AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Friday, November 8th, 2013

Football and Dictatorships

World and European champions Spain will play Equatorial Guinea in a friendly in Malabo on November 16th. We can only speculate as to why Spain is playing this match. There’s of course history: Spain once colonized Equatorial Guinea; it was its only African colony (Spain’s African colonies consisted of this, a coastal enclave of Morocco and

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Kwadwo Asamoah makes it 150 appearances in Serie A

Asamoah, who just achieved milestone of 150 Serie A appearances, is not shy about publicly sharing his good fortune. He is a relentless tweeter, sharing pics of teammates including one of his son with Giorgio Ciellini (“Beauty...

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

When marketing men make films about football

I finally got around to watching “Thierry Henry 1:1″ on iTunes. The promo material is written in breathless prose: “Who is the personality hidden in this dream career? … What are his ideals? What goals does he want...

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Who hasn’t lip synced to Toto’s “Africa”? Latest: crew of oil supply ship off Equatorial Guinea coast

At last count there were about 140,000 covers of the 1980s American rock band Toto’s song “Africa” on Youtube.  And then there’s all the remixes or samples by more recognized performers.  Just as a sample: R&B crooner...

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Tuesday morning quarterbacking*

The meaningless football tournaments of the summer--mostly to the benefit of sponsors--are thankfully now over. Club football calendars from around the world have been synched (mainly to please European club owners), so this weekend was basically the...

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Weekend Music Break 50

As the OG of #Musicbreaks I'm responsible for stuff like jazz, leaving the more energetic genres (hip hop, global base, kwaiti and Naija derivative pop) to the much younger AIAC co-conspirators. So here's 10 tunes/artists...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

When Jean-Michel Basquiat went to Africa

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the first American artist of African descent to achieve international stardom, often referenced Africa or the African diaspora in his work. Take, for example, 1983′s “The Nile” (a painting that featured nods to Egyptian hieroglyphs,...

Friday, July 5th, 2013

3 Books on Nelson Mandela

The American public radio network, NPR, asked me to recommend 3 books its listeners could read on Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. Of course I recommended Long Walk to Freedom and Conversations with Myself. I also included this small...

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

After the World Cup is gone

Do we need a book on the 2010 World Cup already? That’s the first question I asked Peter Alegi and Chris Bolsmann, editors of the brand new volume, Africa’s World Cup (University of Michigan Press, 2013). Their quick riposte:...

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

After Mandela

I returned home to South Africa a few days before Nelson Mandela was readmitted to hospital. This is the fourth and longest period he has been under observation by doctors since last December, and many here are...

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The new and improved Africa is a Country is here

June 12th is a momentous day in African history. For example, in 1964, Nelson Mandela and seven other resistance leaders were sentenced to life in prison for terrorism by an Apartheid South African court. Much later,...

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Africa is a Country is getting a makeover

If you wondering what this stripped down design on the blog is all about, we’re getting a new look and will be back soon. Meanwhile, you can visit or sign up to our Facebook and Twitter pages...

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The BBC’s standards of journalism when it comes to South Africa

Read it here. The main claims of the piece (and a documentary broadcast in the UK on Sunday night) are that the white poor number about 400,000 (that would be about 10% of the white population), that there...

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

VICE and the “new journalism model”*

The business of journalism as we know is in trouble and there's a scramble for a "new journalism model,” with VICE.com held up as the latest prototype (see here, here and here). I am not so...

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

It may be time for Mother Jones to update its Celebrity Map of Africa

UPDATED: Airports in some African countries can’t keep up with entertainers (and celebrities) either visiting for big pay days (that’s the case especially for rappers and R&B stars, and Kim K), to rehabilitate their images via PR...

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Weekend Special, N°1001

1. The gray lady will sing. The New York Times has now featured two West African marriages in its Sunday “Vows” section in a matter of weeks. The first is of a Nigerian wedding (ceremonies in Abuja...

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Yes, some Africans do admire Margaret Thatcher

Today is Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, to which guests have been asked to “wear full day ceremonial dress without swords.” Remember when we blogged about Margaret Thatcher’s terrible legacy? Read it again here and here. We were emphatic...

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Roger Ebert was the business

There are other film critics who are intellectual–like Stuart Klawans at The Nation, Armond White (he was good once) and Stanley Kaufmann at The New Republic–but they lacked Ebert’s accessibility and heart. (Ebert, by the way, had...

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Weekend Special, N°1000

With this, I am bringing back Weekend Special for all those things we don't have the time to blog about or say more than the required 140 characters on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Margaret Thatcher est morte

If you wonder what we make of the legacy of Lady Thatcher (as Fox and Rush Limbaugh and every TV anchor in the United States can’t stop saying), this will suffice: In 1984, she invited South African...

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Friday Jazz Breaks

I haven’t done this type of music break (i.e. all jazz) in a while. But before counting down some good music (basically stuff I’ve been listening to lately), first let me promote an event: Later this month,...

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The story of Happy Sindane puts the lie to South Africa’s rainbow shibboleths

A short South African Press Association bulletin on Monday announced the death of one Happy Sindane. If you don’t remember him (and South Africans are notorious for their short memories), he “made headlines in late May 2003...

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Chinua Achebe The Writer Lives On

By Mukoma Wa Ngugi “Sir, I am very happy to finally meet you in person – I have read all your books,” a man gushed to my father, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi....

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Ben Affleck makes the DRC cool again

The New York Times, in its infinite wisdom (it comes with being The New York Times), decided that one of the paper’s reporters, one Brooks Barnes, should write what amounts to a fluff piece (it’s not actual...

Monday, March 18th, 2013

New York African Film Festival 2013

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the New York African Film Festival. The Festival–from April 3rd to the 9th at Lincoln Center–is still the longest running, and probably most significant, African film festival in North America....

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Why is there a news media blackout about political repression in Djibouti?

Guest Post by Abdourahman Waberi, Ali Deberkale and Dimitri Verdonck On the eve of the legislative election of February 22, 2013, in the Republic of Djibouti, Hafez Mohamed Hassan, a 14-year-old schoolboy, was shot dead by the secret...

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Voortrekker Monument and “the many mistakes” of the Afrikaner past

On a recent trip to South Africa, I managed to fit in a visit to the Voortrekker Monument, the enormous mausoleum on a hilltop just outside the capital Pretoria. The monument, which celebrates Afrikaner nationalism, was begun...

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Africa is a Country TV is back: We interview Kenyan supergroup Just a Band

Apart from seeing our logo superimposed on a building in downtown Johannesburg, this is a good way to celebrate AIAC TV’s return to Youtube. We (well Dylan Valley) attended STR.CRD in Johannesburg last year. STR.CRD is South...

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The Music of Bell Atlas

One of my current favorite bands–haven’t seen them play live yet; they’re out West–is Bell Atlas. That the lead singer Sandra Lawson is a distant relative of late Nigerian legend Rex Lawson (he is a distant cousin...

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Shameful Self-promotion: Sean wrote an online essay for the SSRC on ‘New media in Africa and the Global Public Sphere’

The main takeaway from #Kony2012 is that it will probably retain some salience—despite the widespread criticism against the film and its makers—for how most people, including some Africans, will engage with Sub-Saharan African issues for the time...

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