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Martin Zhuwakinyu

Martin Zhuwakinyu

Martin Zhuwakinyu is Senior Deputy Editor for Engineering News and Mining Weekly.

He studied at Harare Polytechnic, the University of South Africa and Tshwane University of Technology.

Tel: +2711 622 3744

Email: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

Lingering misgivings

21st September 2018 I start with a mea culpa this week. In the September 7 edition, I waxed lyrical about the exploits of Sophia, the humanoid robot, at the SAPNow conference, which had been held in Johannesburg the previous week to showcase some of the latest developments in artificial intelligence, the Internet of... 

SA cities not among the least liveable

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     14th September 2018 South Africans are a whinging lot – there is survey data from credible research entities to prove this – and one of biggest gripes is about living conditions in towns and cities, especially in the less-well-to-do areas, better known in our lingo as ‘locations’ or ‘townships’. The service delivery... 

Sophia comes to South Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     7th September 2018 Sophia the Saudi Arabian. Rings a bell? If it doesn’t, a clue: she was the subject of a recent instalment of this column and has the rare distinction of not having been born of flesh and blood. She came to our shores last week and wowed attendees at the SAP Now conference, in Johannesburg, where... 

Narrowing divide

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     31st August 2018 The mobile phone has undergone an almost dramatic transition in the past two decades from a status symbol affordable only by the well-to-do to a ubiquitous device that even those of very modest means now regard as a must-have. The market penetration of this handy invention has been facilitated by... 

Gauteng: a looter’s paradise

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     24th August 2018 Gold has been associated with our neck of the woods since its discovery on a farm just outside the present-day Joburg central business district back in 1886. Thanks to this association, it was not too difficult for our leaders in the early years of the post-1994 dispensation to come with a name... 

Whither Zimbabwe?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     17th August 2018 It could be back to the future for Zimbabwe, where many had set great store by the general elections held on July 30, which returned the governing Zanu-PF and its Presidential candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to power. Mnangagwa had been interim head of State since the November 2017 ouster of... 

Should we worry about Chinese generosity?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     10th August 2018 Back in March, former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson became the umpteenth Western big gun to urge Africans to beware of Chinese generosity on the continent, which has taken the form of freebies such as the African Union headquarters in Addis Abba, Ethiopia – built at a cost of $200-million... 

Redefining philanthropy

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     3rd August 2018 Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man – with a net worth of $12.4-billion – is redefining philanthropy in his native Nigeria. But the 61-year-old is doing this in a way that will make his bank account even fatter. Dangote Group, the 30 000-employee multinational industrial conglomerate he founded... 

SA varsities deserve a pat on the back

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     27th July 2018 Two international university rankings published in the last couple of months had me thinking about a perception index released by consultancy firm Ipsos in January, which revealed that South Africans are in a league of their own apropos of their perceptions of key scenarios in the country, with... 

Dagga: a budding opportunity

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     20th July 2018 First, a disclaimer: I am of very sober habits and this week’s topic – the apparent desire by many on our continent to embrace the cannabis business – is not at all indicative of my recreational preference. I am also not a closet Rastafarian. The latest country to hop on the cannabis bandwagon is... 

Corruption’s heavy toll

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     6th July 2018 Picture this scene: you are driving along a road in suburban Johannesburg and a stern-looking cop pulls you over, informing you, as you wind down your window, that you have exceeded the speed limit or committed any of several traffic infractions. In a tone that can put the fear of God into any... 

Morocco: it’s fifth time (un)lucky

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     29th June 2018 The Beautiful Game is obviously the flavour of the month, what with the World Cup currently under way in Russia. So, apologies to those readers of this column who cannot tell the difference between FIFA and Uefa – the focus this week is on matters football once again. Those with more that a... 

Namibia’s world-class roads

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     22nd June 2018 I have been to a few countries in Southern Africa but Namibia seems to always fall into the blind spot whenever I plan to travel beyond the borders of Mzansi. However, the good work being done in that country has not gone unnoticed by those who really matter. By ‘those who really matter’ I mean... 

History to be more equal than other subjects?

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th June 2018 Some associate professor was an in-studio guest on one of our television channels the other night. To mangle a famous quotation in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, he was on about why history should be more equal than other subjects at high school level in South Africa. He and other dons who... 

Open letter to Safa president

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     8th June 2018 Dear Dr Danny Jordaan Congratulations on your recent election for another term at the pinnacle of South African football administration. If there had been any doubt that you are a darling of our football-loving nation, it would have evaporated in the wake of your landslide victory – 234 out of... 

Basotho’s affinity for South Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st June 2018 One man’s meat is another man’s poison indeed. While scores of South Africans have emigrated to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK over the past two decades-plus – citing all sorts of reasons, including concerns over safety and security – about half of Lesotho nationals... 

Africa Day – 55 years on

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     25th May 2018 As you read this piece, I am probably putting together the next instalment or doing whatever else my job description demands I should be doing each weekday. But colleagues in countries such as Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are probably braai-ing in their backyards or engaging... 

The rise of AI in Africa

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     11th May 2018 An extraordinary visitor graced the Creative Industry Summit, which was held in the Egyptian capital of Cairo last month. Like other attendees, she has a name and a nationality and is apparently well informed about current affairs. But, unlike everyone else, she was not born of flesh and blood.... 

A monarch’s costly whim

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     4th May 2018 It is safe to say that many readers of this column now know that what used to be the Kingdom of Swaziland is now the Kingdom of eSwatini, which means ‘the place of the Swati people’. The name change, announced by King Mswati III last month, during celebrations to mark 50 years of independence... 

Drones soaring in Rwanda

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     27th April 2018 Drones, or remotely piloted aerial vehicles, are becoming the rising star of electronic innovation. They are being used increasingly in a variety of applications, ranging from construction to surveillance and agriculture, besides others. Worldwide, sales of such contraptions totalled $145-million... 

Smuggling shenanigans of jumbo proportions

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     20th April 2018 It must have been music to the ears of animal rights proponents and conservationists when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) reported in October last year that significant gains had been made in the fight against elephant poaching on the... 

SAA must look to Ethiopian Airlines

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     13th April 2018 Late last month, the top brass at South African Airways (SAA) was in the National Assembly, briefing Parliamentarians about the perennial ills at the national carrier. New CEO Vuyani Jarana, who, together with board chairperson Johannes Magwaza, led the delegation, painted a rather depressing... 

West African exchange in charm offensive

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     6th April 2018 It is refreshing to notice that the regional stock exchange in the French-speaking West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is not keeping the eight-country bloc’s shining light under a bushel. The WAEMU region – which comprises Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali,... 

Africa sending its best brains to US

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     30th March 2018 Much as I tried, I just could not refrain from having yet another go in this column at US President Donald Trump – he who cannot see anything good that comes out of Africa. For him, Africa will forever remain the ‘dark continent’, a hopeless case and a burden on the rest of humankind. As... 

Remembering Julius Nyerere

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd March 2018 It took the threat of impeachment proceedings by his own party to get Jacob Zuma, decidedly the most inept – and venal – President South Africa has ever had, to vacate the Union Buildings on Valentine’s Day. Just under three months earlier, the ruling Zanu-PF party in neighbouring Zimbabwe had... 

African innovation

16th March 2018 I bet my bottom rand that many people on these shores are not as informed about Togo as they are about, say, Tibet – this despite the fact that South Africa and Togo are on the same continent. Usually, the West African nation features in local media reports only when citizens take to the streets... 

Eyeing the diaspora dollar

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th March 2018 Zimbabweans are becoming creative when it comes to raising funds to invest in their economy, and the stimulus seems to be the ouster of Robert Mugabe, the long-ruling dictator who ran into the ground a country once hailed as the “jewel of Africa” by Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere. During the latter... 

Africans are an optimistic and happy lot

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     2nd March 2018 I have a little confession to make: I am an Afro-optimist. This means I am the diametrical opposite of Donald Trump, who, when he hears of Africans wanting to emigrate to the US, goes into a trance and starts seeing visions of our Nigerian brothers and sisters vowing, once they set foot on... 

Kudos for Liberia’s Johnson Sirleaf

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     23rd February 2018 In  a recent instalment of this column, I waxed lyrical about former Liberian President  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, highlighting how she had restored peace to the country, which had been ravaged by an interminable civil war, crowded in much-needed donor finance to rebuild its dilapidated... 

Infrastructure financing à la Ethiopia

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     16th February 2018 Media reportage on Egypt and Ethiopia during the past few years has emphasised the simmering tension between the two countries. The bone of contention is the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), which the Horn of Africa is building on the headwaters of the Blue Nile, one of the two major... 

Donald Trump’s gratuitous slur

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     9th February 2018 A few weeks ago, US President Donald Trump was at it once again, using vulgar language to disparage the home countries of African, Haitian and El Salvadorian immigrants. As is his wont, he subsequently denied ever uttering the offensive remarks. Last week, he issued a statement full of praise for... 

An ex-President’s report card

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     2nd February 2018 By the time you read this piece, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would have been a pensioner for at least a fortnight, having stepped down as Liberia’s President on January 22. The 79-year-old became Africa’s first elected female head of State in 2006 and went on to serve for a second and final six-year... 

Money no panacea for education’s ills

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     26th January 2018 The excitement around the results of last year’s matric exams has now died down. Indeed, the class of 2017 gave a very good account of themselves, with those who sat for the exams at private schools notching up a 98.76% pass rate and their public-school counterparts 75.1%. Hats off to them. One... 

SADC’s opportunity for atonement

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     19th January 2018 The citizens of two Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries – Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – go to the polls this year in what this lowly journalist regards as a chance for the regional bloc to mend its tattered reputation. But whether this... 

Too soon to despair

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     15th December 2017 Question marks have been hanging over the Africa Rising narrative in recent times, with sceptics pointing to faltering gross domestic product (GDP) growth in many countries on the continent. But is this sweet dream dead in the water? For the uninitiated, this snappy appellation was coined to... 

SA’s not-so-impressive showing in the governance stakes

8th December 2017 South Africa is a force to be reckoned with in Africa. It is one of the continent’s powerhouses – politically and economically – with its gross domestic product (GDP) being the largest, although it had to contend with being second best to Nigeria in the GDP stakes between 2014, when the latter... 

Uncanny similarities

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     1st December 2017 What is the common denominator between South African President Jacob Zuma and Faure Gnassingbe, his opposite number in the West African nation of Togo? Both have had a torrid year, with angry citizens baying for their political demise. In South Africa, tens of thousands took to the streets early... 

Zimbabwe had been ripe for a military coup for a long time

By: Martin Zhuwakinyu     24th November 2017 The past few weeks have been hectic for Zimbabwe, our northern neighbour. Matters came to a head early this month, when Emmerson Mnangagwa was sacked as President Robert Mugabe’s joint number two in both government and the ruling Zanu-PF party, ostensibly for “disloyalty, disrespect,... 

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