Archive for March, 2008



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In 1906 the Bronx Zoo brought a Congolese Pygmy named Ota Benga over from Africa to exhibit at the zoo and housed him in the Zoo’s ‘Monkey House.’ Two years ago, the New York Times in a long report recalled the event and criticized the paper’s own coverage then. As the New York Times reported in 2006: ‘One hundred years later, the Ota Benga rage.episode remains a perfect illustration of the racism that pervaded New York at the time.’ So you’d think they’d learn. This Sunday in the City section, a headline on page 3 screams ‘Out of Africa, the Wisdom of a Warrior,’ by one Josh Weill. Weill is an assistant to a photographer Elizabeth Gilbert who had brought over ‘the warrior,’ Andiri Lekelani, to help promote her new book “Tribes of the Great Rift Valley.” As for the launch it appears from the article that was held at, stop, wait: The American Museum of Natural History. Yeh. The rest of the article consists of Weill’s impressions ‘chaperoning’ Mr Lekelani around New York City. What follows is one of the stupidest things I read in a while, filled with outdated stereotypes. Samples:

I wondered if the Masai saw the beauty of the stuffed animal the way I did, or if the sight just made him homesick. Was he awed by the beasts plucked from his land and hoarded half a world away?

and the prize quote:

By the time he and I were sipping our Cokes, he was guiding me through his world. Watching him tear off a quarter of his paper napkin and reserve the rest for later, or sip on a straw to avoid touching the glass’s rim, I felt as if I were in Africa, with its scarcities and health dangers.

The full piece here. I am tired.

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More information here.

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It’s like when someone you know finally signs up for a Facebook profile.


(They compete for my loyalty with Abdullah Ibrahim).

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Flow‘ is a show of about 80 works by 20 different African artists currently showing at the Studio Museum of Harlem, including the work of Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko, France-based Mounir Fatmi, Johannesburg’s Nicholas Hlobo, and Berlin-based Mustafa Maluka.

The Wall Street Journal‘s culture page gives its take. Here.

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A prominent businessman who has close ties to Zanu-PF but is hoping for change told the Financial Times there was only one chance for the MDC: “We must hope the old man [Mugabe] is so arrogant that he believes his propaganda that he is still loved. If so, he just may not have rigged this enough.”

Full story here.

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Serious. Paris Hilton said this.


Buy her a map.  Tell that to the people who live in that region.

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