News

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!

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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