#029: No Country for Pregnant Women

  • No Country for Pregnant Women   

In Mafi Dove, a village in Eastern Ghana, women are banned from giving birth in the village for fear of "offending the gods". Therefore, when pregnant women are due to give birth, they must leave the village - often in a rush or whilst in pain from the uncomfortable travel - to have their babies in neighboring towns or villages.

There are renewed calls for the village elders to abolish the law and allow pregnant women the dignity and safety of childbirth in their own community. However, the village elders refuse, insisting that the gods are not only misogynistic given that there are other divine commandments that are kept in Mafi Dove: rearing animals and burying the dead in the village are also not permitted.

Watch for:“When our forefathers came to this land, there was a voice from heaven that said: 'If you want to stay on this land, it is holy ground and there are rules'”


  • Cover Girl

The double cover of Vogue's April 2019 issue is an absolute treat. The issue highlights 14 global trailblazing actors and the impact they are generating through their careers.

One of the 14: Nigerian actress, Adesua Etomi-Wellington graces the group cover of the issue. Since her lead role in the hit (and hilarious) Nollywood movie, "The Wedding Party", Adesua's career and profile has risen meteorically. It is heartwarming to see her on this cover!

Read for:  "'I love, love, love Nollywood. I feel like she's my baby and it's my responsibility, along with a lot of other performers, to grow her'"


  • Wahayu Wives 

The Niger Court of Appeals has officially outlawed the "Wahaya" practice. "Wahayu", also known as, "fifth wives" happens when 'in addition to the four wives permitted by Islam, rich men take on other unofficial wives who live as domestic and sexual slaves'.

Most commonly practiced in the Tahoua region of Niger, the "fifth wives" do not have legal protection or freedom that proper marriage affords, as they are essentially "sold" to their husbands at a price. They also cannot initiate divorce and their children are born into a 'slave caste'. After a long court case initiated by Hadizatou Mani (an escapee Wahaya herself) and backed by Anti-Slavery International, the Nigerien courts have finally ruled against the Wahaya practice. Activists are now setting their sights on raising awareness to Wahayu wives and informing them that according to national law, they are finally free.

Read for:  "'This custom is contrary to the laws of the republic and the international conventions regularly ratified by Niger.'"


  • Doodling on the President's Face 

Three Burundian schoolgirls aged 15, 16, and 17, have been arrested and are awaiting trial for allegedly doodling on pictures of President Pierre Nkurunziza in school textbooks. The girls are expected to be charged with "contempt of the head of state" and may be imprisoned for up to 5 years, if found guilty. It is not to be forgotten that in 2016, several schoolchildren were expelled from their schools for scribbling on the President's face.

Imagine imprisoning schoolchildren over some doodles to feel powerful; it's beyond shameful - it's pathetic. You would think the President had better things to do, like fixing the country he threw into chaos when he "won" an unconstitutional third term in office back in 2015.

Read for:"'The girls are accused of defacing photographs of Nkurunziza in five textbooks belonging to their school, but teachers pointed out that the books are shared among all the pupils as there are not enough for everyone to have their own"


You Should Know

  • United Nations Population FundA guiding hand: school counsellors in Sierra Leone address early pregnancy, child marriage 

  • Al-Jazeera: [Agnes Taylor] Liberia's former first lady in court for torture charges 


Business Roll Call

Genevieve Sangudi (Tanzania) and Sheila Khama (Botswana) have been appointed as Non-Executive Directors of Tullow Oil, effective April 26 2019

South African "Big Five" law firm, ENSAfrica, has named Nicole Gabryk (South Africa) as an Executive in its dispute resolution department

Share announcements to be featured on Business Roll Call here 

Nneoma Nwankwo