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African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

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Racism & xenophobia

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South Africa: Local businesses move against Somali shops in Khayelitsha

2012-11-08, Issue 605

Town Two Khayelitsha is the site of tension between a local business association and Somali shops. The Zanokhanyo Business Association (ZBA) is accusing Somali shop owners of not abiding by a 2008 agreement which says that no new foreign owned shops should operate in the townships following the May 2008 xenophobic attacks.

Africa: #Tintingate (in Sweden)

2012-10-15, Issue 601

Blog Africa is a Country has a post about the furore caused when one of Sweden’s most prestigious national dailies blew up an article on its front page about cultural director at Stockholm Culture House Berhang Miri (a Swede of Iranian descent) reshelving Hergé’s Tintin books because of their perceived colonial taint, generating heated press and internet debate. The blog post is an interview with Nathan Hamelberg, member of The Betweenship group (which probes racist structures from a young, mixed-heritage perspective), to explain the discussion and its wider implications in Swedish society.

South Africa: Storm over Zapiro's Zuma penis cartoon

2012-07-10, Issue 593

Cartoonist Zapiro had social networks abuzz with his latest cartoon which depicts President Jacob Zuma as a large phallus. Most Twitter users felt that the cartoon was distasteful and undermined Jonathan Shapiro's often accurate social commentary. Mail & Guardian editor, Nic Dawes, defended the publication’s decision to publish the cartoon. The ANC as well as its Women’s League condemned the cartoon in strong terms.

South Africa: Foreigners displaced in attacks

2012-07-12, Issue 593

Over 500 foreign nationals have been displaced in xenophobic attacks in Botshabelo in the Free State, the SA Red Cross Society (Sarcs) said. The Red Cross said it was currently supporting 584 displaced foreigners at the community hall, providing food, blankets and other aid. 'Sarcs is pleading with the public, businesses and corporates to assist with clothes, school uniforms, toiletries and food to help the victims.'

South Africa: NGOs join forces in Malema hate speech case

2012-06-06, Issue 588

The Freedom of Expression Institute and Section 16 have applied to become friends of the court in the hate speech case against Julius Malema. The Freedom of Expression Institute and Section 16 have applied to become friends of the court in the hate speech case against Julius Malema. 'Hate speech is a very important and delicate issue for South African democracy,' said Melissa Moore, executive officer for the non-governmental organisation Section 16.

South Africa: Safe House

2012-06-06, Issue 588

This post from the blog Africa is a Country reflects on the film Safe House, starring Denzil Washington, which was filmed in Cape Town. Washington had previously been quoted as saying he felt more comfortable making the film in a 'black' country, but as Loren A Lynch points out, the film perpetuates Hollywood stereotypes. 'The majority of audiences rarely see past guise of set dressing into the political and racial implications of not only the film but also of the film industry itself. Western audiences remain content with Hollywood’s constructed perceptions of both countries and cultures outside of their own, when in reality the differences stick out almost as much as Denzel Washington in a “brown” country.'

South Africa: Farmworker convicted of murdering far-right leader

2012-05-23, Issue 586

A South African court Tuesday 22 May convicted one of the two accused black farmworkers in the murder of white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'Blanche. 'After all the evidence given, I conclude that accused number one (Chris Mahlangu) is guilty as charged,' said Judge John Horn in the High Court sitting in Ventersdorp in northwest South Africa. Co-accused Patrick Ndlovu, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was found guilty only of house-breaking, and not guilty on charges of murder and robbery.

Nigeria: Negative outcome in UK race case

2012-05-24, Issue 586

The rejection of race discrimination claims brought by a young Nigerian woman who was brought to the United Kingdom illegally by her employers, brutalised and denied wages, gives a green light to racism, says this article from the Institute of Race Relations website. Mary Mounga was probably only 14 when her employer brought her from Nigeria to work in the UK as an au pair, promising to send her to school and to pay her £50 a month on top of her board and lodging. She was told to say that she was 20 and that she was coming to visit her grandmother. Once here, she was beaten, never paid any wages and not given the opportunity to go to school.

South Africa: ‘De Klerk must retract comment’

2012-05-14, Issue 584

Former president FW de Klerk must retract comments he made in a CNN interview, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said on Saturday. 'Casac condemns in the strongest terms the reckless attempts by former president FW de Klerk to justify and defend the apartheid system,' it said in a statement. 'The very notion of 'separate development' was at the centre of the apartheid ideology, and was predicated on notions of racist supremacy as was Nazism.'

Trayvon Martin is all of us

Demand Obama institute a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to end the epidemic of Black murders

2012-04-16, Issue 581

The murder of Trayvon Martin is no isolated tragedy. The murder of Black men and women by police and other state officials and by self-appointed 'keepers of the peace' is standard practice in the United States, and essential to the very fabric of the society. Please join us is pressing these demands to hold the United States government accountable for its failure to fully address the systemic problem of institutionalized racism. You can help by endorsing these demands and raising them to the Obama administration and state and local governments in every venue possible.

South Africa: Basson hearing continues

2012-03-27, Issue 579

Cardiologist Wouter Basson is appearing before the Health Professions Council of SA to face a remaining four charges of unprofessional and unethical conduct. The charges relate to his conduct as a medical doctor when he headed the country's chemical and biological warfare research programme for the defence force in the 1980s and early 1990s during the apartheid era.

South Africa: Residents protect Somali traders from local business owners

2012-03-28, Issue 579

Residents in Khayelitsha came to the defence of Somali traders when local business owners threatened to burn down the Somali-owned shops. In an attempt to enforce a 2008 agreement between Zanokhanyo Retailers Association and Somalian shopkeepers following that year’s xenophobic attacks that no new Somali-owned shops would open, local business owners in Harare threatened to burn down Somali shops to force their closure. But local residents stood in front of the nine shops under threat, preventing the local business owners from taking action.

Zambia: Students severely beaten in Russia

2012-03-20, Issue 578

Three Zambian students were severely beaten in Saint Petersburg Russia on the night of 18 March, leaving one of the students in a coma. Police are studying records of CCTV cameras to establish the circumstances of the incident which many believe was a racist attack. Racist assaults are frequently committed by skinhead gangs, which have grown in number in recent years in Russia and specifically Saint-Petersburg.

South Africa: Learning to be racist in South Africa

2012-03-20, Issue 578

The shocking video Afrikaner Blood by Elles van Gelder and Ilvy Njiokiktjien from the Netherlands has just won first prize in the World Press Photo multimedia category. This slideshow comprises photographs of young white South African teenagers who attend a holiday camp set up by a right-wing racist group.

South Africa: Clashes over school conditions

2012-03-20, Issue 578

Black and coloured Grabouw residents guarded their schools against attack from either side following violent protests, the Cape Times reported on Tuesday. Coloured Pineview residents and black Siteview residents clashed on Monday 19 March. Police had to form a human shield to prevent the groups from entering each other's territories.

South Africa: Zille's education refugees comment draws fire

2012-03-26, Issue 578

As the debate over Helen Zille’s use of the word 'refugees' in relation to the education crisis in the Eastern Cape raged on the social network site Twitter late last week, an ANC provincial coordinator raised eyebrows by calling her a 'racist bitch'. Zille’s remarks on ­Twitter that Eastern Cape pupils were ­moving to schools in the ­Western Cape in order to access better educational resources, and calling them 'education refugees' sparked fierce debate on radio talk-shows and social network sites. Asked why he called Zille a 'racist bitch' on a public site, Mphila said: 'She is racist and is behaving like a bitch.'

Global: German government study promotes campaign against immigrant communities

2012-03-14, Issue 576

The World Socialist Website reports on German study published by the government on young muslims in the country. The study’s publication has become the occasion for a renewed campaign against immigrant communities in Germany. A 'deliberate political campaign seeks to limit the study’s findings to that which can be exploited for the dissemination of xenophobic sentiments. In fact, the 750-page report provides a much more nuanced picture. The fact that the researchers are critical of the government’s integration policy is being swept under the carpet.'

Somalia: Bribery accusations and local demand for Somali spazas puts paid to 2008 agreement

2012-03-14, Issue 576

A 2008 agreement preventing new Somali-owned shops from opening in Khayelitsha was undermined by bribery and the demands of local residents, it emerged at a meeting called on Wednesday to find a solution to recent tensions between local business owners and Somali traders.Recent, belated enforcement of the 2008 agreement reached between the Zanokhanyo Retailers Association and the Somali Retailers Association in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks that year resulted in two Somali-owned shops being looted and at least 25 others being forcibly closed over the last two weeks.

Global: There are too many foreigners in France, says Sarkozy

2012-03-08, Issue 574

Nicolas Sarkozy has declared there are too many foreigners in France, deliberately using extreme-right rhetoric to regain ground in his difficult re-election battle. The French president is already under attack by religious leaders and from within his own party for veering to the right and stoking anti-Muslim sentiment by forcing the marginal topic of halal meat into the centre of his campaign. He has now vowed to cut immigration by half and limit state benefits for legal migrants.

South Africa: Somali shops closed, looted as 2008 trading agreement enforced in Khayelitsha

2012-03-01, Issue 572

At least five Somali-owned shops in Khayelitsha were forced to close recently as the Zanokhanyo Business Association enforced a 2008 agreement that no new foreign-owned shops should operate in the township following the May 2008 xenophobic attacks. The two Somali-owned shops in Harare that stayed open were looted. David Mohamed, owner of Brothers shop in Harare, said he lost all his stock to the thieves.

Africa: Tintin isn't racist, Belgian court rules

2012-02-22, Issue 571

A Belgian court has rejected an application to ban a colonial-era book about the Congolese adventures of the cartoon character Tintin for breaching racism laws. Documents from the court of first instance in Brussels show that it did not believe the 1946 edition of Tintin in the Congo was intended to incite racial hatred, a criteria when deciding if something breaks Belgium's racism laws. In 2007, Congolese campaigner Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo launched legal proceedings to ban the book, arguing its portrayal of Africans was racist.

South Africa: Zulu king lashes out at Congolese migrants

2012-02-27, Issue 571

Following controversial utterances made by the Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini during a speech at the KwaZulu Natal legislature opening, there have been concerns raised about the implications this may have on what are already strained relations between South Africans and foreign nationals, particularly Congolese nationals. He was quoted in the Sowetan newspaper as saying: 'I understand that South Africa is a democratic country and welcomes people from different countries who have run away from their countries for different reasons. As a result, South Africa is home to many Africans but I must express my disappointment at the behaviour of these people.' He said this in reference to the recent marches by the Congolese Freedom and Justice Fighters living in South Africa who marched to the Union Building; ANC’s headquarters, Luthuli House; and parliament in Cape Town to show their dissatisfaction with the South African government's involvement or lack of in the Congolese elections processes.

South Africa: Tension at ET trial

2012-01-31, Issue 568

The trial of murdered rightwing leader Eugene Terre'Blanche resumed in the Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court on 30 January. Just before lunch there was a standoff between AWB supporters attending the trial and black residents over the singing of Bobbeja...

South Sudan: Economic migrants battle xenophobia

2012-01-31, Issue 568

There are about one million Ugandans living in South Sudan, according to the Kampala City Traders’ Association (KCTA). But life is not easy for the Ugandan traders who supply South Sudan with many essential goods. On a side road at the market, a Sout...

South Africa: Student anti-racism poster causes a stir

2012-02-02, Issue 568

The Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) recently released a controversial poster as part of their anti-racism campaign. The 'In OUR future, you wouldn't look twice' poster shows a naked mixed-race couple embracing. The poster has caused ...

Ethiopia: Israeli school bus driver recorded spewing racist slurs at Ethiopian children

2012-01-23, Issue 566

As thousands of Israelis have been protesting racism directed at Ethiopian Israelis recently, a new recording revealed Wednesday an Israeli school bus driver in Jerusalem spewing racist slurs at schoolgirls of Ethiopian origin. 'People tell you that ...

Africa: Right-wing gunman kills two Africans in Italy

2011-12-14, Issue 563

An Italian man has killed two African street sellers and wounded three others in an apparent racist shooting rampage in the city of Florence before committing suicide, police said. Gianluca Casseri, 50, who Italian officials described as a right-wing...

South Africa: Xenophobia at public hospitals

2011-12-12, Issue 562

'I must admit that hospitals always remind me that I am living far away from my country, that I am not welcome. The nurses do not even bother to hide it. It is the same scenario every time I go alone or with my small child. Whenever I get up in the m...

South Africa: Xenophobia is still alive

2011-12-12, Issue 562

Every once in while, xenophobia against men and women from other African countries living in South Africa hits the headlines. Recently, there were threats in Alexander Township, and not too long ago, Somali businesses were the target. Yet, what’s mis...

South Africa: Russell Tribunal calls for Israeli sanctions

2011-11-08, Issue 557

After sitting in Cape Town at the weekend, where it heard evidence from a range of witnesses, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine declared that Israel was guilty of practising apartheid and called for it to be isolated. The tribunal called on world gov...

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