AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

June 23rd, 2014
Neymar e o burro em fuga

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No momento em que você lê este texto, é bem provável que toda pessoa do planeta já saiba quem é Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. A imagem acima é de Neymar, 10 dias atrás. Neymar, há um ano: Esta é de três anos atrás: Este é o Neymar de cinco anos atrás: O pequeno Neymar …[ read more ]

Salma Yaqoob confronts Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith on poverty, austerity and the government’s labelling of those on benefits as “scroungers” | BBC Question Time, 12 June 2014: So glad that Yaqoob said this. Like so many, I’ve been disgusted by the vilification of poor people under the current British government, and the political impunity …[ read more ]

A four day national holiday that kicked off the cup ended on Monday, so the city has been attempting to return to somewhat of its normal routine. Brazilians have gone back to work, and over the past few days in Copacabana and Ipanema, we’ve seen a transition of fans, from a flood of Argentinians to …[ read more ]

Race in Brazil has never been simple. In the midst of the protests leading up to the current World Cup, all eyes turned to Brazilian soccer players as yet another object lesson in blackness, racism and Africanity in the former Portuguese colony. The polemical fallout under the banner “We are all monkeys,” which emerged from …[ read more ]

One late afternoon while milling about at the University of Cape Town’s main campus, I ran into Adam Haupt, the Associate Professor of Media Studies who’s authored books such as Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media and Film, and Stealing Empire: P2P, Intellectual Property and Hip-Hop Subversion. I had known of Adam (or Dr. Hip-Hop) through …[ read more ]

Halfway through my visit to the International Exhibition of this year’s ambitious edition of Dak’art: the 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art, a tray of fragrant Thieboudienne, the classic Senegalese dish, was brought out into the courtyard of the Village de la Biennale, located in former television studios on the busy Route de Rufisque in …[ read more ]

We’re making the documentary film, FRAMED, because we recognize a lot of Americans want to do good in Africa, with the best of intentions, but the way they go about it often doesn’t play out well for Africans. In western pop culture, we’re still seeing images of Africans as helpless, hopeless and without any ideas …[ read more ]

The fate of World Cup draws has fostered an unlikely rivalry between Ghana and the United States. In 2006, Ghana dispatched the U.S. in Germany. Four years later, in South Africa, the Black Stars sunk American hearts in the first knockout round, courtesy of an extra-time goal from Asamoah Gyan. Passion runs so deep for Ghana’s …[ read more ]

June 19th, 2014
“How was Africa?”

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“Welcome back to civilization,” a family member said, slapping my shoulder. “How was Africa?” That was the refrain I encountered most frequently upon returning to the United States after conducting a year of fieldwork amongst northern Malian internally displaced persons and refugees. I’d been away for all of 2013. During the first six months I …[ read more ]

Dak’ Art 014 is an art exhibition showing over 120 artists of African descent. It opened on 9th May, with a main international showcase at the Village de la Biennale, a television studio along Route de la Rufisque in Dakar’s industrial area. While it is the only art biennale of its scope today with a …[ read more ]

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 ]

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