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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!

Culture

The Best African Memes of 2018

Laugh with us into 2019 with OkayAfrica's best African memes of 2018.

Meme culture has become a mainstay on these internet streets. It's essentially an alternate form of communicating, of commentary and of simple laughter. 2018 had its fair share of highs and lows, and young Africans continue to utilize memes to celebrate or to cope with the nonsense.

To reflect on the African memes that broke the internet this year, we tapped contributors and African meme tastemakers to list the best African memes of 2018.

Laugh away below.

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popular

The Black Women Who Made Big Strides in France in 2018

Yes, this was a bad year for many reasons, but we can still celebrate the black women who rose to prominence

Back in 2015, a group of Black women activists appeared in the French media: les afrofems. They were and still are, fighting against police brutality, for better inclusion in the media and to destroy harmful sexual stereotypes surrounding black women among other worthy goals. Since then, more influential Black women have gained a bigger representation in the media. And, even better, some of the afrofems activists, like Laura Nsafou and Amandine Gay, have made films and written books to bring more diversity to the entertainment industry.

2018 has, in many ways, been a year where black women made strides in France, at least in terms of culture. From winning Nobel prizes, to having best selling books and being on top of the charts, Black French women have showed that, no matter how much France wants to keep them under the radar, they're making moves. And, no matter the tragedies and terrible events that have shaped the year, it is something worth celebrating.

France's New Queen of Pop Music

We begin with Aya Nakamura, France's new queen of pop music. Her song Djadja was a summer hit. Everyone from Rihanna, to the French football team who successfully won their second world cup, sang it. Her sophomore album "Nakamura" has been certified gold in France and is still on top of the charts. She is the first French singer to have a number one album in the Netherlands since Edith Piaf in 1961. The last time a black woman was as visible in pop music was in 2004, with Lynsha's single "Hommes...Femmes".

Nakamura has received a huge backlash, mostly due to misogynoir—misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles. From a French presenter butchering her African first name despite the fact that he can easily pronounce words like "Aliagas", to online trolls calling her ugly and manly when a picture of her wearing no makeup surfaced, to people complaining that she is bringing down the quality of the entire French pop music industry, Nakamura responds to her critics gracefully. Her music is not groundbreaking but her album is full of catchy songs with lyrics using French slang she masters so well that she came up with her own words like "en catchana" (aka doggy style sex). And most importantly, many black girls and women can finally see someone like them in the media getting the success she deserves.

The Nobel Prize Winner

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another Black French woman has broken records this year: the Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé who won the Alternative Nobel Prize, a prize meant to replace the Nobel Prize in Literature, after the scandal that the Swedish Academy of Literature faced last year. Condé wrote her first novel at only 11 years old and has been prolific ever since. A former professor of French literature at Columbia University, she has published more than 20 books since the 1970s, exploring the complex relationships within the African diaspora. "Segu", her most famous novel, is about the impact of the slave trade and Abrahamic religion on the Bambara empire in Mali in the 19th century. Condé's work is radical and she remains committed to writing feminist texts exploring the link between gender, race and class, as well as exploring the impact of colonialism. Condé is a pillar of Caribbean literature and it's taken long enough for her work has been acknowledged by the Nobel prize committee.

The Children's Books Writers

From Comme un Million de Papillon Noir

And finally, 2018 has been the year where France's children's literature industry has finally understood how important, for the public, writers and publishers, being inclusive and diverse was. From Laura Nsafou's Comme un Million de Papillon Noir, a best selling book about a young black girl learning to love her natural hair which sold more than 6000 copies, to Neiba Je-sais-tout: Un Portable dans le Cartable, the second book of Madina Guissé published this year after a successful crowdfunding campaign, there are more and more children's and young adult books with non white protagonists. In France, there are still no stats about how diversity is doing, but in America, in 2017, only 7 percent of writers of children's literature were either Black, Latino or Native American.

There's still much to accomplish in France for the Black community to have better representation in the media, politics and all walks of life, but important strides have been accomplished this year, and it make me hopeful for what 2019 and the following years have in store.

News

J Hus Has Been Sentenced to Eight Months in Jail for Knife Possession

The rapper has been convicted following an arrest in June.

Gambian-Biritish grime rapper J Hus has been sentenced to eight months in prison for knife possesion, reports BBC News.

The artist, neé Momodou Jallow, was arrested in Stratford London in June when police pulled him over near a shopping center, claming that they smelled cannabis. Police officers asked Hus if he was carrying anything illegal, to which the rapper admitted that he had a 10cm folding knife in his possession. When asked why, he responded: "You know, it's Westfield."

Hus pleaded guilty at a hearing in October after initially pleading not guilty.

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