AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

On being young, black and queer in South Africa

Umlilo (previously profiled on Africa is a Country here) continues to push societal boundaries, crushing the norms of sexuality and gender roles with ‘Magic Man’, a track from his latest album, which will be released in July 2014. Watch the making of the music video and hear his thoughts on circus troops, being an outcast

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Buckingham Palace, Cape Town

My Word! Redesigning Buckingham Palace, is a one-man play, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and performed by co-writer and actor, Basil Appollis. It is based on the life and work of the writer, Richard Rive, who grew up...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Dreadlocked Rapunzel

Lately, there’s been some good rumbling about the dearth of stories that include characters of color (a New York Times critique, a “Top 10 Guide” in The Guardian, 30 Classics on The Griot) . As a father with a young...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Pretoria’s Forgotten Hip-Hop Scene

In 2010, documentary filmmaker Sara Chitambo packed up five years’ worth of life in Cape Town and relocated to the eGoli, ePitori to be precise. Among her long list of priorities was to immerse herself the Pretoria...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Black Europe and Body Politics

BE.BOP (Black Europe & Body Politics) presents yet another important edition titled Spiritual Revolutions & “The Scramble for Africa” this year. For those not familiar with this groundbreaking project, BE.BOP is a curatorial project, in co-production with Ballhaus...

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

Some young Danes thought they’d have some fun with colonialism

At this year’s edition of Roskilde Festival outside Copenhagen in Denmark, guests were invited to join a group of brave, self-declared, male Imperialists from Denmark on an African Expedition, circa 1814. The themed festival camp entitled Afrika-Expeditionen was...

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...

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Music: Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali goes global

Listening to Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali’s newest album Tzenni is like enjoying a complex and meticulously prepared meal. Like an aromatic spice, her striking voice adds richness to each song, combining gorgeously with guitar, bass, drums...

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

What the Dutch court ruling against blackface figure Zwarte Piet means

The Amsterdam court ruling on Dutch blackface hero Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) yesterday quickly went viral. But what does the ruling really mean. In a nutshell: an Amsterdam judge did not forbid the figure of Black Pete, but ruled that Zwarte...

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....

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Africa is a Radio: Episode #4 (World Cup Special!)

I’m shortening the name of Africa is a Country Radio. From now on (save for when I slip up) the show will be known as Africa is a Radio! This month’s show dives fully (rather than the...

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Film: Guerilla-Core or Militant Image? On Göran Olsson’s ‘Concerning Violence’

How do you tell a story about African liberation through the lens of an outsider? Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense, the 2014 documentary by Swedish filmmaker Göran Olsson, attempts to answer this question through presenting...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The World Cup: Algeria in Queens, New York

Islamic hymns emanated from street food carts on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, in observance of Ramadan. At Cafe Borbone, a non-descript Italian coffeehouse nearby, a middle-aged, working-class, almost all-male crowd gathered for Algeria’s maiden knockout round...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The World of Ridiculous Youtube Music Videos: First Bangs, then Ice JJ Fish, Kwality, now Berenice

Singing or rapping off key in an expensive or sometime low budget music video is now a cottage industry in the rabbit hole that makes up Youtube.   The African diaspora have not been spared. The pioneer of...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Photography: Conversation with David Goldblatt about “Rise and Fall of Apartheid”

Almost fifteen years ago, I saw David Goldblatt’s photographs in Rotterdam, at the Netherlands Architecture Institute. They were small and unobtrusive, and I stood before them, very moved. Subsequently, as I learned the story of South Africa...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Film: Vivian Maier’s 100,000 photographs

Vivian Maier, the nanny turned street photographer, who has found fame posthumously, now a subject of the documentary ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (trailer below), was a recluse in the exaggerated form.  With a recluse like the film director,...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

This Studio Of A Life–Portraits Of Rappers And Producers

I can’t recall when I first fell in love with hip-hop, but I do know that the first song I transcribed was Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s paradise.’ Transcribing lyrics in ‘songbooks’ was a big deal in the mid-nineties; it...

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...

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

A Few Thoughts About The Rapper AKA

“What do you like about the guy?” asked a friend after I told them about an album listening session the rapper AKA had hosted a day earlier. “I don’t know, I don’t get the guy; and maybe...

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Africa is a Country Video–The Editor of New Book on Brenda Fassie on ‘Letting It Bleed’

Often the biographical genre puts the burden of accountability on the subject written about than it reveals about the writer. Bongani Madondo craftly debunks that in his sophomore project, I’m Not Your Weekend Special, a collection of...

Friday, June 27th, 2014

#Belated: Tumi And The Volume

Their stage act resembles an inside joke; they play tricks on the audience with a wry sense of humour which underlies the whole scenario. The guitarist will sommer play a lick off of a well-known song of...

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

No, soccer is not invading America. It’s been here all along

Despite these types of troll-y click-bait articles being a dime a dozen each and every World Cup cycle, Jeff Winkler’s piece in the Guardian, “‘Soccer’ is a virus invading America,” deserves special condemnation for how off the...

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Brenda Fassie: a revolution without harmony

In 2002 when it debuted, I went to see ‘Amandla: a Revolution in Four-Part Harmony,’ American Lee Hirsch’s film about the role of music in the anti-apartheid struggle. Uplifting and solemn at the same time, I admit,...

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Artist Mohau Modisakeng: Probing Subliminal Violence

Those who are playing football there now are walking over dead bodies. Their euphoria and the deaths that occurred there during the hostel violence of the 1990s is a dichotomy that, even as the artist stands in...

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...

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Lesego Rampolokeng’s Elegy To Robo The Technician

“Raise your hand up if you’re a hip-hop head” said Lesego Rampolokeng, rallying a house full of poets at a gathering in Melville on a wet Sunday afternoon in 2013. I put mine up, as did a few...

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New Sounds from Mozambique

Most of Mozambique’s music stars and musical genres known abroad come from the south of the country and the capital Maputo. That’s why Wired for Sound—the mobile recording studio we wrote about previously—toured the central and northern regions...

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Definition: “Scrounger”

Salma Yaqoob confronts Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith on poverty, austerity and the government’s labelling of those on benefits as “scroungers” | BBC Question Time, 12 June 2014: So glad that Yaqoob said this. Like so many,...

Friday, June 20th, 2014

We ́re not Monkeys or Panthers: The Rap of Z’Africa Brasil

Race in Brazil has never been simple. In the midst of the protests leading up to the current World Cup, all eyes turned to Brazilian soccer players as yet another object lesson in blackness, racism and Africanity...

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