The American political scientist Adolph Reed Jnr. once said of Malcolm X: “… He was just like the rest of us—a regular person saddled with imperfect knowledge, human frailties, and conflicting imperatives, but nonetheless trying to make sense of his very specific history, trying unsuccessfully to transcend it, and struggling to push it in a humane direction.” Because in the political present, most of Chris Hani’s comrades in the ruling ANC, the Communist Party and the main trade federation, COSATU, are such disappointments, the tendency is to set him up as some kind of ideal type (even opposition parties, who had time for Hani’s ideas and struggle while he was alive, are doing so opportunistically). At the same time, Hani represented the energies that people inside and outside South Africa invested in the struggle for a more just, humane society. So, yes, his legacy is a neglected one.
On Groovalizacion. The host is Chief Boima, from his new base in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (check out his first post from there). The format is 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 first episode went out this afternoon.
By 11am this morning Pharrell Williams’ pop friendly and infectious “Happy” had racked up 138,948,968 views on Youtube and obviously making him and his record company a lot of money. If it’s not enough that it is playing on every commercial radio station (or in every department) store and is “the world’s first 24 hour music video” (who watches a music video that long?), it is also now the subject of homage videos in which people lip-synch the lyrics to “Happy.” And, like everyone else, Africans want in on the game. The videos are city-themed. Enjoy.
Everyday Africa is an Instagram-based project aiming to document moments from daily life. It was founded in 2012 by the American photojournalist Peter DiCampo and writer Austin Merrill. Initially featuring the work of mostly American foreign correspondents, it now also includes the work of a number of African photographers, like Nana Kofi Acquah (featured before on Africa is a Country), Emeka Okereke and Andrew Esiebo. Chances are you’ve heard of it already as Everyday Africa has received a lot of positive press. Everyday Africa is definitely an important initiative in the north where one-dimensional, highly constructed images of Africans are the norm and so, a while back, I sent Peter some questions (a number of AIAC’ers pitched in too), which he answered. The exchange is below.
In 1993 Mahmood Mamdani first went to South Africa to study apartheid as a form of the state: ‘I realized that basic institutions of apartheid had been created long before the name and the state came into being. The ethnic cleansing of the African population of South Africa began as early as 1913 when the Natives Land Act declared 87% of the land for whites and divided the remaining 13% into so tribal homelands into which to herd the native population. These homelands were called “reserves.” I wondered why the name sounded so uncannily like the American “reservation.” ‘
Every February here schools, McDonald’s, television, corporations, the advertising industry, celebrate Black History Month. The whole thing is a charade. That black people don’t get a break from police brutality, red lining, profiling or plain neglect, doesn’t matter. In 20o7, Gary Younge (he is an ally) suggested that what we needed was a White History Month. So, dear readers–in the service of good sense, this year March is the inaugural White History Month on Africa is a Country. Yes, we’re a few days late, we know, but good things take time sometime. Stay tuned.