Welcome to Pasha, The Conversation Africa’s podcast
Welcome to Pasha, The Conversation Africa’s brand new podcast. In the spirit of The Conversation, Pasha – which means to inform in Swahili – will be bringing you some of the best and brightest research from academics across the continent. After nearly four years of publishing expert research, we’re thrilled to be bringing our own brand of smart journalism to a new audio format. Each episode will collect stories and commentary on a given theme.

Latest Episodes

Pasha 40: Why it's important to focus on gender during an outbreak

When it comes to talking about, understanding and tackling outbreaks like Ebola, gender is not often raised as an issue. That's a problem because most of the people responsible for providing care in homes are women. This care work increases their risk of infection and places enormous financial, social and psychological burdens on them. In today's episode of Pasha Julia Smith, a research associate at…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 39: How local crops and grains can help solve nutrition issues

Climate change presents a problem for many African countries. Drought resistant crops need to be accessible as good, nutritious food will become increasingly scarce with a changing climate. Indigenous crops like sorghum, millets and cowpeas are drought tolerant and can be prepared in ways that improve nutrition. In today’s episode of Pasha, Kwaku Gyebi Duodu, an associate professor in food and chemistry…

1 Host: Kwaku Gyebi Duodu

Pasha 38: How cloud computing can speed up development in African countries

Cloud computing is the delivery and storage of technology capabilities over the internet. It can be a valuable tool, but to unlock its capability is no easy task. There are certain fundamentals that need to be in place. In today's episode of Pasha, Willem Fourie an associate Professor at the University of Pretoria, looks at the four fundamentals needed to get African countries to use cloud computing…

1 Host: Willem Fourie

Pasha 37: Why the new Ebola vaccine may be a game changer

An Ebola vaccine is currently being trialled in Uganda. The vaccine, which has two doses, is designed to produce stronger and longer-lasting immune responses. One of the most important things about the vaccine is that it covers different strains of Ebola, which means it can treat more people. It is to be tested in Uganda and also in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been battling…

1 Host: Yap Boum

Pasha 36: The sounds of our ancestors

Studying the Middle and Later Stone Age, which was about 300 000 to 300 years ago in South Africa, is a vital way to learn about an important period for our ancestors. We know a fair amount about the tools and the paintings made by people of that time. But very little is known about the sounds that people made and listened to. This lack of knowledge made a group of South African researchers curious…

2 Hosts: Joshua Kumbani and Sarah Wurz

Pasha 35: How WhatsApp played a role in the Nigerian elections

WhatsApp is one of the world's most popular social media platforms. The messaging app is encrypted so it's safer to share messages there than on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It also notorious for the spread of fake news. But it's also used for good. In the run-up to Nigeria's 2019 election, for instance, the platform was used to spread fake news -- but it was also used for campaigning and communicating…

1 Host: Nic Cheeseman

Pasha 34: How digital technologies can help farmers in Africa

Digitisation could change the game for Africa's smallholder farmers. Technologies like drones, satellites and apps all have the ability to make farming much easier and simpler. Of course, technology is not a panacea to all the challenges smallholder farmers face -- but as it gets cheaper and easier to access, it can make their work much easier. In today's episode of Pasha PhD students Abdul-Rahim Abdulai…

2 Hosts: Abdul-Rahim Abdulai and Emily Duncan

Pasha 33: Staying healthy is difficult for young women in Soweto

It's not easy for young women living in Soweto, South Africa, to prioritise healthy living. Soweto is a large, densely populated urban township that's home to one third of Johannesburg's population. In a research project, women aged between 18 and 24 explained that unhealthy food was cheap and easily accessible. To make matters worse, they didn't feel safe to work out and had very real concerns about…

1 Host: Alessandra Prioreschi

Pasha 32: Ebola in the DRC - Part 2

Ebola does more than just physical damage: it has serious effects on food security, a country's economy and other health services. More than a year into a deadly outbreak, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is grappling with all these issues and more. In part two of this series on Ebola Janusz Paweska, head of the Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at South Africa's National Institute for…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 31: Ebola in the DRC -- Part 1

Last August an Ebola outbreak was declared in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This is the tenth time the deadly virus has hit the country -- and, a year on, the fight to end the outbreak continues. In part one of this series on Ebola Janusz Paweska, head of the Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, takes us through some of…

1 Host: Janusz Paweska

Pasha 30: What is quantum machine learning?

There's a branch of physics called quantum mechanics, which deals with probabilities and makes a principle out of uncertainty. It tries to understand interesting phenomena that normal physics can't and can be applied in a number of ways, including to quantum machine learning. Sound like science fiction? It's not. In today's episode of Pasha Professor Francesco Petruccione and researcher Amira Abbas…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Special edition: what are the symptoms and effects of Ebola?

Janusz Paweska, head of the Centre for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, discusses the terrible physical effects of Ebola.

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 29: Young South Africans want to farm, but there are obstacles

Unemployment is a major problem in South Africa. The youth -- defined as those aged between 15 and 35 -- make up a big proportion of the country's high unemployment rate. The agricultural sector could be a key source of job creation for these young people. But while some in this group are interested in agriculture, there are obstacles in their path. And that means many young South Africans are turning…

1 Host: Luke Metelerkamp

Pasha 28: What it will take to build the toilets of the future

Pasha 28: What it will take to build the toilets of the future.

Around 4.5 billion people don't have adequate access to sanitation. And to deal with the problem, there are a number of new technologies that try to deal with human waste in a safe and useful way. Some toilets can save water and some can produce limited amounts of electricity. But for these toilets to be useful to people who don't have access to proper sanitation, they need to be created in a way that…

1 Host: Rebecca Sindall

Pasha 27: Employed, but still poor, in South Africa

The assumption that's usually made is that if someone has a job they're not poor, or living in poverty. But this isn't always the case. Employment no longer guarantees an escape from poverty. This has increasingly become the case across the world. South Africa is no exception. Many people who have jobs remain poor because wages are too low to lift them and their families out of poverty. In the latest…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 26: Why South Africa needs to sort out its parliamentary budget office

Parliamentary budget offices (PBOs) can play a valuable role in democracies. They provide impartial and expert advice on public finances. They do this in a transparent manner. This can strengthen oversight of public finance decisions by parliamentarians and civil society. But South Africa's PBO is in disarray. In today's episode of Pasha, we talk to Seán Mfundza Muller, a senior lecturer in economics…

1 Host: Seán Mfundza Muller

Pasha 25: A Brazilian city offers South Africa lessons on ending hunger

Many countries in the world face a double burden of hunger and malnutrition, on the one hand, and obesity with associated non-communicable diseases (NCDs), on the other. South Africa is one of them. Poverty, inequality, urbanisation and industrialisation of the food system means that people have limited access to healthy, affordable food. The result has been a spike in NCDs. In today's episode Brittany…

1 Host: Brittany Kesselman

Pasha 24: Rwanda's female peacekeepers need better training

Pasha 24: Rwanda’s female peacekeepers need better training.

Peacekeepers are exposed to a great deal of trauma in their daily work -- and female peacekeepers from Rwanda say they simply aren't getting the training they need to deal with this reality. They find it especially difficult to support and communicate with women who have experienced sexual violence and trauma. In today's episode of Pasha Georgina Holmes, a Leverhulme early career research fellow from…

1 Host: Georgina Holmes

Pasha 23: Tropical cyclones are on the rise in southern Africa

Southern Africa has seen a rise in tropical cyclones recently. The most recent examples were Cyclones Kenneth and Idai that hit Mozambique and surrounds. In the latest episode of Pasha Dr Jennifer Fitchett, a senior lecturer in physical geography at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, explained why this is happening. This episode also looked at naming cyclones and how they are measured…

1 Host: Jennifer Fitchett

Pasha 22: Mobile technology and backpackers in Ghana

Backpacking contributes significantly to many countries' tourism revenue, Ghana among them. But some backpackers in the West African nation fear that their mobile technology isn't safe there -- they worry that it may be targeted by hackers and other cyber criminals, or snatched by thieves. In today's episode of Pasha we spoke to Frederick Dayour, a lecturer at the University for Development Studies…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 21: Why multiple food systems are important

Food insecurity is a major problem in many African countries. Sadly, development organisations that set up programmes in those countries hoping to alleviate the crisis can end up doing the opposite. That's because more advanced forms of agriculture are promoted at the expense of more established local food systems like foraging and subsistence agriculture. It's these systems that poorer households…

1 Host: William G. Moseley

Pasha 20: In South Africa, unhealthy food choices are everywhere

Diseases linked to obesity are rising rapidly in South Africa. A major part of the problem is the growing available of unhealthy food options. In many neighbourhoods there are more unhealthy food outlets, like fast food places, than there are healthy food options. In this episode of Pasha, Safura Abdool Karim, a senior project manager at PRICELESS SA (Priority Cost Effective Lessons in Systems Strengthening…

1 Host: Safura Abdool Karim

Pasha 19: How seeing women in power can inspire Ethiopia's girls

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been making sweeping changes. One area in which he's made considerable progress is in women's representation in government. He appointed Sahle-Work Zewde as the country's first woman President and also named a cabinet with 50% female representation. These decisions could have a major impact on young Ethiopian girls -- having women in powerful political positions…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel

Pasha 18: The struggles of black women in science

Many academic disciplines in science, technology, engineering and maths tend to be dominated by men. There are a number of historical and social reasons for this, which persist today and keep women out of these disciplines. This is especially true for black women, who must also battle outdated cultural ideals that suggest they don't "belong" in science. In today's episode of Pasha, Ndoni Mcunu, a PhD…

1 Host: Ndoni Mcunu

Pasha 17: Taking a look at light pollution

Pasha 17: Taking a look at light pollution.

Light pollution emanates from excessive and obtrusive light produced by humans at night. It mainly comes from electricity from houses, offices, streetlamps, billboards and car headlights. Evidence is growing that light pollution has negative effects on human health. In the latest episode of Pasha Bernard Coetzee, a conservation scientist from the University of the Witwatersrand, takes us through what…

1 Host: Ozayr Patel