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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

My 2022 wish list

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     21st January 2022 A repeat of the last two years, when Covid-19 decimated lives and livelihoods, is the last thing anyone would want to see this year. But it appears that the pandemic is here to stay, at least for the short term. My wish, therefore, is that we find ways to mitigate its impacts. The starting point... 

Chinese debt trap

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     10th December 2021 China has been a key African benefactor for a while, providing financing for all manner of infrastructure and rendering other forms of assistance. Even Mzansi’s Eishkom – as the national electricity utility is derisively called in some quarters, on account of persistent load-shedding – has been a... 

An early Second Coming

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     3rd December 2021 This week I’m aboard a time machine that has taken me to the year 2121, a century from now. Time is moving ever so slowly. To avoid descending into boredom, I decide to do some light reading. After rummaging through a couple of drawers, I come across a history book, written over a century ago.... 

Migration – the pros and cons

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th November 2021 I have a suspicion that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an obscure name to many Africa Beat readers. But that’s certainly not the case in the world of the literati. The Nigerian-born novelist is celebrated worldwide for her writing process. Her latest accolade, bestowed a fortnight ago, was from the... 

New era of the silent majority

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th November 2021 The 2021 local government elections have come and gone, and pundits have written column centimetres upon column centimetres about them. But the temptation to also weigh in has been too much for me. The voter turnout was the lowest since the dawn of democracy – a paltry 33% of those whose names... 

I told you so, didn’t I?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     12th November 2021 Having looked into my crystal ball, I wrote in this column not so long ago that military coups were on the comeback in Africa and that they were poised to become an all too frequent mode of power transfer, despite the fact that they are now well-nigh unheard of elsewhere in the world. In that... 

The neighbour from hell

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     5th November 2021 Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi comes across as someone who is so cool headed that one would expect him to always display diplomatic nous, even in the face of provocation. But that façade was rattled somewhat last month when it became apparent that, try as he did to secure the cooperation... 

Misplaced honour

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     29th October 2021 Presidential elections are due in six African countries next year, namely Angola, Djibouti, Kenya, Mali, Somaliland and Sudan. While in some countries elections have tended to be robust affairs – to put it mildly – it is the Kenyan poll, to be held on August 9, that gives me the greatest sense of... 

Frontier stalemate

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     22nd October 2021 A key consensus among Africa’s postcolonial leaders is that the national boundaries drawn by the European powers that partitioned the continent in Berlin in 1884 are as sacrosanct today as they were back then. It is thus confounding that Kenya and Somalia are at loggerheads over their maritime... 

Promises, promises . . .

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th October 2021 Someone once remarked that football matches are the most heated contests in much of Africa. But in today’s environment, where most countries are doing their best to at least be seen to be abiding by democratic precepts, that distinction, I dare say, belongs to elections to public office. As I... 

Tribute to Hammarskjöld

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     8th October 2021 Just over six decades ago, former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold died in mysterious circumstances in what is now Zambia. Some cried assassination, with more than a couple of accusing fingers pointed at the South African government of the time. As I read a piece about the... 

Shining in the world

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st October 2021 Africa’s got talent! For the latest evidence of this, one need not look further than US news magazine Time’s 2021 list of the most influential 100  individuals on Planet Earth in various spheres of human endeavour. The African game changers – and those with roots on the continent – who made the... 

A forlorn continent

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     24th September 2021 We Africans are an unhappy lot. I am not joking – scientifically derived statistics are available to back this up, and it appears the advent of Covid-19 has exacerbated our collective melancholy. The latest evidence of our poor showing in the happiness stakes is contained in the 2021 World... 

Coup d’état comeback?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     17th September 2021 I remember, as a freshman in journalism school, a lecturer telling us that some Western newspapers and other media organisations had settled on a stock headline to use each time an African government was deposed in a military coup – and it was ‘They have done it again!’ I cannot vouch for the... 

Joblessness scourge

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     10th September 2021 While the joblessness numbers released by Statistics South Africa recently make for sad reading, bringing the country’s unemployment scourge into sharp focus, the key takeaway is that it is young people who are bearing the brunt. The situation is quite scary: a whopping  46.3% of those aged... 

Costly blackouts

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     3rd September 2021 Africa’s despots – and they are numerous – are increasingly developing a worrying penchant for switching off social media networks to prevent citizens from sharing information they dislike or when they feel such exchanges may threaten their hold on power. The latest to resort to this trick was... 

Dear ex-Prez Lungu

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     27th August 2021 I guess you are busy moving house, following your electoral defeat, which spelled the end to your tenancy at State House in Lusaka. When things are less hectic, please spare a few moments to read this missive – it’s not that long. I feared for the worst when, in the midst of vote counting, you... 

Biased reporting is not okay

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     20th August 2021 When Covid hit African shores in early 2020, many predicted the death toll would be much higher than in other regions, given the parlous state of the healthcare system in many countries on the continent. But that didn’t happen, and sceptics – including journos from Western countries, where Covid... 

What a disappointment!

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     13th August 2021 Zweli Mkhize has always come across as a conscientious fellow, which is why it came as a shock when allegations that he used his influence as Health Minister to have a contract awarded to a long-time associate of his were levelled against him. At the time of writing, the allegations had morphed... 

Misplaced intervention?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     6th August 2021 Late last month, Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations started deploying troops to northern Mozambique to help quell an Islamist insurgency that is threatening the development of gas deposits in that part of the country, which many see as a lifeline that will lift scores of... 

South Africa’s ‘single story’

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     30th July 2021 That the rest of Africa sets great store by this country is a no-brainer. After all, Mzansi’s is the most developed economy on the continent and, until the Nigerians tweaked the numbers in a process economists call rebasing and Egypt later also overtook us, we were number one in the gross... 

Warmongering peace laureate

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd July 2021 The Nobel Peace Prize, the world’s most prestigious award, with pickings of about $1.15-million in 2020, has been soiled by one of its more recent laureates, who happens to be a son of the African soil. And that is Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister. When he shot to international prominence... 

Finally, SA finds its voice

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     16th July 2021 At the time of writing, eSwatini was burning – literally and figuratively. The country, which has the dubious distinction of being Africa’s sole absolute monarchy, was engulfed in protests by citizens who are gatvol with an anachronistic system that allows one man and his mother to rule an entire... 

Rogue journalism

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th July 2021 It’s Journalism 101 time this week – well, mostly – and I will cut to the chase: what is the difference between reporting and journalism? The two are not perfect synonyms. Reporting, or simply the passing on of news, is as old as the hills, as every society that has ever existed has had a... 

Remembering Kenneth Kaunda

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     2nd July 2021 At the time of writing, Africa was in mourning, following the breaking of the news that Kenneth Kaunda, Zambia’s President from 1964 to 1991, had breathed his last in a Lusaka military hospital. Note: on African soil, unlike the Robert Mugabes of this world, who die thousands of kilometres away... 

Gweezy’s smallanyana flaw

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     25th June 2021 Gwede Mantashe is a jolly good fellow. And a reasonable one too. But events of the past couple of weeks betray a smallanyana (read ‘smallish’) flaw on his part: an inability to read his boss’s lips.   Let’s dip into the past first and dredge up some memories. The date is February 11, 2021, and... 

Worthless talk shop

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     18th June 2021 Fathers of pan-Africanism such as the late Kwame Nkrumah, who wished for the day when Africa would be truly united, must have been pleased as they witnessed from the Great Unknown the coming into being of the Pan-African Parliament back in 2004. But they must be turning in their graves, following... 

Moneyed and insensitive

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     11th June 2021 American political scientist Bernard Cecil Cohen famously wrote in 1963 that “the press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about”. I cannot agree more. Recent evidence of this includes the... 

At the mercy of insurgents?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     4th June 2021 It has been about eight years since Islamic extremists stormed an upscale shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, killing 62 civilians and five soldiers before they were subdued. But images of that drama, witnessed by millions worldwide thanks to the wizardry that is modern... 

STEM the way to go

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     28th May 2021 Conventional wisdom has it that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. But a Ghanaian youngster has proven also that one man’s trash can be another man’s means of mobility – literally. Nineteen-year-old Kelvin Odartei Cruickshank, a resident of Accra, the capital city, developed a passion for... 

Kenneth who?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     21st May 2021 In a few days, we will be celebrating a day that is dear to those who cherish our great continent. Well, for us in Mzansi, ‘celebrate’ is not quite the word: we the wafanyakazi will be at the office or on the factory floor, and the day will pass by sans the fanfare associated with May 25 in... 

Crooks’ Covid bonanza

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     14th May 2021 Former Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku was a rising star in the ruling African National Congress. That was until a major scandal around the procurement of personal protective equipment for public servants on the frontline in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic in the province broke out. It... 

Call me Professor Z

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     7th May 2021 Bonginkosi Madikizela’s claim to fame is that he is the leader of the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape and the MEC for Transport and Public Works in that province. But he is currently suspended from both positions, following his outing as an academic fraudster who passed himself off as the... 

Africa’s weed race

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     30th April 2021 Lesotho became the first African country to legalise the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2017. Now – four short years later – a few other countries have followed in its footsteps. And from the look of things, the weed could be commonplace on the continent in the years ahead,... 

No more blind lending

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd April 2021 African countries have been beneficiaries of deep-pocketed China’s ‘generosity’ for yonks. Even South Africa, the most developed country on the continent, has been a beneficiary, having received a $2.5-billion loan to complete the Kusile coal-fired power station, in Mpumalanga. I use quotation... 

Don’t touch me on my studio

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     16th April 2021 Remember Chris Maroleng? He is pretty much out of the limelight these days, and the only time he gets to grace our telly screens is when a journalist wants soundbites to embellish a story about Maroleng’s new passion – governance issues. And that is once in a blue moon. In years gone by, he was... 

Turkish power delight

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy     9th April 2021 Gwede Mantashe is a South African politician who served as the national chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC). He is also a former chairperson of the South African Communist Party and a former secretary-general of the ANC. And he is the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. If I... 

A weighty crisis

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th April 2021 An epidemic of gigantic proportions is sweeping through Africa, and some experts say it is more devastating than HIV/Aids. It is good old obesity, and that it is shaping up as a major crisis is rather counterintuitive, given Africa’s frequent portrayal by the world’s media as a hungry and... 

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