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Understanding South Africa’s Violent Inferiority Complex

Afrophobia and a culture of violence are costing us the Pan-African vision.

Three years ago, I frequented an African braiding salon in Brooklyn owned by a pair of savvy women from Guinea. I had moved to New York City a year prior to pursue a Master's degree, and with the knowledge that African hair salons anywhere in the world have the same lively atmosphere, I went looking for home. From the beginning, they were excited to meet a fellow African, and told me about the many family members who lived in my native South Africa. Their love for my country was clear. Our relationship became familial over time, and I came to view them as mother figures, le mamzo. They never charged me full price for my frequently-changing hairstyles, instead accepting whatever I could afford. They were proud of me as a young African woman pursuing her graduate studies abroad, and would ask about my grades and progress. There was always a sense that I was one of them, a fellow child of Africa.

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Politics
Photo by Victor Ehikhamenor

25 Years After Liberation, Rwanda Wants the World to See How Far It's Come

Rwanda is on a mission to sell a new story about itself, and for a week, it enlisted a group of "foreign influencers" to help tell it.

On July 4, 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by a 36-year-old Paul Kagame, stormed the streets of Kigali, effectually putting an end to 100 days of genocide against the country's Tutsi minority.

It's an unambiguous story of triumph after turmoil, and it's this precise narrative of radical reconstruction that the government sought to display to the group of artists, photographers, filmmakers and fellow journalists from across the continent who I traveled with for a week-long press tour of the country in observance of the 25th anniversary of that very day.

Kigali's physical beauty is unmistakable. The city's cleanliness is noteworthy, even for a capital city with a population of just under a million people—the litter, street hawkers and homeless population characteristic of most urban capitals were nowhere to be found. We began our week at an achingly early 5:30 am, embarking on a Liberation Tour of the northeastern part of the country via military helicopter, which took us to the various sites where the RPF carried out its various missions to transform the country—starting as a rebel group in 1990 with a mission of reinstating Rwandan Tutsis who had been forced into exile in neighboring countries, before becoming the genocide-ending rebel group it's known as today. It was the first time that I, and most of the group, had flown in a helicopter. Deemed "foreign influencers" by our hosts—a title we all found quite amusing—we held our phones up to the helicopter's circular windows to capture precious aerial footage of the lush, hilly scenery. The clips quickly and enthusiastically landed on my Instagram story.

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Photo by Brett Rubin.

Hugh Masekela Is Being Honored With a Memorial Pavilion Designed by David Adjaye

The pavilion and garden, spearheaded by the artists's family will honor the South African legend's Pan-African spirit.

Yesterday would have been the South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela's 80th birthday and to mark the momentous occasion, and honor his life, his family has commissioned the building of a memorial pavilion in his honor by celebrated Ghanaian architect David Adjaye (OBE).

The memorial pavilion and garden will be "a place to gather, reflect and celebrate the life and impact of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela," read a statement from the family.

"African monuments are a place of gathering and reflection, they help us edify the significance of our ancestors, our heritage and culture," says Adjaye about the cultural significance of the design. "Monuments act as a reminder of our duty in the present to honour the past, they spur us to make a better future," he adds.

READ: 20 Essential Hugh Masekela Songs

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Film
Still from film 'Angelica.'

These 9 Films Prove Caribbean Cinema Is On the Rise

A recap of nine standout films hailing from the Caribbean featured at this year's Pan-African Film Festival.

Islanders made their mark on films from all geographic regions at the 2018 Pan-African Film Festival. This festival's selections captured the evolution of language, spiritual practices, food and art of a people whose descendants were forcefully removed from the African continent. Caribbean tales bridged the waters that lie between the African continent and the Americas. The story of the transatlantic holocaust of enslavement that began in the mid-15th century and brought some Africans to the Caribbean region echoes in the voices of the present-day inhabitants. The region's soca music moved festival goers at the opening night's party as well as in the final night's screening. As usual, you could count on the Caribbean artists to deliver both education and entertainment.

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