It’s the last week of classes here at The New School, so it’s crazy around here. No time for detailed posts, so here is a run down of things that should have gotten proper treatment, but only gets a few lines.

First up is the new film “The First Grader” (trailer above) about a 84 Kenyan man’s quest to go to school opened this week. From the trailer or the reviews it seems the film ditched the required benign white American or European character. Some reviews from The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times‘s some reviews.

The National Journal, after consulting with political operatives in the US capital, conclude that Irish pop singer Bono is apparently “the most politically effective celebrity of all time.” And don’t get cynical now:

Several factors explain this shift. The intense polarization of American politics probably encourages celebrities to focus on international issues that don’t divide their audiences as sharply. “There’s hardly a person who is going to blame you for going to Uganda; those issues don’t have any political downside,” says Lara Bergthold, who has organized celebrities for liberal causes since the 1980s. Further, as the entertainment industry has grown more global, so has the incentive for stars to pursue global causes, notes Craig Minassian, a former HBO producer who consults with the Clinton Global Initiative (and who also recently produced Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity). “To the extent they are addressing issues that are important in Africa or Asia, it also helps them from a global-brand perspective,” he points out. Both Bergthold and Minassian note that involvement in development issues also provides stars with more-tangible evidence of effectiveness for the time they commit. “[Fighting] cancer feels like you never get over the hump, but you really can get clean water to 1,000 villagers in Malawi,” Minassian says.

Via Digital Life “the most comprehensive study of the African digital consumer” in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Here

It’s the Cannes Film Festival this week and the next and thus a good occasion to review Jean-Pierre Garcia’s essay on the history of African films at the festival.

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.