Nigeria's film industry produces 50 films a week.
"Nigerian films are as popular abroad as they are at home. Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos. Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television. When the president of Sierra Leone asked Genevieve Nnaji, a Lagosian screen goddess, to join him on the campaign trail he attracted record crowds at rallies. Millions of Africans watch Nigerian films every day, many more than see American fare. And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood.
posted by artof.mulata
on Dec 29, 2010 -
is the blog of ethnomusicologist Christopher Kirkley, a.k.a. MeFi's own iamck
. It's about the contemporary music of the Sahel, which is the Southern border of the Sahara, focusing on West Africa. It has long been a region of great musical ferment. The most famous musicians today are Tinariwen (previously
), but there's a great deal more out there. Kirkley travels around trading music, Western songs in exchange for Saharan, which he mostly receives off cellphone memory cards. Kirkley has made three compilations, Sahelsounds, the Promo CD
and Music from Saharan Cellphones
(the numbers link to downloads). Kirkley has also collected and recorded videos
. The Guardian interviewed Kirkley
on the subject of cellphones' effect on Saharan music, which he has written about
. Mark Richardson of Pitchfork was prompted by one of Kirkley's collections to write about musical scarcity in today's infoglut society
. Besides the collections, there are a lot of other songs on the blog, the entire archive is wonderful and worth reading through.
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 12, 2010 -
The Africa Portal
is an online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. An undertaking by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI
), Makerere University (MAK
), and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA
), the Africa Portal offers open access to a suite of features including an online library collection; a resource for opinion and analysis; an experts directory; an international events calendar; and a mobile technology component—all aimed to equip users with research and information on Africa’s current policy issues. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation
on Nov 30, 2010 -
Democratic Republic of Congo: Lubumbashi to Kinshasa.
We made the decision to tackle this part of Democratic Republic of Congo when we were in Egypt. It would take us about 4 months to drive from Cairo down to the Zambia/DRC border. We immediately started our quest for information. It would soon become clear that very little information was available. We did not know of a single traveler that did this in the last 20 years. We knew of two who tried (both on motorbikes) in recent years. One crashed after a few days and got evacuated. The other got arrested and deported. Both didn't get very far.
So we had to be creative and think of other sources of information. If there is one thing you can find anywhere in the world it is Coca-Cola. They should know how to get their goods in the country. We had no response via email, so we called them up. Their answer was pretty short: They do not have a distribution network outside the major cities in Congo. And it proved to be true, Congo is the first country we have visited were Coca-cola is hard to get once you leave
the major cities.
The moral of the story was: nobody knew anything about the road conditions.
posted by bluesky43
on Nov 15, 2010 -
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 -
An ongoing drought
in Niger has resulted in a famine that threatens millions of people
. "These are very high levels of child malnutrition, the situation is bad," said Gianluca Ferrera, deputy director for the UN world food programme (WFP) in Niger. "The loss in harvest last year was worse than expected, and the lean season started earlier than anticipated for a larger share of the population. "In some areas, there is a 50% malnutrition rate for children under 2. Many of these children will not survive." [more inside]
posted by HP LaserJet P10006
on Aug 2, 2010 -
Large-scale color photographs from 2005 to 2006 reflect the ritual adornment and spirituality of masquerade in Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso in West Africa. These portraits of masqueraders build on Galembo's work of the past twenty years photographing the rituals and religious culture in Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti, as well as the homegrown custom of Halloween in the United States. West African Masquerade
. [more inside]
posted by Rinku
on May 30, 2010 -
...The development sector, just like any other business, needs revenue to survive. Too frequently, this quest for funding uses these kind of dehumanizing images to draw pity, charity, and eventually donations from a largely unsuspecting public...
This is not to say that people do not struggle, far from it, but the photos I was seeing only told part of the story. I thought that these images were robbing people of their dignity, and I felt that the rest of the story should be told as well.
, a Canadian volunteer with Engineers Without Borders
, is embarking on a photography project in which he photographs low-income rural Malawians as they'd be seen by Westerners, and as they prefer to see themselves.
posted by emilyd22222
on May 29, 2010 -
When you think of African music, flutes may not be the first instruments that come to mind, but across West Africa there are some flute traditions that often involve a unique combination of vocalizing and blowing into the instrument, resulting in some amazing music that's a hella lotta fun to listen to. There are some nice examples on YouTube here
posted by flapjax at midnite
on May 9, 2010 -
A Glimpse of the World
All across Africa, new tracks are being laid, highways built, ports deepened, commercial contracts signed
-- all on an unprecedented scale, and led by China, whose appetite for commodities
. Do China's grand designs promise the transformation, at last, of a star-crossed continent? Or merely its exploitation? The author
travels deep into the heart of Africa, searching for answers. [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 26, 2010 -
The other day someone asked me "who's the most deeply grooving and truly exciting electric guitar player you've heard lately?" and I said "this guy"
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 10, 2010 -
, sings Babsi! Babsi, born 1933, playing the song Mabelete (Bitches)
on the "Fenjoro" which he built from a plastic container, wood and strings from a handbrake cable of a car: it normally has 4 strings like the violin, but one broke.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 5, 2010 -
So what is an enterprising cocaine cartel to do when tight airport and border security threaten to cause one to miss out on a massive boom in european cocaine use
? Well, for starters one sets up shop on Africa's west coast where the police often aren't paid for months and the 4 cars of some country's police force can mostly sit idle due to a lack of gas money
. Oh, and in Guinea Bissau
- no coast guard! In addition to bringing even more corruption
to Africa, the status of being the transhipment point
of about 3/4 of all cocaine heading to Europe brings a Miami-style economic stimulus
. And as colombian cartels are generally more concerned with getting cocaine out of Colombia at a profit than getting it all the way to its destination, we're probably only a few years away from a senegalese Scarface
posted by jake1
on Feb 12, 2010 -
More than 15 years again Robert Kaplan wrote in his occasionally prescient essay,
"Though Islam is spreading in West Africa, it is being hobbled by syncretization with animism: this makes new converts less apt to become anti-Western extremists...." Glossing over the omission that Islam has been in West Africa for centuries
, the recent exploding underpants incident has cemented the idea that a form of violent religious extremism
has found root in West Africa, leaving many to wonder why
. Some argue it's the inevitable result of dangerous demographics
posted by Panjandrum
on Jan 20, 2010 -