Friday Top Five – April 26

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The article from FP about cities in Africa got me thinking. What if we had a top Friday list that was a list of articles and posts that make you go “What the hell?” And in honor of today being The New School’s Rethinking Africa conference, here it is. *Number 5 is a reasonable op-ed piece, because I could just have a whole bunch of weird rants as our top five.

1. “Why Africa Has Gone To Hell” by James Jackson

“Mark my words. One day it will be the turn of South Africa to revert to type, its farms that lie wasted and its towns that are battle zones, its dreams and expectations that lie rotting on the veldt. That is the way of things. Africa rarely surprises, it simply continues to appal. When interviewed on BBC Radio, the legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela spoke of the 350-year struggle for freedom by blacks in South Africa. The man might play his trumpet like a dream, but he talks arrant nonsense. What he has bought into is a false narrative that rewrites history and plays upon post-colonial liberal angst.”

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2. Why Africa Must Go to Hell”

And in case the first one wasn’t enough, someone decided to do a follow-up!

“I welcome James Jackson’s courage in pointing out the fact that Africa’s chronic dysfunction is the result of, not white European rule in the past, but black Africans rule in the present—that, rather than its being the result of European colonialism and post-imperial indifference, as is the Left’s contention, chronic dysfunction in the region is the result of European post-colonialism and post-imperial aid … “ read more here.

3. “Postcards from Hell”

“From the magazine: ‘For the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace, working with Foreign Policy, has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicators to determine how stable — or unstable — a country is. But as the photos here demonstrate, sometimes the best test is the simplest one: You’ll only know a failed state when you see it.’

And there, ladies and gentleman, is the mark of excellent journalism.” – Africa is a Country

4.  “Saving Malawi’s Children”

Madonna first visited Malawi in April 2006. She’s been there twice since, including a trip last October to adopt her son, David, who was then suffering from malaria and pneumonia. Through her Raising Malawi organization, Madonna is helping to foster sustainable solutions for the Malawian people, especially its most defenseless children. She’s also working on a documentary …” read more here.

5.  “What Bono doesn’t say about Africa” by William Easterly

“JUST WHEN IT SEEMED that Western images of Africa could not get any weirder, the July 2007 special Africa issue of Vanity Fair was published, complete with a feature article on “Madonna’s Malawi.” At the same time, the memoirs of an African child soldier are on sale at your local Starbucks, and celebrity activist Bob Geldof is touring Africa yet again, followed by TV cameras, to document that “War, Famine, Plague & Death are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and these days they’re riding hard through the back roads of …” read more,0,5290414.story.

Please let us know what YOU think about these pieces of … journalism? And as usual if you have something you want to see on a FT5 list or want to curate your own. Drop us an email at


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