Links I liked

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Sockhna #3 (2015), Vincent Michéa. Check out the rest of his gorgeous Senegalese portraits at True Africa

  • The bridge to Sodom & Gomorrah — beautifully written article about daily life in one of the largest informal settlements in Accra, by Yepoka Yeebo
  • Selam Gebrekidan has a gripping article on the extended family networks used to pay smugglers bringing Eritrean refugees to Europe.  An underdiscussed aspect of the refugee crisis is the degree to which it’s facilitated by mobile phones, for both communication and money transfers
  • Liberia has outsourced its entire primary education system to an American company.  I’m of two minds on this.  Public education is a phenomenal achievement, in historical perspective, and I’m hesitant to embrace wholesale privatization.  On the other hand, Liberia’s system is performing so poorly at the moment that private providers probably can’t be worse than the current public standard.  It could be a good opportunity for innovation
  • No street address? No problem! A Nigerian startup promises delivery of packages from major retailers and shipping services anywhere in Lagos in less than three hours
  • My favorite new African newsletter is This Week in Africa, run by Jeff Paller and Philip Dube
  • Video of the week: I can’t stop watching Major Lazer’s stunning new video for Light It Up.  Endlessly danceable song, stunning visuals from southern Ghana, cameo from poet Kwado Nkita-Mayala – a clear early candidate for best video of the year

Rift Valley Institute courses still accepting applications

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The Rift Valley Institute’s summer courses on the Horn of Africa, the Sudans, and the Great Lakes region are starting very soon, but according to their Twitter feed applications are still being accepted.   I’d recommend the courses for anyone who is interested in these regions.  I took the Great Lakes course in 2012, and was very impressed by the group of scholars, journalists and human rights activists from within the region and beyond who led it.

Here are the dates and syllabus (PDF) for each course.

  • Horn of Africa: Nairobi, 31 May – 7 June. Syllabus
  • Sudan & South Sudan: Nairobi, 14 – 20 June.  Syllabus
  • Great Lakes: Bujumbura, 28 June – 5 July.  Syllabus