Selase Kove-Seyram
Six clients per night make up for what your parents can’t give you. Five years ago, a Ghanaian newspaper exposed a brothel that employed underage sex workers. The story, by famous investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, caused an international outcry, won prizes and prompted Ghana’s Department of Social Welfare to act. But not for long. The one hundred and sixty girls, taken into care by the Department, were put back on the streets a mere two days later. Today, they work on the side of the... Six clients per night make up for what your parents can’t give you. Five years ago, a Ghanaian newspaper exposed a brothel that employed underage sex...
Muno Mohamed Gedi
After the War on Terror against the fundamentalist Al-Shabab, a new war is being waged in Somalia. This time, it’s a war for the fertile lands on the side of the beautiful Shabelle river, which feed cattle and grow mangos, bananas and papayas. A disadvantaged community of families, called the Habargidir, has invaded these lands and challenged the traditional reign of the richer Biyamal landowners here. During November 2013, four bloody clashes left hundreds dead, thousands displaced, a settlement... After the War on Terror against the fundamentalist Al-Shabab, a new war is being waged in Somalia. This time, it’s a war for the fertile lands on the...
Cecilia Cachette
The ‘smiling coast’ of Gambia is led by an insane dictator who keeps getting propped up with donor money. The Gambia, the smallest country in Africa and a tourist destination since the 70’s known for its beautiful sunny beaches, used to be advertised with the slogan “the smiling coast of Africa.” Nowadays, however, it is above all known for (sex) tourism, rickety boats, increasing poverty, violation of human rights, anti-gay laws and ‘Great Leader’ rhetoric by its president Yahya Jammeh who also... The ‘smiling coast’ of Gambia is led by an insane dictator who keeps getting propped up with donor money. The Gambia, the smallest country in Africa and...
ZAM Reporter
Kenya | Four thousand people were detained for looking Somali Since the first of April, over four thousand ethnic Somali’s, many of them Kenyan citizens, have been taken out of their houses, arrested and held for days in large wire cages in a stadium. Several hundreds have been deported to notorious refugee camps on the border. For weeks now, three hundred people have been imprisoned in a police station that has only two toilets. Ethnic-Somali looking people –around five hundred thousand- in the... Kenya | Four thousand people were detained for looking Somali Since the first of April, over four thousand ethnic Somali’s, many of them Kenyan citizens,...
ZAM
Ever since Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay ‘How to write about Africa’ , progressives the world over have sneered at mentions of Africa’s savannahs and Africa’s friendly, hospitable, happy –even though hungry- people and Africa’s sunsets. And rightly so. Brazil, Japan and Italy are also beautiful, but their continents are not stereotyped as a natural paradise and their people not as child-like: all smiling and dancing and happy with so very little -whilst, of course, being exploited by ‘the West’ and... Ever since Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay ‘How to write about Africa’ , progressives the world over have sneered at mentions of Africa’s savannahs and...
Lara Bourdin
The artists' road trip from Lagos to Sarajevo A road trip: long hours crunched into the backseat of a moving vehicle; the hum of the engine, the slow changes in scenery; being at the mercy of a flat tire, a leaky tank or an obstinate border agent. But the discovery is what counts. Beginning on 2 June of this year, a group of ten African artists will be embarking on a four-month-long journey from Lagos, Nigeria, to Sarajevo, Bosnia. Travelling under the banner of the Invisible Borders Trans-African... The artists' road trip from Lagos to Sarajevo A road trip: long hours crunched into the backseat of a moving vehicle; the hum of the engine, the slow...
Bram Posthumus
How citizens once chased away as 'foreigners' came back with a vengeance It was 2012 and we were to visit the places where the skulls and the bones would be, the witnesses of a massacre by ‘invading hordes’. The victims? Locals. The perpetrators were ‘foreigners’, the locals say. But things are not this simple in Ivory Coast. ‘I will show you the fields of death.’ And then, without fail, the offer was withdrawn: the people who were going to take me there never materialised. ‘How about going by... How citizens once chased away as 'foreigners' came back with a vengeance It was 2012 and we were to visit the places where the skulls and the bones would...
Lara Bourdin
Wangechi Mutu's magical wonderland Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu attacks dominant Western narratives, questions migration, borders, home and exile, exposes the monstrousness of overconsumption and portrays the capitulation of capitalism. The figures in the magical wonderland she creates inspire awe - and so does she. A centaur-like female figure advances up a hill of grey felt, her silhouette distinct against a background of smoky blue sky. She could be the sole survivor of an apocalypse. A trio of... Wangechi Mutu's magical wonderland Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu attacks dominant Western narratives, questions migration, borders, home and exile, exposes...
Barbara Among
Relatives and friends of gays hope that this law will pass them by The father of a gay son in Makindye refuses to speak about him or the recently passed Anti- Homosexuality Bill. Another gay man’s mother is planning to send him out of the country ‘to keep the rest of the family safe.’ A landlord has felt forced to add a ‘homosexuals not encouraged’ clause to his rental contracts ‘just so that I have a way out’. And the straight partner of transgender Mercy* is in agony because Mercy may leave the... Relatives and friends of gays hope that this law will pass them by The father of a gay son in Makindye refuses to speak about him or the recently passed...
Evelyn Groenink
West-Africa | Behind the scenes of an undercover report “So there are signs to warn against human traffic all over on the side of the road from Lagos to Cotonou?” I ask colleague Idris Akinbajo. “This means that they know?” Akinbajo is here, in 2011, investigating networks of illegal migrants in Amsterdam and the conversation has turned to women being trafficked from Nigeria for sex work in Europe. I have asked the question because of the many newspaper reports, in the Netherlands and elsewhere in... West-Africa | Behind the scenes of an undercover report “So there are signs to warn against human traffic all over on the side of the road from Lagos to...
ZAM
ZAM Chronicle’s lead article The Ugandan Family on the Anti-Homosexuality Laws in Uganda expresses the hope that ‘it will pass’: that times will change again. It shows that many Ugandans may be homophobes, but they don’t necessarily legislate against, harass, evict, disown and beat up gay people. Until recently, the situation in Uganda was more or less comparable with any other traditional country -or with the UK in the 1950’s. The Anti-Homosexuality Act was created and pushed by President... ZAM Chronicle’s lead article The Ugandan Family on the Anti-Homosexuality Laws in Uganda expresses the hope that ‘it will pass’: that times will change...
ZAM Reporters
Tobore Ovuorie's exposure of the criminal syndicates that smuggle sex workers Courageous undercover work by award winning Nigerian investigative reporter Tobore Ovuorie, in partnership with her colleague Reece Adanwenon in Benin and in close cooperation with the Premium Times and ZAM Chronicle, has unearthed the activities of human traffickers who recruit sex workers in Nigeria. Among the shocking findings is the reality that traffickers' recruits do not only surrender their freedom to their... Tobore Ovuorie's exposure of the criminal syndicates that smuggle sex workers Courageous undercover work by award winning Nigerian investigative reporter...
Tobore Ovuorie
West-Africa | Undercover inside the human traffic mafia Six out of ten people who are trafficked to the West are Nigerian. Nigerian investigative reporter Tobore Ovuorie was motivated by years of research into the plight of trafficked women in her country, as well as the loss of a friend, to go undercover in a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise. She emerged, bruised and beaten but thankfully alive, after witnessing orgies, big money deals in jute bags, police-supervised pickpocketing,... West-Africa | Undercover inside the human traffic mafia Six out of ten people who are trafficked to the West are Nigerian. Nigerian investigative...
Reece Adanwenon
Benin | How an undercover reporter was secretly smuggled back to safety I have been warned: 'please, you mustn't trust any authorities'. So it's up to me to get Tobore to safety. At the agreed meeting point in Cotonou, I get out of my car and look among the people at the bus stop for someone resembling Tobore’s photo. But the short, skinny, terrified-looking creature in jeans with the head scarf recognises me first. “Is Reece?” My seasoned colleague and fellow investigative journalist Tobore... Benin | How an undercover reporter was secretly smuggled back to safety I have been warned: 'please, you mustn't trust any authorities'. So it's up to me...
Bart Luirink
Nigerian investigative journalist Tobore Ovuorie went undercover in a human traffic transport to report from within on criminal trafficking syndicates and their activities. What she witnessed, reported elsewhere in this issue, is beyond horrific: a fellow trafficked woman and a trafficked young man were deemed to be more ‘profitable’ for their organs than as prostitutes. They were murdered in front of the undercover reporter. When we first circulated Ovuorie’s report within our own Amsterdam-based... Nigerian investigative journalist Tobore Ovuorie went undercover in a human traffic transport to report from within on criminal trafficking syndicates...
Evelyn Groenink
Calls for 'the West' to 'act' against perceived horrors elsewhere can sometimes make things worse. Western observers often look at Africa with a mix of horror and disbelief. Wars waged by the religious sectarian armies of Joseph Kony, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram; violent border disputes like the one currently in South Sudan; child marriage, female circumcision, mass migration, corruption and the acts of dictators evoke outrage, disgust and the occasional charity campaign from the more ‘comfortable’... Calls for 'the West' to 'act' against perceived horrors elsewhere can sometimes make things worse. Western observers often look at Africa with a mix of...
ZAM Reporters
For four months last year, Tobore Ovuorie (33), senior investigative reporter with the Premium Times in Nigeria, went undercover in that country’s human traffic circles. Her explosive findings –such as that even Nigerian government institutions that are supposed to combat human traffic, are infiltrated by criminal trafficking syndicates- are reported elsewhere in this issue ( see here ). In this interview with ZAM Chronicle, Ovuorie reflects on dangerous assignments, conditions that cause women and... For four months last year, Tobore Ovuorie (33), senior investigative reporter with the Premium Times in Nigeria, went undercover in that country’s human...
Bart Luirink
Strikes and protests show that South Africa is going in the right direction In the autumn of 2013, on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of ANC rule in South Africa, the South African government received support from an unexpected ally. It was just after President Zuma had held a speech for the Association of Local Authorities in which he counted the blessings of his party’s government. “No country in the world developed so many services in such a short time”, he had said, and he had been jeered... Strikes and protests show that South Africa is going in the right direction In the autumn of 2013, on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of ANC rule in...
Emmanuel Mayah
West-Africa | Going through the Sahara and living to tell the tale In Nigeria, stories from people who have travelled to Europe tell of success and despair. Some migrants have made it big; others have died of thirst in the Sahara, drowned in the Mediterranean, or have perished in other ways. When I heard that twenty Nigerian migrants had been imprisoned in Libya, in 2010, I decided to check out the desert option for myself. I lived to tell the tale- barely. My trip to Europe had started at what my... West-Africa | Going through the Sahara and living to tell the tale In Nigeria, stories from people who have travelled to Europe tell of success and...
Tshireletso Motlogelwa
Botswana | Mangled between development, the desert and international 'protectors' When Basarwa actors, hired to act as Basarwa characters in the Botswana-set movie The Number One Ladies Detective Agency, arrived on set, they found that being Basarwa was not enough to qualify them for their roles. They had to shed their trousers, shirts and shoes, put on loincloths and don hunting spears. The images were set to create the warm fuzzy feeling that an international viewer should feel when watching not... Botswana | Mangled between development, the desert and international 'protectors' When Basarwa actors, hired to act as Basarwa characters in the...
Eric Mwamba
A childish and offensive figure in the Netherlands Aware that many African traditions are under fire from progressive thinking in the West, it was surprising to find such resistance to changing even one small tradition in the Netherlands. The Belgian cartoon ‘Tintin’, with its painful caricatures of Congolese people, has led to strong accusations of racism in my country, the DRC. But I had always thought that Dutch people were different from our Belgian former colonisers. Amsterdam and the... A childish and offensive figure in the Netherlands Aware that many African traditions are under fire from progressive thinking in the West, it was...