Fifty years after British colonialism, ten years after military rule, Nigerians are free. Not economically free, not yet, and we see the effect of that lack of economic freedom in the kinds of crimes that are committed. But they are free in important ways. You can live where you want, associate with whom you want. You can sue people in court, gather to practice your religion, under the leadership of whichever holy man or charlatan you prefer, and you can marry and divorce as you please. This is a major thing. This is modernity, and to tell these stories, to give the protagonists of these losses even that little bit of attention, is to honor the fact that they are there, that their life goes on.
On his twitter feed
, novelist Teju Cole has been taking the French literary tradition of faits divers
and adapting it to "bring news of a Nigerian modernity."
posted by villanelles at dawn
on Aug 12, 2011 -
Everything went silent, Judi told me, as if she'd been pulled underwater. She read the sentences over and over, trying to comprehend them.Part 1
The boy Sulaiman Suma had been looking for all these years was her 16-year-old son, Samuel.
. Part 2
. Part 3
. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia
on Aug 10, 2011 -
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 -
Agony and Ivory.
"Highly emotional and completely guileless, elephants
mourn their dead—and across Africa, they are grieving daily as demand from China’s 'suddenly wealthy' has driven the price of ivory
to $700 a pound or more. With tens of thousands of elephants
being slaughtered each year for their tusks, raising the specter of an 'extinction vortex,' Alex Shoumatoff travels from Kenya to Seattle to Guangzhou, China, to expose those who are guilty in the massacre
—and recognize those who are determined to stop it."
posted by homunculus
on Jul 16, 2011 -
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 -