AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Congo

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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Africa is a Country Radio: Episode 3

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

Friday, February 21st, 2014

“Congo Dialogues.” Alice Seeley Harris and Sammy Baloji on exhibit in London

The London gallery Autograph ABP is currently exhibiting Alice Seeley Harris’ well-known 1904 Congo Reform Association photographs, together, or in some form of juxtaposition, with new commissioned photographic and video work by contemporary young Congolese artist Sammy...

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Question of International Aid

In 2013, Alkebu Film Productions released a 34-minute documentary, Mabele na biso (Our Land), that profiles a community in the Isangi region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has staunchly refused to be controlled by international...

Friday, December 13th, 2013

My Favorite Photographs: Justine Brabant

Since the mid-1990s, the North and South Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo have become battlefields for a myriad of armed groups, a mix of well-organized rebel groups (such as the M23, who surrendered a...

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

An Adieu to Tabu Ley Rochereau, King of Soukous

On November 30th, just this past Saturday, the “Baobab of Congolese Rumba” Tabu Ley Rochereau passed away at the age of 73. He died in Brussels at l’Hôpital Saint-Luc from diabetic complications, having never fully recovered from...

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Belafonte and Scorsese plan TV series on Leopold II’s Brutal Rule in Congo

By now, a lot has been written on the history of Belgian King Leopold II’s deadly reign over his own private colony, Congo Free State from 1885-1908 (after which it became a formal Belgian colony and was...

Friday, August 30th, 2013

5 New Films to Watch Out For, N°30

From the director and singer-actors of the 2005 film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha comes a new “opera” film. Unogumbe/Noye’s Fludde follows the plot of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde work but moves the action from medieval England to present-day South...

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, March 27th, 2013

Tsofa: A documentary film about Congolese immigrants in Romania

Congolese (Brazzaville) filmmaker Rufin Mbou Mikima has uploaded* his latest documentary “Tsofa” to YouTube. The film tells the story of a group of Congolese men, many of them highly qualified university graduates who got offered a 600...

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The politics of selling African art mostly collected during colonial era to private collectors (in the Netherlands)

The proposed sale of the Africa Collection at The World Museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands has sparked some interesting debates in Dutch media lately. Unfortunately some important questions and issues around this sale are not being discussed....

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Yannick Nyanga’s Tears

Last week, before a rugby test match between France and Australia in Marseille, as the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” began playing, Kinshasa-born rugby player Yannick Nyanga began sobbing uncontrollably. It went viral.  Nyanga then...

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

President of France, King of Africa?

Why should it be a big deal if a French president gives a speech in Dakar? Lots of reasons. Rarely does anyone walk softly and carry a big stick in quite the same way that François Hollande...

Friday, October 12th, 2012

“To Bring the Beat Home”: Soul Power in Kinshasa

The opening scene: Soul Brother No. 1 dressed in a skin tight matador-cum-gimp suit, drop-kicking the mic, screeching, roaring, galvanising a Congolese crowd into pure hysteria, while chanting ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, so camp as to...

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Big Frizzle’s ‘Africa’

This music video for Big Frizzle’s ‘All Black Everything’, produced by London-based media house GlobalFaction made me wonder about GlobalFaction’s politics, and their use of imagery. I’m struck by the flood of historical images featuring in recent...

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Silent Elections

This is a bit older, but still worth watching. Above is a short clip from ‘Silent Elections’, a 40 min. documentary film Belgian video artist Sarah Vanagt produced in 2009. In the opening scene, she explains how...

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

In North Kivu, R&B is pure art

The text that comes with Agata Pietron’s photographs of youth in Kiwanja and Rutshuru (North Kivu, Congo) flirts with the clichés (the Conrad reference; the brave missionaries; the photographer is a “muzungu” who “discovers” youth who are...

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

A Room Adrift in London

Here in London we have been having a lot of trouble with pageants. After the riots last August, the state is hoping that summer plans – the Olympics, the Hackney festival – will be distraction from the...

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Parisian Africa: The artistic intersections of the Métropole

Guest Post by Lara N. Dotson-Renta Paris has always been renowned for its culture and support of the arts. Yet, as France has grown into an ever more pluralistic society, the traditional image of what constitutes art...

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

‘Banana republic’

World Soccer magazine explains Russian football’s anti-racism strategies: Anzhi Makhachkala have expressed their disappointment over an “idiotic” banana throwing incident involving recent signing Christopher Samba. The Congolese defender had a banana thrown at him from the stands...

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Undocumented Spanish News

Last week, the Spanish site, Periodismohumano, broke the news of the fifty-four men and women deported from Madrid to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After three years of struggle, hunger strikes, and protests, forty-three men and women...

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Africa at the 2012 Berlinale

The London film world (and its media) have been turned to the 2012 Berlinale. As film critics and journalists flock to Germany for the annual festival, complaints about the Teutonic cold are routine, as are the proclamations heralding...

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...

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Sapeurs and Cemeteries

Recent work by Congolese artist Yves Sambu--bringing together his interest in contemporary sapeurs and cemeteries-- is a a good antidote to the colorful portrayal of the 'Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People' we're used to.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Music Break. LeslyMan

“What do they really know about us?” Fair question from Congolese artist LeslyMan. He could have added: do they still want to know about us now that the elections are over? Remember LeslyMan from last year’s collaboration...

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

How to write about elections in Africa

With a few elections coming up next year, journalist Jina Moore already has the template down for covering them:

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Music Break. Friday Bonus Edition

Ploughing through the blog’s archives to come up with a fair selection of ten videos for next week’s year-end lists, I wondered why we haven’t written about the Congolese Salaam Kivu All Stars. Things went well in...

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The ‘safest option’ in Congo

For all the huffing and puffing in the West about the DRC’s cooked elections — President Joseph Kabila “polled” 49% and the Electoral Commission, stacked with Kabila cronies, “gave” opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi 32% of the vote...

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Congo Votes

Over the past week, it was hard to find an article published in a major international press outlet not looking at the build-up to today’s presidential elections through the lens of fear and/of violence. With the exception...

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Queering the Congo

War photography forces us to ask questions about the limits of cultivating empathy via looking, and the limits of seeing self in the other when the image before us intimates something so violently different from the life...

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Music Break. Badi

Remember Brussels artist Badi (BD Banx on the Héritage project or his Beasty Boys-styled video ‘Jump’)? He keeps a nice blog too.

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