AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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 ]

Africa is a Country has written plenty in the past on problematic advertising, particularly that which rides on racial and sexist stereotypes, and tropes about the African continent. Invariably, the common thread that runs through many of these ads—especially the ones that ostensibly promote a social cause, like SAB’s victim-blaming‘You Decide’ billboard or Woolworths’ black labourers-white …[ read more ]

July 13th, 2014
Christmas Day*

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UPDATED: So there you have it. After 120 minutes and a great goal by Mario Goetze (whose name will now be part of German lore like Gert Muller and Andreas Brehme), Germany are World champions. It’s been a magical month. But it is also basically the last time (till the next World Cup in four years) …[ read more ]

Last year, while on a visit to LA, Sean met artists Carolyn Castaño and Gary Dauphin at a friend’s house in Echo Park. Of course, conversation veered to futbol. Sean had known about their work for a while (Back in the day, Gary–who also reps for Haiti–was one of the key figures at Africana.com–a sort …[ read more ]

July 13th, 2014
The Final Report

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Today the 2014 World Cup in Brazil ends. It was a fun ride, and I don’t think that anyone will disagree that this has been an unforgettable month of international sport, politics, and drama both on and off the field. The video below is my attempt at showing another side of Rio de Janeiro and a few …[ read more ]

Did Cameroon’s police really quiz national soccer team captain Samuel Eto’o and seize his passport in connection with a government investigation into the terrible performance of the Indomitable Lions at the World Cup? After brouhaha of claims and denials in recent days, the answer seems to be another question: who knows? But Far less ambiguous …[ read more ]

Inyambo Imenda is the birth name of producer Nyambz (or Nyambo). He went to high school in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’ — a small town called Harrismith in South Africa’s Free State Province where him and a rapper friend started making music. “There wasn’t any hip-hop scene; nobody was making beats,” he says of the place. Necessity, …[ read more ]

On the Ock YouTube channel, two young men introduce themselves and say “they’re going to the hood” to play pranks. These pranks consist of things like fake farting on people, stealing peoples’ phones to check the time, stealing people’s gas, or just yesterday, “Selling Guns In The Hood Prank!” Combined, the videos have been viewed close to a …[ read more ]

In Chicago literary scholar Lauren Berlant’s formulation, cruel optimism describes an object of desire that is, in her words, “actually an obstacle to your flourishing.” This optimism becomes cruel, she explains, “when the object that draws your attachment actively impedes the aim that brought you to it initially.” One example she gives, drawing upon the …[ read more ]

July 9th, 2014
Shooting Lagos

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In February of 2013, I made a hurried decision to head to Lagos, in an attempt to shoot a pilot season for My Africa Is,  an ongoing web documentary series, that aims to dispute the one dimensional portrayal of the African continent. We had been seeking funding for quite some time, and it just wasn’t …[ read more ]

Umlilo (previously profiled on Africa is a Country here) continues to push societal boundaries, crushing the norms of sexuality and gender roles with ‘Magic Man’, a track from his latest album, which will be released in July 2014. Watch the making of the music video and hear his thoughts on circus troops, being an outcast …[ read more ]

My Word! Redesigning Buckingham Palace, is a one-man play, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and performed by co-writer and actor, Basil Appollis. It is based on the life and work of the writer, Richard Rive, who grew up in District Six and wrote about the community and it’s characters such as Mary Bruintjies, who ran a …[ read more ]

July 8th, 2014
Dreadlocked Rapunzel

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Lately, there’s been some good rumbling about the dearth of stories that include characters of color (a New York Times critique, a “Top 10 Guide” in The Guardian, 30 Classics on The Griot) . As a father with a young daughter who’s been asking those difficult questions about her place in the world and how she sees herself …[ read more ]

BE.BOP (Black Europe & Body Politics) presents yet another important edition titled Spiritual Revolutions & “The Scramble for Africa” this year. For those not familiar with this groundbreaking project, BE.BOP is a curatorial project, in co-production with Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, that includes exhibitions, presentations, screenings and roundtables by artists (amongst others) from the Black European Diaspora. This …[ read more ]

We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time news agency AP published a “story” which basically consisted of the list. That story’s been repeated /shared / …[ read more ]

At this year’s edition of Roskilde Festival outside Copenhagen in Denmark, guests were invited to join a group of brave, self-declared, male Imperialists from Denmark on an African Expedition, circa 1814. The themed festival camp entitled Afrika-Expeditionen was set up by a group Danish of experts in various scientific fields, such as (French) Security, Medicine, Ethnography, …[ read more ]

When Israeli activist Dafna Lichtamn got home from Mozambique two months ago, she had a layover in Addis Ababa airport. Walking around the main Ethiopian airport she suddenly ran into an old friend, Sadik Alsadik, an asylum seeker from Darfur who had spent the past five years in Israel. When Lichtman met him it was his …[ read more ]

Listening to Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali’s newest album Tzenni is like enjoying a complex and meticulously prepared meal. Like an aromatic spice, her striking voice adds richness to each song, combining gorgeously with guitar, bass, drums and the ardine – a Mauritanian string instrument. Some of the songs are even named for types of …[ read more ]

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 Piet “is a negative stereotype of black people and the city must rethink its involvement in holiday celebrations involving …[ read more ]

The Mexican writer Alma Guillermoprieto declared this World Cup “the best ever.” Few can disagree. A total of 136 goals were scored in 48 group matches and another 18 in the 8 matches of the last round.  Not everything is surprising: with the exception of Costa Rica, all the top seeds made it to the …[ read more ]

I’m shortening the name of Africa is a Country Radio. From now on (save for when I slip up) the show will be known as Africa is a Radio! This month’s show dives fully (rather than the toe dip of last month) into World Cup fever with a show that features 16 songs for the …[ read more ]

How do you tell a story about African liberation through the lens of an outsider? Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense, the 2014 documentary by Swedish filmmaker Göran Olsson, attempts to answer this question through presenting a sequence of episodes in the struggle for liberation in colonial Africa. Consisting exclusively of footage drawn from …[ read more ]

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