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Stats: 1333109 members, 1957107 topics. Date: Friday, 27 March 2015 at 09:55 PM
|Foreign Affairs / Re: This White / Arab Man Loves Making Sex Slaves by anonymous6(f): 9:49pm On Nov 19, 2014|
exactly they do it to their own Arab Christians
|Foreign Affairs / Re: The Decline And Fall Of The French Language? by anonymous6(f): 8:28pm On Nov 19, 2014|
another question and debate entirely but the French really made sure they had a strong hold on francophone countries after colonization.
|Foreign Affairs / Re: The Decline And Fall Of The French Language? by anonymous6(f): 7:05pm On Nov 16, 2014|
French is one of the most beautiful languages in ther world but it is not economically necessary anymore for many in the world, so I think thats one big reason why the French language is facing a decline.
|Foreign Affairs / The Decline And Fall Of The French Language? by anonymous6(f): 3:18am On Nov 15, 2014|
It's been indisputable for some time that English is becoming the ‘universal language’. As the number of living languages has steadily decreased, the use of English has expanded on every continent. And though English has not — despite predictions — crushed all other languages (German, Russian, and Spanish, to cite the prime examples, all remain strong), one language does seem to be undergoing the predicted cataclysmic collapse. English may not yet have won the globe, but French has definitely lost it.
The reasons for the decline of French are many, including geography. Francophone regions are spread out: think of France, Vietnam, Quebec, and Guadeloupe, to start. Many of these regions are without direct connections to other French-speaking countries. The result is that many of the people choose to abandon French for more useful languages within the region. In contrast, German, Russian and Spanish speakers are based in numerous adjacent countries, each supporting the others.
French has been most visibly hurt in the last few decades in Africa. In North Africa, French has had to compete with Arabic, a language which Arabs are now clinging to as proudly as the French have traditionally clung to French. South of the Sahara, countries which formerly had large French-speaking populations are making the switch to English due to its relevance in Southern Africa, as well as internationally.
In Algeria, after the Algerian War, French was mostly expunged. Its decline has continued, including the recent closure of French schools, as Arabic and English become the standard.
More dramatically, in Zaire, in 1997, fueled by anti-French sentiment, the French language was replaced with native languages. And in nearby Rwanda the president has pushed for the abandonment of French in favor of English. It is questionable whether any Africans will be speaking French in a few decades.
English, meanwhile, is becoming the most important Western language in Africa, replacing both French and Portuguese. An English derivative is the majority language of Sierra Leone, and remains an important language in South Africa, of course, as well as Nigeria, and various other smaller countries.
Former French-speaking colonies beyond Africa have been hostile to the French language. French has been collapsing even faster in Asia than it is in Africa, due to the isolation of French-speaking populations. In Vietnam, students have protested having to learn French, stressing the need to learn English instead. And in the Middle East, the Lebanese have been shucking off French in favor of English.
French has also seen a drastic decline in North America. In the U.S., between 1990 and 1995, college applicants for French class declined by twenty-four percent. In Canada, the number of French students enrolling in English classes is rising rapidly, while the overall percentage of French speakers across Canada is falling.
Across Europe, French has gradually declined from being the lingua franca to falling behind German and English. English is spoken by 41% of Europeans, while only 19% speak French. English is now the language of business in Europe, a fact which even French ambassador for international investment Clara Gaymard was forced to admit. And French has fallen so far behind in Eastern Europe, in particular, that it is the third-most studied language, behind English and Spanish.
While once the language of culture, French has been pushed off the global stage. Perhaps the most symbolic example of this was in 2008 when Sebastian Tiller, the French representative at the Eurovision contest, planned to sing 'Divine' almost exclusively in English. That the French singer did not choose to represent the jealously guarded language of his country internationally came as a shock to many. This cultural decline was mirrored when New York's Metropolitan Opera decided to reject the libretto of the musical star Rufus Wainwright (who was raised in Canada), because he chose not to translate his opera into English.
The calamitous decline in French seems irreversible, even to the French. In 2008, the budget of La Francophonie, the governing body of the French language, was six million euros; in contrast, the British Council announced it would spend 150 million euros in efforts to advance English.
In any Darwinian model, a characteristic can become prominent, or it can be driven out of existence. Use of the French language has been globally dispersed, and French culture is without historical significance in many of its colonies. These are not the characteristics that increase a language's chances of survival.
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 3:07am On Nov 15, 2014|
lol, nothing surprises me anymore of the western worlds view of Africa
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 12:17am On Nov 14, 2014|
Like you said it is ignorance and a "I don't care attitude" from Americans of what is going on outside America, which includes the American media. A few years ago theres was a documentary news report on the knowledge of Americans of their country and what goes on outside America, they found out many Americans didn't know the pledge of allegiance, some mixed up what Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln did in history, some had a hard time knowing whether Mexico was in North America or South America, and other ludarcris and embarrassing things. So if they don't even know simple things of their country or care to they won't even try with Africa. It is only in the past few years a small minority of Americans are slowly knowing some countries in Africa and it's because of some big events that have happened internationally that they just happen to find out
|Foreign Affairs / Re: One Million Children Are Growing Up Without A Male Role Model In England by anonymous6(f): 12:00am On Nov 14, 2014|
a combination of both
|Foreign Affairs / Re: One Million Children Are Growing Up Without A Male Role Model In England by anonymous6(f): 6:45pm On Nov 12, 2014|
Yeah and I don't see it ever changing
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 6:43pm On Nov 12, 2014|
yup many americans think the whole continent has Ebola when it's just 3 countries affected right now. It shows that many Americans don't know the difference from one african country to another, Once they hear Africa that's it.
|Foreign Affairs / Re: The Most Powerful Woman In African Politics And In The World Helen Zille. by anonymous6(f): 6:40pm On Nov 12, 2014|
The most powerful woman in african politics, lol, I guess to you
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 5:16am On Nov 11, 2014|
I think Nollywood has made a mark in Africa and beat Hollywood in the continent but I don't think I will give them that title either at least not right now. African film industries still need to progress and advance more but Hollywood shouldn't be used as the epitome but who to stand side by side with in the future.
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 5:07am On Nov 11, 2014|
Well Tanzania has beautiful geography and is used alot as a image for Africa cultural landscape and DRC is the birth place of soukoss so yes I give them credit
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 5:02am On Nov 11, 2014|
well thats true, the safari industry is big in east africa, or south east like Kenya for example
|Foreign Affairs / Re: White Guy Gets A Knock-Out Kick For Calling A Black Guy "Kaffir" *** Video*** by anonymous6(f): 4:52am On Nov 11, 2014|
The white dude put that upon himself and I don't feel sorry for him
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 1:05am On Nov 10, 2014|
don't know when, and never knew it was, I don't consider them the Hollywood of Africa though
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 12:48am On Nov 10, 2014|
I think it depends but I'm leaning towards Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 12:46am On Nov 10, 2014|
I think it is southern Africa, that are suffering from tourism cause the depend on the Safari industry. The rest of Africa never really depended on tourism so it is no loss for the rest of Africa
|Foreign Affairs / Re: Africa Is Not A Country - TIME by anonymous6(f): 12:43am On Nov 10, 2014|
LOL, this article is funny cause it shows many Americans believe Africa is a continent, for Time magazine to make a article about this issue
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 7:48pm On Nov 09, 2014|
I think The article should have clarified when they said the UK & US funded cause when most people read it they will think it means westerners, non-Africans funded Nollywood which isn't the truth but you are right if they meant that Nigerians living in the UK and the US then it is ok. To be honest I didn't think to much into that part of the article.
|Foreign Affairs / Africa Is Not A Country - TIME by anonymous6(f): 7:41pm On Nov 09, 2014|
And four other shocking facts Americans should know about the continent
Not to pick on Sarah Palin, but it’s troubling for all Americans when there are rumors that a former Vice Presidential candidate thinks Africa is a country, not a continent. Africa is a blurry image in the mind of many Americans–warring, impoverished, unfixable. But then there are the stories of Africa the West doesn’t hear about: urban farmers feeding their families on unclaimed plots of land, a nonprofit building mapping apps to combat election fraud and violence, the booming Nigerian “Nollywood” producing blockbuster movies. In advance of the Zócalo event “Can Homegrown Innovation Change Africa?”, we asked observers of Africa to tell us what they think Americans would be most surprised to know about the continent today.
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1. Moria in Lord of the Rings isn’t just a fantastical place
My undergraduate students are always shocked to find out that the indie rock musician Dave Matthews was born and raised in South Africa. They have no idea that the ESPN reporter, Sal Masekela, is the son of famed South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. While these students are media-savvy, tech-savvy and by no means isolated, they, like much of America, are surprised to learn about the African roots of many American cultural phenomena.
Let’s take the case of J.R.R. Tolkien, born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Some of the famous symbolism in The Lord of the Rings book and movie trilogy come straight out of South African history. Fans of the dwarves will know, for example, that the sun shone down through Moria onto Balin’s tomb – like the sun streams through the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa, every Dec. 16 – onto a slab dedicated to the remembrance of the “day of the vow” when Afrikaners slaughtered Zulu fighters in 1838 at the Battle of Blood River. It’s a centerpiece of Afrikaner history.
In The Return of the King, signal beacons, calling for aid, are lit along the mountain tops between Rohan and Gondor – as “freedom fires” were also lit along the hilltops of the Orange Free State by Afrikaner adherents of the Ossewa Brandwag, a fascist organization in the 1940s.
Teresa Barnes is an associate professor of History and Gender/Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
2. A Particularly African Christianity, Coming to a City Near You
The past three decades have been marked by a remarkable surge in the popularity of Pentecostal Christianity across many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This surge is part of a larger trend in which the majority of the world’s Christians now live in the global south. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that, compared to the 9 million Christians in Africa in 1910, there were 516 million Christians by 2010, a 60-fold increase!
Today, there are more Anglicans in Nigeria than there are in England, and the United States is the only country with more Protestants than Nigeria. Historically, much of the evangelizing that took place in 19th and 20th century sub-Saharan Africa was conducted by countless, unknown Africans, rather than their more famous European counterparts. And many Africans who encountered missionary Christianity sought to make it theirs by replacing European liturgy, language, and practice with African alternatives. Which brings us back to the ongoing Pentecostal wave in sub-Saharan Africa.
Africans’ interest in Pentecostalism was fueled by literature emanating from North America in the 1970s and 80s. But, as one example of how they re-shaped Pentecostal theology to be more responsive to local practitioners’ material conditions, they presented a God who is deeply invested in believers’ fiscal and physical well-being in the present, not just the fate of their souls in the after-life. Amidst the swirling political and economic crises of the postcolonial state, this was an immensely attractive proposition.
Conceiving themselves as part of a global religious community, they began to export their brand of Christianity around the globe. As a result, we find that the largest single congregation in Europe, the 25,000-member Embassy of God, is a Pentecostal church founded by a Nigerian man. Today the largest African Pentecostal organizations are sending so-called “reverse-missionaries” to North America and Europe. One of those groups, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, founded in Nigeria, has 15,000 parishes around the globe including at least one in every major North American city. (Google your city and RCCG). This shift inevitably demands a change in how we, in both secular and religious America, understand our relationship to African Christians and Christianity as a whole.
Adedamola Osinulu is an assistant professor of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan and a postdoctoral scholar with the Michigan Society of Fellows. He holds a doctorate in Culture and Performance from the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures.
3. Claiming an African Version of the American Dream
When the British were booted out of Nigeria in 1960, they left behind a fat inheritance of social and psychological trauma. In the years that followed, my mother’s generation – the ambitious, the frustrated, the desperate – left Nigeria by the millions to work and to go to school in the West, believing that their own country and continent had nothing to offer, that the future in Africa was born dead, that the West had a patent on progress.
What’s so exciting about Africa’s homegrown innovation (and, honestly, what’s the alternative to cultivating homegrown African innovation — outside innovation? Five hundred years of data tell us that hasn’t really worked out well.) is that it reveals a generation of young Africans who don’t see the West as a unique symbol of authority, power, and progress. This means something. If we limit the conversation about Africa’s development to governments and NGOs, we miss a bigger point: that a new generation of Africans is shrugging off the psychological humiliation of colonialism and leading the charge to positively change their own communities.
There’s a real connection between national psyche and national progress. Our national fairytale — the American Dream, the belief that anyone can be and do anything — fuels our drive to innovate. This country is home to millions of people who believe they can do something no one else has done, or that they can do the things others have done but do them better; this phenomena requires a confidence that is irrational, artificial, and national. The idea of the American Dream supplies that confidence.
What Americans need to understand is that colonialism systematically stole that kind of confidence from multiple generations of Africans. Today’s innovators show us that young Africans from all over the continent are reclaiming it.
Lanre Akinsiku is a Nigerian-American traveler and writer. He is currently pursuing a master’s in fine arts in fiction at Cornell University.
4. There is no time warp
Americans often think Africans are always trying to catch up to the West. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When I went to do dissertation research in Luanda, Angola, in 1999 I bought my first cell phone there. Cell phones existed in the U.S., but I barely knew anyone that had one. In Luanda, cell phones were already commonly available and used among a broad sector of Angolan society.
Similar dynamics exist in music and fashion. Men and women living in Luanda and other cities in Angola in the 1930s and 1940s listened to music from Latin America – plenas, rumbas, merengues – what they referred to as “GVs” (because they came on record albums with each musical number printed and preceded by the letters GV from the British company HMV). People all over the world – in the neighboring Belgian Congo, in Senegal, in England, and in the US (including my grandfather in the little town of Dundee, Ill.) — listened and danced to this music in those same decades.
In the 1970s, when low-waisted bell bottoms hit the runways, and then the streets of the U.S. and Europe, they caught on elsewhere. Luandan musicians, keen to outdress their frumpy colonial rulers, commissioned their tailors to copy these styles. Record albums from the period attest their sartorial panache but the sounds on them deny any simple reading of this as mimicry of the West. Instead, they folded these styles into their own way of doing and being.
So it doesn’t surprise me to find videos of Pharell Williams’s “Happy” uploaded from Benin and Madagascar. And I am always shocked, though delighted, when I hear Angolan kuduro on my university’s radio station, because what young Angolans produce now, young Americans ought to listen to too.
|Foreign Affairs / 'Epidemic of Ignorance': Tourist Avoid Africa, All Of It - USA Today by anonymous6(f): 1:28am On Nov 09, 2014|
Travelers fearful of Ebola are avoiding Africa or canceling long-planned safaris, creating dire consequences for the economy in Africa, tourism and government officials said.
More than 13,000 people have become infected with Ebola, and approximately 5,000 have died, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. But the outbreaks are thousands of miles from prime safari spots, tour operators say.
The Ebola panic shows most Americans don't know Algeria from Zimbabwe when it comes to African geography, safari operators say. They point out that those stricken West African countries are closer to Madrid, Paris and London than they are to safari hot spots, such as Kenya, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Tanzania in the continent's south and eastern areas.
South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool said jobs affected by canceled vacations reach far beyond the safari workers. Every tourist who visits South Africa generates income for eight jobs in industries such as transportation, hospitality, restaurants and agriculture, he said.
There are no Ebola cases reported in South Africa and the country is 3,300 miles from the nearest outbreak in West Africa.
"Ironically it's not the epidemic of Ebola that is the problem," Rasool says. "It is the epidemic of ignorance that is the problem. Anyone who would even look at a map would know the tourism industry in most of Africa is suffering from an outbreak of ignorance."
Before Ebola, African tourism had soared to an all-time high, said Wouter Vergeer, owner of SafariBookings.com, an online marketplace with hundreds of safari operators. On Aug. 8, the World Health Organization declared Ebola an international public health emergency. Vergeer heard the first reports of trouble from safari companies in mid-August.
"It has taken a huge hit on our industry, and it's getting worse and worse," he said.
SafariBookings.com surveyed 500 safari tour operators in September and found more than half had experienced drops in bookings ranging from 20% to 70% since the Ebola outbreak.
Among the people who considered canceling a long-planned safari vacation to South Africa was Raquel Dambrosi, 29, of Staten Island, N.Y., who fretted on Twitter about her Ebola anxieties. Friends and family worried she would catch Ebola on the airline flight.
Ultimately, Dambrosi decided to go. She leaves Nov. 4.
"I am doing my research and staying up-to-date on the news," she said. "I check online and on CNN every day."
Jake McCormick, who runs the Shadows of Africa safari company, can't remember an October where his phone wasn't ringing off the hook with customers hoping to schedule holiday safari getaways. This year his phone is silent.
"My worst fears came true," McCormick said. Bookings and inquiries are down more than 70% from last year.
Shadows of Africa books most of its safaris in Tanzania on Africa's east coast and 3,000 miles from the center of the outbreak in West Africa – about the same distance as Alaska is from Texas.
Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Big Five Tours & Expeditions, worries that workers left unemployed from the tourism downturn will turn to poaching elephants and rhinos to make ends meet. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates 96 elephants a day are killed by poachers, who sell their ivory tusks for $1,000 per pound.
"If we are not careful, we are talking about accelerating the extinction of elephants and rhinos," Sanghrajka said.
Revenue from tourism accounts for nearly 10% of the economy in many of the countries where safaris are popular, he said.
"The entire safari industry has come to a grinding halt," he said.
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 1:20am On Nov 09, 2014|
Yea I know Nollywood was never funded from the UK and US, many didn't even know of Nollywoods existence until these recent few years, So I don't agree with that part of the article.
|Foreign Affairs / Re: Shopping Malls Spring Up Across Africa As Middle Class Grows - Washignton Post by anonymous6(f): 8:23pm On Nov 07, 2014|
Most africans are sending their earnings home that is nothing new, and I am not taking it personal but Africans need to be constructive, lets congratulate african progress when needed stop trumpeting negativity all the time as a passtime. There is different progress in Africa from government, entertainment, business and etc and a mall with african businesses in it is progress in a continent where nobody knew malls existed in the first place and now people realizing its possible that will push others to build better hospitals, schools and etc(which is happening) so thats a sign of progress to me. Like I said Nigeria and other African have their problems in all sectors in society and I am not trying to downplay it but at the sametime when we see something positive lets be happy for the people doing it at least.
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 8:19pm On Nov 07, 2014|
South Africa has culture but I don't see them as the most cultural in Africa though
|Culture / Re: The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 8:17pm On Nov 07, 2014|
Its sad where peoples attention are sometimes but true I like how the Nigerian film industry and other african film industries are progressing
|Foreign Affairs / Re: Shopping Malls Spring Up Across Africa As Middle Class Grows - Washignton Post by anonymous6(f): 11:41pm On Nov 06, 2014|
Nigeria has problems like any other country but I agree with you, he is downplaying Nigeria's progress and he isn't doing anything about what he is complaining about from Australia. Theres poverty in Nigeria but downplay and disregard this news from what he doing is wrong. Also Many Nigerians besides the 1% are shopping in these malls because I have been there with family and relatives.
|Foreign Affairs / Shopping Malls Spring Up Across Africa As Middle Class Grows - Washignton Post by anonymous6(f): 6:29pm On Nov 06, 2014|
LAGOS, Nigeria — When Taiwo Animashaun, who works at Tastee Fried Chicken in Lagos, needed a new hot plate, she decided to try the plush Ikeja City Mall, which opened in December, instead of her local market. Within minutes of entering Shoprite, the South African supermarket that anchors the complex, she had made her purchase.
“It’s a good place to shop,” Animashaun said. “Everything is arranged nicely, and the prices are not bad.”
From Lagos in the west to Nairobi in the east and Lusaka in the south, trendy shopping malls have sprung up across Africa as the continent’s mushrooming cities modernize and its emergent middle class swells.
With more cash in their pockets, increasing numbers of Africans are looking to shop in modern centers rather than the small, rundown, poorly stocked, often informal stores that have been the norm in the past.
It is a phenomenon that last year lured Wal-Mart, the U.S. group, to become the first mass retailer to enter the continent with a $2.4 billion deal to secure a majority holding in South Africa’s Massmart. And it reflects the strong growth Africa has enjoyed in recent years, with sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product expanding at an average annual rate of more than 5 percent throughout the economic crisis that has swept across the world since 2008.
“We think of ourselves as Wal-Mart’s African investment vehicle,” said Grant Pattison, Massmart’s chief executive. “I think the global economy has got so bad that there’s a realization that with South America, India and Asia tapped . . . there’s only one large billion-sized population left in the world, and that is Africa.”
So far, it has been South African companies, the continent’s largest and most sophisticated, that have been leading the charge.
Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer, last month announced the opening of its first store in Kinshasa, capital of Congo, a country better known for conflict and crisis than shopping. Shoprite has operations in 17 African countries and about 115 supermarkets outside South Africa.
Woolworths, a Cape Town-based retailer, has plans to open 14 stores outside its home market this financial year and to almost double its stores across the continent, excluding South Africa, to 104 in the next two to three years.
John Fraser, who heads Woolworths’ international division, said the expansion has been encouraged by the conscious effort African governments are making to diversify their economies away from dependence on resources. But, he added, “the other thing that’s happening for us is increasing urbanization in Africa . . . and a growing middle class, which is really our target customer.”
Woolworths has stores in a dozen countries outside South Africa, and its sales outside South Africa have tripled in the past two years, Fraser said.
Oil-rich countries such as Nigeria, Angola and Ghana are among the markets being targeted. But for all the enthusiasm and potential, the hurdles can be daunting — Africa’s 1 billion people are spread across 54 diverse countries with different cultures, languages and demographics. There are sizeable bureaucratic and logistical barriers, and searching for the requisite real estate can be a big stumbling block. Massmart, for example, has been unable to secure the property it needs to break into Angola and Kenya.
Massmart opened its first store outside of South Africa in the mid-1990s in Botswana and has operations in 12 countries. It has two stores in Nigeria — deemed the golden goose of the retailing sector — and hopes to open another four in the country. But it could take years reach its targets, primarily because of issues of finding the right property, Pattison said. “It’s very, very difficult. . . . It’s a complicated country, no doubt about that,” he said.
Still, Pattison said that the harder it is to operate, the “more profit opportunity there is,” and Massmart is planning to open food retail outlets across the continent. “People moving from a rural lifestyle to an urban lifestyle need to be serviced,” he said. “We will now transform Massmart into an African company.”
Not everyone is convinced. Ademola Olugunde, a 40-year-old electrical engineer who lives in Australia, was shocked by prices at the Ikeja City Mall.
“This place is a make-believe that everything is well in Nigeria and is not what people need. Step across the road, and you see the poverty; the reality is that it is really tough out there. Fancy malls are for the [wealthiest] 1 percent.”
But Nigeria’s huge population of 160 million — Lagos alone has more than 11 million — means that still adds up to a lot of potential customers eager to embrace the convenience. “I can’t take my baby to shop in the market, with all the traffic, people and noise,” said Zaynab Salami, 32, who works for the National Blood Transfusion Service and was pushing her trolley with her 10-month-old son sitting inside. “But I can here.”
|Foreign Affairs / Re: Nigeria Ranks 125th Among World's Most Prosperous Nations by anonymous6(f): 5:47pm On Nov 05, 2014|
Interesting, I don't know what to make of this, hope Nigeria gets better and way Nigeria has proven themselves this year with handling Ebola
|Culture / The Rise Of African Films by anonymous6(f): 3:08pm On Nov 04, 2014|
African film-making has come a long way since it was banned in French colonies prior to independence. Now, low budget Nigerian films are popular internationally, and South Africa has emerged as the continent’s Hollywood.
African filmmakers today have more access to funding than ever before, while a host of initiatives and international links are spurring a filmmaking revolution. New technologies and Africa’s economic growth have caused a paradigm shift in business models and global mindset.
Back in colonial times, Africa was a mere exotic backdrop for Western filmmakers – in French colonies, Africans were forbidden by law to make films. In 1944 a short film was made in Paris, and North Africa was active in the 1950s, but only at the end of colonial rule in the 1960s did filmmaking in sub-Saharan Africa, by Africans, belatedly call: “Action!”
Francophone Africa’s filmmakers benefited from funding from the French Ministry of Cooperation. Up to the 1980s, it financed two thirds of sub-Saharan films, but British and Belgian ex-colonies had no such cultural encouragement. Though would-be filmmakers had to study film in Moscow or Paris, great Francophone African directors emerged, although women are underrepresented in the early days.
African filmmaking debuted in 1963, with the first film of the father of African cinema, distinguished Senegalese writer Ousmane Sembene. African filmmakers of the independence era saw filmmaking as an important political tool for reclaiming the image of Africa for Africans. With the creation of the Pan-African Film Festival Fespaco in 1969, held in Burkina Faso, African film had its own forum. The Federation of African Filmmakers (Fepaci) was formed to promote production, distribution and exhibition. Filmmaking then was primarily a Francophone sub-Saharan occupation.
New generation of directors
A landmark came in 1973, when the first African film was seen at the Cannes Film Festival (Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambety) and in 1987 when the first film by a black African (Souleymane Cisse’s Yeelen) was selected for Cannes’ official competition. The challenge was to achieve recognition. African films had no hero and often no professional actors – they examined the cultural roots of societies under change, the conflict between tradition and modernity, rural and new urban lifestyles.
New, younger directors such as Jean Pierre Bekolo, Jean-Marie Teno, Pierre Yameogo and Abderrahmane Sissako emerged in the 1990s and won awards at international film festivals.
African audiences were hungry to see images of themselves on screen, but there was almost no infrastructure – and in some countries, no cinemas – to achieve this and, outside Burkina Faso, no national policies. Having directors but few producers, the industry was like a head without a body. With no labs in Africa, film had to be sent to France to be developed, meaning directors could not see their daily rushes. It was easier to see African films in Europe than in Africa.
In the 1990s, as French government funding to Africa waned and the fortunes of post-Apartheid South Africa waxed, Francophone African films lost their dominance and the emphasis shifted towards English-speaking productions. In South Africa, Afrikaners, shot the first feature as long ago as 1910. And since 1994, South Africa has become a location for foreign filmmakers – it has an established filmmaking infrastructure, a Hollywood-style film studio in Cape Town and an annual turnover of US$300 million.
There are government-funded bodies, regional film commissions and coproduction agreements with a number of countries. Broadcasters have local-content quotas and more than seven daily dramas or soap operas are produced. Gavin Hood’s gang drama Tsotsi (2005) – pictured opposite – won an Oscar and science fiction District 9 (2009), directed by Neill Blomkamp, was an international success.
From film to digital
The slow growth of African film is now in fast forward thanks to new technology. With digital media, filmmakers are no longer reliant on expensive 35 mm film. Production costs are becoming affordable, enabling a flow of content with transnational themes that could reach out to international audiences.
In Nigeria, there has been an explosion of low-budget, often low-quality, video filmmaking, dubbed Nollywood. Its commercial approach has made it the most prolific film industry after Bollywood, churning out over 2,000 films a year. What was just local investment or sponsorship is now international, with funds coming from the UK or US. The industry has an estimated turnover of $250 million.
Ghana, Kenya and South Africa have joined in and the African diaspora have begun to play a more important role.
Festivals, film schools and funding
For years Fespaco – now, significantly, titled the Pan-African Film and TV Festival – was the only African film festival. In February it screened 170 films from all over the continent. These days African film festivals are popular all over Africa and beyond. US actor Danny Glover, inspired by his visit to Fespaco, initiated his own Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles, which celebrated its 21st anniversary this year screening 154 films. In Africa, the annual African Movie Academy Awards, which rotates between host nations, rival the US’s Oscars, with entrants in 25 categories.
Some film festivals have tie-ins with distribution in their own country. The European Network of Film Festivals has set up the African Vision Exchange to do just that, though, importantly, commercial international distributors are still lacking. Without cinema distribution, directors are dependent on secondary income from pay TV and DVDs.
With new technology, distribution of film and television productions is starting to converge. Discop is an annual international market for African television productions. A huge library of African films past and present is available online through South African subscription TV channel M-Net’s African Film Library, with other smaller collections springing up. London is developing its own film archive – the Pan-African Film Library.
International links are boosting training. In East Africa, the International Emerging Film Talent Association partners with Ethiopian Film Initiative to train new directors. In Rwanda, filmmaker Eric Kabera founded the Rwanda film school and Rwanda Film Festival (Hillywood), which shows films on inflatable screens around the country, while Lee Isaac Chung’s Almond Tree Films links Rwanda with Tribeca in the US and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, the French TV network Canal France International’s Haraka! will award $12,293 to 12 African filmmakers to produce short films, which it will distribute in Africa and Europe.
Crossing over and globalisation
Directors such as Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan (The Figurine) are making their own commercial international coproduction links. The irreverent Viva Riva! by Djo Munga of DR Congo, financed through his own Kinshasa production company and named Best African Movie at the MTV awards, has caught the international imagination – it was bought for distribution in 18 countries straight after its 2011 premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
Getting international releasing outside the continent right, as well as revitalising the domestic market, are elements that are crucial to commercialising African film. Nigeria’s Cinemart is seeking to roll-out a chain of cinemas across Africa. The first Nigerian film to have a UK release, Mirror Boy, grossed £40,000 – overseas income would make a huge difference to the funding of future films.
Africa is a large continent and filmmaking there is as varied as it is in any continent. But, as yet, there is not enough Hollywood-standard material emerging. However, young filmmakers are emerging in Africa with a global vision that reflects the realities of contemporary life – rapid urbanisation, internet-enabled mobile phones and satellite TV in middle-class African homes. They are closer to their peers around the world and are asking the same questions about crowdfunding, platforms and technologies.
|Foreign Affairs / Re: 14 African Countries Forced By France To Pay Colonial Tax by anonymous6(f): 3:02pm On Nov 04, 2014|
I guess this is another reason their is a difference between anglophone african and francophone african countries in the way they deal with their former colonizers and how they moved forward as a country. In francophone african countries they weren't allowed to even make their own movies as well when they were still under France: http://www.nairaland.com/1981411/rise-african-films
|Foreign Affairs / Re: Lil Wayne Shades Off His Dread...(see Photo) by anonymous6(f): 9:16pm On Nov 02, 2014|
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