News

The Side Eye: The DNA Project + Africa Is Listening

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We found this little gem through the good folks at Africa Is A Country. A South African production company, Egg Films, created this video for "The DNA Project," a local “not-for-profit company committed to advancing justice through the expanded use of DNA evidence in conjunction with a national DNA criminal intelligence database.” The aim is to discourage people from meddling with crime scenes, but that message was lost on us due to the overall whackness of the ad (seriously, don't even know where to begin). We agree with AIAC when they say it plays perfectly into the fear-riddled white South African state of mind. Read the full post here.

  • In Africa listening is a guiding principle
  • Live in Africa if you want to escape the 'egocentricity' of the Western world
  • 'Soon African literature will burst onto the world scene'
  • In Africa people are generous and mystical
  • Africa is a country

These are all things we learned from a recent New York Times opinion piece about how Africans listen better than westerners written by Swedish author Henning Mankell. Dude lived in Mozambique off and on for 25 years and is now the authority on what "Africans" do and don't do. Mankell clearly learned his generalization techniques from Binyavanga Wainaina's essay, "How To Write About Africa." We were particularly side-eyed at the suggestion that African literature has not already burst onto the 'world scene'  - where has dude been? We're packing up Chimamanda Adichie's "Half of a Yellow Sun" and Chris Abani's "Graceland" to ship to his cave right now. We appreciate the sentiment that it's now "Africa's turn," but don't announce it in The Times as if it's news to folks.

 

 

Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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