A ‘gay revolution’ in Africa. Very likely, states Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina in Boldly Queer, African perspectives on same-sex sexualities and gender diversity. The book, published by Hivos, was launched in The Hague on Friday 5 June 2015. Mozambique has already joined the revolution. President Filipe Nyusi signed a new penal code decriminalizing homosexuality. Congratulations to Lambda, the activist group, who fought against anti-gay-legislation introduced in 1887 by the Portuguese colonial rulers.


The myth of the ‘empty land’

Arena / By ZAM reporter

Martin Bosma, MP for the extremist Dutch anti-immigration party PVV, has reinvented the idea of South Africa as an empty land at the time when the white settlers arrived. In his book Minderheid in eigen land (Minority in own country) he presents South Africa’s transition to democracy as a forecast for his doomsday scenario: the low lands' takeover by Muslims. In a fact check, Bram Vermeulen, correspondent for Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, investigated Bosma’s 'empty land' claim. Find one of his sources here. His conclusion: not true.


Subotzky’s telling pictures

Arena / By ZAM reporter

ZAM congratulates Mikhail Subotzky (1981, South Africa) and Patrick Waterhouse (1981, UK) on winning the prestigious 2015 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. A six year journey into Johannesburg's 54 stories landmark building Ponte City resulted in a book (Steidl Publishers) and exhibitions from Paris to Lubumbashi and from Edinburgh to Cape Town.


Ten things to know about Garissa

Arena / By ZAM Reporter

ZAM tries to make sense of the massacre at Garissa University in Kenya on April 2, 2015 in which 147 young students died. Here’s what we came up with.


Who killed Gilles Cistac?

Arena / By ZAM Reporter

The broad daylight assassination of a lawyer in Maputo fits in a series of ‘mafia-type’ murders in Mozambique.


South African author Tom Sharpe (1928-2013), who comically portrayed bumbling apartheid cops disguising themselves as ‘terrorists’, then arresting one another and leaving trails of exploded ostriches to mark their ‘secret’ operations, would have had a field time with the leaked South African State Security Agency (SSA) reports as exposed by Al Jazeera earlier this week.


State of a Zuma-fied Nation

Arena / By ZAM Reporter

Cell phone jamming, news blackouts, violence in parliament and water cannons and armed vehicles in the streets of Cape Town marked the beginning of the new parliamentary year in South Africa on Thursday.


Among African writers, opinion makers and activists the news of the Charlie Hebdo attack has provoked an outpour of anger: at the attack itself, but perhaps even more so at the twin scourges of terrorism and dictatorial oppression suffered by people in Nigeria, Somalia, Cameroon, Kenya, Mali and elsewhere on the continent. The ones who attracted most fire were African leaders who had the gall to march in Paris, whilst seemingly not bothered about victims of terrorism back home.


Finally international media have caught up with the sentimental counterproductive patronising Band Aid initiative. We hated ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas’ the first time around and hoped they would go away. But they are doing it again with the Ebola epidemic, which only adds insult (patronising untruths) to injury.


Go, old man, go

Arena / By ZAM Reporter

Up to today, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso featured on a tongue-in-cheek Facebook chart called ‘Africa Presidents’. Timeline that dates this particular old man’s rule back to the introduction of the cellphone (1988): a bit after Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (the walkman, 1979) and a bit before the ‘old fat white chicken’ Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia (the DVD, 1994).



Arena / By Evelyn Groenink

Halloween seems a perfect time to scare the world with the Dutch tale of the bone snatcher. Dutch artist Tinkebell, previously known for provocative art that denounced battery farming, has taken to dead people as art material. Specifically, in this case, the victims of the textile building collapse disaster in Bangladesh last year. 


Dutch-resident Nigerian ‘Comrade’ Sunny Ofehe, portrayed last June 2014 in the ZAM Chronicle, stands accused of fraud and human traffic. The Dutch daily newspaper Trouw of 30 October, reporting on the current court case against Ofehe in the Netherlands, calls him a suspect ‘with two faces’.


Most of the time, understanding ‘Africa’ reads like a pendulum. One article on the state of the continent exhibits hysterical optimism. Another analysis swings right back to a fundamentalist apocalyptic view. The Economist’s cover pages shouted Hopeless Africa in 2000, and Rising Africa in 2013.  Ever since then, the two co-exist. In 2014, we are swinging between ebola paranoia and ‘Africa Works!’, the motto of a recently held conference.


Travelling while African

Arena / By ZAM Reporter

‘The Nest’ in Nairobi, Kenya, has issued an invite to any African person who has travelled or hoped or attempted to travel across borders to share their ‘visa stories’.


It took four years and considerable risk to own life and limb, but Ghanese investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas finally achieved his goal: not just to name and shame, but to actual jail wrongdoers, especially wrongdoing civil servants.