When Obama addressed the African Onion


In his sales pitch aka his “address to the African Union” last week, US president Barack Obama gave Africans a worse deal than Amazon.com, Inc. gives book publishers on any given day.  Obama’s pitch was pally, persuasive and punchy as any skilled salesperson’s. Terms like ‘partnership’, ‘development’, ‘co-operation’ and ‘opportunity’ were abundantly used. But make no mistake, its intention was…

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Islamophobia in Europe and in Africa should not be conflated


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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So you want to know what men really gain from patriarchy?


Patriarchy is an unfashionable term. But it is also the only term that describes the oldest, most widespread and most enduring form of governance. It is much older than democracy, for example. It seems to me that patriarchy, which is the ‘system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are…

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What does feminine power look like?

Laughter - Explored!!!

Women and power is a current hot topic. It was much discussed at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, for instance, where I too spoke about this very theme last week. It has also been recently debated at the Harvard Business School, FEMNET and  BBC’s 100 Women campaign. I welcome the increased emphasis on this topic because…

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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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Thoughts on “Women Rising: Political Leadership in Africa”

I just watched Women Rising: Political Leadership in Africa, a documentary by FEMNET and UNDP and thought I’d share it with you all here (embedded below). To me, the need for more women in political leadership is possibly the most urgent task for the African feminist agenda. If women are not determining the future of…

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Can Africans have multiple subcultures? A response to “Exorcising Afropolitanism”


On 24 June 2011, over 5,000 people showed up for an event at the V&A Museum in London titled “Friday Late: Afropolitans”. Now, packing the world famous museum is usually the function of western art and high fashion, but on this night the crowd came to listen to artists like Spoek Mathambo, taste palm wine…

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Barack Obama, villain or hero?

Breakfast with Barack

When it comes to places, the affection that I have for my hometown, Lagos, is matched only by a sort of nostalgia that I harbour towards Tampere, the Finnish city I’m from, which shapes many of my memories but in which I’ve never lived. Yet, my being Scandinavian feels like a secret. Not from anyone, I…

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Nigeria does not have democracy

Screen shot 2012-09-10 at 15.39.51

“Nigeria does not have democracy” I tweeted last week, resulting in a brief discussion which Diary of a Media Junkie has put into a storify board. This post develops from that tweet. First of all, let’s adopt a simple definition (by Robert Dahl) of democracy as a political system that allows meaningful competition for positions of…

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7 key issues in African feminist thought


  Firstly, it is important to say that when it comes to theory, it’s more accurate to speak of African feminisms than of one almighty ‘African feminism’. Not all African feminists agree with each other – luckily – as this would hinder deep reflection of issues such as those listed below, yet respecting differences whilst recognising…

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Sex, Religion and Hair Weaves


Sex Havelock Ellis, one of the most successful sexologists of the 20th century believed that sexual intercourse between men and women was based on animal courtship which he defined as “the pursuit and conquest of the male”. The female, he said, plays a game where she pretends to resist in order to be caught. He…

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#OccupyNigeria – 7 essential reads about the protests in Nigeria (with additional updates)

When it comes to the ongoing protests and the labour strike in Nigeria it isn’t easy to get a clear perspective of the situation without being in the country. There are many articles by journalists and bloggers who unfortunately aren’t bothering to understand the contextual particularities of the bombings and of the #OccupyNigeria protests. As…

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