2764
2 mins read

Nigerians in Space

In Deji Olukotun’s new novel, a Nigerian scientist stuck as a mid-level employee in the Houston laboratories finds himself with an opportunity to rip into the space-time continuum, to reclaim personal and national honor by returning the rocks to the moon “on behalf of all colonized people.” Equipped with such material, Olukotun would hardly ignore classic science fiction experiments and clichés. Nigerians in Space captures the cocksure attitude and dignified clip of the 1950s radio play, with more mischievous and macabre elements that reflect the frustration of anti-colonial and Pan-African politics.

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2 mins read

Prince Blackwater of China

The paroxysmal ethics of private military ventures are in the news again after The Wall Street Journal’s recent “Saturday Interview” with Erik Prince. He is now “chairman of Frontier Services Group, an Africa-focused security and logistics company with intimate ties to China’s largest state-owned conglomerate, Citic Group.” If you read the interview, then you know Prince is a savvy businessman, because he is a savvy like that. Why? Chinese trade surpassed American trade in Africa back in 2009. And, as WSJ’s David Feith is quick to point out, China-Africa trade could reach $385 billion by 2015.

3314
5 mins read

The #BullshitFiles: An Open Letter to the New Yorker

Following the publication of Elizabeth Rubin’s profile of Shannon Sedgwick Davis (“How a Texas Philanthropist Helped Fund the Hunt for Joseph Kony”, posted October 21, 2013), readers have raised concerns about the New Yorker’s fact-checking process, as well as its apparent lack of interest in the legal and ethical implications of funding private military operations with secretly managed funds.

3686
5 mins read

“Democracy is the Best Form of Democracy”

Let’s say you’re a pirate and you want to design an embassy, which you would use to: a) reproduce the symbols of national sovereignty; b) while challenging ideas about public…..

4675
5 mins read

Everyone has their own Paul Biya

When someone says “Jean-Pierre Bekolo,” I think of the opening scene of his 2005 smash hit Les Saignantes—Adèle Ado suspended and twirling in a harness above leopard print sheets. The…..

3853
5 mins read

Angola’s Biennale

On June 1st, a Sub-Saharan African country won a top prize Leone d’Or/Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale the first time in 118 years. In all the excitement surrounding “Africa’s…..

1197
2 mins read

Kenyan Neorealism

The American film critic J. Hoberman has said that Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” is “the most universally praised movie produced anywhere on planet Earth.” The 1948 Italian neorealist film…..

2 mins read

Os Kuduristas: Hip as Nationalist Project

Let’s say you’re the son of a very wealthy political leader, from a country that was fighting a long war for independence in the 1970s (remember, that war that’s been…..