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African press review 5 September

Robert Mugabe is still alive. Young athletes turn out to be not quite as young as they say. Nigeria is high risk for Zika. 


As Zimbabwe's 92-year-old president might have said: "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

Last week, South Africa's Southern Daily website told readers "As usual we were told nothing but we hear that the Old Man had a stroke."

The tittle-tattle was that he was en route to Singapore, or maybe Dubai, for urgent treatment.

The sourcing was iffy, to say the least, but Southern Daily declared that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was now interim president.

Not for the first time, Mugabe has had the last laugh.

As we reported yesterday, he returned to Harare on Saturday and joked that he had died and been resurrected, adding that "Once I get back to my country I am real."

The government controlled paper the Herald reports that, back in the real world yesterday, Mugabe urged Youth League members to use social media to defend and promote the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The paper notes that what it calls "regime change agents and activist" recently used social media to promote street protests in a bid to destabilise the government.

Mugabe is quoted as saying that young Zimbabweans should learn from youths in China, Cuba and Russia, those havens of free speech and democracy, the proper and constructive use of IT.

He welcomed a new cyberlaw that's being drafted to "guide" the proper use of social media.

Athletes lie about their age

The Daily Nation in Kenya is "alarmed" by "news of rampant age cheating coming from the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association Games that ended in Eldoret on Saturday.

Evidently, some young athletes are older than they claim to be.

"It is especially perturbing that the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association seems powerless to deal with the menace. This is compounded by claims that the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association encourages the vice so as to improve Kenya’s medal count," the paper says.

"This is unfortunate because deserving secondary school students are denied an opportunity to nurture their talent in sports when over-age players take their place," the Daily Nation says in this morning's editorial. "Age-cheating has reached unacceptable levels of impunity and must be addressed urgently."

Gender-role pressure leads to suicide in SA

In South Africa the Star explores different worries, this time to do with gender.

The paper cites a new study which says pressure to conform to “rigid, narrow and restrictive” gender roles causes young men in South Africa to turn to suicide and self-harm.

The study, in the latest South African Journal of Psychology, suggests that the inability to conform to ideas of masculinity results in “inauthentic” emotional expression and feelings of disconnection, embarrassment and shame.

Participants believed that showing vulnerability was associated with being feminine and “equated with being gay".

Young men rather “ignore and deny their problems, or engage in self-destructive behaviour such as excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or being aggressive and violent".

Coauthor Dr Jason Bantjes is quoted as saying, “We could start by challenging the myth that there is only one way to be a man. There are many ways to achieve manhood, and no one way of expressing one’s masculinity is inherently better or worse than any other."

Zika risk in Nigeria

The Guardian in Nigeria says the country has been identified as one of the countries at greater risk of Zika virus transmission.

Others topping the list are India and Indonesia.

That's according to a new study published yesterday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Zika was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947 and studies by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research have found that the mosquitos that transmit the virus are common in most parts of Nigeria

Identifying where and when populations would be most susceptible to local transmission of Zika virus could help inform public-health decisions about the use of finite resources.

Let's hope so. According to the World Health Organisation, two billion people worldwide are at risk.



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