AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Leia este em Português aqui. By the time you read this, it’s possible that every single person on the planet will know who Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is. The image above is of Neymar from five days ago. This is Neymar from one year ago: This is Neymar from three years ago: This is Neymar from …[ read more ]

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 gazing into the crystal ball back then still pack halls with (white) middle class people worried about their …[ read more ]

South African hip-hop has become too safe. Cutting edge rappers are being sidelined in favour of tried-and-tested mainstays – creating a cycle of regurgitated talent that receives preferential treatment by radio stations, booking agents, and sponsors. Doubtless, the artists in the spotlight have dedicated endless hours to their craft, and the fact that their work is …[ read more ]

Austrian actor and founder of the NGO ‘Menschen für Menschen’ (People for People), Karlheinz Böhm was buried last Friday in Salzburg, Austria. His remains came to rest in a cemetery in his native country yet earth from Africa was carried to Europe in order to allow him to rest in Ethiopian soil as he had …[ read more ]

It’s World Cup time, bring on the articles full of historical stereotypes and racial codes disguised as insightful sports commentary. For the past two World Cups, the USA team has been routinely decimated by the Ghanaian squads. As a Ghanaian American, I side with my Blackstars, and try to find the nearest Ghanaian restaurant to …[ read more ]

June 16th, 2014
For the Tiki-Taka Brigade

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The annihilation of Spain by the Netherlands last Friday (5-1) shocked and delighted football fans, pundits and creatives all at once, so much so that European pundits have something else to talk about, like total football, rather than moan, for the umpteeth time, about playing conditions. It will also inspire a million memes, videos, flipbooks and animations (there’s …[ read more ]

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 neighborhoods in Rio during the matches — from favelas to wealthy beach front neighborhoods, and from street corner …[ read more ]

I haven’t been on social media yet, and I’m sure everyone’s already talking about this, but how fitting is it that the first goal of the tournament is an own goal by Brazil? I mean four goals scored by Brazil, one for the other team, perfectly illustrates Brazilian feelings about the build up to this …[ read more ]

Is your NGO looking for innovative tactics to reach new Northern donors? Here’s one for the books. Last week, Save the Children released a video in which they dupe models into advocating for children’s rights. The video opens with a bunch of models on a set, prepping themselves for business as usual. The directors instruct them …[ read more ]

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 suggests that those really guilty of tribalism are Afrikaaners and the English who practice a sophisticated incognito kind …[ read more ]

World Cup Day 1 — The sun is out in Rio for the first time in days. It’s a national holiday. Anticipation in the air. I’m woken up to the sound of horns. My first Brazilian national home game of significance is today… but perhaps this one is bigger than many. This is because there …[ read more ]

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 first three parts of this essay here.) Consider a statement made off hand and in jest by President …[ read more ]

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.” The need for a robust economy is paramount for Modi’s India. The economy will drive Modi’s government in …[ read more ]

As most AIAC readers know by now, the Dutch are having a very hard time letting go of their precious blackface tradition. Well sadly, but not surprisingly, Zwarte Piet (in English: Black Pete) is still amongst us. Obviously there are so many rational and convincing arguments to keep him; the kids would be terribly upset, …[ read more ]

No European nation has won the World Cup when it has been held in South America, and the potential for teams such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay to pose a major challenge should be taken seriously. Although the marketing campaigns of major multinationals sell the event as a stage for brilliant individual players, such as …[ read more ]

Episode 3 of Africa is a Country Radio is live on Groovalizacion and the AIAC Mixcloud page. This month is a music only episode because I had been touring the U.S., and only just arrived back to Rio to record the show. However, there is a still a bit of a theme. Brazil being on much …[ read more ]

In this, the second, in a two-part interview with Dr. Sylviane Diouf and Dr. Joaneath Spicer, respectively the curators of two important exhibitions of African diasporas–Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europeand Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers ­—Jean-Philippe Dedieu and Noémie Ndiaye began by asking Sylviane Diouf about the juxtaposition of …[ read more ]

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 a nation of “aspirational Indians”. His victory is theirs. As he took oath as the country’s fifteenth Prime …[ read more ]

This week cultural centre de Balie in Amsterdam will be hosting an event titled ‘LovingDay.nl: (In)visibly Mixed’ on “mixed race” families and relationships (BTW, the Netherlands uncritically accepts this terminology, along with the assumption that certain people are “pure” and others are “mixed”, thereby reifying 19th century race theories). Loving Day takes the end of anti-miscegenation …[ read more ]

In 2014, African hip-hop has graduated from the bedroom and walked into the boardroom. It’s left its cape (baggy jeans) at the door and picked up a pair of tight-fitting pants. In extreme cases, hip-hop has shed the ‘urban’ look completely and chosen shiny suits; it’s lost its assumed roots in the underground and allowed …[ read more ]

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 film to be nominated for an Academy Award. It is a filmic triumph and an apt portrayal of …[ read more ]

Our British colonial masters brought us a lot of good stuff. Stuff such as education, Christianity and corruption, among others. But probably the best thing the Brits brought to us was football. Today, in homage to the coming World Cup, we take a quick tour of the early years of the NFF and our national …[ read more ]

Two important exhibitions devoted to African diasporas in the age of slave trades have just closed. The first, “Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe,” was organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, and then displayed at the Princeton University Art Museum.  Visitors were invited to explore the roles of Africans and their descendants in …[ read more ]

June 6th, 2014
Paul Kagame’s Rabbi

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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, the pro-Israel billionaire Christie offended when he used the words “occupied territories” in a recent speech. Last month, …[ read more ]

Lettres du Voyant is a 40 minutes film made by Louis Henderson, a British filmmaker and artist. I met him during a dinner at Berlinale Talents last January, we had a fast chit-chat and after a couple of months I realise that he has done one of the most interesting film and document about Sakawa: …[ read more ]

In Take This Hammer, Baldwin’s guide, Orville Luster, positions him in San Francisco’s Lower Fillmore District across the street from the Booker T. Washington Hotel. As they approach the hotel on Fillmore Street, Luster says, “now, off to our left here’s one Negro hotel, that’s owned.” Baldwin, eyes intensifying, looks across the street from the …[ read more ]

After a prolonged dispute, Peter Mutharika was sworn in as Malawi’s fifth president a few days ago. Whatever the ins and outs of the electoral process, nobody is in doubt that Joyce Banda, the darling of the international community, was decisively defeated at the ballot box. To find out more about Malawi’s new president and …[ read more ]

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 …[ read more ]

One evening while channel surfing at home, I stumbled upon what sounded like a rap cypher* on the radio. Quickly, I got up to look for an empty cassette tape nearby. Once I found one (a see-through Sonotech C-60 if memory serves right), hurriedly inserted it into the tape deck, and pressed the record button. That moment marked my …[ read more ]

Too many people have forgotten about the one Naira coin, and the chap on that coin. This is a big disservice to Nigeria. Today’s History Class is going to be about that fellow, the one who has roads named after him in Lagos and Abuja, but who, sadly, is slipping away from our national consciousness. …[ read more ]

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