Tag - africa

Tech News

Using Drones To Fight Malaria!

As one of the most terrifying and prominent illnesses found in Malawi, finding a solution to Malaria has been hard work. It’s a common challenge all across Africa, but it has become a major problem for Malawi in particular. Finding ways to combat the spread of malaria has been fruitless in the past, with containment the best available option – until now.

Thanks to the development and easy set-up of drone technology, they are now a prominent part of the solution to help fight back against malaria. With most of the ability to fight malaria on the ground being nothing more than good men and women using buckets and spades to get the cures and solutions they need, drone tech offers a more high-end option.

Towns like Kasungu, the town that sits at the base of the Kasungu Mountain, is a rampant part of the malaria issue. It’s also one of the first towns to take part in the Unicef drone testing program. Working alongside the Malawi government, an 80km-wide area was set up to help flying and testing out drones to help the locals fight back against the illness.

These drones are used to drop off key supplies to areas that might be hard or otherwise impossible to reach with the right tools. It also helps with scouting, making it easier to pinpoint areas where outbreaks are highest. Most importantly, though, this is helping Malawi residents learn how to build and then pilot a drone so that the good work can be continued outside of this particular area.

Indeed, with a quarter of Malawian children under the age of five suffering from malaria, it’s vital that we act quickly to help minimize the damage and limit the spread of the illness. However, elimination of malaria is still a long, long way away.

How can drones help?

Part of the problem with the spread of malaria comes from the complicated process of the Anopheles mosquito. They take a blood meal from a human or an animal, and then search for water to help lay the eggs. When they find these little ponds, pools, and lakes – common during November-April – then malaria outbreaks will swell and grow.

The aim is to try and reduce the mosquito breeding levels and to also help make sure that both dry and wet season can see reduced numbers. The aim of the drones is to help reduce the time that it takes to find mosquito breeding points and also to find mosquito larvae. This is a time-consuming task to do by hand, and the hope is that the drones can speed up this essential part of the process.

The idea, then, is to help improve analysis speed and simplicity to help find out where mosquitos are most commonly congregating and breeding. The more that can be done to control this, the better the hope is that a long-term solution can and will be found to help curb the development and rapid transmission of malaria across the board.

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As one of the most terrifying and prominent illnesses found in Malawi, finding a solution to Malaria has been hard work. It’s a common challenge all across Africa, but it has become a major problem for Malawi in particular. Finding ways to combat the spread...

Animals

Meet The Real (Female) Tarzan

The childhood of a young French woman sounds more like a newer version of Mowgli, rather than something real. Tippi Degré was born in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1990 to wildlife photographer-filmmaker parents Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre and spent the first ten years of her life in Southern Africa.

Her brother was an elephant, her best friend a leopard and her playground was the African bush. As a “wild child”, Tippi spent her whole childhood playing with wild animals including lion cubs, a mongoose, a snake, a cheetah, baby zebra, giraffes and crocodiles. She saw nothing unusual about her company. “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends,” she once said.

From sitting on the back of an ostrich, lying peacefully with a young leopard or sitting on the trunk of an elephant, these amazing pictures show an unusual bond and tranquility between man and beast.

With her childish imagination and innocence, the little girl managed to befriend one of the giants of the animal kingdom, a 28-year-old elephant named Abu. Her mother said Tippi had no fear. She did not realize the difference in their sizes; the girl would just walk up to him and talk to the beast.

Despite the apparent ease and comfort with which Tippi interacted with the animals, her parents always put her safety first. “You can’t just meet any of these animals and act like this with them,” explains Sylvie. Of course, it sounded too good to be true, because the majority of the animals Tippi interacted with have been domesticated by the people who live in the desert regions of Southern Africa.

A documentary film on her experiences, Le Monde Selon Tippi (The World According to Tippi) was released in 1997. In 2002–03, Degré presented six wildlife and environmental TV documentaries for the Discovery Channel.

Credit to ‘Tippi – Bridging the Gap to Africa’.

We want to be better…So if you found a mistake in this article, please let us know

The childhood of a young French woman sounds more like a newer version of Mowgli, rather than something real. Tippi Degré was born in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1990 to wildlife photographer-filmmaker parents Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre and spent the first ten...

Vacation

They Looking For Lost Uranium. What They Found Literally Electrified Them!

For three decades, since 1942 to 1972 mankind thought it beat nature when the first sustainable nuclear chain reaction was created. All this changed in 1972 when French Pierrelatte uranium enrichment facility compared samples from the Oklo Uranium mine in Gabon, on the west coast of Africa. The U isotope concentration dropped form the normal 0.72% to 0.6%. This could have meant that some isotopes made it to the wrong hands and nuclear weapons or dirty bombs could be made. The French Commission for Nuclear Energy (CEA) began to investigate. What they found was no less than dumbfounding!

The CEA ran a series of tests only to find that the two most significant isotopes of the uranium mined at Oklo showed strange results. Finding more questions than answers, the CEA investigated the uranium ore in the Oklo mine and found concentration levels as low as 0.44%. The reduction in the U isotope is the result of the process in a nuclear reactor. Eliminating all the impossible, the only answer that was left, as improbable as it sounded, was that the mine operated as a natural fission reactor that generated self-sustaining nuclear chain reactions about Earth about 2 billion years ago. Further investigations found other natural fission reactors in the area.

Natural Fission Reactors

The first nuclear power plant went online in 1951. In 1956, five years after the first nuclear powered electric plant was erected, a chemist from the University of Arkansas, Paul L. Kuroda theorized that a combination of uranium and water could become a natural fission reactor, in earth’s early history.

While examining the concentration in the Oklo mine, it was discovered that the original uranium core had higher concentration levels of the Uranium-235 – the isotope ideal to fuel a fission reaction. Isotope u-235 naturally decays into thorium and releases a neutron in the process. The released neutron races towards another U-235 atom and a fission process is commenced.

One of the reasons fission reactions are controllable today are because of low concentrations of u-235 – 0.7% on average. In comparison 4.5 billion years ago, concentration levels were much higher and broke down as time went by. Scientists claim that at a concentration level above 3.2%, probability says a reaction will continue all on its own. Therefore, a key factor that made the reaction possible was that at the time, the fissile isotope U235 made up about 3.2% of the natural uranium, which is comparable to the amount used in some of today’s reactors. It is unknown if Kuroda ever imagined he would be able to view his theory in practice, but evidently, he’s a lucky scientist!

Unique Phenomena

The Oklo, Okelobondo mines and Bangombe mines, located 35 k”m from the Oklo mines are the only known places that natural nuclear fission occurred. For almost 2 billion years it generated an average of 100 Kwh until the uranium 235 was exhausted and no more fission activity could take place. The reactor eventually slowed to a stop, leaving only a few traces behind that it ever existed – including the enigma of the “missing uranium” – the enigma that sparked the research!

For three decades, since 1942 to 1972 mankind thought it beat nature when the first sustainable nuclear chain reaction was created. All this changed in 1972 when French Pierrelatte uranium enrichment facility compared samples from the Oklo Uranium mine in...

Entertainment Fashion Lifestyle

The African Hairstyle Exhibition That Will Blow You Away

There are many ways to utilize your natural hair when it comes to style and design; people have come up with the most intriguing looks that have set trends worldwide. One unnoticed trend and style is the hair of African women, and how they utilize their gorgeous curls. One weave and afro stylist, Lisa Farrall, decided to pay tribute to African culture and exceed beyond the percieved limits of how afros and weaves can be stylized. Her collection is called ‘Armor’, and it dedicates its image to cultural references with a mix of fabulous hair styles as well as a blend of warrior style clothing.

 

For a moment, let us admire the beauty of the woman in the picture. Her dark skin is pure and smooth, while her hair has a very intriguing weave blended into the warrior look. The painting along her body makes for more of an artistic feel, and overall she sits in a position of power and grace.

Now, this look is more of a powerful Goddess one, showing more of a stronger side on the warrior figure. The hair is everything in this picture, even more than the outfit itself. I admire the ringed necklace combined with the pure black dress. The hair looks one hundred percent natural, and the tint of white color makes it ten times more elaborate. For this look, I give it a ten out of ten!

Last but not least, we have the look of the mysterious warrior, hiding like a wolf in sheeps clothing. The silk hair matching the elaborately simple dress that leaves us wondering what this look represents in the aspect of African Culture. The white paint is subtle on the hair while the face is decorated with an intriguing pattern that makes you wonder about her story, and who she is.

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Overall, this collection truly leaves us in awe of the beauty of African women and African culture. It is truly amazing to see these different looks, and the models pulling it off at more than one hundred percent. The purpose behind this specific exhibit is to empower women of African descent to embrace who they are and feel the empowerment that comes along with being yourself. No matter what the color of your skin is, the ability to embrace every bit of your features can truly go a long way!

There are many ways to utilize your natural hair when it comes to style and design; people have come up with the most intriguing looks that have set trends worldwide. One unnoticed trend and style is the hair of African women, and how they utilize their...

Animals Entertainment Health

China’s Major Efforts to Save the Elephants

Ivory trade is a very controversial topic that China finally decided to take control of. The trade industry involves removing the tusks of major animals including the hippopotamus and the most notorous African and Asian elephants. This is an industry that dates back to the times of the colonization of Africa in which slaves were forced to carry the tusks of the elephants in the scorching heat. The purpose of these tusks were mainly for piano keys and the wealth they could provide. Unfortunately, through this unethical type of trade, more than half a million Elephants and other animals have been slaughtered in the process. Although historical, this industry has remained a large one with China being a major player, but soon they will play no part.

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After being a major power in the Ivory Trade Industry, China’s decision to end its practice will save many elephants, especially the ones who struggle in Africa. An estimate of 100,000 elephants have been killed in the past ten years, as China’s “white gold” (elephant tusks) continued to be produced by the masses. China’s change of heart is one of the most surprising efforts as China’s decision will affect many countries around the world that are involved in the trade. 

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Many wildlife reservists have been calling the decision a huge blessing for the elephants around the world. As China leaves, so does a major part of the Ivory Trade business. Since China has been the one calling the shots for generations, the industry will weaken, and lives of thousands upon thousands of elephant’s lives will be saved. After having held many protests, many animal rights activists can head to sleep, knowing that their efforts have served a purpose beyond a picket sign and a statement. For those who desired the end of the Ivory Trade, they see this is the first step and a sigh of a breath for the Elephants of Africa.

elephants

Ivory trade is a very controversial topic that China finally decided to take control of. The trade industry involves removing the tusks of major animals including the hippopotamus and the most notorous African and Asian elephants. This is an industry that...

Uncategorized

South African writer on prizes

South African writer Lidudumalingani laughed when he was asked if he was going to share his £10,000 prize money with his shortlisted Caine Prize authors, like previous winner did. He replied: “I wish I could do that. But journalists and writers in Africa work hard to cover stories with very little resources. There is no money in it, because no one pays you until you win some kind of prize.” The 31y old writer won the 17h annual Caine Prize for African Writing for his work “Memories We Lost”. It’s a story about the effect of mental illness on a family in South Africa.

This prestigious prize for African artists writing in English always backs up the shortlisted authors in the international publishing scene. “Memories We Lost” is second published work of Lidudumalingani. His debut appearance was in new literary magazine “Incredible Journey”. This magazine aslo presented the first fiction piece, made by Bognani Kona, Zimbabwean journalist and writer, who was also on a shortlist for this year’s prize.

Lidudumalingani explains that African publishers are very short on money and they mostly rely on publishing school books in order to survive. That’s the reason why it is so hard for young writers to show their fresh work to the public, to the continent. He said: “The idea that a few publishers promote African literature as gatekeepers should be dispelled. There are a lot more readers than there are publishers and we should be able to define our own literature and read it whenever we want.

Being aware of the situation, a number of non-profit trusts and literary journals jumped in to help and boost that new creative energy, such as Jalada in Kenya, Saraba in Nigeria and Short Story Day Africa. Dami Ayaji in collaboration with two medical students, Ile-Ife and Emmanuel Iduma, started Saraba in 2009. At first it was concentrated on works from Nigerian writers such as Elnathan John, Chika Unigwe and Kenyan poets Clifton Gachagua and Keguro Macharia, among others. Since the beginning, Saraba published 18 issues.

Moses Kilolo, Jalada’s managing editor, says that the collective was formed as you authors were extremly unhappy by the lack of opportunities on offer via traditional publishing houses. That’s the point when they decided to do something about it. Since lanching it, more than six of Jalada’s writers and poets won prestigious literary prizes, including Okwiri Oduor and Ndinda Kilonzo, who won the 2014 Caine Prize and Moorland Writing Scholarship respectively. Kilolo explains: “We wanted to break the stereotypes of conventional themes and stretch our reach in creative writing, but with no resources the only way to go was publishing online.”

Lidudumalingani concluded: “We wanted to break the stereotypes of conventional themes and stretch our reach in creative writing, but with no resources the only way to go was publishing online. I feel that as a writer I have a responsibility to write the world the way I see it. As African writers, we have to be persistent even with little resources because there are so many stories to tell and no one else to tell them.”

South African writer Lidudumalingani laughed when he was asked if he was going to share his £10,000 prize money with his shortlisted Caine Prize authors, like previous winner did. He replied: “I wish I could do that. But journalists and writers in...