We published “Neymar and the Disappearing Donkey” (to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil) on June 17th. The story included a list of race-colors from a 1976 study done in Brazil. On June 22 the big-time news agency AP published a “story” which basically consisted of the list. That story’s been repeated /shared / published / syndicated in a lot of places. Here’s the problem: the AP list is our list: it was originally translated by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz from University of Sao Paulo (who has done lots of work on race in Brazil) and edited by Achal Prabhala (who wrote our piece) and published by AIAC. It’s the same list, down to the last word, including Lilia’s very specific language (‘burro quando foge’ translated as disappearing donkey, for instance) and Achal’s editing–he changed some of the original entries for brevity and clarity. So it’s interesting the AP’s editors think they can turn an AIAC essay into an “original” AP article without any attribution whatsoever. We’re just a small website that runs on zero money, and we guess AP thinks it’s fine to take our stuff. Though, of course, it’s not at all fine if you take their stuff (reference: Shepard Fairey).

UPDATE: The AP, after a silence of a few days, published an apology at the top of the “story.” Basically, they just can’t acknowledge that they took the post from us. The apology reads: “These English translations were published by the website Africa Is A Country, which says the translations were by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz of the University of Sao Paulo and edited by Achal Prabhala.” So we said, not it is the case. The AP knows what’s up, so we’ll leave it there.  

* Image Credit: Screengrab from CBF video of Neymar after he was injured. That’s what we feel like right now.

Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.

Paradise forgotten

While there is much to mourn about the passing of legendary American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, we should hold a place for his bold statement-album against apartheid South Africa.