AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Author Archive

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Telling “the African story”

We often hear political and business leaders and Africanists talk about the need to “tell the African story.” For us, “tell the African story” means nothing. In other words, it is a cliché of no value. We don’t know what it is supposed to mean. It may be that the idea of a definitive “African story” gains

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

There are apparently only three people in the world that can cook pasta like Wole Soyinka

Soyinka turned 80 this year. We learn this in an interview a Nigerian newspaper did with his wife, Folake: “He cooks and he is quite good at it. He even cooked about two days ago. When the boys...

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Thank You, Associated Press

We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The World of Ridiculous Youtube Music Videos: First Bangs, then Ice JJ Fish, Kwality, now Berenice

Singing or rapping off key in an expensive or sometime low budget music video is now a cottage industry in the rabbit hole that makes up Youtube.   The African diaspora have not been spared. The pioneer of...

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Adam Sandler’s “Africa” (late night TV talk shows can’t get enough of it)

Just based on the trailer alone, it was safe to predict that “Blended,” the comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore about two single parents who after a dismal first date, magically end up on vacation at the...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

A drive-by analysis of Malawi’s election

The whole election seems to have been pretty dodgy. From the outside it looks like all major parties have tried to cook the electoral books with some intense rigging, and the consensus is that it’s by far the...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

A Rwandan storify: The sensational tale of Rwanda’s gospel-singer-terrorist

Stories shift quickly in our 24-hour news cycle. The sensational tale of Rwanda’s gospel-singer-terrorist is no exception. Authorities have attempted to shape the narrative and control the headlines. For better or worse, Rwanda’s embrace of social media allows us...

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

#GEJPOSE: When Goodluck Jonathan got the hashtag treatment

It baffles us why politicians and public agencies–especially unpopular ones–think they can still control their images in the age of social media. Take the New York Police Department’s @NYPDNews account on Twitter to #MyNYPD campaign to solicit...

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Nene Leakes’ ‘African tribal dance’

"He said, 'Hunni nobody can do this, you're the only person here who can do this. You're always the queen bee, and fabulous, and over the top, so there's nobody else here who can do an African...

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Cape Town company that designs and markets “slave ship” ironing boards and aprons

What is it with some white South Africans' penchant for living in an a-historical bubble? Gumtree, the South African Craigslist, is running an ad for an apartment in Randburg, a former white suburb of Johannesburg (with about...

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Can forgiveness that is mandated by a government be genuine?

Reviewer Neil Genzinger (in The New York Times) writes about the new documentary film, "Coexist" (to be shown on US public television this month) about post-genocide Rwanda, 20 years later. The film, according to Genzinger, "... at...

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Sunday night on Twitter with Binyavanga Wainaina

We sometimes joke that often when we're online the only other person who's consistently awake and on Twitter (no matter where he is in the world) is Binyavanga Wainaina. It's like, if you blink, you miss out...

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

The wisdoms of Akon

The Senegalese-American singer Akon may be a very talented musician, but he has terrible politics. And he likes to share them. Remember when George W Bush was still President in the United States and Akon opined to...

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The trouble with #WhiteHistoryMonth is that it is not history yet

Today, the theft of Aboriginal children – including babies taken from the birth table – is now more widespread than at any time during the last century. As of June last year, almost 14,000 Aboriginal children had...

Friday, March 14th, 2014

#CaptionThis: What was Madonna pointing at?

For some odd reason, last weekend, this striking black and white image by photographer Terry Kane of pop singer Madonna "tour(ing) a UN millennium village in Mtanga, Malawi, in 2007" illustrated a Financial Times book review...

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: When Marlon Brando brought up Native American rights at the Oscars

In March 1973, Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “The Godfather.” Before the live broadcast of the ceremony Brando indicated he would not turn up at the ceremony and refuse...

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Debate: The future of the workers’ movement in South Africa

In May this year, South Africa will host its 5th general election since the advent of democracy in 1994. The ruling African National Congress have dominated these elections until now (62.6% of the vote in 1994, 66.3%...

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Blame it on Botswana

Spain’s monarchy is apparently having a hard time–in the latest round of scandals, one of the princesses is accused of public corruption along with her husband. But where did it all start to go wrong for the...

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Winnie Mandela on the South African exceptionalism embodied by Nelson Mandela

Mandela was extricated from the masses. He was made an idol, almost Jesus Christ! This is nonsense, a lot of nonsense. The freedom of this country was attained by the masses of this country. It was attained...

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Wangechi Mutu in conversation with Trevor Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker: When did you start to see work by African artists that you did respond to? Was that in New York? Mutu: In New York, ironically, you know, in the early ’90s. Richard Onyango, one of Kenya’s...

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion: T.O. Molefe makes New York Times debut

The New York Times gave us Kristof, Friedman and Brooks. We gave them the Rt Hon T.O. Molefe. Africa is a Country's T.O. Molefe, one of two dozen new columnists, made his debut in The International New...

Monday, November 11th, 2013

On the Journalistic Value of Internet Map Memes

At the Washington Post, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a complex issue, when color-coded in a way that reassured Americans of their innate Superiority over inferior Peoples, could always be relied...

Friday, October 18th, 2013

The #BullshitFiles: KLM offers flights to ‘the Dark Continent’

We’re not making this up. It turns out Royal Dutch flagship carrier’s KLM decision to hire the Dutch East India Company as its PR firm was a bad plan. According to their website, KLM will fly you...

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Is the Nobel Peace Prize totally irrelevant?

Today, at 11am Norwegian local time, we'll know who's won the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize--an award known for its growing irrelevance. Everyone predicts the winner will be Malala Yousafzai. It's worth going through some of the dodgiest...

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Ghana’s Independence Era Through the Lens of S.K. Pobee

The photos below (click to enlarge), offering a glimpse into the joy and optimism of the immediate post-Independence period in Accra, are from Samuel Kobian Pobee’s Modern Photo laboratory. They were acquired by Samy Ben Redjeb of...

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

No wonder Winnie Mandela objected to this

Remember when Darrell Roodt’s “Winnie” first premiered in 2011 at Toronto Film Festival, and tanked? At the time Winnie Mandela herself declared that she didn’t like the film (unfortunately you have to watch Nadia Bilchik deliver this news)–she wasn’t...

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Making sense of the terror attacks in Kenya

If you, like us, are disturbed by US congressman Peter King's suggestions to monitor Somali-Americans, the decision by the world's most visited news site, the Daily Mail, to focus only the fate of North Americans and British...

Friday, September 20th, 2013

When Ken Norton played Mandingo

Ken Norton, the champion professional boxer who died this week, also had a long, though not equally distinctive, career as an actor. He will, however, be remembered for one role: that of a slave prize fighter, Mede,...

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

The #Bullshit Files: Mindy Budgor, ‘the first female Maasai warrior’

Loads of our readers have been badgering us to blog about Mindy Budgor, a young white, middle class American from Southern California (her site comes with a health warning) who traveled to Kenya for a PR campaign...

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Office Talk No.1

Black Thought, Boots Riley (of the Coup), Jeru da Damaja, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, and others at Pan African Market, Long Street, Cape Town, 2001.

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