Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

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From the (South African) Mail & Guardian:

African governments are not noted for their sense of humour: the SABC has mothballed a … satirical puppet show, Z News, by political cartoonist Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro. South African President Jacob Zuma has lodged two lawsuits against Shapiro’s cartoons already. In Egypt, blogger Abdel Karim Suleiman was imprisoned in 2006 for insulting the president, the same offence that saw Senegalese journalist El Malick Seck jailed last August. And in Morocco, a prankster who created a fake Facebook page for the king’s brother was sentenced to three years in prison, although he was pardoned by the king after 43 days behind bars.”

Not so in Kenya, where The XYZ Show, a satirical puppet show that pokes fun at the country’s political class, has become a smash hit.

Here’s the show’s website (where you can download clips) and its facebook page.

HT: Wendy Willems


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Video of interview by Jason Bentley, host of “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on the Southern Californian public radio station, KCRW, with the members of one of my favorite bands, the Kenyan-American super band, Extra Golden.

Extra Golden play a hybrid of Kenyan benga music and American rock music.

The interview opens with a 15 minute live set by the band. And that’s just the beginning. The whole thing is 46 minutes long. Nice.

You can also listen to or download the program here.

The program site of “Morning Becomes Eclectic” is worth a visit, including gems like this soundclash between Femi Kuti (performing here in New York City earlier next month) and the station’s DJs. KCRW is a community service of Santa Monica College.

HT: Steve Coplan

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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At TEDU 2009, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.

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tomorrow night.

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Bernard Porter, in a review (in the London Review of Books) of Michela Wrong’s new book, “”It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower.” The book–which too hot to be sold in certain bookshops in Nairobi–follows the travails of of a former Mwai Kibaki aide, John Gitongo, who exposed corrupt dealings among the political elite, then had to flee to Britain.

Here’s Porter on tribalism:

… [Tribalism] had always been there, the result ultimately of those artificial colonial boundaries, and probably always would be, but they were usually, it seems from this account, pretty harmless: waspish little stereotypes trotted out without any serious import – thrusting and hard-nosed Kikuyu, flashy but superficial Luo, simple macho Kalenjin and so on. It was part of the fabric of Kenya’s society, as it is of Britain’s: the Welsh, Scots, English, northern English etc. (A Kikuyu taxi driver said to Wrong not long before the recent US elections: ‘I see you Westerners have problems with the Luo too.’)


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The first four issues of Kenyan literary magazine, Kwani!, (the brainchild of writer Binyavanga Wainania, can now be viewed via Google Books.

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I haven’t seen much about this story in mainstream US media. Last week The Guardian reported that “… two Kenyan human rights activists who provided evidence to a senior UN investigator over execution-style murders by police were assassinated on a busy Nairobi street yesterday evening. Oscar Kamau Kingara, the director of the Oscar Foundation, and its program coordinator, John Paul Oulo, were shot at close range in their car by gunmen less than a mile from the presidential residence.”

Good places to get updates on this news and its wider impact (for example, is this the return of political assassinations in Kenya?), see The Guardian Online’s Kenya page, the BBC, Pambazuka News, and the blogger Kenyan Pundit,

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