AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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 ]

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 ]

Last month a friend posted a link to the Kickstarter page for Out of My Hand, a feature film shot primarily in Liberia. The plot follows a rubber tapper named Cisco who, after taking part in a heated labor dispute that goes nowhere, attempts to move to New York city where he becomes a cab driver. …[ 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 ]

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