Posts tagged: This Is Africa

Telling the Truth about Africa using Photography

By Jorrit Dijkstra This piece originally appeared in This Is Africa. If only he knew what he exactly wanted to show, his life would be a lot easier. But for Ghanaian photographer Nana Kofi Acquah, Africa is a never-ending journey of discovery. “My aim is to show the beauty of Africa, and so far I’ve just been sharing my experiences with my viewers. I see myself therefore more as a storyteller who uses his camera as a medium.” Acquah grew up in his grandmother’s pub in Elmina, Ghana, just two hundred metres away from São Jorge da Mina, the first slave castle built in sub-Sahara Africa. “It [the pub] was the hotspot for every kind of gossip and the place where I learned to develop a keen ear. To date, I think one of my best gifts is my ability to listen and even to hear what is not being ... read more

Patronised Immigrants – A Chat with Okey Ndibe

“It is quite a while since I sensed creative promise on this level,” said Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on reading Foreign Gods Inc., a recent novel by outspoken Nigerian writer Okey Ndibe. We sat with Okey to discuss the book, Chinua Achebe and immigrant life. This interview was first published by This is Africa Atane Ofiaja: Tell us a little about yourself and your background. Okey Ndibe: I was born in Yola, Nigeria and I grew up in Nigeria. After college, I worked as a journalist for two major Nigerian newspapers, The Concord and The Guardian. I then came to America in December of 1988 at the invitation of Chinua Achebe. He asked me to be the founding editor of a magazine that he and some of his colleagues published in the US called African Commentary. I’ve lived in the US ever since. Wow, so that’s been over 25 years. ... read more

Why are Schools Punishing Children for Speaking African Languages?

Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire looks at the various reasons for ostracising African languages in African schools and shows how unconvincing they are, arguing for more vigilance in the defence of the use of local languages in African schools. This article was originally appeared in This Is Africa. In various schools in Uganda, and some other parts of Africa, children as young as five are punished for speaking African languages, indigenous languages and mother tongues at school. The modes of punishment differ. The most common one in Uganda is wearing a dirty sack until you meet someone else speaking their mother tongue and then you pass the sack on to them. In some schools, there are specific pupils and students tasked with compiling lists of fellow pupils and students speaking mother tongues. This list is then handed over to a teacher responsible for punishing these language rule-breakers. According to Gilbert Kaburu, some ... read more

South Africa’s controversial “Open Mosque”

South Africa’s first “Open Mosque” recently opened its doors, welcoming EVERYONE: gay worshipers, unveiled women, Christians… Great news, at a time when Islam generally gets bad press. So why isn’t everyone celebrating? This article was originally published by This is Africa. Image credit: Denvor de Wee By Annie Mebaley Image credit: Denvor de Wee South Africa’s first “Open Mosque” recently hosted its first prayer session, and welcomed around 50 men and women of different races and cultures within its mint green painted walls. The mosque, in Wynberg, Cape Town, serenely accepts gay worshippers, unveiled women, Christians and all pariahs of society, and aspires to establish “a religious revolution” in Cape Town. The founder, Dr. Taj Hargey, a native of Cape Town, director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and a popular hooligan of Islamic recalcitrance – In July this year, he launched the UK campaign to ban the burqa ... read more

Mario Macilau: Photography as a Medium for Social Change in Mozambique

By Jorrit Dijkstra African photography is on the rise. From street to art photography, conceptual and documentary to fashion photography, home-grown photographers (not only in the Francophone-African countries) are increasingly stepping up to show their world what they see when they look through the lens, following decades of photographic misrepresentation, or reduction, by observers from outside the continent. This piece was originally published by  This is Africa.                                Mario Macilau ‘I believe in the power of still images’, proclaims Mario Macilau (1984). The Mozambican photographer uses his photography as a tool to change people's minds about the world we’re living in, focusing on the living and working conditions of socially isolated groups. ‘I'm mostly thinking about how my work can contribute to changing their situation. As a social documentary photographer I try to break the silence surrounding them and bring their identities, which have been hidden for too long, to ... read more