The many colors of Africa

tags: stereotypes

A group of US-based African students recently launched a photo campaign to help dispel misconceptions about their continent.  The African Students Association of New York's Ithaca College, comprising of youths ranging from 16 to 21, titled their campaign "The Real Africa: Fight the Stereotype”.  The social media initiative aims to educate and raise awareness about common stereotypes surrounding Africa and its people -- misunderstandings such as, Africa being a homogenous entity, rather than a diverse continent of more than 50 countries.

They show students draped in different African flags or holding them up with quotes like:

Africans do not all look alike

Africa is not a land filled with diseases

Africa is not defined by poverty

Africa existed before colonialism

This is a good fight for the redefinition and re-structuring of what… click here to read whole article and make comments


“She covered me” - Testimony to African solidarity

tags: empathy

She covered me with a clean pink shawl, one of the many coverings required of her by tradition. I ranked higher than my saviour by societal standards, she was just a fura seller while I had two degrees to my name and class to go with them. I was also clothed in far higher taste than she was, the high heeled shoes I hid in my bag for preservation had designer labels, the thin chain about my neck was pure gold, I wore designer perfume too, but all that could not protect me from the rain and the cold.

It was a wet Sunday, the downpour started after I boarded the bus to my house, I knew I could not come down at my stop because I would be drenched in the rain so I elected to come down at the bus stop… click here to read whole article and make comments


#BringBackOurGirls: did it really happen?

tags: #bringbackourgirls, Nigeria

#BringBackOurGirls is a hashtag retweeted almost one million times since 353 girls were supposedly kidnapped from a girls secondary school in northern Nigeria on April 15. I say “supposedly” because there have been more questions than answers, including doubts about whether a kidnap actually took place, and the identity of the victims, which till now remain an object of speculation.

The story goes that on April 15, hundreds of gunmen attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a town in the northern state of Borno in Nigeria. They abducted more than 300 girls, taking along some food, shot the school guards, and set the school on fire before disappearing into thin air. Nobody knows where the girls are, nobody knows who kidnapped them (although a supposed Boko Haram kingpin came on YouTube to claim credit), and… click here to read whole article and make comments


The great green wall of Africa

tags: desertification

The Sahel, a 5,400km long and up to 1,000km wide semi-desert region spans across Africa from Senegal to Djibouti demarcating the bottom of the Sahara and the top of the green equatorial belt. It’s been widening its girth over the last decades, and mother nature is not to blame. Land degradation and overgrazing have caused this fertile belt to remain waterless. In spite of this, the Sahel remains inhabited by century-old tribes and peoples whose lifestyle, mostly nomadic, has relied on the sparse vegetation for sustenance and livelihood. And although the Sahel is notorious for decades of war and famine, the thirteen countries through which it passes have come together to create a “mosaic of sustainable development.“ 

The Great Green Wall of Africa is an FAO initiative to plant millions of trees and shrubs, aimed at “sustainable management and use of their… click here to read whole article and make comments


Can Africa find joy in suffering?

tags: suffering, tragedy

Is there something about Africa and its history that endears it to tragedy? I have often wondered why some of greatest Box Office successes that have to do with Africa lean towards tragedy as a genre. Think of Cry Freedom, Hotel Rwanda, Lord of War, Blood Diamond, Black Hawk Down, Tears of the Sun and most recently, 12 Years a Slave. Notice the tragic connotations that these titles contain – Weeping, War, Blood, Darkness, Tears, Slavery...

Aristotle, one of the greatest Greek philosophers, in his Poetics defined tragedy as a work of art containing a series of events with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of such emotions. He went on to say that tragedy is a more serious genre than comedy and that therefore, unlike comedy it can only be fully… click here to read whole article and make comments


Is Nigeria Africa’s hidden tiger?

tags: rebasing, nigeria, economic growth

Ordinarily the trajectory of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) determines its place among the community of nations. Last weekend, Africa’s most populous nation suddenly became its most dominant economy.

What does GDP rebasing mean? Nonso Obikili captures it in this fictional story about Emeka while Chuba Ezekwesili’s essay weighs the merits and demerits of rebasing.   

However, the miraculous assent of Nigeria over night into the big nations club is not rocket science. Uri Friedman in this post in the Atlantic explains this rational miracle:

It was, in fact, a miracle borne of statistics: It had been 24 years since Nigerian authorities last updated their approach to calculating gross domestic product (GDP), a process known as "rebasing" that wealthy countries typically carry out every five years. When the Nigerian government finally did it this week, the country's GDP—the market value of all… click here to read whole article and make comments


Nigeria makes $6 billion from home videos

tags: movie, nollywood

Nigeria's home video industry popularly called "Nollywood" is second only to India's "Bollywood" in terms of number of movies produced.  Both beat Hollywood.  The industry earned six billion dollars in 2013.  The graphics below show how it compares to both the Indian and US film industries.



Thanks to Tayo Fagbule for the links.

click here to read whole article and make comments


Africa is still hungry

tags: hunger, agriculture, food security

Over the last decade Africa’s annual total GDP has doubled from 2.1 percent to 4.8 percent. Improved governance and human development have accompanied this and as a result, seven out of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are found in Africa. The IMF projects an economic growth of 6.1 percent for the continent in 2014.

However, its agricultural growth has remained relatively stagnant with an increase of only 0.2 percent. It therefore remains the world’s most food insecure continent, with low rural incomes and high rates of malnutrition as pointed out by the FAO. Thus, from the 24th to 28th of March this year, the Organisation held its 28th Regional Conference for Africa in Tunis, calling upon African ministers of agriculture to increase investment in priority areas and in the support of small-scale farmers,… click here to read whole article and make comments


Modupe Cole Memorial - A special world

tags: life, down syndrome

Modupe Cole Memorial School in Lagos is home to mentally and physically challenged people 8 years old and above.  Members have multiple schelorsis, Down Syndrome and after effects of either congenital polio or Jaundice.  The care they receive in this home is reminiscent of the African's respect for the dignity of human life.  Though some children with disabilities may be abandoned after birth or given up for adoption, African mothers prefer this to denying the children a chance to life.  

Nneoma Anieto paid her first visit to the school in order to deliver some donation to the school on behalf of her brother, and here she kindly shares her impressions.


Apparently, a lot of people knew the location of the… click here to read whole article and make comments


Museveni tutors Obama in Gay Rhetoric

tags: homosexuality

If it weren't a serious matter, Museveni’s letter to Barack Obama on homosexuals would be funny.  Uganda has just joined the growing list of African countries to criminalize homosexual unions and public displays. It is also increasing the tally of African countries making a choice for poverty rather than betray their consciences, seeing some western countries (US, France, etc.) threaten to withdraw economic aid on account of their stance on gay unions.  What is however novel for me was the Ugandan president's apparent dominion of both logic and rhetoric in his counter-barb to US Barack Obama, the supposed master of words and double-speak.

If Obama stands on respect for public opinion, Museveni stands on public morality.  In the latter’s view Obama has no right dictating what happens in an African setting, if Africans (though they disagree with much going… click here to read whole article and make comments


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