AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

POLITICS

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Zambia turns 50

Zambia, the country its young people fondly call “Zed,” is the next in a number of African countries to turn 50–they are the firstborns of the first wave of African countries to gain independence in the 1960s. Zambia’s turn came on 24 October 1964, a day chosen because it was United Nations Day. That kind

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Kenyatta went to The Hague: how to bet and win against the (international) system

In the aftermath of the Kenyan 2007 presidential elections, political violence erupted, resulting in 1,200 deaths and the displacement of more than 600,000 people. In the end, three individuals stand accused of crimes against humanity before the...

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

‘There is no Ebola here’: What Liberia teaches us about the failures of aid

Professor Thandika Mkandawire is a development economist with a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue – one of Africa’s finest.  Last week I moderated a discussion on health and governance in Africa at a conference in...

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Ebola: Where we are; where we should be

Is it coincidental that the so-called Ebola humanitarian crisis—dubbed global complex emergency by the West—is unfolding on the upper Guinea coast the site of intense activities during the European slave trade? Is it coincidental that the upper...

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Misunderstanding the Ebola Crisis Is Worse Than Ignoring It

When the first case of Ebola reached U.S. soil last month, the world finally began to pay attention—but not in the right way.  In December 2013 the Ebola virus appeared for the first time in rural Guinea....

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

What is it like to be a refugee in Germany?

“Gitmo in Germany?” and “German Abu Ghraib” were two of the headlines across news wires in late September after photos and a video documenting the abuse of Algerian asylum seekers by security officers in an asylum center had circulated. The photo shows...

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The great Thomas Sankara was murdered on this day 27 years ago

It is the 27th anniversary of the death of Thomas Sankara, and once again we mark the passing of one of the great leaders of the Twentieth Century. Sankara was a Marxist revolutionary in the last years of the...

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

The majority of Burkinabé favor progressive change on gender rights

For those interested in gender equality, women’s rights, and even women’s power, these are heady day on the African continent. In Tanzania, a Constitutional Assembly has sent forth a proposed new Constitution that would codify “equal citizenship...

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Israel’s arms exports to African countries has more than doubled

Despite an overall drastic decline in Israeli arms exports, trade with Africa had reached a four-year record, Haaretz reported on Tuesday. Interestingly, African countries spent $223 million on Israeli arms in 2013 compared to $107 million in...

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

What’s the matter with … Stellenbosch University

One afternoon, during my final year of high school, I first found myself at Stellenbosch University (also known as University of Stellenbosch) on a tour of potential universities in the Western Cape, South Africa’s south-western province. Walking...

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Germany has its own “Sinterklaas Scandal”

The Oktoberfest in Munich may be over, but a curious debate sparked by the annual Bavarian bierfest is lingering like a bad hangover. Is it racist to put up targets portraying black people for fairgoers to shoot...

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Let’s talk about ethnicity and nationalism in Ethiopia

So much of the discord and paralysis in the pro-rights movement in Ethiopia and the Diaspora comes down to one factor: ethnicity. Politics related to Ethiopia has become so heavily “ethnicized” that we have a difficult time...

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

The Upright Citizens of Burkina Faso

‘Here in Burkina Faso, we put the dust under the carpet… but there are so many things to sweep!’ Interview with Smokey, burkinabè rapper and cofounder of the movement Le Balai Citoyen (The Civic Broom) In Burkina...

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The Contemporary Mark of Assata Shakur

This past July, icon of Black American activism Assata Shakur’s autobiography was re-pressed by Zed Books in London. At times thought to be dormant, black American activism has seen a resurgence in recent weeks across the United States after the killing of...

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The Independent African Republic of Scotland

Nelson Mandela speaks to the crowds in George Square, Glasgow, 1993. He received the Freedom of Glasgow bestowed on him 12 years previously, when Margaret Thatcher regarded him and the ANC as terrorists. Watch clips from his...

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...

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...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

What is happening to Mombasa, Kenya?

Historically known for a relaxed pace of life, Mombasa on Kenya’s coast has also been a regional hub for business, trade and tourism. Its population is diverse; recent figures indicate the city is divided between Christians and...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The winners and losers of the platinum strike in South Africa

On January 23 this year the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), a firebrand breakaway of the COSATU-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), took an estimated 50,000 mineworkers to the plateaus of Rustenburg to demand a...

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...

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Football is Politics in Nigeria

A few days ago, FIFA once again, suspended Nigeria from international football. On History Class today, we will take a look at the remote causes of that, and attempt to compare it with Nigeria’s politics. This will...

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...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Scenario Planning for White South Africa

Scenario planning is something of a cottage industry in South Africa and was particularly popular during the negotiations for democracy in the early 1990s. Careers were launched on the back of this industry, and speakers known for...

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

@Chiefboima World Cup Diary Day 4 – Copa pra Quem?

One of the popular phrases that came out of the protests in the run up to the Cup was, “Copa pra quem”? On the third and fourth days of the Cup, I’ve been darting around to different...

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...

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

James Baldwin at 90, Part 4: The Brilliance of Children, The Duty of Citizens

At the outset of the essay, I asked “What changes, what constants and what chimeras made the United States the place that elects a black President?” And, “What does black president actually mean?” (You can find the...

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Narendra Modi’s ‘Africa’ policy

In a speech last October, Narendra Modi argued, “I believe a strong economy is the driver of an effective foreign policy…we have to put our own house in order so that the world is attracted to us.”...

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Narendra Modi’s New India

In what has been called a historic general election, India elected Narendra Damodardas Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the highest echelons of power — the Office of the Prime Minister.  Modi was elected by...

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Review: The Square by Jehane Noujaim

The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival opened on Wednesday with The Square, Jehane Noujaim’s documentary about the Egyptian Revolution. The film (available in the US on Netflix) holds the title of being the first Egyptian...

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,...

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