Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miscellany links from/about Africa

How to Write About Africa - genius!

An excerpt - "Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction)."

Go read it it all, it's masterful.

The Economist
on the chances of a fair election in Ethiopia (slim to none). Not only that, the current Zenawi government is propped up by US aid (one of the largest recipients) and Zenawi is championed among the "new breed" of democratic leaders in Africa. Uh huh.

Last election was also marred with violence and arrests, tampering, etc... In my time in Ethiopia I never met a single person in the city who had voted for Zenawi and many of my students had stories about older brothers being arrested, etc... A friend of ours remembers being quarantined to their compound and listening as gunshots echoed through the city. Most people are thinking/predicting this next election will be even more unfair and violent...

Musical Break! Malian Rokia Traore. Not sure if I love the video but I love her music.

I'm a big fan of South African Desmond Tutu, the man is not afraid to criticize just about anybody if they're messing up. That includes Africans who discriminate against gay and lesbians ("Hate has no place in the house of God") and South Africa's ally the U.S., calling the war in Iraq an "immoral war". Speak it brother!

Africa's entry in the "Uncyclopedia" - more genius!

'The only thing positive about Africa is HIV."

African exports include: Ebola, Madagascar (the movie) and "Apos'trophes t'hat s'erve no' purpo'se".

Musical Break #2! Do you know where Mauritius is? Most people don't and would never have heard music from there - but this last summer at Toronto's AfroFest, Menwar wowed me and here's a clip of him playing at Montreal's International Jazz Fest. We're already stoked about this summer's AfroFest!

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention one of the best blogs about the continent, as well as where I found some of the articles, Texas in Africa. Go check it out.

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