Daily Archives: February 11, 2019

Nigeria’s ‘Melanin Movement’ Swims Against a Skin-Whitening Tide

ABUJA, NIGERIA According to one estimate, more than 70 million people in Nigeria use skin-lightening products regularly, making Africa’s most populous country the capital for skin bleaching. Some women reject the trend, saying their natural dark skin is beautiful. But, Nigeria remains a huge market for skin-whitening products.

Twenty-five-year-old Nigerian model and actress Goodness Ben visits a cosmetic shop in Abuja.

She wants to be famous and says bleaching her skin could increase her chances at getting more movie roles.

“Yes this is Nigeria, a fair skin is business. In the movie industry most times the director wants you to like glow, in fact you should be camera friendly. You know most times dark people tend to…will I say resist? But they are more beautiful and catchy when they come in contact with camera, Ben.

According to a 2011 estimate from the World Health Organization, 76 million Nigerians, mostly women, use skin-lightening products regularly.

Some darker-skinned Nigerians are pushing back against the idea that lighter is better. They say black is beautiful with the so-called Melanin Movement.

Tina Ohanu says she doesn’t need to bleach her skin.

“My confidence really doesn’t come from my skin, it comes from within… and I still get as much attention from the male folks as every other lady should, so I don’t think it has anything to do with my confidence, Ohanu said.

Bleaching products usually contain hydroquinone, corticosteroids or mercury as key ingredients.

These chemicals could have a range of side effects when used regularly, according to skin experts.

“You can have stretch marks, the skin becomes fragile, doesn’t heal properly, sometimes you can have…some of them can give you abnormal skin odor, abnormal odor, excessive sweating, poor wound healing…so, and then it ages faster, Haroun said.

The beauty industry in Africa is worth several billion dollars and increases by 8 to 10 percent every year.

Nigeria is one of the prime destinations for many beauty agents produced abroad.

Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda banned all whitening products while Nigeria joined South Africa in barring those with harmful chemicals.

While these moves help promote natural and healthy skin tone, however, the Melanin Movement is still dwarfed by Africans’ demand for skin-lightening products.

Source: Voice of America

US Congresswoman Talks to VOA About African Refugees

In an interview with VOA, the new chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and international Organizations, said, attention needs to be focused on what is causing Africans to become refugees and internally displaced people.

Conflict is, of course, one of the reasons, California Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass told VOA correspondent James Butty. “So resolving those conflicts, so populations would not feel that they need to flee” is one of the answers, Bass said.

“Climate-related crisis,” Bass said, also contributes to people fleeing their homes.

Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, said she is also concerned about the treatment of African refugees in the United States.

A number of Africans from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Liberia have received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), allowing them to live and work in the U.S. The Congresswoman said, however, she is afraid their status may be in jeopardy under the Trump administration.

“The whole world has watched this administration administer very racist immigration policies,” Bass said. “I’m very concerned about that.”

Source: Voice of America

Labour holds UIF’s ex-mineworkers campaign in Free State, 11 to 15 Feb

The UIF’s ex-mineworkers campaign turns to Phuthaditjhaba

The Department of Labour’s Unemployment Insurance Fund will be embarking on a week-long campaign aimed at taking applications from ex-mineworkers eligible to claim for their unemployment benefits. These are the benefits which are yet to be claimed by ex-mineworkers from the Fund. The campaign is meant for people who worked in the mines prior the 1st of April 2001.

Held within communities themselves, this campaign will afford the ex-mineworkers the most convenient and easy way to access the services of the department.

The campaign will therefore be held as follows;

Date: 11 February 2019

Time: 8h00 to 15h00

Venue: Namahadi Traditional Council Offices, Monontsha Inter-mediate School, Bolata Traditional Council Offices

Date: 12 February 2019

Time: 8h00 to 17h00

Venue: Thaba Bosiu Traditional Council Offices, Thaba Tshweu Traditional Council Offices, Mmakoane SASSA Hall

Date: 13 February 2019

Time: 8h00 to 17h00

Venue: Matsieng Traditional Council Offices, Mabolela Traditional Council Offices

Date: 14 February 2019

Time: 8h00 to 17h00

Venue: Phomolong Traditional Council Offices, Thibella Traditional Council Offices , Dinkweng Traditional Council Offices

Date: 15 February 2019

Time: 8h00 to 17h00

Venue: Makgolokoeng Traditional Council Offices

Ex-mineworkers in Phuthaditjhaba are therefore called upon to go and register at their respective Traditional Council Offices in Phuthaditjhaba from 28/01/2019. This campaign is particularly meant for ex-miners who worked in the mines prior the 1st of April 2001 and have proof that they indeed worked in the mines during the said period.

It is required of an individual claimant to bring along all or any of the following documents for officials to verify the authenticity of the claim and ascertain whether or not you indeed worked in the mines during the said period;

Stamped Reference book (old identity document)

Employer cards / Mine ID Card (Makhuluskop)

Pay slips

Old blue cards

Record of service


Ex-mineworkers with no such documentation are advised to go to Teba and ask for their employment service records printout which can also serve as proof that they indeed worked in the mines, for which they will be charged not more than R100.

Source: Government of South Africa

Huawei Global Business Model Relied on Bribes, Corruption

WASHINGTON In Algeria, it was banned from bidding for public contracts after one of its executives was convicted of bribery.

In Zambia, it was probed over allegations of bribery involving a multi-million-dollar contract to build cell towers in rural areas.

In the Solomon Islands, it was accused of offering millions of dollars to the ruling party in exchange for an undersea fiber optic cable contract.

In all three cases � and half a dozen others in recent years � the alleged perpetrator was Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom behemoth facing scrutiny from Western nations over allegations of intellectual property theft and espionage.

Saying it poses a national security threat, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have banned the company from building new, state of the art 5G telecom networks. Other Western countries are debating over a similar ban.

Security concerns about Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipment providers are mounting after U.S. prosecutors last month charged the company founded by a former People’s Liberation Army officer with violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, purloining trade secrets from T-Mobile and encouraging its employees to steal intellectual property.

The focus on national security concerns about Huawei has eclipsed a little reported aspect of the company’s operations: Huawei’s involvement in corrupt business dealings.

The company has denied the allegations of corruption and said it has strong safeguards against corporate graft.

In a statement on its website, Huawei says it has a zero-tolerance policy on graft.

Huawei believes that corruption severely damages fair market competition and is a threat to the development of our society, economy and enterprises, the statement said.

But experts who have studied Huawei’s business practices say the company’s statements are contradicted by its conduct.

The unfortunate reality of Huawei’s activities on the (African) continent is that they have a proven track record of engaging in corruption and other dodgy business dealings, said Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert at the Heritage Foundation and author of a recent report on Chinese corporate corruption.

With business operations in more than 170 countries and annual revenues of $108 billion, Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment. Last year, the multinational company beat Apple to become the No. 2 manufacturer of smartphones and tablets in the world.

In December, Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested by Canadian authorities and she is being held for possible extradition to the U.S. for violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Huawei has rejected the charges. In a recent letter to the UK Parliament made public last week, Huawei refuted allegations of espionage, saying if the company engaged in malicious behavior, it would not go unnoticed � and it would certainly destroy our business.

In developing countries in Asia and Africa, the company’s corrupt business practices are a matter of great concern among industry officials and civil society activists.

In the last 12 years, Huawei and its smaller Chinese rival ZTE have been investigated or found guilty of corruption in as many as 21 countries, according to Andy Keiser, a former House Intelligence Committee professional staffer.

These include a dozen African countries such as Algeria and Ghana as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, the Solomon Islands and China itself, according to Keiser.

ZTE and Huawei have developed dubious reputations around the world, Keiser testified before Congress last June.

The transaction cost of Huawei’s corrupt business deals runs in the billions. RWR Advisory Group, a consulting firm that tracks Chinese investments around the world, estimates that Huawei has entered into more than $5 billion worth of business deals involving allegations of bribery and corruption.

The charges against Huawei range from outright bribery to making illegal donations to political parties in exchange for contracts and other business advantages.

The Algerian case involved an elaborate scheme in which Huawei and ZTE executives allegedly paid $10 million in bribes to a former state telecom operator executive and a businessman in exchange for winning contracts.

In 2012, an Algerian court convicted the former executive and another businessman of receiving bribes. The two Algerians were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Three executives of the Chinese firms also were tried in absentia and sentenced to 10 years in prison for their role in the scheme.

The government fined Huawei and ZTE and banned them from bidding on public contracts for two years.

In Ghana, Huawei has confronted accusations of illegally funding the ruling party, a charge Huawei and other Chinese companies have faced in other countries.

In 2012, an opposition group disclosed what it claimed was evidence that Huawei had made illegal campaign contributions to the ruling National Democratic Congress in exchange for a $43 million tax exemption.

Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) produced invoices and other documents showing the Chinese telecom company had paid for millions of dollars worth of campaign paraphernalia for the ruling party’s 2012 election campaign.

In return, the group alleged, the government awarded one of the juiciest contracts to be doled out by the government � a $150 million contract to build an e-government platform.

Huawei and the government denied the charges.

In the Solomon Islands, Huawei has faced similar accusations. In 2017, a Parliamentary committee accused the government of awarding Huawei a contract to build a submarine fiber optic link to Australia after Huawei offered a $5.25 million campaign donation to the ruling party.

The committee is of the view that this is the main reason for the government to bypass procurement requirements in favor of the company Huawei, a parliamentary report said.

Huawei dismissed the allegations.

As a global business entity, Huawei does not involve itself in politics. Huawei forbids all of its global subsidiaries from making any form of political donation, including in places where this practice is legal, the company said in a statement.

Bribery allegations have also plagued Huawei projects in South Africa, Nigeria, and Pakistan. But the company appears to have weathered the allegations, positioning itself as a major player in building 5G networks around the world.

As of last February, Huawei had signed 25 memorandums of understanding with telecom operators around the world to trial 5G equipment, according to a Reuters survey of public announcements.

In recent years, Huawei has also found itself at the receiving end of a Chinese government crackdown on domestic corruption. In 2017, the head of Huawei’s consumer business group for China was detained on suspicion of taking bribes.

To root out corruption among its employees, Huawei says it has implemented policies including requiring executives to take a loyalty oath. But the safeguards are of limited value if the material incentives for employees don’t reflect those priorities, said Alexandra Wrage, president of anti-bribery business organization TRACE International.

This danger can be compounded when an enterprise maintains financial and political backing from the government, which is often seen as fostering a greater tolerance for risk in pursuit of growth, Wrage said.

Source: Voice of America

MEC Sihle Zikalala congratulates Sonto Mayise for conquering Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala has, today, congratulated Sonto Mayise, the Acting Head of KwaZulu-Natal Conventions Bureau for successfully summiting the might Mount Kilimanjaro on her maiden climb.

Mr Zikalala said he was proud of the feat achieved by this globetrotter adding that she was an example to all other women and joins a host of other South Africans who have left their comfort zones to conquer this world renowned snow-capped peak and topographic landmark.

We are proud of you Sonto. Your courage and drive continue to inspire many of us. Your sheer determination and second to none tenacity makes you an alpha leader among the pack. Thank you for putting KZN on the map and for hoisting our flag high into stratospheric levels. We are in awe, said Mr Zikalala.

The bubbly Ms Mayise left South Africa for Tanzania on 2 February 2019, arriving in Tanzania the next day for a short rest. She left with only a single purpose in mind to push herself to the new limits! What then followed on 5 February was the start of a gruelling seven-day journey to the summit.

She summited on 10 February at 9am, successfully reaching, Uhuru Park at 5895m. Uhuru is the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim.

Asked if she would do it again, the vivacious Mayise said: Well, time will tell, but all I can say is, this was a gruesome and most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. This was my first attempt, so I can safely say nothing is impossible until is it done, quipped Mayise who concluded her combined 12 hour descending of the mountain on Monday morning.

Ms Mayise’s Conventions Bureau responsible for bringing major and mega conferences to KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of the department. Activities like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are part of Sonto’s newest pastimes besides her challenging occupation that involves ensuring that KZN remains the highly sought-after travel destination in the world in terms of hosting world-class events.

Source: Government of South Africa