Your Friday African Round-Up

Democracy in Africa has constructed a tremendous resource for anyone interested in learning more about African political economy.  It is called “Decolonising the University: The African Politics Reading List” and contains many interesting sub-sections, including: African Political Thought, Pre-colonial Politics, Slavery and the Role of Traditional leaders,  the Politics of Ethnicity, the Politics of Religion, Agricultural Politics and Land Reform, amongst many others.

In other news, in what I would like to call “How is this Artist Still Alive?”, a Zimbabwean artist has created a statue of President Mugabe that has drawn widespread ridicule.  When I first saw the piece, I thought this artist better be on the lam.  But, no, the only person who seems to like the art (and thank goodness for that for the artist) is Mugabe himself.  Feast your eyes:

mugabe

 

 

Irony overload, China edition

This news piece on China is almost stranger than fiction.

First, a gigantic (121 feet tall), gold plated statue of Mao appears in the empty farm fields of Henan.  This is terrifying and bizarre in itself. Imagine seeing this every morning on the way to farm your crops:

mao_yikes

Second, what a spectacular waste of money.  Who in the world, besides a corrupt government, would spend almost a half a million dollars on such a monstrosity?  It’s so bad that I think we should rename the term “white elephant” to “gold Mao”.

The AFP reports that it was local entrepreneurs!  Seriously.  This is funny in a couple of different ways: (a) how did said local entrepreneurs make so much money if this is the way they think is a good way to spend it; (b) Henan is the “the centre of a famine in the late 1950s resulting from Mao’s economic policies estimated to have killed as many as 40 million people.”  Hmm, maybe the entrepreneurs are trolling the Chinese public?

Lastly, the Chinese government just decided to demolish the statue and the reasoning is awesome:  “Mao’s likeness was not registered or approved” by the local government.  It took 9 months to build the frickin monstrosity!  You think the local government might have made their decision before now.  Obviously we are not getting the full story but I’d love to hear it.  Sounds like a good one.