Say "Africa" and myriad images flood our minds. Like its landscape and peoples, the continent's history is rich and diverse. While numerous books have been written and films made on the African slave trade in the West, a lesser-known aspect of the continent’s history lies in India.
As the continent prepares to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on Africa Day, 25th
of May, IPS Africa speaks to ordinary South Africans to hear how they plan to celebrate this important day.
A Venezuelan movie about a young deaf woman who is sexually abused by her stepfather, “Brecha en el silencio” (Breach in the Silence), took top prize at the second Colombia-Venezuela film festival.
A group of villagers is held in thrall by omnipotent rulers, who warn that misfortune will befall the inhabitants if they defy authorities. And then, one day, the emperor is revealed to have no clothes.
Another kind of war, less explosive than bombs and more subtle than night raids, is taking place in the Central Asian country of Afghanistan: a war of cultural influence. Its means are financial sponsorships and other support for cultural and artistic events.
Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez, like most citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, has probably lost count of the millions of dollars being spent to renovate the Greek revival style “Red House” that serves as the parliament building in the oil-rich twin island republic.
Ela, a young Tunisian woman whose face is barely visible behind her niqab, says she has spent five months protesting a university ban against the religious garment in the classroom “to no avail”. On the other side of the capital Tunis, a group of students decked out in djellabas and keffiyehs (traditional Tunisian costumes) with the Tunisian flag wrapped around their shoulders, perform the Harlem Shake: a dance form that originated in the United States in the early 1980s but has recently gone viral online as a popular meme.
Authorities at Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Culture want to ban a play that discusses domestic abuse and sexual violence because it “promotes scenes that destroy moral and ethical standards and national traditions of the peoples of Kyrgyzstan.”
The Taliban may have placed a ban on theatre, but women in Pakistan’s northern provinces won’t allow the threat of the militants’ reprisals to keep them off the stage.
The applause has continued long after the curtain came down on the last performance of Khushal Khan Khattak in the northern Pakistan city of Peshawar last month. The enthusiastic reception should have the Taliban worried.
Despite uncertainty and the ongoing conflict, Mali will work to rebuild and safeguard its cultural heritage, says the West African country’s minister of culture Bruno Maïga.
They belong to the Amazon of Bolivia, where their people, the Moxena nation, are found, and they are brothers. Francisco and Alfonso Ichu Tamo came to this southern city to become the premier makers of musical instruments.
Mahfuza, a mother of three in a small town in the Ferghana Valley, has better things to do than spend her afternoons at crowded, smoke-filled Internet clubs. But as a high-school algebra teacher, she has an extracurricular assignment from her bosses: she must monitor the clubs’ clientele – many of them her students – while they play computer games, surf social networking websites, and watch music videos.
Artists-in-residence, once found only in the industrialised North, can now be found throughout Latin America, which is hosting artists from different parts of the world to produce and exhibit their work. There are also opportunities for visiting artists simply to seek inspiration.
“Child abuse merits a different, in-depth approach. The objective of this film is to make the problem visible and promote debate and reflection,” says Eric Corvalán, director of a documentary that required “breaking through walls.”