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.


The Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa has paid back one-and-a-half million Euros to a Dutch Lottery, admitting that their project to protect rhinos from poaching by poisoning the horns doesn’t work. Scientists had been pointing out all along that there was no evidence to support the ‘poison solution’. The ‘Postcodeloterij’ had made more than 14 million Euros available to Peace Parks for a number of anti-poaching projects in February this year.


The 'funny' slogan used by Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan for his re-election campaign, "Bring Back Jonathan 2015", is the subject of a recent, vehement attack by Nobel laureate author Wole Soyinka on the country's leaders. Soyinka wrote in the online Premium Times this week that "the dancing obscenity of (Boko Haram's) gang of psychopaths and child abductors, taunting the world, mocking the BRING BACK OUR GIRLS campaign on internet, finally met its match (...) by the unfurling of a political campaign banner."