African press review 6 January 2015

Buildings at a high risk of collapsing in Nairobi, the reopening of schools threatened in Liberia and South Africans bathing spots that appear to still be segregated... Here are today's top stories in the African Press.


In Kenya 80 percent of the buildings in Nairobi might be at risk of an earthquake collapse and the worst part, according to the Standard, is that the authorities are not doing anything about it.

This number is from a study by Questworks, a design and engineering firm. The study comes as a five storey building collapsed in Huruma estate on Sunday night killing at least two people. The study, says the daily, found that contractors "steal cement and use less steel" during construction, meaning the building structures end up being very weak.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

According to the Standard more than 35 buildings have collapsed in the last five years killing more than 350 people and injuring hundreds.

Nairobi's county governor Evan Kidero was very quick to dismiss the study, calling it "not best on correct information (...) and at best (...) alarming". But for the Standard that's not enough.

"Authorities seem to have perfected the predictable pattern of gathering to talk tough around the debris of a collapsed building even as hundreds of substandard buildings keep coming up" explains the Nairobi based-paper.

Front Page Africa is worried that Liberian schools might not be ready to reopen next month.

The Monrovia based paper explains that despite Liberia's government ordering schools to reopen on 2 February, most say it won't be possible. The daily explains that most school campuses in Monrovia are "in deplorable conditions with classrooms completely filthy". You might remember that the schools were closed down last August because of the Ebola outbreak.

Moses Vah, the vice-principal at the Effort Baptist Church School, explained to the paper that the deadline will be impossible to meet. Vah believes the reopening of schools should be extended to 15 February.

But there is another big challenge explains FPA: recruiting teachers. Some handed their resignation letters back in August and will not come back. And that of course will have an impact on how students are taught to behave regarding Ebola. Amid new cases of Ebola in the country the Ministry of Education is yet to complete the deployment of anti-Ebola materials to various schools the paper says.

The Times has an interesting story on how South Africans bathing spots are still segregated despite the fact that apartheid ended more than 20 years ago.

The newspaper released a poll that show that sun lovers still go to beaches "that were assigned to them during apartheid". In those times, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act created "separate beaches for whites and nonwhites", explains Times.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

Despite the fact that the rule was scrapped in 1990 unofficial segregation persists in many places due mainly to problems of access. For example, says the newspaper, "in Cape Town while Clifton's trendy Clifton 3rd and 4th beaches remain largely white other beaches like Camps Bay are well integrated".

The newspaper went to the beaches to interview sun bathers. The people there have various explanations but this one is interesting: according to Jim Scown, a lifeguard, the lack of diversity could be because of economic reasons.

For Mienke Steytler the South African Institute of Race Relations spokeswoman, this continued segregation is due to apartheid spatial planning.

"When cities were developed back in the day, they were developed specifically to separate people. We are now sitting with the consequences", she says.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app