Category: Culture

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Cameroon’s president-for-life spends at least 15% of his time outside his country

Americans frustrated with president Donald Trump’s golfing habits can take solace: Their leader isn’t as elusive as the president of Cameroon. President-for-life Paul Biya has been in power since 1982—35 years in total. But the 85-year-old spent less than 30 of those in Cameron itself, according to an investigation by the OCCRP, an anti-corruption NGO. ...


Rare photos of life inside an ancient kingdom capture Nigeria’s transition to independence

For more than half a century, Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, a self-taught photographer from Benin City, documented a country and society in flux. Starting in the 1930s as the official photographer for the Royal Court of Benin, the ancient kingdom of what is known today as southern Nigeria, he snapped photos of the royal wives, ...


A Nigerian travel startup is trying to open up Africa’s tourism market to Africans

One of the many difficult things about traveling within the continent for Africans is the sparse pool of affordable hotel selections available for booking. It’s not that these hotels don’t exist, it’s that very few online booking platforms have enough information on such hotels. Global travel booking platforms with operations in Africa often list only ...


Kenya wants to make its popular matatu commuter buses safe for women

Matatus are part of the landscape of Kenyan culture, the soundscape of Kenyan cities: the yellow stripes, the lights, graffiti, loud music, and often horrible driving. This is the means of transport that most Kenyans can afford, and so the means they use most. They are indispensable to most people’s daily commute. While some neighborhoods ...


Why poor parents in Nairobi choose private over free primary schools

The numbers of low cost private schools in low and middle income countries have exploded in recent years. These schools charge fees that are affordable to the poorest segment of the population, and often target these populations specifically. But, in many countries, these schools have been criticized for failing to meet minimum standards set by ...


This is how you capture the rise of Kenya’s vibrant contemporary art scene

There’s a general misconception that whatever passes for popular art in Kenya are the curios sold to tourists or the murals that hang in restaurants and airport lounges. But as a new book shows, nothing could be further from the truth. In over 600 pages, Visual Voices presents over 400 pieces from 57 different contemporary ...

Camel trains are holding up Ethiopia’s new railway line

“MORE than any other technical design or social institution,” wrote the late British historian, Tony Judt, “the railway stands for modernity.” But the road to modernity can be a bumpy one. So it was at the opening of the world’s first steam passenger railway in 1830, when a dignitary in Liverpool was crushed by a ...


Africa’s biggest internet company isn’t making the right bets on African internet companies

Naspers, the Cape Town-based media and internet conglomerate, made one of the biggest and most transformative bets in its 102-year old history back in 2001. That was when it bought a 46.5% stake in Tencent, an up and coming Chinese internet company, for $34 million. It seemed expensive at the time but today (even after ...


Enchères pour une « Mona Lisa africaine » découverte à Londres

Ce portrait de la princesse Ife Adetutu Ademiluyi, surnommée « Tutu », peint en 1974 par l’artiste nigérian Ben Enwonwu, sera mis en vente le 28 février par la maison d’enchères Bonhams.


A gay love story set in South Africa’s secretive male traditional initiation has sparked outrage

The creators of Inxeba/The Wound always knew the film would be controversial. A hidden gay romance set in the secretive world of a traditional initiation school for Xhosa boys, the film sparked outrage long before it was released. The film’s weekend release on Feb. 2 in cinemas around the country led to protests and some ...