Monday, May 4, 2015

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Podcast: La Françafrique, Nigerians in Space, and Gay Rights in Uganda

In this week's podcast, we talk about France's ongoing influence and military role in its former African colonies, Nigeria's ambitious space programme, and gay rights in Uganda.

For more on La Françafrique...

Stephen Smith looks back over the life and legacy of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the Ivory Coast's first president and one of France's closest allies after decolonisation.

Benedict Erforth examines the recent Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa held in Paris and questions how much France's approach to its former colonies has changed recently, if at all. Along with George Deffner, Erforth also looks at France's justifications for its intervention in Mali in 2012 and considers whether its underlying motivations for deploying troops in Africa once again are really all that different to before. 

Ayoola Alabi looks at the future of, and challenges to, one of France's deepest cultural legacies on the continent: the French language

Jamie Pickering takes a look at the ongoing French investigation into the allegedly ill-gotten gains of Central African rulers and asks why a multimillion dollar clock might mean time is up for Françafrique.

Gary Busch argues that France still maintains a tight control on the currency markets and reserves of its former colonies, leaving Francophone Africa highly vulnerable to French fiscal policy.

For more on Nigeria's space programme...

See Nigeria's National Space Research & Development Agency's (NASRDA) website.

International Business Times takes a look into Nigeria's space programme.

For some shots of the space programme, see the VOA's short video.

And The New Scientist checks out how Nigeria has been using its satellites.

For more on gay rights in Africa...

Is homosexuality really un-African as many presidents and pastors argue? Aarti Divani outlines Africa's history of same-sex relationships and explains how anti-homosexual legislation is a legacy of colonialism.

Caroline Kateeba interviews the director of Call Me Kuchu, an award-winning documentary about gay rights activists in Uganda.

A range of experts (and US anti-gay pastor Scott Lively) explain their position on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Pete Jones steps behind the curtain of Uganda's anti-gay politics and argues that there are hidden agendas behind politicians' anti-homosexuality rhetoric.

This theme is picked up by James Schneider in relation to Nigeria's recent passing of anti-gay legislation, a move which seems to be a political distraction tactic as much as anything else.

Valérie Bah hangs out with some of Africa's 'invisible' gay activists in Kinshasa, finding that a lack of street protests does not mean mobilisation amongst LGBT communities is not happening.

And James Wan asks how homophobia can be combated in the long-term and wonders if subtle cultural shifts − such as the inclusion of a gay character in a popular teen drama − are the answer.

On this week's podcast we heard from...

Xavier Chatel, Press Counsellor and Spokesperson for the Embassy of France in the UK. Follow the embassy on twitter @FranceintheUK.

Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Follow him on twitter @frankmugisha.

Sam Piranty, journalist and film maker. Follow him on twitter @sampiranty.

James Schneider, editor-in-chief at Think Africa Press. Follow him on twitter @schneiderhome.

James Wan, senior editor at Think Africa Press. Follow him on twitter @jamesjwan.

Lagun Akinloye, Nigeria analyst at Think Africa Press. Follow him on twitter @l_akinloye.

This podcast was recorded at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) studio.

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