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African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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African Writers’ Corner

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On migrants issues

Amira Ali

2015-05-07, Issue 725

To the rest of the world, they are merely statistics of persons drowned at sea while trying to reach Europe in illegal voyages. But these are real human beings, with complex lives, pursuing a dream.

Am I a feminist?

Ama Biney

2014-11-28, Issue 704

Who is a feminist? And what does it mean to identify oneself as such? This poem provides a persuasive perspective for answering these and related questions.

Healing in the Homeland: A conversation with Margaret Mitchell Armand

Sokari Ekine

2014-07-03, Issue 685

cc MM
Margaret Mitchell Armand is a Haitian scholar, poet, artist and trained psycholo-gist. Born in Haiti and raised between Haiti and the US, Margaret's' life and work are framed by her faith in the African religious traditions and a celebration of Haitian Vodou.

People of Guinea, My People

Ababacar Fall Barros

2014-05-07, Issue 677

Thirty years ago, on 26 March 1984, President Ahmed Sékou Touré lay dying. Everybody could agree on one thing and that is that he was a great patriot, a great African and Panafricanist. He was never known to have had castles in Spain, bank accounts in London, Paris, Washington, nor shares in the Tokyo stock exchange. On the controversial issues concerning administrative power, in the context of the cold war and the struggle for the liberation of Africa, (think for instance of “Operation Carlota” and of the assassination of Amilcar Cabral), the debate will rage on for a long time to come. All the prosecutors and all the defence attorneys will have the right to be heard. For this 30th anniversary of his death however, this poem is dedicated to him.

Deep inside Sambisa Forest

Chika Ezeanya

2014-05-08, Issue 677

This fictional account of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorist group brings out the intense trauma of the experience. It is appalling that, faced with frequent attacks by the terrorists, Nigerian authorities have done little to protect especially vulnerable citizens


Valentina Acava Mmaka

2014-05-01, Issue 676

Tribute to a remarkable, unforgettable woman

On the African student…

2014-05-01, Issue 676

Who really is an African student?

The past, now and future

Ama Biney

2014-04-03, Issue 672

Hankering over the ‘glorious’ past as we confront our present struggles is not really helpful. Rather we should dare to invent the future, as Thomas Sankara challenged us

Obedient miniskirt

(In response to Uganda’s anti-pornography/ Miniskirt ban)

Amira Ali

2014-03-20, Issue 670

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni recently signed a law that outlaws miniskirts in the east African nation. This poet attempts to make sense of the new law

Meeting legendary editor Irene Staunton

Moses Magadza

2014-03-06, Issue 668

She is a Zimbabwean editor whose books have won the biggest number of international awards for the country. In this interview she shares her experiences

Poet says writers are full-time workers

Moses Magadza

2014-02-06, Issue 664

In this exclusive and wide-ranging interview with MOSES MAGADZA, BEAVEN TAPURETA, a well-known Zimbabwean poet says, inter alia, that too many people all over the world continue to turn their noses at writers, perpetuating the mistaken belief that they are essentially unemployed people. He says far from being part of the lumpen proletariat, writers are full-time workers and unless and until they are regarded as such, their rights would continue to be violated. Tapureta is the founding Director of Win Zimbabwe, an organisation that networks Zimbabwean writers through the internet and through workshops and readings. He was one of the key staffers at Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe (BWAZ) when it folded a decade ago. Tapureta is a trained journalist.

Publishers in Kenya have also succumbed to tribalism and money

Alexander K Opicho

2013-07-04, Issue 637

Established book publishers in Kenya have a keen nose of commerce and politics. They do not publish to store and disseminate knowledge. But instead they publish either to make money or to gain political favour. And now tribalism has also set in

Song for the scholars

to Ivor Wilks and al-Hajj Uthman b.Ishaq Boyo

Mark Natty Samuels

2013-07-04, Issue 637

If Ghana be the land of my roots, Then I'll celebrate the early scholars - Resplendent in my ancestry. Let me start with Muhammed al-Gamba; The first imam of Kumasi. The founder of Koranic education, Deep in an Akan heartland - The city of the Ashanti. Service of prayers and amulets; Trusted advisor to the royalty. Respected representative, Of the eminent ones - The elders of northern Ghana. He was known as 'Baba'; Son of the imam of Gambaga. Some were born in Mamprugu, Gonja or Dagomba. Others came from Timbuktu, Bonduku and Katsina. Muhammed al-Katsiniwa came, From that city of the Hausa. Soloman Bagayogo came also; Bringing scholarship to the Dagomba. Let us go now, To the town of Salaga - Of kola nut and of slavery. To meet a pupil of al-Hajj Umar; The poet Muhammed al-Salghawi. He wrote of celestial activity, The recording of a comet - Salaga of Islamic study. Praises to al-Hajj Umar; A poem to al-Tijani. He wrote of conflict also, The civil war that bloodied his town - The exile of the scholar. Born in beloved Salaga; Dying in distant Accra. © Natty Mark Samuels, 2013. Some were born in Mamprugu, Dagbon or Gonja. Others came from Timbuktu, Bonduku and Katsina. Muhammed al-Katsiniwa came, From that city of the Hausa. Soloman Bagayogo came also; Scholarship to the Dagomba. Now we have spoken of the pupil, Let us speak of his teacher - Of al-Hajj Umar. In the Salaga constellation; He remains the shining star. Born in Kano, Great city-state of Nigeria - Family migration to Gonja. He wrote on diverse subject matter, From corruption to influenza. Founder of the first mosque, And Koranic school - In the district of Kete-Krachi. He wrote of mosque construction; And the social effects of poverty. Some were born in Mamprugu, Dagbon or Gonja. Others came from Timbuktu, Bondoku and Katsina. Muhammed al-Katsinawa came, From that city of the Hausa. Soloman Bagayogo came also; Bringing scholarship to the Dagomba. Now we'll go further north, To meet Muhammed al-Mustapha - The imam of Gonja. From the Kamaghate lineage;. Of those known as Wangara. The main writer of the chronicle, Known as Kitab al-Ghunja - From the mid-eighteenth century. It tells of kings and Muslim clerics; Of Asante and it's dynasty. © Natty Mark Samuels, 2013. A much respected figure, Within the Gonja ulama - Great historian of the Volta. Served the Asantehene; As well as the Yagbongwura. Some were born in Mamprugu, Dagbon or Gonja. Others came from Timbuktu, Bonduku and Katsina. Muhammed al-Katsinawa came, From that city of the Hausa. Soloman Bagayogo came also; Bringing scholarship to the Dagomba. © Natty Mark Samuels, 2013. .

How about 'mother of'?

Chenjerai Hove

2013-06-27, Issue 636

A top Zimbabwean poet, novelist and essayist says the practice of branding men ‘fathers of’ certain exploits is dangerous and can contaminate the minds of the world’s men and boys, entrenching patriarchy in the process

Achebe buried like a hero

Abdulrazaq Magaji

2013-05-30, Issue 632

He survived many battles in his long and eventful life and, when he answered the final call, Chinua Achebe immensely earned the hero’s burial accorded him by an appreciative citizenry

ICC World Cup veteran from Africa!

Happy birthday, John Nagenda

2013-05-02, Issue 628

Neither money nor political power can earn you lines in English cricket literature that say, ‘He was a mercurial skipper’ who was ‘elected a vice-president of the Nomads’; ‘He was a leading personality in the club’

Fare Thee Well Achebe

Odomaro Mubangizi

2013-04-09, Issue 625

Fare thee well great literary spirit That inspired millions To dream a new. Fare thee well great literary mind That provoked many a mind To think creatively. Fare thee well great literary giant Father of African literature Who spiced words for eating. Fare thee well prophet of social justice, May things not fall apart as you depart; May anarchy not befall the African literary world. May you join the great ancestors As you cross the great river; Rest in peace as you await The second coming. We are no longer at ease Without you; For you were our arrow of God Shooting without missing. You are our man of the people Traversing the ant hills of the savanah; Adieu great literary soul, spirit, and mind.

The day I wore my best clothes

John Samson

Jacaranda School, Std 6, Malawi

2012-11-28, Issue 608

Winning essay in the 2012 Royal Commonwealth Competition

Fifty years of whining!

Uwineza Mimi Harriet

2012-11-21, Issue 607

Where are we now? Guinea pigs of slavery Murderers of our own blood while we sing of freedom! Now complacent and helpless Pretense of humanity Suffocating Pluralism Covering to suppress How we whine! Of foreigners’ deeds Decorations of covered crimes? What are we doing different? How they turn into their graves! The great heroes of motherland Who fought through mountains and valleys! Thinking it will come to pass! * The poet Uwineza Mimi Harriet, is a M.A Candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies at Makerere University, a blogger, an author and activist. She has co-founded a think-tank called Peace Associates Network Africa and works with a human rights organization in the Horn of Africa.

Tragic called the kid

Amira Ali

2012-09-27, Issue 599

How do you holler And not be heard A fury of injustice That has numbed us stern Fury killed a dream Killed the kid Who dreams football on streets Caught in the axis Tragedy and injustice To the world Ain’t nothin’ but a thing Call it an –ism Euphemism has a name for it Collateral damage Isn’t that what they call it? An explicit offense Made inoffensive Tragic called the kid Dream gunned on the street Football His dream His defense For street dreams For the explicit offender The dream Dealt on a kid Dealt on misdeed Unnamed coffin That was the end of the kid The world should be On bended knees Crying out life How hollow is the prize Dealt on a kid Living on Dreams… Football… Streets… © afrodisiatic expression

New Year, new flower

Elyas Mulu Kiros

2012-09-19, Issue 598

It is a new year Ethiopian New Year I smell flower Yellow flower Ethio flavour And there, I see her My sweet, my lover Red is her colour She is far but near She melts my heart Like chocolate Dark brown sweet She is my summer My red flower And now am falling My heart is warming My soul is dancing So don’t come winter To change the colour Of my red flower It is a New Year Ethiopian New Year A new beginning Let’s be forgiving Let’s stop bittering And start greening Love is a winner Basta grudger The sky is clear So nothing to fear Life is so short So why we fight Let’s just enjoy it As we can lose it Before we know it There is a New Year And new flower Around the corner Yellow flower Better than power That makes us bitter That feeds us anger That kills our love And our poor dove It is a new year Ethiopian New Year Fresh flower Breathe in the air We shall have no fear As we catch fire As we desire Deep in our heart For love as we melt

Dambudzo Marechera’s undying legacy

Dobrota Pucherova

2012-09-12, Issue 597

A new book on the celebrated Zimbabwean writer, with rare archival materials, adds fresh angles to the debate about his contribution to African literature.

Timbuktu: The far place

Ishaq Imruh Bakari

2012-07-26, Issue 595

The flimsy mask of sovereignty unravels in the desert sand The border posts and sentry gates designed to imprison the poor and the innocent mean nothing in a season of pestilence At the presidential palace in Mali vagabond soldiers Came to play their video games and all came tumbling down those who curse their parents will always perish those who invite hyenas to dinner will always be the main course And so the feasting is here for all who do not build And now the grand carnival is the drunken show in town Follow the tears in the dust tracks along the path of armoured cars Decipher the strange inscriptions all camouflaged in the fumes that they expel glistening with the branded labels of the infidels They bring no clean water for those who thirst They bring no healing hand for the sick They bring no food for those who hunger They bring no light for the blind for you who feast on destruction for you who worship in the name of AK47 & Kalashnikov know that every brick unhinged in the Sahelean shifting sand will be the chain around your neck to the hell reserved for tyrants For all the blessed who have gone before For all those in modesty who will follow For all the saints who stand among the sinners For all those mindful in wisdom of the strident path For all in piety knowing the limits of their exaltation For all the simple things bequeathed in abundance Timbuktu is a far place the beacon that will bloom again in the rock of faith ©Ishaq Imruh Bakari

Question of faith

Dennis Mosiere

2012-07-12, Issue 593

Don't forget to oil your elbows and cornrows the caking dryness of your cuts and bruises. We mustn't reveal the true nature of things. You cannot forget to put yourself together pretty, dress up the scars and put on some lip-stick on your dry, peeling lips, dye dying shoes, weather the changing tide fashionably, who knew you had it in you? Let's not forget to speak to things as if they were for them to become, courage contained comes from the curious ravings of mad men, sometimes called faith. Umbrella on a sunshiny day, waiting for the rain to clear, blue sky. We cannot succumb to realism Too harsh to face we can hardly relate. When the waiting becomes wanting, Job's patience combined with David's courage, Paul's letters reaching out from time past I become the song of broken, desolate souls. So until the rain shows up to quench this parched ground and make the fruit sprout, I arise each day to my routine and do my thing. Wait. Let the herald arrive with my revelation, Erase the desolation. He's not late or early, Write on time. *Dennis Dancan Mosiere aka Grandmaster Masese is a poet,musician,actor,writer/editor, human rights educator and a Fahamu Pan-African Fellow For Social Justice. Founder Member,Mstari Wa Nne Performance poets,

Libation – a poem

For my elder student

Dennis D Mosiere

2012-06-28, Issue 591

I remember the days when you hold a jar of water A metal gong Then you shout that our ancestors must be called they must be heard You shout, CALL THEM! CALL THEM! Yes we call them our ancestors I guess they cheer our ambition to reunite with them these lines are a sign that, like libation, my soul is yearning for liberation unity of mankind spirituality, may we free our minds Dennis D Mosiere

The music of obokano

Dennis D Mosiere

2012-06-28, Issue 591

(English version) It is me, Masese Now am coming from Bundo Look how my body smeared with ebundo* is shining Am going to the battlefield with a hummer I have carried with me a spear and a mallet I have come as a warrior With warrior spears Belongings and the spirit of warriors Listen to the way I play the Obokano* Trumpets and flutes I will not close my eyes even if it’s misty So misty and clumsy like heavy sounds of trumpets Even if you pierce my waist with a spear-chigi!* I will sway and fight like grass On a mountain against strong winds I come Wearing clothes like moving stream of water Now, stand over there and watch, don’t move closer Look! The way I am preparing shields Put them down to cover the soil like heavy drops of rain One man army, one man government I am the only son like the eye Even if you trouble me, I can hide in a basket And come out with a dagger If we wrestle I will defeat you, like it is a wedding Weaken you, make you wither before they come to separate us Before we hold hands and fight I and you will not draw I burn like fire glowing from ekerende* and esasi* Grow and spread further like Emanga* and Esameta* ranges Grow and spread so you can play pianos- Nda! Nda! Nda!* Don’t be jealous you may walk naked Then you burst – NDA! If someone troubles you, Don’t worry yourself too much Be silent and look for a piano Or go to your bed and sleep -NDA! END NOTES 1. Ebundo – a type of paint made from some specific soils and clay that was used as a kind of body protection from dirt or in ceremonies 2. Obokano - an eight-stringed harp from the Gusii people of western Kenya 3. Chigi - the sound made by a spear when it pierces flesh 4. Ekerende and esasi - these was a traditional tools of making fire by using a dry wood,ekerende, with a stick to drill; esasi is dry leaves mixed with dry dung that is fed to the spot of contact between the wood and the stick. 5. Emanga and Esameta are two great ranges in Gusiiland and normally people are told to spread out (grow) and produce like the two ranges 6. Nda - the sound of music/strings, largely onomatopoeic here *Dennis Dancan Mosiere aka Grandmaster Masese is a poet, musician, actor, writer/editor, human rights educator and a Fahamu Pan African fellow for Social Justice

Ethiopia today

Elyas Mulu Kiros

2012-06-14, Issue 589

Sea of nostalgic generation River of Facebook nation In and out migration Limited freedom of expression No room for innovation, But for incarceration, Parroting, or imitation ... Strong interest in destruction, Not in building a lasting foundation Almost impossible to tolerate difference And to still be friends Lack of political moderation Torpedoes in silent ocean Radicals left and right Few with a practical mission statement, Vision, and commitment Almost all stuck in the past Not too many visionaries But plenty of revolutionary wannabes And swarms of counterrevolutionaries, Comrades, cadres, copycats, bullies, Elitists, opportunists, ideologues, Egotists, character assassins, and rogues Relics of the bygone years Most anachronistic Few original or unique Little or no political compromise But bravado and false promise Fake democrats Allergic to alternative viewpoints Almost everyone wants to lead, but few followers Not too many look forward—thus, stagnant progress Confused youth Trapped in a maze … Have we learned at all from the past: From the red blood or feudal mindset?

Our lady of the trees

Natty Mark Samuels

2012-05-03, Issue 583

This short play celebrates the late renowned Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace laureate Prof Wangari Maathai.

Ancestral Song

A Poem For Voices

2012-04-19, Issue 581

BAMILEKE: I am a Mod Ngam Man of spiders Often called a diviner. I am Bamileke Born in Cameroon Observing the Earth Spider. VOICES: He lives underground With the nature spirits Our ancestral messenger. BAMILEKE: Earth Spider takes his pick Movement of leaf and stick. VOICES (chanting): He knows the ancient ones. Earth Spider, tell us what you see; We await your diplomacy. DOGON: I am a Hogan Diagnosing for the Dogan, Sands of the Bandiagara. Come, Sand Fox There are sticks in the sand There is drought in the land. I invoke your presence; I am the Sunset Chanter. VOICES (chanting); Bandiagara Mountain of freedom For the Dogon of Mali. DOGON: Tell us Sand Fox Our precious visitor; Have we offended our ancestry? BAULE: I am called Komien Within the Baule My special pot called Gbekre. Once upon a time The mouse could speak Of that the Baule toast. Now he talks Through the movement of sticks For us in the Ivory Coast. KARANGA: I am an Nganga Throwing dice called Hakata; Made of wood Bone or seed. Between Ancestor and Karanga, I endeavour to intercede. Trusted and respected I divine, I pray; For the Karanga of Zimbabwe. VOICES (chanting): Ancestor, ancestor The Healer wants to talk with you. Whether with mice Or the use of dice Diviner wants to talk with you. ZULU: Being a Sangoma I also use bones. I am Nguni. That is the Zulu, the Xhosa The Ndebele and the Swazi. VOICES (chanting): Come with the bones, Sangoma Come as quick as you can Tell us of Unkulunkulu Are we drifting from his plan? ZULU: From Unkulunkula I received a special duty. Having done my training, Knowing herbs and animals; I can make the sacred Muti. I was possessed I did not choose this profession. Unkulunkulu called me, Through my ancestor, To be a healer of this nation. VOICES: Blessed Babalawo It’s not time for you to go. Here comes another someone With troubles in his head; I think he’s sinking in the flow. YORUBA: I am Babalawo With the gift of Ifa Giving to my people the Yoruba. A gift from Olodumare Through his servant Orunmila To me, here in Nigeria. VOICES: You with great knowledge of Ifa We beg you, do not go. Her illness moves fast Her days grow slow. YORUBA: I am a busy Babalawo. ZANDE: To raise them from their woes To reach the spiritual height I use what God has given us; Divination by the termite Two branches in one termite hill. One from one tree One from another. And in their eating Knowledge begins to gather. You’ll find us in the D.R.C The C.A.R. and Sudan- Those who are called the Zande. You will see us by the Congo As well as by the Nile, Praising the one called Onyame. POKOT: I am a Pokot elder From the land of Kenya, But just like Dogon in Mali Our divination, Whether by goat or by shoe, Is performed for us by an elder The elder of the older. Shoes of he who is missing are thrown. Like the Zulu bone The Yoruba palm nut The Maasai stone. We continue to interpret the unknown. VOICES: The longer you live you get closer to the Shrine Attracted by the Crucial Flame. We get closer to Creator, Called by this and that, God of a thousand names. Bamileke: Si Dogon: Amma Baule: Nyamien Zande: Onyame Zulu: Unkulunkulu Yoruba: Oludumare Pokot: Torontot Karanga: Mwari VOICES (chanting): Ancestor, Ancestor The healer wants to talk with you. Whether by mice Or whether by dice, Diviner needs to talk with you. ©Natty Mark Samuels, 2010

My job as a poet is to tell the truth

Poetry Parnassus interview, with Steven J Fowler

Shailja Patel

2012-04-19, Issue 581

'My job as a poet is to wake myself up and take responsibility for learning the truth. That means doing hard work, looking beyond headlines, being willing to interrogate data, structures, systems.'

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