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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

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,... 

Academy for Rwanda’s ‘born to code’ youngsters

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     22nd March 2019 Education accounts for the lion’s share of the Budgets of many countries. This huge investment, it is reasoned, is a prerequisite for future prosperity. But, as survey after survey has demonstrated, it must not be education for education’s sake – it must equip young people for the world of work.... 

Youth jobs: HP pledges big

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th March 2019 Like the rest of the world’s developing regions, Africa is faced with a youth bulge. Coined in the mid-1990s by German demographer Gunnar Heinsohn, the term refers to the phenomenon whereby success in reducing infant mortality while the fertility rate remains high results in a country’s or... 

Zimbabwe’s dagga strides

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     8th March 2019 That the politics of the governing party in Zimbabwe are repellent is common knowledge. Zanu-PF has perfected the art of rigging elections over well-nigh four decades and has not hesitated to resort to violent repression to remain in power. And the 2017 ouster of Robert Mugabe in a coup that... 

Customs and excise proposals in the Budget

By: Riaan de Lange     8th March 2019 It is just before 14:00 on the afternoon of February 20 as I wait for the National Budget Review 2019 to be published in its electronic form. While doing so, I am reminded of a time, not so long ago, when it was released in hard copy. At that time, the review being released in soft copy would be... 

Malawi: a shining democracy

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st March 2019 It’s election season in Africa. At the time of writing, Nigerians and their fellow West Africans in Senegal were due to go to the polls in a few days, while the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in the process of charting a new course, having voted in a new administration in December. Later... 

Silver lining

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     22nd February 2019 That I am an Afro-optimist in no secret. This simply means that, unlike doomsayers like Donald Trump, who once likened our countries to latrines, I strongly believe in the Africa Rising narrative. Of course, I am not blind to the ills afflicting us as Africans: primitive corruption (as one... 

The rot continues

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th February 2019 Just more than a year ago, African heads of State and government converged on the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to launch 2018 as the continent’s Anticorruption Year. No stone was going to be left unturned in the fight to rid Mother Africa of this pernicious scourge, which continued to deal... 

Matric pass rate improves, but …

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     8th February 2019 Our 2018 matriculants – those who wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams and those who attended schools affiliated with the Independent Examination Board (IEB) alike – deserve a huge pat on the back for doing the nation proud. The NSC pass rate was 78.2% last year, a significant... 

SA passport among Africa’s ‘strongest’

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st February 2019 A couple of weeks back, I mentioned in this couple that the African Union will this month be providing details of its plans to launch a pan-African passport as part of its efforts to improve the free movement of people on the continent. The benefits of such a move will be immense; they will... 

Growth forecast for sub-Sahara

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     25th January 2019 In last week’s instalment of this column, I took issue with African institutions’ not-so-golden silence while rogue governments on the continent ride rough-shod over their citizens. One of the examples I mentioned was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where Presidential and Parliamentary... 

Movement, at last, on pan-African passport

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     18th January 2019 African institutions have often been accused of being long on talk and short on action. A case in point is the deafening rhetoric about good governance by the likes of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) while no action is taken against dictators in some... 

The year that was

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     14th December 2018 Time flies indeed. It has already been a year since my editor invited me to contribute a weekly column in Engineering News, an opportunity that I grabbed with both hands. During the past 50-odd weeks (it feels like just more than a couple of weeks, really), I have touched on a multiplicity of... 

M-Pesa goes global

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     7th December 2018 First things first – M-Pesa stands for mobile pesa, with pesa Swahili for money (I have been busy building up my Swahili vocabulary ever since Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced a few months ago that Swahili would be offered in South African schools as an optional foreign language... 

Bridging the gap – literally

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     30th November 2018 Mozambique’s founding President, the late Samora Moises Machel, is famous for having coined and popularised the slogan Aluta Continua! (Portuguese for ‘the struggle continues’). He used it to rally combatants from his Frelimo movement in the struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, which... 

Graduating into unemployment

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd November 2018 At the end of this month – or at least by the middle of December – scores of young men and women will be completing their undergraduate studies at South Africa’s 26 public universities and at the few such institutions that are privately run. This will cap a three- to four-year slog characterised... 

Latter-day Cape to Cairo vision

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     16th November 2018 Nineteenth-century British imperialist and entrepreneur Cecil John Rhodes had grand plans to construct a railway line from Cape Town, on the southern tip of the continent, to Cairo, in North Africa. But a continuous line connecting the two cities that runs through Anglophone countries had not... 

Donald Trump’s praise-singers?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th November 2018 It’s mind-boggling. Donald Trump is a darling of more than half of Nigerians, the very people he derided as hut-dwellers not so long ago. This, of course, is if a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center, a US-based pollster, is to be believed. The study, which surveyed respondents in 25... 

Disappearing forests

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     2nd November 2018 In rather melodramatic fashion, one journalist, writing in June this year, portrayed the rate at which the world is losing its forests thus: “Image looking down on huge swathe of lush forest – but before you can pull out your phone to take a picture, it’s gone.” A look at the latest tree cover... 

Debt-trap diplomacy?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th October 2018 I have made no bones about my cynicism about Chinese generosity towards African countries, which has taken the form of top-dollar freebies, government and State-owned company loans and investment in infrastructure. As I have said before, my uneasiness heightened when it came to light that Sri... 

Positives of migration

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th October 2018 Television footage of desperate Africans drowning in the Mediterranean Sea en route to Spain and other European destinations that hold out the promise of a better life has become all too frequent. The International Organisation for Migration puts the cumulative toll since 2000 at 33 000, with... 

Joblessness scourge

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     12th October 2018 South Africa’s inaugural Jobs Summit was convened in Johannesburg last week to brainstorm on possible solutions to the country’s stubborn unemployment scourge. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) tells us that the unemployment rate stood at 27.2% in the second quarter of this year, a deterioration... 

SA to offer Swahili as a school subject

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     5th October 2018 Readers of this column who are not news junkies like yours truly may have missed the announcement, made last month: South African schools, both public and private, will be offering Swahili as an optional language from 2020, alongside such foreign languages as French, German and Mandarin, which... 

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