Thursday, October 16th, 2014

What is it like to be a refugee in Germany?

“Gitmo in Germany?” and “German Abu Ghraib” were two of the headlines across news wires in late September after photos and a video documenting the abuse of Algerian asylum seekers by security officers in an asylum center had circulated. The photo shows a guard standing next to an asylum seeker who is lying on the floor with his hands tied

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Germany has its own “Sinterklaas Scandal”

The Oktoberfest in Munich may be over, but a curious debate sparked by the annual Bavarian bierfest is lingering like a bad hangover. Is it racist to put up targets portraying black people for fairgoers to shoot...

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The World War One in Africa Project: What happened in Africa should not stay in Africa

For the next four years, the world is celebrating the Centenary of World War I,  and once again Africa is not invited to the party.

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The World Cup: Algeria in Queens, New York

Islamic hymns emanated from street food carts on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens, in observance of Ramadan. At Cafe Borbone, a non-descript Italian coffeehouse nearby, a middle-aged, working-class, almost all-male crowd gathered for Algeria’s maiden knockout round...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

The legacy of the ‘German Bob Geldof of development aid’

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...

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The death of Oury Jalloh

One of Germany’s most enigmatic post-war lawsuits will have to be reviewed. This post is both a chronology of what is sufficiently proven and a list of the numerous crudities that remain. What is can't be disputed...

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

‘What is wrong with this headline?’

It may seem odd to quote Paul Dacre, the editor of the jingoist UK Daily Mail. He defended his slanderous headline about the late Marxist academic Ralph Miliband (‘The man who hated Britain’) and father of the leader...

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Refugee Voyeurism, German Style

What do a model, the former bassist of a rightist rock band, a fantasy writer who has several times expressed her admiration for Thilo Sarrazin (the Bundesbank executive, who questioned whether migrants were ‘unfit or unwilling to integrated’...

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Germany’s African “Big Five”

On the occasion of the country’s first “development day” last week, the German ministry for economic cooperation and development launched a new campaign to educate Germans about what development policy is—or more accurately what the “new German...

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Why France doesn’t want to let Aminata Traoré in and Germany allowed her only inside Berlin’s city limits

Malian writer, activist, former member of government Aminata Traoré is unwelcome in France, and, thanks to the ‘open borders’ of the Schengen Area, she is persona non grata in pretty much all of Europe. Another dialogue is...

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

German amnesia and Herero women

Over the weekend, Geoffrey York, the Africa correspondent for the Canadian Globe and Mail (and apparently also the only correspondent for a major Canadian publication on the African continent) wrote, from Namibia, about the current Herero struggle...

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Germany’s Turn

If Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima’s award winning film Teza (2009) is anything to go by, Germany’s relationship to art coming from African producers can be a helpful model. After fifteen years of trying to complete his film,...

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The Vershtunkende Toronto Zoo

The sprawling Toronto Zoo clearly never heard about the controversy surrounding the German Augsburg Zoo’s experience of setting up an “African village” in the summer of 2005. If they had, perhaps they would’ve been more circumspect before...

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

My favorite photographs N°3: Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann

Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann, a photographer and filmmaker working in her hometown, Nairobi, is our latest guest for our series where we ask photographers to pick their favorite shots from their own portfolio . She was born in Bonn,...

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Post-Script: Germany’s Colonial Legacy

The recent controversy around Günter Grass’s criticisms of Germany’s arms trade with Israel is an interesting post-script to the Namibian genocide controversy. The Nobel prize-winning author has written a poem – called ‘What needs to be said’ – which...

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Film Review: “The Education of Auma Obama”

Republican party propaganda wants to paint President Barack Obama's Kenyan family as alien to America. In this propaganda, Barack Hussein Obama Snr and the old man's supposed "anti-colonial" and left-wing biases. In this propaganda Kenyans are reduced...

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Germany’s Namibian Legacy

So the Bundestag have once again refused to acknowledge that the systematic murders of four ethnic groups in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 wasn’t genocide.  Late last month, March 22, the German parliament debated a motion proposed...

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Azonto Germany

So apparently there’s more to the Ghana-Germany connection than the Boateng boys. I think the above Azonto rave in Hamburg this past January is proof of that. It’s perhaps an illustration of some of the points we...

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Being Black in Germany

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

From Nairobi to Berlin

Over the last two years, the NRBLN – BLNRB project has brought together German and Kenyan musicians, resulting in the eclectic album BLNRB – Welcome to the Madhouse. They’ve now also uploaded this video for the track...

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Music Break / Y’akoto

German-Ghanian singer Y’akoto’s biography on her website made me look up the meaning of the word “hegira” — a beautiful word, but maybe not the best translation of the original German ‘Suche’, as in: “search” (for herself)....

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Music Break

The video “Niemand” by German singer, Joy Denalane (featuring her husband Max Herre) off her new album “Maureen,” which is set for release next month. Via Afro-Europe

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I’m Gonna Dance

No more “Down on My Knees.” Nigerian-German singer Ayo‘s new–well at least one month old–single of her upcoming March 2011 release, “Billie-Eve,” is all empowerment.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Postmodernism on Ice

So it turns out that tonight at the Winter Olympics in the pairs figure skating finals, Germany will be presented by, Robin Szolkowy, whose father is Tanzanian (his mother is German), and his Ukranian-born partner, Aliona Savchenko....

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Nneka on Letterman

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Nneka Plays Stateside

Her US tour dates are now available. * The video above for her single “Kangpe” was filmed in Cote d’Ivoire.

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


At my old blog address I declared my like of Nneka, the Nigerian-German singer. Nneka is now making a splash in the US among the neo-Soul (?uestlove of The Roots has conferred his blessings). This is the...

Friday, November 6th, 2009


If you’re in New York City tonight, go see Polish director Tomasz Magierski’s documentary, “My Father the Luo.” The film revolves around Roma Ndolo, a young Kenyan-Polish woman and her attempts to connect to her father’s homeland....

Sunday, October 4th, 2009


A while ago I posted a link to the short film “Impasse.” Blogger Twiga posted another, earlier film, around the same theme: the Oscar-winning short by German director Pepe Danquart, “Schwarzfahrer.” The title is a word-play: literally,...

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009


I teach a class on Documenting International Affairs at The New School. We talk about and watch (in and outside class) all the usual subjects–Why We Fight, Rambo II, Star Wars, Hearts and Minds, Cry...

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