Thursday, January 16th, 2014

“Somalis on Ice”

Goodbye Eric The Eel! Shuffle over, Jamaican bobsleigh team of 1988! There’s a new team in town: The Somalia national bandy team. And of course, the media is all over it.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Somali author Diriye Osman’s “Fairytales for Lost Children”

In a dark couple of weeks for LGBT rights, the Indian government’s supreme court has re-criminalised gay sex, ensuring men and women now face police harassment and potential life imprisonment, stating gay sex is “unnatural, immoral and...

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The Rory Peck Awards

The Rory Peck Awards, which took place on Wednesday, November 20 in London, are held to honor the work of freelance cameramen and women covering news and current affairs. This year’s finalists included two reports from Africa...

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips and the “True Story” of Somali Piracy

Abduwali Abdukhad Muse sits anxiously in a federal prison in Indiana, while his Hollywood-constructed doppelganger prepares to leap onto a silver screen near you this weekend. Muse, a young man from Somalia, was sentenced in 2011 to...

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Kenya’s Westgate Mall Attack and the Politics of Spectacular Violence

The masked gunmen who stormed Nairobi’s Westgate Mall on Saturday did one thing right. In targeting a site at the epicenter of elite consumerism in the upscale neighborhood of Westlands, they galvanized worldwide attention. As the mainstream...

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Malitia Malimob, rap music and the less glamorous stories of African migration to the United States

The new “Africa Rising” narrative propagated largely by a globally-connected middle and upper class diaspora, often obscures the grittier stories of the African immigrant experience. This is partly due to an instinct among African immigrants to want to counter...

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Pop Culture and Pirate Humanity

The tragic robber-hero. The mystical gunslinger. The cerebral crime-lord, drawn into events beyond his control. One of the most straightforwardly literal ways in which popular culture is able to challenge official ideology is in creating complexity and human...

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Law & Order: America’s Star Mercenary protects Chinese investment in Africa

Remember when Law & Order: Criminal Intent did a two-hour season premier on Erik Prince’s anti-pirate private militia in Somalia? Prince (founder and frequent re-namer of the infamous mercenary company, Blackwater) became a celebrity by escalating and...

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Why didn’t Anthony Bourdain take his show to Cape Town?

Good on The New York Times for publishing an article on South African culinary options…I suppose something is better than nothing in this case. For those without a subscription, an article entitled “A Culinary Gateway to Cape...

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

London calling … to the faraway towns of Somalia

Talk about efficiency, how’s this for a developmental scheme. First, encourage, both directly and by ‘principled non-engagement,’ a civil war in a mineral rich area. Make sure thousands are displaced, especially the rural populations. Help to build...

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Queensbridge, Rexdale and Mogadishu

Behind the scenes video of Nas and K’Naan on the set of the latter’s music video for “Nothing to Lose” in Toronto. The video premieres on Friday. * BTW, sometime later this week we should have Boima’s...

Friday, February 10th, 2012

50 Cent goes to Somalia

So rapper 50 Cent (accompanied by American journalists) was in Somalia and Kenya this week to visit people living in refugee camps displaced by the civil war with Islamic militants. Expect lots of ’50 in Somalia’ reports...

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Music Break. Mufasa

Somali-Canadian R&B Singer A’maal Nuux wants to be Mufasa.  The description of the song on Youtube says, “This song touches on the devastation and upheavals afflicting Somalia… offers a message of hope calling on the people that a devastated...

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“Iconic” Africa

Time  unveiled its “Top 10 Photos of 2011″ online last week. At least four of the photographs cover African topics: they’re all from “conflict” situations–two in Libya’s civil war (view it here and here), one in Egypt’s...

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“The Somali Neurosis”

14-minute clip from a recent TV profile by Norwegian television of a visit by Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah to Norway. I never imagined book TV could look this good and informative.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Gandhi in Somalia

By Abdourahman Waberi I have known Professor Mohamed Abdi Mohamed aka Gandhi for many years. I read his books and pamphlets devoted to the history of his native Somalia. A longtime resident of Besancon, France, we occasionally...

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Jeffrey Gettleman in Somalia

By Abdourahman Waberi* Jeffrey Gettleman will not run the risk of being seen as ‘a nobody, a cockroach, a gangster,’ unlike the Somali pirates he depicted in the columns of the New York Times Magazine last weekend...

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Murdoch and starving Somali children

What’s in the news these days? a)     New reports of famine in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya, alongside the difficulties of getting food and medical aid to areas in which famine is partially caused by...

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Drones in Somalia

With new reports of drone strikes by the American military in Somalia–the aim is to take out after members of Al Shabab– and a CIA base (and prison) in Mogadishu, I asked Alex Thurston, also the blogger...

Friday, July 1st, 2011

July 1, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia

July, like June, is a busy month for independence celebrations in Africa. We can’t keep up. Today we celebrate with the people Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia.  Here’s one each from each locale. It’s pop. The Ben (Rwanda):

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Tea Party in Somalia

Comedians, making a “PSA (Public Service Announcement) aimed at Tea Party members in the United States, get some cheap laughs out of Somalia’s predicament. H/T: Texas in Africa

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

‘Things that bug me about Kenya(ns)’

The first thing that comes to mind is our unquestioning admiration and obsession with wealthy people. Our newspapers and magazines are chock-full of personal interviews of rich people. In these interviews, people born with silver spoons in...

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The Transformation of K’Naan

K’naan, the Somali-Canadian singer, usually sings sort of earnest and sometimes strident political songs about war, refugees and militarism. His song, “Waving Flag,” is a good example. The organizers of the 2010 World Cup asked him to...

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Somalia Gets the Hollywood Treatment

The movie trailer for “Desert Flower,” the new feature about the short and very eventful life of Somali model Waris Dirie–she was circumcised at 5, married off at 13, was a supermodel by the time she was...

Friday, November 27th, 2009


Around this time of the year The Economist publishes its  annual publication, “The World in …” The 2010 edition just came out.  The prize is not something to be proud of. This year’s prize, surprise, surprise, goes...

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009


English-Somali poet, Warsar Shire‘s poem “The letter my mother would have written had she known English.” Damn. Via: Aryan Kaganoff

Saturday, October 10th, 2009


A busy week on the personal front (more on that another time) so that means a lot of stuff gets the speed blog treatment. * First up, a link to the “Parts of Africa” hip hop mix:...

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Here’s some things I did not have the time to blog about properly or link to this past week: * Barack and Michelle Obama had to pose 135 times with visiting dignitaries to the UN General Assembly...

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009


In an opinion piece in the Washington Post, conservative columnist Michael O’Hanlon goes on about a permanent US military presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (this in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Eastern...

Saturday, August 8th, 2009


“Democracy Now!” recently interviewed the smart Somali-Canadian rapper, K’Naan, in the program’s Manhattan studio. K’Naan also performed a few songs live–like the one above. All the songs here and the interview here.