Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Mutombo’s 375 kilograms of gold

The Houston Chronicle was first to cover the bizarre story of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo’s botched gold job (after the UN published a report on it in December). Now The Atlantic also has a piece. The main players are Mutombo himself, a Houston businessman, a former West Point football player and Congolese army general

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Witchcraft and the British Media

Yesterday, Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi, were convicted of killing Magalie’s younger brother Kristy, who was fifteen. Kristy and his two sisters had travelled from Paris to visit his older sister in Newham, East London...

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

NBA player Serge Ibaka has no country

Last year we pointed to the fact that sports commentators, statisticians and journalists can’t distinguish the Democratic Republic of Congo (the DRC) from its neighbor the Republic of Congo every time they talk about NBA basketball player...

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 30th, 2012

‘The Real Tarzan’ and other colonial fantasies reports that two British artists have built a “Heart of Darkness”-themed hotel in the shape of a steamboat on the roof of a Thames River arts center in London. It is named Roi des Belges (King...

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Some African Cup of Nations History

This item, below, from The Guardian’s (excellent) Sports Blog’s weekly round-up of Youtube videos (basically random stuff they dug up from the history of sports) can help get you into the mood for today’s last first round...

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...

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Music Break. Friday Bonus Edition, N°1

Girl Power is big among female West African pop singers.  Or so recent music videos suggest. We’ve featured Goldie Harvey and Lousika (Ghana) here before. Now here’s two more. First up is Ghanaian Efya with “Sexy Sassy...

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Hulk Hogan in Kinshasa

Kinshasa’s unique brand of professional wrestling culture has suddenly attracted a number of artists and photographers to the city. They include Colin Delfosse (above), Benedicte Kurzen, Gwenn Dubourthoumieu, Vincent Boisot, Pieter Hugo and Keith Harmon Snow. Like...

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Guy Tillim and Adam Hochschild

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Tupac in Africa

This week, fifteen years ago, the rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down on a Las Vegas street. The combination of his personality–he was a “gifted storyteller“, an explosive personality and had an intensity that was unrivaled among...

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Music Break / J Martins and Fally Ipupa

Nigeria and Congo. From 2010. J Martins featuring Fally Ipupa. It’s a remix. The latter owns the track. If you don’t want to wait, fast forward to the 1:49 mark.

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Music Break / Lokua Kanza

The music video for “Nakozonga” by Congolese musician Lokua Kanza.

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...

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

‘The Best African Movie’

Last week the Congolese film “Viva Riva” won “The Best African Movie“* award at the MTV Movie Awards. That’s the kind of publicity African films can’t buy and should count for something when the film opens in...

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

‘The Media-Savvy Autocrat’

Adam Hochschild, in the New York Times Book Review, writing about Jason K Stearns’ new book, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa: Stearns is somewhat easier...

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This is about Congo

ABC News on Ben Affleck’s “time with the people of Congo” and his “odd couple” pairing with Cindy McCain. There’s also this.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

America has ‘blood on our hands’ in Congo

Author Adam Hochschild interviewed by PBS program, Need to Know, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Congo’s first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba. A conspiracy of American, Belgian and Congolese military and diplomatic operatives played a...

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Uganda is Sinking

Increased flooding of the Semliki river, forming the official boundary between the DRC and Uganda, has led to major shifts in its course. As James Randerson reports in the Guardian the moving river has meant the loss of farmland...

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, November 19th, 2010

Do you know Omar al Bashir?

I recently ask students in a graduate class I teach on ‘media, culture and international affairs’ to do an experiment: take a camera, go outside (really downstairs on the New School ‘campus’) and test people’s knowledge of...

Monday, November 8th, 2010

‘Blood Diamond Bazaar’

“Searching for the world’s newest blood-diamond bazaar …” Yes, that’s the opening lines in a story in this week’s “Time” (by the magazine’s South Africa-based correspondent Alex Perry) about Zimbabwe’s diamond mines (production could reach US$1.7 billion a...

Monday, November 1st, 2010

‘The Blood Diamond Myth’

It would be interesting to hear people’s opinions about this argument by writer Adam Hochchild (the author of King Leopold’s Ghost: ) published earlier this year in  Mother Jones magazine:

Friday, October 1st, 2010

No surprises, rappers JJC and Sway “are Africans”

Today, Nigeria celebrates 50 years of independence. To mark the occasion,* we bring you Nigerian-British rapper JJC’s collaboration with Ghanaian-British rapper Sway, and their remix of a song that Sean recently characterized as “hip hop meets twentieth...

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