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

PatriarchyPiece

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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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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Is feminism the right choice for you?

femchoice

Before addressing the title topic, I just want to share that I have a piece about the abduction of girls in Nigeria at The Feminist Wire this week. Also this week The Guardian hosted a debate panel on African feminism based on Doreen’s guest blog here on MsAfropolitan. The panel (myself included) answered the question…

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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

femmefatale

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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What makes African women’s art feminist?

It has been said that artistry in Africa is an intrinsic part of life rather than a commercial or careerist enterprise. I’d say that this notion is not only applicable to African art, all across the world art has explored the sensitivities of life and the social environment. However, it is in this process of examining life…

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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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Meditations with Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson

Why do I like pictures that seem ghostly? I’m not religious and I am no more spiritual than any one else. I’m not an atheist either but I cherish rational argument. I spend quite a lot of my time upside down, in Adho Mukha Svanasana and occasionally Urdhva Dhanurasana and so on, and yet despite my fondness for…

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The unusual relationship between religion and modernity in Africa

Cross in chinatown

Two things are growing faster in Africa than anywhere else – religion and the economy. Africa is the most devout continent in the world with 89 percent of participants in a 2012 WIN Gallup survey saying that they were religious, compared to 59 percent in the world at large. In Ghana, the country with the…

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Valentine’s Day Give-Away – My free poetry e-book

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  I don’t consider myself a poet but that’s an odd thing to announce given that I am next going to offer you to download cache, my poetry book. And for free too in the spirit of Valentine’s day and love! Poetry is a form of writing that I’m compelled to engage in when I’m…

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International Women’s Month event for your diary: FRIDA – Female Revolution In Dance & Art

FRIDA

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”  ― Frida Kahlo To celebrate the forthcoming International Women’s Month 2013, join us (Pia Cabble, Bumi Thomas, CRE8 LIFESTLE CENTRE & MsAfropolitan) for a spectacular multidisciplinary art project inspired by the legacy of Frida…

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On Vagina by Naomi Wolf and the reviews that followed

The release of Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina: A New Biography” was met with scathing criticisms from feminists like Laurie Penny, Ariel Levy and Zoe Heller. These influential writers all bring up some valid arguments about problematic ideas presented in the book. Vagina is indeed a book that in many ways feels unfinished and often naïve. It…

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Huffington Post: Meditate Your Way Through Negative Articles About Black Women

I submitted the below post to the Huffington Post editors before the racist and sexist cover image of Michelle Obama as a nude slave appeared in one of Spain’s biggest newspapers, El Mundo’s, supplement. This morning an interview with Gabby Douglas went live revealing that her teammates called her a slave. Unfortunately, the constant tending…

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7 key issues in African feminist thought

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  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, I’d add, as this would hinder deep reflection of issues such as those listed below–yet respecting differences whilst recognizing a common…

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Feminism has always existed in Africa

A Woman's Strength

Feminist activism has always been a part of African society and in a radical way. By radical, I don’t mean the strand of the western feminist movement that very necessarily revolutionized western societies in the 1960s and 1970s, but rather, I mean the mobilized commitment to uprooting patriarchy, imperialism and human injustice to women. In much of premodern…

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Is it unAfrican to be gay? The Nigerian case

Since 1960 Nigeria has had no more than eleven years of unbroken civilian rule. Out of those, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) now led by Goodluck Jonathan has held a tight grip on power whilst barely contributing to any growth. Shell has just admitted that thousands of barrels of oil have spilt in the Bonga oil leak, the worst…

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Celebrating African Music – The MsAfropolitan Mixtapes vol. 1

MsAfropolitan Mixtapes 1

I’m pleased to share that the first edition of the MsAfropolitan Mixtapes is here. Courtesy of Broadcite Music, an esteemed independent label committed to creating unique sounds for the musically aware, we are going on an Afropolitan ride from Ghana to South Africa fusing highlife, juju, afrobeat and more with Detroit House and the edgy beats of underground London….

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Africa is not a brand

When a region has been subject to genocide, slavery or Maafa (holocaust), colonialism, apartheid and financial exploitation also known as neoliberal multilateral agreements, how do we legitimise its place in a globalized modernity without examining its bruised psyche? Through rebranding it as Bono suggests? MsAfropolitan does not intend to rebrand Africa, but aims to be…

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Speaking about African feminism at the Global Feminism Symposium, University of Warwick

I am currently in Lagos. I am working on projects with TV and Radio Continental and the STAR company/Seeing through the Arts collective who are using art and creativity to promote important causes in society. There is a similar reasoning behind the  MsAfropolitan Boutique, namely to use fashion and creativity to highlight the importance of the African…

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Learning to love white men

I’d hate for my experience on earth to be lived with a heart containing animosity towards fellow human beings. We may act like different races are different species due to the irrational inventions of some power hungry ancestors of the human race, but I don’t want that confusion to make me equally disillusioned about our…

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Why history is written in flesh

I believe in the sixth sense, not in a ‘seeing dead people’ way, but the sense of shift, that feels the brewing zeitgeist of future generations. The things that they will understand, that our generation can not. This is what activism and creativity alike ought to explore. Can one set of people understand what the previous…

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7 fucked up things

1. People that moan about the use of expletives. 2. The combination of capitalism and yoga. I can’t claim to know all there is to yoga but I can say for certain that apart from keeping you healthy, yoga philosophy aims to connect with something profound, some call it god, some peace, some essence. There…

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My channel 4 interview on mixed race identity

My dear parents in the 60s

How can someone who claims to be a chosen messenger of god advocate such divisive, confused and love-lacking opinion as Pastor Tapiwa Muzvidziwa? “God”, he says, disapproves of mixed marriages as these are “wrong” and detrimental to the children born of such relationships. Doesn’t he understand that the whole idea of banning interracial and interfaith relationships is…

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A Diaspora canvas: Exploring the feminine heritage of African art

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If creativity isn’t about community in one-way or another it is dull at worst and provoking at best. Artists that manage to emphasize the spiritual, aesthetic and social elements of living are those that bring to us gifts of understanding. Artists that exemplify this idea are musicians like K’Naan, Baaba Maal, Nneka, Blitz the Ambassador, Fela,…

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African witchcraft and western psychology

  There are those who believe that Oprah is a prophet of Satan, spreading a message against Christianity. Then there are a growing group who similarly to Oprah, or maybe even because of her, are keen to explore alternative ways of connecting with divinity, not by dismissing the teachings of Jesus but by understanding them in…

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Fela in Lagos, reflections and ruminations

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I don’t know what to make of the Finnish elections last weekend, where the nationalist True Finns party won 39 seats of a 200-seat parliament. The Nigerian elections, which have led to violent clashes in Northern Nigeria where hundreds of people have now died, sadden me even more so. To make sense of things, I…

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