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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Why you should read Assata Shakur in times of Ferguson

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Having witnessed police officers mercilessly beat up a group of young hippies, Assata Olugbala Shakur, at the time a young activist in the Black Students Union in New York, had an epiphany. It was this: she was not going to change a thing by smoking weed in the park and complaining about brutally racist police….

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Media frenzy about Ebola

panic

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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Ethical Fashion Initiative: when fashion is both beautiful and meaningful

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It’s about 6pm on the 12th of June 2014. I’m at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, a characteristically grandiose European institutional building made all the more incredible by its waterfront view and bright, modern yet noble style. It is the type of space that – bewilderingly – makes you think of both justice and injustice. Today…

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When it comes to the bride price app there is only one word. No.

BridePr

This post is inspired by a piece  CNN published on Wednesday about the Nigerian bride price app, an app/quiz which calculates the marital value of a woman by pricing attributes such as her height, weight, beauty, cooking skills, education and dialect. All in jest, yeah, the app, as the site’s disclaimer says is, “a joke, and…

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Awra Amba, an Ethiopian village where gender equality is real

Gebeyehu & Mesghana from Awra Amba

If I were an alien visiting our planet this week I’d think, “Whoa, how’s that for a mess, one half of the species trying to annihilate the other half!” We on earth don’t see it that way ourselves; or we would be in revolution against misogynist warfare. Yet an eye that has not been conditioned to normalise the…

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Seven things that women want in Africa’s future

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This week, more than 3000 delegates are at the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali discussing new strategies to tackle poverty, underdevelopment, and put their weight behind global schemes that ensure Africa’s progress. To mark the occasion, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, published an OpEd today titled Women’s Role in the Next 50…

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The truth about girls lives in Nigeria

Image Source: GirlHub Nigeria

In March this year, GirlHub Nigeria invited me to give a talk during Social Media Week Lagos, which I started with a prayer I’d written for little girls. I’d like to share it with you bearing in mind that it is not religion specific. Dear God, may the next generation of girls not grow up to worry…

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Is women’s political participation in Africa really rising?

rising or not

Last month, a group of circa 40 women gathered in Banjul, Gambia for a transformational feminist leadership workshop organised by Women Living Under Muslim Law (WLUML). I was one of the trainers at the weeklong workshop; my sessions were about using communication for feminist advocacy. During the week we discussed, among other things, culturally justified…

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The sacred is political

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“You can’t not be religious!” is a reaction I often receive when someone asks me first whether I am Muslim, as my name implies, and then (when I say no) whether I am a Christian, which I am not either. Having found out that I’m neither Christian nor Muslim, the inquirer then often proceeds to…

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The African Femme Fatale

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As the year comes to an end, I thought that I would like my last post of the year to be about something exciting, a feminine energy we could do well channeling more of in 2014. Scrolling through old posts and comments, I recognised an energy brewing, one not yet defined but one which can…

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African Cosmopolitanism part I

Rendering of Eko Atlantic Marina. Credit: Eko AtlanticLAGOS_EKO

At the 15th summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1978, then Lieut. General Olusegun Obasanjo said, “no African nation is about to embrace communism wholesale any more than we are willing to embrace capitalism.” In 2013 such a statement seems alien. Rejecting capitalism is not a real option for African nations, right?…

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Guest Post: Acceptance breeds solutions, or why Africa needs feminism

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This is a guest post by Angel Evans. — After multiple surgeries, my dad now walks with a limp. When he visited me in New York and we toured the city together last summer, I was reminded of his ageing every time I stopped to match his pace or slowly walk by his side. It…

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Africa Lecture Series at OSI Club, University of Berlin

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The Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science at the University of Berlin hosts a public lecture series every year to ensure that students of the university as well as citizens of Berlin have a broad and diverse access to discourses on African politics. I will be a guest lecturer at the Africa Lecture Series of the OSI club at…

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The objectification of men

African Renaissance Monument - From Above

I am intrigued, despite my previous post about how African women’s art is feminist, by how seldom women artists (from Africa but also elsewhere) objectify the male body. We lose out from this disengagement with the male as object. Whether it is fine or digital art, photography or sculpture, we are culturally deprived of an artistic female…

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7 ways that Africa is shaping globalisation

Globalisation, the compression of the world through cultural exchanges and innovation, is not a new incident to Africa (nor any other part of the world for that matter). Africa is interwoven in a millennia-long global exchange, where it has often lost out but also benefited from and shaped the course of global innovation to a far…

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Guest post: I love African men too, but do they love me back?

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This is a guest blog by Stephanie Kimou (pictured) who blogs at A Black Girl in the World *** Minna’s article last week on the reasons why she/we love African men, was pretty spot on right? I certainly appreciate African men and if I may be biased, especially West African men – *swoon*. I agree that…

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What I like about African men

Cyclist tan

Let me start by saying that there are desirable traits in men from all corners of the world. From the Ken-ish charm of a George Clooney type to the Jesus-like gentle features of many Arab and Asian men, our diverse world contains a smorgasbord of likeable men. Yet there is something about African men that evokes…

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Polygamy in Africa has little to do with sex

At its core polygamy is natural because men biologically need to spread their seed and it is hard for them to commit to one woman. Right? Wrong. But this argument is one commonly given to explain the tradition. For instance, Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, wrote in his autobiography that: “However unconventional and unsatisfactory this…

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What is the purpose of education? What can we learn from Liberia

091217 6 Liberia Security Sector Reform Sgt, 1st Class Dedraf Blash

Out of all the alarming news that we receive on any given day, the story about all 25,000 school-leavers failing a test of admission to the University of Liberia hit me like a can of whoop-ass yesterday! The Liberian newspaper, The News, has since reported that the university has agreed to lower the entry standards slightly to enable some permissions and…

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Alliance 54 to host Africa Global Women in Business Forum

As a member of the advisory board of the Africa Global Women in Business Forum (AGWIBF), it’s my pleasure to inform you of the upcoming Africa Global Women in Business Forum hosted by Alliance 54 taking place in London on 30-31 October. The aim of the meeting is to promote financial inclusion for African women and a…

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What makes a clitoris dangerous?

CLitoris

Estimates suggest that out of the 140 million people in the world whose clitorises have been removed via Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), 100 million are African. Three million African girls and women are at risk of undergoing the procedure annually. The countries with the highest rates are Sudan and Somalia, which unsurprisingly are two out of nine…

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Global war and its impact on African women

ArmyAmber / Pixabay

In a 2006 interview, George Bush referred to the war on terror as World War III. Perhaps he was right. We are witnessing a modern day world (or “global”) war, very simply put between those who claim to be fighting to uphold freedom from extremist religious fundamentalism, and the other side waging war against “unbelievers”….

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An African feminist analysis of Fela’s “Lady”

This post is in remembrance of the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, deceased on this day in 1997. May his soul continue to rest in peace.  Extract from “Lady” If you call am woman / African woman no go gree / She go say, she go say, I be lady o / CHORUS: She go say, I…

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Event: An African summer festival in London

If you are a reader who is currently in London, I hope you are enjoying the heat, sunshine, rejuvenation, relaxation and enjoyment that the summer season promises. It’s been a rare treat na! As a friend and supporter of the Africa Centre in London, I’m sharing an upcoming event of theirs that I’m looking forward…

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A brief history of African feminism

Can I start this post with saying, “SIGH”. Reason for my exasperation is the continued suggestion that feminism is “unAfrican” – whatever “unAfrican” means. Personally, I missed the how-to-be-an-African memo! The truth is that feminism is an absolute necessity for African societies. We rank lowest in the global gender equality index, have some of the…

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Second class citizen: African women and nationalism

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When I think of nationalism, I think of Virginia Woolf’s words – “As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” I too find that there is a tension between the terms ‘nation’ and ‘woman’. Nevertheless, having contributed to the New York Forum…

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Winner of the “Outstanding Achievement in Media” Award at the African Diaspora Awards!

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I am happy to announce that I have won the “Outstanding Achievement in Media” award at the African Diaspora Awards which took place on 2 May 2013. The African Diaspora Awards (ADA) ceremony is an event which pays tribute to African success across all walks of life; emphasising achievement and highlighting inspirational role models in the fields…

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Why the Ugandan miniskirt ban proposal is good news

7/365 Take control, own me just for the night

If the government passes a proposal that bans miniskirts, Uganda may soon join the list of countries to restrict women from making independent choices about what they wear. If the bill, which has been proposed by (insert drumroll) the minister of ethics, Simon Lokodo, is passed, women who fail to abide may be sentenced to a…

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