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About African Cities Reader

AFRICAN CITIES READER

( A creation of the African Centre for Cities & Chimurenga )

The African Cities Reader is a biennial publication that brings together contributors from across Africa and the world to challenge the prevailing depiction of urban life on the continent and redefine cityness, Africa-style. It is a joint creation of Chimurenga and the African Centre for Citiesat the University of Cape Town.

In many senses African cities are amongst the most generative and vibrant places on the planet. Yet, we know next to nothing about what goes on in the places. Not that there is any shortage of caricature, hyperbole or opinion about what makes African cities such quintessential spaces of dystopia and atrophy. We believe that a range of interventions that seek to engage the shape-shifting essence of African cities are long overdue and present this modest initiative as one contribution to a larger movement of imagination to redefine the practical workings of the African city.

For us it is self-evident that one has to take the youthful demographic, informality and a non-conventional insertion in global circuits by African urbanites as a starting point for a sustained engagement and retelling of the city in contemporary Africa. The cultural, livelihood, religious, stylistic, commercial, familial, knowledge producing and navigational capacities of African urbanites are typically overlooked, unappreciated and undervalued. We want to bring their stories and practices to the fore in the African Cities Reader. In other words, the African Cities Reader seeks to become a forum where Africans will tell their own stories, draw their own maps and represent their own spatial topographies as it continuous to evolve and adapt at the interstice of difference, complexity, opportunism, and irony.

In terms of focus, tone and sensibility, the ACR is vibrant, unapologetic, free, accessible and open, provocative, fresh, not take itself too seriously, but also be rigorous and premised on the assumption that it will grow and evolve over time. It is open to multiple genres (literature, philosophy, faction, reportage, ethnographic narrative, etc), forms of representation (text, image, sound and possibly performance), and points of view. The African Cities Reader seeks to embody and reflect the rich pluralism, cosmopolitanism and diversity of emergent urbanisms across Africa. Thus, the ACR invites and undertake to commission writing and art by practitioners, academics, activists and artists from diverse fields across Africa in all of her expansiveness.

Print edition of the Reader are available from our online store or download the PDF here.


Even When My Soup-Curlers Slur, I Still Keep The Take by Georgia Anne Muldrow

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$18.00
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Georgia arrives in the middle of a song. She multiplies there to become singer, instrumentalist, poet, producer, her very presence is lyrical and elides fixed meaning and form. What orbits her work, at the risk of becoming jaded and delirious while circling her innate rhythm in a land that tries to contain its reach, is optimism. Her sound is often that of someone dejected by her own optimism, as if it betrays her reality or turns some purposed doom to triumph before it can strike. Do you ever check on your well adjusted, optimistic friends, the ones who always make you feel a little better just from being around them for a few hours? Those who give the most and make it seem effortless are often the most neglected. Their shadows become weapons of potential self-sabotage because no one notices that umbra looming beneath so much shine and defiance. Here we get to bask in such a shadow as if we have earned access to the part of the music that will never be on the market, that refuses the transactional, that confesses ahead of the beat, unmarks the beast, achieves true self-actualization.

(from the preface by Harmony Holiday)

Also featuring drawings by Yaoundé Olu

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Size: 125mm x 195mm
Pages: 20pp (plus cover)
Printing: black and white
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-990990-19-9

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