Video

Joseph Kony and the White Man's Burden

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Earlier this week, the non-profit Invisible Children posted "Kony 2012" on youtube and vimeo. Slickly produced and superficially moving, the video purports to raise awareness about the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony, and kicks off a campaign to #stopkony. Asking people to donate and buy advocacy kits that will "make Kony famous" by plastering signs and stickers publicly, they tell their (young, mostly white) audience that "[p]eople will think you’re an advocate of awesome." Thanks to a tsunami of tweets from celebs and those of us regular people alike (#stopkony and #stopkony2012 are trending), the kits are now sold out.

The Stop Kony campaign and Invisible Children have subsequently come under fire and have become the focus of pointed, and sometimes angry, criticism for their simplified and outdated take on the conflict - as well as their colonialist approach to "solving" it.  Below find links to some of the best critical articles we've seen (which also contain links to other great articles). And above, Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, weighs in. We'll let her tell her own story. And, to be fair, here is the official response from Invisible Children, which ends with this quote from the "poet" Ke$ha: "we are who we are."

[Editor's note: we included some new sources in the list below on March 22.]

CRITIQUES of #STOPKONY

Ordinary Ugandans are worrying about other things. The government needs a strategy for assessing its capital needs by sector. Should Uganda build an oil refinery or forgo the profits and send crude to Kenya for processing? And if it’s Ugandan children in peril you’re looking for, there are those suffering from “nodding disease” — an unusual neurological disease that’s killed hundreds of children in the very region Kony once terrorized....

...Let’s not amplify and reproduce another narrative of Africa in crisis when Ugandans themselves are moving on.

  • Al Jazeera summarizes the critiques and responses.

"'There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. It’s often not an accidental choice of words, even if it’s unwitting. It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint.' -Yale political science professor Chris Blattman"

"But I disagree with the approach taken by Invisible Children in particular, and by the White Savior Industrial Complex in general, because there is much more to doing good work than "making a difference." There is the principle of first do no harm. There is the idea that those who are being helped ought to be consulted over the matters that concern them."

  • Read this blog from Foreign Policy.

"One of the biggest issues with a simplistic "Stop Kony" message is that discussions of Navy Seals or drone strikes are inevitable when patience runs out with Ugandan-led efforts . But what about the dozens or hundreds of abducted and brainwashed kids? Should we bomb everyone? Will they actually stop fighting after Kony is gone? What if they shoot back?"

  • Another great summary of the critiques of #stopkony from the New York Times.

While much of the backlash reported in the American news media this week cited objections raised by development experts in the United States and Europe, several African bloggers and activists have objected to what they see as a more fundamental problem. Among them, the possibility that the “Kony 2012″ campaign reinforces the old idea, once used to justify colonial exploitation, that Africans are helpless and need to be saved by Westerners.

Many African critics of the effort to make Mr. Kony, the brutal leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a household name said it echoed the ideas in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” written in 1899 to urge Americans to embrace their imperial destiny and rule over the “new-caught, sullen peoples,” of the Philippines — even though the typical native was “half-devil and half-child.”

  • A New York Times article that points out the more nefarious reasons for the US to send advisers to Africa - which Invisible Children is advocating.

In the New Statesman, Tom Rollins goes further. He fears that “so many people could be duped by a video that explicitly calls for U.S.-led intervention in Central Africa” — which, coincidentally, could make it much easier for the West to gain access to the region’s natural resources.

  • Boing Boing did an excellent job of rounding up articles written by Africans across the continent and within the diaspora.

"The point of the film is absolutely not to encourage deeper questioning of Ugandan governance. The name of Uganda’s Life President Yoweri Museveni is nowhere to be found. Instead the point is to “literally cry your eyes out”, having been moved into a frenzy of moral clarity by the quite revolting mixture of generalised disgust at black Africa, infatuation with white American virtue and technological superiority, and a dose of good old-fashioned blood-lust."

  • Read an interview with Glenna Gordon, photographer of the now infamous photo of Invisible Children founders with SPLA guns.

"I found all of their previous efforts to be emotionally manipulative, and all the things I try as a journalist not to be."

"The problem here is the lack of balance on who speaks for Uganda (and Africa) and how. We need approaches that are strategic and respectful of the local reality, build on the action and desires of local activists and organizers, and act as partners and allies, not owners and drivers."

  • And, on a more humorous note, someone tweeted this age-old gem from  "Stuff White People Like"

"You get all the benefits of helping (self satisfaction, telling other people) but no need for difficult decisions or the ensuing criticism (how do you criticize awareness?)."

  • Oh, and watch this awesome snark from What's Up Africa, entitled "Sh*t White People Say After Watching #Kony2012 video"

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This YouTube Account Is Sharing South African Audiobooks For Free, And We Are Here For It

Listen to audiobooks by Steve Biko, Bessie Head, Credo Mutwa, and more.

Audio Books Masters is a YouTube channel that uploads audio versions of South African books and short stories.

Recent additions include Life by Bessie Head, Crepuscule by Can Themba, Indaba, My Children by Credo Mutwa, among others. South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, who passed away three weeks ago, also gets read. You can listen to his poem No Serenity Here. More books you can stream include I Write What I Like by Steve Biko, Africa is my Witness by Credo Mutwa, among others.

Audio Book Masters was started by two friends, Bonolo Malevu (24) and Hahangwivhawe Liphadzi (23).

Malevu is a University of Pretoria BA Drama graduate, who is currently doing his LLB. Liphadzi is an LLB graduate, who is completing his LLM this year.

"I found a hobby of narrating books to craft my art skill after reading Credo Mutwa's Indaba, My Children," says Malevu in an email to OkayAfrica. "After reading the prologue, I knew that this book was meant to be converted [to] many different formats such as stage plays, series, movies and audiobooks."

Then came the idea of creating a YouTube channel. That was when Malevu teamed up with Liphadzi.

They both bought themselves high quality recorders, and started reading, recording and uploading.

Authors from the olden days such as RRR Dhlomo and HIE Dhlomo, whose audio versions of their books are available on the channel, are older than 50 years and their copyrights have since expired.

The rest, though, Liphadzi and Malevu say they are trying to get in contact with the publishers, but it's not easy.

"We have contacted the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) regarding this issue," they say. "We have been in contact with various copyright holders and we are still in the negotiation process. However we are finding it difficult to contact certain publishers, and the consistent uploading of their books is to attract their attention."

The two friends say they started the channel to bring books closer to people who otherwise wouldn't have access, and to get people to appreciate literature, especially African authors. "We want to bring such literature to the digital age in the form of storytelling which has been a unique African form of literature," they say. "The channel also helps develop our voices as we are a voice company that offers all kinds of voice services. We also identified how South African authors lack audio books, and found that there is a gap in this market, and this could really create many job opportunities in South Africa."

The two are currently developing stories in indigenous languages for children in English medium schools. "This is drawn from the fact that in such schools, a lot of African students struggle to speak their own native languages. So we approach various schools to sell them such literature. We are freelance voice over artists who also do radio, content production, news reading and radio adverts."

We are so here for this.

Subscribe to Audio Books Masters' YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter.

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Nigerian Actor Sope Aluko On How She Landed a Coveted Role in ​'Black Panther​'

Marvel's Black Panther is already on the brink of being a blockbuster, as it already broke box office records within the first 24 hours of it's pre-sale. Beating Captain America: Civil War's record in 2016, Fandango reports results from a user survey, stating Black Panther was 2018's second most-anticipated movie after Avengers: Infinity War.

One up-and-coming actor who will star alongside Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan (to name a few) is Sope Aluko. Come February 16, we'll see the Nigerian-born actor play 'Shaman' in the film. Her previous credits include recurring roles on Netflix's “Bloodline," NBC shows “Law & Order SVU" and “Parks & Recreation" and guest appearances on USA Network's “Burn Notice" and Lifetime's “Army Wives."

Her film credits include supporting roles in feature films including Identity Thief, 96 Minutes, Grass Stains, The Good Lie and more. Raised in the UK, Aluko studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Aluko speaks four languages, including her native language, Yoruba, French, and Bahasa, an Indonesian language.

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Music

Femi Kuti Spreads Some Much-Needed Peace In the Video For 'One People One World'

Watch the music video for the first single off Femi Kuti's upcoming EP "One People One World."

Femi Kuti drops the music video for his single "One People One World," the title song from his forthcoming 10th studio album.

The energy boosting music video sees Femi Kuti delivering an electrifying performance in the Kuti family-owned New Afrika Shrine in Lagos.

On the track, the accomplished musician promotes an unwavering message of peace and unity—things that the world could perhaps always use more of, but especially so in today's Trump-dominated political climate. His message of positivity is illustrated with graphics that appear throughout the video, showing various country flags and symbols of love and peace.

"Racism has no place, give hatred no space," Kuti sings atop brassy instrumentals. "Let's settle the differences, it's best to live in peace. Exchange cultural experiences; that's the way it should be," he continues.

"One People One World," (the album) is a plea towards global harmony and solidarity. When you look at what's going on in Africa, Europe and America, it's important to keep the dream of unity alive," the artist told OkayAfrica in November.

"When I was a boy, I listened to funk, highlife, jazz, folk songs, classical music and my father's compositions, so you will hear those things in the music."

"One People, One World" by Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force, drops on February 23 via Knitting Factory, and is now available for preorder.

Femi Kuti, 'One People One World' cover.

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