AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

EDITORIAL

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

To discover Stuart Hall …

To discover Hall is to discover the immense possibility of being different. I first encountered Stuart Hall: on the radio. After a crisp introduction from the BBC presenter, Stuart Hall’s velvet voice and articulated conviction filled the room. For 45 minutes I listened captivated as Hall recounted his childhood in Jamaica and his time as

Friday, April 25th, 2014

News from Nigeria

I told my son that he would get his first sense of things as soon as we boarded the flight. Planes bound for Lagos, I told him, were filled with black people and not just in economy...

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...

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,...

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Weekend in Stellenbosch

On Sunday, walking past the Exclusive Books store, it was interesting to see Kees van der Waal’s new edited text, Winelands, Work and Wealth: Transformations in the Dwars Valley prominently displayed in the window. I found it...

Monday, April 7th, 2014

#HistoryClass: On Nigeria’s standing as Africa’s “biggest” economy

It took centuries before capitalism’s survival and future growth depended on an increase of the standards of living among the general population. This was reflected in the living standards of the people in the capitalist West. They...

Monday, March 31st, 2014

What they don’t tell you in the brochure about Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch strikes me as one of those places that got put on the table by the National Partyduring the negotiated settlement pre-1994, something the ANC conceded in exchange for democracy. In fact, there's a joke with more...

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Undemocratic Alliance

I do a monthly radio show for Jacobin Radio. Listen at the link below as I discuss the South African "opposition" party, the Democratic Alliance's politics with another AIAC'er T.O. Molefe. In the first half I sketch...

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Cape Town Pride’s Race Card

It’s beginning to seem that with every major pride event in South Africa comes an accompanying discussion of the country’s underlying racial fault lines. In 2012, Johannesburg Pride infamously erupted in clashes between groups who wanted...

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Dencia’s One-Sided Beef with Lupita Nyong’o

Right before the Academy Awards, Camaroonian-born pop star and skin-lightener shill Dencia began tweeting a series of attack-mode responses to a supposed slight by Lupita Nyong’o.

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...

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...

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Nigeria’s Gay Problems

let’s raise our hats to the biggest global news of the week thus far, after all this is Africa is a Country, not Earth’r’us: Nigeria, that giant town in Africa, declaring its disdain for any form or...

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...

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