Chris Abani

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Pick up any academic or popular publication that deals with urban life in Africa and be prepared to be overrun by caricature, hyperbole, stereotypes and moralistic hogwash. Urban Africans are either bravely en route to empowering themselves to attain sustainable livelihoods or the debased perpetrators of the most unimaginable acts of misanthropy. Explanations for these one-dimensional distortions vary from historical path dependency perspectives, to the vagaries of the peddlers of neoliberal globalisation agendas, or to the glorious agency of digni ed actors who persist with their backs straight, chin up despite the cruelties bestowed by governmental neglect and economic malice. ...
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The second installment of the Reader is centered on the theme ‘Mobilities and Fixtures’. In this issue Sean O’Toole interviews architect David Adjaye about African cityscapes, snapshot photography and failed utopias; Victor Lavalle uncovers the making of mercenaries in Uganda; Martin Kimani follows the African visa-seeker in the tragi-comedy that is the post 9/11 airport; Sherif El-Azma explores Cairo by foot; MADEYOULOOK and Santu Mofokeng imagine the didactic possibilities of trains; Manu Herbstein documents the ‘car-doctors’ of Accra; Chris Abani discovers the African city of Las Vegas; and Michael Watts examines oil cities.

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