MeerKAT satellite dishes in South Africa have made major astronomical discoveries. SKA
MeerKAT satellite dishes in South Africa have made major astronomical discoveries.

This week’s most important headlines out of and about Africa

In this week’s news, South Africa looks to the cosmos, Morocco seeks reinstatement in the AU and Zambia hopes for a peaceful election.

South African Observatory Discovers Hundreds of Galaxies

A radio array telescope in South Africa, known as MeerKAT, has discovered hundreds of previously unknown galaxies.

The telescope discovered over 1,300 galaxies in an area where only 70 galaxies were previously known. The telescope also discovered several black holes in the region. These discoveries come despite the fact that less than 1/4 of the site is operational; of a planned 64 radio satellite dishes, only 16 have been completed.

MeerKAT is part of a multi-national project known as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). When complete, MeerKat will be the largest radio telescope in the southern hemisphere.

Morocco Wants to Rejoin the African Union

After 32 years, Morocco has requested to rejoin the African Union. Morocco left the AU in 1984 as part of a territory dispute. The AU recognized the independence of the Western Sahara, but Morocco still considered it to be one of their provinces. Despite leaving decades ago, the dispute is still a source of tension between Morocco and other nations. This friction exists not just in Africa, but globally as well.

Zambia Hopes for Peaceful Campaigning

Preceding next month’s elections, five Zambian political parties signed pledges of non-violence this week.

The signers were the current ruling party, the Patriotic Front, along with the United National Independence Party, the People’s Alliance for Change, the Forum for Democracy and Development and the Democratic Alliance. The pledges were made in an effort to curb escalating violence in the countries and also temporarily suspended campaigning in a few regions. However, the pledges do not guarantee peace during the main campaigns.

Three parties (United Party for National Development, Rainbow Party and the United Progressive People) decided not to sign, citing disagreements over the suspension.  The parties also called for an addendum on the pledge that will guarantee their rights to assemble during the campaigns.

Leave a Reply