Midnight's Children: Hope springs anew with Zimbabwean newborns

The Christian Science Monitor | December 5, 2017

Around 8 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2017, Moreblessing Mutsakani gave birth to her daughter Meryl, tiny and wailing and perfect. “She came a week early,” her mother says. “Like there was something she didn’t want to miss.”

Three hours later, at a hospital across town, in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, Aleeya Nokutenda Garakara was born. 

And then, at 5:41 p.m. on the evening of the two baby girls’ first day of life, the news came from parliament. After 37 years, seven months, and three days as the leader of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe had resigned.

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How Ghana's Gory, Gaudy Movie Posters Became High Art

The Atlantic Online | February 4, 2016

When Frank Armah began painting posters for Ghanaian movie theaters in the mid-1980s, he was given a clear mandate: Sell as many tickets as possible. If the movie was gory, the poster should be gorier (skulls, blood, skulls dripping blood). If it was sexy, make the poster sexier (breasts, lots of them, ideally at least watermelon-sized). And when in doubt, throw in a fish. Or don’t you remember the human-sized red fish lunging for James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me?

“The goal was to get people excited, curious, to make them want to see more,” he says. And if the movie they saw ended up surprisingly light on man-eating fish and giant breasts? So be it. “Often we hadn’t even seen the movies, so these posters were based on our imaginations,” he says. “Sometimes the poster ended up speaking louder than the movie.”

 

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56 Miles of Freedom

Runners World | October 30, 2017

In the United States, ultramarathoners are, by reputation and reality, a very specific kind of runner—and a very specific kind of person. It’s a Trader Joe’s-loving, national park-vacationing, Subaru-driving kind of crowd, white collar and just plain white. (One 2013 survey of American ultrarunners found that less than .1 percent were black.)

In South Africa, ultrarunning may be an oddball pursuit, but it’s a far more mainstream kind of oddball. In a country where race and class still cleave society in painful and obvious ways, distance running is a rare experience that seems to transcend both. And at the root of why is one hellishly hilly, 56-mile footrace, the world's largest ultramarathon: The Comrades. 

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See more: on the rise of Africa's largest homegrown humanitarian organization, on the shipping containers left behind in Africa and how shipping containers left Africa behind, on the coming of South Africa's first Catholic saint, on the Nigerian evangelical missionaries fanning out around the world, and on South Africa's first black astronomer.