Memorial Service Honours the Life of Author and Activist Zoleka Mandela

A memorial service is being held at the Mandela family home to honour the life and legacy of Zoleka Mandela, an esteemed author and activist who passed away earlier this week. Mandela, aged 43, fought a courageous battle against cancer, which ultimately progressed to fibrosis in the lungs and several emboli.

In a statement issued by the family, it was confirmed that Zoleka Mandela passed away on the evening of Monday, September 25, surrounded by loved ones. The family expressed sincere gratitude to the medical team that provided care and support throughout her illness.

Zoleka Mandela had been open about her health journey, sharing her experiences and raising awareness about cancer. In August 2022, she revealed that the disease had returned after being diagnosed with bone metastasis. Prior to this, she had already triumphed over breast cancer twice.

In a poignant reflection, Mandela expressed her feelings of uncertainty and the challenge of conveying the news to her children. “What do I tell my children? How do I tell them that this time around, I may not get to live my life as a survivor? How do I tell them everything will be okay when it’s not? I’m dying… I don’t want to die,” she shared in the wake of her diagnosis.

Despite grappling with the reality of her condition, Mandela demonstrated remarkable strength and resilience. In an interview with Kaya 959 in April, she discussed her preparations for the eventuality of her passing. She found empowerment in having a say in the plans for her children’s future, stating, “I think that’s empowering me too because, again, I’ve been put in a place where I’m actually able to have a say in the things that I want to happen, especially with all my children.”

On Friday, Mandela’s family will bid her a final farewell in a private service at the Bryanston Methodist Church, paying tribute to her extraordinary life and the impact she made as an author and activist.

Zoleka Mandela’s legacy will continue to inspire others as her loved ones, friends, and admirers gather to celebrate her life, mourn her loss, and reflect on her enduring contributions to literature and advocacy.

Four Nigerians Sentenced for Aggravated Pimping and Human Trafficking in France

The Val-de-Marne Assize Court in France handed down sentences on Wednesday, following an appeal, to four Nigerian individuals involved in aggravated pimping and human trafficking. The defendants were found guilty of forcing young Nigerian girls into prostitution as part of an organized gang operating in the Bois de Vincennes. The court delivered sentences ranging from eight to 18 years’ imprisonment.

The president of the court, Pascale Pérard, emphasized the gravity of the charges and the inhumane treatment endured by the young victims at the hands of the defendants for financial gain. The sentences mirror those previously imposed by the Paris Assize Court in July 2020, where the defendants received prison terms of 10, 13, 15, and 19 years. The public prosecutor in Creteil had requested prison sentences ranging from nine to 18 years.

Omos Wiseborn, described by the prosecution as actively involved in the organization of the trafficking network, received the maximum sentence of 18 years’ imprisonment. However, his lawyer, Caroline Thévenin, argued that the sentence was overly severe, as Wiseborn was not at the top of the criminal hierarchy.

Dennis Brown and Blessing Ubi were sentenced to 12 and 15 years, respectively, for their role in harboring young girls, coercing them into prostitution, and profiting from their earnings. Their initial sentences were 13 and 15 years, respectively.

Emmanuel Aiwansosa, who was charged with performing a forced abortion on one of the victims and aggravated procuring, had his sentence reduced to eight years’ imprisonment from the initial ten-year term.

Catherine Delanoë Daoud, the lawyer representing one of the victims, expressed that the decision did not come as a surprise to her client, who had bravely shared her traumatic experience of a forced abortion during the trial.

The four Nigerians had been on trial since September 19 for their involvement in recruiting young girls, including minors, from Nigeria by making false promises of employment or educational opportunities. They organized their dangerous journey to France, where the victims were subsequently coerced into working as prostitutes in the Bois de Vincennes.

Throughout the trial, the defendants admitted to the charges but attempted to downplay their level of involvement. They expressed remorse and apologized to the victims, who had courageously recounted their harrowing experiences to the court.

The sentencing sends a strong message against human trafficking and exploitation, highlighting the commitment of the French authorities to combatting these heinous crimes and seeking justice for the victims involved.


Source: Africa News

Sudanese Man Arrested After Investigation of Woman’s Death During English Channel Crossing Attempt

British authorities have apprehended an individual as part of an ongoing investigation into the death of a woman who is believed to have tragically lost her life while attempting to cross the English Channel in a small boat. The UK’s National Crime Agency announced the arrest on Wednesday.

The detainee is a 21-year-old Sudanese man who was taken into custody in the southern English port city of Dover. He is being held on charges of illegal entry and facilitating illegal immigration. It is suspected that he was piloting a boat that reached British waters on Tuesday.

The arrest followed the discovery of a woman’s body on a local beach in the French town of Blériot-Plage, near Calais, on Tuesday. Authorities in Calais identified the victim as a 24-year-old Eritrean migrant, who is believed to have fallen from a boat while attempting to cross the English Channel.

The Pas-de-Calais regional administration confirmed that French authorities are leading the investigation into the woman’s death, with support from British law enforcement agencies.

Craig Turner, the deputy director of the National Crime Agency, stated that both countries are collaborating closely “to identify those responsible for this tragic death.”

Under the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the UK has adopted a more stringent approach towards individuals arriving in the country through unauthorized means, particularly in the case of small boats crossing the perilous English Channel. In 2022, over 45,000 people arrived in Britain by boat from northern France, a significant increase from 28,000 in 2021 and 8,500 in 2020.

Since the beginning of this year, close to 24,000 migrants have arrived on British shores via small boats, highlighting the ongoing challenges posed by irregular migration routes.

The investigation into the woman’s death underscores the pressing need for international cooperation and concerted efforts to address the underlying factors driving such perilous journeys, while also ensuring the safety and security of those seeking refuge or a better life.


Source: Africa News