View this email in your browser
May has been a busy month as lightning safety advocacy programs all over the world prepare to mark 28 June 2021, International Lightning Safety Day (ILSD) 2021, the tenth anniversary of the Runyanya Disaster when 18 children were killed and 38 hospitalized from one lightning strike to their school in 2011, the disaster that catalyzed ACLENet's

 On 27-28 May, ACLENet co-sponsored a worldwide conference
'Preparing for ILSD2021 - Raising Awareness and Saving Lives'
285 people from 38 countries registered for training, networking and sharing their lightning safety activities.
Day 1 YouTube recording
Day 2 YouTube recording
We give special thanks to Daile Zhang for editing, annotating with speakers, times, titles, and uploading these.

The World Meteorological Organization partnered with the Caribbean Met Org to host
 'Symposium on Lightning and Lightning Safety Awareness
on 19-20 May. 
The program, recordings of the presentations and more available at LINK

On May 11-12, the University of Witwatersrand Center of Excellence on High Voltage Engineering (CEHVE) and NAM S&T Centre held
'An International Roundtable on Policy Development on Lightning Hazard Mitigation Strategies in Countries with High Lightning Flash Density'
Day 1 Recordings
Day 2 Recordings

ACLENet is wholly supported by donations, grants and the work of our volunteers. 
Our activities receive no government money from any country, although we would be happy to partner with any government in saving lives.
DONATE to Save the Lives of African Children
Newsletter Content:
Lead Story, Editors' Note 
'Tell your story'
Lightning Folklore
Lightning events reported for May

Video: Pillars of Lightning Protection Webinar
Nord-Khanyiso was killed by a lightning strike, but also government's ineptitude.

Coming from one of the poorest families in the village and being the first person in his family to reach matric, Khanyiso was a beacon of light and inspiration to his kin. To get him to this point, his mom, Zukiswa, sold packets of chips for R1 each and shared in a small portion of her father’s old-age grant.

Each day, Khanyiso walked four hours between Nqileni to Folokhwe to get to school and back – a ritual of resilience practised by so many young learners in the area.

On a Monday afternoon in March, reaching the final steep incline, his home in sight, Khanyiso died, killed by lightning. The light he represented was cruelly extinguished by light itself.

Read more
The Critical Role Played by Governments in Disaster Risk Reduction
 As we prepare to commemorate International Lightning Safety Day (ILSD-2021), let us remind ourselves of the critical role governments can play in promoting lightning safety.

In the last month, two stories about lightning reminded us of the critical role played by governments in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), specifically, in promoting lightning safety. These are the stories of Khanyiso, a school boy in South Africa, killed by lightning in March, and Sandra Akullu, a village girl in northern Uganda who cannot get married because she is accused of carrying a charm which brought down lightning that killed her stepmother eleven years ago.

According to the story of Khanyiso, the writer thinks that if government had fulfilled its pledge of a school bus for pupils who walk many miles to and from school, the boy would not have been struck by lightning as he was walking home after school. Social services provided by governments vary from region to region, and there are those which are specific to a country. For example, not many African countries would have such a public service as school buses for children. Most of these unique services are best understood using the historical perspective: in South Africa, this service was supposed to address the historical social-economic imbalance brought about by apartheid regimes of the past.

However, the moral of the story is that governments should work to fulfil their promises because they carry many implications. In the case of Khanyiso, provision of a school bus would have provided lightning safety, the writer asserts, even though that was not the original objective.

The story of Sandra Akullo in Uganda reminds us of public safety messaging and the shaping of perceptions in communities. The absence of these messages creates lacunae that can be filled by any wild imagined theory. It is alleged that on a cloudy day, Sandra transported a charm to her stepmother’s house that immediately brought down lightning which killed the stepmother. What an imagination! It was already cloudy and science informs us that lightning is a byproduct of the process of rain formation. This story does not explain how Sandra or her charm created the clouds nor how she survived this 'immediate' strike herself.

 Again, public safety messages to counter such wild imaginations can only be effective if governments are involved. This is because governments, especially in the developing world, are the single biggest influencers of opinions.

At ACLENet, we are ready to work with governments, especially departments responsible for DRR, to deliver appropriate public safety messages.
Tell your lightning story
Ask questions

Become one of our Citizen Reporters
by reporting an incident.

Young woman ostracized by her community for delivering a lightning charm to kill her stepmother when she was ten years old. (Langi tribe, Uganda)

Akullu Sandra, daughter of Mr. Owiny Barowak in Abei village Atule parish in Cawente sub-county Kwania district is unable to secure for herself a spouse and faces rejection from the community after she was nicknamed 'lut-kot', a Langi word meaning Lightning. This happened after her mother, Auma Christine, daughter of Mr. Obang, used her to take ’Lwit’ (charms) to the stepmother's house to invite lightning to strike the stepmother and her children.

Sandra allegedly took the charm to her stepmother's house during a mild drizzle on a cloudy day, causing lightning to strike, killing her stepmother and others who had taken shelter in the same hut. A total of five people died while two children were severely injured with permanent brain damage.

This incident happened in 2010 when Akullu Sandra was 10 years old. Now 21, she continues to face social stigmatization, cultural dissatisfaction and rejection from her peers and every male of marrying age fears to show interest in her. It is socially unacceptable to practice divination or use charms to kill, so no males among the Langi tribe would want to associate or marry a woman who is involved in using charms to control or direct lightning to kill people or destroy property.

Rejection from the community and cultural leaders caused by this tragedy led to the separation of Sandra's parents. Because no one wants to befriend or relate with her, Sandra has moved to another village searching for peace and acceptance.

Story compiled by Mr. Nicholas Opio

African Lightning Events Reported in May
Khanyiso was killed by a lightning strike, but also government’s ineptitude
South Africa

Story 3 May 2021
(Death occurred in March)
Read more
Lightning kills eight year old

14 April 2021
Read more
A young man struck down in Dessa

18 April 2021
Read more
Lightning kills one child and burns another in Kribi

22 April 2021
Read more
One Killed, 9 Injured in Musanze District

4 May 2021
Read more
Electric discharge causes two deaths in Quitexe
9 May 2021
Read more
Kpassa: Lightning struck woman dead in Oti Region Ghana
29 May 2021
Read more

Surge Protection and Earthing Webinar Recap 6-26-2020

For video of lightning across Africa,
Click to read past Newsletters
© 2019 African Centres for Lightning and Electromagnetics Network, Inc.
501(c)3 designated nonprofit
Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions

For comments, questions, and more information, please contact:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
Subscribe or update your preferences or unsubscribe.


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
African Centres for Lightning and Electromagnetics Network · 632 Clinton Place · River Forest, IL 60305 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp