Safaricom is being sued by its customers

Plus: Quartz Africa Weekly Brief says goodbye
Safaricom is being sued by its customers

Dear Quartz Africa readers,

This past week I moderated sessions at the Reinventing Higher Education conference held at the University of Cape Town, in partnership with the IE university of Madrid. One of the most interesting experiences of the trip was a walk through the campus that has in the past made global headlines for #feesmustfall and #rhodesmustfall protests. While demonstrations against prohibitively high university fees took place across the country, the biggest ones were those held at UCT and the University of the Witwatersrand, which were whites-only universities during apartheid.

Long after the end of apartheid, the rainbow nation still finds itself dealing with the inequity caused by centuries of colonial rule and decades of a discriminatory regime.

One of my visit’s most meaningful moments was passing by the Sarah Baartman Hall during a walk. The building was renamed in 2019 to honor a Khoi woman who was sold into slavery in the 18th century and displayed as a freak show attraction throughout Europe in the 19th century, even long after her death. The previous name of the hall referred to sir Leander Starr Jameson, a former prime minister of the Cape Colony who started an unlawful raid that brought war to South Africa. The name change from a colonial ruler to that of the Hottentot Venus, as Baartman was dubbed in Europe, is a remarkable step in the long process of historical reckoning taking place across the continent.

Change is messy and inevitable. Even when it is delayed, it still comes in one form or another. The monuments of yesterday become the rubble of today; the legacy of those who some considered legends is called into question by the descendants of those who suffered under their tyranny. History is no longer only being written by victors.

Rhodes did fall in the end. The place where his monument used to stand, defyingly looking on at students, remains an empty space—save for the tar that the students left running down the stairs to show that “Even if Rhodes fell, his shadow remains on the continent.”

It is the undoing of these invisible statues that the continent is tasked with—a process that begins by rewriting history by unearthing and telling our own stories.

—Ciku Kimeria, Africa Editor

This is the last edition of the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief. It’s been a privilege to share our stories with you for the past years, working with dedicated colleagues such as Faustine Ngila, Alexander Onukwue, Carlos Mureithi, and Jackie Bischof. This weekly newsletter is the brainchild of former Quartz Africa editor Yinka Adegoke, and it has benefited from the content and editorial support of dozens of Quartzians, and from you, our readers. We encourage you to keep reading Quartz’s global news coverage, including our coverage of African business, and subscribing to our various newsletters starting with the Quartz Daily Brief, which covers the most important and interesting news about the global economy.

Stories this week

Francophone Africa startups are on the rise. Francophone countries are slowly but surely catching up with their Anglophone counterparts. Kingsley Kobo highlights the countries attracting the highest startup venture capital.

Kenya is running out of US dollars. The country’s depleting reserves are making business tough for importers and creating a black market that has hiked the price of the dollar, as Faustine Ngila reports.

East Africa’s biggest telco is being sued by its customers. Legal action against Safaricom stems from its mobile money overdraft facility Fuliza, and its failure to take action against SIM swap fraudsters. Faustine Ngila explains why customers are demanding accountability.

Ivorians pay the highest income tax in the world. The latest global tax index report released by World Population Review shows Cote d’Ivoire deducts 60% from citizens’ salaries. Faustine Ngila looks at how other African countries are fairing.

Quartz gems

It’s already way too hot in India

Pop quiz: India just witnessed its hottest February in…

A. 2 years

B. 40 years

C. 93 years

D. 122 years

Find the answer in Niharika Sharma’s Quartz story, which also explains why a hot February is sparking fears of widespread power cuts this summer.

✦ Do you rely on stories like this to keep up with global trends? Support our newsroom by becoming a Quartz member. Daily Brief readers get 50% off.

Other things we are reading

Racial tensions are high in Tunisia. Al Jazeera delves into the “hell” and racial tensions that sub-Saharan Africans are being subjected to as part of a nationwide government crackdown on migrants.

Crossing the Mediterranean Sea presents even more dangers for women. Medecins Sans Frontieres details for The Elephant the numerous challenges that women face while seeking safer shores.

The generation that rewrote Africa’s history…For the Financial Times, Zimbabwean novelist Petina Gappah writes about a group of writers who “dared to invent the future” putting a fresh, modern vision of Africa out into the world.

…while Sudan reclaims its own history. For African Arguments, Sudanese author Leila Aboulela opines that Africa’s history has been misrepresented by colonialists who first documented it. It’s time to correct it.


Compete for a share of a $1.5 million grant. Organizers of the Africa Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition are calling on entrepreneurs from all 54 African countries to submit their applications for a chance to win grant money. (May 12)

Apply for the $50,000 UNESCO prize. Applications are open for the UNESCO Prize for Girls and Women’s Education and will honor outstanding individuals, institutions, or NGOs who have made innovative contributions to girls’ education. Two laureates will be awarded $50,000 each. (May 19)

🎵 This brief was produced while listening to ‘Saying Goodbye’ Ondara (Kenya)

This week’s brief took you to 🇰🇪, 🇿🇦, 🇨🇮, 🇸🇩, 🇿🇼 and 🇹🇳

Our best wishes for a productive and ideas-filled week ahead. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, ideas, new historical narratives, and farewell messages to africa@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.

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