The semi-finals of the 2012 African Cup of Nations are played later today. I’ll find a stream somewhere online (none of the American TV stations or sports channels are broadcasting the tournament live). As someone obsessed with media, I could not help but notice the TV commercials on Eurosport or any of the other channels whose streams of matches I’ve been lucky to get access to. Here’s a sample of some of the commercials, including ones I have spotted online made specifically for the 2012 tournament.

Probably the most striking is Nike’s “Next Generation” ad with Andre Ayew of Olympique Marseille and Ghana, Gervinho of Arsenal and Cote D’Ivoire, Adel Taarabt of Queens Park Rangers and Morocco and Kwadwo ‘Kojo’ Asamaoah of Udinese and Ghana. At least three of these players–Ayew, Gervinho and Asamaoah–will be involved in matches today. The ad is part of a series “The New Masters of Football” and aims to shake off “the stereotypical view of the African game.” It opens with this voice over by an actor: “Too often we have seen African dreams turned to dust / Or end in defeat, no matter how glorious / We pledge to make a change / To break the cycle.”

Then there’s this ad shot in Dubai for Indian-owned phone company, Muse, in support of Cote d’Ivoire’s national team. A few members of the Ivorian national team are joined by local actors.

Predictably there’s an ad with children. Legendary Liberian footballer George Weah joins a group of children in Johannesburg’s Soccer City to kick footballs into a goal stacked with drums. It’s for another mobile and phone card company, Lebara.

Lebara also has another ad that looks like it was shot in South Africa. For this one they got the Indian composer A R Rahman to compose something:

Any ads I missed?

Further Reading

Music is the weapon

During Christmas 1980, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba performed at a concert in Lesotho that deeply challenged and disturbed South Africa’s apartheid regime. The record of that concert is being reissued.

Carceral colonialism

On the United Kingdom’s attempts to finance the construction of large-scale prison facilities in former colonies, to where it wants to deport undocumented migrants.

Fanon’s mission

The works of Frantz Fanon can be read as architectural renderings of rights, futures, and generations toward a “very different Afro-futurism.”

History time

The historical novel is in vogue across the continent, challenging how we conceive of the nation, and how we write its histories.