Written by :

Malawai: growing discontent over censorship and suppression of opposition

President Bingu wa Mutharika in Malawai is facing growing criticism for authoritarianism,  from both internal and external critics. He has been accused of trampling on democratic freedoms, human rights abuses and presiding over the collapse of Malawi’s economy by the donor community. On 15 March 2012 the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a Malawian religious rights group, […]

The Kony debacle: South speaks to North

Suddenly, bad African leaders are under the torch of public scrutiny: George Clooney is arrested while trying to draw attention to Sudan’s president Bashir. Former Kenyan ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Willam Ruto are on trial at the International Criminal Courts in the Hague. Blogs and websites are teeming with criticisms of Museveni in Uganda, who […]

The dirty face of Bongo

Inspired by Tupac, Public Enemy and others in the USA around 2004,  a new tsunami  of music crashed over hit Tanzania.  Bongo Flavah: raw, real, Swahili. It spoke to people, particularly the disenfranchised 3 million who live in slums and suburbs like Temeke and Mobibo of Dar Es Salaam. Kicking out the popular Congolese Rumba, […]

Information or Honesty? Life on a very isolated island

Over 70 per cent of East Africa’s population lives in rural communities: despite the proliferation of radio stations, weekly and daily newspapers, and television stations, in Tanzania alone there are 17 radio stations, 61 national papers and 11 state and private TV stations. In Kenya and Uganda there are even more media outlets but despite […]

In Zimbabwe, it’s not the media that spreads the news

In places like Zimbabwe the need for “outsider” critique is essential: solipsistic regimes create complex narratives about betrayal and patriotism;  no more so than in Zimbabwe.  Whether material originates from “inside” or “outside” the regime can be important in establishing its veracity. A very small minority of Zimbabweans (about 3 per cent) live in isolated […]

Reading in Africa: The lost art

“It all comes down to reading! If you read properly, you evaluate, you notice, you critique properly. It’s depressing, flying across Africa there’s all these Wazungu (white people) on the plane reading, but our people are reading self-help books or newspapers or not reading at all!” Pili Dumea laughs. It’s counter-intuitive: ask most politicians what […]

Uganda: Radio stations taken off air

On 9 January, in a bizarre move, at least 10 radio stations, including BBC Radio, Radio France International (local relay channels), and the Italian Embassy’s security radio channel were taken off the air by the police in an on-going crackdown over the alleged illegal use of equipment and facilities belonging to state broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting […]

Coca Cola: It’s bubbling up in Swaziland

There’s renewed attention internationally on Swaziland with King Mswati III excesses. He’s getting it from all angles: criticised for squandering the country’s sugar, turning a blind eye to the tax bill  of  Coca Cola, and the continued incarceration of the student leaders, teachers and journalists after the November 2011 demonstrations. Most recently,  Times of Swaziland columnist Mfomfo […]

South Africa: 100 years after the founding of the ANC, dissenters take to Twitter

The 8th of January 1912 saw the founding of the ANC, by key  South African intellectuals, including author Sol Plaatje, poet John Dube, and editors Pixley ka Isaka Seme and John Langalibalele,  in a small  Wesleyan Church in Bloemfontein. All four were writers, and one of the key tenets of the ANC was intellectual and […]

Tales of taboo: Homosexuality in Africa

In East Africa, Homosexuality and lesbianism is totally taboo. At best the  the attitude is to ignore homosexuality, at worst, there are deaths, “corrective rape” of lesbians in South Africa, and communities vilifying and occasionally killing gay citizens. ‘We’ve been together for 15 years,’ says Amina*, 35, married with two children, adjusting her burkhah and […]

Uncut – Sub Saharan and East Africa

Hello, welcome to Index on Censorship Uncut for Sub Saharan and  East Africa. I am honoured and excited to be part of this global team, and hope you will read and contribute to the growth and formation of a network of people across this continent and around the world. This first (official) blog, from me, […]

Nando’s axes ‘dictator’‎ advert after Zimbabwean threats

A satirical television commercial for the South African-owned Nando’s restaurant group has been axed. The ad depicted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s difficulty in coming up with enough dictators to fill a Christmas Party this festive season. Nando’s International Headquarters decided to pull the advert on Wednesday, after threats to Nando’s staff, customers and suppliers in Zimbabwe’s […]