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Hi, Q-MHI Africa readers!

HOUSE OF CARDS

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma looks down as he speaks at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

For nearly two weeks, South Africans watched out for any clues that would tell them just who was in charge of their country. They watched as motorcades of luxury cars and blue-light security vehicles darted between official homes. They eagerly WhatsApped each other leaks from closed-door meetings of the ANC. Press briefings and public statements were cloaked in double-speak that were clearly meant for other politicians, not the people. And the people responded in hilarious memes.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa is sworn in by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, February 15, 2018.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings - RC1AC7F80750

This was how South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa came to be chosen—back door dealings and political brinkmanship. The removal of now former president Jacob Zuma gripped South Africa as it seemed the wily yet embattled president was digging in his heels one last time, right down to the last paragraph of his resignation speech.

FILE PHOTO: President of South Africa Jacob Zuma gestures to his supporters at the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg, South Africa December 16, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo - RC1B325B7CD0

After more than twelve hours of negotiations, the party formally recalled Zuma but he held on. The final stroke was the public arrest of Zuma’s wealthy friends, the Guptas, and the threat of removing Zuma through a vote of no-confidence in parliament, even if it meant siding with the opposition.

FILE -- In this Aug. 6, 2016 file photo South Africa president Jacob Zuma, attends the declaration announcement of the municipal elections in Pretoria, South Africa. A South African watchdog agency says it has found possible evidence of corruption at top levels of the government, adding to pressure on Zuma to resign because of a series of scandals. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey, File)

To outsiders it may not seem that way, but this was South African democracy at play. It’s happened before, when the party removed former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008 after a bitter power struggle. These recalls are dramatic and traumatic for a relatively young democracy, but they serve to decentralize power and ensure the longevity of Africa’s oldest liberation party beyond the ambitions of an individual leader.

Outgoing ANC president and South African President Jacob Zuma, raises his cap after the newly elected African National Congress (ANC) President, Cyril Ramaphosa,  after it was announced that he had won the vote at the ANC's elective conference in Johannesburg, Monday Dec. 18, 2017. Outgoing Zuma’s second and final term as party leader has ended after a scandal-ridden tenure that has seen a plummet in the popularity of Nelson Mandela’s liberation movement. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Yet, these internal machinations also leave voters feeling removed from a process that directly affects them. At the end of apartheid, as the ANC moved from liberation movement to political party, South African voters entrusted the party of Nelson Mandela with their freedom. In South Africa, politics at the dinner table—and everywhere else—is encouraged. Everyone has an opinion, from the seats of cramped minibus taxi whizzing through the inner city, to the boardrooms of the country’s richest square mile.

Jacob ZumaSouth Africa Zuma Challenge

The travesty of the Zuma years is that it has excluded ordinary South Africans from participating in their hard-won democracy. Zuma’s ANC did not resemble a movement of the people and a series of corruption scandals foreshadowed a weakened economy and increasing poverty and desperation. Yet, his administration also inadvertently created the kind of public discourse where ordinary South Africans chat about their country’s sovereign credit rating.

Children play in the dump as the Lonmin mine is seen in the background in RustenburgHasil gambar untuk South Africa's Zuma addresses the nation / wapo / GIF

Ramaphosa has promised to turn this around, and bring back an ANC that serves the people. The real turning point, however, is for the South African public, with just over a year to the next election, to focus on demanding transparency and accountability and reclaim their democracy.

— Lynsey Chutel, Q-MHI Johannesburg correspondent

STORIES FROM THIS WEEK

An Asian lion cub, born on January 25, 2016, plays with his mother Lorena while being presented to the public at the Planckendael Park in Mechelen

What the entrepreneur tale of a tycoon’s son tells us about the risk levels of Nigeria’s elite. The son of one of Nigeria’s richest men, Paddy Adenuga, recently published a 8,500-word blog outlining a failed bid to get into the international oil business. After analyzing Adenuga’s essay, Feyi Fawehinmi writes on the depressing predictability of Nigeria’s privileged few.

Men march along the truck carrying the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in MakurdiHaruna Usman sits next to children from his tribe during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Barkin Kogi

The deadly clashes threatening to redefine Nigeria geopolitical reality. For years now, settled farming communities and nomadic herdsmen have been battling for resources including water, grazing, and farmlands. But as Mark Amaza notes, the issue, incorrectly, continues to only be viewed through an ethno-religious lens even as the intensity and body count rises.

Hasil gambar untuk black panther marvel movie / GIFThe cast of marvel's Black Panther.Hasil gambar untuk black panther marvel movie / GIFblack panther marvel disneyHasil gambar untuk black panther marvel movie / GIFOsborne Macharia_The_Chosen_OnesHasil gambar untuk black panther marvel movie / GIF

Black Panther shifts the narrative about Africa and Afrofuturism. African fans flocked to cinemas from Kenya to South Africa expressing a lot of love for the Afrofuturistic Africa seen on screen in Black Panther. As the movie’s global hype intensifies, Edward Ademolu writes about how it represents an anomaly to the long history of Hollywood’s troubling depiction of Africa. Speaking of Afrofuturism, Marvel commissioned Kenyan photographer Osborne Macharia to create Black Panther digital art pieces that add a twist to Maasai tradition.

A staff member takes stock of goods at the warehouse of Konga online shopping company in Ilupeju district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos September 13, 2013.

It’s still unclear what was paid for one of Nigeria’s biggest e-commerce companies. Konga was sold a week ago to local tech firm Zinox for a reported $10 million. But the sellers tell Yomi Kazeem the deal hasn’t quite been agreed yet, despite Zinox’s announcement. And there are now suggestions Konga might have been sold for less than the rumored price—like $9,999,999 less.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn gestures during a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 11, 2016.A demonstrator chants slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during celebrations for Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia region, Ethiopia, October 1, 2017.

All eyes on Ethiopia as it enters a period of political uncertainty. For the last few years, Ethiopia has been an economic bright spot in Africa, but that has belied a tense political backdrop. Things seemed to come to a head this week when prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn suddenly stepped down. But it was swiftly followed by the declaration of a state of emergency as the country’s ethnic disputes threaten to boil over.

A screenshot of the skit aired on CCTV.

Blackface, monkey suits and China’s African problem. This week saw China’s state TV celebrate its Lunar New Year with a variety show featuring a skit on China’s role in Africa with a Chinese actress in blackface and prosthetics meant to be protruding buttocks alongside a black actor in a monkey suit. It’s sparked an uproar abroad, but also with some at home.

CHART OF THE WEEK

A man uses a mobile phone bearing the likeness of [President Joseph Kabila], while the oarsman wears a T-shirt showing opposition candidate [Jean-Pierre Bemba], on the Congo river near the capital Kinshasa, July 23, 2006. [Powerful Catholic leaders in Congo's capital urged voters on Sunday to boycott historic elections next week unless allegations of fraud were addressed, raising concerns over the first multi-party polls in 40 years.] - PBEAHUNKOER

Feature phones took back market share from smartphones in Africa last year. The market share of smartphones fell to 39% in 2017 while feature phones rose to 61%. As Samira Sadeque explains, this increase in feature phones was helped by the expansion of a low-profile Chinese handset maker, Transsion. It now sells more phones than any other company in Africa.

OTHER THINGS WE LIKED

Foutanga Babani SissokoThe Miami court where Sissoko stood trialSissoko with members of the high school bandSissoko's home

The Malian playboy who escaped with $242m using voodoo. He was a businessman accused of carrying out bank robberies by telling bank managers he could double their money by using “black magic.” Decades after the allegations surfaced, BBC’s Brigitte Scheffer tracks down the man behind the myth and unravels a heist that stretches from Dubai to Geneva, Miami to Mali.

Women of the Herero tribe, the fourth largest of the territory's black tribes, show their traditional dress, July 4, 1981 in Windhoek.epa02942741 Members of the victims' organization "Ovaherero/Ovambanderu - Coucil for Dialogue about the Genocide of 1904" sit at the Charitee in Berlin, Germany, during a handover ceremony of 20 skulls to the organization, on 30 September 2011. More than a hundred years ago, German soldiers murdered thousands of residents of the then colony of German Southwest Africa - Many skulls of the killed were sent to Germany for scientists using them for dubious race research.

The Herero women’s cultural dress that signifies their past suffering (video). Women in Namibia deck out traditional dresses inspired by the Victorian era and accessorized with a cow horn-shaped headdress. But as Connie Wang reports in Style Out There, the dress represents a subversion of their former German rulers’ fashion and equally protest the genocide that nearly wiped them out.

Q-MHI Africa 

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