- Jun 24, 2002Africans still ignorant
High numbers of people in Africa and other
developing countries do not realise that
HIV/Aids can kill.
Even in countries with high infection rates a
large majority of men and women believe they
are not at risk of contracting Aids, the UN
Population Division says in a report released on
"Dramatic changes in
sexual and reproductive
awareness" are needed,
the UN body states, to
defeat the Aids
campaigns have raised
awareness of the
disease but have not
The report is based on
surveys in 39 African, Asian and Latin American
countries. Men and women were questioned
about Aids and a high level of ignorance was
Women, Aids and sex
Half the women surveyed in Benin, Burkina
Faso, Chad, Mali, Madagascar and Niger did
not know that they could become HIV positive
and develop Aids through sex.
In half the countries
25% and 33% of
women were unaware
how they could
Awareness of Aids and
its prevention differed
greatly in rural and
The study found that
less than a third of
married women in villages knew about Aids. In
most countries, men knew more than women
about Aids and its transmission through sex.
Condoms not popular
The efforts to prevent HIV transmission
through the use of condoms appear to have
been a failure.
In western and central Africa, the report says,
a serious difficulty in promoting the use of
condoms has been the desire of women to
Overall "the condom has not become more
popular" and greater education is need on risk
prevention, according to the UN.
Some 28 million Africans live with HIV/Aids, and
an estimated 2.3 million Africans died from Aids
We will stand our ground, say Zim farmers
24 June 2002 11:53
About 2 900 Zimbabwean farmers, ordered to cease farming under the
government's controversial land reform law giving it sweeping powers to
seize farmland, have largely ignored the deadline and continued their
business, says Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) representative Jenni
On May 10 the government amended the Land Acquisition Act to order
farmers whose property has been earmarked for acquisition to stop farming
45 days after a notice of acquisition has been issued
and vacate their property within 90 days.
For farmers who had been issued with government notices to take over their
property before the law was changed, the 45-day notice period to stop
farming came into effect from the day the law was passed.
"A lot ... are just going to stay as they cannot stop farming in 45 days. We
will have to stand our ground and see what happens," Williams said.
The affected farmers, according to the CFU, represent about 60% of the
white farmers who held about 4 800 title deeds before the controversial land
reforms turned violent two years ago.
During this period government supporters, calling themselves war veterans,
began occupying white farms and demanded that they be redistributed to
landless black Zimbabweans.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the New National Party (NNP) said the
announcement that the white-owned farms should cease operating was the
last nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's economy and could have fatal
consequences for the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development
NNP representative for Land Affairs issues Willem Odendaal said: "If the
African Union, that will be formed next month, does not put an end to the
tyrannical transgressions of the president of Zimbabwe, then Nepad will be
doomed and lack credibility.
"This will result in the failure of this socio-economic plan making it just
another landmark on Africa's road of deterioration."
Odendaal said president Robert Mugabe's continued draconic land reform
plans would lead to the demolishment of property rights in Zimbabwe.
"It will not only cause famine and poverty, but will also impact negatively on
South Africa and other neighbouring countries."
He said South Africans should expect new pressure on the country's
"Zimbabwe's current misery will increase and lead to more unwelcome
refugees entering South Africa... This will place more pressure on the
availability of scarce infrastructures like housing and jobs. The burden on
South African taxpayers will also increase, as the government's
responsibility to provide aid to Zimbabwe increases," he said.
Zimbabwe's Land Minister, Joseph Made, was quoted on state radio at the
weekend saying the number of farmers affected was much less than the
CFU claimed, but would not specify the numbers.
Farmers who ignore the deadline will be liable to two years in jail or a 20 000
Zimbabwe dollars fine or both.
A CFU representative expressed fears of violence on the farms as the
deadline passed and farmers vowed to continue working.
"There are fears of violence. We do anticipate there will be violence and we
hope it will be curtailed," said Williams.
Some tobacco farmers who had made a special application to the
government to continue farming until the end of next season, early next
year, had their request turned down, according to the state-run Herald
The CFU representative said on Friday that, in addition to farmers who have
to stop operations, an estimated 232 000 farm workers would also have to
stop working on Monday in line with the amended law.
Zim farmers broaden their horizons
21 June 2002 12:27
Authorities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe have launched a probe into
claims by provincial authorities that Zimbabwean commercial and peasant
farmers were seizing arable land along the border with Mozambique.
"We have had reports of illegal land occupations from the Manica provincial
authorities, the most serious case of which involves a major Zimbabwean
tobacco grower," national director of land mapping and planning Jose
Mucombo said on Friday.
Mucombo said authorities in one district of Mussorize reported that
Zimbabweans have been extending their farms across the border into the
fertile lands of the central Manica province.
"There have also been persistent reports of Zimbabwean peasants violating
the border in different locations," he said.
Mucombo said governments of the two countries have agreed to form a
technical commission to probe the issue.
The commission is expected to examine whether the border demarcations
of the 1930s still stand or have suffered illegal alterations.
Mucombo said it was not clear that the alleged Zimbabwean invasions are
linked to the controversial land reforms in Zimbabwe, which have seen many
white commercial farmers losing land to the government for redistribution
amongst landless blacks.
Meanwhile, a Mozambican government plan to resettle some Zimbabwean
farmers who legally requested land for lease is still under consideration.
However, farmers who have asked for very large land holdings have had their
requests turned down by Maputo, for fear of importing the Zimbabwean
In Mozambique, all land belongs to the state and can only be leased for a
period of up to 50 years.
Tanzania suspends gem
The Tanzanian Government has suspended all
mining in the north of the country after up to
42 miners died following the failure of a fresh
The disaster happened on Thursday at
Mererani, near Mount Kilimanjaro - the only
place in the world where the gemstone
tanzanite is found.
Daniel ole Njoolay, the
for Arusha, said there
would be no more
mining in the area until
all the bodies had
Fourteen have been
retrieved so far.
The victims are about
125 metres (410 feet)
about 300 metres (985
feet) along a
Mining officials said 32 miners were registered
to work in the mine when the pump failed, but
another 10 miners were believed to have died
in an initial rescue attempt.
Correspondents say tanzanite mines are
relatively primitive and lack proper safety
They say miners are usually young men who
often remain underground while carrying out
They use oxygen pumps fitted with long hoses
to pump air down into the mines.
The mines amount to little more than holes
hundreds of metres deep and are notoriously
In 1998 more than 50 people died after heavy
rain flooded the mines.
The Mererani district is rich in deposits of
tanzanite - a gemstone with a generally
violet-blue hue which earns Tanzania about
$8m annually on the world market.
Swazi women fear losing
Women in Swaziland are expressing concern
after being warned by a senior official that if
they wear trousers on the streets they may be
torn off by soldiers.
The senior official in the royal household said
trousers were disrespectful to Swaziland's
traditions, Reuters news agency reported,
though he acknowledged that younger
princesses in the extensive royal family were
among the worst culprits.
"Soldiers from the army
will patrol for
offenders... They have
been instructed to strip
the trousers from
women in pants, and
tear them to pieces," a
resident of the capital,
Mbabane, quoted the offical as saying.
"If any of use dare wear pants, the soldiers will
strip us naked," Mary Dlaminini, 22, said after
listening to Jim Gama, the senior official in the
royal household, who addressed local people at
a special meeting.
Human rights activists have accused the Swazi
authorities of oppressing women. Swaziland is
one of the world's last remaining absolute
monarchies and has a reputation for being
However, many young women in Swaziland
now wear trousers and there is likely to be
deep resistance to any attempts to further
restrict their freedoms.
Women are already not allowed to wear
trousers in government offices and at the
"The dictates about what women can and
cannot wear is medieval but unfortunately
reflects the fact that women are legal minors
in Swaziland," Doo Apane, an attorney with the
Swaziland branch of Women in Law in Southern
Last September, King Mswati III tried to revive
a traditional law on chastity, and banned sex
for young girls in order, he said, to preserve
virginity and halt the spread of HIV/Aids.
But the royal edict has
parents who have
refused to get their
children to wear
tassels, designed as
chastity belts, until
the king's own
daughters comply with
the traditional custom.
The king had also said
maidens should not
shake hands with men
or wear trousers for five years.
Last November, the king bowed to pressure
from angry young women and fined himself a
cow for violating the chastity vow he had
imposed on the rest of the country.
In a very unusual demonstration, 300 young
Swazi women had gathered outside the royal
palace and symbolically laid down their
They were showing how angry they were that
King Mswati III had broken his own rules.
The king, soon after he decreed the ban, had
announced he was to marry a 17-year-old girl.
Resentment among Swazi women grew when
they learned that his fiancée was living at the
Any man who breaks the cultural ban is fined
an animal, such as a cow, or is liable to pay a
Earlier this month, King Mswati married once
again, bringing the total number of his official
wives to nine.
He wedded Nontsetselelo Magongo, an
18-year-old girl forced to leave school last
year amid protests from human rights and
anti-child abuse institutions in Swaziland and
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