AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Nairobi

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

What’s it like to be Somali in Kenya

Twitter is abuzz and Somalis are trending in Kenya, not for reasons of their own, but rather impositions beyond their capacity. There is quite a lot of outrage from all corners that Kenyans venture, from the passionately human to the average reactionary comments in “ full support” (“remove them”) of the state. The police chief has...

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The Work of Kenyan Photographer Mimi Cherono Ng’ok

Mimi Cherono Ng’ok (b. 1983) is a young Kenyan photographer who lives and works in Nairobi. Educated from the University of Cape Town in 2006 she has a number of exhibition and projects behind her. Despite her...

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Wangechi Mutu in conversation with Trevor Schoonmaker

Schoonmaker: When did you start to see work by African artists that you did respond to? Was that in New York? Mutu: In New York, ironically, you know, in the early ’90s. Richard Onyango, one of Kenya’s...

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

A Tribute to Kofi Awoonor: The Story of Sankofa

Alas! a snake has bitten me My right arm is broken, And the tree on which I lean is fallen. (from Songs of Sorrow, by Kofi Awoonor) When Kofi Awoonor started out as a writer, after his...

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

“This is not only Ghana’s loss” — Ato Quayson remembers Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013)

I first met Kofi Awoonor (who died this weekend in the terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya) as an excitable 17-year-old high school student then in the Sixth Form. We had been set Awoonor’s This Earth, My Brother...

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

New Work by Julie Mehretu: The Unruly Rush of the City

It is as if Julie Mehretu has boxed some corner of a great, rambling city, shaken it, and spilled the contents out onto a canvas. Girders and struts, and the faint memory of the structure and reason...

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...

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...

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 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...

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...

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.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

The Whitney Soundtrack

I grew up listening to Whitney Houston. Not simply in the sense that she was famous as I entered adolescence, but that the affect-world she created saturated and colored my sense of what it meant to live...

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Trouble at the Global Fund

What's going on at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB & Malaria (GFATM)? It recently canceled a new round of grants because funding has severely declined, and commitments made by donor countries have yet to materialize....

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Kenya Independence Day

Three Kenyan videos to remember today’s Independence Day. Three popular tunes for our Independence meme. A ‘celebration’ of sorts turned out to be a useful lead for the first two. Madtraxx’s ‘Ida Waiter’ (with a nod to...

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

TV Heads

‘Kichwateli’ (‘TV head’ < Swahili) is one of the many chapters in the BLNRB project. Contributors are Just A Band (read Siddharta Mitter’s profile of the Kenyan trio here), street collective Maasai Mbili and the German electronic...

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 2nd, 2011

Muthoni The Drummer Queen

Your Music Break: from Nairobi. Via Kate Bomz

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Soccer Soap Opera

Kathryn Mathers Soap operas, soccer, social change – could it get better than that? “The Team,” a documentary by Patrick Reed and White Pine Productions, about the making of a soap opera featuring a ‘mixed’ football team...

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Nairobi in April

Writer Mike Pflanz and photographer Brendan Bannon’s new site Daily Dispatches: Nairobi “… is an innovative exploration through photojournalism of a fast-evolving 21st-century African city, unfolding day by day in real time.” Pflanz, a Brit, and Bannon,...

Monday, April 4th, 2011

‘Making Rwanda a more tragic place than it needs to be’

Stephen Smith in The London Review of Books: I am not arguing that we should all know everything there is to know about Rwanda. My point is that we don’t seem to want to know what happened...

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Some Other Kenya

By Brett Davidson Back in February 2009, the Daily Metro newspaper in Nairobi wrote about young Kenyan bloggers mobilising to try to bring about political change, inspired by US President Barack Obama’s use of the Internet during...

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

‘The Kenya I Live In’

This December 2010, Kenyan literary magazine, “Kwani?” will publish the top five entries of their “The Kenya I Live In” Short Story Competition. (Over 500 entries were received, the judges read 65 of these and announced the...

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Nairobi Style

Via Nairobi Style

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Not Your Parents’ Music

There’s more to Kenyan popular music than Just a Band (even CNN’s David MacKenzie has taken notice of the band’s viral activity) as Chief Boima at Ghetto Bassquake has shown recently. He has been posting videos and...

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The Merchants of Nairobi

Steve Bloom‘s photographs of businesspeople in the Kenyan capital.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The People of the Largest Slum in Africa

Unsentimental–and to some even quite shocking–documentary film about the residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum screened on Al Jazeera English.  (The opening few minutes are quite graphic, showing a new born baby.)

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