Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Power Sharing

Between 1990 and 2009, Africa had 17 attempts at power-sharing in an effort to retire civil wars and political disagreements. The countries that have experienced the signing of power-sharing agreements are; Mali, Cote d’ivore, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad, Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros, Zimbabwe and more recently Guinea-Conakry, Madagascar.

In early 2008 the Kenyan power sharing deal was brokered.

In May 2008 Zanzibar was in deadlock of more than a year in forming a power-sharing government. Talks between the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM, or Party of the Revolution) and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) faltered earlier this year, leaving the Zanzibar islands, where politics have often turned violent, in limbo.

In July 2008 Negotiations began in Zim
2008 Zimbabwean power-sharing agreement here:

Côte d'Ivoire young lions ( and Sahrawi ( also relate to this

More info
"Power-Sharing in Deeply Divided Places," John E. Sawyer Seminars : Brendan O'Leary, Jonathan Steinberg, Rita Barnard, Clark McCauley (Bryn Mawr), Arancha Garcia del Soto, Monroe Price, and William Burke-White

Issues and Dilemmas of Multi-Party Democracy in Africa
by Seyoum Hameso

Power Sharing in Africa
Coming out of a two year project on Power-sharing in Africa for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSCW has produced 6 extensive reports and 8 policy briefs on the subject in 2008.




The Eastern Cape town carries a lot of fascination when it comes to music. Frankly speaking the musicians that South Africa not only regards as true icons of the African essence in musical presentation but as symbolic in the sociology of progressive are born in that small town in the eastern cape. From the town are musical icons like Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbuli, Margaret Singana or Mcingana (depending on your apartheid visions) Stompie Mavi and numerous others who are collectables in South Africa’s music discourse. Somehow the connection of artists to the solemnity of this Eastern Cape town is not a fact that is popular in the eyes of the popular press. An interesting aspect of the town is also various factors linked to either its history in the musical anthropology of this country, but also excuse the pun, the madness of a mental establishment in the same vicinity. In other words is there a possibility that the Makeba genius we saw was a craziness that was supposed to be confined in the walls of the mental establishment there. Same can be asked about Margaret Mcingana famous as Margaret Singana in Mzantsi . Many questions but one certainty: t5hgeir musical essence is a certain undeniable in South Africa’s musical stylistic essence.

The idea is to question this essence in a style that walks away from the disdain of the small town but attempt the universal of its musical voice speaking louder than the geographies of the political histories of the unforgettable QUEENSTOWN\QUEENSDALE that for instance exhibits the geopolitics of apartheid history. The big point is music…


Sahrawi - Africa's "last colony"

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976 in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR government currently controls about 20-25% of the territory it claims.[4] It calls the territories under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free Zone. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and calls these lands its Southern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory occupied territory, while Morocco considers the much smaller SADR held territory to be a buffer zone.

In May, 2008 it was the 35th anniversary of the Polisario Front, Western Sahara's independence movement.

Author and journalist Jean Lamore (author of AKA - see Chimurenga 12/13) has work in and covered the region extensively. In April 2008 he presented information on the situation in Western Sahara in a presentation to the French Parliament. "I stressed on the similarities between the strategies adopted by Israel against the Palestinians and the one adopted by Morocco against the Saharawi population in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, which is illegally occupied by Morocco".

More recent the extent of France's involvement has been reveal via the Wikileak leaks: A cable from US embassy mentions 3 billion Euro deals for Sarkozy, as French Western Sahara policy leans towards Moroccan position. Among the agreements signed by Sarkozy, was the nuclear deal with Moroccan phosphate plunderer OCP. OCP carries out the illegal mining in Western Sahara, taking place in violation of the UN legal opinion from 2002.At the same time, the US embassy noted how Sarkozy annoyed the representatives of the Sahrawi people: "Sarkozy’s remarks on Sahara appeared to move France closer toward the Moroccan position, and were embraced as such by most of the Moroccan press, which characterized the president’s remarks as a breakthrough for French policy on the Sahara question. (We understand the Polisario leadership has protested Sarkozy’s remarks.)", writes the US embassy in the first confidential letter on Western Sahara published on Wikileaks.

Western Sahara is still seen by the UN as a colony, and the subjugation of its people under the present occupying power of Morocco is described as much harsher than it was under the old Spanish colonists up until 1975. For over 30 years more than half of the Sahrawis, the original population of Western Sahara, have lived in four isolated refugee camps in Algeria. Morocco has built a 2,200 kilometre-long wall that divides the country in two. It is almost impossible to get over the wall, which is flanked by one of the world’s largest minefields.

The partition of the country is the result of a 16 year war which broke out after Moroccan invasion. Morocco built up its military defences in order to cut off Polisario’s guerrilla forces. The liberation movement, based in refugee camps in Algeria, continued its armed resistance until the UN succeeded in brokering a ceasefire between the two sides in 1991. Agreement was reached on a detailed plan, which also gave draft timelines for Morocco’s withdrawal from Western Sahara and for the return of refugees. Morocco refused to accept the guidelines.

The first large Sahrawi demonstrations within the occupied territories of Western Sahara took place in 1999, and represented a new turn in the Sahrawi resistance movement. N The second wave of demonstrations and harassment began in the spring of 2005. In periods of 2005 and 2006, almost every single leading human rights activist in Western Sahara was arrested. Today the ceasefire in Western Sahara continues, but it is tenuous.

The patience of the population in the occupied territories has reached breaking point, and Polisario threatens to take up arms again if their right to choose independence is not respected. The Moroccan occupation is a barrier to development, stability and security in this region on the threshold of Europe. Algeria, Morocco’s arch enemy, is Polisario’s main supporter. The absence of cooperation and peace between Morocco and Algeria makes political and economic integration in North Africa impossible.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Keywords: Wikileaks, Africa

The stash of diplomatic cables that Wikileaks just leaked contains all kinds of relevant things: a cursory news search brings up a bunch of crazy missives from the great Libyan, and the Mugabe files which were of course in the news.

As an idea, though a time-consuming one: how about recreating some choice cables as an art project? As facsimiles of official documentation, and perhaps with slightly altered text. We could even make this a competition: we choose some cables, and put them out for anyone to edit, and we choose the best edits.

The section they would go in would be Foreign Correspondence?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wikileaks targets FIFA

December 2, 2010
By Peter Alegi

In a few hours WikiLeaks will release thousands of secret FIFA documents detailing World Cup match fixing and widespread corruption within football’s governing body.

Never before have such confidential documents been released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into FIFA’s activities on the shores of Lake Zurich.

The documents, which date from 1998 to 2010, contain 15,652 confidential communications between FIFA executive committee members in Zurich and corporate sponsors, media networks, and other football officials throughout the world.

(via Africaisacountry via Football is Coming Home)

- docs from 2008 can be a resource for FIFA/football related stories

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Oedeipal underpinnings of the Underwear Bomber

Binyavanga had a theory about him: rich family + posh school = spoilt kid = "I'm gonna show my daddy. One day."

Just look at him here!

It was compelling.

Compelling enough for me to wonder what Mr. Underpants' secret diary from 2007/2008 (when he was a student in London), as revealed in a world exclusive to Binyavanga, would contain...

Arab and African or both...or Sudan

Alex de Waal is an excellent writer, and also someone whose position on things Sudanese is interesting and complex. (I'm curious to know if there's other good stuff out there: I know only of Mahmood Mamdani, whose work on Darfur and Sudan has been more polemical, or at least polemically anti-polemical.)

I am interested in how one belongs in Sudan because virtually all popular commentary on Sudan is about 'Arabs' and 'Africans.'

How do faces and races reconcile? Arab, African, Ararican, Afrab? Or nothing?

I remember coming across this peculiarly endearing outcome of anthropology in a shop that sold old maps. Facial anthropology.

Invariably, this kind of exercise reveals far greater truths than it might have intended to.

How about a pictorial guide to face and race in Sudan? As they change with time?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Canned Traditions

A paper here from AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST, 2007 on "how technologies used in food production in West Africa are referenced in the brand names and packaging of processed African foods sold in the United States." - looks at the branding/ pakaging design, perceptions, change in cuture etc.

and at the beginning of 2008 KOO launched its "Samp & Beans in a can" (Samp & Beans Original, Samp & Beans in Curry Sauce and Samp & Beans in Meat Flavoured Sauce to meet all different tastes and occasions. it was awarded the Symrise/Food Review New Product Competition 2008 award.

wonder if there's something in looking at/ tasting canned/ canning traditions?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Revolution For Kids

In 1974, the children’s publishing house Dar El Fata El Arabi was launched in Beirut. Over the next decade, Dar El Fata—staffed by artists, designers, and writers devoted to bringing attention to the Palestinian cause—produced some of the most visually striking and progressive children’s books in the region. Bidoun sat down with Mohieddin Ellabbad, one of the co-founders of the publishing house and its first and most influential art director, as well as Nawal Traboulsi, a leading expert on children’s literature and reading habits, who got her start as an amateur illustrator hand-picked by Ellabbad to work with him making books.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Story of the World Today for the Men and Women of Tomorrow

"The Children’s Newspaper was one of the twentieth century’s most successful magazines for children, running for an astonishing 46 years. During its run of well over 2,000 issues, it covered some of history’s most turbulent times, starting in the aftermath of the Great War, watching over the scientific and social advances of the 1920s and 1930s, following the progress of the Second World War, and seeing Britain emerge from the austerity of the post-war years into the pop-tastic world of the 1960s.

For half its lifetime, The Children’s Newspaper had the hand of Arthur Mee at its tiller, and the paper reflected Mee’s religious faith, his patriotism and his drive to educate the children of the masses. It was only in the 1950s that The Children’s Newspaper began to stray from this brief as the editors and staff tried to reflect the rapidly changing social climate – in which children had their own television programmes, their own fashions and culture – by introducing new features, interviews and comic strips. This mixture of education and entertainment helped the paper survive an onslaught from rival publications and kept the title going until it was eventually absorbed, in 1965, into a new, colourful magazine from the same publisher, Look and Learn...."

read more here
and download full old issues...
check how kids are spoken to in this paper - the stories and news reported, and way presented - in our age - publishing-for-children would assume flies over young peoples heads, and that they wont be interested.

Abdoulaye Wade's Monument to the North Korean Renaissance

As North Korea goes to war or straight to hell, some might forget that in April this year, a fantastic monument was perpetrated upon an unwitting public in Dakar. And lil' ol' Kim had a hand in it.

Salient facts:

Cost: $27 million

Provenance: Concept and design by President Abdoulaye Wade

Execution: North Korea

Ownership: Wade would like 35% of all ticket sales since it's his Intellectual Property after all

I have no idea how one would do anything with this retrospectively, but it seemed too good and too topical not to bring up in these trying times for family businesses.

Here's Wikipedia on the African Renaissance Monument; and this is the BBC (Jesse Jackson was there).

Hoe's my China nou?

This is a diversion, but hopefully a useful one. Why is "China" so hard to get to? Everyone, left to right, seems to agree, while knowing not very much, that China=danger. Going by popular press accounts of China alone (in the run-up to May 2008) it seemed like the Chinese in South Africa were sitting targets for extreme-nationalistic gun practice. And yet...

Which is why I thought this column by Sipho Hlongwane in the Daily Maverick was rather good. It reminded me - sideways - of a bizarre column by the late John Matshikiza which was immediately panned (but brought into focus that in SA at least, there's an 'our China' and 'their China'). Howard French writes thoughtfully on the expanding role of China in Africa; he may be someone to come at this from a perspective not often seen?

Some more interesting stuff: Chocolate City; the New Yorker on on Nigeriatown; NYT's Howard French archive.

Egypt's Football Dominance

Before 1981 only two North African teams had ever won the African Champion's League title - Egypt's al-Ismaily in 1969, and Algeria's MC Alger in 1976. Since then, North Africa's teams have dominated the championship, winning the title on no fewer than 22 out of the last 28 tournaments. In 2008 Egypt took the Africa Cup of Nations, Cairo's al-Ahly won the Champion's League title for a record sixth time, and Egypt's Mohamed Abou Treika was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year.

What happened in 1981, and how did Egypt come to dominate African football?

Possible writer - football journalist Mohammed Ali