AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

OPINION

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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 a matter of legitimate political and critical concern that homosexualities and African societies are read as antinomous. Also, these homosexualities...

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Chimamanda Adichie lines up the homophobic arguments and knocks them down one by one

We’ve seen a range of responses from African intellectuals to the crisis of homophobia, especially in states that are planning  oppressive anti-gay laws As well as Binyavanga Wainaina, several Nigerian intellectuals have also weighed in. Yesterday was...

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Did I ever tell you about that time a guy followed me in the NYC subway and offered me $40 to touch my leg?

Real talk: Who else is tired of gender/race swapping to make a point about racism/sexism? I know I am, especially about gender swapping. 

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

How to deal with reporters like Alex Preston

So journalist Alex Preston jetted into town from a posh Western capital. Alex Preston went to a Nigerian city of eerie silence, billowing clouds of dust, darkness and war. Alex Preston wrote a sexy story about a...

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

What’s new? Blackface as carnival costume in the Netherlands

By now it should not come as a surprise that in the Netherlands where dressing in blackface is part of the national tradition (read here and here about our December “traditions”) and comes with no consequences, carnival costumes...

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Africa: where are your openly gay public figures?

Binyavanga Wainaina’s coming out last week was seen as a ‘bombshell’ by a wide range of media, including the New York Times, and Kenya’s Daily Nation. Certainly it was cheered by many, both publicly and privately, as...

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Yoga? Heavyset and Black Women Need Not Apply

What is it with the appropriation of yoga by white women—and skinny white women in particular? It’s like they all idolise the spare body of the nut-brown yogi who practices in his cave retreat, but want to...

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

#Watch Binyavanga’s brilliant YouTube documentary calling out the BS behind “African” homophobia

We’ve been looking forward to this one. When our friends at the Guardian and BBC (and plenty of other outlets) finally reported on Binyavanga Wainaina’s wonderful essay yesterday, we learned that he had a documentary up his sleeve as...

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Why I’m Not An Afropolitan

Last summer, I was invited to take part in a discussion, ‘Fantasy or Reality? Afropolitan Narratives of the 21st Century’, as part of Africa Writes 2013 Festival. I was joined on the panel by Minna “Ms Afropolitan”...

Friday, January 17th, 2014

#Breaking: New York Times discovers African artists use the Internets

The New York Times’ printing press is still radiating from January 8th, 2014 when the newspaper’s East Africa correspondent Nicholas Kulish published a story (with accompanying video) about how the presence of Africans on the Internet represents...

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

To Be Young, Angry and Black

The face of Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa is young-ish and black. Their "redistribute now" missive has earned both valid and lazy criticism. Their tone is perceived by many to be "dangerous" and "irrational"....

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Somali author Diriye Osman’s “Fairytales for Lost Children”

In a dark couple of weeks for LGBT rights, the Indian government’s supreme court has re-criminalised gay sex, ensuring men and women now face police harassment and potential life imprisonment, stating gay sex is “unnatural, immoral and...

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

To Come Back from Qunu

I do not have a background in the struggle. Unlike the many people who over the past week shared their stories of their personal interactions with Nelson Mandela during the struggle, my only brief meeting with Mandela...

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Mandela was the Last Founding Father in Africa’s Decolonization

The death of Nelson Mandela has provoked an outpouring of mourning, celebration, and commentary around the world that is unprecedented for an African leader. Glowing tributes have gushed from world leaders and major magazines and newspapers have...

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Consuming Woolworths’ Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela presents a complex, complicated, even contradictory set of public images that have been cycled and recycled in ways that allow many stakeholders to appropriate and mobilise his legacy. Of course corporate entities do not have...

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The ‘Fake Interpreter’

A few days ago, when the story of the “fake interpreter” broke in the South African media, the ANC denied any knowledge of who he was and how he got to be on the podium, signing while...

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

We embarrassed Nelson Mandela

I have really been struggling with feeling numb about Nelson Mandela’s physical death. Part of that is because I have felt for months now that his spirit had already gone and that it was just his body...

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Is the Central African Republic on the Verge of Genocide?

Over the last few weeks, the usually unrelenting stream of baby pictures and lose-weight ads in my Facebook feed has increasingly been interrupted by news from the Central African Republic (CAR). “Unspeakable Horrors in a Country on...

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The loser mentality of white South Africans

The latest piece of mythological drivel on us South African whites was published in that most stoically smug of bourgeois publications, "The Economist," with the title, “Braai the Beloved Country.” This piece (made the rather extraordinary claim...

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

The Afropolitan Must Go

My first thought when reading Taiye Selasi's 2005 essay ‘Bye-Bye Barbar’ (or ‘What is an Afropolitan?’) was that this is the kind of sludge that would piss off Binyavanga Wainaina. One quick google and lo and behold:...

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The death of Oury Jalloh

One of Germany’s most enigmatic post-war lawsuits will have to be reviewed. This post is both a chronology of what is sufficiently proven and a list of the numerous crudities that remain. What is can't be disputed...

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

My Own Private Mangaung

Heard about Mangaung? No, not the site of the 1912 founding of the ANC nor last year’s ANC Conference. The real Mangaung. The prison. Mangaung Prison, run by G4S, is the world’s second largest private prison in...

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

That New York Times column about Cape Town

Let me be clear, because some responses suggest I was not in my recent column for the International New York Times: from just about every assessment, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape are consistently...

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Rob Ford and Canada’s “Somali Problem”

No matter where in the world you are, by now you have likely heard about Toronto mayor (to some a human trainwreck) Rob Ford and the infamous video in which he appears to smoke crack cocaine while...

Monday, November 18th, 2013

‘Tribal’ Reality Television 2.0

There was this sincere hope that we had seen the end of the so-called ‘tribal reality shows;’ that is television programs where groups of westerners spend some time with one of the ‘last remaining’ or ‘authentic tribes’...

Monday, November 11th, 2013

On the Journalistic Value of Internet Map Memes

At the Washington Post, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a complex issue, when color-coded in a way that reassured Americans of their innate Superiority over inferior Peoples, could always be relied...

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Diagnosing the World’s Data

The previously self-elected spokesperson for the world’s ‘most and least racially tolerant countries’, The Washington Post’s Max Fisher and his touch typing team of Google searching researchers and writers, have now turned their attention to diagnosing the world’s...

Friday, November 8th, 2013

The increasingly shaky edifice of Luanda

Two weeks ago at the Lisbon Urban Roots music festival the afro-electronic group Batida, in collaboration with Angolan artist Ikonoklasta, called for solidarity with Angola’s youngest political prisoner, Nito Alves, who is fast becoming a symbol of...

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The most superficial and platitudinous politician in South Africa

If leaked reports to local media are to be believed, Mmusi Maimane is one of the two young turks vying for the future leadership spot of South Africa’s ‘official opposition party’–the Democratic Alliance. The spot will open once...

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