Dakar’s African Renaissance

I have wanted to come to Dakar since I was a young man growing up in western Kenya reading Léopold Sédar Senghor’s poetry. My mother, a schoolteacher, made me read Senghor’s poetry…

James Baldwin on film

Since 1949, James Baldwin has been singing a song. It’s an old tune, at times tender, chiding, insistent, blaring, but always loving. It is, at its core, a bluesy refrain to the…

The right to ‘eat’

Politics in many parts of Africa is often understood through a metaphor of eating – a point to which Jean-François Bayart drew our attention in his seminal 1989 publication, The State in…

Weekend Special, No.1976

Happy Father’s Day. This was the week of June 16th–the commemoration of the 1976 Soweto Uprising, which gave impetus to the long last phase of the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa.…

The perenial dictator 

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame had promised to step down before this year’s election. “Those who seek a third term seek a fourth and then a fifth term,” Kagame said after winning Rwanda’s…

The great opus of “Small Bobby”

In the 1950s and 1960s, the South African magazine Drum gained an international reputation for innovatively revealing black urban life as told, in the main, by black writers and photographers. Ranjith Kally’s…