AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Kenya

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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The Western Journalist in Africa

In 1982, as the air force-led coup attempt in Kenya unfolded, we sat glued to our transistor radio listening to the BBC and Voice of America (VOA). In fact, the more the oppressive the Moi regime censored Kenyan media, the more Western media became the lifeline through which we learned what has happening in our

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Kenya is More than its Election

The Kenyan people have voted. The Kenyan elections have come and not quite gone. The foreign press offered its readers a veritable smorgasbord of dreadfully decontextualized representations, and now that the actual polling has passed, you can...

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Africa is a Country TV is back: We interview Kenyan supergroup Just a Band

Apart from seeing our logo superimposed on a building in downtown Johannesburg, this is a good way to celebrate AIAC TV’s return to Youtube. We (well Dylan Valley) attended STR.CRD in Johannesburg last year. STR.CRD is South...

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

How (not) to report on Kenya’s elections

Kenyans vote today (in some places voting have already started). And somehow, as in any election in any African country, the cliches are not far behind. “Will Kenya fall into mayhem after the results of the general...

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

What we learned from Kenya’s first ever televised presidential debate

Kenya had its first ever televised presidential debate on Monday night. Like many others I was watching the livestream online and Tweeting while at it. I have included some of my real time tweets in this post...

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

When Bob Marley went to Africa

The public persona (and the politics) of Bob Marley, whose birthday it is today,* was heavily informed by his relationship with Africa (both symbolically and in a real sense). In director Kevin MacDonald’s critically acclaimed film, “Marley,”...

Monday, February 4th, 2013

I Dreamed of Kenya

It interesting that the title of the video (embedded below)–shot recently by filmmaker Cary Fukunaga and commissioned by fashion brand Maiyet*–is “Sleepwalking in the Rift.” Not just alluding to dreaming, but also, because we are in the realm...

Monday, January 14th, 2013

The (Kenyan) Male Gaze

Levi-Strauss writes of a Native American people for whom every dream has a hidden sexual meaning, except explicitly sexual dreams, for which it is imperative that non-sexual interpretations be found. I am reaching for an Oscar Wilde...

Friday, December 14th, 2012

The delusions in decontextualising mental illness

All cultures, past and present, have identified abnormal human behaviours – anomalous thoughts and actions – that once sustained tend to be judged negatively. Unable to participate or function within social life, psych behaviours are regarded disruptive...

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Mozambique, the new frontier of global capitalism

Recent business reporting on newly discovered natural resources in Eastern and Southern Africa evokes a new frontier for explorers on the Indian Ocean: Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania have become the center of an “energy boom” and thus,...

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The “legacy” of Mwai Kibaki

We know journalists will soon begin to obsess over what is the legacy of Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s 3rd President since Independence. Kibaki has to stand down next March (when elections are scheduled in Kenya) after two terms...

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Donald Trump comes to Kenya

Last week, on “The Tonight Show,” US President Barack Obama joked that his combative relationship with rightwing businessman Donald Trump (who claims Obama wasn’t born in the United States) goes back to their time playing football together in...

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

What would happen if you made a film about a key figure in Finnish history and cast Kenyan actors?

UPDATED: ‘The Marshal of Finland’, a new film about that country’s first post-World War II president and national icon (and controversial war figure), Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, has left Finns divided. At the heart of the “debate” is the...

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Kenya’s #purplezebra Spring

Political springs, as in social movements that topple and/or transform political regimes, occur when the youth of a nation get on the move. And that may be what happened in Nairobi this past Monday. A harbinger of...

Monday, October 1st, 2012

My favorite photographs N°8: Sydelle Willow Smith

Among the most striking portraits in South African photographer and filmmaker Sydelle Willow Smith’s online portfolio are those taken in the Western Cape, reflecting much of what Cape Town and the wider province stand for: the engaging...

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Five alternative filmmaking collectives

Theatrical release is the holy grail of filmmaking. Well, it was until relatively recently. But, since the internet, dvds, digital files and all the other ethereal modes of sharing and circulating became available to the masses, alternative...

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

The Very Best’s “Kondaine” and Village Beat’s advocacy

The musical group, The Very Best is a tandem between Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and London based producer Johan Hugo. Both met and live in London. AIAC has dedicated several posts to their music. From scanning a...

Friday, June 8th, 2012

New Media and Activism

A couple of weeks back I had the privilege of being able to bring together a few of the leading lights in social media in eastern and southern Africa, for a discussion about the role of social...

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Mutua Matheka and the Cityscapes of Nairobi

Mutua Matheka is a young Kenyan photographer who has taken it upon himself to re-visualize the city of Nairobi through the lens of the camera. To him, Nairobi has been ill abused by contemporary photographers who have...

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,...

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The loneliness of the Kenyan long distance runner

Xan Rice, the West Africa correspondent for Financial Times, has a piece in the most recent issue of The New Yorker (unfortunately you need a subscription) about the sensational, but short, career of the late Kenyan marathon runner,...

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

‘We found love in a hopeless place’

The central point of this song and music video by violinist Lindsey Stirling (the singer is one Alisha Popat) begins with an invocation of a familiar trope: Africa is a hopeless place. But African love springs eternal....

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Patricia Asero Ochieng’s argument

Remember “Silence = Death”? There’s more. Withholding = Death. Withholding necessary funds. Withholding lifesaving medications. Withholding life. In Nairobi last week, Patricia Asero Ochieng, Lucy Ghati, and Rose Kaberia joined Maureen and Anyango and many others to...

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The ‘African Men–Hollywood stereotypes’ video, positive news and ‘Brand Africa’

As much as I tried, I can’t seem to like the new video by San Francisco-based NGO Mama Hope. Four young Kenyans sit on a bench talking through the worst stereotypical depictions of African men in Hollywood...

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The Strategic Kinship of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto

Blogger Kweli of Bring me the African Guy writes for us on the relationship of Kenyan politicians Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. "Although they are facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the two have been...

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

In Praise of Jeffrey Gettleman’s Pulitzer

We couldn’t let the week pass without celebrating one of its more significant events: Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa correspondent for The New York Times (yes, only in Africa can journalists cover territories so vast) was awarded a...

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

Coke and cynicism

I won’t bother to unpack this commercial, but this is exhibit A for the case against uncritical boosterism and identity politics. Coca Cola Kenya hijacks “the Africa is booming” discourse to sell more soft drinks. Here’s their cynical...

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Film: The talented Tajdin sisters

Filmmaker Amirah Tajdin and her producer sister Wafa Tajdin are currently working on their first feature, titled “Walls of Leila,” and are running a Kickstarter campaign to help launch their production. For two young, clearly talented filmmakers,...

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Music Break. Rabbit

Kenyan artist Rabbit is working hard to get the word out about his new album Orutu Ya Masudi. The music video for ‘Yesterdays’ (and The Main Ingredient’s inspiration) will help.

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