Asking for a friend

The The Maribyrnong 6.

The big questions that animated our friend this week:

Facebook, thanks for the ‘Paris Safety Check.’ Can we have one for Baghdad, Beirut and Borno too?

Why is a public execution with a sword worse than an indiscriminate drone attack?

Why weren’t the recent suicide attacks in Baghdad and Beirut and Borno also an attack on humanity?

Are the #Parisattacks really the “worst peacetime attack in France since World War II,” as BBC reported?

Where are the good analyses on the pro-Igbo protests in Nigeria?

Did you know that Angolan transgender kuduru artist Titica won the “African Feather of the Year” award in South Africa for defending the rights of the LGBT community?

Is Yannick Bolasie’s Youtube channel (including clips documenting his arrival at the airport in Kinshasa and from the pitch in Bujumbura right after a 3-2 away win in a World Cup qualifier) the best thing ever?

Does anyone want to doggedly overthrow Paul Theroux’s supposedly self-amassed obstacles to write his biography? I mean, his “writing” is already enough?

Why is France24 taking advice from FW de Klerk (who as recently as 2012 still defended Apartheid) on immigration?

Why does Stellenbosch University (where English will become the only means of instruction) suddenly care about coloured Afrikaans speakers?

What if black people inverted South Africa’s township tours?

How can a non-musician discuss the future of music from anything other than a consumer point of view?

If you’re in San Diego for the annual meeting of the African Studies Association on Friday night, why not come to our book launch?

* That’s The Maribyrnong Six in the image above. BTW, we wish our friend Binyavanga Wainaina a speedy recovery.

Further Reading

The entitlement of Bola Tinubu

The Nigerian presidential candidate’s claim of ’emi lokan’ (it’s my turn) reveals complex ethnic politics and a stagnated democracy. Most responses to it, humor and rumor, reflect how Nigerians enact democratic citizenship.

Father of the nation

The funeral of popular Angolan musician Nagrelha underscored his capacity to mobilize people and it reminds us that popular culture offers a kind of Rorschach test for the body politic.

A city divided

Ethnic enclaves are not unusual in many cities and towns across Sudan, but in Port Sudan, this polarized structure instigated and facilitated communal violence.

The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.