Geography Education
2.0M views | +249 today
Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

South Africa is the world's most unequal nation

South Africa is the world's most unequal nation | Geography Education |

"Despite 25 years of democracy, South Africa remains the most economically unequal country in the world, according to the World Bank. If anything, South Africa is even more divided now than it was in 1994 as the legacy of apartheid endures. Previously disadvantaged South Africans hold fewer assets, have fewer skills, earn lower wages, and are still more likely to be unemployed, a 2018 World Bank report on poverty and inequality in South Africa found."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This CNN article takes a shocked tone, but that removes South Africa from it's historical and geographic context even if the outcome is unfortunate (as a bonus for educators, the article has a GINI reference in its analysis with the data charts).  Time's cover story is more detailed and nuanced. In the late 1980s, the apartheid system was becoming untenable; the injustices and discontent make the apartheid government unable to govern.  Both the government and activists recognized that change was necessary and compromises were needed to allow South Africa to move from the apartheid system of racial separation to nonracial democracy without falling apart.

The post-apartheid government guaranteed that while political power would be transferred, economic power would still stay ensconced in the hands of the land-owning elites, since there was to be no massive land redistribution. Neighboring Zimbabwe had disastrous land redistribution attempts and everyone wants to avoid economic chaos.  Land reform will be be a key issue in tomorrow's election (see this BBC article for more election issues).     


GeoEd Tags: South Africa, Africa, race, ethnicity, political, economic. Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicitypolitical, economic

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, May 10, 5:45 AM
Owenchung's comment, May 13, 11:39 PM
Renee's curator insight, May 14, 5:41 AM
This article is a good resource that may be used for a case study in our unit because it highlights inequalities and issues affecting the development of South Africa and the impact it has on human wellbeing. Additionally, there are several useful data charts taken from credible sources. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees

The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees | Geography Education |

"Learn about one of the world's most iconic tree species, the baobab tree, and discover why these endangered trees might be on their way to extinction—or might outlive us all."

Seth Dixon's insight:

So are the endangered baobab trees victims of the effects of climate change?  The baobab, which has made so many wax poetic, is undergoing a steep decline.  Although scientists are unsure of the reasons and possible solutions, this is a nice piece exploring the cultural and ecological significance of one of the more magnificent trees on our planet.      


GeoEd Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, Africa,political ecology, Botswana. Tags: biogeography, environmentecologyAfrica, political ecology, Botswana.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy | Geography Education |

"Though unrecognized by the international community, the country benefits from a strong social contract between government and citizens."


Drop a pin on a map of eastern Africa and chances are it will not land on a healthy democracy. Somalia and South Sudan are failed states. Sudan is a dictatorship, as are the police states of Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In this context tiny Somaliland stands out. Somaliland was a British protectorate, before it merged with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form a unified Somalia. It broke away in 1991, and now has a strong sense of national identity. It was one of the few entities carved up by European colonists that actually made some sense. Somaliland is more socially homogeneous than Somalia or indeed most other African states (and greater homogeneity tends to mean higher levels of trust between citizens). For fear of encouraging other separatist movements in the region, the international community, following the African Union, has never obliged [to recognize Somaliland]. Nation-building on a shoestring helped keep Somaliland’s politicians relatively accountable, and helped to keep the delicate balance between clans.


Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 30, 2018 4:02 PM
(Africa) Somaliland, an universally unrecognized state in Somalia, recently held it's sixth peaceful election. Originally a British colony that then merged with Italian Somalia, Somaliland declared independence in 1991, leaving the rest of the war-torn and lawless country. Despite their constitution and pursuit of democracy, no other country will acknowledge their sovereignty to prevent other African separatist movements. Usually democratic reform in Africa comes from foreign aid but without external help citizens of Somaliland created a working representative system. Yet, like most of the continent, corruption and delayed elections poses a problem for the autonomous state, and it is hard to tell the future of the only democracy in east Africa.
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 6:14 PM
Although it is not recognized as its own country Somaliland is Somalia's strongest state. Surrounded by dictatorships, Somaliland built a strong state by creating a strong contract between the government the people. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 1:48 PM
Although plagued by many of the problems facing African democracies; corruption, abuse of power and delayed elections, Somaliland remains one of the bright spots of African democratic movements. The natural democratic development of the autonomous state within Somalia has been a prime example of how a relatively stable democracy can develop when people can trust the government and are left to their own means to form a free and open government.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Short Film: How Water Gets From The Nile To Thirsty Refugees

Short Film: How Water Gets From The Nile To Thirsty Refugees | Geography Education |
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the civil war in South Sudan and resettled in Uganda. This 12-minute documentary shows the daily struggle to get water.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    

Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 


Tags: Africa, development, Uganda, migrationrefugees, environment, water, sustainability, resources.

Kimmy Jay's curator insight, May 10, 2017 3:51 PM
This would be good to show during 6th grade lesson on refugees 

Matt Richardson's curator insight, May 10, 2017 6:43 PM
The multiple catastrophes occurring in Central Africa at the moment are among the worst in recorded history. These traumatized people need to be heard, understood, and helped. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Water Is Life

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled South Sudan to escape the civil war. When they arrive in Uganda, water is what they need most. Without it, they will die.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    


Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 


TagsAfrica, development, Uganda, South Sudan, migrationrefugees, environment, waterenvironment depend, sustainability, resources.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, April 8, 2017 11:49 PM
Geographic Thinking Concepts: Interrelationships; Geographic Perspective;
Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 5, 2017 12:15 PM

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    


Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 


TagsAfrica, development, Uganda, South Sudan, migrationrefugees, environment, water,  environment depend, sustainability, resources.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Death toll doubles in Ethiopia garbage dump collapse

Death toll doubles in Ethiopia garbage dump collapse | Geography Education |

"The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia’s capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said Wednesday, as the country began three days of mourning for victims who were mostly women and children. Saturday’s collapse of a mountain of garbage buried makeshift mud-and-stick homes inside the Koshe landfill on the outskirts of the capital."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some geographies are uncomfortable to discuss because they expose some of the social and spatial inequalities that we wish weren't part of economic geographies.


Questions to Ponder: Why did this happen?  Why were so many people in the landfill?  


Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development, urbanpoverty, squatter.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 31, 2018 3:36 PM
When I think of dumps or garbage I usually don’t think of them being deadly.  Unfortunately in Addis Ababa, part of the dump collapsed and 113 people ended up dying.  Not only did the collapse injure people, but it also wiped out the homes that surround the area.  The lack of codes about infrastructure in the city is most likely the cause of this incident.  There were no regulations about how garbage had to be dumped in order to keep it from collapsing.  There were also no rules about how homes should be built or where they could be built.  This article points out that there were attempts made in order to stop dumping at this particular landfill, but the dumping was resumed right before the collapse.  The government also relocated some of the residents that lived by the dump, but were not able to move everyone before the accident.  Although efforts were made to avoid a situation like this, the government wasn’t forceful or fast enough to prevent it.  Many of the victims of this were women and children which is telling of the culture of the city.  The women and children scavenge the landfill in order to find things they can either repurpose for themselves or sell to make money.  The last section of the article also says that Ethiopia prides itself as being one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.  But this incident shows that they still have a ways to go before they can become a more developed country.
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 5, 2018 3:26 PM
Inside the Koshe landfill in Ethiopia, there were makeshift mud and stick homes.  Residents say the collapse the has killed over a hundred residents could have been because of protests at another landfill and some blamed the construction at a new waste to energy plant at Koshe.  families who lost loved ones haverecieved or will receive any where from $430 to $650 each and will be resettled permanently in the coming years.  It is sad to see people living like this but most of all to see a government allow such situations to exist.
Matt Manish's curator insight, May 3, 2018 12:08 AM
According to this article, Ethiopia has one of Africa's fastest growing economies. This tragic event makes me wonder about the spatial inequality of Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa. Especially, since capital cities in most nations are usually the most developed part of the country. It would seem that is a more highly developed area like a capital city in Ethiopia, that there would be more adequate housing for residents than a landfill, even if those residents are considered to be poor. From looking at this article it seems as though there must be a wealthier class in the city that is developing rapidly, while the poorer community is forced to live on the outskirts in the landfill. Hopefully a tragedy such as this one never happens again and more suitable housing can be found for the lower class in Ethiopia.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

An Old King for Congo

An Old King for Congo | Geography Education |

"On December 20, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had been a democracy for the past decade (flawed though it was), lost that distinction. The backsliding of democracy in the country was preventable; it unfolded slowly and under the watch of the international community. DRC President Joseph Kabila, faced with the end of his constitutional mandate, had two options: call elections or resort to repression to stay in power. He chose the latter. Kabila’s ultimate decision is not that surprising. He faces deep levels of unpopularity. A Congo Research Group poll of 7,545 Congolese showed that he would have only received 7.8 percent of the vote if elections had been held this year. Furthermore, the presidency guarantees his safety. As Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics has noted, 43 percent of African leaders have been jailed, exiled, or killed after losing power since 1960."


Tags: DR Congo, political, conflict, Africa.

MARTIN'S Gonçalo Wa kapinga's comment, January 24, 2017 9:52 AM
Mr Dixon, after reading your intervention on Kabila and the DR Congo, I have understood that you are also victims of the post-truth! Some Western media, without even checking the facts on ground, they rely for talking about watered down by some opposition and some media which has the sole purpose of undermining national unity obtained at a high price in human life in order to succeed their dirty work, that of the Balkanization of the DR Congo! This be seen to yield parts of the DR Congo to Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in order to establish the hegemony of the Nilotics peoples in Central Africa! Of course of the Balkanization of Congo-Kinshasa plans exist and were designed by then President Usa Bill Clinton and implemented by Condoleeze Rice, a plan until today ' today valid for USA administrations ! By checking the facts on ground, we discover an any other truth; the current president of Congo-Kinshasa says do not want to cling to power, but he wants a calm, different from the 2011 election where the opposition refused to recognize failure in accusing kabila of have stuffed the ballot boxes. This is the basis of all this instability in the country. On this Kabila suggested the Government to conduct a general population census as did all the other neighbouring countries. By the way, with these censuses of Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Zambia, etc, the population of Congo-Kinshasa has increased sufficiently by flows of the repressed Congolese of these border countries, then there is a 12. 000 000 of the new major and also there are more than 3. 000 000 other citizens who died, expatriate, disappeared in nature, etc. This prompted Kabila to request referral of the 2016 election at least for a year and a half in order to enlist the 12. 000 000 Congolese citizens without registration cards, record the mass of the repressed of the neighbouring country and cancel deaths, missing persons as well as migrants. Just so we can have peaceful and credible; However the opposition childish together at a Western media type played sounding board from around the world, managed to manipulate international public opinion. Kabila is not a saint, but the majority of the charges against him is that manipulation by the opposition and Western governments who want Kabila because he never tried to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors in this debt to the near the Breton Wood institutions. And especially the United States, Britain and the France keep a tooth inflamed against Kabila because he is the initiator of cooperation Cino-African, a mode of South-South cooperation that enabled China to capture almost all raw material contracts, what robusti growth Chinese compared to other global economies. Kabila came to power after elections in 2006, he found a moribund economy with inflation at 2000%, a GDP to $87, pro-capita, flat growth since 1990, etc. Today inflation is 2.5 percent, per capita income rose on average to $700, the economic growth of this last quinquennium rotates between 7. 5-10%! Unfortunately these latest events and violent demonstrations have made down the growth planned for this year below 5%! So, as Congolese living in the West, I can only see evil intent in the writings of several Western media! In April, I went back to the country, I opened a company in 3 days only paying $120! Something unimaginable other times.... Make a value judgment on the governance of African by taking Western values to measure deviate you from the reality! There people ethnically reason before thinking globally. Better taken into account!
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Is being childless a taboo in Nigeria?

Is being childless a taboo in Nigeria? | Geography Education |

"Childlessness affects millions of women and couples around the world. Infertility in the man or woman is sometimes the cause, as can be the presence of a medical condition or untreated illness. Women across Africa report that not having a child is often frowned upon, and sometimes carries a stigma. Market-goers in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, share their views with BBC Africa's Bola Mosuro."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Nigeria's population is growing--there are economic as well as cultural explanations for this and in these two videos, the BBC explores some of the cultural factors that impact family size in West Africa.  Some African couples who now live in the U.K. still face some of these cultural pressures to have large families.  


Tags: Nigeria, population, demographics.

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 5:08 PM
This recording from BBC describes the negative attitude that comes from being childless. She explains that it is frowned upon to not have kids. Women will be rejected and questioned even though it may not be her choice to be childless. The woman being interviewed explains that in the eyes of the in laws, a woman is not a real woman until she has had a child. She goes on to explain the significance of having a child in African culture. She says that it is important to have someone, specifically a son,  to carry out the legacy of the family name and inheritance. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon | Geography Education |
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.


Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.


Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Music and Resistance

"Life imitated art in early 1980 when South African school children, fed up with an inferior apartheid-era education system, took to chanting the lyrics of Pink Floyd‘s 'Another Brick in the Wall.' The song, with its memorable line stating, “We don’t need no education,” had held the top spot on the local charts for almost three months, a total of seven weeks longer than it did in America. By May 2, 1980, the South African government had issued a ban on 'Another Brick in the Wall,' creating international headlines."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How a song about rigid school rules in England became banned in South Africa is a fantastic lesson in cultural diffusion and glocalization (where the global becomes intensely local).  Here we see an historical example of a global cultural phenomenon taking on local political dimensions.  If you are interested in teaching more about the social and historical content of music, check out      


Questions to Ponder: Why would this song resonate in South Africa?  How might the video/lyrics map onto the South African situation? 


Tags culturediffusion, globalization, popular culture, South AfricaAfrica, music.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Africa’s Charcoal Economy Is Cooking. The Trees Are Paying.

Africa’s Charcoal Economy Is Cooking. The Trees Are Paying. | Geography Education |
In Madagascar, the booming charcoal business is contributing to deforestation and may exacerbate the effects of global warming.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Deforestation does not happen in a vacuum--it occurs in an economic, political, and historical context.  Rural Africans have less access to high value commodities and converting forests into charcoal is one of the few options (similar to the issue in Haiti).  The short-term economic gain for a few individuals leads to long-term environmental problems such as soil erosion, flooding, and habitat destruction for many species.  


Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, poverty, development, economic, labor, Madagascar, erosionAfrica, resourcespolitical ecology.

Launceston College Geography's curator insight, June 13, 2017 9:51 PM

Deforestation drivers

Alex Smiga's curator insight, August 9, 2017 9:41 AM
If we know that furthering education and economic opportunities will help alleviate the problems present here, why aren't we as a planet seeing that they are implemented? 
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 2018 10:23 PM
Charcoal has become the unlikely hero of the informal economy of Africa. This is a positive for the economy. However, this is not a positive for the environment. Deforestation has become a large issue since the boom of more people using charcoal. This will speed up the issue of climate change. This post shows the negative and positives a product can have involving geography.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Projected Religious Population Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Projected Religious Population Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa | Geography Education |

"The total population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster pace than in any other region in the decades ahead, more than doubling from 823 million in 2010 to 1.9 billion in 2050. As a result, the two dominant religions in the region – Christianity and Islam – both are expected to have more than twice as many adherents in 2050 as in 2010."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world. While the economy is growing, the rate at which poverty is falling is less than the population growth rate.  Nearly all of the population growth in Africa between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As the population grows, the religious dynamics of Sub-Saharan Africa will change.  The share of residents practicing Christianity, the majority religion of the region, is expected to decline from 2010 to 2050 while the share of Muslims is expected to increase in the same time frame.  The changes in religious demographics is occurring alongside the region’s youth bulge (click here for a population pyramid).  Understanding religious demographics is key to understanding the challenges faced by the African people.   


Question to Ponder: What impact are the region’s two fastest-growing religions having on Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall fertility rate?    


Tagsreligionpopulation, ChristianityIslam, Africa.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Weary professors give up, concede that Africa is a country

Weary professors give up, concede that Africa is a country | Geography Education |
After years of teaching, speaking and publishing in an effort to convey the breadth and nuance of Africa’s thousands of cultural groups, earlier today, two weary professors gave up the fight to convince Americans that Africa is not, in fact, a country.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This was the best of the April Fool's Day articles.  And no, will we never concede and we will fight on, because that's what teachers do.

Jukka Melaranta's curator insight, April 2, 2016 2:14 PM

This was the best of the April Fool's Day articles.  And no, will we never concede and we will fight on, because that's what teachers do.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, April 3, 2016 11:57 AM

This was the best of the April Fool's Day articles.  And no, will we never concede and we will fight on, because that's what teachers do.

James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 10:26 AM
I may not have a large amount to say as far as analysis goes, I have to admit I'm glad to see some humor sprinkled in here in what is normally a sea of posts about sadness, economic depression and death.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day | Geography Education |
The next 15 megacities #2: Could Dar es Salaam’s experiment with Africa’s first ‘gold standard’ bus rapid transit system offer an alternative to a future dependent on private cars?
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a good article about the critical nature of transportation infrastructure to a growing city in the developing world.  More important than this one article, I want to highlight the entire Guardian series entitled "The Next 15 Megacities." 

In 1975 there were only 3 megacities (cities population over 10 million) in the world.  Today there are 33 megacities and by 2035, there are expected to be 48.  This acceleration is one of the more astounding and important facts about how the world is changing today. This series explores these emerging megacities that will have over 10 million by 2035; overwhelmingly these cities are in Asia.  


GeoEd Tags: Tanzania, Africa, urban, transportation, planning, megacities, regions, APHG. Tags: Tanzania, Africa, urban, transportation, planning, megacities, regions, APHG.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

South Africa Is Still Under Apartheid

"More than two decades after the end of apartheid in South Africa, Cape Town remains racially segregated, with many black residents living in substandard townships."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The title is a bit inflammatory--news agencies may pretend that they aren't in the shock-and-awe, clickbait economy, but they invented the salacious headline to grab our attention.  Still, the racial inequities of a system as pervasive as apartheid aren't going to be reversed in a generation and the racial differences in Capetown are coming under more international scrutiny as the they are in the midst of their current drought.


Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicityneighborhood, urban, planning, drought, water, urban ecology.   

Matt Manish's curator insight, May 2, 2018 11:26 PM
One can see from this video that Apartheid still exists in some parts of South Africa such as Cape Town. From the drone footage in this video, one can see how divided Cape Town's landscape is from a bird's eye view. You can see how the black community lives in the part of town that is made up of mainly shacks. Right next door, you can see that the white community lives in the suburbs with regular housing and lush trees located adjacently to the black community's village of shacks. It's not just the residential areas of Cape Town that is segregated. Even in the heart of the city, a real racial tension between blacks and whites can be sensed,. Resulting in the majority of the black community being less successful than the white community. One can clearly see that even though Apartheid has officially ended, the tension between blacks and whites still exists in this part of South Africa.
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, May 3, 2018 9:34 PM
This video looks into the still segregated town of Cape Town, located in South Africa. Although it was racially segregated by apartheid in the 20th century, Apartheid was outlawed in 1994. Since then, it has been claimed that Cape Town has become more diverse. This is only true to some extent. Because of the apartheid, it was nearly impossible for Blacks and People of Color to get jobs in the city. Therefore, the different races now inhabit their own neighborhoods, however the segregation still lingers. In most white neighborhoods, they enjoy beautiful and safe lifestyles while the poorer neighbors can’t even afford running water or electricity. Tags: South Africa, Africa, race, ethnicity, neighborhood, urban, planning, drought, water, urban ecology.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, November 19, 2018 1:50 PM
South Africa had a long history of issues ranging back to Colonialism, through apartheid, and today with government corruption and internal strife. The great inequality left behind after apartheid is a major issue in the country for many people. One way this has been addressed recently is with land redistribution, but this policy has faced much controversy especially since many have suggested the government being able to confiscate "white owned land"  without compensation and use for redistribution.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Somalia: The Forgotten Story

Part I: The story of Somalia's decline from stability to chaos and the problems facing its people at home and abroad.

Part II: The ongoing civil war has caused serious damage to Somalia's infrastructure and economy. Thousands of Somalis have either left as economic migrants or fled as refugees. Within Somali, more than a million people are internally displaced.


Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, unit 4 politicalmigrationrefugees, Somalia, Africa.

David Stiger's curator insight, November 10, 2018 5:50 PM
Somali's unique geographic position, an intersection of Africa and Asia, designated it as a prime target of European colonialism during the 19th century. By controlling the Horn of Africa, European powers (the Italians, English, and French) could control the flow of spices, natural resources, and trade between Africa and Asia. The colonial order is what initially set up Somalia to fail in the long-run. The European powers carved up the land, giving Somalia culturally and ethnically inaccurate and illogical borders - convenient artificial borders that divided the tribes. When Somalia was finally granted its independence in 1960, Europe left the fledgling nation with problematic borders. After political turmoil in the form of an assassination and a military coup in 1969, the general Siad Barre ruled through dictatorship for 20 years. Desiring to correct historical injustices, Barre invaded Ethiopia in 1977 to reclaim the rightful area of Somalia. Barre's army defeated, the country lost its sense of nationalism leading to a rise in tribal factions and warlords. The country spiraled into civil war and the national government collapsed in 1991. Since then, portions of the country have been stuck in a constant state of civil war and turmoil, while other parts of the country are doing well. What is so tragic is that this all goes back to the poorly drawn borders of European colonialism. 

Neo-colonialism, primarily in the form of third party exploitation, now wreaks havoc on Somalia's economy. European, Indian, and Chinese fishing ships have been illegally fishing in Somalia's waters (another geographic asset) prompting young men to raid and attack the foreign vessels. The original goal of the "pirates" was to scare off and drive away the foreign fishing boats which had taken over the waters. The foreigners merely paid off the young Somalis who boarded their ships. In a country with limited economic opportunity, this inspired young men to raid with the hope of being paid off. The news media made it seem like these "pirates" were simply lazy and went out of their way to raid innocent foreign vessels. There was little blame attributed to the illegal foreign activities. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The dim reality of South Africa's new dawn

In April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections and all races went to the polls to bury apartheid for good. But hopes of a new dawn have been tarnished by fraud and corruption at the highest levels.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The first 2 and a half minutes of this video are a good historical analysis into the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, culminating in the election of Nelson Mandela and the empowerment of the ANC.  Today though, the ANC and South Africa is mired in endemic corruption.  South Africa is one of the most unequal societies with high unemployment and a faltering economy. 


Tags: South Africacrime, Africa, political, racegovernance, ethnicity.

tyrone perry's curator insight, April 5, 2018 2:07 PM
 South Africa went through years of apartheid many fought to end it.  Nelson Mandela’s struggle to bring equality to South Africa almost looks nonexistent with the turn of the ANC.  They once fought for equality and now they are as courrpt as the people they were fighting, All them years.  It’s evident seeing the presidents property and how he lives and seeing how the poor people of South Africa lives.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Senegal's Great Green Wall combats desertification

"A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).


Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 31, 2018 9:34 PM
This “Green Wall” was originally supposed to span the southern border of the Sahara from the east to west coast of Africa. It was made up of trees and elements of forests in order to prevent the desert from expanding and reducing the amount of land available for food production. This seems like it would be a great idea that would work well, but the plan has some flaws. In the early stages of building up the barrier, nomadic herders are supposed to be prohibited from using the land, as their cattle would destroy it. However, the system in place in Somolia sees only one soldier guarding hundreds of kilometers by himself. The nomadic people are often desperate for food, so they often try to break in and sometimes resort to violence. This is problematic because it defeats the purpose of the barrier in increasing the farm land. Many of the countries in along the “Green Wall” do not maintain it as well as they should and Nigeria actually abandoned the project all together. For this reason many ecologists believe the effort is a waste and the climate change can not be stopped. But the efforts of the Somalians has paid off. Crops such as grapefruit and watermelon have been grown in areas that would have been unsuitable for such crops a few years ago. Migratory European birds also settle in the area during the winter. Another benefit that comes from the Wall is that nomads are not forced to join terrorist organizations as their only sources for food, because farming is made easier in the Sahel. 
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 5, 2018 3:12 PM
The great green wall is a man made ecological wall from the Atlantic ocean thru 10 countries to the red sea.  This is to prevent the desert from expanding, but also it is protected from nomadic herders, and loss of food.  This project still has a long way to go but ha not been completely abandoned yet. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 10:12 AM
Although Senegal is one of the few countries in the Sahel to actually follow through on its promise of building its green wall, it may be fruitless in the long run. The expansion of desert regions seems relentless. However, what is most surprising is how rapidly the ecosystems have changed and the crops that can be grown there. Watermelon, grapefruit, and European migratory songbirds have all taken hold, drastically altering the agriculture and environment of the region. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

How did Zimbabwe get so poor?

President Mugabe's economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe has brought the country poverty and malnutrition. After 36 years in charge, he's looking to extend his rule by 5 more years.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Poverty at the national level is usually not a function of limited resources, but more often it is a sign of weak institutions.  This is but one example of how governmental mismanagement can put a country's developmental progress back decades.


Tags: Africa, Zimbabwe, development, economic, political.

Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 10:02 AM
Robert Mugabe's blatant and stunning incompetence and corruption destroyed the value of the Zimbabwean dollar and the resulting hyperinflation decimated the national economy. This is one of the premier examples of how a total lack of competent and powerful institutions can undermine a once promising economy and devolve a nation into one of the poorest on earth. 
David Stiger's curator insight, November 7, 2018 11:40 AM
Setting the record for world history's worst case of hyperinflation should send a signal to any sane person that a change of course is drastically needed. But, it seems Zimbabwe's chief dictator (parading as a "president"), Robert Mugabe, made one-too-many errors leading to the collapse of his country's economy. The unemployment rate hit 95% in 2008. One could argue this disaster started with British racism and exploitation. To deal with the complex legacy of European colonialism, Mugabe confiscated all the commercial farmland from white owners and redistributed the business to friends, loyalists, and family who did not have any expertise in running agricultural businesses. To make a few short-term gains, the valuable lands were sold off and neglected. Consequently, the agricultural sector crumpled severely reducing the flow of revenue and trade. To combat this, Mugabe decided to cheat and print more money - causing a process of vicious hyperinflation. The excessive regulations and taxes also make it difficult for new businesses in Zimbabwe to get off the ground. 

In relation to geography, it is interesting to analyze how the aftermath of British colonialism and good natural resources are present in the world's poorest country. Mugabe's decision to push out white farmers was clearly a big man method of dealing with the shame, grief, and anger of colonial exploitation, theft, and degradation. This aggressive backfired as even though the land is quite arable, it requires special knowledge, management, and dedication on part of the land's stewards to reap success. This seems to be a trend in some African countries. They are endowed with good natural resources to build a strong economy. The problems created by colonialism, however, and the lack of human capital in these African nations have led to cases of severe mismanagement and struggle. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 11, 2018 2:30 PM
ItIt is horrible that after Zimbabwe gained it independence from a apartheid like government that oppressed some of its people, its leaders including Mugabe turned around and continued to oppress certain people. They kicked out all the white farmers (a majority of farms at the time in Zimbabwe were owned by whites)  and replaced them with government friends. This obviously leads to famine with not many crops being grown. The market was decimated because Zimbabwe went from being a bread basket of African agriculture to a malnutrition state begging for economic aide to prevent mass starvation. History may repeat itself today where South Africa is attempting to make the same mistake. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

South Sudan On Brink Of 'Rwanda-Like' Genocide, Commission Warns

South Sudan On Brink Of 'Rwanda-Like' Genocide, Commission Warns | Geography Education |

"In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, commission chief Yasmin Sooka reported murder and rape on an 'epic' scale. 'We are running out of adjectives to describe the horror,' she said."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Since December 2013, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war that began as a primarily political conflict, but has since taken shape between the country's two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer.  One of the many tragedies has been the impact on the children living in South Sudan.   


Tags: South Sudanpoliticalethnicity, Africa, war.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, April 5, 2018 12:44 PM
Atrocities have been happening in this region since the 60s when the Western powers left the continent. Following the "ethic" cleansing of Rwanda, many other countries have started to face the same thing. One of those countries is South Sudan, over political issues. Much like Rwanda the country is split between two tribes that hold a good amount of power over the country. To make matters worst some countries like Australia have excluded people fleeing the country from their programs. The west has historically helped those in need when the people face danger, the West needs to find a way either economically or diplomatically to intervene. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination | Geography Education |
In Cameroon, unrest in minority English-speaking regions over discrimination by majority French speakers is still simmering after violent clashes with police claimed at least four lives.


English-speakers have been protesting since Monday (11/21/2016) against what they see as their "second-class citizen status" and attempts to marginalize them in the west African nation. Eight of Cameroon's ten regions are largely Francophone, but two regions, North West and South West Cameroon are English-speaking. English-speaking teachers complain that French-speaking counterparts are being increasingly deployed in English schools, despite differences in the curricula and teaching systems.


Tags: language, CameroonAfrica, culture.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 9, 2018 10:05 AM
The study of language in a population is always fascinating.  In this instance this one is very fascinating especially for someone that is in English speaker from America. While most of the world that we know it speaks some kind of English or tries to bend to using English for business terms or what not it was quite the headline to see this. In Cameroon they have both French and English speakers, however French speakers heavily outweigh English speakers. 8 of the 10 counties in the country are French dominated, however they are trying to takeover the English speaking areas as well. The hostility has been built up as teachers claim that many of their jobs are now going to French speakers in the schools and other are arguing that there should be English speakings judges in English speaking areas. It is so strange to see a backlash versus the English language in this country and also to see such a heavy division.  Maybe its because we live in a world in which we believe the English world dominates, but seeing people discriminated against for speaking English comes shocking and  maybe can open our eyes and view what we are doing in this country or in other parts of the world. We read this article and believe that something needs to be done, but what do we do in this country or other parts of the world to help other people that speak different languages? Do we have Spanish speaking teachers in heavy Spanish areas? In cities that have a high Haitian population do we hire teachers and judges that speak Creole? Pieces like this should help us reflect on our own situation and always reflect on how the population of areas can eventually effect the social and cultural issues. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 31, 2018 4:05 PM
This is a good example of the long term affects of colonialism even after independence.  Teachers in English speaking sections of Cameroon complained as more French speaking teachers began taking jobs in their regions.  The English speakers complained because the curriculum the French speakers were teaching is different.  Lawyers in the English speaking regions also raised the issue that the judges and other government officials were only speaking French, making their jobs difficult to do.  What’s more interesting is that the constitution of the country recognizes both English and French as official languages.  But since a majority of citizens speak French, those that speak English feel alienated and like they are being treated as second-class citizens.  The federal government also operates almost exclusively in French.  The long term build up of this tension has caused those in the English speaking regions to revolt, unfortunately they did it violently.  The opposition party in the country has taken advantage of this in order to help their party by claiming that they will help incite change if voted into office.  The party in power spun the situation to say that those revolting were being paid by foreign powers.  The effects of colonialism can be devastating and harm people long after colonizers leave.  This is a country where there are two official languages, yet the majority has been able to gang up on the minority.  It’s unfortunate because people cannot be happy in their own jobs or daily lives and the government and their fellow citizens are ignoring them.
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 2018 10:04 PM
A nation's language is incredibly important to it's geography. In Cameroon, there are mostly French speaking citizens, however, there are still many English speakers.The differences are seen as more French speakers are getting jobs than English. They see this as discrimination. A huge problem is also dealing with important jobs such as in the courtroom. People who cannot understand each other cannot decide on things together. Things like this cause a lot of conflict in countries. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

This is where your smartphone battery begins

This is where your smartphone battery begins | Geography Education |
Workers, including children, labor in harsh and dangerous conditions to meet the world’s soaring demand for cobalt, a mineral essential to powering electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a land rich with minerals and resources vital for high end consumer goods (laptops, cellphones, electric cars, etc.).  This in-depth investigation from the Washington Post of the cobalt mining districts in the DRC (60% of global cobalt production) is incredible.  It has great videos, maps, and an detailed article that cuts across the geographic themes (exploited local labor, global commodity chains, political governance, polluted water supply, medical geography, etc.).  


Just two days ago, the United States pulled the families of all governmental officials out of the DRC amid political turmoil and violence in the streets of Kinshasa, highlighting the fact that the weakness of political institutions in the DRC are a major reason for this situation.  


Tags: Congolaborwatermedical, environmentpollution, political, conflict, resourcespolitical ecology, Africa.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 29, 2018 3:36 PM
We take the luxuries that we have for granite and forget where it comes from, or who pays the physical price for us to have them. One example is electronics and the Congo. The Congo is a country filled with Colbolt which is critical to lithium batteries which powers majority of products that are rechargeable. The price they pay is unsafe mining conditions, indecent wages, and environmental hazards to local communities. 60 percent of the cobalt used today comes from the Congo, and while some companies track it to make sure its "clean" some companies do not check its origins. In 2010 there was a push to add cobalt to a list of resources that come from the Congo to be from a militia free mine. Individual companies have started to be stricter about where they get their Cobalt it's still not mandatory under international law. However with the demand for cobalt is increasing due to more electric power styling for vehicles and other products. In order to meet these demands the cobalt will continue to come from abused people until companies or international law limits and outlines how to deal with the cobalt question.
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 2:10 PM
Given the absurd amount of minerals present in the country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be basking in immeasurable wealth. However, as shown by this inetractive and enormously in-depth piece by the Washington Post, the country constantly struggles with child labor, water pollution, and widespread dangerous working condition because of the global demand for minerals like cobalt and copper. 
David Stiger's curator insight, November 10, 2018 4:05 PM
The Congo, like Venezuela, is another example of a post-colonial country rich in valuable natural resources whose people, ironically, live in abject poverty. The Congo is a victim of its own geographical blessings as the industrialized world's bottomless need for Congo's cobalt, copper, and other minerals has put this former colony of Belgium on the map. The Congo reportedly supplies half of the world's cobalt. With few other options for mineral sources, lithium-ion battery manufacturers turn a blind eye as Congolese "diggers" endure inhumane, dangerous, and unfair conditions to produce cheap cobalt. Companies have not reacted to this injustice because of a desire to maximize their profits. With Western consumers acting as indirect accomplices, China leads the pack of this neo-colonial process of exploiting the Congo for its valuable underground minerals. The Chinese companies offer so little money for the cobalt that workers are forced to put up with hazardous conditions and unbelievably low pay for their labor. 

The problem lacks an easy solution because it is highly complicated by the forces of globalization and geographical factors. Congolese diggers obtain the raw materials, who sell it to Asian middlemen, who then sell it to big Chinese manufacturers. These manufactures produce rechargeable batteries to sell to Western companies like Apple and Samsung. These products are then sold all over the world. The long supply chain makes it difficult for consumers to feel and see how their actions are impacting the lives of other people. The companies who should be held accountable justify their business decisions because there are not sources of cobalt to turn to. If there were other sources, companies like Huayou Cobalt could turn to other sources that treat their workers better, forcing Congolese suppliers to raise their labor standards. 

A short-term remedy, it seems, would be to classify Congolese-based cobalt as a conflict mineral. Western countries should fine and punish companies that are linked to the unjust cobalt trade, forcing these companies to raise their standards. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

DR Congo election: 17 dead in anti-Kabila protests

DR Congo election: 17 dead in anti-Kabila protests | Geography Education |
Three police officers and 14 civilians die in Kinshasa, capital of DR Congo, during protests calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The DRC is a land of great wealth but is impoverished.  This may seem strange to outsiders but the weakness of their social institutions pays a key role in keeping the economy from reaching it's potential.  Strong institutions matter more than resources for sustained economic development. The most important line in the article was the last one: "DR Congo has never had a smooth transfer of power since independence more than 55 years ago."  That is a staggering historical burden.  


Tags: Congo, political, conflict, Africa.

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, October 24, 2016 7:46 AM
DR Congo election: 17 dead in anti-Kabila protests
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Aerial Photos Show how Apartheid Still Shapes South African Cities

Aerial Photos Show how Apartheid Still Shapes South African Cities | Geography Education |
An American used drones to capture the color lines still stark in South African cities.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In some respects this isn't surprising, but it is still striking to see how stark the differences are.  One generation of political change does not reverse generations of systemic racism that have had economic, cultural, and political impacts.  Many of the urban planning decisions were based on apartheid, and that historical legacy is still embedded landscape.


Tags: South Africa, images, Africarace, ethnicityneighborhood, urban, planning, images, remote sensing.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 9, 2018 10:13 AM
"I agree with you, I think that the images are chilling. And they communicate so well what is otherwise a very complicated and nuanced issue to discuss—separation, segregation, history, disenfranchisement. But the images cut right to the heart of the matter, which is that these separations are not right" This is a quote in the article from the man that took the pictures (Johnny Miller). These photos show us the lines of segregation that continues even in a post Apartheid South Africa. These are amazing images and really quite unbelievable. We think of different segregation here in America, but what these photos show are unlike anything that I have personally seen.  As stated in the article the author hopes to create conversations about these separations. We see planned spatial separations that we created by city planners and we must used these as lessons going forward and as jumping off points to discuss. These shocking images can help inform us as a society that we must improve our social issues and if we don't we will continue to see issues like this grow both here in South Africa and around the world. One can see while tensions would be so high as a clear divide in living standards can rightfully cause anger. Eventually this anger leads to hate and this hate leads to an up rise in the people. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 31, 2018 4:23 PM
South Africa is one of the few countries that has a similar history in regards to racial segregation as America.  What makes their case unique is that the African population was there first and the English came in and created a system in which they were superior.  Although they have been officially desegregated for almost 20 years, these photos show that there are still underlying issues that exist.  These photos reveal that on one side of a particular area, the homes look like a typical suburban area where right across from that there are areas that resemble slums.  The areas that are more developed and wealthy have a majority white population and the poorer, less developed areas have large black populations.  The affects of segregation are long lasting and not solved overnight.  Just because government policies say that discrimination on a racial basis is illegal, doesn’t mean that society will neatly reorganize itself.  I think that the craziest part of this for me was that even the landscaping is vastly different despite the closeness of the two areas.  The wealthier part has lush green and the poorer parts have dirt and sand.  This an example of physical geography providing evidence for a societal separation.
David Stiger's curator insight, November 10, 2018 6:22 PM
Just because a formal social construct - an idea in the human mind - changes, does not mean that change, or desire to alter course, is reflected in the real world. While the idea of apartheid in South Africa came to an end, the real world in the form of urban geography has yet to catch up. The urban planning under apartheid still carries the legacy of color codes and demarcated boundaries between "races" in order to cement socioeconomic inequity. This situation in South Africa is similar to the United States after the Civil Rights movement ended the era of Jim Crow. Even though laws were passed, the geography remained largely untouched. Black neighborhoods remained socially and economically segregated - the only difference being that the law did not mandate this. The law never stipulated geographic changes or economic prescriptions like wealth redistribution. It turns out that human geography and philosophical principles can be at odds with each other, as demonstrated by the aerial photographs of South African cities. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Why Africa’s migrant crisis makes no sense to outsiders

Why Africa’s migrant crisis makes no sense to outsiders | Geography Education |

"Violence and insecurity are so bad that other war-torn countries have become sites of refuge."


In 2015, nearly 100,000 Ethiopians and Somalis traveled by boat to Yemen, one of the world's most dangerous countries. Last year, nearly 5,000 citizens of Congo, which is fighting powerful rebel groups, were seeking refuge in the Central African Republic, itself torn apart by civil war. And yet 10,000 Burundians have fled their country's own growing civil unrest for Congo. Thousands of Nigerians escaping the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram have gone to Chad, where different strains of that same insurgency conduct frequent deadly attacks. 


Developing countries have long taken in a disproportionate number of the world's refugees — roughly 80 percent, according to the United Nations. But even for migration experts and relief workers, the willingness of refugees to leave one war for another is shocking. It's also proving an enormous challenge for humanitarian agencies, which are already overstretched and often not equipped to welcome refugees in countries that are still racked by conflict.


Tags: refugeesAfrica, migration, conflict, political, war

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 9, 2018 11:23 AM
When we hear of migration or refugee issues we tend to think towards Europe and many of the current day issues with Syria. Most date proves that as well, as listed in the article roughly 80% of refugee movement comes in the developed world.  Now we get  to the more shocking part of the article that we are seeing a refugee crisis in Africa. First off this is the first time for myself hearing this and probably because its not major national news and is buried way below the more "important" problems of the developed world in Europe. However, yes this is a problem and many people who study migration are shocked by it. People are leaving one war zone and immediately move to a possible more unstable land into more war. Why and how does this make sense? People have fled there own countries to find worst situations and have gone to governments that can not support them and an outside world that while trying to help support some of these current countries can not help support refugee as well. This will be a continuing problem until Africa can become more stabilized and we stop seeing genocide and other authoritarian government policies.  The study of why people move is always very captivating as we often tend to think we know exactly why people move to and from areas. However, as the article shows until you are put in a desire situation one can not truly know what you would do, such as move your family to a war torn country because just maybe its better than your war torn country. We need to continue to assess this area and try to not just fund the area, but try to find ways in which we can stabilize an area. The major importance of this article is that we realize there is a problem first, with out articles like this the focus would continue to stay on Europe and more developed areas.