King George and other Weekend Specials

And the Premier of South Africa's Western Cape province, has called for the country's military to intervene in gang violence like in Rio in Brazil. Is it a good idea?

(1) Egypt has more problems to worry about than the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Commentators have read the ability of Ethiopia to push through such a project as a sign of Egypt’s declining power in the region, especially as contrasted with that of Ethiopia. But a journey down Africa’s longest river shows how a combination of climate change, war, and encroaching cities threatens the livelihood millions across countries who depend on it. 

(2) If Egyptians’ thought they caught a break when their men’s national soccer team qualified for the 2018 World Cup —  the first time in 27 years. Not so, the military-run government has decided to extend the State of Emergency for another 3 months. 

(3) A new report builds on the revelations from the Panama Papers to reveal the extent of corruption by African leaders, and their links to tax havens. 

(4) People all over the world have been celebrating the memory of Argentine guerrilla and revolutionary Che Guevara. [Remember his adventure in the Congo–ed.] Today, October 15th, marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of “African Che” Thomas Sankara by one of his closest lieutenants. You can read about his violent death and the impact of his work and ideas in our archive; here, here and here. Of Sankara’s many legacies, his push for Burkinabes to wear their local attires (Dan Fani) is making a comeback, popularized in part by current president Roch Marc Christian Kabore.  

(5) On the surface, Raila Odinga’s decision to withdraw from the October 26th Kenyan elections, and rerun triggered by his appeals to the supreme court, looks like political suicide. Yet a closer look at Kenyan electoral law shows it could be a smart long-term plan that would force new elections and allow for additional candidates and parties to be considered.

(6) Liberia, and the rest of the world (especially the footballing world) seem eager to coronate George Weah, Africa’s only winner of the World Player of the Year award [and probably the greatest player the continent produced–Editor], as the country;’s next president. Weah finished ahead in the first of two rounds of presidential elections. The second, decisive, round will be next month. This election also happens to be the first time Liberians will manage a peaceful, democratic handing over of the presidency since 1944.

(7) As more African countries do away with the need for visas for other African nationals, what would it take to rethink the mental borders we work with—and address the issues of xenophobia prevalent in many of our countries 

(8) The Premier of South Africa’s Western Cape province, Helen Zille,has called for militiary intervention, a la Rio in Brazil, to address the problem of gangs in Capetown. Does the comparison hold? 

(9) Prophet Shepherd, reputedly one of the 15 wealthiest men in Malawi, runs a ministry in Pretoria, South Africa. As preachers wield more influence outside of the church, it is fascinating to see how they see view their role in addressing big political issues. 

(10) One of the paradoxes of globalization is that wealthy countries practically beg for borders to be open so they and their corporations can access land, cheap labor and bring in their capital to invest for profit. And yet when people from these very countries immigrate in search of a better land, offering their labor to gain some capital to send home there is resistance. Canada is the latest example, targeting Guinean asylum seekers, while simultaneously uniquely benefiting from that country’s minerals (bauxite) and contributing to some of the very problems that cause people to leave in the first place. 

  • Contributor Anakwa Dwamena takes over from me as regular compiler of this list. For more on Anakwa, read his Africa is a Country archive here, follow him on Twitter, or check out other samples of his work here, here and here.–Editor.

Further Reading

Laundering Isabel dos Santos

“African corruption” is only African as regards its victims. Its perpetrators are institutions and individuals from across the globe who are willing to loot without conscience as they watch their offshore accounts grow.

Fela enshrined

Fela Kuti’s friend, Carlos Moore, the black Cuban emigre writer, is the subject of a film about their at times difficult relationship. The result is complex.

On Safari

We are not just marking the end of 2019, but also the end of a momentous, if frustrating decade for building a more humane, caring future for Africans.

Time travelin’

The Chimurenga arts collective explores the relevance of FESTAC, a near forgotten, epic black arts festival held in Nigeria in the mid-1970s, for our age.