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Ex Africa semper aliquid novi

Kenya's Okwiri Oduor has won the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, "My Father's Head." Many stories by other winners and nominees are available online. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 18, 2014 - 6 comments

The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean

Over the course of nearly 20 centuries, millions of East Africans crossed the Indian Ocean and its several seas and adjoining bodies of water in their journey to distant lands, from Arabia and Iraq to India and Sri Lanka. Called Kaffir, Siddi, Habshi, or Zanji, these men, women and children from Sudan in the north to Mozambique in the south Africanized the Indian Ocean world and helped shape the societies they entered and made their own. Free or enslaved, soldiers, servants, sailors, merchants, mystics, musicians, commanders, nurses, or founders of dynasties, they contributed their cultures, talents, skills and labor to their new world, as millions of their descendants continue to do. Yet, their heroic odyssey remains little known. The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World traces a truly unique and fascinating story of struggles and achievements across a variety of societies, cultures, religions, languages and times.
posted by infini on Feb 6, 2014 - 9 comments

"It's black, like me.": Black dolls and politics

Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market. But the history of dolls outside of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise to domestic toy industries?
posted by infini on Jan 29, 2014 - 19 comments

bonne écoute

Les disques africains collects, rips, and uploads out-of-print records (and their sleeves!) from the golden age of vinyl in francophone Africa. Don't miss la belle chanteuse Sali Sidibé, psychedelic grooves from Benin, or this incredible 35-minute oral-musical history of Bobo-Dioulasso. New posts appear, as if by some rare magic, every three to four days.
posted by theodolite on Aug 5, 2013 - 15 comments

The Top 10 Fears of African Diaspora About Africa

They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status. Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa. The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement. Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions. Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with.
posted by infini on Apr 28, 2013 - 20 comments

How African Feminism Changed the World

'Feminism' has often been seen as a Western concept, but African women are increasingly redefining it to suit their own purposes. This, in turn, is influencing the rest of the world.
posted by infini on Mar 18, 2013 - 21 comments

Rise of the Afropolitan

The stereotypes about Africa/Africans are too many to list here. They’re mostly negative, myopic depictions that focus on war, famine, abject poverty, disease, and corruption. In other oversimplifications, Africans are written up as model immigrants, overachieving geniuses, or displaced chiefs moonlighting as gas station attendants. Outside of these caricatures, many Africans are going to work and school, voting in their local elections, and spending way too much time on Facebook. And they’re over the ignorance that has collectively miscast them. In response, a swelling movement of young Africans are launching concerted efforts to wrest the image of Africa from entities and interests that don’t promote a balanced understanding of the continent.
posted by infini on Mar 3, 2013 - 69 comments

World Bank Owes People of African Heritage Apology

"Claims of institutional racism against black people have dogged the World Bank for decades. The current president has a real opportunity to end the scourge." [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 16, 2012 - 10 comments

Snappy dressing

The top 10 African fashion blogs
posted by infini on Aug 29, 2012 - 4 comments

Africa in India

The African Presence in India: A Photo Essay : The questions we pose here are simply these: Who are the African people of India? What is their significance in the annals of history? Precisely what have they done and what are they doing now? These are extremely serious questions that warrant serious and fundamental answers. This series of articles, "The African Presence in India: An Historical Overview," is designed to provide some of those answers.
posted by infini on Jul 30, 2011 - 14 comments

The bizarre, sad tale of Togo's fake national team

Since the attack on the Togolese national team in Angola (previously), soccer in Togo has descended into a freefall. In a strange turn of events, a fake national team recently represented the country in a tournament in Bahrain. The soccer loving people of Togo were outraged when the truth about the situation came out.
posted by reenum on Oct 8, 2010 - 4 comments

Ronnie of Botswana, on guitar

OK. Alright. That's it. Ronnie of Botswana is my new favorite guitarist.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 19, 2010 - 67 comments

glimpses of the African Rock n' Roll Years

Clips from the BBC documentary, The African Rock n' Roll Years - Part 1 l Part 2 l Part 3 l Part 4 l Part 5 l Part 6 - a six-part series mixing interviews with key artists, concert footage and news archives, the series examines and explains the "styles that make up the continent's music, and the political and social pressures that led to their development." BBC documentary details. Found in YouTube member, Duncanzibar's, good collection of mostly African music videos. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 30, 2008 - 9 comments

African art

Much of the extraordinary variety of traditional art from Africa comes from the countries in West and Central Africa, because of the availability of wood (often called exotic woods) and metal. Hamill Gallery has organized their excellent site to show the materials, including textiles, metals, beads used, as well as the names of the many tribes and categories, such as animals. The images are accompanied by information about the art. The Yale University Art Gallery also has a nice selection of African art with information. The Africa Image Library offers an archive of images, which give a little backdrop to the lives and environment of the artists and artisans in various parts of Africa. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Oct 25, 2008 - 5 comments

Take a look at the Nigerian film industry

Pieter Hugo photographs the Nigerian film industry, where a digital camera, 2 lights, nine days and $20k translates into a feature film. NSFW. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 12, 2008 - 20 comments

Congo Cookbook

The Congo Cookbook is a collection of recipes from Africa. (Easiest to view them all here.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Apr 13, 2008 - 17 comments

Congotronics

Congotronics! Mawangu Mingiedi, 72, a musician and truck driver from Kinshasa, was simply trying to allow the music of his street band, Konono No. 1, be heard over the traffic and street noise, but when he fashioned home-made amplifiers out of junkyard parts he created something raw and distorted with a sound all its own (quicktime). (via MonkeySARS, where an MP3 awaits you)
posted by Robot Johnny on Nov 22, 2005 - 41 comments

African Hats and Hair

Hats Off! A Salute to African Headwear. 'Many African cultures throughout the continent have long considered the head the center of one's being--a source of individual and collective identity, power, intelligence and ability. Adorning the head as part of everyday attire or as a statement, therefore, is especially significant. '
Related :- African Loxo: photos of hairstyles from the Fifties (in French); mathematical patterns in African American hairstyles.
posted by plep on Oct 30, 2003 - 6 comments

Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African. 'According to his famous autobiography, written in 1789, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) was born in what is now Nigeria. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood, he was taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving. As a seaman, he travelled the world, from the Mediterranean to the North Pole. Coming to London, he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789) a strongly abolitionist autobiography ... '
Of interest :- Ignatius Sancho: African Man of Letters; Quobna Ottabah Cugoano: a Former Slave Speaks Out; American Slave Narratives ('From 1936 to 1938, over 2,300 former slaves from across the American South were interviewed by writers and journalists under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration'); Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938; Excerpts from Slave Narratives.
posted by plep on Jul 17, 2003 - 8 comments

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