* Weekend Special is all that stuff we wanted to, but did not get around to writing about but shared on social media or things we feel bear repeating. First up, is the impunity of the police in the United States. The last few days here in New York City (and around the country and the world) have been characterized by spontaneous protests (the image, by a neighbor Michael Skolnik, was taken at Grand Central Station last night) against police violence. Here at Africa is a Country we published two pieces on the subject–the first by T.O. Molefe and the second by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza–while I was interviewed by PRI’s The World on comparisons with South Africa. Here’s an excerpt: “At one level, it’s not very different from what many poor black people in South Africa are going through right now. You have the [South African government] acting violently through the police against people protesting about the conditions under which they have to live … There was all this optimism built on a false consensus of a rainbow nation in which somehow just good feelings and good intentions would get South Africa away from the structural apartheid it inherited and they’d create a new society. But I think, in South Africa, there’s a sense that it didn’t work.”
* This week was also the first anniversary of the passing of Nelson Mandela, a man who since he emerged from prison in 1990 have been reduced to a one-dimensional figure separate from the history of the African National Congress. Mandela is now celebrated and co-opted by all sorts of political causes and personalities whose politics he would have opposed while alive, but who now claimed him as one of their own (here’s looking at you Helen Zille). In any case, our Archive is a good place to rid yourselves of such propaganda.
* For all the hype about Western assistance, “most of the work of tracking, isolating and treating (Ebola) patients, burying the dead and raising awareness to minimize contagion had fallen to the three poor countries at the heart of the outbreak: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” reports The New York Times. So it is only proper that @YayaToure, @IdrisElba, @OfficialVieira et al got together to shoot the #WeveGotYourBack tribute to health workers in Sierra Leone fighting the Ebola Virus Disease.
Then the health workers in Freetown got to see themselves on film:
* This comment by former Ghana President Jerry Rawlings on the latest piece of news of some “pastor” in Ghana who kicked and stepped on the stomach of a pregnant woman): “Many too often as we watch our TVs, I don’t think we are putting enough efforts into showcasing some of these cultural traditional festivals – the activities that are going on around the countryside – and yet so much time is spent giving airtime, precious airtime to people like these two prophets I’ve been talking about of late: the one in Tema, called Obinim and the other one called Kumchacha … “
And yes, if you’re wondering, T.B. Joshua has still not produced any evidence of a mystery aircraft attacking his church building where 116 people died.
* Then there’s the liberal use of “Africa” in this TMZ story: “an African Thing,” “his native Africa.” Then there’s the reader comments. That must also be the first time we’ve read that being an African is a valid excuse to stalk someone. Anyway it is a TMZ story.
* Who said derivative pop can’t have pan-Africanist (well, as far as crossing over to capture audiences) ambitions.
* There’s also Iyadede’s new music:
* We don’t care much for the whole TED franchise, but news that legendary Nigerian footballer Sunday Oliseh had given a TEDx (that’s the version where anyone just organize their own TED) lecture in London, make us sit up. Till the video goes up, just watch this and you’ll know why we care:
* British Nigerian writer Ben Okri (winner, Man Booker Prize for “The Farmished Road” in 19991) was awarded the “Bad Sex” award for this love scene:
“When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain. She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail … The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her. Somewhere in the night a stray rocket went off.”
Okri issued, according to The Guardian, this humorless statement: “A writer writes what they write and that’s all there is to it.”
* Finally, here’s what we think is the Vine of the Week: “Coming home to jollof rice and then you’re told they fried dodo too”
* Acknowledgements to Elliot Ross for suggestions.