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Microsoft chairman plots Africa’s tech revolution (video)

January 18th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted in Business, General, Technology

In the video featurette below, CNN’s African Voices highlights Cheick Diarra, the Microsoft chairman for Africa who has been trying to make technology more accessible on the continent. In the video Mr. Diarra talks about tech affordability, connectivity, and training in Africa, and also comments on combatting software piracy by developing the local software development community, Before joining Microsoft in 2006, Cheick Diarra spent 10 years working for NASA as its first African astrophysicist.

The latest chapter in his career has seen him return to Africa, where he has been heading Microsoft’s operations since 2006, trying to make technology more accessible on the continent…’This is a unique opportunity because somebody like me, who is known for his scientific achievement, being able to have the opportunity to use, to leverage a company like Microsoft to really put the technology-access issue at the middle of the table,” he says….However, Diarra is quick to point out that access to technology will do little to accelerate Africa’s economic and social development if it is not accompanied by investment in the continent’s most important resource — its people. – CNN African Voices
More in the video below.
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Banksy takes street art to walls of Mali

July 14th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Art, General, Politics, Travel

UK-based Banksy, one of my favorite street artists turned art world hero, has recently taken his brand of political commentary to the streets of Africa, Mali to be exact. It seems Banksy’s work has been spotted on the walls in Mali. As with his usual style, Banksy makes good use of the natural state of the wall and the surrounding environment to add to the emotion piece of his piece. View pictures below.





(via gradient & unurth)

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This week in African Style 3/17 – 3/23/07

March 23rd, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Charity, Events, Film/Television, General, Music, Politics, Travel

• Virgin Atlantic opens East Africa route and competes with British Airways.

• Innovation and investment at Oprah’s African schools.

• Tragedy of 5 lost in Bronx fire lead American media to Mali’s red earth.

• Russia looks to sign energy, metals deals in Africa.

• Americans milk Africa to death.

• Queen Latifah competes against Botswana’s Health Minister for detective role.

• The cost of a free Zambian education.

• Google bets on Africa.

• Innovation happens in unexpected places: mobile banking in Kenya, and mobile tv boost in North Africa.

• Governmental inaction and decay of public infrastructure in Africa.

• Pan-African businesses: Do they exist?

• Zimbabwe under fire, pleads for African solidarity.

• Sing the African alphabet.

• Rise of West African tourism.

• “Hip-Hop Colony,” African hip-hop explosion film available on dvd.

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Malian director puts globalization on trial

February 21st, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Politics

Bamako movie premiereI made note earlier of the movie Bamako, but it certainly deserves more than a side-note. Co-produced by Danny Glover, the movie Bamako has been taking the film critics by storm. Directed by Mauritanian-Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako Bamako is a fictional story of a trial where ordinary Malians hold international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF) to account for what they see as the damage caused by neoliberal policies. I must admit I haven’t seen the movie but from what I’ve heard and a look at the trailer below, it’s a must see.

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This week in African Style 1/20 – 1/26/07

• Oprah Winfrey defends her South African school in open letter.

• Dakar Rally takes drivers through Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and ends in Dakar, Senegal.

• Bill Gates and Africa’s green revolution.

• Fashion Television reports fromCape Town Fashion Week Spring 2007

• The World Economic Forum is under way in Davos, Switzerlad and the World Social Forum gets under way in Nairobi Kenya.

• China’s President on tour to teach Africa how to fish.

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LA Times: Hollywood’s dark approach to African films

January 15th, 2007 | 1 Comment | Posted in Film/Television, General, Politics

DiCaprio and Hounsou in Blood DiamondThe LA Times has an insightful op-ed piece written by Joe Queenan a writer who has written for Barron’s, the New York Times Book Review and London’s the Guardian. The piece titled “Tarzan’s children: Why movies about Africa require white saviors” sheds some light on what Joe calls the “Just Let Bwana Do It!” series of Hollywood films which include “the Constant Gardner” and “The Interpreter”. Mr. Queenan echoes some recent criticism of the movie “Blood Diamond” about the movie’s focus on the Leonardo DiCaprio character instead of Djimon Hounsou’s character, who the story revolves around. Queenan also brings up some points about how some Africans see the West’s influence on their communities.

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Making Mali Music

April 20th, 2006 | No Comments | Posted in General, Music

Mali's Ali Farka TouréThe NY Times recently published an excellent article on the Malian music scene and it’s growth beyond it’s borders.

“A Malian music boom that began in the 1990′s, when the soulful vocalist Salif Keita and the singer-guitarist Ali Farka Touré achieved international stardom, has brought an influx of tourists, record producers and aspiring musicians seeking to emulate the stars’ successes. (The news of Mr. Touré’s death on March 6 from cancer resonated around the world.) As a result, Bamako has become a meeting place and incubator for West African talent, and one of the best places on the planet to hear live music.”

This year’s Grammy Awards featured two Malian albums in the Best Traditional World Music Album category. Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabate’s win against fellow Malian Mamadou Diabate for their album In the Heart of the Moon,” goes on to re-enforce the worldwide appeal of the distinct sound and culture Mali continues to produce.

Link courtesy of The In Crowd

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