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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 118: Herd immunity isn't achievable. We need to learn to live with COVID-19

In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic the phrase "herd immunity" was bandied about a lot by heads of state as well as health officials. This ideal end state was described as the moment when the virus had been beaten, and everyone could return to a normal life. But a great deal has changed in the intervening months. Firstly, the virus has mutated in ways that make it spread more quickly, and in…

1 Host: Shabir A. Madhi

Pasha 117: What drove South Africa's recent violence and looting and what to do about it

After former president Jacob Zuma was recently arrested for contempt of court, South Africa went into disarray. Widespread looting, vandalism and violence broke out. Two provinces -- Gauteng, the country's economic hub, and KwaZulu-Natal, on the east coast -- bore the brunt of this. What was initially premised on Zuma's arrest transpired into something much more coordinated, controlled and dangerous…

1 Host: David Everatt

Pasha 116: Why events like Eid celebrations can be superspreaders

One of the elements that contribute to a rise in COVID-19 infections is gatherings. Ramadan (the month when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset) and Eid (the celebration after the month) are times when gatherings appear to have contributed to the deaths of many in the Muslim community. Research has found that Muslims make up around 2% of South Africa’s population, yet account for 5% of the total COVID…

1 Host: Salim Parker

Pasha 115: Five ideas about why so many top African officials have died of COVID-19

Seventeen African leaders -- national ministers and heads of state -- had lost their lives to COVID-19 by February 2021. The continent is made up of 54 countries, so there's a high number of leaders, but the number of deaths is out of proportion compared with other continents (where the global total is five). In some cases, the deaths of leaders meant a shift in policy. This was notable in Tanzania…

1 Host: Jean-Benoit Falisse

Pasha 114: Lessons from COVID-19 for other global crises

Disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic provide the world with a learning opportunity. It is important that global events like this are used to invoke change for a better world. The pandemic was coming; there have been near misses in this century alone, like SARS, avian influenza and Ebola. But the world hasn't learnt from them. Governments and citizens must take up the challenge to make real change for…

1 Host: Ian Goldin

Pasha 113: COVID-19, the Delta variant and South Africa's vaccination problems

The Delta variant of SARS-COV-2 -- the virus that causes COVID-19 -- is spreading across South Africa, sparking a strong resurgence of infections. The president has placed the country under stricter regulations in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. Gauteng province, the country’s economic hub, where 25% of the population live, is the epicentre. It's likely many more people will be hospitalised…

1 Host: Shabir A. Madhi

Pasha 112: The struggles of women doing stand-up in Zimbabwe

Being a comedian in Zimbabwe is no easy profession, particularly if you're a woman. The problems women face range from violence -- for example, Samantha Kureya, known on stage as Gonyeti, was abducted and tortured by masked gunmen -- through to attitudes that frown on women taking to the stage. But Zimbabwe's women stand-up comedians are fighting the patriarchy. Munya Guramatunhu and Sharon Chideu…

1 Host: Amanda Källstig

Pasha 111: Why it's important to improve Africa's research output

Research output across the African continent is really low. Many institutions that produce research are severely underdeveloped and underfunded. Many also have a major focus on undergraduate degrees and enrolments. This drive for an undergraduate degree has means that postgraduate education and research is falling short. Improving research on the continent requires a massive shift. But to get this…

1 Host: Sharon Fonn

Pasha 110: Johannesburg's romantic comedy revolution reimagines the city

The African romantic comedy genre is part of a trend in the cinema of the global South, projecting images of the "global city". In South Africa, most black romcoms are set in Johannesburg and they too portray it as a glamorous setting for affluent lifestyles and aspirations. But in their storylines and images the films also remind audiences of the city’s real social conflicts and socioeconomic inequalities…

1 Host: Pier Paolo Frassinelli

Pasha 109: Ecology research has a huge gap: the work of women and the global South

Ecology is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and the environment around them. It is an important branch of study, exploring how animals, plants, the land, climate and humans are interconnected. But a study of 13 leading journals in ecology over 75 years has shown that in this field, women researchers are seriously under-represented. So are countries in the global…

1 Host: Bea Maas

Pasha 108: Some good news in the fight against hepatitis C in Africa

Globally, there are around 71 million people with hepatitis C. In Africa, more than 10 million people are infected with the virus. The new oral therapies that have been developed to treat hepatitis C are much more effective and easier to take than the previous injections, and have fewer side effects. In high-income countries, these drugs are known to work well. But the number of strains of the virus…

2 Hosts: Elihu Aranday-Cortes and John McLauchlan

Pasha 107: Exploring the use of the moringa plant in South Africa

Moringa is a plant that offers many benefits. It is full of vitamins and other nutrients. It is also believed to have other pharmacological properties. Aside from food, parts of the moringa can be used for firewood, fencing, water purification and fertiliser. Moringa is also a drought tolerant and resistant crop. Cultivation has been rising in South Africa since it was introduced in 2006, but it has…

1 Host: Chuene Victor Mashamaite

Pasha 106: COVID-19 is increasing inequality in South Africa

Unemployment, poverty and hunger were issues South Africa knew all too well even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made them worse. Job losses have increased and unemployment has not been offset by a massive government economic stimulus package and wage compensation scheme. But the COVID-19 impact has been unequal for the most part. The worst affected sectors of the economy, like tourism…

2 Hosts: Ivan Turok and Justin Visagie

Pasha 105: Two academics weigh in on Botswana allowing elephant hunting

Botswana recently offered the rights to shoot around 300 elephants. There have been mixed feelings about this decision. Some say licensed hunting is ecologically necessary. They also say rural communities need revenue from hunting and are at risk of human-wildlife conflict. Others have criticised it heavily, disputing the claim that hunting is a solution to various problems and pointing to its negative…

2 Hosts: Peet Van Der Merwe and Ross Harvey

Pasha 104: The fascinating history of the Suez Canal

The Suez Canal was in the spotlight recently when the container vessel Ever Given became wedged diagonally across it, causing a massive backlog in shipping traffic. The idea of a canal connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean was a dream for many throughout history. The Egyptian Pharoahs, Persians, Romans and Ottomans all saw its potential benefits. The canal offers the shortest sea route between…

1 Host: Lucia Carminati

Pasha 103: Insights from female breadwinners in South Africa

In South Africa, about 6 million households have women as the breadwinners -- about 38% of all homes. Many of these women don't choose to be the primary financial provider but are forced into it by circumstances. And they are over-represented in the poorest paying and most unregulated sectors of the economy, such as service industries, domestic work and informal work. They also earn less than their…

1 Host: Bianca Parry

Pasha 102: Talking about malaria risk zones and climate change in South Africa

Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year across the world. Africa carries the highest burden, with 90% of these deaths occurring on the continent. In South Africa, close to 5 million people are at risk of contracting the disease. Malaria is mainly transmitted along the northern border areas of the country. Mapping malaria risk zones is therefore key to managing the spread. But changing weather patterns…

1 Host: Jennifer Fitchett

Pasha 101: Two researchers unpack extreme temperatures in South Africa

Extreme heat and extreme cold can both have an impact on human health. With a changing climate, these events are set to occur more often. They are also becoming increasingly difficult to predict. Extreme heat stress can result in heatstroke and can affect people's cardiovascular health. There are significant health concerns related to extreme heat events, particularly when people aren't prepared for…

2 Hosts: Adriaan Van Der Walt and Jennifer Fitchett

Pasha 100: Tackling banditry, terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria

Insecurity is common throughout Nigeria. But the northern region is the worst affected because of attacks by the terror group Boko Haram, banditry, kidnappings and conflict between farmers and herdsmen. The chaos has led to the closure of some schools and a feeling of helplessness among citizens in states where attacks are on the increase. Sheriff Folarin, a professor of political science and a peace…

1 Host: Sheriff Folarin

Pasha 99: Why Patrice Motsepe is a good choice for the next CAF president

The president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has a tough job. It includes working with FIFA to run the sport in Africa, and overseeing the continent's tournaments and leagues. There are also issues of broadcast rights and improving the organisation's poor reputation. The latest to throw their name into the ring is South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe. The mining magnate is the…

1 Host: Chuka Onwumechili

Pasha 98: Why it's important to understand how much water is in the Nile river

The Nile river flows through 11 countries in Africa. It is a major source of water for millions of people. This makes it increasingly important that the river is used in a way that's equitable and fair to all. The starting point is to know how much water there is in the river system, and where -- including soil moisture. In today's episode of Pasha, Emad Hasan, a postdoctoral researcher in remote sensing…

1 Host: Emad Hasan

Pasha 97: Everything you need to know about ivermectin

Ivermectin has become one of the most talked about drugs in the world. A highly effective treatment for fighting parasites in animals, it was later also shown to be effective in humans. In 2015 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for discovering its use against infections caused by roundworm parasites. Interest in the drug has spiked following laboratory…

1 Host: Vinny Naidoo

Pasha 96: The impact of COVID-19 on Nigeria's oil dependent economy

In response to COVID-19, governments around the world, including Nigeria, adopted lockdown measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. As expected, these measures were generally unfavourable to businesses and livelihoods. Nigeria is yet to recover from the blows to its already faltering and largely informal economy. In today's episode of Pasha, Ndubuisi Nwokoma discusses the impact of COVID-19…

1 Host: Ndubisi Nwokoma

Pasha 95: Key questions answered on the results of the Novavax vaccine trials

Novavax vaccine trials run in South Africa and the UK indicate that its efficacy in the UK was 89% at least 7 days after individuals had received two doses of vaccine. In South Africa, the vaccine efficacy was 60% in people living without HIV. The trial is being viewed as highly significant because it is the first vaccine to be tested on a particular COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa…

1 Host: Shabir A. Madhi

Pasha 94: Talking about masculinity with South African artist Nakhane

What is it to be a man? Through their role in the film Inxeba and the music videos from their albums, South African singer-songwriter, author and actor Nakhane presents themself as fiercely gender nonconforming. With a focus on queer identity and the complexities of manhood, Nakhane's work challenges conventional notions of masculinity. In today's episode of Pasha, Associate Professor Gibson Ncube…

1 Host: Gibson Ncube