Editor's note

In patriarchal societies such as Malawi, women do the bulk of the housework: caring for children, finding and preparing food, and cleaning the house. These multiple roles prevent women from engaging in activities that would earn them an income. But things are slowly changing for the better thanks to progressive interventions by the health ministry and traditional leaders. Elizabeth Mkandawire and Sheryl L Hendriks share the results of their study showing how some men are getting more involved in the home.

On Monday the UN Climate Action Summit starts in New York. In the run-up, more than 170 media outlets - among them The Conversation Africa and its sister sites around the world - are taking part in running articles focused on the climate crisis. Today Mark New unpacks the extensive science that explains how human activity has driven climate change. For his part Bill Hare takes on the countries that are failing to take the issue seriously while praising countries like Ethiopia and Morocco that are leading the way. You can find much more coverage on the issue here.

We know a fair amount about the Middle and Later Stone Age, which lasted from about 300 000 to 300 years ago in South Africa. There’s one area that very little is known about - the sorts of sounds that our human ancestors produced. In today’s episode of Pasha Sarah Wurz and Joshua Kumbani fill in some of the gaps.

Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society Editor

Top Story

A woman and baby on a bicycle taxi in Salima, Malawi. Some Malawian men are becoming more involved in childcare. EPA-EFE

Malawi study highlights the importance of men in childcare and nutrition

Elizabeth Mkandawire, University of Pretoria; Sheryl L Hendriks, University of Pretoria

While not all men are willing to become involved in women and children’s health, some situations force them take on 'women’s work'.

Climate change

Climate explained: how much of climate change is natural? How much is man-made?

Mark New, University of Cape Town

More and more evidence has accumulated which shows that changes in global and regional climate over the last 50 years are almost entirely due to human influence.

The good, the bad and the ugly: the nations leading and failing on climate action

Bill Hare, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Ahead of the UN climate summit, we take stock of the world's best and worst performers on climate action - including some surprise success stories.

Politics + Society

Politician’s succession sparks democracy debate in South Africa

Bheki Mngomezulu, University of the Western Cape

The IFP's constitution provides that the nomination of national office bearers be approved by the branches. But this was not done in the nomination of its new president.

Over 3,000 killed by deadly virus in Democratic Republic of the Congo this year – and it’s not Ebola

Jeremy Rossman, University of Kent; Matthew Badham, University of Kent

Two deadly viruses are ravaging the DRC. Why are we only hearing about one of them?


Quality higher education means more than learning how to work

Patience Mukwambo, University of the Free State

Higher education needs to do more than produce graduates who can get a job. It should also give students opportunities and a voice when it comes to participating in the economy and broader society.

Student hunger at South African universities needs more attention

Marc Wegerif, University of Pretoria; Oluwafunmiola Adeniyi, University of the Western Cape

Students suffer the double burden of malnutrition - hunger and obesity. This results in stress, ill health, poor academic results and increased drop-out rates.


Pasha 36: The sounds of our ancestors

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

The sounds our ancestors made are important because they teach us about spaces and behaviour and rituals of the time.

Pasha 35: How WhatsApp played a role in the Nigerian elections

Ozayr Patel, The Conversation

WhatsApp can amplify and complement a candidate’s ground campaign. But it cannot replace it.

From our international editions

The partisan brain: cognitive study suggests people on the left and right are more similar than they think

Leor Zmigrod, University of Cambridge

A particular type of mind could be more susceptible to political partisanship, on either side of the traditionally defined political spectrum.

Curious Kids: How big is the International Space Station?

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter, University of Melbourne

The International Space Station is the biggest human made structure in space and the third brightest object in the sky. But the living conditions for the six astronauts on it are quite cramped.

Huge sharks, tiny plankton: Exploring the changing Arctic from an icebreaker

Jonathan A. D. Fisher, Memorial University of Newfoundland

The eastern Arctic and sub-Arctic marine areas of Canada are changing rapidly under climate change.

Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession – here’s why

Jay L. Zagorsky, Boston University

An economist unravels the seeming contradiction between stocks near record highs and growing fears of a recession.

En español

Por qué nos gustan unas palabras más que otras

Carmen Álvarez-Mayo, University of York

¿Por qué algunos sonidos nos resultan agradables, mientras que otros provocan asco? Aprender un nuevo idioma puede ayudarnos a descubrirlo.

Hacia un uso más prudente y responsable de los antibióticos en ganadería

Ana Hurtado

El uso excesivo e inadecuado de los antibióticos, tanto en medicina humana como veterinaria, favorece la aparición y diseminación de bacterias resistentes.


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