The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is holding elections today that are certain to re-elect current President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. To learn more about today’s elections and some of the social dynamics driving Mauritanian politics today, journalist Peter Tinti spoke with The Africa Collective contributor Erin Pettigrew, a PhD student at Stanford University who specializes in Mauritanian history, and Nasser Weddady, a Mauritanian-American activist who is best known for his use of social media during the Arab Spring.
When the Akosombo dam was built to generate electricity for Ghana, the Ghanaian population at that time was under ten million, and some of the electricity was even sold to Burkina Faso for a profit. Now, approximately fifty years later, the Ghanaian population has almost tripled and the Ghanaian government is now purchasing gas from outside the nation’s borders. The Ghanaian government went to great lengths to provide electrical power to the entire nation for Ghana’s first 2014 FIFA World Cup match against the United States. Electricity in Ghana was rationed prior to the game, causing power shortages throughout the nation. This post examines the ways in which Ghana can overcome its energy problems with the resources it has.
More sad news from Kenya. Over sixty people have been killed in two recent attacks by armed gunmen in the coastal town of Mpeketoni. This is the latest in a spate of attacks in the country since Kenya invaded Somalia in late 2011. And, like previous incidents, the tragic attacks have already become the subject of much speculation and gossip. Different narratives circulate on the streets of Nairobi, in the mainstream media outlets, on the twitter accounts of al-Shabaab, and at the press conferences of Kenya’s leaders. The spectacle of terrorism allows for a proliferation of different stories to circulate, which often serve to deeply abstract these events from their complex regional and trans-national causes. As the U.S. stands poised for another potential re-engagement with Iraq, what lessons can be drawn from the ongoing conflict in Northeast Africa?
Since they kidnapped more than two hundred schoolgirls from Chibok, Northeastern Nigeria, Nigerian Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, have become the object of global outrage. Anti-Boko Haram activism, although justified and commendable, is often animated by a facile understanding of the group and its entwinements in deeper societal realities. To understand Boko Haram and the foundations of its rage, one has to understand two phenomena associated with the group’s rise.
Since Mandela’s death, contemporary politics, remembrance, and debates have pivoted on whether or not Mandela was a Communist. In an article entitled, “Was Madiba Co-Opted into Communism?” Hugh MacMillan defiantly argues with Stephen Ellis, whose remarks that Mandela was a Communist and that the ANC had been hiding this reality sparked controversy. While only Mandela will truly know whether he was a “Communist” or not, this post will show what the general implications of Ellis’ work have been.
Ethiopian popular singer Teddy Afro released his fourth and most recent studio album Tikur Sew (Black Man) in 2012. The title track was a tribute to the late nineteenth-century Emperor Menilik II and the victory of a united Ethiopian front against an aggressive Italian invasion at the world-famous Battle of Adwa in 1896. This was an event of global historical significance, which continues to feature prominently in the historical memory of many Ethiopians and Africans throughout the world. However, my sanguine interpretation of the song as an effort to remind Ethiopia of the importance of unity was not how it was received in Ethiopia. In many ways, the controversy over Tikur Sew has more to do with contemporary ethnic politics—and the role that ethnicity plays in present-day Ethiopian society—than it does with the actual content of Teddy Afro’s song or the historical event it commemorates.
In one of his most popular songs, Baloji borrows from the classic 1960 hit “Independence Cha Cha,” written to commemorate Congo’s independence. Unlike the celebratory original, however, Baloji’s version is edgy and critical of his nation’s progress.