Friday Top Five – Feb. 21st

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FT5 is a quick fire posts (abounding with more hyperlinked content) to catch you up on what our editor found important, interesting, or at least worth some of your attention.

 

1) Politics: Nigeria’s Homophobic Legalization

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Hopefully you don’t need this list to be made aware of anti-gay legalization (similar to that of Uganda’s) signed by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan that consequently bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.

Chimamanda Adichie has responded:

The new law that criminalizes homosexuality is popular among Nigerians. But it shows a failure of our democracy, because the mark of a true democracy is not in the rule of its majority but in the protection of its minority – otherwise mob justice would be considered democratic. The law is also unconstitutional, ambiguous, and a strange priority in a country with so many real problems. Above all else, however, it is unjust. Even if this was not a country of abysmal electricity supply where university graduates are barely literate and people die of easily-treatable causes and Boko Haram commits casual mass murders, this law would still be unjust. We cannot be a just society unless we are able to accommodate benign difference, accept benign difference, live and let live. We may not understand homosexuality, we may find it personally abhorrent but our response cannot be to criminalize it.

If you recognize Adichie’s name it may have been from this TED talk called “We Should All Be Feminists.” Or maybe some Beyonce’s single Flawless sounds familiar?

 

2) Urban Studies: ‘Ruralization of the Urban’

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Last month Atlantic Cities author Sarah Goodyear reviewed an essay written by Beloved Chiweshe, the former secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, in which he talks about what “the ruralization of urban areas” that was originally published on Nehanda Radio and then run a month later on Future Cape Town.

The urban pasture was just greener. By far my greatest motivation to excel in academia was to find an escape route from rural life.My first intercourse with the city was orgasmic. It was not the tall buildings, fancy cars and departmental stores that were enthralling. I was mesmerized by the accessibility of water from the tap and the glowing light bulbs that illuminated the rooms, corridors and the environs.

Goodyear writes:

What Chiweshe is talking about are the conditions encountered by many people who live, not in the orderly cities of the developed world, but in the places where much of that often-cited population boom is taking place – the informal settlements of Africa, Asia, and South America. In Zimbabwe, Chiweshe sees the problems and limitations of rural life migrating to the rapidly spreading urbanized regions where people are moving for economic opportunity.

Those problems, Chiweshe writes, take a disproportionate toll on women.

Both articles are worth taking a look at, and to take into consideration when discussing the future of urbanization.

 

3) Foreign Affairs: Kerry and Tunisia

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The New York Times called Kerry’s recent trip to Tunisia a “surprise visit” as “a gesture of support for its effort to establish a democratic system.”

Security has become the most pressing issue in Tunisia as the country tries to move forward with its democratic transition and rescue its still declining economy, which depends heavily on tourism and foreign investment. Both have fallen since the revolution of 2011 that overthrew the country’s longtime dictator, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

However the situation is much more complicated than the US green-lighting the campaign to democratization. It’s about the extreme sense of security being pursued there. According to Foreign Policy:

Tunisia’s counterterrorism efforts shouldn’t require the government to repeal any laws or strip anyone of their constitutional rights — but what started last year as a “war on terrorism” seems to be turning into an indiscriminate campaign against not only religious extremists, but anyone who looks religious.

Increasingly, “terrorism” is used as a justification for curtailing personal freedoms. On Friday, the ministry of interior released a statement informing Tunisians that the police will be tightening identification measures on anyone wearing the niqab (face veil). […] One person said: “Security is above freedom of dress; it is even above freedom of food, if necessary. Long live Tunisia.”

As noted by the Times piece:

Mr. Kerry was asked by reporters here what lessons Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt might draw from Tunisia’s peaceful transfer of power. Mr. Kerry stirred controversy in August when he said that the Egyptian military had been “restoring democracy” after they ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

I think it’s safe to assume that everyone is not on the same page as to what is occurring in Tunisia.

 

4) Fashion: African Fashion Week Nigeria

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It was posted on SpyGhana that Africa Fashion Week London will be hosting Africa Fashion Week in Nigeria Saturday May 17th through Sunday May 18th.

African Fashion Week Nigeria will give equal opportunity and priority to top fashion designers alongside new and emerging designers to celebrate culture, style and increase their passion for fashion. This is an opportunity for all aspiring or emerging designers to use as a platform to showcase their talent to the right people. 

For more information you can check their site out here, and ‘like’ them on Facebook.

 

5) My Pick: Blog for us! 

Okay so this is a bit of a cheat. We are in the process of revamping this blog and having it serve a purpose beyond catching you up here and there and updating you on our groups events/plans. Please consider joining this awesome student organization and writing about something you are obviously interested in. Africa.

The sign up link is here.

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