Category Archives: Africa

Maps of South Sudan and its capital city of Juba

Some maps of South Sudan, which is in the news today because of an emerging civil war.

UNOCHA South Sudan describes the displaced persons in South Sudan:

On 20-21 December (2013), the security situation remained stable but tense in Juba. It is estimated that at least 20,000 people are sheltering at the two main UNMISS bases in town. During assessments in different neighbourhoods of Juba, protection agencies found several areas deserted, and witnessed looting.


The UNOCHA briefing map detail shows the detail of cities. Juba is in the province of Central Equatoria.


Stamen Design highlights South Sudan in a 2011 post describing The World

Stamen’s first iPad app and our first project with the National Geographic Society, is available for download from Apple’s app store


Finally, has detailed maps of a number of cities in the country. This is an excerpt of detail of the city of Juba.


The Republic of South Sudan Investor Guide has more maps, and a number of descriptions of the country from a perspective of trying to attract foreign investment.


African National Congress Secret Communications: “Operation Vula”

Talking to Vula is the story of the secret communications network of Operation Vula, a project of the African National Congress that facilitated clandestine messaging between South African exiles in London and leaders of the resistance in Zambia and in South Africa. The account (which was pointed out to me by Finn Brunton) talks of an inventive use of encrypted text transmitted via analog modem tones recorded to cassette tape and then played back via untraceable pay phones. It’s a remarkable tale of late 80s underground crypto, leading up to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

From the text, to give you a flavor of it:

To test this hypothesis I wrote a little program to send some computer output to the modem. Sure enough the sounds came out of the modem`s speaker. These I recorded and played back into the microphone end of the modem while running a communications program on the computer. Eureka! The characters appeared on the screen. I had done with a modem what we were attempting to do with our tone machine.

This seemed to be the real breakthrough. I adapted our encryption program to work with the acoustic modem and recorded the output on a tape recorder. This I took to a public telephone booth and played back to my answering machine. Then I played the answering machine message back into the modem and the computer deciphered it successfully. As the plaintext message appeared on the screen I realised that we had finally discovered an absolutely safe method of communicating with the underground using computers.

The work originally appeared in a series of six articles in the ANC`s monthly journal Mayibuye from May 1995 to October 1995.

More: Operation Vula: ICT versus Apartheid (2008).

More: Garrett and Edwards (2007): “[Revolutionary Secrets]: Technology’s Role in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement,” Social Science Computer Review, 24(4). Preprint at U of Michigan.

Pot-in-pot system for evaporative cooling of foods

Via the Uplift Network:

Prof Abba created a pot-in-pot system to keep perishable items cool in desert climates, though obviously important for people without electricity as well, through the use of two pots, one inside the other, and the space in between filled with wet sand. He won the Rolex Award, and has distributed more than 91,000 of these to people in Nigeria. Here is an excellent example of selfless entrepreneurism.

A California State Science Fair study in the San Diego area by Garrett Rueda showed up to a 23 degree F cooling effect by this system. There’s a story about it in the 2001 January “Popular Science”.

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My good friend Rob Pasick is going there to teach for a little bit, and I’m trying to get some handle on what I can tell him before he goes that’s useful. His notes on the planned trip to Rwanda are here.

UPDATE 9/22/2006: Rob’s wife Carino’s Rwanda travel blog.

UPDATE 8/28/2006:

There’s press coverage from the Detroit Free Press (UM’s Davidson Institute Offers Hope to Ravaged Rwanda)

To that end, Kagame’s government has signed a 5-year contract with the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan to provide leadership training to high-level ministers and department heads, plus help Rwanda create a Western-style collegiate business school in which Rwandan faculty can do most of the teaching.

and from Kigali’s The New Times via

Ministers and Secretary Generals are to undergo training in a bid to build internal administration capacity and improve smooth management, the Minister of Public Service and Labour, has said.

Prof. Manasseh Nshuti told The New Times in an exclusive interview at his offices in Kacyiru on August 1, that the training to be conducted in September at RIAM (Rwandan Institute of Administration and Management), would equip the Ministers and Secretary Generals with the necessary management and governance skills. “Lack of training is a cancer that threatens the national fabric and hampers service delivery of countries,” Nshuti observed.

He added: “We have decided to organise these trainings within the country because taking Ministers outside would be costly. All of us shall undergo training to improve on what we already have.”

Anyone with direct information please let me know. Here’s a few recent blog entries that I can see:

Installing Wireless Internet in Rwanda – from NextBillion.Net – on entrepreneur Greg Whyler’s efforts to vitalize RwandaTel and invest in it through his Terracom communications company. He’s bringing service to the country at $60/mo – much less than the previous operator, which charged thousands – but widespread access is expected to be limited by average annual incomes of as little as $200. There was a story in the Wall St Journal (sorry, no link).

Terracom has a Favorite Links page with Rwandan sites.

Business Daily is Rwanda’s “pioneer online daily”.

Rwanda-Link is Rwanda’s “No. 1 Directory on the Internet”.

Rwanda: Les aventures du Civiliste Guillaume is a weblog from an expat in Rwanda, in French. Links in that site’s blogroll include Les Aventures de Ben et Ignace au Rwanda (in French), Rwandom (in French), Expat-Blog (directory of blogs by expats, in French, Spanish, and English), and Kirstivik (mostly photoblog, in Norwegian).

Butare Theological College (FTPB) is a Protestant seminary.

With student enrollment currently at eighty, the college has plans for continued expansion. It has recently constructed a large multipurpose building and is currently expanding its teacher housing. In additions to its program in theology, there are long-term plans to develop programs in education and development. Its most immediate needs are a greater number of permanent professors and a fund from which it can make regular purchases of books for its library. Since 1970 the Faculté has been the only Protestant seminary in the country, a beacon of unity and hope for all Rwandans.

Some reports on the cybercafe situation in Rwanda:

Details of local accomodations from the IP Symposium Kigali in 2003 (from the ITU): “a cybercafe will be made available for delegates”. Lists local hotels.

The Rwanda Project at the University of Maryland.

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UgaBYTES, telecenter network support in Uganda

From the UgaBYTES site:

UgaBYTES Initiative is a nonprofit telecenter network organization that seeks to promote and nurture the effective use and integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for sustainable rural development in East Africa. As a catalytic organization, UgaBYTES focus is towards rural and disadvantaged community groups through the provision of quality support services and mentoring.

Telecenters are the non-profit version of cybercafes – somewhere on the net I’m sure there’s a global map of where they are and cost per hour in local terms for services. The world travelers I know depend on them; staffing and supporting them in far-flung parts of the global is a challenge.

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