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Pernille Baerendtsen

I've written for Global Voices since about 2008. Mainly on issues related to East Africa and South Sudan.

​I have an MA in African Studies from University of Copenhagen. Currently, I'm a PhD fellow at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) studying everyday humanitarianism and how it is applied in a refugee-hosting community in Tanzania.

I have lived and travelled extensively in the Balkans and in East Africa in connection with work spread out over 20 years in development, media and activism.

Email Pernille Baerendtsen

Latest posts by Pernille Baerendtsen

An earthquake shook Tanzania. A new law prohibits citizens from speaking about it online.

Revised online content regulations in Tanzania prohibit talking about pandemics, natural disasters or politics without government approval. Is it possible to control essential online conversations? If so, at what cost? 

Truck drivers blamed for spread of COVID-19 in East Africa

Truck drivers in East Africa face an onslaught of new COVID-19 mandates and restrictions in borders towns — causing confusion, fear, endless traffic queues, protests and disrupted trade.

Musicians in East Africa rush to produce ‘corona’ songs — even as the industry falters

As COVID-19 sweeps through Africa, musicians have taken a hit with canceled concerts, festivals, tours and interrupted studio time. Yet, they have risen to the challenge by composing catchy tunes.

Tanzania tackles COVID-19 with strict measures to slow the spread

In the wake of six confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tanzania, the government has taken strict measures to slow the spread. But messaging and communication around preventative measures remains a challenge.

New York Times ad for Nairobi bureau chief riddled with clichés about Africa

The NYT’s language to describe their ideal Nairobi bureau chief reignited the debate on Western media's perpetual use of tired clichés and tropes about Africa.

Social media goes blue for Sudan

"My people can not die in vain, cannot die in silence." Social media users turn their profiles blue in solidarity with Sudanese protesters calling for civilian rule in Sudan.

Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, who taught the world ‘how to write about Africa,’ dies at 48

"There is only one Binyavanga Wainaina. He is an ancestor now. Let us celebrate his life." The world mourns the loss and honors the prolific life of Kenya's leading writer.

An owl refuses to leave Tanzanian parliament. What does it all mean?

The owl appeared while legislators were signing a controversial amendment limiting opposition voices in Tanzania. Could the owl be an omen signaling the death of democracy in Tanzania?

South Sudanese singer Nyaruach calls out ‘boring man with no plan’ in feminist hit

"You are such a bastard guy, I just want to say goodbye. May God bless you where you are. You boring man with no plan. With no plan!"

Tanzania's stance on homosexuality points to an increasingly repressive political agenda

Even if Tanzania sorts out its mixed messages on homosexuality and human rights — there are other challenges keeping the foreign affairs minister up at night.

Leading independent websites go dark as Tanzania’s ‘blogger tax’ deadline approaches

"It is not only a self-censorship license but a way to become the state's tool to censor others (contributors) civic right to express."

Will Tanzanian Bloggers Pay Up or Push Back Against ‘Blogger Tax'?

In Tanzania, where media historically holds strong ties to government interests, blogging opened up possibilities for individuals to establish private news outlets that proved immensely powerful.

As Leaders Step Down, a Cautious Hope Rises on the African Continent

After the resignation of Zuma and Desalegn, "the mood on the continent is one of hope, on the one hand, and of palpable restraint and scepticism on the other."

Even the Best Dancer Leaves the Dance Floor: African Strongmen and Political Transition

"The fear of challenging leaders who cling to power is, for some Africans, rooted in anxiety about alternatives—alternatives which remain unknown because they are never allowed to emerge and develop."

South Sudanese Journalists Face Increasing Threats as Political Violence Peaks

Journalists have long struggled to survive in Sudan and South Sudan, but the impact of the conflict that erupted in 2013 has made working in media even more dangerous.

Political Conflict Triggers Turmoil in South Sudan, Leaving Hundreds Dead

An altercation involving President Salva Kiir and the Vice President Riek Machar, who have long been political rivals, swiftly unraveled into an armed conflict that lasted for several days.

Refugees Take Over Danish Daily Newspaper For a Day to Tell Their Stories

The Danish daily newspaper Information invited 12 refugees, some newly arrived, all professional journalists, to take over the entire 48 pages of the newspaper on Friday, October 9.

Everyday Life in a Fragile State

"'Why South Sudan?' someone asked. It's true, but somewhat feeble, to say South Sudan is unlike any other place." Pernille Baerendtsen shares personal impressions on leaving the world's newest country.

Message to an Ethiopian Blogger: Mahlet Fantahun, You Are Not Alone

"Writing one single blog post is not going to bring Mahlet... out of Kaliti Prison. This is much rather about keeping the process going. Of not staying silent."

We Are Working To Prevent Explosions: Spoken Word in East Africa

"The youth... are like time bombs. We are working to prevent explosions. If words are never let out, we’ll explode!"

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