AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Starting this morning, we begin our annual month-long break from this site (we’ll still be active on social media–Facebook and on Twitter and Twitter again). We’ll be back after Labor Day (the Americans’ poor excuse for May Day) at the start of September.  In the meantime, this is a good time to revisit our greatest hits from the …[ read more ]

We often hear political and business leaders and Africanists talk about the need to “tell the African story.” For us, “tell the African story” means nothing. In other words, it is a cliché of no value. We don’t know what it is supposed to mean. It may be that the idea of a definitive “African story” gains …[ read more ]

On Monday, a woman walked towards the giant Mandela statue at Nelson Mandela square in Sandton, Johannesburg and stripped naked until security guard came to remove her as demonstrated in the cellphone images that were captured and distributed on social media by bystanders. It is not clear who this woman is or why she did …[ read more ]

Last week, a classified ad appeared in a Colombian newspaper. It read, in the broken language of pay-per-word ads: A female surgeon doctor with college degree Internship in Clinic Inscription. 25-30 years old, of white skin. Needed, a personal interview Dr. Guarín, next July, 22nd, 10 A.m. Soon every news outlet in the country, as well …[ read more ]

Come Back Africa (dir. Lionel Rogosin), Mapantsula (dir. Oliver Schmitz) and Tsotsi (dir. Gavin Hood) mark three distinct eras in South African cinema. The oldest of the three, Come Back Africa, shot secretly in the late 1950s, shows the routine violence of the apartheid state. The viewer experiences the monotony of social exclusion through the …[ read more ]

The film, Diaries of a Dissident Poet, follows poet James Matthews around Cape Town, tracking him during a year, from his 83rd to 84th birthday. It opens with a small celebration of his 83rd at the District Six Homecoming Centre in (downtown Cape Town) and moves on to scenes of him in conversation or banter with …[ read more ]

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 Muslims (59% and 41%, respectively), with one-third of inhabitants also originating from outside of the region. Along with …[ read more ]

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 R12,500 (about US$1,250) basic salary. For months – without pay, their families going hungry and their spirits waning …[ read more ]

It’s a little over two decades ago that South Africa’s Whites Only schools began to ‘welcome’ Black students (African, Coloured and Indian) students into their classrooms. Guided by the official principles of multiculturalism and equality, many a White teacher witnessed his or her classroom diversify. In response, many of them adopted the rhetoric of ‘color …[ read more ]

For the next four years, the world is celebrating the Centenary of World War I,  and once again Africa is not invited to the party. The story of Africans’ involvement in the Great War is unheard of outside of academia, and thus remains to be told: the tens of thousands of African lives lost at …[ read more ]

Last week the second Cape Town World Music Festival (CTWMF) took place, and warmed up a very cold and wet “Mother City” weekend. The notoriously lax Cape Town audience (myself included) got out from under our duvets to check out some of the best bands in South Africa, as well as some international acts, such as …[ read more ]

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 unequal application of firepower by Israel.  After close to 20 days of Israeli air raids followed by a …[ read more ]

July 28th, 2014
Africa’s Last Colony

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Earlier this year I flew to the Algerian military town of Tindouf, as part of a Vice News crew, to help make a documentary and write an article about the struggle for an independent Western Sahara. Tindouf sits outside a network of five camps housing Sahrawi refugees from the war between Morocco and Polisario, the …[ read more ]

Africa is a Country is proud to present a new partnership with London-based DJ crew Hipster’s Don’t Dance. The British DJ duo with Trinidadian and Nigerian origins are doing an amazing job representing the Atlantic music world to the London massive with their regular parties, and reflecting back their London scene to the world with their outstanding blog, DJ …[ read more ]

Award-winning South African/Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso is the director of the feature films “Man on Ground” and “God Is African“, the documentaries “Wole Soyinka – Child of the Forest,” “Gathering the Scattered Cousins” and the short “Jesus and the Giant” among other films and TV-productions. Omotoso is also an actor, with roles in Andrew Nicol’s Lord …[ read more ]

July 24th, 2014
Walking With Wole Soyinka

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Several times, I have met Professor Wole Soyinka without actually meeting him. It was either in a crowded reading room in Washington D.C. or at some event in Nigeria. As a photographer not as a writer, I really wanted to meet the man away from the usual crowd that surrounds him all the time. I …[ read more ]

You’ve seen the teaser, now see the video. Umlilo, is back with his fifth music video single, ‘Magic Man’ from his upcoming EP, ‘Aluta’.  Produced by Umlilo, ‘Magic Man’ is an electronic fusion of different sounds ranging from dark post-dub with afro-dancehall accents to a baroque synth pop accompanied by Umlilo’s powerful vocals. “Magic Man …[ read more ]

Guess what? Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic champion who is tried for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, turns out to be sane. He might still lose his temper, like the other day when VIP-ing it up in a fancy night club in Johannesburg or tweet ill-guided Bible verses, self-celebratory do-good pics or …[ read more ]

July 22nd, 2014
Ethiopian Dream

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Six years ago, as a young, inquisitive and idealistic undergraduate, I traveled to my country of birth, Ethiopia, on a quest to answer one of the toughest questions in political science: how does democracy develop in a poor country with a long-standing history of authoritarian rule? At the time Ethiopia had recently passed through a …[ read more ]

Soyinka turned 80 this year. We learn this in an interview a Nigerian newspaper did with his wife, Folake: “He cooks and he is quite good at it. He even cooked about two days ago. When the boys were really little, one day in California, he called us all to the kitchen and said he wanted …[ read more ]

Hip-hop’s love affair with marijuana is a much-publicized affair. Artists such as Cypress Hill and Snoop Dogg have built careers by co-opting the good ganja crop and working it into their public personas. Of late, the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Flatbush Zombies continue to model themselves in line with stoner tendencies. South African hip-hop …[ read more ]

When the M23 militia took control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu in Eastern Congo, in late 2012, the premises of Yole Africa were quickly occupied by a large crowd of youngsters. Some of them were looking for refuge after their homes had been bombed; some others were there to make sure that the …[ read more ]

July 21st, 2014
Live from Grahamstown

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Every winter, for 11 days in early July,  the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed with theatre, dance, performance art, film, comedy puppets and face paint with the sweet sounds of jazz spilling …[ read more ]

Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, is buzzing with the arrest of Edmund Kudzayi, editor-in-chief at the Zimbabwean Sunday Mail. Together with his brother Phillip Kudzayi, the editor stood accused of administrating the faceless online personality known as “Baba Jukwa.” Since early 2013 the popular Baba Jukwa Facebook page has been posting allegations of scandals and corruption, mainly …[ read more ]

In the weeks since returning from the West Bank I’ve been tuned into the news, the news that stays news, and the news that isn’t news at all. The top story in the The New York Times on Wednesday, July 9th begins “Israel and Hamas escalated their military confrontation on Tuesday. . .” Inches away, …[ read more ]

On the morning of 28th October 2013 – a Monday – South Africa woke up to news that rapper Khuli Chana’s vehicle had been shot at by the police after they mistook it for that of a kidnapper on the run. The incident occurred at a filling station in Midrand on Khuli’s way to a …[ read more ]

July 15th, 2014
Obituary: Nadine Gordimer

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My first introduction to Comrade Nadine was through her writing during my student activist days in the mid-1970s and later when I was serving five years on Robben Island as a political prisoner from 1979 to 1984. Her writing struck me so powerfully as it spoke of the lived experiences of people like me fighting …[ read more ]

Cape Town’s self-proclaimed two dope boyz Uno and Jimmy Flexx are Ill Skillz. At the end of 2013 they released Notes from the Native Yard (NFTNY), a collection of songs steeped in the tradition of great storytellers with its lucid detail and raw emotion, and driven by stellar production from beat-gods Hipe and J-One, among …[ read more ]

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 not be the first time that the big stick is being wielded on Nigeria, it probably won’t be …[ read more ]

“Crumbs–Toppling the Bread Cartel” is the inside story of a Cape Town businessman, Imraahn Mukaddam’s fight for social justice and the personal cost of blowing the whistle on corporate greed.  To fill you in: in late 2006 Imraahn Mukaddam, a local businessman, is told by his supplier that the price of bread is going up …[ read more ]

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