Ebola's Shunned Heroes: The Women Bringing up the Bodies in Sierra Leone

Newsweek | August 17, 2016

Between 7 and 8 percent of the couple of thousand workers in Sierra Leone’s Ebola burial teams were women, according to the Red Cross and Concern Worldwide, two of the major nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that employed them. (The Sierra Leonean government didn’t keep any official statistics on this, but so invisible was their presence that many people here still refer to burial crews—those anonymous figures in puffy white protective gear who became the outbreak’s macabre mascots—as the “burial boys.”)

“Taking that job went against tradition,” says Fatmata Jalloh, a woman in her 40s who helped bury the dead in Kailahun. Carrying bodies, hauling them into graves—“people told me this wasn’t a job that a woman should do.”

Tommy Trenchard / Alamy

Tommy Trenchard / Alamy


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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What's in a Name? For this Namibian Town, it's all About Colonial History

The Christian Science Monitor | March 18, 2016

The trouble started three years ago, when then-Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba announced that the seaside town’s name would be changed from Lüderitz – after nineteenth century German colonial explorer Adolf Lüderitz – back to !Nami#nus, an indigenous Nama-language term for the area. 

Instantly, this sleepy town of 12,000 transformed into a dramatic new front in a long-simmering war that stretches across southern Africa, over whether or not colonialism should be literally wiped off the face of the map.

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