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Deeper Than The Headlines: Susan Rice, Drones, Anti-Gay Laws + More

Check out the latest news on Africa for the week of Dec 1-6th, with in-depth African news featuring opinion pieces from global sources.


1. Uganda Revives Its Favorite Distraction: Anti-Gay Legislation

By: Nora Caplan-Bricker

In this article for The New Republic, Nora Caplan-Bricker discusses Uganda's infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which has previously included the death penalty as punishment for being gay in the nation. While some have felt that the bill would be shelved after the death of Ugandan activist David Kato, the parliamentary session is set to expire December 14th and many are worried that parliament will not only vote on the bill, but that it will pass. Caplan-Bricker's article is especially useful as it explores the politics and dynamics supporting the bill: "The anti-gay bill is next on the schedule after the oil bills, and given its vast popularity, it could be a good way to smooth tensions and give parliament something to agree on after a series of contentious sessions."

2. Africa's Silence in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By: Sitinga Kachipande

For Africa On The Blog Sitinga Kachipande suggests that Africa's unanimous support of Palestine's quest for statehood at the UN this past week is unmatched by a continuous interest in how the conflict is resolved between the two territories long term. Kachipande states: "As Israel and Palestine are exchanging fire, the African Union (AU) and African countries have largely remained silent. Many have shied away from making official statements or otherwise getting involved in the latest conflict. Many seem to display a lack of real interest. This is odd since Africa seems to have direct interests in the region." Continue reading the article to see how Kachipande charts Africa's relationship with Israel through questions of apartheid, Sub-Saharan Africa's dynamics with Egypt and and Africa's historical connection to Israel.

3. The Controversial Africa Policy of Susan Rice

By: Armin Rosen

Susan Rice and her possible nomination as the US Secretary of State along with the fiscal cliff have certainly been hot topics in political discourse in the US for the past few weeks. Rice's role in disseminating information about the Benghazi attack has made many (US Republicans, aka John McCain) question her ability to act as the US Secretary of State, but Armin Rosen's article for The Atlantic also raises questions about how Rice has engaged with policies in the US that involve Africa. Rosen looks at Rice's different roles over the past two decades and how many of the policies she implemented particularly as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during Bill Clinton's second term, are problematic to say the least. This includes allowing the Rwandan invasion of Zaire, or at least "looking the other way." Read the entire article to see how Rosen effectively suggests that Rice's track-record in Africa suggests a continuing trend that is not necessarily in favor of promoting peace and good governance throughout the continent.

4. Washington's Role in the Renewed Violence in the DR Congo

By: James North

Continuing with how Washington engages with African nations- in this article for The Nation, James North portrays the US role in the Central/Southern region of the continent and dispels the idea that the violence in the DRC is by any means local, aka tribal. North states,"most mainstream Western press reports are treating the upsurge in violence as a purely local or regional dispute, and the conflict may seem incomprehensible to outsiders. In fact, the tragedy is by no means a merely African affair. The outbreak of fighting is also the result of a colossal failure by US foreign policy–makers dating back to the mid-1990s, aided and abetted by an ill-led United Nations peacekeeping force that stood by as the M23 seized Goma."

5. America's Secret Drone War in Africa

By: David Axe

For a throwback, here's an article from Wired.com back from in August. Just a few weeks ago Forbes documented that the United Nations wanted to start using drones in Africa, and amidst the slightly delayed realization in the United States that drones are troublesome to say the least, this article from David Axe provides a comprehensive account of the history of drone use throughout the continent. Quick snippet: "In all, air raids by manned and unmanned U.S. aircraft have killed at least 112 Somali militants, according to a count by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Fifty-seven innocent civilians also died in the raids, the nonprofit Bureau found." It's a long article but it provides an in-depth account of how and where drones are being used. The focus on drones in Western media is often solely the Middle East, but in case there was a question that the US engages in imperialist behavior throughout the globe- here's the proof.

The archive:

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!

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"Kata" single cover.

Listen to Tekno's New Single 'Kata'

The Nigerian artist and producer returns with a melodic banger just in time for the weekend.

Nigerian artist Tekno is back with his second single of the year, "Kata."

The heavyweight artist and producer delivers a melodic track that sees him singing about his devotion to his lover over drum-filled production from Phantom. The track features subdued vocals from. the artist, and a beat that's easy to move along to. The song follows the track 'Beh Beh' which he released earlier this year.

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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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Image courtesy of Lula Ali Ismaïl

'Dhalinyaro' Is the Female Coming-of-Age Story Bringing Djibouti's Film Industry to Life

The must-watch film, from Lula Ali Ismaïl, paints a novel picture of Djibouti's capital city through the story of three friends.

If you're having a tough time recalling the last movie you watched from Djibouti, it's likely because you have never watched one before. With an almost non-existent film industry in the country, Lula Ali Ismaïl, tells a beautiful coming of age story of three young female Djiboutian teenagers at the cusp of womanhood. Dhalinyaro offers a never-before-seen view of Djibouti City as a stunning, dynamic city that blends modernity and tradition—a city in which the youth, like all youth everywhere, struggle to decide what their futures will look like. It's a beautiful story of friendship, family, dreams and love from a female filmmaker who wants to tell a "universal story of youth," but set in the country she loves—Djibouti.

The story revolves around the lives of three young friends from different socio-economic backgrounds, with completely varied attitudes towards life, but bound by a deep friendship. There is Asma, the conservative academic genius who dreams of going to medical school and hails from a modest family. Hibo, a rebellious, liberal, spoiled girl from a very wealthy family who learns to be a better friend as the film evolves and finally Deka. Deka is the binding force in the friendship, a brilliant though sometimes naïve teen who finds herself torn between her divorced mother's ambitions to give her a better life having saved up all her life for her to go to university abroad, and her own conviction that she wants to study and succeed in her own country.

Okayafrica contributor, Ciku Kimeria speaks to Ismaïl on her groundbreaking film, her hopes for the filmmaking industry and the universality of stories.

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Stogie T Enlists Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and More, for ‘The Empire of Sheep’ Deluxe Edition

Stream the deluxe version of Stogie T's EP 'The Empire of Sheep' featuring Nasty C, Boity, Nadia Nakai and more.

Stogie T just shared a deluxe version of his 2019 EP The Empire of Sheep titled EP The Empire of Sheep (Deluxe Unmasked). The project comes with three new songs. "All You Do Is Talk" features fellow South African rappers Nasty C, Boity and Nadia Nakai. New York lyricist appears on "Bad Luck" while one of Stogie T's favorite collaborators Ziyon appears on "The Making."

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