DYNAMIC AFRICA

African-based news, lifestyle & popular culture platform that brings you stories and information concerning Africa and the African diaspora. Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is a rich content-driven creative space with a Pan-African outlook established as an expressive platform for African experiences, African culture and African stories.


Dynamic Africa is a diverse multimedia platform, which curates global ideas, memes, attitudes and other phenomena that shape popular culture, with both a local and global African perspective.




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My Africa Is: Edition Dakar- Sunu Street Project.

Meet Khoudia, Naima and Nach, three women behind Dakar-based dance company Sunu Street Project that seeks to empower the urban dance community in the city.

Highly influenced by a mixture of hip-hop and Senegal’s artistic history and traditions, the Sunu Street Project is dedicated to showing both Senegal and the rest of the world their unique cultural and choreography sensabilities.

More episodes.

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All Africa, All the time.

Watch the Trailer for the Upcoming Second Series of “My Africa Is” in Dakar, Senegal.

We’re a day away from the launch of the second phase of the My Africa Is chronicles. This time around, the project takes us to the streets of the Senegalese capital Dakar in a three-part series that documents the city’s emerging and established dance scenes, surfing culture and a satirical news program that broadcasts information using rap.

The episode goes live tomorrow, October 2nd, and we’ll have it posted for you here at Dynamic Africa when it does!

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All Africa, All the time.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

As the top African producer of coffee, and seventh in the world, Ethiopia has a long-standing relationship with the consumption and use of coffee. Ethiopia is home to coffee arabica, a species of coffee indigenous to the country. Considered to be one of the better tasting coffees, it is believed that coffee arabica was the first coffee plant to cultivated and grown in the southwest of the country. It is said that the first instance of the effects of coffee being noticed came about when Ethiopian shepherds in the 9th observed the reaction of their herds after eating the fruit.

Today, one of the ways that Ethiopians (and Eritreans) continue to demonstrate their love of coffee and their historical relationship with the second most traded commodity in the world, after oil, is through what is known to outsiders as a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony or Buna by Ethiopians. Often, this practice takes place in peoples homes and at Ethiopian restaurants which is where I first experienced a Buna, in Addis Ababa.

Conducted entirely by women, the Buna process involves the roasting, grinding and serving of coffee. Washed coffee beans are roasted in a pan, similar to the process of making popcorn. As the aroma of the coffee begins to fill the air, the preparer takes the roasting coffee and walks around letting the fresh scent of the coffee settle around the room.

Once roasted, the coffee is then put in what is called a Mukecha - a tool used for grinding. Another tool, called a zenezena, is used to crush the coffee in a pistil and mortar fashion. Some places will use modern coffee grinders to save time as it can be a slightly laborious and time-consuming task. After the coffee has been crushed, the fresh coffee powder is put into a jebena, a clay pot. Water is added and the mixture is boiled before being ready to be served in small usually white porcelain cups called cinis.

Each serving round of coffee has a name - the first being Abol, second is Huletegna and the third and final round is called Bereka.

Watch an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony take place.

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All Africa, All the time.

Nigerian Writer Sefi Atta Talks Life, Literature and Leaving Nigeria in Interview with Elle South Africa.

Nigerian writer Sefi Atta was recently in Cape Town for the annual Open Book Festival. Elle Magazine South Africa interviewed Atta who was both refreshingly honest and inspiring.

As a Nigerian whose experiences of moving around and living in multiple countries mirrors hers, I love what she had to say about the ways in which being a global citizen has informed her passion for writing, "I feel that Nigeria gave me my stories, America gave me the opportunity to tell them, and England gave me my love for literature."

A recipient of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Atta has written plays for film, radio and stage, as well as several short stories and three novels. Her most recent book, A Bit Of Difference, is the first to not be centered on life in Nigeria, something Atta believes is a natural and logical progression of the relationship between her personal life and writing.

"The fact that I started writing stories based in Nigeria was just logical to me. People asked why I was writing about Nigeria when I’d been living in England for so long, but the earliest stories need to be told first: it seemed an orderly way to do it. When I got to writing a bit of difference, I was ready to talk about England. My next books will be set in the US. I’m an organized thinker and this makes sense to me."

Atta, who studied in England and has lived in America for two decades, is also brutally honest about the realities of why she, and many other young Nigerians, end up seeking a new life abroad saying:

"The reason I left Nigeria was that I had a degree, but it was hard to be independent. No matter how much you earned as a graduate, you couldn’t live on your own, and culturally it was very different…I went back to England because I knew that I’d be able to be independent.”

Beyond the obvious and glaring issues that plague everyday life in Nigeria, Atta’s reasons for leaving then still echo strongly for many young Africans living on the continent. There’s a certain unique struggle that many who wish to emigrate face - both young and old, but the hunger for independence and need to experience more of what the world has to offer makes it all the more difficult.

Ending the interview, Atta ends with her definition of feminism, "Feminism today to me: for me it’s being allowed to be who you are, and it’s that simple."

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All Africa, All the time.

Consider the history of borders. Starting with the Berlin Conference of 1884 when seven European countries carved out their stakes on the continent, Africa was gradually broken down into an illogical clutter of nation-states. The borders of these states had no regard for historical groupings and identities, and shifted depending on what was most politically and economically expedient for the colonising country. At different points during the first half of the century, for example, Burkina Faso was part of Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Mali and Senegal, before eventually coagulating as the Republic of Upper Volta.

In the early 1960s, as more African states gained “independence” and moved towards establishment of the Organisation of African Unity, border blues drove one of the earliest rifts in continental politics. The “Casablanca group” of states led by Kwame Nkrumah advocated a radical approach to African unification, while the “Monrovia group” led by Leopold Senghor called for a more conservative approach, one that held the borders of nation-states in higher esteem.

The Monrovia group won, and one of the first resolutions of the OAU was to endorse colonial borders. Today, there are only a few African countries – Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda and Seychelles – that allow all Africans either to enter without visas or to obtain visas upon arrival. For the rest, fellow Africans have to jump through hoops whose variations in complexity often reflect larger political dynamics. It seems that what has infiltrated our psyche even deeper than colonial geography is the spirit that inspired the origin of borders: perceptions of superiority and inferiority, the violence of competition for resources, selective openness determined by levels of perceived threat and historical animosity. And questions of historical clarity are chronically present.

Where did the vision of division come from? How does it stay alive? Who teaches you to hate your neighbour? Official classifications along invisible lines were both symptoms and tools of oppression throughout the 20th century. In apartheid South Africa, pass books determined where and when Africans had the right to exist in their own land. In Rwanda, Belgium introduced identity documents with “ethnic” classifications, to nurture divisions in the incubator of rigid bureaucracy. Across the continent, people put arbitrary colonial divisions on paper and called them passports.

Whether immigrating, emigrating or just passing through, Africans suffer among the greatest indignities of cross-border travel, abroad and on the continent. Paula Akugizibwe recounts how the hand-me-down tools of divide and rule perpetuate the abuse.

NEW MUSIC: Awilo Longomba - Bundelele.

The man who brought us one of the continent’s most-loved Soukous songs is back! Whilst the single was released a few months earlier, Longomba’s finally dropped the offiicial music video for his track Bundelele (meaning ‘dance’).

Staying true to the song’s title, the rythmic and pulsating video celebrates various forms of dance and features choreography from the highly talented Nigerian dancer and member of CEO dancers Ezinne Asinugo.

If Asinugo looks familiar, that’s because you may have seen her in this video as well as the most recent music video from Fuse ODG featuring Sea Paul.

NEW MUSIC: Ace - Jeje.

Following up from his 2013 single Dominate, Nigerian artist Ace delivers the track of the summer with his Fela-quoting Afrobeat-inspired jam song ‘Jeje’.

Combining the old and the new, musically and visually speaking, the video for ‘Jeje’ takes us through re-imagined hip and colourful party scenes of previous decades.

Definitely the best we’ve heard from Ace.

The Year Algeria Made Football & World Cup History.

It’s been 32 years since the Algerian national football team caused what some have named one of the ‘biggest upsets' in World Cup history by defeating then European champions West Germany. It's also been 32 years since Algeria was sabotaged in what The Guardian calls “one of sport’s most blatant cases of match-fixing.”

Qualifying for the first time ever, Algeria’s presence at the World Cup hosted in Spain that year was already an historic feat. The African team had been placed in a group that included Austria, Chile, and West Germany who they were scheduled to play against first.

On that June day in 1982, the North African novices faced reigning European champions West Germany. Many predicted a thrashing by the Germans who in turn didn’t shy away from making boastful statements about the game that lay ahead. One German player boldly declared before the match, “we will dedicate our seventh goal to our wives, and the eighth to our dogs”, openly mocking their Algerian opponents. Even the then West German manager, Jupp Derwall, reportedly said that if the Algerians won, he would “jump on the first train back to Munich.” Algeria defender Chaabane Merzekane recalled that one of the West German players said that he would play the match with a cigar in his mouth.

Well, if Derwall had any sense of foresight, he would’ve booked a one-way ticket back to Munich immediately. Better yet, if Derwall had only done his homework on the Algerian team, he may have refrained from making such a statement. Negligence on Derwall’s part would later mean that West Germany would be in for a great surprise. It was only after the match that Derwall admitted that he was given a footage of the Algerian players in action, as is customary, but did not show it to his team as they would have mocked him had he done so. Why? Simply because the Germans, whether out of racism or ignorance, did not think the Algerians to be worthy opponents.

In 1982, most of Algeria’s national football team was comprised of players who had been teammates for years as Algerian law at the time prohibited players from leaving the country before the age of 28, something that stemmed from the FLN’s role in Algeria’s history of independence and its influence on the country’s football team. All of the players had been based at home, as a result of this law, making their bond of the field exceptionally strong and fluid. Several former FLN players were part of the coaching staff in 1982, including Abdelhamid Zouba and the co-manager Rachid Mekloufi, and the spirit of Algerian pride that had been established by these players who left France to play for Algeria was present in the team. 1982 was also the 20th anniversary of Algeria’s independence. 

Algeria had successfully beaten Nigeria to be present at the 1982 World Cup and during their first ever match at this tournament, the determination and humility of the Fennec Foxes, as well as their skill, of course, would see them through to a 2-1 victory against West Germany. This victory made Algeria the first African team to defeat a European opponent at the World Cup. Their next match against Austria saw the tides turn as they lost 2-0, but against Chile, they regained their form and won that match leaving them with four points from their three games (back when it was two points for a win).

Now, their fate of progressing became dependent on West Germany failing to beat Austria the next day. But both the Germans and Austrians both knew that if Germany beat Austria 1-0, it would result in both teams progressing to the next round at Algeria’s expense. Thus, both teams conspired to achieve this result - a distasteful case of match-fixing that forever changed the world of football. After Germany’s Horst Hrubesch put his team in the lead at the 10th minute, both the Germans and Austrians basically did nothing for the next 80 minutes. No attempts at goal, just an hour and 20 minutes of kicking the ball around.

As The Guardian points out, “the game was no longer a contest, it was a conspiracy.”

Both the Austrian and West German teams were scorned by the public. Algerian fans in the crowd burned peseta notes to show their suspicions of corruption. Spaniards in attendance waved hankerchiefs throughout the second half in a traditional display of disdain. The following day, Spanish newspapers denounced the actions of both teams and there was outrage in West Germany and Austria too.

German commentator Eberhard Stanjek, working for German channel ARD, almost sobbed during the match and said: “What is happening here is disgraceful and has nothing to do with football. You can say what you like, but not every end justifies the means.” His fellow Austrian commentator suggested viewers turn off their TVs and he refused to speak for the last half-hour. Former West German international Willi Schulz branded the German players “gangsters”.

But these ‘gangsters’ remained unapologetic through the criticism, backlash and protesting. When German fans gathered at the team hotel to protest, the players responded by throwing water bombs at them from their balconies.

The head of the Austrian delegation, Hans Tschak, made this extraordinary racist comments about the Algerian team: “Naturally today’s game was played tactically. But if 10,000 ‘sons of the desert’ here in the stadium want to trigger a scandal because of this it just goes to show that they have too few schools. Some sheikh comes out of an oasis, is allowed to get a sniff of World Cup air after 300 years and thinks he’s entitled to open his gob.”

Not ones to stoop down to the level of their European opponents, the Fennec Foxes remained publicly unphased by these comments. As Merzekane recalls, “We weren’t angry, we were cool,” he says. “To see two big powers debasing themselves in order to eliminate us was a tribute to Algeria. They progressed with dishonour, we went out with our heads held high.”

All over the world, people called on FIFA to punish the Europeans or stage a replay, but in the end all that was done by them was to rule that from then onwards the last pair of games in every group would be played simultaneously. Algeria had come to the World Cup and made history in more ways than one. They had left an “indelible mark on football history.”

(sources: 1 | 2 | 3)

Look at her ♥️. (Ngambe, Cameroon) - @voodart #visiterlafrique #cameroun #cameroon #afrique #africa

Le garçon marchait - @voodart #visiterlafrique #cameroun365 #afrique #africa

My little muse. Cc @Voodart #visiterlafrique #cameroun #cameroon #afrique #africa

Adama Kouyaté (b. 1928)
Ségou #19
, 1954
Silver gelatin print, 2010, from original negative
11.5 x 11.5 inches (29.2 x 29.2 cm)
Courtesy of Galerie Jean Brolly, Paris

Seven Amazing Photographs That Show Urban Johannesburg Then and Now.

It’s been 20 years since South Africa transitioned from a segregated apartheid state to a democratic nation. Depending on who you ask, much has changed, but much more has stayed the same. However, what you cannot dispute is the physical change that has occurred in the make up of some of the country’s larger cities like Johannesburg, the economic capital.

Here are seven amazing photographs of the Jozi Central Business District (CBD) that show Johannesburg then and now.

Photography by: Roxanne Henderson and Pericles Anetos.

(source)

NEW MUSIC: Tiwa Savage - Wanted.

This just might be Tiwa Savage’s best song in quite some time. Savage is incredibly talented but songs like ‘Eminado' and 'Without My Heart’, where her voice has been the tragic victim of terrible autotuning, have made me wonder what direction her career was going in musically.

But now, all that is history thanks to her latest single ‘Wanted’. The newly married star channels her inner R&B diva to deliver a solid and sensual pop-infused song that’s a catchy display of Savage’s raw vocal talent.

However, judging by the responses on social media and YouTube comments and dislikes, her Moe Musa-directed video has left many people with a bad taste in their mouths. From complaints about her forced sex appeal to comments about Savage trying to be Beyonce or Rihanna (we don’t live in a bubble people, people are constantly influenced by each other), people have accused her of ‘trying to hard’ with this music video. Aside from the rather unfortunate styling, I see nothing wrong with the video.

Whether or not these are valid critiques or sexism at play, what matters most is that Savage is in complete control of her environment and the way she presents herself.

Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu, M.B.E (Nigerian, 1917-1994) ‘Princes of Mali’.

The above work draws inspiration from poet Leopold Sedar Senghor’s 1945 work Femme Noire. While in France, Enwonwu interacted with Leopold Sedar Senghor and the Antillean poet Aime Cesaire whose ideology of Negritude, described an emergent sense of black pride.

The philosophy Negritude called for political action designed to overturn the colonial subjugation of continental and Diaspora Africans. Enwonwu adopted Senghor’s ideas about Pan - African cultural emancipation and became a close friend to the future statesman.

Senghor’s Femme Noire is an ode to the black woman, but most importantly, it is a song of praise to Senegal, his country. Its veneration of the image of the black woman as an embodiment of African ideals coincided with Enwonwu’s deployment of indigenous Igbo concepts of beauty and feminine power. For Enwonwu, Negritude did not necessarily imply adherence to specific forms but to ideas of black empowerment and emancipation, essentially the philosophical, political and aesthetic issues pertaining to Negritude, served as “the revitalization of African force”.

In this artwork, Enwonwu welds indigenous notions of power to political demands for black empowerment. The vibrancy and movement of the figures represents Enwonwu’s accordance with the inherent philosophies of the Negritude philosophy: emancipation and celebration of the Africans and their land. The vibrancy of colour which collides to yield new forms, permeates the social and cultural fabric of African societies. This work expresses the present state of neo-African culture, which includes Enwonwu’s heritage of indigenous Igbo and Nigerian art, his formal academic training and his transitional modernist practice, insights acquired from his analysis of European Modern art, and influences derived from his engagement with rhetoric of Senghor’s Negritude.

(via Bonhams)