Weekend Special–July 1, 2011

* Damien Ma, at The Atlantic, blogs about a story that appeared on a Chinese website on “the growing phenomenon of Chinese men marrying African women, as Chinese presence in Africa continues to expand.” The original post and comments are replete with insights and stereotypes. Here’s the caption on the original for the photo above: “The son of a wealthy Sichuan Chinese businessman who married last year’s Miss Kenya!!!Strongly recommend!!!” Here.

* ‘… “This is Africa,” says the lover, and pulls her to safety, leaving the sweaty soldier in the too-tight boots to shoot the already bleeding man.’ No comment.

* The political writing coming out of South Africa (whether it is mainstream media or few political blogs) is of a very low quality. The real problem in South Africa we learn is not a mix of racism, inequality, unemployment, state inaction, etcetera, but a bombastic, media savvy ANC “youth leader” who baits the defensive local press and whites. Among the exceptions are The South African Civil Society Information Service. I’ve linked here to pieces by Jane Duncan (on the Democratic Alliance), Lennie Gentle (on the symbiotic relationship between the ANC and whites) and now Richard Pithouse along those same lines. Sample lines:

… The havoc that Malema is wreaking is not because he has a political genius for articulating the aspirations of the masses. And it’s not because there are not perfectly articulate grassroots activists all over the country. It’s because amidst all his buffoonery he is giving a name to a truth that has up until this moment been largely repressed in most of our interlocking elite publics. That truth is that our celebrated deal has failed most of us. The goose that has been so assiduously protected is still laying, but those golden eggs haven’t been shared out.

* Over at South Africa’s Mail & Guardian’s Thoughtleader Blog (actually the page of Zimbabwean Tendai Marima), Sophia Azeb (she’s with us) and Sonja Sugira (who I hope will feel the need to blog again here; we miss her) join bloggers Konwomyn, Khadija Patel and Tolu Ogunlesi, to discuss Sudan, social media, Arab-Africans, Michelle Obama, Clay Shirky, and Paul Kagame, among other topics. Here are Parts 1 and 2. Part 3 is apparently on its way.

* While every “Africa correspondent” of every major Western publication (most publications have one correspondent for all 53, soon to be 54, countries) is probably on the border of Sudan with South Sudan, President Omar Al Bashir goes to China. Maybe the trip can achieve what Bashir’s international PR campaign to save his skin may not.

* Basil D’Oliviera was a celebrated case, but many more damn fine black cricketers were prevented from playing for South Africa because of their skin color. Like Krom Hendricks more than 100 years ago. And no Kevin Pietersen you are not a victim.

* A lot of time and energy are spent on the conundrum of whites in postapartheid South Africa. Books, seminars, blogs, court cases, asylum in Canada, newspaper editorials,”civil society” organizations (I see you Afriforum and Solidarity), etcetera. Now’s this essay by Rhodes University (in South Africa) academic Samantha Vice. Read it.

* Michelle Obama had lunch in this neighborhood near downtown Cape Town which until recently was a no-go for the white middle classes. Ah, the smell of gentrification.

* What happened to that film about champion weightlifter Precious McKenzie? You should know him. Muhammed Ali did.

* Finally, CNN held its annual Journalism of the Year awards for African journalists in Johannesburg. It was sponsored by Coco Cola. A Kenyan journalist won the top award. Smile.

It’s also Independence Day in Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia today. So once the Music Break is up we’re done till Monday. See you then.

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.