It is a freezing night in Paris, but inside the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on the Avenue Montaigne, the atmosphere is warm with expectation, because Omo Bello, Nigeria’s new opera star, is standing in for an ill colleague. Alecia McKenzie was there to hear her sing.
The trauma of colonialism and apartheid on the individual self has been given little attention or simply ignored. Yet apartheid and colonialism have left broken individuals. This notwithstanding, almost all of Africa’s post-independence reconstruction attempts – and outside attempts at help – have avoided fighting the African “crisis” of mass broken individuals, writes William Gumede.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the death of the country’s founding leader, Amilcar Cabral, on 20 January, a newly formed think-tank – the Benten Institute – organised the inaugural Guinea Bissau Economic Forum, under the theme “What would Cabral do?”.
A Benin artist, Gérard Quenum, has brought a whole new meaning to old, torn, and discarded dolls. He makes them live again. “I love the dolls,” he says. “I don’t make them just in order to sell them. I create them because this is something that comes from within me.” Juliet Highet went to see a recent exhibition of Quenum’s work in London.
Proverbs in Africa are wise philosophical expressions, generally short and sometimes very funny, yet the messages they carry are deep. Steve Kquofi and Peace Amate from the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, carried out a study on the significance of Akan proverbs. Below is a selection of what they found.
Roy Agyemang, a British-born Ghanaian, has become the first “Western” film director to have close access to Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe. His film, five years in the making and controversially titled Mugabe: Villain or Hero?, was premiered on 15 December 2012 at the British Film Institute in the heart of London where it received a prolonged standing ovation at the end of the screening. Here, Roy Agyemang tells how he got to make the film, and how he saw Zimbabwe and its longstanding leader while working on the project.