Chimurenganyana, a pavement literature project consisting of low cost serialized monographs expanding on themes developed in Chimurenga publications
Factions, essays, scores, interviews, liner notes, musical analyses, travel writing, personal impressions, political and social commentary. Plus innovative artwork that illuminates the subversive beauty, electrifying creativity and marvellous diversity of some of music’s most provocative innovators:
The Forest and the Zoo
by Aryan Kaganof
Johnny Dyani offers a method to the Skanga (black music family) in this extended conversation with Aryan Kaganof. Photographs by George H
By Dominique Malaquais
A text and image reflection on the “Rumble in the Jungle”, the Muhammad Ali / George Foreman boxing match held in Kinshasa in 1974. Norman Mailer started The Fight, Dominique Malaquais punched back.
by Stacy Hardy
A word-sound investigation of unjustly neglected African-American composer Julius Eastman‘s caged negratas. Photographs by Chris Rusiniak and Donald Burkhardt.
The Making of Mannenberg
by John Edwin Mason
On a winter’s day in 1974, a group of musicians led by Abdullah Ibrahim entered a recording studio in the heart of Cape Town, and emerged, hours later, having changed South African music, forever. John Edwin Mason pens notes on the making of the icon and the anthem.
In Search of Yambo Ouloguem
by Christopher Wise
“Yambo Ouologuem, the Malian author of Le devoir de violence (translated as Bound to Violence), has not been interviewed in nearly three decades. His doings have been shrouded in mystery ever since he “disappeared” from the West, in effect turning his back on literature. Ouologuem has become an enigma for many, a mysterious figure as well as a highly respected author. Ouologuem’s silence is complex and the reasons will, perhaps, never be fully known. “
Yambo Ouologuem, the Malian author of Le devoir de violence and other literary works, has been shrouded in mystery since he disappeared from the West, effectively turning his back on literature. Christopher Wise goes in search.
Dr Satan’s Echo Chamber
by Louis Chude-Sokei
“Let me humbly begin with the history of the Universe. Western science has provided us with a myth of origins in the “Big Bang” theory which locates the beginning of all things in a primal explosion from which the stars, moons, planets, universes and even humanity are birthed. Because Western science’s obsession with cause and effect has focused on the process of contraction and expansion in the universe (mirroring its colonial and neo/post-colonial conceits), it is the role of another kind of science to interrogate the metaphor in the term “Big Bang.” Indeed, the fact that “science” in the Jamaican vernacular is a synonym for “bush magic” or the occult, allows me to ground these metaphysics in the folklore of the Caribbean. “
Reggae, technology and the diaspora: Louis Chude-Sokei documents the (un)making of Dr. Satan’s Echo Chamber.
The Night Moses Died
by Nicole Turner
“Sleeking through the night city towards Hillbrow, it was Thapelo who asked where we were going and why”.
Photographs by Pete Williams, Peter McKenzie
Series 1 (OUT OF PRINT)
Features interviews and words on music, culture, being and art. Series 1 of Chimurenganyana is no longer available.
A Silent Way: Routes of South African Jazz 1946 – 1978
by Julian Jonker
“Where to begin? There are, firstly, names:
Mankunku, McGregor, Brand.
Moeketsi, Moholo, Dyani.
Pukwana, Gwangwa, Coetzee.
Just a few, to give you a taste. Don’t fret because you haven’t heard their records before. Say the names slowly, as you would recite a poem. Let the consonants roll languidly off your tongue and stretch your lips to pronounce each vowel, and you will already hear distant strains of music.
There are also photographs. Photographs by Basil Breaky, who documented the scene in Johannesburg and Cape Town just before its hottest players made their ways to Europe, leaving the cities to grow dark and silent. One picture: Abdullah Ibrahim, head bent over the keyboard of his piano, his arm stretched over into its gut, plucking its strings. Arched over, listening to some deeper music from the piano’s heart.”
Julian Jonker is a writer and cultural producer living in Cape Town. He is also a member of the Fong Kong Bantu Sound System, a DJ collective, and performs appropriationist sound as liberation chabalala. Basil Breakey is a photographer based in Cape Town. He is the author of the acclaimed Beyond The Blues – Township Jazz in the 60s and 70s.
When You Kill Us, We Rule! –Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Last Interview
By Keziah Jones
In 1996, Keziah Jones visited Kalakuta Republic every day for a week to interview Fela Anikulapo Kuti. On the fifth day, after waiting six hours, Keziah got to speak with Fela. This is the interview. Fela passed away in August 1997.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Last Interview by Keziah Jones was first published in Chimurenga 8: We’re all Nigerian! (2005)
Blood Money: A Douala Chronicle
by Dominique Malaquais
“Reader, if you do not have a strong stomach, may I suggest you put these pages down? Pictures follow – in image, in word – that are excruciating. Torture and death are the subject.
Some might argue that telling such tales as I do here is unnecessary, seeks merely to shock. I plead guilty. It is my intention to shock. Die Hard, Harder, Hardest: at the hands of Hollywood and CNN, we are told, we have become immune to sights and sounds of gore. Here, then, is the smell of such: let us think concretely, tangibly. “
Dominique Malaquais is a historian of contemporary African art and culture & the author of Architecture, Pouvior et Dissidence au Cameroon.
Malam is a sculptor, painter and installation artist. He lives and works in Douala.
Thinking of Brenda
by Njabulo Ndebele
“I first heard Brenda Fassie sing on a languid, sunny, spring Saturday morning in the Roma valley of Lesotho. It must have been in 1984. It was one of those mornings when the world demonstrates the notion of slowness. There was the blue haze in the horizon, rural smoke rising slowly against the sky until it seemed as if the sky was floating. I remember the distant kra-a-a-k of a white-necked raven gliding somewhere in the sky, and the trees so still, as if they had sucked in through their leaves all the motion there ever was. That was the scene I saw when I finally got out of bed after waking to the sounds of ‘Weekend Special’ on Radio Lesotho somewhere in the house…. “
Njabulo Ndebele is a writer and an academic. He is the author of The Cry of Winnie Mandela, Fools and Other Storiesand Rediscovery of the Ordinary, a collection of essays.
Steve Gordon is a photographer and music producer based in Cape Town. He is the co-founder of Making Music Productions.
Variations on the Beautiful in the Congolese World of Sounds
by Achille Mbembe
Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, Congolese rumba and its offshoots exercised an intimate power over the African imaginary. The sounds, rhythms and ethnic dances of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and a large area of Angola birthed the music of which we speak. Mixtures and borrowings from African and foreign styles, as well as from Christian hymnody, were then added to this base. The rhythms and sounds born of this mix emerged alongside colonial urbanisation and the social and economic transformations this brought.
Achille Mbembe is a research professor in history and politics at the University of the Witwatersrand and a senior researcher at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research). He is the winner of the 2006 Bill Venter/Altron Award for his book On the Postcolony (University of California Press, 2001).
Lenwo Jean Abou Bakar Depara, known as Depara (1928-1997), was one of the leading documentarirts of Kinshasa’s post-independence social scene, and the official photographer to the Zairian singer Franco.
In Defence of the Films We’ve Made
by Odia Ofeimun
Odia Ofeimun is one of Nigeria’s foremost poets and political activists, and the author of the acclaimed collection The Poet Lied. Ofeimun was at one time the personal secretary of the Nigerian politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was also a member of the radical collective of The News, a weekly newspaper, which contributed to the downfall of Nigeria’s last dictatorship.