Archives for October 2011

Changes at Africa Have Your Say

AfricaHYS Team | 13:26 UK time, Friday, 21 October 2011

On Wednesday 26 October  the African Have Your Say team will broadcast the programme for the last time. The editor, Stephane Mayoux explains why, and talks about the other changes to the BBC's African programmes.

Africa Have Your Say


 BBC Africa’s schedule is changing and this is exciting! Our programmes needed to adapt to meet the changing demands of our African audiences and to make sure we make the best use of our resources.

We like many areas of the BBC World Service faced the challenge of the reduced financial settlement in the last government spending review. Our savings are not as substantial as other areas but nonetheless we have to meet them. So to keep making the impact we have made in Africa over the years, we decided we will make fewer, bigger, better programmes.

As you will have seen in July, we made changes to the week-end programmes, with the end of This Week in Africa and Weekend Network. But we have retained the Resident Presidents - the political satire that now makes waves on Network Africa every Friday morning.  

One of the big changes we will be making at the end of the month is how we will interact, on and off air, with audiences across the continent and in the diaspora. Africa Have Your Say, after a very successful period as our main interactive programme is stopping as a radio programme. Interactivity and our work on social media will be integrated into all our output, with the emphasis in two areas.

First, from 31 October,  Focus on Africa at 1700 GMT will be one-hour long, with increased input from what's happening on social media sites and increased audience participation. It will also include more sports and a daily arts item.

We realise there are more and more stories that our African audiences want to share and comment upon on social media sites. So our journalists will invest time to find out what those stories are and to identify new, passionate, knowledgeable contributors to our programmes.

In January 2012 we are also launching a new programme, the Africa Debate. Every month, we will produce a debate on African current issues, in the midst of our audiences, in Africa. We will be doing a preview of this programme from Kinshasa in November to coincide with the elections in the DR Congo.

Our documentary strand, African Perspective, is changing from a weekly programme to six original, hard-hitting, in-depth documentaries a year that have the time and resources to get under the skin of key African stories. African Perspective will be a global programme – audiences outside the continent will be able to listen too!

 We know more and more of our audience are accessing our journalism online or via mobile phones.So we have dramatically increased our work online with more and more text, audio and video stories. When smart phones really take off in Africa – and this is about to happen – the whole continent will be able to enjoy all our journalism on radio, online and on mobile.

Thanks for your loyalty. Keep listening, keep reading, keep watching – and tell us what you think.

What is at stake in the Tunisian elections?

Africa HYS team | 12:44 UK time, Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tunisians will go to the polls on Sunday to vote in their first elections since the ousting of former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in January. 

Tunisian students pass in front of a poster of election candidates

Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began and the vote for a constitutional assembly is being watched closely by other nations like Egypt and Libya.

Events in Tunisia also inspired protest movements across sub-Saharan Africa, including those in Uganda, Malawi and Senegal.

How did the toppling of one president change things for the rest of the continent?

Did events in Tunisia change the way Africans see the act of protesting?  Were you inspired by events in Tunisia? 

What, if anything, can other countries learn from Tunisia's example?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 19 October at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number.  It will not be published.


Was Kenya right to enter Somalia?

Africa HYS team | 12:19 UK time, Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Kenyan troops are continuing their advance into Somalia in an effort to push al- Shabab militants away from its border. 

Kenyan security forces near the border with Somalia (AFP)

This comes after the kidnapping of several foreign nationals which Kenya blames on the Islamic insurgent group.

The hard-line group, which controls much of southern Somalia, has denied carrying out any abductions, and has warned of attacks in Kenya unless the troops withdraw.

Is Kenya right to pursue al-Shabab in Somalia? Should Kenya have tackled the attacks by Al Shabaab differently? Do other African governments support or oppose Kenya's actions?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 18 October at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Would you pay to use public toilets?

Africa HYS team | 12:30 UK time, Wednesday, 12 October 2011

As the Global Forum for Sanitation takes place in the Indian city of Mumbai, Africa Have Your Say is asking if you would be willing to pay to use toilet facilities.

Toilet paper

Diarrhoea caused by not washing hands after going to the toilet is the biggest killer of children under five in Africa. But how can you wash your hands if there are no facilities in the first place?

How is access to public toilets where you are? What do you think should be done to improve the situation? 

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 12 September at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Has anything really changed in Egypt?

Africa HYS team | 13:10 UK time, Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Egypt's military rulers are calling for a probe into the weekend's unrest in Cairo that left 25 people dead and an estimated 300 injured.


Egyptian Christian mourns (Reuters)

On Sunday security forces moved in on a protest march organised by Coptic Christians angry at an attack on a church. 

Eyewitnesses say troops opened fire on the crowds and TV footage shows military vehicles running people down.  More unrest followed on Monday.

So what does this say about the military government's handling of civilian protests?

After the euphoria of the revolution, has anything really changed in Egypt?

BBC listener Fally Fidal Mwelii in Kenya says "It's a Different cast but the same script". Do you agree?

Who is really in charge, and what are the prospects for peaceful change with the country's parliamentary elections due to be held in November?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 11 October at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Put your questions to Malawi's president

Africa HYS team | 18:47 UK time, Wednesday, 5 October 2011

BBC Africa Have Your Say will be broadcast from Malawi with President Bingu wa Mutharika as our guest on Thursday.

He has governed the small southern African country since 2004 and is currently serving his second and last term as president.

To his admirers President Mutharika is a principled economic visionary who is not afraid of standing up to the powerful countries and institutions of the west. But to his critics he is an authoritarian leader who does not tolerate criticism or opposition.

If you would like to put your comments and questions to the president, this is your chance. You might  have the opportunity to speak to him directly.

If you would like to take part in the programme, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.




Is enough being done to protect women from sexual violence?

Africa HYS team | 12:50 UK time, Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Peaceful protests have been taking place in Nigeria today calling for more to be done to protect women from sexual violence.

A rape victim  

In particular, the marchers on the streets on Wednesday were demanding that action be taken over the recent case of the gang-rape of a woman which was posted on the internet.

The video has shocked Nigerians both because of the brutal nature of the rape and the initial failure of the authorities to investigate it.

What followed was a sustained campaign on social networks to force the police  into action and to uncover clues from the video that might identify the culprits.

How common is sexual violence against women in your country? How are these issues dealt with? Does your society even discuss rape, or is it a taboo subject?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 5 October at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

Is China interfering in Africa's affairs?

Africa HYS team | 12:22 UK time, Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, has cancelled a trip to South Africa for the 80th birthday celebrations of fellow Nobel Peace laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama back in 1996  

The South African government has denied it was under pressure from China to block the visit, though a visa for the trip was never issued.

But the archbishop has criticised the government for "kowtowing to Chinese pressure". 

The Dalai Lama was welcomed into South Africa during Nelson Mandela's presidency, but more recently has been denied entry as relations between China and South Africa strengthened.

A joint statement by the Office for Tibet in South Africa and the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre described the treatment of the two Nobel Laureates as "profoundly disrespectful". 
Do you think the Chinese are interfering too much in Africa's affairs? What is more important, the Dalai Lama's visit or Chinese investment? Is the relationship between Africa and China changing?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 4 October at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.

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