AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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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 aid. Within the matrix of extraordinary initiatives organized in this region, the film focuses primarily on the Mabele

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

How can we move on from this dark story about “the Congo”?

Imagine that a TV director asks you to produce a documentary of European history in 59 minutes. “Impossible” would probably be your reaction … Well, Dan Snow took on this impossible task to show us in about...

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...

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...

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Restaging the Death of Patrice Lumumba

In the central public park of Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique, stands a statue of Empress Joséphine, who grew up on a sugar plantation to the south of the island. Her stone head has been hacked off, in...

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...

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Did Britain’s MI6 have Patrice Lumumba murdered?

Africa is a Country readers may not regularly check the London Review of Books, a British literary magazine with a circulation just over 50,000–it’s meant more for Bloomsbury than Bamako or Bloemfontein (though some readers could probably...

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Ben Affleck makes the DRC cool again

The New York Times, in its infinite wisdom (it comes with being The New York Times), decided that one of the paper’s reporters, one Brooks Barnes, should write what amounts to a fluff piece (it’s not actual...

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....

Friday, January 25th, 2013

What We Learn From Day Six Of Afcon 2013

Referees are known to ruin games waving red cards. An early red card in the game between Ghana and Mali may have made this a classic. Instead the match competed with the empty rafters for attention. Both...

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Law & Order: America’s Star Mercenary protects Chinese investment in Africa

Remember when Law & Order: Criminal Intent did a two-hour season premier on Erik Prince’s anti-pirate private militia in Somalia? Prince (founder and frequent re-namer of the infamous mercenary company, Blackwater) became a celebrity by escalating and...

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Why didn’t Anthony Bourdain take his show to Cape Town?

Good on The New York Times for publishing an article on South African culinary options…I suppose something is better than nothing in this case. For those without a subscription, an article entitled “A Culinary Gateway to Cape...

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...

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

How to write about children in Africa

In early October this year, PBS released the documentary ‘Half the Sky’, based on the book by frequent AIAC target and New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn (a former Times journalist) focusing...

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Canada likes Africa’s “new image”

After spending its first six years in power largely ignoring the continent, the Conservative Party of Canada has finally “discovered” Africa. Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper undertook a four-day trip to Senegal and the DRC—only his...

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Soukous for Francophonie (and for Kabila)

Big concert this week, October 10, in Kinshasa to honor the 2012 Francophonie summit. Performances by Papa Wemba and Werrason with their groups have already been posted online. Also on the program were Mbilia Bel, Tshala Muana,...

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

10 African films to watch out for, N°3

‘O Grande Kilapy’ (“The Great Kilapy” — ‘kilapy’ is Kimbundu for ‘scheme’, or ‘fraud’), the new film by director Zézé Gamboa, portrays the last decade of Portuguese rule in Angola through the story of Joao Fraga (played...

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, 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 30th, 2012

The geo-branding war

Geo-branding is a serious thing. It is particularly serious when people from other geographic areas decide to brand your geographical area and the people in it, the way they see fit and the way that fits their...

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...

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Cabinda is a Conflict Zone

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Tomorrow’s Marching Band

In the DRC, city life isn’t foremost defined by the image of the child soldier (contrary to what some campaigns would have you believe) but rather by that of the street child. Seen by many as a...

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Fabrice Muamba and English football

British football isn’t known for its compassion, and it’s already been an explosive season of racist slurs and handshakes denied. But the recent collapse of Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for Bolton Wanderers, has shown a different side...

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...

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Music Break. Gasandji

DRC born, France based Gasandji‘s “Na lingui yo.”

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Black Bazar

Alain Mabanckou’s 2009 novel Black Bazar spoke successfully to and about the African diaspora in France, their daily hustle, fashion, style and language. All through the eyes of the Congolese migrant nicknamed ‘Fessologue’, sapeur and pub philosopher,...

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