Newsletter 08/10

South-African study shows the efficiency of anti-HIV gel for women

The 18th International AIDS Conference, organised by UNAIDS, took place in Vienna (Austria) from July 18th to 23rd. It revealed the discovery by two scientists of Durban, doctors Salim Abdool Kari and Quarraisha Abdool Karim of the Carisa Research Centre, of the positive effects on women of protective gels.

This represents an important step forward, and allows, according to tests performed on 889 women during two and a half years, to reduce by 54% HIV infection risks through regular use of a new generation microbicide vaginal gel containing an antiretroviral drug.

The results of the study now have to be implemented as soon as possible, while the country reaches a total number of 5.7 billion HIV-infected people.

Therefore, the South-African government plans to ensure that 4500 clinics and hospitals provide antiretrovirals, instead of the current 450.

SADC tribunal decides once again in favour of the restitution of lands confiscated by Zimbawean authorities

The SADC Tribunal, an organ of the Southern African Development Community, was established in 2005.

It has its seat in Windhoek (Namibia) and has three working languages: :English, Portuguese and French.

The Tribunal is competent for conflicts between Member States. Moreover, physical or legal persons involved in a litigation with a Member State can bring the claim before the Tribunal after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Thus, on November 28th, 2008, the SADC tribunal had delivered a decision through which it declared illegal the land confiscation program adopted by the authorities of Zimbabwe, a Member State of SADEC. The program affects mostly farmers of British descent.

By a second decision (June 5th, 2009), the Tribunal had condemned the refusal of local authorities to implement the first ruling.

The third decision intervened on July 16th, 2010 and confirmed the violation by Zimbabwe of its international obligations stemming from the SADC Treaty, by which it is bound.

Lewis Nkosi's work: Mandela's Ego

(Mandela et moi, Actes Sud, translated by Charlotte Woillez)

The book tells the story of Dumisa, a young Zulu whose personality was moulded both by European culture and by the traditions and beliefs of his people. During his teen years, he distinguished himself by a pronounced, nearly obsessive lust for flirting and sex, and also by an unconditional worship of Mandela. This was the man who promised freedom to the Black South-African people, was able to overcome any hurdle, and epitomized boldness and manhood.

Colourful and funny, this tale shows a well- known aspect of the South-African from a new and original perspective. Throughout the book, while following Mandela' s path at distance through the main character' s childish and idealising viewpoint, you also get a glimpse of the South-African reality of the middle-fifties. Day-to-day violence, let it be familial, political or ritual, is exposed without any embellishment, still undoubtedly with humour. This Bildungsroman represents as well an opportunity to discover with authenticity the Zulu culture, including its inner contradictions.

Lewis Nkosi was born in Durban (South Africa) in 1936. This journalist and writer has taught literature in various Universities, ranging from those of London and California to Zambia and Warsow. In 1960, while accepting a student grant from Harvard, he acknowledged the fact that it represented the outset of an exile. As a matter of fact, he would only return to his home country in 1991. Author of many essays related to South-African culture and literature, he was awarded various literary prizes. The writer is currently living in Bale, Switzerland. In France, his novel, Mating Birds, was first published by Balland editors in 1986, then by Dapper in 2002.

Oosthuizen wins St Andrews British Golf Open

South-African golf player Louis Oosthuizen, age 27, born in Mossel Bay, has just became part of the golf history by winning on July 18th, 2010, the 150th edition of the Saint Andrews (Scotland) Open.

During his speech for the award receiving ceremony, he wished Nelson Mandela a happy 92th birthday. He also paid a tribute to his fellow-countryman, Gary Player, who preceded him in this competition.