AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

POLITICS

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Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The Friendship Between China and Mozambique Will Last Forever Like the Heavens and the Earth

In Maputo, the “Garden for Sculptors” behind the Museu Nacional de Arte on Avenida Ho Chi Minh has become a kind of prison yard for Mozambique’s various Ozymandiases, a semi-public dumping ground where colonial monuments now crumble quietly away. A marble European baroness reclines in thick robes, the grasses growing up around her base. Both

Friday, May 30th, 2014

“Miners Shot Down;” a haunting and emotional documentary

When Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a miner from Marikana in South Africa’s Northwest Province, traces his family lineage of miners at Lonmin Mines, he invokes in me memories of how I narrowly escaped becoming a miner, breaking the lineage...

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The story of a South African “tribe”

In October 2013, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the Bethesda Methodist Church in the north of Johannesburg, warned us of a resurgence of tribalism in South Africa. In January of this year, Mbeki once again had the...

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...

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

A new film is all about DSK’s naked belly; Nafissatou Diallo as minor prop

Three years ago, New York was gripped by the legal battle between then-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the woman who accused him of rape—she turned out to be the maid, who had come in to clean his...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Don’t believe the media hype about striking mine workers in South Africa

The platinum strike led by new trade union Association of Mining and Construction Workers Union (AMCU), is now over four months long, making it the longest strike in the history of South Africa. The majority of the...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

A drive-by analysis of Malawi’s election

The whole election seems to have been pretty dodgy. From the outside it looks like all major parties have tried to cook the electoral books with some intense rigging, and the consensus is that it’s by far the...

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Using #BringBackOurGirls to #GiveFirstLadiesSomethingToDo

When exactly did #BringBackOur Girls jump the shark and become less about 200+ kidnapped girls and the lack of regard their government has for their safety, but more about every B-lister, politician (and his wife) attempting to use the...

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

#HistoryClass: On Jihad in Nigeria

In 1808 forces loyal to the Fulani scholar Shehu Othman dan Fodiyo advanced on Bornu, one of the great Muslim empires of West Africa, rolling it right back to the swampy fringes of Lake Chad. The Mai...

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Nigeria’s Catch 22: American style democracy will only throw up more more GEJ’s

There are so many problems in Nigeria, true. But it bears reiterating that we’ve not even correctly identified the biggest one of them… Our biggest problem is not the fact that we are an artificial country. Asides...

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

#HistoryClass With Cheta: The balkanization of Nigeria

There have been growing calls for the balkanisation of Nigeria by various groups, so we want to look at what led to Yugoslavia. The South Slavs are a subgroup of the Slavic people. They inhabit the Balkan...

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Why Blogging is a Threat to the Ethiopian Government

As I write this, I am eerily reminded that in Ethiopia, expressing your views can get you a first class ticket to prison. From April 25 to 26, 2014, nine Ethiopian bloggers and journalists were arrested. As...

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Politics of the Belly

Jean Francois Bayart uses the Cameroonian term “politics of the belly” to describe patron-client relations in West African politics. Politicians distribute goods – filling the bellies of clients – in return for political loyalty, obviating the need...

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Fumana isazisi sakho. Bhalisa. Vota.*

I came across this image taken by a press photographer in May 1990 after one of the first public meetings between the last white minority government and the liberation movement (led by the ANC), to negotiate a new...

Monday, May 5th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom in South Africa: Elections and captured politics

Recent public commentary has celebrated the virtues of a competitive electoral market in South Africa. The common argument is that the emergence of new political formations on the electoral landscape provides space for increased competition to have...

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...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Seven Things To Tell Young Black South Africans

Last week, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation held an election debate in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, on intergenerational justice. It would have been great if some terms, like intergenerational justice, had been framed more...

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Zackie Achmat on South Africa’s 5th democratic elections

Throughout the 2000s, Zackie Achmat led what was probably the most recognizable multi-class, mass social movement in South Africa, outside of the wide support enjoyed by the ANC or its trade union ally. Though the Treatment Action...

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Disgraced Abdoulaye Wade leaves behind “exile” in Versailles; returns to Dakar

Two years ago, Abdoulaye Wade, after 12 of years in power as Senegal’s President, lost his post in an election against his former Prime Minister, Macky Sall. Wade decamped to the wealthy Versailles suburb in Paris (his...

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Survey: What do Nigerians really think and know about homosexuality?

In January this year, President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Anti-Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into law. According to a NOI Polls survey conducted in June 2013, 92% of Nigerians support the legislation, giving Nigeria the second-highest rate...

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: The post-1994 power brokers and black liberation

On May 7th South Africans go to the polls to vote for national and provincial representatives (the majority party gets to pick the President and the Cabinet). In the lead up to the election, we’ll carry a few...

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 17th, 2014

Who are Boko Haram, and how did they come to be?

Nigeria has a long history of communal conflicts, many of which were only suppressed under military rule. Despite the heavy handed tactics of the dictators, some of these conflicts came to the fore, the best example being...

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The last space of cultural dynamism in Luanda’s baixa is no more

Thirty years ago Joni Mitchell sang: “They paved paradise/ And put up a parking lot/ With a pink hotel, a boutique/ And a swinging hot spot. /Don’t it always seem to go/ That you don’t know what...

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The African Cake

Last week a bunch of smartly dressed activists, myself included, made a visit to the UK's Department for International Development (DfID) offices in London pretending to be representatives of large food corporations and offering them a cake...

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Chris Hani’s political legacy

The American political scientist Adolph Reed Jnr. once said of Malcolm X: "… He was just like the rest of us—a regular person saddled with imperfect knowledge, human frailties, and conflicting imperatives, but nonetheless trying to make...

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,...

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

What’s it like to be Somali in Kenya

Twitter is abuzz and Somalis are trending in Kenya, not for reasons of their own, but rather impositions beyond their capacity. There is quite a lot of outrage from all corners that Kenyans venture, from the passionately...

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...

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Cape Town’s Pretend Partnership

There have been only a few instances in my life where my reflex response to a situation has been to throw up. One of these occasions was last Monday night − and the impulse lasted almost three...

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