DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



CONTACT: dynamicafricablog@gmail.com

all submissions via email only


Recent Tweets @
Blogs We Follow
Posts tagged "sweden"

MORNING SONG: Seinabo Sey - Younger.

You’d be seriously hard pressed to find anyone who possess both the depth and youthfulness of 23-year-old Gambian-Swedish singer Seinabo Sey.

In her debut single, produced by Magnus Lidehäll, Sey doesn’t shy away from expressing her philosophies on the things that inspire her and motivate her to pursue her dreams with every waking moment. She’s full of wise words. Her infectious statements linger and settle in your consciousness. As the group of young believers accompanying Seinabo Sey through this serene and picturesque setting go about doing the wonderful things that young people do, Sey stays grounded in the deliverance of her message. Whilst it may sound, and look, as though she’s romanticizing youth, right at the very start of the video, through symbolism, Sey acknowledges the fragility of life and the human spirit - a theme that plays out throughout the video.

Supported by the song’s continuous and climaxing beats, Sey’s voice carries a sense of both freedom and urgency. No syllable uttered or lyric sung goes to waste. The advice she dispenses is both instructional and filled with a sense of upliftment that only makes you want to fulfill all the things you once gave up on.

"There’s a way to be yourself, I assure you this
There’s a way to get your dreams without falling asleep.
You might as well get it while you can, babe,
Cause you know you ain’t getting any younger”

Want to be wow’d some more? Watch her perform ‘Younger’ live.

WOMEN’S MONTH STORY HIGHLIGHT: Meron Estefanos

This American Life - 502: This Call May Be Recorded… To Save Your Life

In 2011, Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean-born expatriate living and working in Stockholm, Sweden, as a radio journalist and human rights activist gets a disturbing tip - a relative of a man who was kidnapped and is being tortured and held for ransom in the Sinai desert gives Estefanos a cell phone number where a group of Eritrean hostages can be reached.

She calls the number and her whole life changes.

The entire story gave me chills.

TW: rape, torture, violence, graphic language, trauma.

From TAL: Meron has set up a PayPal account to collect donations to help the families of Eritrean hostages in Sinai. To donate, go to PayPal.com and transfer to the account soscare@yahoo.com. Note that the account is not set up as an official charity.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Rissa Seidou has been a police officer for eight years. Now in her late thirties, she was born in Togo in West Africa and grew up in France. When she was 20 her parents brought her to Sweden. Sweden had yet to join the European Union and didn’t recognise her French education. So she had to go back to high school, into a class of 16-year-olds.

Despite opposition from friends and family, Rissa decided she wanted to join the police.

"My family laughed at me and said it wouldn’t be possible, because they’d never seen a police officer with African parents. But I wasn’t going to give up."

Rissa says she is the first Swedish police officer with two African parents.

She chooses her words carefully when asked if she has experienced racism from her police colleagues.

"I had a little bit of a tough time at the police training school. And when I left, I think the police, I mean the institution, was not so prepared to receive a woman with an African background. I didn’t fit. I was a little bit different.

"There are always some people who don’t believe that a foreigner can also be a police officer.

"I cannot say there are not racist police officers," says Rissa. "If I say that, I am lying to you."

And did she think, as was widely reported, that police officers had used racial insults during the riots?

"Yeah," she says, "I think it’s possible."

Rissa is a neighbourhood police officer, based in Kista, a suburb adjacent to Husby, north of Stockholm city centre. Nearly 85% of Husby’s population of 12,000 are either first or second-generation immigrants. Unemployment is high, particularly among men under 25, and educational achievement is low.

Husby is where the riots began, riots that spread first to other Stockholm suburbs and then into the provinces. Cars and buildings burned for several nights and young men pelted the police and firefighters with stones.

The disturbances exposed Sweden’s reputation for tolerance and equality to international scrutiny. They also exposed fragile relations between the police and some of the residents of Sweden’s more deprived communities, some of whom complained of racism.

The reasons for the riots are disputed. Some people in Husby connect them to an incident a few days earlier in which a police officer had shot an elderly man dead in his flat in Oslogatan. The police said he had been threatening people with a knife.

"The people in Husby thought the police reacted wrong and they did this to punish the police," says one local teenager about the riots.

Another young man points to more general dissatisfaction. “The people are tired,” he says. “They are stopped by the police three or four times a day. People who are not from Sweden have a lot of trouble with the police here.”

Read more about Rissa Seidou’s experience as a police officer in Sweden.

@Africasacountry interviews Afro-Swedish artist Makode-Linde about the recent controversy caused by his ‘FGM cake’.
Exceprt:

“It all happened so quickly. It was horrifying, so aggressive, the scream,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says. And for almost an hour, Makode Linde screams and screams as person after person cuts into the cake. People laugh. Some react negatively and back away. Some try to check if Makode Linde is okay, lying there in his cramped box. Some cut with happy abandon. Everyone seems to have a different reaction in the room. But no-one tried to stop it. “We were all complicit,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says.
Me too, snapping away. We were all assured that it was alright, that it was art, that this was part of the performance. It was like the Milgram electric shock experiment, no-one stepped in to prevent the simulated pain from happening. I think it was a very good work of art. I feel I should probably apologise to Makode for ruining his work by spreading that picture.
The idea that it was a conspiracy meant to trap the Culture minister, as we first suggested in our first take on Linde’s performance, can probably be abandoned. None of the people I speak to–Makode Linde, Marianne Lindberg De Geer or organiser Pontus Raud–claim they knew what the other parties were going to do. Marianne Lindberg De Geer does say, though, that she probably wouldn’t have sold the picture if it hadn’t been the intensely disliked, neo-liberal Culture minister in it. “She has tried to force us all into becoming entrepreneurs,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says, “so I decided to try to boost my income as a freelancer at her expense.”
Lying in the box was extremely uncomfortable for Makode Linde. Both physically and emotionally. “It was an experience of total objectification,” he says.
Imagine people standing half a metre from your head and talking about you as if you weren’t there. As a relational artwork, it was an artistic experience for me too.
It’s something he has experimented with before.
For a party that was also a relational performance last year, he painted twenty of his friends in blackface, and charted their reactions during the party and afterwards, when many had drunkenly forgotten their make-up and were surprised at random strangers attacking them in the street. Everyone’s experience of being inside the blackface (he describes it as if it were a shell, an item of clothing) was different, and in a way it was an artwork directed at them.
They got to experience race in a way they hadn’t before. And the aim was also to get them to experience what it’s like being Makode Linde. All of the Afromantics, whatever you think of it, are to a certain extent his self-portrait.
People always want to put me in a box. I’ve got a white mother and an African father. Whites always think of me as black. Blacks seem to always think of me as white. The media calls me Afro-Swedish, but I didn’t know what that was until last week! People seem to have trouble with the idea that you can identify with traits of both black and white, and with both male and female gender roles. There’s this categorization that frustrates me incredibly.
When I mention that he’s being accused of not being in conversation with the African diaspora, of only talking to whites, he replies:
Well, I am white. [Long pause.] And black. But I seem to have to be constructed as one of two. I don’t talk about black experience, I don’t know very much about what the ‘genuine African’ experience, in quotations, is like. I’ve grown up in the privileged inner city. What is my supposed group? Inner city mulattoes? They’re a handful. I’m not joking when I say I know them all … and they support me!


Read the full text here.

@Africasacountry interviews Afro-Swedish artist Makode-Linde about the recent controversy caused by his ‘FGM cake’.

Exceprt:

“It all happened so quickly. It was horrifying, so aggressive, the scream,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says. And for almost an hour, Makode Linde screams and screams as person after person cuts into the cake. People laugh. Some react negatively and back away. Some try to check if Makode Linde is okay, lying there in his cramped box. Some cut with happy abandon. Everyone seems to have a different reaction in the room. But no-one tried to stop it. “We were all complicit,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says.

Me too, snapping away. We were all assured that it was alright, that it was art, that this was part of the performance. It was like the Milgram electric shock experiment, no-one stepped in to prevent the simulated pain from happening. I think it was a very good work of art. I feel I should probably apologise to Makode for ruining his work by spreading that picture.

The idea that it was a conspiracy meant to trap the Culture minister, as we first suggested in our first take on Linde’s performance, can probably be abandoned. None of the people I speak to–Makode Linde, Marianne Lindberg De Geer or organiser Pontus Raud–claim they knew what the other parties were going to do. Marianne Lindberg De Geer does say, though, that she probably wouldn’t have sold the picture if it hadn’t been the intensely disliked, neo-liberal Culture minister in it. “She has tried to force us all into becoming entrepreneurs,” Marianne Lindberg De Geer says, “so I decided to try to boost my income as a freelancer at her expense.”

Lying in the box was extremely uncomfortable for Makode Linde. Both physically and emotionally. “It was an experience of total objectification,” he says.

Imagine people standing half a metre from your head and talking about you as if you weren’t there. As a relational artwork, it was an artistic experience for me too.

It’s something he has experimented with before.

For a party that was also a relational performance last year, he painted twenty of his friends in blackface, and charted their reactions during the party and afterwards, when many had drunkenly forgotten their make-up and were surprised at random strangers attacking them in the street. Everyone’s experience of being inside the blackface (he describes it as if it were a shell, an item of clothing) was different, and in a way it was an artwork directed at them.

They got to experience race in a way they hadn’t before. And the aim was also to get them to experience what it’s like being Makode Linde. All of the Afromantics, whatever you think of it, are to a certain extent his self-portrait.

People always want to put me in a box. I’ve got a white mother and an African father. Whites always think of me as black. Blacks seem to always think of me as white. The media calls me Afro-Swedish, but I didn’t know what that was until last week! People seem to have trouble with the idea that you can identify with traits of both black and white, and with both male and female gender roles. There’s this categorization that frustrates me incredibly.

When I mention that he’s being accused of not being in conversation with the African diaspora, of only talking to whites, he replies:

Well, I am white. [Long pause.] And black. But I seem to have to be constructed as one of two. I don’t talk about black experience, I don’t know very much about what the ‘genuine African’ experience, in quotations, is like. I’ve grown up in the privileged inner city. What is my supposed group? Inner city mulattoes? They’re a handful. I’m not joking when I say I know them all … and they support me!

Read the full text here.

Excerpt:

It is difficult to see how women who are victims of FGM, or black people for that matter, can benefit from this contribution to the degradation and humiliation of black women.

In her attempt to justify her participation in the event, Adelsohn Liljeroth said that art was meant to be provocative, and that the pictures of the event are misunderstood. This reveals her careless attitude towards this racist incident, but it is also a familiar manifestation of Swedish politics and how it views black people.

Clearly, Adelsohn Liljeroth participated and encouraged a crude racist act in her capacity as a government representative. What makes matters worse is that she subsequently expressed no regret, instead choosing to question the intelligence of all those who criticise her. If a top politician can resign for such things as buying nappies with government credit cards, as happened recently, then it goes without saying that Adelsohn Liljeroth must take responsibility for what happened and resign.

But more than that, why is it that Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art, a major state institution, organised a spectacle like this? This can only be understood by looking at the country as a whole. Racism and racist depictions against black people are common in Sweden.

In March last year a popular celebrity, Alexander Bard, declared on national television station SVT that there is nothing wrong with calling black people “niggers” – “If I can refer to myself as a faggot then I should be able to call black people niggers” – and when confronted on social media by an Afro-Swede, he insisted on using the word repeatedly to make his point.

Last April, at a student dinner gathering at the prestigious Lund University, students arrived with their faces blacked up, with nooses and shackles around their necks and arms, and led by a white “slave trader”. During the course of the evening, a slave auction was enacted.

(cont. reading)