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Documentary ‘Too Black To Be French’ Wants to Start an Honest Conversation on Race in France

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary "Too black to be French"

Screen capture of the trailer of the documentary “Too black to Be French”

Too Black to Be French” is a documentary made by Isabelle Boni-Claverie, a French-Ivorian writer and filmmaker. Boni-Claverie's goal is to provide unexplored ideas and start a conversation on French society's inequalities and discrimination.

The documentary includes commentary and analyses from renowned Francophone thinkers such as Eric Fassin, Pap Ndiaye, Achille Mbembe, Patrick Simon and Eric Chalaye, along with testimonies from anonymous people of color. Some of the main arguments in the documentary are the conspicuous lack of minorities in the public media sphere, the lack of acknowledgment of colonial history in the fabric of the nation and the absence of quantitative data on discrimination at the workplace.

The documentary ignited a trending hashtag #TuSaisQueTesNoirEnFranceQuand (Translation: You know you are black in France when…) on Francophone social media.

Online Networks Help Relief Flood-Plagued Côte d'Ivoire

Abidjan and other regions of Côte d'Ivoire have been plagued by heavy downpour and floods for the past weeks [fr]. Local residents got organized on social networks to bring relief to stranded citizens. On twitter and facebook, #CIVSOCIAL is the hashtag for emergency humanitarian reliefs. It was created in 2011 in the aftermath of the post-electoral crisis. The hashtag was revived again as floods marred Abidjan and the rest of the country. The facebook page CIVSOCIAL has collected images, videos and testimonies as well as calls for donations for each afflicted borough.  Here is a video of one of the flooded borough :

A 80 Year-long Wait: Niger Gets its First Train Station

On April 7, Niger inaugurated in the capital Niamey its first train station ever [fr]. The authorities already projected the construction of the train station 80 years ago but the project never took off. The event will kick start the construction of railroads between Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. Twitter user Tanoussou in Niamey posted a photo of the train station :

 

Job Market Trends in the Mobile Phone Industry of Côte d'Ivoire

Alain François Loukou, a research fellow and teacher at the Alassane Ouattara University in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire, wrote an extensive report on the evolution of IT in Côte d'Ivoire [fr]. He shares the following table on the recent evolution of the mobile phone market in his country in terms of mobile penetration, jobs, turnover and investment [fr]: 

Job market in mobile phone industry in  Côte d'Ivoire - Public Domain

Job market in mobile phone industry in Côte d'Ivoire – Public Domain

  

French Strategical Report to Counter China's Economic Influence in Africa

Top Francophone economists & diplomats (namely H El-Karoui from Morocco, T Thiam from Côte d'Ivoire,  L Zinsou from Benin, J-M Severino and H Vedrine from France) submitted a joint report [fr] that outlines the strategy that France should implement to remain competitive on the African Market in the near future. Joel Té-Léssia highlights 15 key points [fr] from the report, one of which is to do away with the “Zone Franc” policy and to allow the regional currency to fluctuate with respect to the Euros. Té-Léssia also underlines the fact that the report is clearly devised to counter  growing influence of China and other emerging nations in the Africa continent. Africa economic growth is projected at 5.2 % in 2014. 

 Six special economic zones setup by the PRC in four African countries on wikipedia CC-BY-2.0

Six special economic zones setup by the PRC in four African countries on wikipedia CC-BY-2.0

The FIRE Awards Winners for Internet Development in Africa

The FIRE programme awards, an initiative of AFRINIC, acknowledge the actors from the African region who strive to provide solutions to internet development for the African Continent. The 2013 FIRE Awards Winners are : 

Below is the presentation of the MEWC initiative :

The Influence of Francophone Africa on the French Language

The news site Afrik.com features an article on the way in which African slang has influenced the French language [fr], and informs us that Verlan is no longer a preferred language of rappers :

For a long time, there have been certain words, such as [Arabic greetings] “Salam alaykum” or “hamdu’llah”, which everyone could understand, even though they are not part of the French language. Nowadays, we are witnessing a new wave of words of African origin (black and Maghreb, among others), which fit well into the language spoken by many young people, whether they are originally from Africa or from Europe. As surprising as it may seem, this “enrichment” comes from the “bzèze” (breasts) of their mothers. Since most of them incorporate words spoken in the mother language of their parents.

For example, Ivorians have invented a slang called Nouchi [fr]. On his blog, Behem writes in his article “Top 10 most-common expressions in Nouchi” [fr] :

This is a common language created in the 1980s, which is based on French, incorporating parts of the many vernacular languages found in our country. Poorly-educated youths in Abidjan, who had not learned French well, had to invent a language which incorporated their various dialects. So, this language was associated with the image of juvenile delinquents. This can be seen in its etymology:  The word “nou”, in the language of the Malinké ethnic group, in the north part of Côte d’Ivoire, means “the nose”. Meanwhile, the word “chi” means “hair”. The conjunction “Nouchi” means “moustache”, in reference to moustachioed thugs whom everyone was afraid of. Today, in Abidjan, “Nouchi” still means “a thug”.

For a long time, Nouchi was the preserve of street children, but later it managed to expand its presence, to the point that it is spoken today by all segments of the population. The President of the Republic himself is no exception. Nouchi has also been exported abroad, thanks to Ivorian Zouglou music, and thus it has reached the entire world.

News Websites Indicted over Land Grab Report

News Websites Rue89 and Basta Mag are indicted [fr] following charges by French investment and industrial holding group Bolloré over a report in which they implicate Bolloré [fr] in land grab activities [fr] in Africa. The report lists the group's  activities in Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Politis, a weekly analysis website, reacted to the news on twitter :

 

Freedom of Press : Basta ! and Rue89 are indicted following charges by Bolloré Group : Our friends at Basta…

Rue89 is a partner of Global Voices en Français.

African Presidents Active on Social Media

Dapa Arnaud gives a list of the 10 most active african presidents [fr] on social media. At the top of the list is  president Paul Kagame in Rwanda:

In place since 2003, the president of Rwanda is the most active on the internet.  According to the Ecofin agency, Paul Kagame interacts with many users on Twitter through his account @PaulKagame. His personal website named “The Journey Continues, Dukomeze Imihigo” is also one of the most visited websites in the country. His presence is also quite strong on other social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Flickr or YouTube.

Ivorian Bloggers Under Arrest for Allegedly Interfering with Disaster Recovery While Trying to Help

@diabyMohamed: #drameplateau I have just been arrested by the police for our citizen action to provide helping hand to victims in cote d'ivoire…
with @cyriacgbogou who spent the night at the police crime unit of plateau

Humanitarian bloggers Mohamed Diaby and Cyriac Gbogou wrote on twitter that they were put under arrest on January 4th for allegedly interfering with disaster recovery and fraud attempt while trying to help organize support for the victims of the stampede on new year day in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

The First Edition of the Africa Web Festival Will Kick Off in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Logo Africa web festivalThe first Africa Web Festival will take place in Abidjan, Côte D'Ivoire (November 24-26).  The festival will give the opportunity to any designers in Africa to participate in a contest (registrations are open until October 12)

Vous êtes journalistes, développeurs, producteurs de web tv, de web radio ; vous êtes créateurs et innovateurs et avez une idée ou un projet en tête? Inscrivez-vous au premier Africa Web Festival dans l’une des six catégories de compétition : documentaire, tourisme, fiction, animation, éducation, publicité et tourisme.
 
L’Africa Web Festival est également une plateforme d’échanges entre experts, passionnés et novices du monde entier, qui fera l’état des avancées actuelles dans le domaine du numérique et animera le débat sur la planète numérique : ses espoirs, ses enjeux et les défis auxquels l’Afrique est exposée, afin que le continent prenne sa place dans la nouvelle planète numérique.

Are you a journalist, a web developer, a web tv or podcast producer? Are you creative, innovative and have an idea or a project in mind? Join the first Web Africa Festival in one of the six competition categories: documentary, tourism, fiction, entertainment, education, advertising and tourism. The Africa Festival Web is a platform for exchanges between experts, web enthusiasts and novices from around the world, where the current state of the affairs in the field of web development will be discussed. It will also be the place to debate on the hopes and challenges of internet in Africa,  so that the continent can take its rightful place in the digital world.

 

Reasons to Cheer for the Ivory Coast in the World Cup

CostadeMarfil

Ivory Coast's national team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Image from Flickr user Merah Chhaya. CC BY 2.0.

On the website LaMula.pe, Juan Carlos Urtecho explains his reasons for supporting the Ivory Coast in the World Cup match with Colombia on Thursday, June 19:

Desde que les ganaron a Japón en su debut, los marfileños se han vuelto mis preferidos en este mundial. […] Uno escoge a sus engreídos de la manera más simple. Costa de Marfil, ubicado en la costa occidental de África, con un PBI de 19 mil millones de euros y un per cápita de 967 euros es el tercer país más pobre de los que están en el mundial después de Honduras y Bosnia. La economía de Japón (PBI de 5 billones de euros y 30 mil per cápita) es la segunda detrás de Estados Unidos. Costa de Marfil es un país que intenta recuperarse de una sangrienta guerra civil que dejó a decenas de miles de muertos y cientos de miles de desplazados entre el 2002 y el 2007. Japón, es… bueno, Japón.

From the moment they defeated Japan in their debut, the Ivorians became my favorite team in this World Cup. […] You choose the spoiled ones via the simplest way. Ivory Coast, located in West Africa, with a GDP of 19 million euros and a per capita of 967 euros is the third poorest country that takes part in the World Cup, after Honduras and Bosnia. Japan's economy (GDP 5 billion euros and 30 million per capita) is the second after the United States. Ivory Coast is a country struggling to recover after a bloody civil war that resulted in ten of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced between 2002 and 2007. Japan, is… well, it's Japan.

Château-Rouge: A Prominent African Food Market in Paris

Market in Chateau-Rouge, Paris by Zanbard on Flickr via CC-BY-NC

Market in Chateau-Rouge, Paris by Zanbard on Flickr via CC-BY-NC

In order to find ingredients for African cuisine in Paris, the go-to place is still the Château-Rouge area located in the 18th District, specifically in the Rue Dejean street market [fr] that operates every day except Monday. The African Expatriate explains why the market is such a draw for many shoppers :

Visiting this predominantly African neighborhood in Paris, is like stepping right into Congo Market in Freetown, Serrekunda Market in Banjul, Sandaga Market in Dakar, Adjame Market in Abidjan. Your eyes will instantly take in the colorful array of fresh food produces lined haphazardly along the streets [..] all in all you would love it, for it would surely transport you back to a typical market day in Africa.

Metro Politics points out that gentrification has had an impact on the local market:

The extraordinary density of business activities in the neighbourhood masks large-scale daily mobility flows that connect it to other residential and commercial spaces, and which extend beyond the metropolitan area.   67% [of surveyed shoppers] said they did not live in the neighbourhood. These non-residents share certain characteristics: over 70% of them were born outside mainland France, of which half in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Do You Speak Nouchi? Ivorian Politicians Would Like to Know

What is Nouchi [fr]? Let's start with what it is not: it is not Creole and it is not a dialect. Nouchi is a coded language that originated in the 70's on the streets of Abidjan, the capital city of Côte d'Ivoire. It's a mix of French language and West African idioms. The purpose of the coded language was to protect communication between street hustlers away from the police forces. The language has grown and evolve so rapidly that many Ivorian politicians have incorporated [fr] some of the most popular expressions in their speeches. Here is a video of the Ivorian president Ouattara speaking Nouchi [fr]:

Blogger Behem from Abidjan lists the top 10 most-used expressions in Nouchi. Here are his top two [fr] :

1) Ya Foye : Foye signifiant Rien en Malinké, Ya Foye veut tout simplement dire « Il n’y Rien » dans le sens de « Rien à Signaler » « Tout va bien ». [..]
2) Etre enjaillé : Etre enjaillé de quelque chose signifie « Aimer » cette chose. On peut être enjaillé d’une musique, d’une petite go (Jeune demoiselle), d’une situation.

1) Ya Foye: Foye means Nothing in Malinke language,  Ya Foye simply means “There is nothing new”,  “Nothing to report” or “Everything is fine.” [..]
2) Being enjaillé: Being enjaillé with something means “being love” with something. One can be “enjaillé” with a music, a Go (a young lady in Nouchi) or a situation.

Massive Railway Project between Niamey and Cotonou Underway

A 1,500 km-long railway project between Niamey, the capital city of Niger and Cotonou, the capital city of Benin has been green lighted by the authorities of the two countries and construction will begin on March 2014 [fr].  Francois Ndiaye in Niamey unpacks the set up of the financial agreement [fr] that includes multiple stakeholders and will be overseen by the investment group Bolloré [fr]. Benoît ILLASSA in Cotonou wonders why private investing groups from either Niger or Cotonou were not selected to pilot such projects. The projected budget  is set at 100 billions CFA (about 2 billions USD).  The railway should extend in the future to three other capital cities of the west african region : Abidjan, Ouagadougou and Lomé.  

Gift from French Investing Group Bolloré to Ivorian University Stirs Controversy

French investing group Bolloré [fr] made a donation of 6 electric buses to the University of Felix Houphouët Boigny at Cocody in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The first two buses were delivered on October 16 under great scrutiny from the Ivorian press and social media. In fact, the donation stirred a major controversy over the cost of the project, 1.2 billions CFA francs (about $2.5 million USD) and the putative agenda behind the “generous gift”.  Ivorian blogger Yehnidjidji wrote a blog post that summarizes all the reactions [fr] to the project and various comments on social networks.

Tchip: The “Shaking My Head” Meme from Africa

Nadéra Bouazza explains what being “tchippée” [fr] means for french speaking black communities. Tchip is the sound one makes when he/she disapproves of the behavior/action of someone else (roughly similar to the “shaking my head” internet slang). The “Tchip” sound is used across most black communities and has become an internet meme:

Will Smith as the animated illustration of the sound "Tchip" by the blog La Tchipie - Public Domain

Will Smith as the animated illustration of the sound “Tchip” by the blog La Tchipie – Public Domain

 

Delestron, the Supervillain that Embodies Blackouts in Côte d'Ivoire

Ivorian citizens have created a cartoon character named Délestron (délestage means blackouts in french). Delestron has also its own facebook page which has gather more than 5,000 fans since its creation in March of 2013.  Ivorian twitter user Lord225 posted a picture from his account:

Yesterday, Delestron delivered a major strike again. A masterful one indeed.

Côte d'Ivoire's ‘Elephants’ Doomed?

What if the football history of Côte d'Ivoire was doomed in a particularly strange way? A story written in such a way that superstars cannot ever put their hands on the continental trophy ? What exactly do Didier Drogba and Laurent Poku lack to win a Africa Cup? They are both talented [..] but they fail where other less talented players have found success.

(more…)

Struggling to Make Sense of the Deadly Stampede on New Year Day in Abidjan

Tree trunks laying on the road seem to have triggered the stampede that killed 60 and injured 49 during a new year celebration in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. The fact that the area was not adequately lighted may have contributed to the terrible tragedy.

Israel Yoroba in Abidjan reports on a lethal stampede [fr] as people gathered to watch fireworks at the Plateau district to ring in the new year. A hashtag #drameplateau was set up to give real time updates and on how one can help the victims. This is the third disaster of this kind since 2009 [fr] in Côte d'Ivoire.

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