How do Africans–ground zero for resource extraction by the world’s 1%–feel about the now global ‘Occupy’ movement? Thus far it’s mostly restricted to South Africa (according to OWS’s own data collection) and to small once-off protests by mostly white, middle class South Africans.*  But now they’re joined by Senegalese musician Baaba Maal. That’s Maal above–in the video sound bite–talking about 99% with Okayafrica’s Allison Swank.

BTW, Maal could have added that Africans have been going on about global Apartheid for a while. If you take the anti-privatization social movements of the early 2000s in South Africa, the role of activists like Dennis Brutus, the various World Social Forum meetings held in Dakar last year and Nairobi before that, the AIDS movement, the films of Abdourahmane Sissako (‘Bamako‘) or the protests against Shell in Nigeria, etcetera.

* Note: Race and class is as usual at the heart of protests in South Africa. It is useful to watch the video taken at a protest in Johannesburg and read the post about whites and OWS. My two cents: In South Africa when black people protest about the effects of capitalism and their government going along with Wall Street dictats (when it comes to policy prescriptions around transforming the most unequal country in the world), it is usually dismissed as in the service of power struggles between the ruling party and its allies, between ruling party politicians or as “service delivery protests.” (Just last week a few thousand, young black protesters marched to protest economic Apartheid in South Africa; the march was led by Julius Malema. Predictably his presence became the only lens through which to view their very real grievances.) We’ve rambled on about that here countless times. Anyway, for now, let’s enjoy Baaba Maal especially since Africa is not just South Africa.

Further Reading