Guardian Africa Network

Oscar Pistorius, our flawed hero, has fallen

By Justice Malala For us South Africans, and for many across the globe, it is impossible to watch Oscar Pistorius run without a stir of emotion, without wanting to break down and cry and shout with joy. Pistorius is no ordinary hero: he is that rare thing, a man with an almost-impossible narrative. It is…

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Enough with the skin whitening

By Afua Hirsch It is a familiar formula for persuading women to buy a new beauty product: plaster billboards of a beautiful model in the capital city, accompanied by a catchy slogan written in the language of the ordinary woman. But when new adverts for skin cream Khess Petch – a skin-lightening cream whose name…

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The politics of political hate speech

By David Smith Freedom of expression is an absolute. Unless, of course, the politics of South African president Jacob Zuma‘s re-election are in play. On Wednesday the governing African National Congress (ANC) promised to stop singing the anti-apartheid ditty Dubula iBhunu (Shoot the Boer) to avoid hurting the feelings of white farmers and inflaming racial…

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10 African leaders turning to twitter

By David Smith Nana Akufo-Addo (@nadaa2012) Leader of the New Patriotic party and presidential candidate in Ghana. 1 640 tweets 35 following 6 132 followers The opposition leader is hoping social media can propel him to victory in forthcoming elections. One of numerous recent tweets declared: “In #48days, we will go to the polls to decide between…

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‘They shipped you there, so come back to us’

By Afua Hirsch From an African perspective, going to the Caribbean can be a disarming experience. On many of the islands, the people look distinctively west African, their national dishes are barely changed versions of African food (compare Nevis’s “cook-up” to Ghana’s “waakye” and I challenge you to spot the difference), and their Creole dialects…

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Kgalema (anyone but Zuma) Motlanthe

By David Smith There are two gestures now essential to understanding South African politics. One is a rolling hand motion as practised by football fans when calling for a player to be substituted. The player they want yanked off is the president, Jacob Zuma. The other is the cupping of a hand at a downward…

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Tsvangirai: Zimbabwe still needs Mugabe

By Leo Cendrowicz Morgan Tsvangirai is a man under pressure. Ahead of next year’s elections the Zimbabwean prime minister is trying to deliver a new constitution, revive a troubled economy and manage a difficult relationship with the country’s president, Robert Mugabe. Yet one of Tsvangirai’s main concerns right now is keeping his love life from…

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Size matters in Africa

By Afua Hirsch You didn’t have to have tickets to Ghana fashion and design week (GFDW) to get a sense that something was afoot at Accra’s most showy venue, the Mövenpick hotel. In the lobby on the morning the event was meant to start (Ghana being Ghana, the 11am launch happened closer to 3pm), I…

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Black dolls, it’s a black pride thing

By Afua Hirsch We’ve come a long way since the golliwog, right? These days there are black dolls in every toy shop. Tesco might be known for selling black dolls for the wrong reason – pricing black versions £1 cheaper than almost identical white dolls – but the fact that they sell black dolls is…

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Homosexuality is African

By Eusebius McKaiser As a gay African, with a background in analytic philosophy, the most annoying opposition to my sexual orientation is the claim that my lifestyle is un-African. It is annoying because historic and anthropological claims about the origins of behaviour seldom offer principled reasons why a lifestyle should never be allowed. Colonialists are…

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