Oyalogy – a poetic approach to African feminism

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Below is a transcript of a talk I gave at Trinity College Dublin on May 25th, 2015 as part of their Africa Day programme. Organised by Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) the conference, Inspiring Change: Empowering Women’s Futures in Africa, heard from leading change-makers who are transforming the landscape of gender equality in Africa and globally.  Oyalogy –…

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Afropolitanism and identity politics

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I presented a radio essay “Afropolitanism – the cosmopolitanism that focuses on Africa” for Swedish Radio’s culture and ideas programme, OBS P1. You can listen to my reading here but it is in Swedish. I am sharing a translation below with some edits for clarity.   Cosmopolitanism – the idea that people are both citizens of the world at…

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Islamophobia in Europe and in Africa should not be conflated

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Fifteen years ago, before 9/11, hardly anyone used the term ‘Islamophobia’. Today, the term is used all the time, especially by liberals, but rarely with an accompanying reflection of its corresponding relationship to the ongoing “war against terror”. Islamophobia is discussed as though it appeared out of nowhere. And not, as it were, as a term that firmly…

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Sexism is pan-Africanism’s Achilles heel

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  In the 19th century, books in the west were often published in weekly segments in journals and newspapers. Readers awaited each new instalment and the discussions that followed eagerly. Pigeonhole is a new publishing platform aiming to revive this communal spirit of reading.  One of the series you can read on their platform at…

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On the African Union’s message to women

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Yesterday, to commemorate International Women’s Day, the former chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, posted a message for African women on the union’s website. The focus of the update, one which I have pasted below, was to hone in on a political vision and action plan – ‘Agenda 2063‘ – which, among other things, “envisages a…

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7 South African rebel women artists – in memory of Miriam Makeba

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Today, 4 March, is the birthday of the unforgettable Miriam Makeba. To honour her memory I am posting a selection of my favourite songs by seven sensational South African singers who, like Makeba, embody/embodied the spirit of feminist pan-Africa and the African femme fatale.  Pata Pata!  Busi Mhlongo “Umoya ma-Afrika”  Brenda Fassie – “Vuli Ndlela” Lebo Mathosa –…

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‘Who will be the first African woman to sail the length of the River Niger?’

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  Here is a link to an interview that I did for The Corporate Canvas, a South African Careers, Finance, Culture & Lifestyle platform for African Millennial women.  The questions were great, I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to reflect on things that truly matter to me. Below is my favourite question, you can read the rest of the interview…

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On Afropolitanism and westernisation

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While reading Olufemi Taiwo’s book “Africa Must Be Modern”, I came across the following: It is almost required of an African intellectual that she or he be hostile to modernity and it suppositions. It is almost as if an African like me who deliberately embraces modernity as a way of life that promises at the…

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Citizens and women – two neglected words in Nigeria’s elections

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Nigerians have experienced some of the most unstable five years in their country’s history under the rule of President Goodluck Jonathan. Not so much because the problems we face today – such as poor infrastructure, oil corruption and terrorism – have not previously existed but because there is a heightened sense of awareness among citizens, a…

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Africa Reflecting: A year of philosophical introspection ahead for Africa

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On the brink of the new year, we are encouraged to look into the future with hope. But given the misfortune that 2014 was when it comes to African affairs, I am not hopeful about 2015. Here are some things that regrettably happened this year; violence in the Central African Republic, Libya and South Sudan escalated; over 19, 000…

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TEDxBrixton Talk – To change the world, change your illusions

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Last month, I gave a TEDx Talk titled “To change the world, change your illusions” at TEDxBrixton, which has now been uploaded on YouTube. Watching the clip takes me right back to the day: all the great talks, the wonderful TEDxBrixton team, the excitement and nerves but most of all the energy in a room…

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African men, are you still not listening?

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Hey, it’s the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Violence against women is ginormous, ginormous, ginormous. It is so ginormous that the UN says it is a global pandemic. Other examples of global pandemics are Ebola, HIV and Bob Geldof. Due to its enormity I am thinking this post will be about how it is possible that male…

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Watching ‘Concerning Violence’.

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                      The trailer for Göran Hugo Olsson’s ‘Concerning Violence’. I just watched ‘Concerning Violence’.’ ‘Anger. Catharsis. Birth. Small paroxysms of ritualistic release.’ ‘I also felt serene watching it.’ ‘This is what it is to be a woman. It is to be pain. Femininity is not a…

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Ebola from the eyes of a diasporan Liberian

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This is a guest post by Nykita Garnett. Two years ago, when I returned to my home country, Liberia, I anticipated many challenges. I understood that my transition from the sleek streets of midtown Atlanta to the dusty roads of Monrovia would be quite significant. Like many repatriates before me, I arrived full of hope,…

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Media frenzy about Ebola

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On a flight to Lagos last week, a woman with a terrible chesty cough and feverish eyes sat a couple of seats away from me. Unlike many a public transportation commuter, the woman was considerate; she covered her mouth when she coughed and it was evident that she was trying to cough as little as she could despite…

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The EU’s African history

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The majority of Europeans take for granted that the EU was set up to create peace and stability in Europe. After all, the EU won the Nobel Prize for “advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights”. Yet this fabrication of the truth would make Alfred Nobel do a triple turn in his grave….

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