AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

JOURNALISM

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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 as we celebrated the South African writer and editor’s long overdue trip home. With isiZulu songs echoing off

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...

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

What’s the matter with … R.W. Johnson

The South African RW Johnson has undergone a transformation of youthful radical to smug “anti-apartheid” liberal anti-communist and scholar of the French Left (think Tony Judt-lite), resulting in the final incarnation of a  pompous red-faced “liberal” colonial...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Telling “the African story”

We often hear political and business leaders and Africanists talk about the need to “tell the African story.” For us, “tell the African story” means nothing. In other words, it is a cliché of no value. We don’t know...

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...

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

There are apparently only three people in the world that can cook pasta like Wole Soyinka

Soyinka turned 80 this year. We learn this in an interview a Nigerian newspaper did with his wife, Folake: “He cooks and he is quite good at it. He even cooked about two days ago. When the boys...

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Live from Grahamstown

Every winter, for 11 days in early July,  the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed...

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Facebook and Politics in Zimbabwe: Who is Baba Jukwa?

Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, is buzzing with the arrest of Edmund Kudzayi, editor-in-chief at the Zimbabwean Sunday Mail. Together with his brother Phillip Kudzayi, the editor stood accused of administrating the faceless online personality known as “Baba Jukwa.”...

Friday, July 18th, 2014

The Goal is Clarity: War, Sports, and the Dangerous, Delightful, and Disgusting Elasticity of Experience

In the weeks since returning from the West Bank I’ve been tuned into the news, the news that stays news, and the news that isn’t news at all. The top story in the The New York Times...

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Shooting Lagos

In February of 2013, I made a hurried decision to head to Lagos, in an attempt to shoot a pilot season for My Africa Is,  an ongoing web documentary series, that aims to dispute the one dimensional...

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Thank You, Associated Press

We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time...

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Does Israel provide asylum seekers with fake documents to deport them?

When Israeli activist Dafna Lichtamn got home from Mozambique two months ago, she had a layover in Addis Ababa airport. Walking around the main Ethiopian airport she suddenly ran into an old friend, Sadik Alsadik, an asylum seeker...

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Brazilians are used to this

The Mexican writer Alma Guillermoprieto declared this World Cup “the best ever.” Few can disagree. A total of 136 goals were scored in 48 group matches and another 18 in the 8 matches of the last round....

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Dear Ann Coulter …

Ann Coulter, an American columnist who makes Richard Littlejohn and Donald Rumsfeld look like easy-going lefties, has finally written about football, having “held off on writing about soccer for a decade — or about the length of...

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The American Ending

There can be a logic to loss, but often it feels arbitrary. The ground beneath the losing party is unsteady, uncertain. To go by a number of recent pieces, American sports journalism wishes to fix football and...

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Paul Kagame’s Rabbi

Shmuley Boteach seems to be everywhere these days. The right-wing rabbi’s new book Kosher Lust has just been released. Last week, he played host to a galafeaturing Chris Christie, giving the New Jersey governor a chance to make amends with Sheldon Adelson,...

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The legalization of political repression in Ethiopia

It has been one month since the latest round of repression against government critics in Ethiopia began. Last weekend, the Zone9 bloggers and three journalists who were arrested in late April appeared in court. To date, very...

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Everybody needs good neighbours (except “those Nigerians”)

Vocativ, is what some trust for a news source in the United States. An American news-aggregator accessing the ‘deep web’ for information in a bid to report the world in slick packaging that uses dramatic music and...

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The music that changed my life

The Cape Town suburb of Observatory is known for being a small bohemian enclave, providing low cost housing for students, artists and ‘free spirits’ of all sorts. Walk down Lower Main Road past the quaint mini-Victorian houses...

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Admit it, you didn’t expect the Economic Freedom Fighters to do so well

At first sight, the results for national and provincial elections in South Africa may suggest that little has changed. The ANC still got more than 60% of the national vote (despite its poor leadership); the largest parliamentary...

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls: What took the world so long?

Like so many others I am glad to see more people around the world take up the issue of the school girls who were kidnapped more than two weeks ago from Chibok in the north east region...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

A Rwandan storify: The sensational tale of Rwanda’s gospel-singer-terrorist

Stories shift quickly in our 24-hour news cycle. The sensational tale of Rwanda’s gospel-singer-terrorist is no exception. Authorities have attempted to shape the narrative and control the headlines. For better or worse, Rwanda’s embrace of social media allows us...

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Vogue Italia’s editor wants to help Africa like itself

Remember Vogue Italia’s Rebranding Africa issue? (Elliot Ross got jealous and denigrated Ban Ki Moon’s cover model shot in an epic post.) Seriously, though, it looks like the editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, who came up with that brainchild,...

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

“Our hearts are bleeding. We are mothers.”

Last week, Guardian lead writer Anne Perkins wondered about the discrepancy between media coverage of the South Korean ferry tragedy and the abduction of 200 girls from a girls’ school in Chibok, in Borno State, in northeastern...

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)...

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Rwanda and the NY Times: On those images by Pieter Hugo pairing perpetrators and victims of the 1994 Genocide

“Portraits of Reconciliation,”–the photo-essay commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide–published recently in the New York Times, is a deeply disturbing piece of journalism.  Profoundly banal, the subtitle states, “20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, reconciliation...

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

‘Township’ is a planet for aliens

A few days ago, Bizcommmunity, an online platform for writings about, amongst other things, content about media, PR and advertising in South Africa published an article riddled with stereotypes. “The township is no longer a foreign land...

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The #BullshitFiles: This rich New York designer couple have never been to Africa, but can smell it

The stuff rich white people say sometimes. The New York Times’ Style section is more often than not full of arse-kissing puff pieces that do little besides illustrating the genealogies of privilege stretching between New York, Hollywood,...

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Europeans ‘rescuing’ African art from obscurity again

On April 1st, the Saatchi Gallery in London held a private preview for its new exhibition, Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, ahead of the five-month long show. Attendees remarked at the variety of art...

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: How Unexpected

From this week’s Washington Post Travel Section--"How unexpected: There was more modernity than I expected, such as extremey modern infrastructure (roads, etc.) in many places, although there is still poverty there. "

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