AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Author Archive

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Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

South Africans lack table manners and posture. That’s all.

South Africa TV will soon debut “Real Housewives of Johannesburg.” If that’s not enough, in other news, the country’s first School of Etiquette is now open in one of Johannesburg’s rich northern suburbs. The owner of the Etiquette School, Courtney Carey, has been doing the media rounds. Much of the coverage, is not surprisingly, soft

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

White Schools in postapartheid South Africa

It’s a little over two decades ago that South Africa’s Whites Only schools began to ‘welcome’ Black students (African, Coloured and Indian) students into their classrooms. Guided by the official principles of multiculturalism and equality, many a...

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Why Oscar Pistorius’ anxiety spectacle might matter more than we think

Guess what? Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic champion who is tried for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, turns out to be sane. He might still lose his temper, like the other day when VIP-ing...

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Save The Children Tries Models and Sex Appeal

Is your NGO looking for innovative tactics to reach new Northern donors? Here’s one for the books. Last week, Save the Children released a video in which they dupe models into advocating for children’s rights. The video opens...

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The Economist sees the bright side of Oscar Pistorius murder trial

A few days ago, The Economist explained why violence against women in South Africa is not as bad as we think. The magazine’s effort to set some inflated accounts of violence straight was stirred by (what else)...

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Know your Dutch history

Twenty years ago, Teun van Dijk published the book Elite Discourse and Racism, in which he discusses the subtle ways that racial discrimination pervaded Dutch society at the time. To van Dijk it appeared that, as pivotal socializing agents,...

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Nelson Mandela and the Dutch

Shortly after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela embarked on a six week tour across Europe. As the Dutch newspaper NRC mentioned last week, he initially declined the invitation to include the Netherlands in this tour, this...

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Why do the middle classes in South Africa pay their domestic workers such low wages?

A few months after the Hewitts, a white South African family in the capital Pretoria, moved to a black township to live there for a month and blogged about it, we are left to wonder — media...

Friday, September 6th, 2013

African Radio’s growing and enduring popularity

A few days ago, I overheard a BBC World Service presenter announce an on air discussion on media in Africa by saying that many young people “do away with radio and television” and get their news online...

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

That TIME story that South Africa may outlaw spanking at home

On 30 July TIME Magazine reported that South Africa’s government, in cooperation with some notable children’s rights NGO’s, is drafting a bill that would outlaw spanking at home. If the bill passes, South African parents lose their...

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

South African NGO challenges dominant ideas about how to be a man

Even though the overall media attention for the matter has faded these past few months, women in South Africa continue to be brutalized, harassed, assaulted and murdered by the country’s men (mostly in the domestic sphere by...

Friday, June 28th, 2013

A History of Violence

While South African men seem to increasingly realize that it is their responsibility to do something about the endemic levels of violence against girls and women, the resulting initiatives have often taken the form of symbolic gestures,...

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Is violence against women too common, too ordinary to qualify as interesting?

Back in February gender-based violence dominated media and public talk when South Africans declared themselves woken up, disgusted, outraged and horrified after the rape and murder of working class, black Anene Booysen and the murder of middle...

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

How to Please Your Man “Zambia Style”

Imagine you’re a 17 year old middle class Dutch girl. You just cycled home from another boring day at school. Trapped in the conventional humdrum of the day, you are deprived of the stirring type of high...

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Dutch artist Ruud van Empel talks about his art, including how to portray black children

About a month ago, we came across the ‘World’ series by Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel. Initially, his art stood out because of the ‘race’ and age of his models, the majority of whom are black children. Since...

Friday, February 15th, 2013

How to deal with sexual violence in South Africa

A month after the BBC wondered if South Africans will ever be shocked by rape, the sadistic rape and murder of the 17 year old coloured working class woman, Anene Booysen, from Bredasdorp, a small town in...

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Future Radioheads

Few subjects manage to pull our critique trigger as handsomely as Western celebrities on an Africa related mission. But when a rock star gets it right and decides to do some awesome stuff during his first-ever visit...

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

‘Race jokes’ in South Africa

South African advertising is known for its eagerness for political commentary; very little ends up being off-limits. Blink Stefanus, or BS Beer (the double meaning for ‘bullshit’ being an obvious choice) is no exception. In September this year the...

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Gaborone is not a bore

Typing in ‘Gaborone’ in the New York Times search engine and taking a look at the first 21 articles makes for some curious maths. Of these first 21 pieces, 5 were published in the 1970s, 7 in...

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

How to write about children in Africa

In early October this year, PBS released the documentary ‘Half the Sky’, based on the book by frequent AIAC target and New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn (a former Times journalist) focusing...

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Dutch author: ‘If only Africans would complain a bit more’

In a recent interview, Pepijn Vloemans, a regular commentator in Dutch mainstream press and the author of the book ‘Wat hebben we weer genoten’ (What a joy we had), described how his drive for adventure and experimental...

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My delicious ‘Afrigasm’

We’re always ready to travel far to get satisfaction. God knows we’re prepared to get hot and sweaty. So when, after months of romanticizing and exoticizing, our dreams finally take off, there is only one thought on...