Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara amid Covid-19 (Video)

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Wildebeest Migration; Photo Courtesy

The great wildebeest migration is one of the most phenomenal natural spectacles in the world. It is an annual movement by millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, elands and impalas across the greater Masai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.

It is been a month since this annual wildebeest migration took off and still no tourist to witness the spectacle.

The wildebeest, also known as gnu, is a stocky ox-like African antelope with a drooping mane and beard, a long tufted tail and curved horn.

From July to around October ,the Mara welcomes the Great Migration of thousands of wildebeest and zebra from the Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya. During the wildebeest migration, you will witness how the constant battle for survival makes the Migration Season a particularly exhilarating time to visit Base-camp.

The Mara River crossing activity is considered the climax of the migration period. Mara River crossing is an event that will take you through a range of emotions: anticipation, heartache, inspiration, excitement and so much more. The sheer sight of the first herds of animals rushing into the crocodile-infested river will make you long for this wildebeest migration every year.

a short video of Wildebeest Migration

Traditionally, the migration has lit up tourism in the country, with thousands of tourists visiting the reserve to witness the animals crossing over. But, hotels, lodges and tented camps in Maasai Mara have remained closed since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a few which are open are receiving just a handful of tourists.

The yearly migration, which is termed as the eighth wonder of the earth ,begins in the south of the Serengeti, where more than half a million calves are born between January and March. But when the rains end in May or June, the land dries fast and the grazers must move on, heading for their dry season refuge in the Mara.

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Wildebeests grazing: Photo Courtesy

After entering the Mara, the animals head northwards towards River Talek, where they graze and mate.

The migration also brings with it lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and other carnivores that prey on the wildebeest, with wildlife lovers enjoying dramatic hunting scenes, with the tall grass giving the hunters ample camouflage.

From July to October, the wildebeest move between the western and eastern sides of the river, crossing it at different points almost daily.

With the absence of tourists the government of Kenya is expected to lose over 2.4 billion in terms of revenue.

Video; Courtesy

Mental Health: Understanding Excessive Attention Seeking Behaviour as a Personality Disorder

Photo: Courtesy

Most people are most probably not aware that excessive attention seeking behaviour is a mental issue known as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). This is part of a larger group of psychological disorders, called “Cluster B” personality disorders. Disorders in this category are generally categorised as being dramatic, emotional, or erratic.

People with this disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not at the centre of attention. Typical behaviour may include the constant seeking of approval or attention , self-dramatisation and theatricality. They often base their self-esteem on the approval of others. This creates a need to be noticed.

Women are diagnosed with HPD more often than men. That may be because men report their symptoms less often than women.

The first step to knowing whether you engage in attention seeking behaviour is to know precisely what it means. Attention seeking behaviour is quite simply doing things that are likely to get others to notice you. Any number of behaviours could fall under this category.

Photo: Courtesy

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), people with histrionic personality disorder have at least five (or more) of the following symptoms:

  • Is uncomfortable in situations in which they are not the centre of attention
  • Has interactions with others characterised by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behaviour
  • Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
  • Consistently uses their physical attention to draw attention to self
  • Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
  • Shows self-dramatisation, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
  • Is suggestible (that is, they are easily influenced by others or circumstances)
  • Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are

Experiencing and creating drama can release hormones that make you feel good, and it can ,in fact damage your social life. Drama, however, can be addictive, especially if it gets you the attention you are craving.

The exact cause of histrionic personality disorder is unknown. Scientists believe it is an outcome of both environmental and genetic factors.

Some families have a history of HPD, which lends credit to the theory that the condition may be explained in part by genetics. On the other hand, children of parents with HPD may simply exhibit behavior they learned from their parents. It is also possible that a lack of discipline or positive reinforcement of dramatic behaviors in childhood can cause HPD. A child may learn HPD behaviors as a way to get attention from their parents.

No matter the cause, HPD usually presents itself by early adulthood.

If you crave attention and fall into using unhealthy behaviours to get it, you can get help. You don’t have to rely on others for your confidence. The best source of self-esteem is feeling confident about yourself . otherwise , the love of others may never feel sincere to you.

Attention is good- if you are getting it in healthy ways. If you’re not, making changes and even going to therapy can help improve many areas of your life. You can build your self-esteem, develop healthier habits,and enjoy fulfilling, rewarding relationships.

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Photo: Courtesy

Psychotherapy is the most common and effective treatment choice for HPD. This kind of therapy involves talking to a therapist about your feelings and experiences. Such talks can help you and your therapist determine the reasoning behind your actions and behaviours. Your therapist may be able to help you learn how to relate with people in a positive manner, instead of continually trying to get attention from them.

Take the first step and help in fighting the menace of mental illness in our societies.

Dr Tracey Marks in her youtube channel delved more into this topic and here is the video to help you better understand HPD.

Nudity and Gender Representation in Artistic works

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The Decadence of the Romans, by Thomas Couture, 1847. Musée d’Orsay

One of the pertinent problems which artists face today in our societies is the negative impression associated with nudity. It is considered as immoral and pornographic. This may be due to religious backgrounds and traditional believes.

Artists and researchers have found a way to justify nudity as a form of art. For instance, nudity in paintings was introduced by colonial educators in most African countries. In Ghana it was introduced in 1960s at the Achimota college. Nude paintings were used in the study of objects. Models were used to learn the anatomical structure of the human figure to meet the artistic standards of the international market.

Figures with no clothes are peculiarly common in the art of the Western world. This situation might seem perfectly natural when one considers how frequent the state of undress is in every human life, from birth to the bath to the boudoir. In art, however, naked figures relate very little to these humble conditions and instead reflect a very complex set of formal ideals, philosophical concerns, and cultural traditions.

But the issue of gender representation has also become a pain in the butt. Many beliefs are attached to representation of especially female nudes in different societies.

Fragments of a marble statue of the Diadoumenos (youth tying a fillet around his head)
Photo: Courtesy

The ancestry of the female nude is distinct from the male. Male nudes originate from the perfect human athlete according to the art of ancient Greece where athletic competitions at religious festivals celebrated the human body, particularly the male, in an unparalleled way. The athletes in these contests competed in the nude, and the Greeks considered them embodiments of all that was best in humanity. It was thus perfectly natural for the Greeks to associate the male nude form with triumph, glory, and even moral excellence, values which seem immanent in the magnificent nudes of Greek sculpture. Images of naked male athletes stood as offerings in sanctuaries.

In contrast, female nudity was taboo and extremely frowned upon by the Greek culture. By the mid-fourth century BC when Praxiteles carved the first image of a goddess naked (the Knidian Aphrodite), the sculpture became the center of great controversy due to the fact that even partial nudity was rare in Greek art before the late fifth century BC: the only times female body parts were revealed was when women were victims of violence or represented as prostitutes. Thus, the nude sculpture of Aphrodite needed to be censored. For example, the genitals were not represented, non-existent.

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The Knidian Aphrodite. Courtesy

In French academic art, female nudity was only permissible within the context of a recognisable narrative in an imaginary, mythological or biblical landscape. However, forward-thinking artists portray women in a naturalistic form, engaged in everyday activities, undermining established clichés of femininity and eliminating the voyeurism associated with traditional nudes of the period.

Italy played a major role in the acceptance of female nude art. The lack of Christian influence at that time in Italy coupled with a period of peace through the Peace of Lodi from 1454 to 1494, helped create a period in which nude art could once again develop. Significantly, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in Italy became an important painting which helped spark renewed interest in depicting nude figures and revive classical nudity. Birth of Venus was the first full-scale painting based on a classical theme while portraying the female nude as its principle subject.

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The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

In Birth of Venus, the central goddess of love represents “divine love” and was not created through any religious motivations. Here, Venus appears to be born of sea form and lies on top of the grand scallop shell, revealing everything. The Pompeii Venus shows no sign of modesty and her posture reflects one that conveys submissiveness by lying down backwards as if in a state of vulnerability, called the reclining nude. The reclining nude position soon becomes a trend that other Italians follow, creating a stark contrast with male nudes, who are more often as active, erect, and aggressive.

The Birth of Venus, changed the mindset of French revolutionists who started preaching for equality and liberty which made the female nude art popular.

Ultimately,the motivations and acceptance behind nudist works of arts in society are clearly influenced by increased political freedom. In the case of nudist female paintings, political freedom does not necessarily mean freedom for the country, but rather more political and social freedom compared to men — increased equality.

‘We can’t breathe’ Visible and ignored air pollution inside the homes in Syokimau

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For over 3 years residents of Syokimau have been grappling to access clean air. For those 3 years, three heartbreaking words have been part of their diction…pollution, sickness and for some death.

Syokimau, a neighbourhood close to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is a middle-income residence. It’s a home to more than 5,000 people, many of them staying in two- or three-bedroom apartments.

But there are several factories – among them a steel mill, a cement manufacturing plant and an asphalt factory – dotted across the community, sitting close to residential blocks.

Every day, they wake up to the stench and dusty air. The children in the estate have developed breathing problems.

Rashidah and Nazir Hakada are a victim of this pollution by Endmor Steel millers according an expose by a local TV Station, Citizen TV.

They are still mourning their two-year-old daughter Hafsah who died in June 2019 after succumbing to acute respiratory tract infection, a condition in which the lungs are so inflamed that they cannot provide vital organs with enough oxygen.

Doctors associate the breathing in of high concentrations of smoke or chemical fumes as a potential cause of the condition.

Hafsah succumbed to acute respiratory tract infection

“Our daughter got breathing problems. She was admitted first in April. They discharged us. They once again admitted us in June because of the same problem. She only spent 48 hours there and she died,” Mr Hakada says.

The couple have two other children, and one of them was also recently admitted to hospital with breathing problems.

Despite the incessant air pollution emanating from the steel milling factory, authorities have looked the other way as families live in despair.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the level of fine particulate matter in the city’s outdoor air is 17 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). This is 70% above the recommended maximum level.

This figure could even be higher given the absence of a robust monitoring system.

Outdoor (ambient) air pollution causes more than 3 million premature deaths globally each year and increases the risk of respiratory diseases and cardiovascular conditions.