This map highlights what I mean when I say maybe Africa isn't the outlier; maybe Europe and the Americas are. I.e. there is more of the world with comparatively fewer per capita deaths, and the more useful question is why these countries have been hit so hard (Map from @BuzzFeed)
Folks keep asking why Africa has been comparatively hit so little (with the caveat that death isn't the only impact worth measuring, and the next few weeks after lockdowns ease will be key) but maybe the more useful question is why these 20 or 30 countries have been hit so hard?
What is it that unites the worst hit countries? How can the less hit countries avoid those issues? What are the things that were done right - there's a great argument that making masks mandatory in public places early enough slows things down considerably.

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More from @Nanjala1

14 Oct
Because why not - there are many songs about Nairobi but where are the songs about other Kenyan towns/cities? These songs also give you a hint of what Kenyan music sounds like outside the capital. Here's my baby thread.
The first and most, obvious one, Kisumu 100 by Suzanne Owiyo.
The Mombasa Roots gave us that most wretched song "Jambo Bwana" but also have a song called "Msa Mombasa" which I can't find but here's another one of their songs "Disco Chakacha" to give you a taste of their sound.
Read 6 tweets
3 Sep
I've written this in a paywalled thing but in the context of the debate on the TL today: the generational marker for millenials in Africa is not avocado toast or home ownership. It is HIV/AIDS. We are the generation that had to learn, navigate and then survive another pandemic.
We are the generation that saw our relatives fall ill and die from a disease that adults could not adequately explain. "Witchraft" was wrong. "Vidudu" (small parasites) was incomplete. We had to learn basic virology, a whole new lexicon, and overcome stigma within 15-20 years.
We are the "safe sex" generation that had condom demonstrations in schools, and classes on HIV/AIDS every year from the age of 12 through to the end of high school. We are the kids who got free condoms at school events, and saw VCT centres pop up on every corner of the town.
Read 6 tweets
1 Sep
I've had a lot of responses to this tweet and I want to say a few things. One, you can read about the experiences of women trying to enter politics in Kenya in this free book that I co-edited with Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle. Seriously, it's free.…
Two, here's an important thing: Kenya will not attain the 2/3 rule until political parties genuinely commit to stop SYSTEMATICALLY disenfranchising women at the nomination stage, and until that day we must keep the rule in its current form to force them to do so.
Kenyan women run for office. They stand up. They pay for their nomination forms. They campaign. They often win. And then your boys clubs meet at their country clubs and their local patriarch's home in the leafy suburbs, a couple thousand shillings exchange hands and boom
Read 12 tweets
23 Jun
There are at least 19 different groups under the umbrella banner "Luhya". What people call "dialects" are distinct languages, some that are mutually unintelligible - so different that speakers cannot understand each other. The Luhya "ethnicity" is mostly a colonial fabrication.
The most centralised language family under the banner "Luhya" was the Wanga, and when the British arrived their leader Nabongo Mumia infamously collaborated with them, which allowed him to consolidate his power over the smaller and more decentralised groups.
Some groups like the Kabras provided soldiers to fight alongside the British during WWI and II, but groups like the Bukusu resisted and were massacred for it. Either way the idea of a single Luhya identity has always been a politically expedient but ultimately meaningless fiction
Read 4 tweets
29 May
This fascinating article on alcohol in apartheid era South Africa, read alongside the stats on how the lockdown and alcohol ban in SA has led to fewer excess deaths than in previous years, even with COVID-19, will make you go hmm.…
Stats on excess deaths in SA. South Africa is one of a handful of countries where fewer people are dying than in previous years even with COVID-19.…
Alcohol consumption is absolutely a personal freedom issue, but the alcohol ban seems to be one of those measures that people are calling for that responds to the history and context of the country rather than just copy pasted from somewhere else. 🤷‍♀️
Read 7 tweets
28 Feb
Let me clarify why I said this from the beginning. In a past life I worked in development and in 2012, I was in Haiti just after the earthquake and the introduction of cholera to Hispaniola (the island that is Haiti and the Dominican republic).
When you study cholera in Haiti you see quite clearly how presumptions about wealth and power can impact how diseases spread. People see poor countries as places where diseases come from, not places where diseases can be introduced, so the intense scrutiny is one sided.
Before 2010 there was no cholera in Haiti. In preparing peacekeepers for deployment, the UN prepared them thoroughly for tropical diseases but crucially, did not screen them for diseases they might introduce to the island. The fear was they would catch something in Haiti.
Read 8 tweets

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