From Nollywood to New Nollywood

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Trailer for Thy Will Be Done, a recent Nollywood film.

The video-film industry of Nigeria has been described as one of the greatest explosions of popular culture that Africa has ever seen. It is the first economically self-sustainable film industry in Africa.

Initially through the use of video technology, and now affordable digital technology, Nigeria produces more than 2000 films per year. The industry, popularly called Nollywood, is currently ranked as the second-largest in the world in terms of output after India’s Bollywood.

Nollywood’s popularity has spread across the African continent, to the African diaspora in Europe, North America and Australia. It has even gone as far as the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

Born out of adversity

The first seeds for the emergence of the industry were planted in the late 1980s. Nigeria was experiencing difficulties as a result of political unrest and measures imposed by the click here to read whole article and make comments



A martyr for both science and faith

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South Africa will be celebrating a hero of conscience on Sunday – Benedict Daswa, a Catholic school teacher who was murdered in 1990 for opposing witchcraft. A delegate from Pope Francis will beatify him as a martyr in Limpopo, the northeasternmost province.

The video above relates his life and describes his impact on his local community.

Daswa, a Catholic convert, was born in 1946. He and his wife Eveline had eight children. He was respected for his community spirit, his hard work and his piety. In 1977 he became principal of a local primary school.

However, he made enemies for opposing traditional witchcraft. In 1976, his local soccer team was on the skids and some of his team mates wanted to consult a sorcerer. Daswa resigned and started his own team. 

In late 1989, the local district was hit by heavy rain and lightning. When the storms returned in January 1990, the elders… click here to read whole article and make comments



True grit: the secret of Kenyan runners

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A dirt running track with goats grazing on the infield, the noonday sun beating remorselessly down from an impossibly blue sky, a tight group of lithe runners sprint down the homestretch, puffs of dust rising from each footfall, sweat streaming down their faces, every muscle strained to the limit…

The Kamariny Stadium in the sleepy little town of Iten nestled high up on the side of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya is truly a field of dreams. It is in the vicinity of this town and this dirt running track that countless elite Kenyan runners have prepared for their onslaught on the diamond league circuit, big city marathons, Olympic Games and world records.

In Beijing this year, Kenya topped the medals table for the first time in the IAAF World Championship history with 7 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze to beat athletic giants USA and Jamaica. Last year,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Should Shakespeare be taught in Africa’s classrooms?

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Paterson Joseph as Brutus in Gregory Doran's 2012 production of Julius Caesar (RSC)

Should William Shakespeare be taught in Africa’s schools and universities? It’s a question that emerges, sometimes flippantly and sometimes in earnest, when conversations about post-coloniality and decolonisation turn to literature and culture.

It’s a useful and necessary question that I - as a scholar who teaches and writes about Shakespeare in a South African context - am often asked. Indeed, it’s one that I ask myself frequently.

But it is also a clumsy question and it needs rephrasing – or, at least, the terms in which it is couched need further investigation if we are to attempt a nuanced, coherent answer.

Africa is not a country

The first problem is in generalising about the African continent. Education systems and their infrastructural or economic contexts are vastly different. This is not only… click here to read whole article and make comments



African nations rank high on ease of doing business 2015

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Countries from Sub Saharan Africa were amongst those that ranked high on the various lists and indexes in “Doing Business 2015”. Mauritius, for instance, was first on the “Ease of doing Business Index” and in the 230 business reforms recorded worldwide, over half came from African countries, mainly dealing with the reduction of complexity and costs in starting a business. A quarter of the global reforms concerning the strengthening of legal institutions also come from Africa. Five of the countries that were ranked among the top ten in economic progress were from Sub Saharan Africa, and Nigeria was on the same page with 10 other countries comparing the ease of doing business at a city level.

Imagine an annual report that tells you where it is most favourable to do business in the world, country by country, economy by economy. Well, this is not something new, for “Doing… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 22 MAY 2015

Renaissance or mirage: Can Africa sustain its growth?

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Nigerian youth celebrate presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari’s victory. Youth
unemployment will continue to threaten the continent’s growth. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The world’s eyes have turned to Africa after what many consider to be an unprecedented economic performance. Even the most cautious analysts are so sanguine about the continent’s economic prospects that they are willing to bet on its rosy future.

The International Monetary Fund expects sub-Saharan Africa to grow at an average annual rate of 5.7% between 2014-2019. This will make the sub-continent among the three fastest-growing regions in the world over that period. It would also mark the first time that Africa would have maintained a robust growth rate continuously for more than a decade.

Are these forecasts realistic? Can Africa’s growth resurgence be sustained? There are several reasons why we should be both optimistic and cautious about Africa’s future economic… click here to read whole article and make comments



Buhari’s victory in Nigerian election has global significance

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Muhammadu Buhari’s convincing defeat of incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian presidential election is an event of global significance. To his credit, President Jonathan promptly conceded defeat, thereby discouraging any attempt to impede the transfer of power.

The election was held even as the world’s attention was further drawn to the gruesome brutalities committed by the Boko Haram insurgency. Inexplicably, Africa’s largest armed force, which has been given enormous financial outlays, has not been able to subdue a ragtag militia.

The world desperately needs a victory against cultist jihadism. Nigeria can provide it. As commander-in-chief, Buhari can oversee a coordinated effort to squelch the insurgency.

His victory is also significant because it has been achieved via democratic elections.

In no other large country, with an almost equal number of Muslims and Christians, is such a process conceivable. The subsiding of the Arab Spring deflated hopes for… click here to read whole article and make comments



Harambee video contest shows what is right about Africa

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Harambee International has launched a global video contest to showcase what is right about Africa.  The contest is open to professional journalists and to students and will cover everyday topics such as the role of education, the family and sustainability, as well as positive stories of societal integration.  The winner in the professional category will have produced a programme that has aired between January 1 and June 30, 2015, and will go home with a prize money of 5,000 Euros, while the winner in the amateur category will win 1,500 Euros.

As Mrs Rossella Miranda of Harambee, from her headquarters in Rome, explains in the video on this page, the story of Africa is more than wars, about disease, poverty or terrorism.  This is why the contest organisers want to highlight the dynamic and often unpublished but positive stories from the continent.


click here to read whole article and make comments



Technology may yet give Nigeria a transparent election

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Nigerians may know who the winner of the forthcoming presidential election is without having fto rely on government confirmation first.  This is because of the many Internet apps that local tech geeks are deploying to help citiizens monitor and report the process.  Voters are able to confirm their eligibility as well as monitor vote counts.  This promises to mirror and even better the 2011 elections when voters used Twitter to share live votie counts direct from the polling centres.

Some of the citizen-powered websites have information on what to do on election day and how to lodge complaints.  Others like "Thumbpower" say "It's a simple thing really, just vote".  

The two main contenders are the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, and the former military dictator General Muhammadu Buhari.  It is the closest election the country has witnessed in recent history and seems too close… click here to read whole article and make comments



Low-cost smartphones flood Africa

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Owning a quality smartphone in Africa a few years ago was something only for the rich and the lucky. Today, at a price of less than 100$, (and thanks to competition, even as low as 70$) and with prices dropping fast, many African consumers no longer see them as an exclusively luxury item.

Over one-third of the continent’s 1.1 billion population owns a mobile phone and it is expected that this year, the smartphone market will grow by over 40% (up from a penetration of 15%), putting 70 million new smartphones in circulation. A recent study by Deloitte (published on February 16) showed that by 2017, an expected 350 million smartphones will be in use. These will be connected to rapidly expanding broad-band infrastructures that are being installed to keep up with the demand, and will go hand in hand with a boom in digital content, internet access and mobile-phone paying services, the… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Africa is a continent that is big, joyful, generous, enthusiastic and optimistic. Harambee tells its stories: from its love of life and family, to people who have withstood great odds to stories of innovation achieved with limited resources. Our partner is Harambee Africa International, a Rome-based NGO. We want to hear from you. Contact Eugene Ohu, the editor, at

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