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.
A Tanzanian film collective and creating a platform for all kinds of stories that do justice to a culture of resistance and resilience there.
It took almost 110 years until the German government was willing to accept the fact of the Namibian Genocide of 1904-1908.
The central role of land in the new economic and social spaces and relations produced by conflict and displacement.
Three factors that underpin Sudan’s political and economic entanglements with the West may explain its economic troubles
Right before he was fired, outgoing US Secretary of State visited six African countries. Here’s why.
Why did Tanzania and its founding president, Julius Nyerere, become touchstones for Pan Africanism in the 1960s and 1970s?
Despite a chronic housing and land shortage, Liberia’s capital has not seen militant urban social movements.
The sort of female representation seen at places like the World Economic Forum is a superficial detraction.
Drake recently went on a giving binge in South Florida. The giving doubled as visuals for the music video for “God’s Plan.” But what is he trying to say?
The 2014 uprising in Burkina Faso was a rare instance in Africa of a popular movement that managed to directly topple a sitting government.
Today, more Congolese are displaced from their homes than Iraqis, Yemenis, or Rohingyas.
How Kgositsile ensured he never expressed himself like a white man.
The idea that China is influencing regime change in Africa, became popular after a military coup ended Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule in Zimbabwe.
The question since the return to civilian rule in Liberia has been how quickly its fragmented institutions could be rebuilt.
Solomon Mahlangu was a famed liberation fighter in South Africa hanged by Apartheid in 1979. His legacy–claimed by both the ruling party and its leftwing critics– is the subject of a new film.
Why are anti-trafficking campaigns not working? One reason is they don’t focus on African and Asian women’s motives for crossing the Mediterranean: They need jobs and money.
Germany’s relatively short-lived, but yet brutal, colonial history, and the politics of its memorialization
Breaking with its habit of tolerating military coups, more recently the African Union has made it a policy to challenge unconstitutional transitions of power. Why not in Zimbabwe?
‘Day Zero’ shows that large parts of Cape Town have always been like cities elsewhere on the continent, and not–as the Democratic Alliance, which governs there likes to claim–an exception.
South Africa’s new President carries much hope. But fundamental change requires he radically restructures the state and the economy.