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The year that Prince Akeem, Queen Aoleon, King Jaffe Joffer and the "African" Kingdom of Zamunda made a spectacular comeback.

Twitter.

For all the serious stuff we wrote or filmed about, tweeted or Facebooked this year, this was undoubtedly the year that Prince Akeem, Queen Aoleon, King Jaffe Joffer and the “African” Kingdom of Zamunda made a spectacular comeback. Whether it was Snoop Dogg’s wife throwing a “Coming to Africa” birthday party for their son (TMZ has the video evidence), rapper Jidenna (!) throwing his “Nigerian Renaissance Ball,” Action Bronson reprising the whole film as a music video (Chance the Rapper played the Cuba Gooding Jnr. role) and, most notably, the Knowles-Carters borrowing not once–but twice–first in May (we couldn’t help noticing their inspiration) or at Halloween (above), everyone seemed to be in on Eddie Murphy and John Landis’s 1988 send-up of African stereotypes.

Well, not everyone seemed to be in the joke: For example, Kandi from TV’s Real Housewives of Atlanta recreated scenes from Coming to America, including rose petals and real lions, for her wedding: “I wanted to do something inspired by Africa,” she said. Nevertheless, the upshot of all of this is that it is so 1988 to go after bad Western media representations of Africa and Africans. We dispense with that on Twitter. There are more important things going on. Of course, someone is probably planning to write a blog post (calling out celebrities who can’t find Zamunda on a map) or a dense academic paper (quoting Baudrillard or Stuart Hall) about what Zamunda stands for or to decipher Randy Watson’s homilies. While they figure that out (we’re onto something else in the meantime, just check the Archive), I’ll take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who worked on AIAC this year and for staying the course. We’re exhausted. So, we’ll be on a break from tomorrow till January 13th. Here’s to 2016.

Further Reading

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.

Āfrīqāyī

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.