Vacancies at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

i Jul 27th No Comments by
Africa CDC is in the process of recruiting for the first set of leadership positions. These are exciting opportunities to be part of a team to help develop a strong public health institution in Africa. To learn more about these vacancies and how to visit

Call for Applications: FY17 International Research & Studies program

i Jul 12th No Comments by
The competition for the FY 2017 International Research and Studies (IRS) program will take place June 28-August 14, 2017. This program supports surveys, studies, and development of instructional materials to improve and strengthen instruction in modern foreign languages, area studies, and other international fields.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit the U.S. Department of Education listing here.

Call for Applications: Financial Specialist Senior

i Jul 12th No Comments by
International Academic Programs (IAP) is currently recruiting for a Financial Specialist Senior.

This position is a member of the IAP financial team that includes the Financial Specialist Supervisor and two other Financial Specialists within the unit to maintain financial records and budget tracking systems for the office. The Financial Specialist Senior will process a variety of financial forms, oversee study abroad program budgets, and will assist the office with interpreting financial rules and regulations.

Please see this link for a complete position description and application instructions.


Celebrating Independence Across Africa: YALI Fellows Emerencia Nguarambuka, Marcio Brito, and Omari Mahiza reflect on the meaning of Independence

i Jul 10th No Comments by

Over the 4th of July holiday our 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows joined in the celebration of American independence with a bit of BBQ, baseball, and fireworks. Afterwards, three fellows took a moment to reflect on the commemorations of independence in their home countries and to explain the meaning of these celebrations.

Emerencia Nguarambuka: Celebrating freedom in Namibia on March 21st

Independence is freedom, democracy and growth. It means being able to live peacefully, and coexist in harmony, respect for fellow human beings and fighting for equal rights for all humanity, regardless of sex, creed, race, color, religion, etc. It also means having equal access to resources, closing the inequality and poverty gap.

Independence means a second chance and making use of all opportunities the right way. This is especially important to me because prior to an independent Namibia, we were not allowed education, work, free movement, and so much other social stuff. Now we have a chance to redefine our future, and let our children grow up in a better environment with greater opportunities.

Image submitted by Emerencia Nguarambuka

In Namibia, independence is celebrated on the 21st of March. Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990. We were colonized since the late 19th century. From 1884, Namibia was a German colony known as German South West Africa. After the First World War, South Africa was mandated to administer Namibia as a colony/territory.

To celebrate the holiday, traditional performances and artists provide music and dance throughout the day and after the main event. There are parades by the Defense Force (army), Air Force and the marines, which are inspected by the President and given honors. Previous heroes and heroines are also honored and receive special badges in honor of their role for the fight of independence.

School children also have plays and parades at the Independence Day, which adds more color to the event. At times we also have parachutes as part of the celebrations. The Government will provide small promotional materials such as paper flags and t-shirts to the public for free. Each five year independence (I.e. 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years) is always a bigger celebration held in the capital city Windhoek and the President invites dignitaries and international friends from countries which helped Namibia attain independence.

Image submitted by Emerencia Nguarambuka

WINDHOEK, 22 March 2015 – Young Namibians celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Independence held at Independence Stadium. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

After the big event, other regions can also hold delayed independence celebrations for those people who could not travel all the way to the capital city. Food and entertainment is provided. Normally various Ministers will be assigned to these regions to deliver the President’s independence message.

Free Transport is normally provided to all who want to attend the celebrations in order to attract as many people as possible.

Prior to independence celebrations, all media normally carries news and video articles related to independence, focusing on development in the country, as well as interviewing heroes and heroines who can tell their stories of their time fighting for independence.


Marcio Brito: An independent Cape Verde honors Amilcar Cabral on July 5

Cape Verde received its independence from Portugal on the 5th of July in 1975. On the 4th of July, young people host parties in anticipation of the July 5th holiday, people meet up with family and share meals. There’s also a festival and military parade where the president gives medals to officers. Independence celebrations in Cape Verde are about commemorating the birth of a liberated country. They’re also about celebrating the father of Cape Verde – Amilcar Cabral.

Wall painting honoring Amilcar Cabral

Cabral was born on the 12th of September (another national holiday) in Bafata, Guinea-Bissau and was assassinated in 1973, two years before Cape Verde gained independence. His efforts, along with members of the African Party of Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (P.A.I.G.C.) helped instill dignity in a population who recognized the evident discrimination against them by Portugal, despite the country’s claims that its colonies could “never be separate.”

After the 1974 death of the Portuguese president and dictator and a military coup, the years 1974-1976 marked the independence of the former Portuguese colonies, with Guinea-Bissau being the first nation to receive its independence.

Since its independence, Cape Verde has grown from having a population where 80% of its citizens were unschooled to its current place as a nation with an educated population of 95% gaining access to a basic right that had been denied by the imperial Portuguese powers.

UN Mission in the Cape Verde Islands

Omari Mahiza: From two countries to one independent Tanzania on December 9th

I am from Tanzania. My independence day is on the 9th of December. Before Independence day – before Tanzania – there were two different counties. One is an island, that is Zanzibar and the other one is the mainland, that was called Tanganyika. So these two places came together and together (in 1964) they formed the country now that is known as Tanzania. So, that day these two countries came together – that’s called Union Day. It’s usually on the 26th of April. But, there is another date that is known as Revolution Day, which is celebrated in Zanzibar. They went through a revolution before their independence. This is known as Revolution Day which is on the 12th of January.

Cloth commemorating the life of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. African Studies Collection.

Starting with Independence day, usually there’s a big parade, usually there is an announcement of where the year’s celebration is going to take place so we all know where we need to gather. Usually, it takes place in the National Stadium in Dar el Salaam. Recently it’s been moved around so it can be anywhere, really. People go dressed in flags. You find that all the armed forces are there – the police, army, the navy – everyone will be there. There’ll be a parade, where all those forces pass in front of the president. They salute the president and put on a show for everyone. It’s free, so everyone can attend.

There’s a speech from the president who might wait a whole year to say something specifically for Independence day with regards to workers rights or something which is big. Usually it’s just a celebration of where we’ve been, so we remind ourselves where we were – we got our independence in 1961 from the British. So usually we remind ourselves where we were, where we are right now, and where we want to go.

Fifty-something years after independence I think we’re still struggling with the same things that we were struggling with like fifty years ago. Some of the issues have actually become worse than they were fifty years ago, if you can imagine that. So, what independence means to me, is at least, more freedom of expression these days. I think mostly it means the freedom of expression – people can say I am this – and most of the time not being persecuted. It’s still a challenge, there are certain issues where we are not there yet, but you can see that we are trying. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression is what independence should be.

4th of July Mallards game. Photo by Meagan Doll

Emerencia Nguarambuka (Namibia) is an Executive Assistant to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and does her own charity work in her community by assisting poor, young vulnerable women and children through donations of basic items.

Márcio Brito (Cabo Verde) works in the ‘Rádio e Tecnologias Educativas ‘ RTE’ where he produces and presents a daily program from 8 to 11 o’clock in the morning from Monday to Friday.

Omari Mahiza (Tanzania) is a doctor employed by the government to work at Amana Hospital in the pediatrics department.

A new way to share your Peace Corps experience

i Jul 7th No Comments by
Until the inception of a Peace Corps museum, returned volunteers shared highlights from their experiences abroad on a small, personal, and local level. With the planning of the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience underway, opportunities to share the details of an influential experience have broadened to a national scale.

The museum is still in the planning stages and collection of materials for exhibition are still being prepared. The museum is imagined as the fourth stage of the Peace Corps “lifecycle.”

To read more about the museum and how to be involved, visit this site. 

Tune in to “Her Turn” a program on 89.9 WORT FM

i Jul 2nd No Comments by
In April, Jestina Mukoko, along with, Jolly Okot, presented talks as part of Human Rights in Focus.  The panel was recorded and will air on the radio. Jestina’s segment, entitled “The Dichotomy of Human Rights in Zimbabwe,” is set to air between 11 and 11:30 AM on “Her Turn,” a show on WORT FM.

You can listen live by going to or listen after the fact by going to scrolling to the date (July 9th) and to “Her Turn” so you can download the podcast.

Edit: Listen to Jestina’s talk featured on the Sunday July 9th episode of “Her Turn,” here.


Africa Matters: A Discussion of U.S.-Africa Relations

i Jul 2nd No Comments by
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former assistant secretary of state for Africa and ambassador to Liberia, visited the University of Wisconsin–Madison on June 26 and 27 to meet with participants in the Mandela Washington Fellowship program. Her talk, Africa Matters: A Discussion of U.S.-Africa Relations, was attended by a number of students, faculty, staff, Madison locals, and members of the African diaspora from Madison and Milwaukee.

Along with reminding this year’s Mandela Fellows that they are “Africa’s future,” Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also shared the significance of investing in women’s empowerment on the continent. Despite realities of inequality, injustice, and war, Thomas-Greenfield said this: “The Africa I know and have come to believe in is a continent of vast opportunity and amazing promise.” Her views on Africa, and U.S. relations with the continent, were framed in a hopefulness that she encouraged the audience and fellows to hold on to when thinking of the future of Africa.

To read a full write up on the talk, read Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield calls Mandela Washington Fellows “Africa’s future,” originally posted on the International Division of Wisconsin-Madison site. 

Celebrating Queer Africa

i Jun 25th No Comments by
June is recognized as Pride Month. As celebrations of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay communities ensue around the U.S. and the world, we hope to highlight the intersections of Africanist scholarship, African art, LGBTQ+ Pride, activism and advocacy on the African continent and throughout its diasporas.

In Film

Pearl of Africa (2016) is a documentary about Cleopatra, a scholar, trans woman, and activist from Uganda. The film follows Cleopatra and her fiancé, Nelson, in their daily life and as they eventually make their way out of Uganda. The Transgender Law Center shares that “Cleo & Nelson’s relationship shows something rarely highlighted when talking about transgender people in Uganda.” Along with telling part of Cleo’s story, the film touches on the backlash against LGBTQ activists and community members in the Ugandan government and tabloids.

Pearl of Africa is featured with four other films on okayafrica’s 5 LGBT African Movies to See.

In Art

American-born photographer Mikael Owunna examines how LGBT Africans in the U.S. bridge the gaps between their many identities through fashion. He shares that personal style serves as a way to explore and deconstruct “the myth that one cannot be both LGBT and African.” His series, Limit(less), is inspired, in part, by the work of Zanele Muhole.

This Photo is Copyright © 2017 by Mikael Owunna. All rights reserved.


Zanele Muholi, a Black, lesbian, South African photographer and filmmaker, calls herself a “visual activist.” Though (Cape Town,) South Africa is heralded as the LGBT Capital of Africa, there exists a disconnect between the post-apartheid equality mandated in legislation and the treatment of members of the trans, lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities in South Africa. Muholi explores this and more in her work.

Perhaps best known for documenting trans men and lesbians in her ongoing portraiture series, Faces and Phases, (the project that inspired Owunna), Muholi’s work also explores the tenderness of intimate moments between queer African women offering “a glimpse into the varied experiences, rituals, joys, and hardships of her subjects.”

Eva Mofokeng, Somizy Sincwala, and Katiso Kgope, Parktown, 2014

In Activism

The Injabulo Projects also work to manage the rift between South African laws meant to protect the nation’s LGBTQ citizens and a climate of homophobia and transphobia that leads to bullying. With a focus on youth, the Injabulo Anti-Bullying Project is aimed at providing support for school aged children through workshops, fundraisers, and after-school programs.

I personally claim my full citizenship…I’m basically saying we deserve recognition, respect, validation – Zanele Muholi

In Literature

The celebrated Brunel International African Poetry Prize has showcased, for the first time in its short history, the work of queer African poets. This year’s judges say that “the Prize has always wanted to celebrate LGBTQ poetry, which has finally come to the fore with two poets bravely and powerfully exploring openly queer themes.” These two poets are short-listed Somali-Australian poet Sahro Ali and the 2017 prize winner, Romeo Oriogun, from Nigeria. He was selected for his “beautiful and passionate writing on masculinity and desire in the face of LGBT criminalisation and persecution. Oriogun is the author of an online poetry chapbook, Burnt Men, and has been published and featured on

Cover designed by Danielle Clough

Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction is a Lambda Literary Award winning anthology of “unafraid stories of intimacy, sweat, betrayal and restless confidences.” Queer Africa II is due for publication out of MaThoko Books, a South African publishing imprint committed to sharing the writing of queer African authors.

In a conversation with Zanele Muholi shares the origins of her project Faces and Phases and her words about her own work apply to the great possibilities of valuing queer art and activism in Africa. She says, “We should be counted and certainly counted on to write our own history and validate our existence…so, it’s another way in which I personally claim my full citizenship…I’m basically saying we deserve recognition, respect, validation, and to have publications that mark and trace our existence.”

Edit: UW-Madison’s own LGBT Campus Center serves to offer welcoming spaces for students of color who hold identities across the gender and sexuality spectrum. The LGBTCC is home to a library and hosts frequent events like its bi-monthly peer facilitated discussion group, Rooted. In partnership with the Multicultural Student Center, the LGBTCC prioritizes “racial justice and representation” in its programming and, in an approach unique to Wisconsin, the centers are home to the Crossroads Initiative. Crossroads is a space where “the intersectional realities of students’ lives” can be recognized, addressed, and honored. Along with programming, Crossroads has created and shared a free resource guide.

Course Spotlight: Africa + The Internet

i Jun 23rd No Comments by

Course Description

Africa, the continent with the world’s most concentrated poverty, has been the highest adopter of mobile technology for the past 10 years. Africa’s Internet, though hardly reliable, is the world’s primary “mobile first” network, and so leads innovation in ways that are typically ahead of tech development in the U.S. Why is this the case? This upper level course surveys the past 20 years of digital technology on the continent as a whole. Readings also include case study research of micro-tech practices (pinging, social video and mobile money transfer, etc.) as well as political and social use of new media (Arab/African Spring, #bringbackourgirls). Information Technology and Development are key areas of focus in this course, as well as broader social anthropology of Africa. Sites of interest include Anglophone Africa, but also broader African digital publics and events: Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and more. Students will be encouraged to think critically about their own technology use, and also develop tools that may be useful for Africa’s media ecology. The coursework includes readings and critical online responses. Students are expected to write 1 major term paper and produce 1 major tech project/prototype. Prior knowledge of coding or Web development is not required.

Enrollment Details

Africa 405: Africa + the Internet: An Introduction to Digital Life on the Continent
Meeting Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30 – 3:45 PM
3 credits

About the Instructor

Dr. Reginold Royston is jointly-appointed in the School of Information (formerly SLIS) and the Department of African Cultural Studies. Dr. Royston’s research interests include New Media and innovation in the African Diaspora. He does ethnographic research in Ghana, the U.S., and the Netherlands, examining Ghana’s digital diaspora. As a researcher, developer and professor of information and technology studies, Dr. Royston has produced and designed dozens of new media apps and campaigns with students and collaborators. Dr. Royston worked for 15 years as a reporter, graphics designer, and cultural critic for Knight Ridder, Village Voice Media, and National He has been active in community organizations in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Oakland, CA.

Call for Applications: Graduate Project Assistantships in International Studies Administration

i Jun 19th No Comments by
The Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), a unit in the UW-Madison International Division, anticipates multiple openings for graduate student project assistants for the duration of the 2017-18 academic year.

Project Assistants will be based in IRIS but some will be assigned, for one semester or two, to one of the regional centers that make up IRIS. All appointments will be at 50 percent and require 20 hours of work per week, with compensation at the standard 50 percent PA level and full tuition remission and other assistantship benefits.

Please assemble these three documents in a single pdf, with your full name as the file name, and attach the pdf to an email message to The subject of the email message should be “2017-18 PA Application.” The message need not have any content beyond, “Here is my application for a project assistantship in international studies administration.”

For full consideration, please apply before 10am on Monday, July 3, 2017. Questions about the assistantships may also be addressed to the email address above. To learn more about the assistantships and application process, visit the IRIS blog.