product of my past

These things mean much to me. Let's hope they mean something to you

Small steps or high hopes? Will a few high profile African women change the reality for millions of others?

with one comment


Joyce Banda. Photo by Chatham House, London

The World Economic Forum today published the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report. The report quantifies what most of us already anecdotally know: that in most parts of the world, it sucks to be a woman.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

November 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Posted in media

Tagged with , , ,

Preserving Africa’s digital legacy

leave a comment »

CC: aussiegall Flickr

I spend my days immersed in social media, so much so that I’m left without  the energy to convert thoughts into blogs in my nights. All that to say that I’ve allowed my blog to slip into a coma. But listening to Christian Payne’s (@Documentally) audioboo ‘Contemplating the digital beyond‘ has jolted me back to life.

Christian (what an incredibly soothing voice this man has!) considers the need to reconcile the cultural significance of all we are creating and sharing on social media platforms (particularly the ‘big three’: Facebook, Twitter and Google +) and the potentially transient nature of these plarforms – they are, afterall, businesses dependent on sustainable income for their survival.

It’s certainly recommended listening.

While preserving a well loved blog is in itself interesting, for me though, the reason this recording strikes a cord is that it makes obvious the fact that Africa’s digital story could be lost.

Thousands are blogging, tweeting, sharing audio files and pictures, collectively redefining what it means to African – and challenging the “Africa is a country” mentality. It’s an exiciting time. Internet connectivity and with it, social media platforms have opened Africa up to the world in a way that defies the moribund tales of disease, famine and war.

As Christian explains, the value of social media is that “it is documenting society in real time but for future generations.” But withouth investment (of “cents, pounds or dollars”) and collective will, that could all be lost. This poses a challenge to all those creating new platforms (whether supported by mobile or other devices) for the African market and to those using existing platforms to talk about their Africa: think about legacy.

Written by Eliza

July 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Ubuntu International Project: redefining African fashion?

leave a comment »

In this world, there are two kinds of people: those who see how far we’ve come and those who are fixated by how far we still have to travel.

At the Ubuntu International Project showcase at Vauxhall Fashion Scout,  I was unfortunately one of the latter. The show got off to a turbulent start, running close to an hour late and then frustrations growing as people jostled for seats. By the time the lights came down and Nelson Mandela’s voice rang out, defining the ‘ubuntu’ concept: “I am what I am because of who we all are,” my expectations were high but my patience was low.

The show got off to a good start with Clinton Lotter‘s collection of dogtooth shift dresses, fitted jackets, pencil skirts and finger gloves in black and forest greens. Fashion for sinister ladies-who-lunch. But soon I was more bemused than blown away. Jewellery by Frankli Wild was by turn both fascinating and – from the third row – somewhat reminiscent of a crafts project: all golf balls, copper wire and brightly coloured stones. By the end, I concluded that the show would have probably been be better appreciated with my eyes closed as I couldn’t fault the music but had no shortage of criticique for the designs. Read the rest of this entry »

Sound bite: The Brother Moves On – Boogly Woogly

leave a comment »

The brother moves on

One of my bugbears is the term ‘world music’. This all-encompassing genre, into which all music not in English and made in the global south, falls.

It’s a meaningless throwaway term that ignores that all music is inspired by other music. Cameroonian jazz saxophonist, Manu Dibango, has been sampled by everyone from Michael Jackson to Will Smith. Indie rockers, Vampire Weekend, borrow liberally from the electronic guitar riffs of Congolese music and on and on.

So I love this newly discovered South African act, The Brother Moves On, for being musical shape-shifters. Part musician, part shaman, their influences are diverse: rooted in South African music, yet spanning, Latin, electronic, dance, folk and even spoken word. In this TEDx Soweto video, it’s hard to tell at times whether singer, Mr Gold, is performing or actually evoking spirits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

January 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Day in the media: Diane Abbott and distraction politics

leave a comment »

diane abbott. Photo: CC Alkan de Beaumont Chaglar

Just a short 24 hours after justice was finally served in the brutal racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence – some 19 years ago – another incidence of racism has caught the public’s attention and politicians are baying for blood.

But this time, we have a tweet by shadow health minister, Diane Abbott, in which she makes a generalisation about white people. In an open exchange on Twitter, Diane writes: “I understand the cultural point you are making. But you are playing into a ‘divide and rule’ agenda. White people love playing ‘divide & rule’ We should not play their game #tacticasoldascolonialism.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

January 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Day in the media: BBC’s Pandagate

leave a comment »

Another day, another Twitterstorm.

Today, the BBC started #pandagate with its female Faces of the year 2011 list, that names a woman who made the headlines for every month of the year, topping it off, in December with…wait for it…a panda.

The list is a motley crew of victims (American congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for being shot in head or Nafissatou Diallo who accused the IMF’s former head and serial womaniser, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of rape) or women whose crowning glory has been to be in some way associated with a wedding.

In a year like most of us have never seen where two African women won the Nobel Prize and countless others were involved in pro-democracy or pro-equality movements, the best the Beeb could find in November was a certain Corporal Kelsey de Santis, who made headlines for being taken to the Marin Corps ball in Virginia by Justin Timberlake. Big whoop. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

December 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Top 10 sources of news and comment on Africa in 2011

leave a comment »

Cape Coast Kids. cc Eliza Anyangwe

It is undeniable that the media is the mirror through which we look at ourselves and the lens through which we see the world around us. Whether it is broadcast, print or digital, the media is second only to first-hand experience, in shaping our world view.

Yet so much of the media is devoid of international reporting and that little that exists is often a vacuous repetition of tired stereotypes. The popularity of the New Yorker’s post on the top ten positive stories about Africa in 2011 confirms that there is plenty of appetite for something other than the Western media’s mantra of death, destitution and desperation in Africa.

So as 2011 makes way for 2012, I set myself the challenge of finding 10 media sources that have bucked these trends and pursued, to varying degrees, a more inclusive and balanced policy on reporting Africa. You will certainly think highly of others that haven’t made the list, so add to the comments those who’ve most impressed you with their coverage of Africa and developing world issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

December 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm