AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

White Schools in postapartheid South Africa

It’s a little over two decades ago that South Africa’s Whites Only schools began to ‘welcome’ Black students (African, Coloured and Indian) students into their classrooms. Guided by the official principles of multiculturalism and equality, many a White teacher witnessed his or her classroom diversify. In response, many of them adopted the rhetoric of ‘color

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

Scenario Planning for White South Africa

Scenario planning is something of a cottage industry in South Africa and was particularly popular during the negotiations for democracy in the early 1990s. Careers were launched on the back of this industry, and speakers known for...

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, April 22nd, 2014

Lupita Nyong’o and the Mexicans

“How much does the Oscar belong to Mexico?” a reporter asked actress Lupita Nyong’o the day after the 2014 Academy Awards. Her answer “It all belongs to me.” A few months earlier, when “12 Years a Slave” premiered at...

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Cape Town company that designs and markets “slave ship” ironing boards and aprons

What is it with some white South Africans' penchant for living in an a-historical bubble? Gumtree, the South African Craigslist, is running an ad for an apartment in Randburg, a former white suburb of Johannesburg (with about...

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Weekend in Stellenbosch

On Sunday, walking past the Exclusive Books store, it was interesting to see Kees van der Waal’s new edited text, Winelands, Work and Wealth: Transformations in the Dwars Valley prominently displayed in the window. I found it...

Monday, March 31st, 2014

What they don’t tell you in the brochure about Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch strikes me as one of those places that got put on the table by the National Partyduring the negotiated settlement pre-1994, something the ANC conceded in exchange for democracy. In fact, there's a joke with more...

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Belgium is an insular country. It lives like history happens outside of it

When the leading Belgian newspaper De Morgen, which styles itself as progressive, published an image of Obama and his wife as chimps and passed it off as satire, they did not expect a backlash. They assumed that...

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

#WhiteHistoryMonth: Aimé Césaire on Europe

I’ve been reading Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism. He puts it all plainly. In the flurry of theory, tangles of citational prose, and the demands for refereed this, that, and the other that ping throughout an academic’s...

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Yoga? Heavyset and Black Women Need Not Apply

What is it with the appropriation of yoga by white women—and skinny white women in particular? It’s like they all idolise the spare body of the nut-brown yogi who practices in his cave retreat, but want to...

Monday, January 27th, 2014

A Visitor’s Guide to India

Last weekend in Khirki Village, Delhi, a late-night mob led by the Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti went looking for "some Nigerians or Ugandans." They pulled four young African women out...

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, December 5th, 2013

10 excuses most Dutch people make for racism

Today is the day Sinterklaas and his little black slaves give candy to children, although nature got in the way somewhat. As you’re aware, “Zwarte Piet” (translated: Black Pete) is how the helpers of Saint Nicholas are...

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Antiblack racism in Korea

Outsiders must have wondered about the extent of Korean racism when images of a campaign for a cigarette brand featured monkeys rolling tobacco “in Africa” as well as monkeys dressed as news reporters and declaring “Africa is...

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Lilian Thuram’s Burden

Lilian Thuram isn’t just any footballer; he’s emerged as the game’s moral conscience, not just in the French-speaking world, but more broadly. So much so that recently a packed hall at New York University came to...

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, October 8th, 2013

How we tell stories about cities

A few weeks ago, Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole was the guest of the Troyeville Hotel book club in Johannesburg. Observing that the one constant in cities is that they change, Cole commented: “Cities are built on people’s...

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

The “exceptional” kaffirs and the love of sunshine journalism on race

Last Friday, South Africa’s leading liberal newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, ran an article about the racist abuse hurled at black members of the rugby team at Ben Vorster High, a former Afrikaans-only school for whites in Tzaneen, Limpopo....

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Täschligate*

Retired pop legend Tina Turner, a long-time resident of Zürich’s ‘Goldküste’ (Gold Coast)–the coveted area of marvelous villas on the lake of Zürich–had much to celebrate this year: she got married to her long-time companion Erwin Bach, a...

Monday, July 29th, 2013

The Story of South Africa’s Very Violent Farms

In 2011 an investigation by Human Rights Watch into working conditions on South Africa’s wine and fruit farms drew international attention. The report documented numerous instances of human rights and labour abuses, including instances where workers faced...

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Actual questions from a South African journalist

“Mandela was a terrorist, yet he became an hero and international icon. Do you think the media and the way they portrayed him had something to do with this?… Why would the media choose to see the...

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...

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

The Cartography of Bullshit

With the gutting of foreign coverage by most U.S. newspapers and the need to populate infinite Web space with content, a new creature has emerged: the foreign affairs blogger. Max Fisher, who hosts the Washington Post’s WorldViews...

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Is Italy Ready for an African-born Government Minister?

Two months after the recent elections, Italy has a new government. And Cécile Kyenge, 48 years old, an eye surgeon and Congo-born Italian citizen, is the new Minister for Integration in the cabinet of Prime Minister Enrico...

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...

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

How does it feel to be an African asylum seeker in Europe

“Bon voyage” (“Have a nice trip”), a Swiss animated short movie by Fabio Friedli, seeks to convey how it feels to be an African asylum seeker in Switzerland, and it does so by capturing the experience in...

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

What’s new in South America? Blackface is okay in Peru

Peruvian media have revived the debate regarding Negro Mama, a popular character of the prime time TV show El Especial del Humor. The show, aired on one of the country’s main TV channels, Frecuencia Latina, features actor Jose...

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Story of a South African Farm

As of March 1 this year, the new base salary for farm workers in South Africa will be R105 a day (about US$11 per day). That’s a 52% pay raise, which sounds impressive until you realize that...

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...

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