In May 2000 The Economist ran a cover story: “Africa. The Hopeless Continent.” People couldn’t stop talking about it for a long while afterward. It spawned countless op-eds about Afro-pessimism and -optimism. It even became the basis for “Contemporary African Politics” college courses for a while. Now last week, they ran this feature cover (above) –complete with silhouetted boy with kite running across the savannah– where the magazine predicts a more hopeful scenario for the continent’s 54 states. The feature is completed by a glowing leader (“Angola and Equatorial Guinea are oil-sodden kleptocracies, Rwanda and Ethiopia are politically noxious, Congo looks barely governable and hideously corrupt, South Africa is tainted with corruption” but “Africa is at last getting a taste of peace and decent government”) and a 3-page article. The most remarkable thing about this cover feature is that it was a non-event. Problem is, the media environment has changed. And no one is waiting for The Economist’s verdict any more. Not much new here from the stuff you can read on blogs or the countless boosterist tweets you have to mine through everyday. People who measure Africa’s progress by how many dollar billionaires it has will be happy to hear that “the richest black person in the world” is not Oprah Winfrey and her $3 billion fortune –that only makes her “the wealthiest black person in America”– but Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian cement king.
Delegates to a conference on Global Africa at Oxford University write about how Zionists and their apologists are infiltrating and co-opting the academy.
Fanon is your revolutionary’s revolutionary. His life and work continue to inspire and empower a new generation of dreamers and fighters against despotism and nihilism.
How does the world’s longest serving autocrat remain in power?
All that French marketing schtick aside about “the white Zulu,” Johnny Clegg was a real one.
Algeria reached the African Cup final for the first time in 29 years after defeating Nigeria. It can’t be divorced from politics back home.
What happens when ike’s, a legendary bookstore in Durban, South Africa, creates a literary festival? For one, synergy.
How local conflicts in the Sahel-Sahara over justice, or rather its absence, get dragged into tensions between outsiders.
One of South Africa’s most important universities, the University of Cape Town, recently released a curriculum change framework in response to protests. This is a critique by two alum.
The long and wondrous life of Hassan Ouakrim, the “Cultural Ambassador” of the Maghreb to the United States.
The American website Black Agenda Report commented on the protests in Sudan and got it completely wrong.
Technological change is not simply a neutral and inevitable process—it is shaped and driven by existing social relations.
How do queer women give shape to their queerness, navigating the simultaneous desires of same-sex intimacies, family life, societal expectations, and urban success?
A long awaited recognition comes for the two American founders of social work in South Africa.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and football’s peculiar hold on national identity.
The peaceful nature of the massive protests against Algeria’s undemocratic regime signals the universal reclamation of the people’s right to perform who they are and who they want to be.
The Hirak, how the current contemporary liberation movement is known, gives Algerians a renewed sense of purpose.
What social media activism gets wrong about the #SudanUprising: Sometimes it may be appropriate to leave the hashtags alone and say nothing.
A trove of unprinted photographs and other media from the Idi Amin years in Uganda is now available for public view giving us insight to the concerns of the regime and realities of living under his rule.
Egypt got knocked out in the Round of 16, but the hosts have been hamstrung by multiple events, including the military’s control, besides its poor performance in the tournament.
A guide on how to support the uprising in Sudan.