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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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)

Kesse Donkor for Lazy Oaf.

Up-and-coming British-Ghanaian model Kesse Donkor features in UK designer Gemma Shiel’s independent graphic and illustration label Lazy Oaf’s Summer ‘14 lookbook photographed by Katie Silvester.

Illustration by South African artist Atang Tshikare of Zabalzaa Designs.

Remembering Brenda Fassie Ten Years Later: Why I love ‘Weekend Special’ so much.

Swedish artist Robyn, one of my favourite performers, once said something to the effect of loving sad love songs that you could both dance to and lose yourself in. Weekend Special, one of the most iconic African pop songs of all time, is most certainly a high ranking tune in that category.

Listening to Brenda Fassie's groovy 80s breakout hit track, watching her get down in her glamourous gear, you'd hardly think this song was about a person painfully acknowledging their side-partner status in a relationship now void of any love. As a kid, I was certainly clueless as to the sentiments expressed in the song. But the one thing I could vouch for, both then and now, is the timlessness of Brenda's voice. During part of my upbringing in Nairobi, Kenya, I remember hearing Brenda's Weekend Special and Yvone Chaka Chaka’s Umqombothi and Thank You Mr. DJso often on the radio that I believed them to be released in the 90s and not the 80s.

Generations of people from all over the continent can identify with at least one of Brenda Fassie’s songs, or name a period in their lives where one of her tracks dominated the airwaves where they lived at the time.

Weekend Special was the start of Brenda Fassie’s fame, and what an amazing debut it was.

RIP Mabrr (3 November 1964 – 9 May 2004).

"I’m a shocker. I like to create controversy. It’s my trademark.” - Brenda Fassie.