2009-05-21, Issue 433
cc Liz HenryDeeply concerned about the profound discrimination experienced by Kenya's transgender community, Audrey Mbugua berates Kenyan society for its unjust treatment of a marginalised group. Rather than creating 'transgender rights' per se, Mbugua calls upon the country to view transgender people as human beings like any other group. Deeply scathing of Kenya's entrenched 'trans-phobia' and the divisive nature of different groups' competing for recognition, the author implores those marginalised to see themselves as part of a wider struggle for justice that transcends identity politics.
2009-05-14, Issue 432
cc D B KingAs Kenyans struggle to find meaning in the protracted troubles surrounding their body politic, Njonjo Mue challenges the nation’s youth to join an army of ordinary people to fight the good fight and to defend Kenyans’ freedom, dignity, heritage and their children’s future by engaging in brutal self-appraisal and refusing to permit decay. Mue’s article is a call to arms, for men to leave the bars long enough to know what their children will eat for supper, for women to cease their escapism and confront the problems facing Kenya’s communities, and for all Kenyans to individually take responsibility for the future of their country.
2008-09-17, Issue 399
In a review of the current state of philanthropy on the African continent, Bhekinkosi Moyo argues that African organisations are becoming progressively more autonomous from northern donors and able to pursue their own agendas. With organisations such...
How the ICC’s “responsibility to protect” is being turned into an assertion of neocolonial domination
2008-09-17, Issue 396
On July 14, after much advance publicity and fanfare, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court applied for an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, on charges that included genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Important questions of fact arise from the application as presented by the prosecutor. But even more important is the light this case sheds on the politics of the “new humanitarian order.”...
Part 1: Tribalism as shorthand for political problems
2008-09-10, Issue 395
The question of ethnic identities in Kenya is intricately tied up with the country's politics and influences to a greater or lesser degree the class cleavages in ways which often defy orthodox analyses from the right or the left. ...
2008-08-11, Issue 393
The exclamatory commentary that has accompanied Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presumed nomination of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate has excited, beneath it, the question of what the nomination itself, and a possible Obama presidency, might mean for the Pan-Africanist world as well as the Third World. While much of the commentary has been laudatory, there have also been cautionary tones, not to mention ambivalent ones. Beyond the excitement, caution and ambivalence of what a possible Obama presidency might entail for Pan-Africa and the Third World, what Obama himself has said in his writing, and has not said, might prove to be revelatory in attempting to explore the discussion that has exercised many minds around the world. We take this exploration by examining some of the issues that have been raised by editorialists and columnists, bloggers and other commentators in Africa and beyond. We also delve into what Obama himself has said in his two best-belling books, as we ponder how the significance of a possible Obama presidency may be realized more in the symbolic transformation of perceptions of race, racism and racial identity in the US and in the world, than in what the office of the US presidency itself is capable or incapable of achieving.
2008-08-11, Issue 393
The timeline of black agency has been determined to a great extent in the last six centuries by the need to overcome man-made historical impediments, notably slavery, racism, colonialism, neocolonialism – and their new forms in the present – on the o...
Chengiah Rogers Ragaven
2008-07-17, Issue 389
Xenophobia, refugees and immigration politics in their own right have negative connotations when examined through the lens of universal values, moral truths or scriptural teachings which form the basis of our humanitarian civilization, but when translated and practiced through the lens of racism, religious chauvinism, cultural and ethnic ‘otherness,’ the consequence can be horrendous and catastrophic.
2008-07-09, Issue 386
Aurelie Journo (PhD Literature student) talks to Binyavanga Wainaina, the founder of Kwani? about this year's Kwani? Litfest that will take place in Nairobi and Lamu from the 1st to the 15th of August. As the discussion went on, they found themselves broaching several subjects ranging from the state of the media in Kenya, to the role of the writer in times of crisis, with digressions on post-colonial theories and ideology.
2008-07-09, Issue 386
Is the pen mightier than the panga? This was the question confronting Kenya’s literary establishment in the opening days of 2008, as war spread throughout Kenya’s urban centers and across the fertile Rift Valley in the nation’s heartland. As belligerent armies of unemployed youth paraded before news cameras armed with the one weapon all Kenyans have access to, pangas (machetes) once again became the symbol for death and destruction in Africa. Spoken words, it seemed, coming from the podiums of politicians of every stripe, were what helped ignite this chaos in the first place; was it possible that written words from a more thoughtful source might help reverse the spread of violence? Or barring that, could it at least make sense of the chaos and thereby ensure that when peace returned, it stayed?
2008-06-05, Issue 378
Although often overlooked amidst the shocking images and stories emanating from the xenophobic attacks of the last two weeks, there is a gendered face of xenophobia, says Romi Fuller. Foreign women face the double jeopardy of belonging to and being at the intersection of two groups so vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence. This something the country must consider as it moves towards healing and responding to the needs of the injured and displaced.
2008-05-29, Issue 376
A man or woman with no passion has no heart; one with no power of reasoning has no mind, writes Yash Tandon. It is the combination of heart and mind that produces the balanced person who uses their mind to pursue their passion. Let us speak truth to power, but let us also speak the existential truth of our people’s world to the negotiated truth of the diplomatic world. Our collective efforts, he continues, will lead to a new vision of a better world, one that is fair, just, peaceful and bountiful to all the peoples of the world.
2008-05-22, Issue 374
Commemorating Malcolm X's Birthday, appraise existing African American leadership and call for a Black united front that can shake the foundation of a border-less neoliberal globalization.
Steve Ouma Akoth
2008-04-15, Issue 365
Steve Ouma argues that for the promised social transformation in Kenya to take root, "political class and other parochial interests" have to give way to consensus and truth telling.
Paul T Zeleza
2008-03-20, Issue 355
Paul T. Zeleza while recognizing the historic nature and importance of the Obama speech argues that the circumstances that made the speech necessary reveal the extent to which the United States remains an arrogantly racist society
2008-03-06, Issue 351
Linda Osarenren writes a hard hitting essay on the ways and means African cultures perpetuate sexism, patriarchy and violence against women
2007-12-17, Issue 333
Charles Otieno-Hongo argues that a youth agenda should be about giving young people the space to participate in decision making with respect to issues that concern their intellectual development, social identity and economic empowerment.
Nationalism and identity in Tanzania
2007-12-11, Issue 332
Ramesh Shah looks at the evolution of political discourse in Tanzania
2007-10-31, Issue 326
Everything small is beautiful these days. NGOs, busy with micro finance and micro politics for the poor, are small, beautiful -- and powerless. Meanwhile, the beast of markets and States can continue to dominate macro economics and politics. This neat division into micro and macro sustains the unjust power relationships that perpetuate impoverishment, inequality and injustice, says John Samuel