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 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!

Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery

The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019

1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."

Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957

Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:


31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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