Top of the Blogs 2019 #8

A weekly compilation of independent voices from the African blogosphere

To keep you updated on the issues discussed in the continent's blogger scene, we publish a "Top of the Blogs" at the end of each week - interesting new blog posts commenting on media, culture, politics and news from all over Africa.

Overview: May 4th till 10th, 2019

South Africans lined up this week to vote in the country’s sixth election since the end of Apartheid 25 years ago. We take a look at young voters, the role of local radio and the challenge of deciding who to vote for. But South Africa is not the only country grappling with democratic values. In Benin, security forces fired on demonstrators protesting against the country’s flawed legislative elections. We finish this week’s “Top of the Blogs” with a story about the creative initiatives of refugees in the Kakuma camp in Kenya.

South Africans are lining up at the polls, but young voters are staying home

Sleeping in could be a sign of protest in South Africa’s May 8 election. As the country headed to the polls 25 years after its first euphoric election, it seems disillusionment has set in, particularly among those who are as old as South Africa’s democratic regime – the twenty somethings. Nine million South Africans eligible to vote have not registered to vote, most of them young people.

Local radio is plugging gaps in South Africa’s mainstream media coverage

Beyond the choreographed photo opportunities and big rallies, there is a local dimension to South Africa’s election campaign that is going largely unnoticed by the national media. As a result, important insights into political dynamics are being missed. Research has shown that the mainstream media have a blind spot when it comes to community perspectives. A new initiative hosted by the Wits Radio Academy seeks to draw on community radio reporting to help fill the gap.

Election Thoughts: South Africa, 8 May 2019

“I made a difficult decision regarding which party to vote for in South Africa’s National elections – more difficult than any of the previous,” says #AfricaBlogging writer Jacques Rousseau. He says that the difficulty of the choice is also due to more negative considerations, namely that any and every choice was awful, and the feeling of choosing the least bad option was stronger than ever before.

Benin’s unrest reflects a broader worrying trend in West Africa

While South Africans went out to vote in the country’s sixth election since the formation of its democratic government 25 years ago, several countries’ democratic reputations are under threat across West Africa. Last week, Benin was propelled into the international spotlight as security forces fired on demonstrators protesting against the country’s deeply flawed legislative elections. But Benin is just the latest country in the region to experience political troubles.

From fashion to farming: Surviving and thriving in Kakuma refugee camp

The Kakuma camp in Kenya’s dry north-east is home to nearly 150,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan and Somalia. The inhabitants of the world’s fourth largest refugee camp are heavily restricted in what they can do and where they can go. However, the people in Kakuma have also started innovative initiatives to learn skills and find alternative sources of income and fulfilment.