Nigerian music icon Fela Kuti is one of the nominees for inclusion in the Rock + Roll Hall of Fame this year. Nearly 30 years after his death, the wider world is catching up with the power of his legacy. Musicologist Sanya Osha says the honour is long overdue. But she also wonders whether acceptance by this prestigious institution could dilute his message and ideals.

The deep prehistory of West Africa has many gaps, but recent work by archaeologists in Senegal is starting to fill them in. Middle Stone Age artefacts have been found and reliably dated, showing that this period of human development lasted much longer in the region than was previously known. Eleanor Scerri explains the possible reasons and what the findings tell us about humanity’s path of cultural change towards “modernity”.

Joey Akan

Freelance Arts & Culture Editor

Nigerian musician Fela Kuti performs in Chicago in the US. Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Nigerian icon Fela is long overdue for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Sanya Osha, University of Cape Town

Fela's nomination and possible induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will come at a cost.


Archaeology in West Africa could rewrite the textbooks on human evolution

Eleanor Scerri, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

New evidence affirms that significant, long-standing inter-group cultural differences shaped the later stages of human evolution in Africa.

Arts, Culture + Society

Woman at Point Zero: Nawal El Saadawi’s radical African feminism was ahead of its time

Catherine Addison, University of Zululand

Her 1975 novel demonstrated a far more radical feminism than was common in Africa and the Arab world – a precursor of the #MenAreTrash anger of today.

Southern African hunters may have used symbolism in choosing bones to craft arrows

Justin Bradfield, University of Johannesburg

In several other parts of the world, people used the bones of animals that were important within their respective cultures to make tools.


Sexuality education in Ghana’s schools: some answers to ‘when’ and ‘what’

Joshua Amo-Adjei, University of Cape Coast

The inclusion of new topics in Ghana's comprehensive sex education curriculum has split opinions among parents.

South Africa’s efforts to tackle joblessness can be more effective: here’s how

Lauren Graham, University of Johannesburg; Ariane De Lannoy, University of Cape Town; Leila Patel, University of Johannesburg

Relying solely on job placement as an indicator of successful intervention misses out on outcomes that are equally important, or more so, amid high structural unemployment.

Health + Medicine

The global approach to vaccine equity is failing: additional steps that would help

Erin Hannah, Western University; James Scott, King's College London; Silke Trommer, University of Manchester; Sophie Harman, Queen Mary University of London

The fight for vaccine equity needs to stop looking to multilateral institutions for permission and instead focus on the policy tools that are already available to states.

We’re on the hunt for novel ways to assess the risk of type 2 diabetes

Cecil Jack Weale, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

To stem the rise in diabetes, new and innovative methods of risk assessment must be implemented, specific to populations on the continent.

Business + Economy

How large miners and states stifle local capital and innovation in DR Congo

Ben Radley, University of Bath; Sara Geenen, University of Antwerp

The mass privatisation of mining and the turn to foreign direct investment has created conflict with small-scale miners.

South African case study sheds light on how vaccine manufacturing can be developed

David Richard Walwyn, University of Pretoria; Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Harvard University

African governments, firms and donor agencies should align their efforts to support the local manufacture of vaccines and other health equipment in African countries.


How climate insecurity could trigger more conflict in Somalia

Andrew E. Yaw Tchie, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

The federal government needs to address the relationship between climate-related realities and the country's national security.

Fifty years, five problems - and how Nigeria can work with China in future

Abdul-Gafar Tobi Oshodi, Lagos State University; Ufo Okeke Uzodike, Durban University of Technology

Nigeria and China should work more on the relationship between their citizens so that the two countries can continue to have good bilateral relations.


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