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Martin Zhuwakinyu

Martin Zhuwakinyu

Martin Zhuwakinyu is Senior Deputy Editor for Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

He studied at Harare Polytechnic, the University of South Africa and Tshwane University of Technology.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Backward glance

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     13th December 2019 This year has been quite eventful for Africa, and some of the occurrences that came to pass were captured on this page over the past 50-odd weeks. In this last edition for 2019, I take you down memory lane, highlighting some of the noteworthy events. Perhaps one of the major African news stories... 

Blazing Africa’s smartphone trail

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     6th December 2019 Three events in the past few weeks will go some way towards closing the digital divide between Africa and other continents. News-consuming South Africans should be familiar with one of these events – the unveiling, in mid-October, of a R1.5-billion state-of-the-art smartphone manufacturing plant... 

The unifying power of sport

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     29th November 2019 South Africans are still basking in the afterglow of the Springboks’ triumph at the Rugby World Cup. Party poopers like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) tried their damnedest to diffuse the euphoria through reckless utterances that emphasised the country’s racial diversity in unhelpful ways.... 

A good move for SA tourism

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     22nd November 2019 Tourism is something of a cash cow for South Africa. Narrowly defined, the sector accounts for 2.9% of the country’s gross domestic product, but the figure jumps to 8.6% when supply chain linkages and the total value creation across the economy is taken into consideration. The tourism workforce... 

Wide chasm

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th November 2019 The term ‘digital divide’ found its way into common parlance yonks ago. Initially, it referred to the division between those who had access to the telephone and those who did not. After the late 1990s, it began to be used mainly to describe the split between those with and those without Internet... 

Staying put in Mzansi

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     8th November 2019 Humans have a propensity for being highly vocal when they are unhappy about how they are governed and for showing little hesitation in moving to lands where the grass appears to be greener. South Africans are no exception. Prompted by push factors ranging from a job market that is not  growing... 

The tale that Mr Latta told

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st November 2019 I’m not sure what to make of remarks by Nick Latta, a counsellor at the British high commission to South Africa at a conference in Durban a fortnight ago. She said the UK decided the break away from Europe in the so-called Brexit move because of its belief that the future of trade lay in a... 

Hyperinflation déjà vu in Zim

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     25th October 2019 Some of us began to smell a rat when, in early August, Zimbabwe’s Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, banned the publication of annualised inflation figures until February next year. Ncube and his Cabinet colleagues are obviously unaware of the African saying that it’s futile... 

Death of a dream

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     18th October 2019 A couple of months back, I waxed lyrical about an initiative to nurture Africa’s high-end information technology talent for placement with global tech companies. Its beauty, I wrote, was that the youngsters who were taken on board were not required to leave the continent’s shores but worked out... 

Curse of the anointed successor

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     11th October 2019 Botswana nationals go to the polls in less than a fortnight to elect local government representatives and Parliamentarians. Bar a near miss in 2014, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has comfortably won each election since attaining independence from Britain in 1966. But, this time around, it’s... 

A species under siege

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     4th October 2019 It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that Africa’s rhinos have been under siege for over a decade. They are targeted by unscrupulous elements who sell their horns to buyers in the Far East. Statistics show that the poaching crisis began in 2008 when the number of beasts killed jumped to... 

Afrophobia: Back to the future

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     27th September 2019 The latest flare-up of antimigrant violence in parts of Gauteng has been a major talking point across Africa. Regrettably, emotions seem to have taken precedence over cool logic in much of the discourse. If you ask me, the kind of sentiment towards non-natives that is coming to the fore in... 

A hero who went rogue

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     20th September 2019 As news of the demise in the wee hours of September 6 of former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe broke, keyboard warriers went into a frenzy. One tweet encapsulated the predominant sentiment. It cited a quip by legendary American lawyer Clarence Darrow, who said in 1922: “I have never killed... 

Oil raises hopes of a better Kenya

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     13th September 2019 So Kenya has joined the ranks of oil-exporting countries. Its maiden shipment of the so-called black gold was dispatched late last month, headed for China. The development was indeed good news for Kenyans, raising hopes the nascent oil industry will deliver substantial socioeconomic and other... 

Climate ‘apartheid’ is looming large

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     6th September 2019 I doubt if many people in Mzansi know of Pihilip Alston. The Australian-born international law expert and human rights campaigner is the United Nations’ (UN’s) special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, a position he assumed in 2014. To ensure the independence of the position, the... 

Inspired by Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     30th August 2019 I will bet my bottom rand that many people in our beloved Mzansi know next to nothing about Barbados, perhaps except those who are into pop, R&B, reggae, dubstep, hip hop or electric dance music, who should be aware this is where Rihana hails from. I will be good enough to fill the uninitiated in... 

The captured States of Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd August 2019 I am not privy to how lexicographers go about selecting the word or phrase of the year. But if it were up to me, ‘State capture’ would have won the accolade hands down in any one of the past few years. It indeed captured the preoccupation of a nation shocked by revelations suggesting that, in... 

Engineered in Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     16th August 2019 As an Afro-optimist, it always warms the cockles of my heart when something positive is said about the continent, especially by someone from outside our shores. The latest person to do so is US technology entrepreneur Christina Sass, who averred in a recent interview that there is a glut of... 

Bleak future

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th August 2019 A climate double whammy is in store for Africa, according to the UK Meteorological Centre’s Hadley Centre, which predicts in a new study that, over the next 80 years, the continent will be hit by frequent floods, interspersed with droughts. Compiled by the centre’s scientists in collaboration... 

Cry, my beloved ‘profession’

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     2nd August 2019 My association with journalism dates to the mid-1980s, when I enrolled for a national diploma course in mass communication. I have been a voracious reader of several major African newspapers ever since, and my assessment is that, bar a few pockets of excellence, the standards of journalism on the... 

Scourge of hunger rising in Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th July 2019 Last week I wrote about an imminent dilemma that Africa faces: its farmers are old, aged 60 on average, and convincing their offspring to take over when they call it a day – which should be in the next five to ten years – is proving to be an uphill task. Only very few countries, the likes of... 

Making farming cool for youngsters

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th July 2019 I recently read of a Ghanaian university graduate who was reluctant to tell anyone – including his mother – what he intended to do for a living. The youngster’s heart is in farming but, on a continent where the majority of practitioners rely on rudimentary equipment and a hope for rain, the trade... 

Africa’s new export

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     12th July 2019 My news staple includes newspapers from all over Africa. This means I am fairly au fait with trends on the continent. And one of the latest trends is the emergence of a new type of export, which, besides earning our countries much-needed hard currency, helps dent the challenge of stubbornly high... 

Maritime scrimmages

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     5th July 2019 Far from the madding crowd characterised by in-country political tensions and economic vicissitudes in much of Africa, litigation that in most cases escapes the international media glare is playing out in parts of the continent. The bone of contention is where national maritime boundaries should... 

Namib wild horses face extinction

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     28th June 2019 It’s a distressing time for conservationists: the sun appears to be about to set on Namibia’s famed wild horses. The population of the desert-dwelling animals has been dwindling at an alarming rate in recent times. But, unlike elephants and rhinos, which are the target of marauding poachers, the... 

What are Bafana’s chances at Afcon?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     21st June 2019 Apologies to readers of this column who cannot tell FIFA from UEFA or CAF: this week I focus on football, which the Brazilian legend known to much of the world simply as Pele famously described as “the beautiful game”. Starting at 22:00 tonight, when Zimbabwe takes to the field against Egypt at... 

The latest on Swahili ‘project’

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     14th June 2019 Where are the hot-heads at the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the other teacher unions? We need them to stop Angie Motshekga in her tracks. She quietly slipped out of the country last month and headed for Kenya. That was only a couple of months after a son of that country had... 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson? Heaven forbid!

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     7th June 2019 The story is told of a correspondent for British news agency Reuters who, in 1961, was sent to verify whether then United Nations (UN) secretary-general Dag Hammarkjold had landed at Ndola Airport, in northern Zambia, en route to talks with Moise Tshombe, who, with the backing of former colonial... 

Urgent need for tech advance

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     31st May 2019 I made a subtle confession in last week’s column: that I rate the dear departed Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first post-independence leader, as one of the greatest Africans of all time. In my estimation, only the likes of Nelson Mandela surpassed his iconic stature. As I stated, the speech he delivered... 

Remembering Kwame Nkrumah

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     24th May 2019 Barring unforeseen glitches, this edition of Engineering News will hit the newsstands on May 24, a day before the fifty-sixth anniversary of the day when then Ethiopian leader Emperor Haile Selassie hosted the leaders of newly independent African States at a get-together that gave birth to the... 

New broom that’s sweeping clean

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     17th May 2019 It always comes as a breath of fresh air when an African leader receives a pat on the back for his or her accomplishments. This is because political leaders who distinguish themselves are something of a rare breed on our continent. The esteemed ladies and gentlemen whose task it is to select... 

Medicine delivery drones take to the skies in Ghana

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     10th May 2019 A post on Ghanaian Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia’s Twitter feed towards the end of last month caught my eye. It was a twenty-worder: “Not a single Ghanaian, irrespective of his or her remoteness, deserves to die due to inaccessibility to emergency healthcare.” The West African nation is not in... 

Just when will coups end?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     3rd May 2019 Another dictator has bitten the dust. As I write, Sudanese strongman Omar Hassan al-Bashir is languishing in the notorious Kobar prison, on the outskirts of Khartoum, where thousands of political dissenters were jailed during his 30-year rule, which came to a rude end last month. In true ‘he who... 

Man-made meat for supper tonight?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th April 2019 Huge sums have been pumped into research and development in recent decades, and the upshot is that science and technology are on fast forward. Over the past century, thousands of ideas across many fields have been patented around the world. While some of us may not have noticed some of them, many... 

Needed: A curriculum that means business

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th April 2019 Unemployment is a major socioeconomic problem in South Africa and the rest of the continent, and the youth bear its brunt. The massive investments in education by governments have not made a sufficiently big dent in it and the much-needed foreign direct investment in employment-generating... 

A region in mourning

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     12th April 2019 Southern Africa is in mourning. More than 1 000 people have perished since the tropical cyclone, Idai, lashed parts of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe last month. The toll will likely increase, as scores have been missing for weeks and hopes are fading that they are still in the land of the... 

Kudos for Kenyan science teacher

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     5th April 2019 I have in the past used this column to lay into a top KwaZulu-Natal Education Department official for ranting about the rather lacklustre performance of the province’s matriculants, despite the massive funding that schools receive. My contention is you do not cure the ills of the basic education... 

Tardiness Must Fall

29th March 2019 It has been 14 years since my employers persuaded me to become a desk-bound pen-pusher. This spelt an end to my career as a reporter, which I had thoroughly enjoyed, save for the all-too-frequent occasions when I would arrive for a government-organised event billed to start at a specific time,... 

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