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Deeper Than The Headlines: Colonial Mentality, 2012 in Pictures, Progress in the New Year + More

Check out the latest news on Africa for Dec 29- Jan 3rd, with in-depth African news featuring opinion pieces from global sources.


Happy New Year!

This week we continue to bring you the latest news on Africa with selections from different media outlets around the globe. Be sure to check back each Thursday for pieces that dig deeper than the headlines on the latest news on Africa!

1. Discordant Development and Insecurity in Africa

By: Richard Joseph

Currently teaching at Northwestern University, Professor Richard Joseph writes an interesting piece on discordant development and how "deepening inequalities and rapid progress juxtaposed with group distress can generate uncertainty and violent conflict." Joseph addresses how throughout the continent, economic growth can occur (Nigeria, Mali) while countries still breed instability and violence. He poses the question: "Are some post-colonial territories simply ungovernable?" Joseph suggests three strategies for addressing discordant development "First, sustaining growth and avoiding discordant development require not only enlightened leaders but also robust democratic institutions and vigilant civil societies, Second, analysts need to stop viewing Africa solely through polarizing lenses. And Finally, democratizing countries in Africa must ensure steady progress in the fairness of their electoral procedures and the appropriate behavior of politicians to avoid the provocation of violent upheavals."

2. 2013, The Year of the Child

By: Sokari Ekine

Sokari Ekine writes a passionate piece about violence and children as they came center stage in 2012. With children dying all over the world, and some deaths recognized as tragedies, while others passed unrecognized, Ekine calls into question how larger systems of patriarchy, racism, and globalization are implicated in how we continue to witness the deaths of children. Ekine states, "We witness this not only across cities in the US but well beyond. Technically Chicago is not a war zone – people who live there may feel otherwise, I dont know. But its not the DRC, Palestine or Yemen but still the children of Chicago are being killed and they are not white kids. The children in the DRC along with their mothers are murdered and raped and there are the thousands who are trafficked and forced into armies of war, or labour or sex slaves or all of these. Presidents sit by and deal in arms, African resources and money whilst shedding tears at home. The children in Yemen and Palestine are murdered by drones and missiles on the orders of Presidents, some of who shed tears for some children whilst killing others – it could even be in the same moment." Check out the article for a compelling piece, which calls for 2013 as the year of the child.

3. Skin Bleaching, Self Hatred, and "Colonial Mentality"

By: Dr. Yaba Blay

In response to the BBC Africa article on skin bleaching, Dr. Yaba Blay tries to debunk and deconstruct the excessive use of the term "colonial mentality." Blay writes a convincing argument questioning how issues such as skin bleaching are attributed to the individuals themselves, rather than recognizing larger systems, which promote white notions of beauty: "Now of course, with our skin color being the immutable mark of our Blackness, skin bleaching emerges as the most egregious attack on our identity, the most literal proponent of White Supremacy. Nevertheless, it is but ONE reflection of White Supremacy. So while we’re passing judgment, and ridiculing African women as ‘naïve’ or ‘irrational’ for thinking lighter skin is more appealing, we ignore the fact that you can’t walk through the streets of Accra without being bombarded with 60 ft billboards for skin bleaching products."

4. Focus on Africa in 2012

BBC News

BBC News presents "Africa in 2012" with twelve simultaneously inspiring and distressing images that reflect some of the amazing moments in 2012. Images include South Africa's Oscar Pistorius running in the London 2012 Olympic Games and people going to the beach in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Fridays with improving security, and on the other hand, growing instabilities on the continent like the conflict in Mali.

5. Nigerian Activist Keeps Family Legacy Alive

By: Vladimir Duthiers

CNN African Voices provides a feature on Nigerian activist and feminist, Hafsat Abiola. "Her mother was assassinated, her father died in prison after being jailed by the military. Today, Hafsat Abiola is one of the most prominent civil rights activists in Nigeria, fueled by a desire to ensure her parents' deaths were not in vain. The daughter of Nigerian politician and philanthropist Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, Hafsat was at her second year studying at Harvard, United States, when her father was sent to prison by Nigeria's junta after claiming the country's 1993 presidential election." Check out the article to learn more about Abiola's commitment to gender equality and her organization KIND in spite of her complex relationship with Nigeria and Nigerian politics.

The archive:

12/20/12 "Slavery’s Global Comeback, Mali Crisis, Senegal Street Photography + More"

12/13/12 “Nelson Mandela, Ghana’s Election + More”

12/6/12- “Susan Rice, Drones, Anti-Gay Laws + More”

11/29/12- “Chimamanda Adichie’s Tribute, Violence in the DRC + 16 Days of Activism”

11/15/12 – “Infiltrators” in Israel, Southern Arab Spring, Bono’s African Expertise

11/8/12 - Africa’s 1%, Mau Mau, and a Polemic against NGOs

11/1/12 - Biafra, Football, Victoire Ingabire + More!

10/25/12 - Aluu 4, Herero Genocide, EU Nobel Prize + More!

10/18/12 - Die Antwoord, Mo Ibrahim, Thomas Sankara + More!

News Brief
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Nigerian Officials Drop Charges Against Naira Marley for Violating Coronavirus Lockdown Order

The Nigerian star was arraigned on Wednesday for attending a party at the home of Nollywood actress Funke Akindele.

Naira Marley has been pardoned by Lagos authorities, after being arraigned in Lagos for attending a party at the home of Nollywood actress Funke Akindele last weekend, which violated the city-wide lockdown.

According to a report from Pulse Nigeria, the "Soapy" singer and two other defendants—politician Babatunde Gbadamosi and his wife—were ordered to write formal apologies to the Government of Lagos, give written assurance that he will follow the ordinance going forward, and go into self-isolation for 14 days.

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(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rejoice! WhatsApp Places New Limits on Chain Messages to Fight Fake News

To combat the spread of misinformation due to the coronavirus outbreak, users are now restricted from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than one person.

The rise of the novel coronavirus has seen an increase in the spread of fake news across social media sites and platforms, particularly WhatsApp—a platform known as a hotbed for the forwarding of illegitimate chain messages and conspiracy theories (if you have African parents, you're probably familiar). Now the Facebook-owned app is setting in place new measures to try and curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

The app is putting new restrictions on message forwarding which will limit the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be shared. Messages that have been sent through a chain of more than five people can only subsequently be forwarded to one person. "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," announced the app in a blog post on Tuesday. "In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers."

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Darkovibes

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Sarkodie, Cassper Nyovest, Elaine, Darkovibes, Stogie T, Phyno, C Natty, and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Photo courtesy of CNOA

These Colombian Civil Rights Activists Are Fighting to Make Sure Afro-Colombians are Counted in the Census

When 30 percent of Colombia's Black citizens disappeared from the data overnight, a group of Afro-Colombian activists demanded an explanation.

It was the end of 2019 when various Black organizations protested in front of the census bureau—The National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (DANE)—in Bogotá, Colombia to show their dissatisfaction about what they called a "statistical genocide" of the black population. The census data, published that year, showed 2.9 million people, only 6 percent of the total population of the country, was counted as "Afro-Colombian," "Raizal," and "Palenquero"—the various terms identifying black Colombians.

For many years, Afro-Colombians have been considered the second largest ethno-racial group in the country. Regionally, Colombia has long been considered the country with the second highest number of Afro-descendants after Brazil, according to a civil society report.

Why did the population of Afro-Colombians drop so drastically?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists protesting erasure of Afro-descendants in front of the census bureau.

Last year, a crowd of activists gathered in Bogota to protest what they saw as erasure of Black communities in the Colombian census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

In the latest national census report from 2018/2019, there appeared to be a 30.8 percent reduction of the overall group of people that identified as Black, Afro-Colombian, Raizal, and Palenquero, as compared to the 2005. After this controversial report, an Afro-Colombian civil rights organization known as the National Conference of Afro Colombian Organizations (CNOA), officially urged DANE to explain the big undercounting of the black population.

This wasn't a small fight. Representatives who hold the special seats of Afro-Colombians in Colombia's congress asked the census bureau to attend a political control debate at the House of Representatives in November 2019 to deliver an accountability report. "The main goal of doing a political debate was to demand DANE to give us a strong reason about the mistaken data in the last census in regard to the Afro population," said Ariel Palacios, an activist and a member of CNOA.

At the debate, the state released an updated census data report saying that, almost 10 percent of the Colombian population—4.6 million people out of 50.3 million—considers themselves Afro-Colombians or other ethnicities (like Raizal, and Palenquero). But despite DANE trying to confirm the accuracy and reliability on the latest census report it was clear that, for a variety of reasons, Black people were missed by the census. The state argued that their main obstacles with data collection were related to the difficulties of the self-recognition question, as well as security reasons that didn't allow them to access certain regions. They also admitted to a lack of training, logistics and an overall lack of success in the way the data collectors conducted the census.

How could they have counted Black populations better?

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists playing drums in front of the census bureau.

Drummers performing during a protest against the Colombian census bureau's erasure of Afro-Colombians from the 2018 census.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

These arguments were not reasonable for the civil rights activists, partially because the state failed to properly partner with Afro-organizations like CNOA to conduct or facilitate extensive informational campaigns about the self-identification questions.

"CNOA has worked on self-recognition and visibility campaigns among the Afro community and this census ignored our work," says priest Emigdio Cuesta-Pino, the executive secretary of CNOA. Palacios also thinks that the majority of Afro-Colombians are aware of their identity "we self-identify because we know there is a public political debate and we know that there is a lack of investment on public policies."

That's why it is not enough to leave the statistical data to the official census bureau to ensure that Afro-Colombian communities are fully counted in the country. And the civil rights activists knows that. They made a big splash in the national media and achieved visibility in the international community.

Thanks to The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a human rights organization, Palacios traveled to D.C to meet with Race and Equality institution and a Democratic Congressman. "We called for a meeting with representative Hank Johnson to talk about the implementation of Colombia's peace accords from an Afro-Colombian perspective but also to address the gross undercounts of its black population," says Palacios.

For the activists at CNOA, the statistical visibility of the Black population is one of their battles. They have fought for Afro population recognition for almost two decades. "Since the very beginning CNOA has worked on the census issue as one of our main commitments within the statistical visibility of the Afro-Colombian people," says priest Cuesta-Pina. Behind this civil organization are 270 local associations, who work for their rights and collective interests.

The activists want to raise awareness on identity. Because according to Palacios, "In Colombia, there is missing an identity debate—we don't know what we are. They [the census bureau] ask if we are black, or if we are Afro-Colombians. But what are the others being asked? If they are white, mestizo or indigenous?" Palacios believes that for "CNOA this debate is pending, and also it is relevant to know which is the character of this nation."

Afro-Colombian Populations and the Coronavirus

Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal, and Palenquero civil-rights activists use mock coffins and statistics to protest erasure of Afro-descendants

Colombian civil-rights activist insist that undercounting Afro-descendants can have a real impact on the health of Afro-Colombian communities, especially during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

Photo courtesy of CNOA

Even though the state recently "agreed with to give us a detailed census report" and make a different projection with the micro data, says Palacios, now with the Covid-19 emergency, CNOA and the government has suspended all meetings with them, including cancelling a second congressional debate and the expert round table meeting to analyze the data.

Unfortunately, it is exactly in situations like the Covid-19 emergency where data analysis and an accurate census report would have been useful. According to the professor and PhD in Sociology Edgar Benítez from Center for Afro Diasporic Studies—CEAF, "Now it is required to provide a reliable and timely information on how the contagion pattern will spread in those predominantly Afro regions in the country and what is the institutional capacity in those places to face it," says Benítez.

He adds that this information is "critical at the moment because the institutional capacity is not up to provide it at the current situation". That's why the Center for Afro Diasporic Studies plans to work with DANE information from the last census. According to Benítez, "We are thinking of making comparisons at the municipal level with the information reported in the 2018 Quality of Life Survey, in order to have a robust and extensive database as possible on the demographic, economic and social conditions of the black, afro, Raizal and Palenquera population in Colombia."









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