Author Archives: Nadia

The Personal is indeed, the political

The Personal is indeed, the political

I always welcome BLF end of year reflections; they provide an opportunity for me to take stock of my year and seriously ponder about what I have learned or contributed either in BLF conversations or in other spaces I occupy.

This, my first year off the BLF editorial team, I have surprisingly realised that my ‘lesson for the year’, so-to-speak, comes directly from the platform, particularly from the last quarter’s blog theme.

The theme, which was entitled “Love, Sex and Gender in the Post-Colony”, basically lumped together all the sensitive “personal” aspects of our day to day lives that more often than not are taboo in our societies. Gender, Sexuality, Love and all those personal aspects that we tend to see as separate from theory, politics and political agency. Often, these issues are relegated to your varying feminist/LGBTI/”hippy” advocates and activists, who we tend to think of as free-spirited people walking around in ‘love thy neighbour’ or ‘child of the universe’ t-shirts and of course hold a rally on just about anything.

 I must admit that I was guilty of the same thinking, placing anything relating to the topic into a special sphere of its own, almost as if it did not exist, or even if it did, did not exist for me – or for scholars and theorists who were busy with the ‘more serious things in life’: a drought here, a war there, another calamity in some remote part of the continent, an ailing government somewhere else, human rights issues to the left, and oppression to the right.

It’s been quite the experience reading each weekly submission and discovering something new—and often times learning a whole new language of articulation.

In sum, connecting the dots, and seeing the intricate links between the personal and the political has completely changed my worldview and my approach to those issues I tended to see as personal and thus apolitical in the past. I end this year on a rather humbling note realising that my silence on the various issues around gender and sexuality for example has indeed been complicity, and looking for new ways in which I can stretch my thinking into issues I’ve often put last.

“Ignorance is your first jail – Educate yourself, change yourself, change the world” Tariq Ramadan

My Mother and conversations about education

My Mother and conversations about education

Tweet I remember my mother being on the cover of a USAID calendar used for an education for girls awareness campaign. It hangs somewhere in our house and is a constant reminder to follow in her footsteps and her example to us and the community we come from, which has some of the lowest ratesContinue Reading

On the silence of our heroes about women – a complex relationship

On the silence of our heroes about women – a complex relationship

Tweet By: Nadia Ahmadou* The state of the post-colony continues to be the subject of many debates in contemporary African politics and philosophy. We talk incessantly – almost in circles, really – about the negative impact of colonisation and about how the essence of all things African was shaken, interrupted, ruptured and often completely erasedContinue Reading

Dr. Mamphela Ramphele: Fit for a politician’s hat?

Dr. Mamphela Ramphele: Fit for a politician’s hat?

Tweet By: Nadia Ahmadou* Everyone who knows anything about political movements in Africa has, at some point or the other, come across this name: Dr. Mamphela Ramphele. She has been involved in South African politics from the early 1970s through the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). Dr. Ramphele was part of an instrumental campaign by BCM thatContinue Reading

Growing Seeds

Growing Seeds

Tweet By Nadia Ahmadou* It’s hard to believe it’s been already a year since my last BLF reflection on the passion  required to make it through the final stretch of an MA. The last year has gone by rather quickly, and I find myself transitioning once again. The difference this time, is that I’m transitioningContinue Reading

Innocence of Muslims, Protests and All things anti-Islam

Innocence of Muslims, Protests and All things anti-Islam

Tweet Anyone not living under a rock must have come across news reports, articles and videos about the 14 minute trailer to the film: Innocence of Muslims[1]. News headlines and reports have not only covered the controversy around the film and its release, but have debated on the link between this movie and the sparkContinue Reading

Driving licenses as a case study of African Corruption and opportunity for leadership

Driving licenses as a case study of African Corruption and opportunity for leadership

Tweet Every year in any given bustling city on the African continent, a myriad people stand in endless queues in several ministries, city councils and other government offices to obtain driving licenses, permits of all sorts, certification of documents and so on and so forth. Should one be unable to adequately pass the required testsContinue Reading

Being African in the 21st Century

Being African in the 21st Century

Tweet It’s interesting, this word ‘African’. The images and representations that pop up in one’s mind when one hears it. Reads it. Or thinks about it. I know what I think when I think about being African, but I’ve always wondered if others shared the same ideas. It’s funny, when you meet people in theContinue Reading

Library, Coffee and Passion

Tweet Choosing to study further, at Masters level is rarely complicated at the beginning. While you’re busy with your coursework, presentations, and seminar papers, you tend to forget that at the end of it all, you have to submit something, on some topic or other that may or may not advance the cause of academia,Continue Reading

A Fula in the City: Redefining ‘authentic’ African culture

Tweet I was once sitting in a lecture on Africa and the discussion, as it is often wont does during sessions/discussions on Africa turned to culture and the importance of its preservation and respect and so on and so forth. Different opinions were coming out across the room, and everyone seemed to think they wereContinue Reading