AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Belgium

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Belgium is an insular country. It lives like history happens outside of it

When the leading Belgian newspaper De Morgen, which styles itself as progressive, published an image of Obama and his wife as chimps and passed it off as satire, they did not expect a backlash. They assumed that their readers would laugh and move on, and it would be business as usual. This assumption was rooted in two...

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The Year the Blackface Tradition in the Netherlands Hit the Big Time

In 2013, the world was introduced to the Dutch December tradition of Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”)—the blackfaced sidekick to Sinterklaas. Though a letter complaining of the racism inherent in the practice was sent to the Office of...

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Weekend Music Break 54

Flex Boogie, featured on this song by producer/radio deejay The Prince, is a Pretoria-based hip-hop artist who was part of the pioneering hip-hop group Ba4za at one point. He has undergone numerous changes since then – from...

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

A Season in the Congo

Political theatre isn’t just about depicting reality and expecting the audience to interpret it, coldly and rationally, as a call to some political action. That’s what Bertolt Brecht seemed to think anyway. “Political theatre,” he wrote, “must...

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Football Referee of the Year

My knowledge of European club football doesn’t stretch much further beyond what gets posted here on Football is a Country and the odd link I come across on our Twitter feed (blame my wary interest on the...

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Burkina Faso are this year’s Zambia

Zambia’s victory in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations was a great story, and one that even the crustiest of cynics could get behind. A team returned to the site of the national tragedy in which their...

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Interview: Baloji

New York is an amazing city, especially from a hip-hop perspective. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can see that hip-hop is part of the culture, not just something that you watch on...

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin in a Belgian Court

Jogchum Vrielink, in this guest post, writes about the attempt by a Congolese student to obtain a ban on the comic book ‘Tintin in the Congo.’ A Brussels court rejected their claims. Despite this outcome, the reasoning...

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The Hissène Habré “political and legal soap opera”

Guest post by David Styan In recent weeks media coverage of African criminals and their victims have been dominated by capture (Kony) and conviction (Lubanga), largely overshadowing the latest twist in the most comprehensive and longest-running African...

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

‘The Love Mantra’

The new video for single from Brooklyn-based Rwandan singer Iyadede‘s new album, “The Demo.” (Remember her recent cover of Theophilus London’s “Flying Overseas”?) The video is directed by Sam Kessie.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

‘Very African and Very Modern’

It may be tempting to read Congolese-Belgian rapper Baloji's music as a relatively straightforward exercise in “indigenizing” or localizing hip-hop, but the story of his transnational musical moorings — especially his ambivalence toward Congolese pop — complicates...

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

‘Support unborn African babies’

A Belgian organization (backed by a smart advertising agency) “is calling on unborn babies in Belgium, to do something about the thousands of unborn babies in Africa that do not survive their own birth.”

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I Remember Black Pete

As a child, I never believed in Santa Claus. I believed in Saint Nicholas and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). I remember waking up as a child on December 6, 1983, three hours before daybreak. I also remember...

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Beyoncé does it again

You think Beyoncé flew in Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaker and her dance company Rosas for the second part of her new video ‘Countdown’ (watch the video on her website – starting around 2:30)? We know...

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Today I’ll eat for Belgium

Yes, some Europeans, specifically Belgians — who else but “a fine group of web designers, web developers, communication specialists, tech, boys and girls” — came up with this idea. So if someone asks you why you need...

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Music Break

This new video for Belgian MC Akro (former member of Starflam, the same crew Baloji used to be part of before he decided to go his own way) pretty much sums up his (and my) country’s imaginary...

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Restaurant Manager

If you missed this: Lilian Thuram, the former footballer who won a World Cup medal with France in 1998 and sometimes philosopher, was in Brussels last week to promote his anti-racism campaign. While having lunch at a...

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Belgian Color Bar

Roland Gust was born to a Congolese mother and a Belgian father. He grew up in Congo, believing he was white. That is, until his family decided to return to Belgium when he was twelve. Twenty years...

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Music Break

Brussels rapper Brams aka L’Insatiable (born in Cameroon) has been working on some promising collaborations lately. This one, ‘Stop Look & Listen’, with wandering hip-hop artist Juba Zaki (hailing from Crown Heights, Brooklyn) being a case in...

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Music Break

Remember the Belgian-Congolese project Héritage? It took them a while to record a video for one of the featuring songs. The two singers on this track are Stefy Rika and Nina Miskina. You’ll recognize the infamous Africa...

Monday, March 14th, 2011

African women’s visual narratives

If you’re in London, “Reflections on the Self ,” an exhibition of “African women’s visual narratives, as told through self-portraits and portraits of other women,” will be at the Royal Festival Hall till April 4th.  It features the...

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

‘Real African Music’

Thanks to HavePlentyMusic I saw that big time house producers experimenting with Kuduro for a few years, are perhaps finally ready for Coupe Decale (Click through to listen to the remix). Kind of full circle really, as...

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Rap Visionaries

Two AIAC favorites, Baloji and Blitz the Ambassador have been busy.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Baloji Live in NYC

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Tintin in Congo

Earlier this year, the Congolese government declared European development commissioner Karel De Gucht persona non grata because of comments he made to the European Parliament, stating that the weakness of the Congolese state meant that EU aid...

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Music Break

Earlier this year, Belgian-Rwandan singer Stromae spent several weeks at number one across various countries in Europe with “Alors On Danse.” I can see why. Below the jump, Stromae gets the Kanye West treatment. Happy Friday.

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Gal draws Belgium and Congo

Belgian cartoonist GAL turned 70 this year. The relations between Belgium and Congo haven’t been absent in his work. (I provided some context below each cartoon.) Happy birthday, Gal. January 2001. Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel (he...

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Review: ‘Héritage Congo’

Guest Blogger, Tom DeVriendt Pitcho Womba Konga hails from Congo but moved to Belgium at the age of seven. As an artist he is a co-founder of Skinfama, a Brussels-based collective instigating urban hip-hop culture. You might...

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Brussels is Africa

Our man in Brussels, Tom de Vriendt, sent on information on some Africa-themed exhibitions on this summer (till the end of August) in that city. It’s all part of “The Summer of Photography,” which the organizers describe...