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Final DA rally, East London. Photo Credit: Martin Plaut.

Rural Voters in South Africa, Bridging Language barriers, and Other Reports

Every week, RuralReporters.com collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.

This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.

Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:

Rural South Africa Looks for Change as Election Looms

As the May 8th general election approaches, many South African voters say they are cynical and fed up with the long-time ruling African National Congress. As South Africa marks 25 years of ANC rule, that sentiment appears to have also spread to the areas the ANC has long considered safe: the countryside. VOA’s Anita Powell reports.

In Rural Missouri, Interpreters are Key to Refugee Health Care

Nzuzi and Chibanvunya came to the U.S. through a State Department’s visa lottery. But thousands more Congolese have come as refugees. The African country’s political instability and ethnic conflicts have displaced millions of people.

When refugees arrive in the U.S., resettlement agencies help with the language barrier. But in a small town like Kirksville — where the nearest resettlement agency is an hour and a half away — there’s more pressure on groups like the Northeast Health Council. And the interpreters help negotiate cultural differences as well. Chibanvunya recalls helping a patient who needed a C-section but didn’t want one, because in the D.R.C. they can be a lot more dangerous.

Chibanvunya says even though she could translate the doctor’s words, she had to do more to convince the patient it was safe. “That language problem, couldn’t make the person understand that this is the only way we can do,” she says. “So I came in and then I helped the lady understanding and finally they ended up having the baby through C-section.”

Nigerian Man Develops World’s First AI Portal That Can Translate Over 2,000 African Languages

The global Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform, known as OBTranslate, is the first of its kind, and is intended to create massive jobs for Africans, said Gabriel Emmanuel, the Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert and brain behind the platform.

“Our goal is to break language communication barriers in rural and urban areas in Africa and it will enable self-driving cars, smartphones, linear robots and wireless technology to communicate and interact with Africans in their dialects,” said Gabriel.

Opinion: Africa Must Raise Taxes to Better Fight Climate Change

Mozambique is on its knees. Hit by what is considered the worst cyclone in the southern hemisphere, it saw its fourth city, Beira, practically wiped off the map. And since tropical storms know no borders, Idai has also killed in Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than a thousand people died and two million were affected, including 1.8 million in Mozambique alone. The damage caused by floods and wind gusts is expected to cost the region more than US $2 billion, according to the World Bank.

Beira is not an isolated case. Prolonged droughts, repeated floods, declining agricultural yields, increasingly limited access to water, global warming is already taking its toll in Africa. These natural disasters increase the risk of food insecurity and health crises. The cholera cases that have emerged in Mozambique since Idai and Kenneth passed through clearly show it.

In rural areas, survival is at stake, due to the disappearance of entire crops. Urban populations are also on the front line. High birth rates and rural exodus mean that 86 of the world’s 100 fastest growing cities are in Africa. And at least 79 of them – including 15 capitals – are facing extreme risks due to climate change, according to the risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

South Africa: Digital Literacy Initiated for Rural Farmers

Some 350 small-scale farmers, mostly women and youth, in rural areas have received training in a programme aiming to equip the land tillers with literacy for the digital economy and knowledge society. Farmers from the northernmost Limpopo Province are the major beneficiaries.

Vodacom Foundation, in partnership with United Nations (UN) Women, introduced the Female Farmers programme in 2018. The programme, which is focused at empowering smallholder female farmers within the country’s agriculture sector, has to date trained 350 small-scale female farmers in rural areas of Limpopo alone, and aims to increase this number in this new financial period across the country.


Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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