AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Maliban White Choclet Puff Sells Superior Light Skin

You all know that South Asians have this “thing” about light skin, right? I don’t need to go into too many details – the skin lighteners, the Bollywood films dominated by people who look like they came from, say, Northern Turkey? And even popular, multimillionaire actors like Shahrukh Khan have become shills for skin lightener

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Gerard Gaskin, Legendary: Interview with the photographer

“I started become interested in this project, ‘Legendary’, back when I hung out in 42nd Street and Time Square in New York City. In the 42nd street area there was a place right across the street from...

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

What If We Publish Children’s Books African Kids Could Relate To?

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” wrote Toni Morrison. Imagine a world with no Hobbits, no Aslan, no Dr. Who. These English mythologies,...

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

A “Take Your Madam Home Campaign” Instead? A Comment on Social Justice Tours in Townships

Lately I have been struggling with the idea (and the proliferation) of “social justice tours” in South Africa. If you don’t know what I am talking about, social justice tours are tours which take the tourist through...

Friday, October 24th, 2014

The Brazilian Election, Race

There’s a lot going on in the world these days, so you may not have been paying attention to Brazil. But the country has an extremely important election coming up this weekend – one that will decide...

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Travelling while black

It takes a while to blink the light out of my eyes. I’m sitting in the back of a songthaew headed for a bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai when suddenly the world goes white before returning...

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Why Oscar Pistorius’ anxiety spectacle might matter more than we think

Guess what? Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic champion who is tried for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, turns out to be sane. He might still lose his temper, like the other day when VIP-ing...

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Thank You, Associated Press

We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time...

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

So then, what does Blackness in Brazil look like?

With the increased attention on Brazil since the Cup started, I’ve noticed non-Brazilians trying to figure out what exactly is going on with Brazilian racial politics. I’ll tell you it’s not an easy task. It’s taken me months...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey

Leia este em Português aqui. By the time you read this, it’s possible that every single person on the planet will know who Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is. The image above is of Neymar from five...

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Everybody needs good neighbours (except “those Nigerians”)

Vocativ, is what some trust for a news source in the United States. An American news-aggregator accessing the ‘deep web’ for information in a bid to report the world in slick packaging that uses dramatic music and...

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The music that changed my life

The Cape Town suburb of Observatory is known for being a small bohemian enclave, providing low cost housing for students, artists and ‘free spirits’ of all sorts. Walk down Lower Main Road past the quaint mini-Victorian houses...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Seven Things To Tell Young Black South Africans

Last week, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation held an election debate in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, on intergenerational justice. It would have been great if some terms, like intergenerational justice, had been framed more...

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Mindy Kaling isn’t Responsible for Being Your Diversity Councillor

I got together with Nadia Misir and Derica Shields for an AIAC Roundtable to discuss why Mindy Kaling went batshit when she was asked, at the recent SXSW, why there are no other characters of colour in...

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Am I supposed to be more Brazilian than black?

We’re always told (by our media, politicians, commentators, etcetera) that Brazil is the most multicultural and multiracial country in the world. That Brazilian miscegenation gave birth to a unique kind of beauty and that the Brazilian mixture...

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

File under: Dutch Liberalism

In the Netherlands, many people convince themselves that racism is something that exists elsewhere–in South Africa, for example, or in the United States. For this is a ‘tolerant,’ liberal nation. To maintain the facade, often blatant...

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

There is no liberal tradition in South Africa

Liberalism regards the individual as the ultimate social and political agent, endowed with a number of rights. The ideology also acknowledges that individuals live in societies and are not totally autonomous. Consequently it also recognizes a number...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The fuss over the first Afro-Latino Spiderman

When Marvel Comics first announced a new Spiderman who is half-Hispanic and half-African-American–from the popular Peter Parker to a New Yorker, Miles Morales–back in 2011, radio host Glen Beck shared his thoughts on the matter. Beck argued that Michelle...

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Race, Identity and the Making of Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla has arrived. His back-lift to gully now appears the sort of lazy flourish that bored twelve-year-olds develop because they are staggeringly superior to their opposition, rather than the defect that presumed he wouldn’t cut it...

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The story of Happy Sindane puts the lie to South Africa’s rainbow shibboleths

A short South African Press Association bulletin on Monday announced the death of one Happy Sindane. If you don’t remember him (and South Africans are notorious for their short memories), he “made headlines in late May 2003...

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Photographing Afcon 2013 in Yeoville, Johannesburg

On a recent trip to Johannesburg (which is in Gauteng Province), a couple of friends decided to invade a Congolese restaurant in Yeoville; Kin Malebo on 31 Raleigh Street in Yeoville. The game was between DR Congo...

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

‘Race jokes’ in South Africa

South African advertising is known for its eagerness for political commentary; very little ends up being off-limits. Blink Stefanus, or BS Beer (the double meaning for ‘bullshit’ being an obvious choice) is no exception. In September this year the...

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Killing an African Warlord

“Key & Peele” (the comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) are considered the next generation of top black comedians (that’s a link to The New York Times endorsement). Their sketch comedy show on the American channel Comedy...

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Kyle Shepherd X

Artists loathe hyper-intellectualism. Rationalization tends to eradicate emotion and surrendering passion becomes another way to pay the devil. But then there are those artists whose intellectualism is a birthright, not by choice and inescapable. Take, for example,...

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Gay Shame

Dear Tanya Harford and Jenny Green, At 3am in my hotel room last night, jetlagged and sleepless, I was dawdling online and read about the confrontation at Johannesburg Pride between you and a group of black lesbians...

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Safe House

In February, a reporter for DIY, a London based culture and style magazine, sat down at a press junket with Denzel Washington, star and executive producer of the big budget spy thriller ‘Safe House’ (the film came...

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The ‘passing’ of Ernest Cole

Information on famed South African photographer Ernest Cole’s decision to 'pass' from 'African' to 'coloured' in Apartheid South Africa's kafkaesque "race classification system" is not readily available beyond the ready-made theories and rationalizations repeated in museum...

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

First Lady Marieme Faye Sall: ‘The good Senegalese woman’

Senegal's new first lady, Marieme Faye Sall, represents a break with the country's political history after independence. Madame Sall’s husband, Macky Sall, has just been elected as President of Senegal. Her significance lies in the fact that...

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Afrikaans movie template

The creatives at South African satellite TV channel Kyknet — which also produces movies now — not only blatantly rip off American romantic comedy plotlines, but inhabit a South Africa where there is not a single black...

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

‘An extra day to be black’

I know we’re already seven days into March, but visual artist Michael Paul Britto’s request for ‘an extra day to be black’ in mainstream media outlets, still holds. (For those in the dark, he is ripping into Black...

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