the path to food security globally?

Leadership: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Michael Møller | Episode 5

In episode 5 of Kofi Time, host Ahmad Fawzi interviews diplomat Michael Møller on Kofi Annan’s special kind of leadership. A respected leader among his peers and the public, Kofi Annan served the people of the world with courage, vision and empathy. Embodying moral steadfastness and an acute political acumen, his leadership was one of a kind. What drove him, and how can we emulate his leadership style to face today’s global challenges?

Human Rights: Then & Now | Kofi Time with Zeid Raad Al Hussein | Episode 6

In episode 6 of Kofi Time, our special guest is Zeid Raad Al Hussein. Zeid discusses his friendship with Kofi Annan and how they worked together to protect human dignity and promote human rights. Through the creation of the Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court, Kofi Annan played a critical role in establishing the mechanisms that we have today to protect human rights and fight impunity. How can we uphold Kofi Annan’s legacy and ensure that respect for human rights is not just an abstract concept but a reality?

Podcast Host & Guests


Ahmad Fawzi Kofi

Time Podcast Host

Mr Fawzi is the former head of News and Media at the United Nations. He worked closely with Kofi Annan both during his time as Secretary-General and afterwards, on crises including Iraq and Syria. Before joining the United Nations, he worked for many years in broadcast journalism, as a news editor, reporter and regional news operations manager. From 1991 to 1992, he was the News Operations Manager for the Americas for Visnews — now Reuters Television. Also with Reuters Television, Mr Fawzi served as Regional News Manager for Eastern Europe, based in Prague, from 1989 to 1991 — a time of tumultuous political change in that region. Concurrently with his assignment in Prague, he coordinated coverage of the Gulf war, managing the war desk in Riyadh, as well as the production centre in Dahran, Saudi Arabia. In 1989, Mr Fawzi was Reuters Television Bureau Chief for the Middle East, based in Cairo. Prior to that, he worked in London as News and Assignments Editor for Reuters Television. Previously, he was Editor and Anchor for the nightly news on Egyptian Television.


Lord Mark Malloch-Brown

Episode 1 Guest

Mark Malloch‐Brown is the president of the Open Society Foundations. He has worked in various senior positions in government and international organizations for more than four decades to advance development, human rights and justice. He was UN Deputy Secretary‐General and chief of staff under Kofi Annan. He previously Co-Chaired the UN Foundation Board. Malloch-Brown has worked to advance human rights and justice through working in international affairs for more than four decades. He was UN deputy secretary‐general and chief of staff under Kofi Annan. Before this, he was administrator of the UNDP, where he led global development efforts. He covered Africa and Asia as minister of state in the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office. Other positions have included World Bank vice president, lead international partner in a political consulting firm, vice-chair of the World Economic Forum, and senior advisor at Eurasia Group. He began his career as a journalist at the Economist and as an international refugee worker. He was knighted for his contribution to international affairs and is currently on leave from the British House of Lords. Malloch-Brown is a Distinguished Practitioner at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, an adjunct fellow at Chatham House’s Queen Elizabeth Program, and has been a visiting distinguished fellow at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.


Christiane Amanpour

Episode 2 Guest

Christiane Amanpour is a renowned journalist, whose illustrious career has taken her from CNN where she was Chief international correspondent for many years, to ABC as a Global Affairs Anchor, PBS and back to CNN International for the global affairs interview program named after her. She has received countless prestigious awards, including four Peabody Awards, for her international reporting and her achievements in broadcast journalism. She served as a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety. She is also an honorary citizen of Sarajevo and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2007 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.


Dr Peter Piot

Episode 3 Guest

Dr Peter Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976. He has led research on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and women’s health, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Peter Piot was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008. Under his leadership, UNAIDS has become the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS. It has brought together ten organizations of the United Nations system around a common agenda on AIDS, spearheading UN reform Peter Piot was the Director of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College; London and he held the 2009/2010 “Knowledge against poverty” Chair at the College de France in Paris. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was elected a foreign member of the National Academy of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.


Catherine Bertini

Episode 4 Guest

An accomplished leader in food security, international organization reform and a powerful advocate for women and girls, Catherine Bertini has had a distinguished career improving the efficiency and operations of organizations serving poor and hungry people in the United States and around the world. She has highlighted and supported the roles of women and girls in influencing change. She was named the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate for her transformational leadership at the World Food Programme (WFP), which she led for ten years, and for the positive impact she had on the lives of women. While in the US government, she expanded the electronic benefit transfer options for food stamp beneficiaries, created the food package for breastfeeding mothers, presented the first effort to picture healthy diets, and expanded education and training opportunities for poor women. As a United Nations Under-Secretary-General, and at the head of the World Food Programme for ten years (1992 to 2002), she led UN humanitarian missions to the Horn of Africa and to Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. During her time serving with WFP, Catherine Bertini was responsible for the leadership and management of emergency, refugee, and development food aid operations, reaching people in great need in over 100 countries, as well as advocacy campaigns to end hunger and to raise financial resources. With her World Food Prize, she created the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education to support programs to increase opportunities for girls and women to attend school. At the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where she is now professor emeritus, she taught graduate courses in humanitarian action, post-conflict reconstruction, girls’ education, UN management, food security, international organizations, and leadership. She served as a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation early in its new agricultural development program. Bertini is now the chair of the board of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Concurrently, she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She has been named a Champion of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit. She is a professor emeritus at Syracuse University.


Michael Møller

Episode 5 Guest

Mr Møller has over 40 years of experience as an international civil servant in the United Nations. He began his career in 1979 with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and worked for the United Nations in different capacities in New York, Mexico, Iran, Haiti, Cyprus and Geneva. He worked very closely with Kofi Annan as Director for Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary-General between 2001 and 2006, while serving concurrently as Deputy Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General for the last two years of that period. Mr Møller also served as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus from 2006 to 2008 and was the Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation from 2008 to 2011. From 2013 to 2019, Mr Møller served as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva as well as Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference of Disarmament. He currently is Chairman of the Diplomacy Forum of Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator. A Danish citizen, Mr Møller earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom.


Zeid Raad Al Hussein

Episode 6 Guest

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is IPI’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously, Zeid served as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 after a long career as a Jordanian diplomat, including as his country’s Permanent Representative to the UN (2000-2007 & 2010-2014) and Ambassador to the United States (2007-2010). He served on the UN Security Council, was a configuration chair for the UN Peace-Building Commission, and began his career as a UN Peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia. Zeid has also represented his country twice before the International Court of Justice, served as the President of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court from 2002-2005, and in 2005, authored the first comprehensive strategy for the elimination of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Operations while serving as an advisor to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Zeid is also a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights, founded by Nelson Mandela. Zeid holds a PhD from Cambridge University and is currently a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.


Gender Equality & Women’s Rights Wiped out Under the Taliban

Armed Conflicts, Asia-Pacific, Civil Society, Featured, Gender, Gender Violence, Headlines, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, Peace, TerraViva United Nations


The writer is UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

Women receive food rations at a food distribution site in Herat, Afghanistan. Credit: UNICEF/Sayed Bidel

NEW YORK, Aug 15 2022 (IPS) – In the year that has passed since the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan we have seen daily and continuous deterioration in the situation of Afghan women and girls. This has spanned every aspect of their human rights, from living standards to social and political status.

It has been a year of increasing disrespect for their right to live free and equal lives, denying them opportunity to livelihoods, access to health care and education, and escape from situations of violence.

The Taliban’s meticulously constructed policies of inequality set Afghanistan apart. It is the only country in the world where girls are banned from going to high school. There are no women in the Taliban’s cabinet, no Ministry of Women’s Affairs, thereby effectively removing women’s right to political participation.

Women are, for the most part, also restricted from working outside the home, and are required to cover their faces in public and to have a male chaperone when they travel. Furthermore, they continue to be subjected to multiple forms of Gender Based Violence.

This deliberate slew of measures of discrimination against Afghanistan’s women and girls is also a terrible act of self-sabotage for a country experiencing huge challenges including from climate-related and natural disasters to exposure to global economic headwinds that leave some 25 million Afghan people in poverty and many hungry.

The exclusion of women from all aspects of life robs the people of Afghanistan of half their talent and energies. It prevents women from leading efforts to build resilient communities and shrinks Afghanistan’s ability to recover from crisis.

There is a clear lesson from humanity’s all too extensive experience of crisis. Without the full participation of women and girls in all aspects of public life there is little chance of achieving lasting peace, stability and economic development.

That is why we urge the de facto authorities to open schools for all girls, to remove constraints on women’s employment and their participation in the politics of their nation, and to revoke all decisions and policies that strip women of their rights. We call for ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

We urge the de facto authorities to ensure that women journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society actors enjoy freedom of expression, have access to information and can work freely and independently, without fear of reprisal or attack.

The international community’s support for women’s rights and its investment in women themselves are more important than ever: in services for women, in jobs and women-led businesses, and in women leaders and women’s organizations.

This includes not only support to the provision of humanitarian assistance but also continued and unceasing efforts at the political level to bring about change.

UN Women has remained in country throughout this crisis and will continue to do so. We are steadfast in our support to Afghan women and girls alongside our partners and donors.

We are scaling up the provision of life-saving services for women, by women, to meet overwhelming needs. We are supporting women-led businesses and employment opportunities across all sectors to help lift the country out of poverty.

We are also investing in women-led civil society organizations to support the rebuilding of the women’s movement. As everywhere in the world, civil society is a key driver of progress and accountability on women’s rights and gender equality.

Every day, we advocate for restoring, protecting, and promoting the full spectrum of women’s and girls’ rights. We are also creating spaces for Afghan women themselves to advocate for their right to live free and equal lives.

One year on, with women’s visibility so diminished and rights so severely impacted, it is vital to direct targeted, substantial, and systematic funding to address and reverse this situation and to facilitate women’s meaningful participation in all stakeholder engagement on Afghanistan, including in delegations that meet with Taliban officials.

Decades of progress on gender equality and women’s rights have been wiped out in mere months. We must continue to act together, united in our insistence on guarantees of respect for the full spectrum of women’s rights, including to education, work, and participation in public and political life.

We must continue to make a collective and continuous call on the Taliban leadership to fully comply with the binding obligations under international treaties to which Afghanistan is a party.

And we must continue to elevate the voices of Afghan women and girls who are fighting every day for their right to live free and equal lives. Their fight is our fight. What happens to women and girls in Afghanistan is our global responsibility.

IPS UN Bureau


‘Aid Organizations Must Include the Youth Voice’ August 12, 2022—International Youth Day

Armed Conflicts, Civil Society, Education, Education Cannot Wait. Future of Education is here, Global, Headlines, Health, Humanitarian Emergencies, TerraViva United Nations, Youth Thought Leaders


NEW YORK, Aug 12 2022 (IPS) – Today marks International Youth Day, a global celebration of the transformative power of young people. Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, the event was inaugurated not only to observe the power of the youth voice, but to serve as a promise from those in power to activate the power of youth across the development sector.

Yasmine Sherif

Since then, the United Nations appointed a Youth Envoy, dedicated to the diffusion of the day’s promise, and many aid organizations have followed suit by including the voices of young people in social media campaigns, high-level events, and stakeholder forums.

In 2021, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, took a further, concrete step to democratically include youth in its governance structure and decision-making processes. Scores of youth-led NGOs applied to join a newly created youth constituency, and after only a few weeks, the sub-group had become one of the largest, most active, and most diverse constituencies within the fund.

On the Executive Committee and High-Level Steering Group of ECW, young people were represented for the first time alongside government ministers, heads of UN agencies and civil society organizations, and private sector leaders — a refreshing example of intergenerational collaboration at the highest levels of humanitarian aid.

Another significant step in the race for youth inclusion occurred when ECW partnered with Plan International to support a group of youth activists through the ‘Youth for Education in Emergencies Project,’ a campaign by youth panelists aiming to demonstrate the value of youth participation.

As ECW builds momentum towards its High-Level Financing Conference in February 2023 with the #222MillionDreams Campaign, we call on strategic partners to include the youth voice as we come together to mobilize funding resources for the 222 Million crisis-impacted children and adolescents worldwide that require urgent educational support.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of exceptional young people ready to lead the charge. The Global Student Forum, for example, has brought together more than one hundred national student unions, composed of millions of youth activists, and successfully lobbied governments around the world with its democratic force.

H.D. Wright

The success of Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s 100 Million Campaign, a global, youth-led effort to end child exploitation, further illustrates the immense value of grassroots organizing. And at a local level, youth-led NGOs have brought change to their communities in ways equally substantial.

Aid organizations and professionals have changed the lives of countless young people around the world. By including them, aid organizations can tap into their extraordinary resilience and strength, and actually learn from them. Using their reach on social media, young people excel at spreading awareness and engagement around the world. Just as unknown singers become famous because of the young people who promote them, previously unknown issues have reached national prominence overnight and created substantive change.

With regard to fundraising, each young person is surrounded by a community, offering a network ready to lend a hand. In terms of policy, young people affected by crises can identify their needs with an ease unmatched by any humanitarian policy professional, for they are experts in their own lives, challenges and opportunities. Young people are intelligent and capable of shaping their own futures. They have an idealism and a courage that the world so desperately needs today. Their unflinching optimism, powerful energy, and uncompromising commitment to change will ensure that those futures are not only safe, but better than the present they inherited.

ECW can attest to the enlightening and inspiring vitality of young people. Since its creation, the youth constituency has worked energetically on behalf of this breakthrough global fund, providing valuable input and guidance on multi-year programs and first emergency responses in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Haiti, Iraq and Mali. When schools shut down due to the pandemic, the youth constituency persisted, working together to inform aid programmes dispersed across crisis-affected countries.

The youth constituency even responded in real time to developing crises, including the earthquake in Haiti, the deteriorating crisis in Afghanistan, and most recently, the war in Ukraine. Their contributions played a role in meaningful projects: since its inception in 2016, ECW’s programs have reached over 5 million children and adolescents, providing them with quality support, including educational materials, school meals, mental health programs, and other basic necessities.

On this day, it is important to observe the power of young people, and the impactful work that aid organizations have conducted across the sector. Yet celebration and transformation must go hand in hand, ensuring that next year, when International Youth Day returns, we are one step closer to fulfilling its original promise to unleash the power of the youth.

Yasmine Sherif is the Director of Education Cannot Wait. H.D. Wright is Youth Representative at Education Cannot Wait

IPS UN Bureau


A Timeline Of Black American Flags Throughout History

A Timeline Of Black American Flags Throughout History

At its best, flags can be powerful symbols. Flags can represent pride, hope, resilience, history, and the future. At the worst, they are symbols of hate and can incite fear and trigger trauma. Regardless of the use, like language and culture, flags are a vital aspect to any group of people’s identity. Given the history of Black people in United States—ascending from chattel slavery to free American citizens—the journey to establishing an identity for ourselves has been laborious. As the Black identity is constantly changing, the icons that represent us have too.

Here is the growing list of flags that have sewn the Black experience into the fabric of American history:



For Biyi Bandele Thomas, other literary exiles into great beyond

For Biyi Bandele Thomas, other literary exiles into great beyond
Biyi Bandele

Adebayo Obajemu

The past one decade has been a mixed grill for lovers of literature and the arts on the African continent.

It has been a period that has witnessed a flowering of new talents, but also tragically a decade that has seen the passing on of giants of our culture and literature, icons that have made Africa proud .

Each of the departed literary greats in the last one decade has enriched through their writings our literary heritage, and contributed in their own way towards building African literary culture as we know it today.

Their passing though painful, but we are consoled by the fact that they have entered the pantheon of immortality.

And as Famished Road writer, Ben Okri writes: “The real literature of a people begins with the passing of writers into the realm of ancestors. Literature begins with the dead.”

Biyi Bandele Thomas belongs in the generation of writers following Ben Okri’s, the emergent writers of the 90’s who began to bloom and flowered enriching our literary repertoire.

Bandele cut his novelistic and dramatic teeth at the then University of Ife, where he had the privilege of being coached by avant-garde such as Biodun Jeyifo and others, and in 1989 he won the prestigious BBC writing competition.

He had forged an affinity and lifelong attraction to the theatre working with the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, in addition to writing radio drama and screenplays for television. Among his rich repertoire are: Rain; Marching for Fausa (1993); Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought (1994); Two Horsemen (1994), which had the honour of a selection as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival; Death Catches the Hunter and Me and the Boys (published in one volume, 1995); and Oroonoko, an adaptation of Aphra Behn’s 17th-century novel of the same name.

In 1997, Bandele undertook an an ambitious project which turned out a success, the highly acclaimed dramatization of Chinua Achebe’s classic, Things Fall Apart. Brixton Stories, Bandele’s stage adaptation of his own novel The Street (1999), premiered in 2001 and was published in one volume with his play Happy Birthday Mister Deka, which premiered in 1999. He also adapted Lorca’s Yerma in 2001.

He was a writer-in-residence with Talawa Theatre Company from 1994 to 1995, resident dramatist with the Royal National Theatre Studio (1996), the Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, in 2000–01.

He also acted as Royal Literary Fund Resident Playwright at the Bush Theatre from 2002 to 2003.

Talking about influences in one of his interviews, he mentioned the impact of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger on him.

Among his prose endeavors are: The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond (1991) and The Street (1999), which have been described as “rewarding reading, capable of wild surrealism and wit as well as political engagement.”.His 2007 novel, Burma Boy, reviewed in The Independent by Tony Gould, was called “a fine achievement” and lauded for providing a voice for previously unheard Africans.

His directorial debut film, Half of a Yellow Sun – based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and received a “rapturous reception”. His passing is yet another sad blow to African writing.
But then, in the last one decade, the continent has tragically travelled the tortuous road of loss and despair.

Ferdinand Oyono started the round of losses in 2010 when he died . The popular author of House Boy was one of Cameroon’s greatest diplomats. He once served as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Culture. His first novel, Une vie de boy was published in 1956 and translated as Houseboy by John Reed for the Heinemann African Writers Series in 1966.

Lewis Nkosi was a great South African author whose works were under censor and total ban under South Africa’s Suppression of Communism Act. He was the first black South African to receive Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship and spent 30 years in exile abroad. His novel Mating Birds (1983), which examines an interracial affair, is perhaps his most notable work. His Home and Exile is an influential work.His most popular play The Rythm of Violence is a powerful indictment of the evil of apartheid. He died in 2010.

In 2011, the African writing lost Kenyan writer,Margaret Ogola, whose first novel, The River and the Source, won The Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, Africa region, in 1995. Get this: she was also a pediatrician and the medical director of a hospice for HIV and AIDS orphans! Google honored her with a Google Doodle on her 60th birthday.

Does Chinua Achebe really need an introduction? No! The doyen of African literature departed this planet earth in 2013 to commune with the ancestors. He will be remembered for a number of earth-shaking works like Things Fall Apart, Arrows of God and others. Arguably the most famous African author.

In 2014 we lost Kofi Awoonor to the madness of terror when he was tragically killed in the Westgate shopping mall attack in Kenya.

He was a Ghanian poet, novelist, and scholar whose works include translations of Ewe dirge singers. He was imprisoned in 1975 on the suspicion of being involved in a coup, but released in 1976. He served as Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil and Cuba. He was one of Africa’s greatest poets and dramatists.

Mbulelo Mzamane was a South African author, poet, and academic who, like many anti-apartheid activists, spent a fair amount of time in exile. Among his awards are the African Literature Association’s Lifetime Award and the Mofolo-Plomer Prize for Literature. Nelson Mandela called him a “visionary leader and one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals.” He died in 2014.

Nadine Gordimer was a white South African writer who won Nobel Literature Prize. Like most writers critical of apartheid, her works were also once banned by the South African government. In interviews, she admitted that she never intended to be a writer whose works are considered political, but she came to realize that South African society didn’t allow for apolitical writing.

Chris van Wyk , a South African novelist, poet, and children’s books author died in 2014. He’s most widely known for his poem “In Detention,” a poem which satirizes the bizarre reasons provided by the apartheid government for the deaths of political prisoners. His poetry collection It’s Time to Go Home (1979) won the Olive Schreiner Prize.

In 2015, André Brink, the South African author also died .He began writing in Afrikaans but turned to English when his works became censored by the South African government. He was part of Die Sestigers (“the Sixtyers”), a literary group that aimed to revolutionize Afrikaans literature. His novel A Dry White Season (1979) was adapted into a film starring Marlon Brando.

Also died in 2015 was Grace Ogot , a Kenyan author who was a nurse by profession and who later became a member of Kenya’s National Assembly. She was the first woman whose fiction was published by the East African Publishing House and her numerous short stories offer insight into traditional Luo life and its conflict with colonialism and modernity.

Chenjerai Hove was a Zimbabwean novelist, poet, and essayist whose works shone light on the lives of his fellow citizens under colonialism and Robert Mugabe’s rule. Surveilled and harassed under Mugabe’s rule, Hove left Zimbabwe for exile in Norway in 2001, where he remained until his death in 2015.

Elechi Amadi was a Nigerian playwright and novelist renowned for his historical trilogy about traditional life in the villages: The Concubine (1966), The Great Ponds (1969), and The Slave (1978). His only nonfiction work, Sunset in Biafra (1973), recounts his experiences as a soldier and civilian during the Biafran War.He joined his ancestors in 2016.

Isidore Okpewho was a Nigerian author and critic whose works won him the 1976 African Arts Prize for Literature and the 1993 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Africa Region). His scholarly work on African oral literature garnered him, among others, a Guggenheim Fellowship. Tragically we lost him in 2016.

Peter Abrahams was a South African journalist and author whose writings addressed the intricacies of racial politics and the injustices of apartheid. In the introduction to his memoir, The Black Experience in the 20th Century: An Autobiography and Meditation (2001), Nadine Gordimer declared him “a writer of the world, who opened up in his natal country, South Africa, a path of exploration for us, the writers who have followed the trail he bravely blazed.” This pioneering writer who authored the famous Mine Boy died in

Buchi Emecheta really needs no introduction. She is one of Africa’s most popular female writers. She wrote The Slave Girl and the Joy of Motherhood among others. She died in 2019.

Miriam Tlali was the first black South African woman to publish a novel in English in South Africa itself in 1975. Originally titled Muriel at Metropolitan and reissued in 2004 under the title Between Two Worlds, the novel depicts daily life under apartheid, particularly how it hinders black women’s employment opportunities. For her writing, Tlali was persecuted by the apartheid government and brutally beaten at her home in Soweto several times, but she bravely refused exile. Her death was a big loss to African writing.

Abiola Irele was a Nigerian scholar perhaps best known for his work on the concept of Négritude. His books include The African Experience in Literature and Ideology (1990) and The African Imagination: Literature in Africa and the Black Diaspora (2011). Upon his death, Wole Soyinka wrote a poem titled “Olohun-Iyo” as a tribute to him. He was widely considered the doyen of African literary criticism, and his influence on African writing is often compared to that of Northrop Frye in European literature. Tragically we lost him in 2017.

Between 2010 and Bandele’s death in 2022, there are other eminent writers that left us for the great beyond.

Keorapetse Kgositsile was a South African poet and essayist whose writing explored the idea of Pan-African liberation. His verse distinctively combines South African and Black American structural and rhetorical traditions. He was named South Africa’s poet laureate in 2006. 2018.

Ahmed Khaled Tawfik was one of the few Egyptian authors to publish extensively in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. A doctor by profession, Tawfik once said that “[his] English was not good enough to read horror literature, so [he] started writing it [himself].” He has published over 100 books. He died in 2018.

David Rubadiri who died in 2018 was a widely-anthologized poet and diplomat who served as Malawi’s first ambassador to the US and the UN. He left government service in 1965 following disagreements with then-president Hastings Banda and subsequently taught at Makerere University, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Ibadan.

Seydou Badian Kouyaté was a Malian politician and writer who composed the lyrics for Mali’s national anthem. He won the 1965 Grand prix littéraire d’Afrique noire for his book, Les dirigeants africains face à leur peuple. He was exiled to Senegal following the 1968 coup. He left the world in 2018.

Charles Mungoshi was a Zimbabwean author who wrote novels and
short stories about colonial and post-colonial struggles in both Shona and English. His works have won him the Noma Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and International PEN Awards. He also left in 2019.

Pius Adesanmi was a Nigerian scholar and columnist whose satirical writings for Premium Times and Sahara Reporters took for their target various aspects of Nigerian society and politics. His works include a poetry collection and several essay collections. He was, unfortunately, a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash.

Bernard Dadié was an Ivorian poet, dramatist, and novelist whose works explored African oral traditions. He was the founder of the National Drama Studio in Côte d’Ivoire and served as the country’s Minister of Culture between 1977 to 1986. In case you didn’t notice from the dates above, he lived till the grand old age of 103! In 2019.

Gabriel Okara who died in 2017 was a Nigerian poet and novelist often dubbed the “first Modernist poet of Anglophone Africa.” He is perhaps best known for his novel The Voice (1964), which distinctively imposes Ijo syntax onto English. He was also the director of Rivers State Publishing House in Port Harcourt from 1972 to 1980.

Binyavanga Wainaina was Zimbabwean Caine Prize winner. A TIME 100 Most Influential Person and founding editor of Kwani?. He was the author of “How To Write About Africa.” He was an avid champion of gay rights. He left us in 2019.

Molara Ogundipe who died in 2019 was a Nigerian poet, critic, and editor perhaps best known for the concept “Stiwanism” (Social Transformation in Africa Including Women) which refers to, among other ideas, a resistance of Western feminism and the foregrounding of an indigenous feminism that has always already existed in Africa.

Tejumola Olaniyan was a Nigerian academic who held the position of Louise Durham Mead Professor of English and Wole Soyinka Professor of the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books includeTaking African Cartoons Seriously: Politics, Satire, and Culture (2018) and Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics (2004). He left us in 2019.

Harry Garuba who breathed his last in 2020 was a Nigerian poet and professor who served as the Director of African Studies, among other positions, at the University of Cape Town. His books include the poetry collections Shadow and Dream & Other Poems (1982) and Animist Chants and Memorials (2017) and the academic monograph Mask and Meaning in Black Drama: Africa and the Diaspora (1988).

Elsa Joubert was a South African author who was also a member of “Die Sestigers” and was known for her anti-apartheid novels. Her novel, The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena (1978) was adapted into a film in 2019. She passed away from Covid-19-related complications.

John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, more popularly known as J.P. Clark, was a renowned poet, playwright, and professor. His work focused on themes such as insitutional corruption, violence, and colonialism, and he was also an outspoken activist for the rights of the Ijaw ethnic group. He received the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award for literary excellence in 1991. He was the third leg of the quartet of Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe, all archetypal figures in African writing.


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