AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

HISTORY

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Monday, September 15th, 2014

Scotland’s referendum is significant for people that want to secede. Like Zanzibaris

“Should Scotland be an independent country?” That is the question Scots will be asked when they go to the polls on September 18th. The outcome of the vote will have a significant impact on the future of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. More interestingly, this referendum is being closely watched in a

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

The Resurrection of Nat Nakasa

“This is Simply a Personal Statement from Me to You” On August 18th I attended the memorial service for Nat Nakasa at the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Harlem.  What began as a somber event quickly turned joyous...

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The Economist magazine has had a “Slavery Problem” since 1843

The Economist has a slavery problem, as Greg Grandin has recently called it. Grandin’s wonderful article is a response to a series of lamentable book reviews published by The Economist that deal with the topic of slavery: Grandin’s own The Empire of...

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Tanzania and the Palestinian Struggle

The current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has once again brought to the forefront the suffering of the Palestinian people. It has reignited the debate on collective punishment they are made to endure as well as the...

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Do White South Africans constitute a tribe and if so, are they guilty of tribalism?

In a recent article published by Africa is a Country, The Story of a South African “Tribe”, Jared Sacks argues that tribalism is alive and well.  Drawing on Thabo Mbeki’s comments on tribalism in October 2013, he...

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

#HistoryClass: Nigeria’s Super Eagles

Our British colonial masters brought us a lot of good stuff. Stuff such as education, Christianity and corruption, among others. But probably the best thing the Brits brought to us was football. Today, in homage to the...

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

History Class with Cheta: Who is Herbert Macaulay

Too many people have forgotten about the one Naira coin, and the chap on that coin. This is a big disservice to Nigeria. Today’s History Class is going to be about that fellow, the one who has...

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

#HistoryClass: On Jihad in Nigeria

In 1808 forces loyal to the Fulani scholar Shehu Othman dan Fodiyo advanced on Bornu, one of the great Muslim empires of West Africa, rolling it right back to the swampy fringes of Lake Chad. The Mai...

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

‘Thinking About Genocide’ — An Extract from Mahmood Mamdani’s Seminal Book on Rwanda

I visited Rwanda roughly a year after the genocide. On July 22, 1995, I went to Ntarama, about an hour and a half by car from Kigali, on a dirt road going south toward the Burundi border....

Monday, April 28th, 2014

#HistoryClass: Who sold Nigeria to the British for £865k in 1899?

Today we will be discussing the first oil war, which was fought in the 19th century, in the area that became Nigeria. All through the 19th century, palm oil was highly sought-after by the British, for use...

Monday, April 21st, 2014

#HistoryClass: Nigeria’s Police

Right, so by popular demand, let’s talk about the Nigeria Police this Easter Monday because they definitely need to be resurrected. The Nigerian police have come under a lot of scrutiny recently because of, frankly, very poor...

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

#HistoryClass with Cheta Nwanze: A Short History of the Slave Trade

Henry Okelue suggested that today's History Lesson be about Nigeria's security agencies. Problem is, there's paucity of verifiable information, so, we'll go ahead with what was mapped out for today, which is about slavery, it's effects on...

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Where were you when Chris Hani was killed?

On the day he died, i was in our flat on grafton and minors in yeoville. my dad called. i turned on the TV to hear the worst news. i remember being quite hysterical, laughing,...

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

What’s it like to be Somali in Kenya

Twitter is abuzz and Somalis are trending in Kenya, not for reasons of their own, but rather impositions beyond their capacity. There is quite a lot of outrage from all corners that Kenyans venture, from the passionately...

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Can documentary film as a genre do justice to the astounding life of Fela Kuti?

Documentary films truncate an entire life into fleeting bursts of exuberance and somber moments. Any moments that exist in between, however significant they are, are left out completely or brushed over. In making a documentary, on any...

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Chinua Achebe Revisiting Sweden

In October-November 1988, Chinua Achebe travelled through Scandinavia to launch the translations of his novel Anthills of the Savannah into Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, and to meet readers, writers and academics, most of them well-known with his...

Friday, March 21st, 2014

An Afropean Journey

A few years ago, on a snowy January evening, a stranger mistook me for someone he had seen the previous week, aboard an evening train heading to Frankfurt. The moment lasted seconds, but our brief encounter would...

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: Canada’s Art History

In 1786, François Malépart de Beaucourt, a painter in New France (later Quebec), completed a portrait of a woman he owned. Though Canada’s slave-owning history is often whitewashed, it exists in documents such as the painting Portrait...

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: When Salazar met one of Lumumba’s murderers

António Oliveira Salazar founded Portugal’s New State dictatorship in 1933. Some historians like to argue over whether it was fascist or not. And these days, some Portuguese remember him fondly. He presided over the late colonial administrations...

Monday, March 10th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: The American reservation became the South African reserve

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...

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Steve McQueen and the Dutch

The Best Picture win for 12 Years A Slave in the 2014 Academy Awards last weekend has not gone by unnoticed in the Netherlands. Not because of the thematic of the film but because ‘our Steve McQueen’--as...

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Africa has always been more Queer than generally acknowledged

Homosexuality is also often depicted as an import from the deviant West. But the African Continent has always been more queer than generally acknowledged; it has always rainbow-hazed into such a range of sexualities that it is...

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

From the Archives: Alain Resnais’s Film on “African Art” (Statues Also Die, 1953)

French film director Alain Resnais est mort. His career spanned six decades (born in 1922, his last film was premiered in Berlin earlier this year), and has been well documented. His body of work is enormous, but...

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,...

Friday, February 21st, 2014

“Congo Dialogues.” Alice Seeley Harris and Sammy Baloji on exhibit in London

The London gallery Autograph ABP is currently exhibiting Alice Seeley Harris’ well-known 1904 Congo Reform Association photographs, together, or in some form of juxtaposition, with new commissioned photographic and video work by contemporary young Congolese artist Sammy...

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Are Nigerians the New Asians?

Recently, the Nigerian newspaper Punch opened an article as follows: “Nigerians … have been rated among certain races who are bound to succeed over others in America, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.” Anyone who...

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Football, Art, and its Many Intersections: An Interview with Franklin Sirmans

Shortly after the opening of Fútbol: The Beautiful Game at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) I had the opportunity to speak with the exhibition’s curator, Franklin Sirmans. It was actually three days after the...

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Enough of the liberal pieties on Sochi and gay rights

The Guardian‘s website decided to have a rainbow “G” in its title during the past few days in order to support LGBT rights, and to thumb its nose at Russia (a few other news broadcasters/outlets did, too),...

Friday, February 7th, 2014

New short film: John Akomfrah, Stuart Hall and the film essay

In 2013 I had the opportunity to work with frieze, a UK-based contemporary art and culture magazine. Towards the end of my time at the magazine, I co-produced a film on John Akomfrah, which just went live...

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

New Photography Book Depicts the South African Social Landscape

Between 2012 and 2013, an exercise took place known as the France South Africa Season. This bilateral initiative was aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. In 2012 South Africa hosted France for a wide range...

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