Of course we don’t literally believe Africa is a Country (unlike say rapper Rick Ross). The title of the blog is ironic and is a reaction to old and tired images of “Africa”. We deliberately challenge and destabilize received wisdom about the African continent and its people in Western media — that definition includes “old (nationally oriented) media,” new social media as well as “global news media”.
Media here means more than journalism; it is also art, music, film, books, graphic design, etcetera. We don’t spend all our time criticizing though. We also celebrate and feature work that we think complicate the old, ahistoric and objectional images. We want to introduce our readers to work by Africans and non-Africans about the continent and its diaspora that have worked against the old and tired images of Africa.
The blog is that, and more. As one of the core members of the collective, Neelika Jayawardane, explains it on our Facebook page, Africa is a Country is also about constructing a state of mind. One where the “nation” operates outside the borders of modern nation states in Africa and its continental and conceptual boundaries. So, yes, the blog announces that Africa is indeed a “country,” an imagined community whose “citizens” must reinvent the narrative and visual economy of Africa.
Africa is a Country was founded by Sean Jacobs and developed over time—it wasn’t always clear what it would be become—into a collective of scholars, writers, artists, filmmakers, bloggers, and curators who together produce online commentary, original writing, media criticism, short videos, and photography.
If all of that still doesn’t make sense, how’s this: This is the blog that’s not about famine, Bono, or Barack Obama.
Here are some of our projects:
A monthly round up of audio treats from around Africa and its diaspora with occasional commentary from the community of writers from Africasacountry.com. The host of Africa is a Country Radio is Chief Boima, a DJ and contributing editor for the website. His work aims to challenge genre definitions and categorization by drawing connections across geographic distances, language, and national borders – in the process asserting the contributions of Africans, wherever they are, to the now.
The big idea behind the page is to present a more global, postcolonial (for want for a better word) take on world football. The main focus of the page for the foreseeable future will be African football. What that means is quite broad — both the categories of “African” and “football” will be pretty elastic. As you can imagine, we take into account the forces of migration, media and identity politics. We promise the writing will be witty and insightful, alive to the history of the game and its social and political resonances, and we will not be afraid to make a bit of mischief where necessary. Check out our embryonic Facebook page for a taster of the kinds of things we’ll be covering.