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FESTAC 77 BOOK

Early in 1977, thousands of artists, writers, musicians, activists and scholars from Africa and the black diaspora assembled in Lagos for FESTAC ’77, the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. With a radically ambitious agenda underwritten by Nigeria’s newfound oil wealth, FESTAC ’77 would unfold as a complex, glorious and excessive culmination of a half-century of transatlantic and pan-Africanist cultural-political gatherings.

As told by Chimurenga, this is the first publication to address the planetary scale of FESTAC alongside the personal and artistic encounters it made possible. Featuring extensive unseen photographic and archival materials, interviews and new commissions, the book relays the stories, words and works of the festival’s extraordinary cast of characters.

With: Wole Soyinka, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Ahmed Sékou Touré, Archie Shepp, Miriam Makeba, Allioune Diop, Jeff Donaldson, Louis Farrakhan, Stevie Wonder, Abdias do Nascimento, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Mario de Andrade, Ted Joans, Nadi Qamar,Carlos Moore, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ama Ata Aidoo, Johnny Dyani, Werewere Liking, Marilyn Nance, Barkley Hendricks, Mildred Thompson, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Jayne Cortez, Atukwei OkaiJonas Gwangwa, Theo Vincent, Lindsay Barrett, Gilberto de la Nuez, Sun Ra and many others.

And featuring new writing from: Akin Adesokan, Moses Serubiri, Harmony Holiday, Semeneh Ayalew, Hassan Musa, Emmanuel Iduma, Michael McMillan, Dominique Malaquais and Cedric Vincent, Molefe Pheto, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Hermano Penna, Alice Aterianus.
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Published by Chimurenga and Afterall Books, in association with Asia Art Archive, the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and RAW Material Company, 2019.


The FESTAC 77 publication is available for purchase through our online shop.

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Chimurenganyana: Rumblin’ by Dominique Malaquais (June 2012)

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. Artwork by Kakudji.

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Chimurenganyana: In Search of Yambo Ouologuem by Christopher Wise (June 2012)

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.

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Chimurenganyana: The Making of Mannenberg by John Edwin Mason (June 2012)

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.

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Chimurenganyana: In Defence of the Films We Have Made by Odia Ofeimun (2009)

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.

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Chimurenganyana: Variations of the Beautiful in the World of Congolese Sounds by Achille Mbembe (2009)

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.

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Chimurenganyana: Thinking of Brenda by Njabulo Ndebele (2009)

Njabulo Ndebele is a writer and an academic. He is the author of The Cry of Winnie Mandela, Fools and Other Stories and 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.

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Chimurenganyana: Blood Money – A Douala Chronicle by Dominique Malaquais (2009)

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.

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Chimurenganyana: A Silent Way: Routes of South African Jazz, 1946-1978 by Julian Jonker (June 2012)

“Where to begin? There are, firstly, names:

Mankunku, McGregor, Brand.

Moeketsi, Moholo, Dyani.

Pukwana, Gwangwa, Coetzee.

Nkanuka, Ngcukana,

Mongezi Feza.

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.


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Who Killed Kabila I

From December 13 – 17, 2017, Chimurenga installed a library of books, films, and visual material mapping extensive research that ask “Who Killed Kabila“, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. This book catalogues all the research material produced and collected for this installation.

The equation is simple: the length of a Congolese president’s reign is proportional to his/her willingness to honour the principle that the resources of the Congo belong to others. Mzee Kabila failed.

Who killed Kabila is no mystery either. It is not A or B or C. But rather A and B and C. All options are both true and necessary – it’s the coming together of all these individuals, groups and circumstances, on one day, within the proliferating course of the history, that does it.

So telling this story isn’t merely be a matter of presenting multiple perspectives but rather of finding a medium able to capture the radical singularity of the event in its totality, including each singular, sometimes fantastical, historical fact, rumour or suspicion.

We’ve heard plenty about the danger of the single story – we want to explore its power. We take inspiration from the Congolese musical imagination, its capacity for innovation and its potential to allow us to think “with the bodily senses, to write with the musicality of one’s own flesh” (Mbembe).


The catalogue is now available for sale in the Chimurenga shop.

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The Chronic: Who Killed Kabila II

On January 16, 2001, in the middle of the day, shots are heard in the Palais de Marbre,the residence of President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. The road bordering the presidential residence, usually closed from 6pm by a simple guarded barrier is blocked by tanks.

At the Ngaliema hospital in Kinshasa, a helicopter lands and a body wrapped in a bloody sheet is off loaded. Non-essential medical personnel and patients are evacuated and the hospital clinic is surrounded by elite troops. No one enters or leaves. RFI (Radio France Internationale) reports on a serious incident at the presidential palace in Kinshasa.

Rumor, the main source of information in the Congolese capital, is set in motion…  

18 years after the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, rumours still proliferate. Suspects include: the Rwandan government; the French; Lebanese diamond dealers; the CIA; Robert Mugabe; Angolan security forces; the apartheid-era Defence Force; political rivals and rebel groups; Kabila’s own kadogos (child soldiers); family members and even musicians.

The geopolitics of those implicated tells its own story; the event came in the middle of the so-called African World War, a conflict that involved multiple regional players, including, most prominently, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

So, who killed Kabila? The new issue of the Chronic presents this query as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination by writers from the Congo and other countries involved in the conflict.

The issue is the result of a three-year research project that included a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie (Paris), from December 13 – 17, 2017, which featured a live radio station and a research library, a conceptual inventory of the archive of this murder – all documented in a research catalogue.

As this research revealed, who killed Kabila is no mystery. It is not A or B or C. But rather A and B and C. All options are both true and necessary – it’s the coming together of all these individuals, groups and circumstances, on one day, within the proliferating course of the history, that does it.

Telling this story then, isn’t merely a matter of presenting multiple perspectives but rather of finding a medium able to capture the radical singularity of the event in its totality, including each singular, sometimes fantastical, historical fact, rumour or suspicion. We’ve heard plenty about the danger of the single story – in this issue we explore its power. We take inspiration from the Congolese musical imagination, its capacity for innovation and its potential to allow us to think “with the bodily senses, to write with the musicality of one’s own flesh.”

However, this editorial project doesn’t merely put music in context, it proposes music as the context, the paradigm for the writing. The single story we write borrows from the sebene – the upbeat, mostly instrumental part of Congolese rumba famously established by Franco (Luambo Makiadi), which consists in the lead guitarist playing short looping phrases with variations, supported or guided by the shouts of the atalaku (animateur) and driving, snare-based drumming.


The Invention of Africa by Franco & T.P.OK Jazz – Ntone Edjabe on the Pan African Space Station.



“Franco, c’est l’inventeur du sebene. Parce que… et à coté il y avait Nico Kasanda, le docteur Nico, qui lui avait plus de technique de guitare mais qui jouait très mélodique, et Luambo c’était le mec qui est vraiment le mec du quartier avec sa connaissance intuitive de la guitare il a inventé cet manière de faire des sorte de boucle rythmique. Sa manière de jouer c’est un boucle rythmique. Le même phrase rythmique qui revient tout le temps. Et c’est ça le sebene congolais. Et jusqu’à aujourd’hui nous fonctionnons par sebene. Même moi même.“


Interview on France Inter : « Le labo de Ray Lema du 16 mars 2014 »

Ray Lema shares more stories and sounds from his life in music with Bintou Simporé onboard the Pan African Space Station.
Recorded for PASS in Paris at the Fondation Cartier exhibition Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko. For more visit http://panafricanspacestation.org.za

Similarly, to follow Ousmane Sembene’s method of using multi-location and polyphony as decolonial narrative tools, we invited writers from the countries directly involved and implicated in the events surrounding Kabila’s death (DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola, and a de-territorialised entity called AFDL) to write one story: the assassination of Kabila.

Working fluidly between fact and fiction, and featuring multiple forms of writing, the contributors – Yvonne Owuor, Antoine Vumilia Muhindo, Parselelo Kantai, Jihan El-Tahri, Daniel K. Kalinaki,  Kivu Ruhorahoza, Percy Zvomuya and Sinzo Aanza – use the event-scene of the shooting is their starting point to collectively tell the single story with its multiplication of plots and subplots that challenge history as a linear march, and tell not the sum but the derangement of its parts.

The issue thus performs an imaginative remapping that better accounts for the complex spatial, temporal, political, economic and cultural relations at play, as well the internal and external actors, organized into networks and nuclei – not only human actors but objects; music; images; texts, ghosts etc – and how these actors come together in time, space, relationships.

This edition of the Chimurenga Chronic is conceived as a sebene of the Congolese rumba – enjoy the dance!

The Chronic is a quarterly pan African gazette, published by Chimurenga.

This edition is part of a larger research project of the Chimurenga Library. It is produced with support from Heinrich Boll Foundation (Cape Town), and in collaboration with La Colonie (Paris), Cosmopolis Bienial/ Centre Pompidou (Paris), Marabouparken Konsthall (Stockholm) and Kalmar Konstmuseum.

For more information or to order your print or digital copy visit www.chimurengachronic.co.za and/or contact Chimurenga on +27(0)21 4224168 or info@chimurenga.co.za.

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De l’art de vivre l’art

Goddy Leye nous a quittés. C’était le 19 février 2011, peu après minuit. A Karachi, au bord du désert, où jamais il ne pleut en cette saison, le ciel s’est ouvert. Averse. A l’aube, à l’heure du premier appel des muezzins, il pleuvait encore. J’écris là-bas ces mots pour l’ami, le mentor, le camarade Goddy. Douleur sourde, de celles qui ne passent pas. Qui ne peuvent et ne doivent pas passer.

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Abbey Lincoln’s Scream: Poetic Improvisation as a Way of Life

We are standing under a glaring spotlight screaming at the tops of our lungs, from the backs of our throats which we grind together to access black blues unwords, thymus against heart, blue in green meridian, that aquamarine plexus that water and sky correct and regulate in us.

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RIP PAPA GEORGE

Exile demands contemplation because it is unavoidably real for those who experience […]

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Reproducing Festac ’77: A secret among a family of millions

Kwanele Sosibo speaks with Ntone Edjabe about the creation of, and thinking behind, the FESTAC ’77 publication.

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NEW IN BOOKSHOP

Early in 1977, thousands of artists, writers, musicians, activists and scholars from Africa and the black diaspora assembled in Lagos for FESTAC ’77, the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture.

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STAFFRIDER

Borrowing its name and image from township slang for black youth who rode the overcrowded African sections of the racially segregated commuter trains by hanging onto the outside or sitting on the roofs, Staffrider had two main objectives: to provide publishing opportunities for community-based organizations and young writers, graphic artists and photographers; and to oppose officially sanctioned state and establishment culture.

Produced by the same Durban “moment” that saw Steve Biko begin the South African Students Association, Staffrider had a view of literature with a small “I”: it’s base was popular rather than elite and it sought to provide an autobiography of experience in its witness of daily black life in South Africa. The magazine’s nonracial policy and choice of English as a non-ethnic mode of communication attracted a cross-section of writers, artists and other contributors to the magazine. Debates around Staffrider‘s “self-editing” editorial policy were ongoing and the magazine eventually adopted quality control measures under the editorship of Chris van Wyk. But the magazine’s early flexibility ensured that the work of previously unpublished writers and artists appeared alongside that of many South African notables including Nadine Gordimer, Lionel Abrahams, Rose Zwi, and Mtutuzeli Matshoba.



Staffrider
A Film by Khulile Nxumalo & Tracey Rose

“Here platform politics rhythmically play out the politics of the land; white against black, rich against poor, workers against bosses, people against machines. But the staffriders lived and died in that little space between train and platform, between roles.A split second of misreckoning and it’s all over. Here timing is a matter of life and death. “

Of “Brothers with Perfect Timing” – An Essay by Mike Abraham
2008


” The resonance of such a simple idea is almost impossible to recapture now, but in the demented, divided space of apartheid it was bracing. All the other borders the magazine crossed between fiction and autobiography, written and spoken word, lyrical flight and social documentary rest on that first idealistic gesture. The magazine belongs to all who live in it.”

Staffrider – An Essay by Ivan Vladislavić


“Famed, Nobel laureates, wilful amnesiacs, first millionaires, years soweto’s only legit nightclub, the super-astral, the subterranean, original spot-runners, groaners & croakers, mass child-murderers, priests pimping for more than just Jesus, blades having dice & eyes vie for space in the dust between the intestines & the worms… boots squashing all… muddy beginnings, those… Call Me Not a Man, the searing bleeding cry of a book was titled… chopped & cut up bits first floated to surface in Staffrider.”

Staffriding the Frontline – An Essay by Lesego Rampolokeng


traduction française par Maymoena Hallett

Empruntant son nom et son image de l’argot du township pour les jeunes qui voyageaient dans les sections africaines bondées des trains racialement ségrégués, se pendant aux portes ou s’asseyant sur les toits, les deux objectifs principaux de Staffriderétaient: de fournir des opportunités de publication aux organisations de communauté et aux jeunes écrivains, graphistes et photographes ; et d’officiellement opposer l’état sanctionné et la culture d’établissement.

Produit par le même ‘moment’ sur Durban qui vit Steve Biko commencer la South African Students Association, Staffrider avait un point de vue de la littérature avec un petit ‘l’: sa base était populaire plutôt qu’élitiste et cherchait à pourvoir une autobiographie d’expériences dans son témoignage de la vie de tous les jours des noirs en Afrique du Sud. La politique non raciale du magazine et le choix de l’anglais comme mode de communication non ethnique attira toutes sortes d’écrivains, d’artistes et autres contributeurs. Les débats autour de la politique éditoriale ‘d’édition par soi-même’é taient constants et le magazine finit par adopter des mesures de contrôle de qualitésous la direction de Chris van Wyk. Mais la flexibilité des débuts du magazine garantit que des écrivains ou artistes qui n’avaient jamais été publiés parurent aux côtés d’éminents Sud-Africains tels Nadine Gordimer, Lionel Abrahams, Rose Zwi, et Mtutuzeli Matshoba.

PEOPLE

Mothobi Mutloatse, Mike Kirkwood, Kay Hassan, Njabulo Ndebele, Achmat Dangor, Paul Weinberg, Mafika Gwala, George Hallet, Mzwakhe Nhlabatsi, Sam Nhlengetwa, Malopoets, Es’kia Mphahlele, Kelwyn Sole, Chris van Wyk, Andries Oliphant,Thami Mnyele, William Kentridge, Gerard Sekoto

FAMILY TREE

  • The Classic (1970)
  • Pen Johannesburg (1978)
  • Wietie (1980)
  • Botsotso (1994)

RE/SOURCES

  • Staffrider on Wikipedia
  • Ten Years of Staffrider, Oliphant, A. and Vladislavic, I. (eds.), Raven Press: Johannesburg, 1988.
  • Oliphant, Andries. Staffrider Magazine and Popular History: The Opportunities and Challenges of Personal Testimony. Temple University Press: Johannesburg, 1991.
  • Gardiner, Michael. South African Literary Magazines, 1956-1978. Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art: Johannesburg, 2004.
  • “Rose Zwi in conversation with Mothobi Mutloatse,” Interview conducted 09-09-2006.
  • Gwala, Mafika. “Writing as a Cultural Weapon.” In Momentum, Margaret Daymond, Johan Jacobs, and Margaret Lenta (eds.). University of Natal Press: Pietermaritzburg, 1985. 37-53.
  • Manganyi, Chabani N. Looking Through the Keyhole. Ravan Press: Johannesburg, 1981
  • Mutloatse, Mothobi. Forced Landing. Ravan Press: Johannesburg, 1980.
  • Ndebele, Njabulo. Rediscovery of the Ordinary. Congress of South African Writers: Johannesburg, 1991.
  • Newell, Stephanie. Readings in African Popular Fiction. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 2002.
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LEPHEPHE PRINT GATHERINGS 5 – CAPE TOWN

Calling all printmakers and paper-peoples! In collaboration with our comrades at Keleketla! […]

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SPEAR

Spear: Canada’s Truth and Soul Magazine launched in Toronto in 1971 with distinctly middlebrow ambitions. Under the helm of publisher Dan Gooding, Jr. and editor J. Ashton Brathwaite, it aimed to become a Canadian version of Ebony, Jet, Tan, and Essence, the pretty, vacant African-American rags appealing to Black upward mobility and the iridescent accessorizing of Black Power as Black consumerism. However, budget constraints prevailed and Spear quickly became something of an anomaly, a self-published “little” magazine that ran centre folds, a popular magazine that tackled political issues and featured poetry, a celebrity tabloid that covered cultural events.

After Brathwaite went into self-imposed exile in Brooklyn, Brand was one of a number of editors including Ghana-born journalist Sam Donkoh, future Share publisher Arnold Auguste, and the Guyanese-Canadian polymath Arnold Itwaru, who manned the helm of Spear through to the 1980s. With the changes, the journal’s quality improved and Spear‘s pages came to embody something of the cultural paradoxes of Black Canadian middle-class being. Sometimes the juxtapositions were sublime. Spear occasionally found a sort of harmonic convergence of the parallel galaxies of Black political and aesthetic radicalism. In one issue, a profile of Jamaican diva Grace Jones ran next to an interview with Trini Trotskyite CLR James.

The moment wasn’t sustained. By the early 1980s, whatever radical edge Spear maintained was dulled. For the final few issues before it suspended publication in 1987, what was once Spear: Canada’s Truth And Soul was re-tagged as Spear: Canada’s Black Family Magazine. Brathwaite’s initial vision appeared fulfilled.



“Wow! Sister Lyn, you sure got a fine brown frame. Your hot pants look fine too, but with a figure like that who do you think will bother about whether your pants is hot or cold! Hmn!” Or “The Sister with the hotpants on is Vie Anderson, a receptionist aspiring to be a model. Quite a hot pair of pants! But that brown frame is definitely a much hotter item!”

SPEAR: CANADA’S TRUTH AND SOUL MAGAZINE by Peter James Hudson


PEOPLE

J. Ashton Brathwaite, Odimumba Kwamdela, Danny F. Gooding, Jr., Dionne Brand, Sheldon Taylor, Arnold Itwaru, Femi Ojo-Ade, Gerson Williams, Sam Donkoh, Harold Hoyte, Dalton Clarke


FAMILY TREE

  • At the Crossroads
  • Black Images: A Critical Quarterly of Black Culture
  • Black Youth Speaks
  • The Canadian Negro
  • Contrast
  • Cotopaxi
  • The Dawn of Tomorrow
  • The Harriet Tubman Review
  • The Islander
  • Jet
  • Kola
  • Pride
  • Share
  • Uhuru
  • West Indian News Observer
  • Word Magazine

RE/SOURCES

  • George Elliot Clarke, “A Primer of African-Canadian Literature,” Books in Canada 25.2 (March, 1996): 5-7
  • Odimumba Kwamdela, Soul Surviving up in Canada (Brooklyn: Deep Roots, 1998)
  • Odimumba Kwamdela, Niggers This is Canada (Kibo Books: 1972)
  • Katherine Mckittrick, “Their Blood is There, and They Can’t Throw it Out: Honouring Black Canadian Geographies.” Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 7, (2002): 27-37.
  • Norman (Otis) Richmond, “Bathurst St. has always been part of Black life in T.O.,” Share (October 14th, 2009)
  • Theodore Jurgen Spahn and Janet Peterson Spahn, “SPEAR: Canadian Magazine of Truth and Soul,” From Radical Left to Extreme Right: A bibliography of current periodicals of protest, controversy, advocacy, or dissent, with dispassionate content-summaries to guide librarians and other educators (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1972), 1517-8

CREDITS

Peter James Hudson

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Urbanism Beyond Architecture – African Cities as Infrastructure

Vyjayanthi Rao, in conversation with Filip de Boeck & Abdou Maliq Simone […]

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SAVACOU

In 1974 Barbadian poet Kamau Braithwaite summarized the overlapping realities, the cross-cultural roots, diversity and integration of the Caribbean by declaring, “The unity is submarine.” This idea of a fluid submerged geography, a black Atlantic continuum comprised of flows, passages and displacements also encapsulates the spirit of Savacou Magazine.

Founded in 1970 by Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Andrew Salkey, and John La Rose, Savacou grew out of a Caribbean Arts Movement (1966) that was doubly concerned with Caribbean artistic production and with consolidating a broad alliance between all ‘Third World’ peoples. But Savacou was more than just an archipelago for new black voices; it sought to critically challenge Eurocentric norms through which the postcolonial nation-states in the Caribbean were being imagined and constructed. Central to this challenge was its development of a new critical vernacular, a practice of criticism that both gave form to, and spoke from within, a Caribbean cultural-political tradition.

Savacou took the first bold step in 1970, with its combined third and forth edition of New Writing. Featuring oral-based poetics, performance poetry and Creole verse, the issued exploded traditional divisions between words and music, literature and street culture, textuality and orality, exposing the colonizing presence of Standard literary formats and provoking major critical fracas in literary circles.

For the next decade Savacou continued to challenge topographical and typographical boundaries, working between continents and restoring the fluid motion of performance to the frozen-word-on-page. This culminated in its 1979 anthology New Poets from Jamaica which introduced dub poetry to the literary world and launched the careers of a new generation of poets including Bongo Jerry, Oku Onuora and Mikey Smith.



traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

En 1974, un poète de Barbados, Kamau Braithwaite, résuma les réalités chevauchantes, les origines des cultures croisées, la diversité et l’intégration des Antillais en déclarant, “l’unité est sous-marine”. L’image d’une géographie fluide submergée, d’un continuum d’Atlantique noire englobant les courants, les passages et déplacements est également renfermée dans l’esprit du magazine Savacou.

Fondé en 1970 par Edward Kamau Braithwaite, Andrew Salkey et John La Rose, Savacou gagna de l’importance sous l’influence du Mouvement des Arts Antillais (1966) qui était doublement concerné par la production artistique antillaise et par la consolidation d’une large alliance entre tous les peuples du “Troisième Monde”. Mais Savacou représentait beaucoup plus qu’un archipel pour les nouvelles vois noires; il recherchait à défier de manière critique les normes européennes è travers lesquelles les états-nations post coloniales avaient été imaginées et construites. Le point principal de ce défi fut le développement d’un nouveau langage vernaculaire critique, une pratique de la critique qui à la fois donnait forme à, et venait de l’intérieur, la tradition antillaise culturelle et politique.

Savacou fit une première démarche audacieuse en 1970 avec la fusion de sa troisième et quatrième édition du New Writing (Nouveaux Ecrits). Mettant en vedette poétique orale, poésie spectacle et verse créole, les divisions traditionnelles, éclatées, publiées entre les mots et la musique, la littérature et la culture de la rue, la texte et le parler, exposant la présence colonisée des formats littéraires Standard et provoquant un fracas critique important dans les milieux littéraires.

Au cours de la décennie suivante, Savacou continua à défier les limites topographiques et typographiques, travaillant entre les continents et restituant le mouvement fluide de l’interprétation du mot-gelé-sur-page. Ceci se termina par son anthologie de 1979 “Nouveaux Poètes de la Jamaïque” qui introduisit une poésie avec sons et effets au monde littéraire et lança les carrières d’une nouvelle génération de poètes incluant Bongo Jerry, Oku Onuora et Mickey Smith.


PEOPLE

Kenneth Ramchand, Andrew Salkey, Wilfred Cartey, Merle Hodge, Hazel Simmons-McDonald, Elizabeth Clarke, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Stuart Hall, Derek Walcott, George Lamming, Cedric George Lindo, C.L.R James, Monica Skeete, Ras Dizzy, Bongo Jerrey


FAMILY TREE

  • Bim (1942 – 2007)
  • Jamaica Journal (1967)
  • Hambone (1974)
  • Voices
  • Renaissance Noire
  • Small Axe

RE/SOURCES

  • Savacou on Wikipedia
  • La Rose, John (ed); Salkey, Andrew (ed), Savacou 9/10; Journal of the Caribbean Artists Movement. Writing Away From Home.
  • Walmsley, Anne: “A Sense of Community: Kamau Brathwaite and the Caribbean Artists Movement” in (pp. 101-16) Brown, Stewart (ed.), The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Brigend: Seren, 1995. p. 275 (1995)
  • Kelly Baker Josephs. “Versions of X/Self: Kamau Brathwaite’s Caribbean Discourse.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • June Bobb. Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. New York: Africa World Press, 1997.
  • Stuart Brown. The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Wales: Seren, 1996.
  • Loretta Collins. “From the ‘Crossroads of Space’ to the (dis)Koumforts of Home: Radio and the Poet as Transmuter of the Word in Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘Meridian’ and Ancestors.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003)
  • Raphael Dalleo. “Another ‘Our America’: Rooting a Caribbean Aesthetic in the Work of José Martí, Kamau Brathwaite and Édouard Glissant.” Anthurium, 2.2 (Fall 2004).
  • Anna Reckin: “Tidalectic Lectures: Kamau Brathwaite’s Prose/Poetry as Sound-Space.” Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
  • Kamau Brathwaite, Conversations with Nathaniel Mackey Savory, Elaine: “The Word Becomes Nam: Self and Community in the Poetry of Kamau Brathwaite, and Its Relation to Caribbean Culture and Postmodern Theory.” in (pp. 23-43) Hawley, John C. (ed.) , Writing the Nation: Self and Country in the Post-Colonial Imagination. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996. xxvii, 217 pp. ( Amsterdam: Critical Studies 7 ). (1996)
  • Savory, Elaine. “Returning to Sycorax/Prospero’s Response: Kamau Brathwaite’s Word Journey.” Brown 208-230.
  • Thiong’o, Ngugi wa: “Kamau Brathwaite: The Voice of African Presence”, Genova, Pamela A. (ed. and introd.) , Twayne Companion to Contemporary World Literature: From the Editors of World Literature Today, New York, NY: Twayne; Thomson Gale, 2003
  • “Black British Literature Since Windrush” by Onyekachi Wambu
  • Dr. Marlene A. Hamilton, “Books and Reading in Jamaica.” UNESCO, 1984
  • Gordon Rohlehr, “Some Problems of Assessment: A Look at New Expressions in the Art of the Contemporary Caribbean” Caribbean Quarterly, 17:3/4 (1971: Sept/Dec) p. 92-113
  • Breiner, Laurence. “How to Behave on Paper: the Savacou Debate.” Journal of West Indian Literature. 6.1, 1993, p1-10.
  • Brathwaite, Edward Kamau, ed. Savacou 3&4: New Writing. Kingston: Mona, 1970.
  • Brathwaite, Edward Kamau. “Contradictory Omens: Cultural diversity and integration in the Caribbean,” Monograph 1; Mona, Kingston, Jamaica: Savacou, 1974, p64
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REVUE NOIRE

Inspired by the growing, vibrant global community of pan African artists and propelled by the need to challenge reductive exotic and ethnographic approaches to African culture, Jean Loup Pivin and Simon Njami launched Revue Noire in 1991. Conceived as a printed manifestation of the arts at the time, it covered anything from art, architecture and photography, to cinema, literature, theatre, fashion, African cities, AIDS and even gastronomy. Design played a key role in forwarding its objectives. Revue Noire was glossy, fashion savvy and distinctly Parisian.Striking images were combined with largely informative texts that highlighted artistic responses to the international media and the touristic gaze; the production of discourses of cultural identity on the continent; the framing the African body; urban sites; and rapidly changing dynamic between African aesthetic values and Western influences.

As Simon Njami explained, “Dealing with Africa and all the preconceived ideas people have of the continent, we wanted from the very beginning to use the best paper, the best layout, full colour, and at a size that would do justice to the artists that we were introducing. We had to face a double challenge: at the time we started, contemporary African art barely existed. So we were introducing something to an audience that was not aware of what was going on. Therefore, we had to emphasize not only the contents but also the physical look of the magazine.”

From the beginning Revue Noire was aimed at the widest possible audience: “Art lovers,” “Africa lovers,” “general readers interested in other cultures” as well as “specialists.” Distributed internationally, it was bilingual (English/French), sometimes even trilingual. This language policy and its focus on specific regions – from Abidjan to London, Kinshasa to Paris – not only facilitated access to information on African artistic production but also forged new links between artist based on the continent and those working in the diaspora.

After 34 issues Revue Noire interrupted the printing of the journal in 2001 and refocused its attention on publishing books, curating exhibitions and posting occasional online content.



traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

Inspirés par la communauté mondiale, croissante et vibrante du creuset des artistes africains et poussés par le besoin de défier les approches réduites, exotiques et ethnographiques de la culture africaine, Jean Loup Pivin et Simon Njami ont lancé la Revue Noire en 1991. Conçue comme une manifestation imprimée des arts de l’époque, elle couvre tout de l’art, l’architecture et photographie, au cinéma, littérature, théâtre, mode, citées africaines, SIDA et même la gastronomie. La conception joua un rôle clé dans la manière de transmettre ses objectives. Revue Noire était une revue de luxe, avec un bon sens de la mode et distinctivement parisienne. Aux images frappantes se joignaient des textes pour la plupart informatifs qui soulignaient des réponses artistiques à la presse internationale et aux regards touristiques; la production des discours de l’identité culturelle sur le continent; la charpente du corps africain; les citées urbaines; et changeant rapidement la dynamique entre les valeurs esthétiques africaines et les influences occidentales.

Ainsi que l’expliquait Simon Njami, “En traitant de l’Afrique et de toutes les idées préconçues que les gens ont du continent, nous voulions depuis le tout commencement utiliser le meilleur papier, la meilleure mise en page, plein de couleurs et à la taille qui ferait justice aux artistes que nous présentions. Nous avons du faire face à un double défi: à l’époque où nous avons commencé, l’art contemporain africain existait à peine. Aussi nous présentions quelque chose à une audience qui n’était pas consciente de ce qui se passait. Nous avons du, par conséquent, accentuer non seulement le contenu mais aussi l’apparence physique du magazine.”

Depuis le début, la Revue Noire visait une audience la plus large possible: “des amoureux de l’Art”, “des amoureux de l’Afrique”, “des lecteurs en général intéressés aux autres cultures” ainsi que “des spécialistes.” Distribuée internationalement, elle était bilingue (anglaise/française), quelques fois même trilingue. Cette question du langage et son centre d’intérêts sur des régions spécifiques  d’Abidjan à Londres, de Kinshasa à Paris non seulement facilitaient l’accés à l’information sur la production artistique africaine mais aussi forgeaient des liens nouveaux entre artistes centrés sur le continent et ceux travaillant dans le Diaspora.

Après 34 éditions la Revue Noire cessa l’impression du journal en 2001 et centralisa son attention sur la publication de livres, la conservation des expositions et émettant à l’occasion leur contentement en ligne.


PEOPLE

Jean Loup Pivin, Simon Njami, Ngone Fall, Yacouba Konate, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Sony Labou Tansi, Cheri Samba, Xuly Bet, Patrice Tchikaya, Akoyo Mensah, Alain Mabanckou, Sokari Douglas Camp, Jean Claude Fignole, Andre Magnin, Kossi Efoui, Oswald Boateng, Yvone Vera, Jose Eduardo Agualusa, Rui Tavares, Jean-Luc Raharimanana, Georges Adeagbo, Djibril Diop Mambety


FAMILY TREE


RE/SOURCES

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OKYEAME

The post-independence era in Ghana saw the rapid rise of a new generation of thinkers, writers and poets. Freed from colonial oppression and political determinism and inspired by the radical Pan Africanist thinking of philosopher, revolutionary and then Ghanaian Prime Minister, Kwame Nkrumah, they sought to explore the experiences of the African from a new intellectual framework. Founded in 1961 by The Writers Workshop, literary organ Okyeame was key in this development.

Taking its name from a traditional Ghanaian figure, the “spokesperson” or “linguist” responsible for channelling communication between a leader and his people, Okyeame sought to give voice to Nkrumah’s dream of a new African identity. Articles calling for a Ghanaian poetry whose content and form was based on oral tradition, drum poetry, and the dirge ran alongside traditional oral works translated by leading contemporary poets such as founding editor Kofi Awoonor, and texts were interspersed with icons and Adinkra symbols. But Okyeame, like its namesake, was not simply a mouthpiece. It was also an “interpreter” and an “ambassador in foreign courts.” It provided a platform for a new generation of writers to experiment with a versatile, hybrid Pan-African linguistics that combined African oral influences with African American literary devices; rural with urban imagery; phonetic innovations with lyricism and wordplay; and dirge rhythms with jazz free-play. As Awoonor recalls, “we were like the foot soldiers of Nkrumah in the cultural field.”



PEOPLE

Kwesi Brew, Atukwei Okai, , Efua Sutherkland, Geormbeeyi Adali-Mortt, Michael Francis Dei-Anang, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ama Ata Aidoo


FAMILY TREE

  • Phylon Magazine, US (1940)
  • Presence Africaine, France (1947)
  • Black Orpheus : A Journal of African and Afro-American Literature, Nigeria (1957)
  • Transition Magazine: An International Review, Uganda (1963)

RE/SOURCES

  • Okyeame on Wikipedia
  • “Forward”, Okyeame, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1961.
  • Kwame Botwe-Asamoah. Kwame Nkrumah’s Politico-cultural Thought and Policies, Routledge, 2005
  • Gerald Moore. “Review of Okyeame, No. I (1961)” in Black Orpheus, No.10, 1988, p. 66
  • Atukwei Okai. “The World View Of The Psyche Of A Poet: A Tribute To Mr. Kwesi Brew”, Accra Daily Mail, October 22, 2007.
  • Ata Britwum. “New Trends in Burning Issues in African Literature”, University of Cape Coast English Department Work Papers Vol. 1. 1971.
  • Edwin Thumboo, “Kwesi Brew: the poetry of statement and situation,” African Literature Today, London, 4, 1970, p. 322-330
  • Solomon Iyasere. “Cultural Formalism and the Criticism of Modern African Literature”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1976, p. 322-330
  • Richard Priebe. Ghanaian Literatures, Greenwood Press, University of Virginia,
  • Donatus Nwoga. “West Africa: Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone”, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 6, 1971, p 15-24
  • Albert S. Gerard. European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1986
  • Ben B. Halm. Theatre and Ideology, Associated University Presses, 1995, p 181
  • Christel N. Temple. Literary Pan-Africanism: History, Contexts, and Criticism, Carolina Academic Press, 2005
  • Kwesi Yankah. Speaking for the Chief: Okyeame and the Politics of Akan Royal Oratory, Indiana University Press, 1995
  • Pan African Writers’ Association website
  • Thanks to Manu Herbstein for his assistance
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IN THE BOOKSHOP: KINSHASA CHRONIQUES / KINSHASA CHRONICLES

Kinshasa Chronicles is a richly textured encounter featuring seventy artists, most of whom belong to a very young generation, telling tales of one of the world’s most vibrant creative hubs.

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MOTO

Moto was founded in 1959 in Zimbabwe’s Midlands town of Gweru as a weekly community newspaper by the Catholic church. From these modest beginnings, Moto fast became one of the most outspoken voices in the liberation war, providing scathing criticism of the colonial government and support for African nationalist parties. Banned by the British regime in 1974, it re-emerged in 1980, first as a newspaper and then as one of the first magazines to provide content in ChiShona, SiNdebele and English.

Moto faced a new set of challenges in the post-liberation era. Firstly, it needed to make the transition from the campaigning stance it adopted in the days of UDI, to a critical, independent voice in the era of majority rule. Under a mandate of being “the voice of the voiceless and defender of the downtrodden”, it switched its focus to issues generally marginalised by the state-controlled press, running socio-economic and human-interest stories, often set in rural communities. The magazine also had to negotiate the sometimes awkward relationship between its church base and its outspoken political stance. In this regard it regularly ran features on the formation of the African clergy, paying particular attention to the elevation of Africans to the hierarchy and the ranks of the canonized. Despite ongoing economic difficulties and opposition from the Mugabe government, who made several attempts to shut down the publication, Moto‘s readership continues to grow, amongst intellectuals, professionals and students, as well as rural readers.



traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

Moto a été fondé en 1959 par l’église catholique dans la ville de Gweru dans les régions centrales du Zimbabwe comme un journal hebdomadaire local. De ses débuts modestes, Moto est vite devenu une des voix les plus franches dans la guerre de libération, procurant une critique acerbe du gouvernement colonial et un soutien pour les parties nationalistes africains. Interdit par le régime britannique en 1974, il refit surface en 1980, en premier comme un journal et ensuite comme un des premiers magazines à offrir un contenu en ChiShona, SiNdebele et en anglais.

Moto affronta une nouvelle série de défis durant la période post-libération. Premièrement, il avait besoin de faire la transition de la position de campagne qu’il adopta dans les jours de l’UDI à une voix critique, indépendante pendant la période du gouvernement majoritaire. Sous un mandat en tant “la voix des sans-voix et le défendeur des opprimés”, il détourna son attention sur les sujets généralement marginalisés par la presse contrôlée par l’état, présentant des faits socio-économiques et à intérêts humanitaires, survenant souvent dans les communautés rurales. Le magazine devait également négocier les relations parfois délicates entre sa fondation chrétienne et sa position politique clairement exprimée. A cet égard, il publiait régulièrement des articles sur la formation du clergé africain, payant une attention particulière sur la promotion des africains à la hiérarchie et aux rangs des canonisés. En dépit des difficultés économiques continues et l’opposition du gouvernement Mugabe, qui tenta de nombreuses fois d’arrêter la publication, le nombre d’abonnés au Moto continue de croître parmi les intellectuels, les professionnels et étudiants, ainsi que parmi les lecteurs du secteur rural.


PEOPLE

Bishop Haene established Moto magazine in Gwelo in conjunction with the Catholic African Association. It was edited by Paul Chidyausik in the late 60s and 70s, Onesimo Makani Kabwezaand saw Moto through Independence becoming one of the first Zimbabwean journalists to break the “culture of silence” around Zimbabwean government under Robert Mugabe. Tangai Wisdom Chipangura is the current editor-in-chief.


FAMILY TREE

  • Moto and the populist and politically-minded Parade were the only magazines at independence that targeted a “black readership”. Like MotoParade continued after Independence first taking on a tabloid format then moving to hard-hitting investigative news. In 1991, socially-mined popular magazine Horizon, established by former Parade editor, Andy Moyse, joined the ranks of Moto and Parade.

RE/SOURCES

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MOLOTOV COCKTAIL

First published in 2007 Molotov Cocktail initially appeared to be a contradictory mix, on one side there was its incendiary title, cover art of a hand poised to throw a lit petrol bomb, and the provocative subtitle , Dismantling the Master’s House Brick by Brick. Then this in the first editorial: “Molotov Cocktai broadly backs the principles and policies of the African National Congress. We believe that discussing the ANC with insight and generosity will be more interesting and productive than condemning the party out of ignorance.” A revolutionary magazine aimed at defending “the powers that be” with word bombs?

Partially, yes. Edited by James Sanders (initially with the help of Ronald Suresh Roberts and later alone) Molotov Cocktail captures the ambiguities of contemporary post apartheid South Africa, where despite the change of political power the majority of the media is still owned by a small white minority. As the editorial in the second issue explains, “In South Africa, many newspapers and magazines adopt a pose of neutrality that is essentially oppositional. Some of this derives from the ‘anti-apartheid’ history of the mining press but it is really a cover for a political agenda that attempts to impose an illiberal narrative onto news and politics. The print media has not transformed quickly enough and we hope to speed it along.”

With that in mind Molotov Cocktail took a deliberately intellectual approach, defining itself as, “a platform where South African intellectuals will debate issues and engage in serious discussions about the direction that our country should take.” It has featured everything from archival documents including long-lost SACP biographies and back issues of the SADF’s Paratus, to new writing on cultural schizophrenia, oil, opposition, Zimbabwe, ‘apartheid’ in Israel, meeting a Nazi in SA, polo in Plett, Post-Polokwane: the new ANC, banking, crime and succession.

It also includes news, controversial profiles, satire, political gossip, book and film reviews, detailed media analysis and some literary critique. Graphics often take the form of illustrations, posters, political cartoons, power organograms and “how to” guides, including of course, “How to make a Molotov Cocktail“.

Significantly, the magazine silenced critics who saw it as Pro-Mbeki mouthpiece by maintaining its editorial stance despite Mbeki’s electoral defeat at the ANC conference in 2007.

To date the magazine has brought out 5 issues and established itself as a one of the few independent print voices, offering alternative news, views, critique and satire that challenge the mainstream media.


PEOPLE

James Sanders, Ronald Suresh Roberts, Adam Rumball, Zanele Mashinini, Yasmin Sooka, Sindiso Mnisi, Izzy Grove, Eeben Barlow, Lancelot du Preez, Richard Gott, Peter Hallward, Piers Pigou, Eusebius McKaiser, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Lester Sands, Adam Rumball, Nicholas Tee, Dan Mare, Jonathan Bloche, Phillip Dexter and Thato Mofokeng.


FAMILY TREE

  • Nose Week 1993
  • The Media magazine

RE/SOURCES

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HEI VOETSEK!

“This magazine is just to say we’re out there and we don’t buy your shit. It’s freedom of expression and the means by which a long-suffering artist becomes an entrepreneur, taking destiny into his own hands and out of the devious honkies who so love control,” wrote self-proclaimed culture terrorist Elliot Josephs aka Zebulon Dread in the editorial of the first issue of Hei Voetsek! (loosely translated: Hey! Get lost!). A diatribe-of-a-publication, the magazine burst upon the Cape Town writing and peddling scenes in 1997, at a time when the South African cultural journals happily basked under the rainbow. Written, designed, drawn, photoshopped and photocopied by Dread himself, Hei Voetsek! dissected South African politics, culture, society and sex. No one was safe from Dread’s virulent political tirades. Using Cape Flats taal, a street-smart mixture of English, Afrikaans and slang, Dread railed against everyone from corrupt politicians and conservative Afrikaaners and “darkies with a chip on their shoulders”.

After the publishing establishment, scared off by his politically incorrect satire, refused Hei Voetsek!, Dread turned to small independent black printers. Next he took to the streets, becoming his own walking and ranting marketing and distribution machine, hard-selling the magazine to oft unwilling victims at book fairs, street corners and arts festivals countrywide.

Dread went on to add two new magazines to his empire: Poes! and Piel!, which parodied the sexist magazine industry. He also published numerous satirical books. Finally in 2002, disillusioned with the lack of transformation in South Africa, Dread committed ritual suicide. As Elliot Josephs explained: “I am going to give up the ghost of my alter-ego, Zebulon Dread, and depart for India in order to find the happiness that the liberation struggle failed to deliver.” On dark stormy Cape Town nights, the dreadlocked visage of the “Last of the Great, Great Hotnots” can still be found haunting the city’s Green Market Square with the cry: “Sies! Vark! Voetsek!” (Sis! Pig! Get lost!)



“I lived in two worlds. I read. I read profusely. I was reading Dostoyevsky, I was reading Sartre. I read Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf in 1977 and it had such a big impact on me, I had to go and see the school psychiatrist after that – because I could understand that Steppenwolf, that outsider, was me. I was the madman living inside the insanity of humanity.”

THE COSMIC LIVES AND AFTERLIVES OF ZEBULON DREAD by
Achal Prabhala


“We took our collective birth in South Africa where, under the aegis of being black, we suffered at the hands of so-called white people. Which means that many souls, together, took their birth to endure karmic punishment – which they’ve not understood.”

THE BLACK GURUGael Reagon meets the spirit formerly known as Zebulon Dread.


traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

“Ce magazine est juste pour dire que nous sommes là et nous n’avalons pas votre merde. C’est la liberté d’expression et les moyens par lesquels un artiste qui souffre depuis longtemps devient un entrepreneur, prenant sa destinée entre ses propres mains et hors des tortueuses oies qui aiment tant contrôler,” a écrit celui qui se proclame le terroriste culturel, Elliot Joseph saka Zebulon Dread dans l’éditorial de la première édition d’Hei Voetsek! (traduit vaguement par: eh! Fiche-moi le camp!). Une diatribe de la publication, le magazine s’éclate sur les scènes écrites et colportées du Cap en 1997, à l’époque où les journaux culturels Sud-Africains se dorent joyeusement sous l’arc-en-ciel. Ecrit, planifié, dessiné, photographié et photocopié par Dread lui-même, Hei Voetsek! dissèque la politique, la culture, la société et le sexe sud-africains. Personne n’était épargné sous les tirades politiques et virulentes de Dread. Utilisant le langage du ‘Cape Flats'(*), un mélange d’anglais, d’afrikaans et d’argot, Dread se répand en injures contre tout le monde, des politiciens corrompus et des afrikanders conservateurs aux “noirs qui sont aigris”.

Une fois que la maison d’édition refusa Hei Voetsek!, apeuré par ses satires politiquement incorrectes, Dread se tourna vers les petits imprimeurs noirs indépendants. Ensuite, il se mit dans les rues, faisant lui-même sa propre commercialisation ambulante et oratoire et devenant lui-même sa propre machine de distribution, faisant une promotion de vente agressive du magazine aux victimes souvent contre leurs grés aux ventes de livres, dans les coins de rues et les festivals d’arts dans tout le pays.

Dread alla ajouter deux nouvelles revues à son empire: Poels! et Piels!, qui parodiaient l’industrie sexiste des magazines. Il publia également de nombreux livres satiriques. Finalement en 2002, désillusionné par le manque de transformation en Afrique du Sud, Dread commis un suicide rituel. Ainsi que l’expliquait Elliot Josephs: “Je vais abandonner le fantôme de mon pseudonyme, Zebulon Dread, et partir en Inde afin de trouver le bonheur que la lutte pour la liberté n’a pas apporté.” Dans les nuits noires et orageuses du Cap, le visage redouté et enfermé du “Dernier des Grands, Grands Hotnots” peut encore être trouvé entrain d’hanter la Place du Marché Vert de la ville criant: “Sies! Vark! Voetsek!” (Aïe! Cochon! Fiche-moi le camp!). (*) nom d’une banlieue/ quartier au Cap.


PEOPLE

Elliot Josephs aka Zebulon Dread


RE/SOURCES

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It Begins with a Place

t would be a very idiosyncratic Harlem! Years ago when I was a teenager I did a course where they had us make maps of places, highlighting what drops out just based on personal experience of a place. I think of this book very much like that – a personal map of the places I went or that caught my eye.

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HAMBONE

For the last three decades, Nathaniel Mackey, an African-American writer on the subject of “both sides of the hyphen”, has navigated a diversity of forms and subjects. He has published poetry, fiction, essays and lectured extensively. Mackey is also the founding editor of the Hambone Literary Journal. Yet despite the diversity of its output, Mackey’s work is almost always about the possibility of “discrepant engagement” between cultures. The phrase serves both a title and an apt description of Hambone.

The magazine’s first issue was published in the spring of 1974 as a group effort by the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. It was dormant until 1982, when Mackey revived it as clearly different journal. With Mackey as sole editor and publisher of the Hamburger, “The main meeting place for Third World, American minority and white avant-gardists.” According to MacKey the cultivation and pursuit of networks of associations and communities of interest, inclination and affinity is a central reason for starting the magazine. “Okay, here’s my map … and we’re going to call it Hambone.”

Mackey’s Hambone covers a large region. In it he has a rich cross-cultural trickster poetics, traversing the African American vernacular and Euro-American “open form” poetics, slipping across literary boundaries and wire-cutting his way through gender constraints. Since 1982 Hambone has published everything from interviews to poetry and fiction. It also publishes reviews, essays and debates on African American culture, including a controversial conversation on the subject of black literature with Ismael Reed that Amiri Baraka later described as “straight-out agentry, and in certain circumstances could easily get these dudes iced.”



In addition to his work writing and editing, Nathaniel Mackey worked as radio disc jockey beginning as an undergraduate at Princeton’s WPRB and including nearly 30 years at Santa Cruz’s KUSP. For him the experience working on radio is inextricably linked to his writing: “I’ve long felt similarities between the processes of selection, sequencing, juxtaposition, pacing, transition, etc. that putting a radio program together entails and those involved in writing prose, writing poetry, and editing my journal, Hambone.” Further, Nate has described, from the beginning of his writing, “a pattern in which music would repeatedly impact, appear in, and be referred to in my writing, whether poetry or prose.” Listen to Nates Bass Catheral Mix below.


A Bass Cathedral Discography and Mix

traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

Pendant les trois dernières décennies, Nathaniel Mackey, un écrivain africain-américain résolu d’explorer “les deux côtés du trait d’union”, a dirigé une diversité de formes et sujets. Il a publié de la poésie, de la fiction, des essais et a considérablement donné des conférences. Mackey est aussi l’éditeur fondateur du journal littéraire Hambone. Néanmoins en dépit de la diversité de sa production, le travail de Mackey a presque toujours rassemblé une seule idée ce qu’il nomme la possibilité de “l’engagement contradictoire” entre les cultures. La phrase sert à la fois de titre pour son livre d’essais et pour la description appropriée d’Hambone.

La première édition du magazine àa été publiée au printemps de 1974 comme un effort de groupe par le Comité des Arts Performants Noirs à l’université de Stanford. Il a été dormant jusqu’en 1982, lorsque Mackey le fit revivre comme un journal considérablement différent. Avec Mackey comme rédacteur et éditeur Hambone devint connu comme “le point de rendez-vous pour le Troisiजme Monde, la minorité Américaine et les avant-gardistes blancs.” Selon Mackey la culture et poursuite des réseaux d’association et l’intérêt des communes, l’inclination et l’affinité furent sa raison principale pour commencer le magazine. “Mon idée était de mettre simplement mon sens de la communauté des écrivains et artistes sur un genre de carte  Ok, voilà ma carte… et nous allons l’appeler Hambone.

The Hambone of  Mackey covers a large area. In it he represents a man of rich poetry and crossed cultures, crossing the world of African American vernacular poetry and “open form” Eureo-American, sliding across the literary limits and shearing his way through the constraints of kind. Since 1982,  Hambone  has published everything from interviews to poetry and fiction. He also publishes reviews, essays and debates on African American culture, including controversial conversations about the function of black literature with Ismael Reed that Ami Baraka later describes as “pure chemistry and which in certain circumstances , could easily freeze his guys.”

PEOPLE

Sun Ra, Robert Duncan, Beverly Dahlen, Jay Wright, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Carence Major, Wilson Harris, Jodi Braxton, Michael Harper, David Henderson, bell hooks, Ishmael Reed

FAMILY TREE

  • Free Lance (1955)
  • Negro Digest/ Black World (1961)
  • Obsidian/Obsidian II (1975)
  • Black American Literature Forum (1976)
  • Callaloo (1976)
  • First World (1977)
  • Y’Bird (1977)
  • Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women (1984)
  • Catalyst (1986)
  • Shooting Star Review (1986)
  • Konch (1990)

RE/SOURCES

  • Nathaniel Mackey. Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-culturality, and Experimental Writing, Cambridge University Press, 1993
  • “Nathaniel Mackey Interview by Christopher Funkhouser,” Poetry Flash: A Poetry Review and Literary Calendar for the West, 224 (1991)
  • Nathaniel Mackey, “Editing Hambone”, Callaloo Volume 23, Number 2, Spring 2000, pp. 665-668
  • Ronald Maberry Johnson, Abby Arthur Johnson, Propaganda and Aesthetics: The Literary Politics of Afro-American Magazines in the Twentieth Century, University of Massachusetts Press, 1979
  • Nathaniel Mackey, Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews, Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2005
  • Hambone: Destination Out BY ANDREW JORON
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Asia in My Life

I have always felt the need for Africa, Asia and South America to learn from each other. This south-to-south intellectual and literary exchange was at the center of the Nairobi Literature debate in the early sixties, and is the centerpiece of my recent theoretical explorations, in Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing.

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GLENDORA REVIEW

Glendora Review was conceived in an atmosphere of intellectual crisis following the brain drain from Nigeria during the Abacha regime. Its founder, Olakunle Tejuoso, whose family owns the Lagos alternative bookstore after which the journal is named, wanted to create a forum where people could access the work being done by Nigerian intellectuals who had fled the country, and a bridge for artistic theories and activities being propagated by African intellectuals in the West and their contemporaries at home.

Constantly engaging and interrogating the idea of Africa as a contested and dynamic invention, Glendora provided a platform for intellectual discourse on literary, visual, and performance cultures that is sensitive to the mutations and complexities of cultural work on Africa in a global age. A strong aesthetic sense coupled with an editorial style that, while rigorous, managed to avoid being too intellectual or esoteric, attracted a wide-ranging readership in Nigerian and abroad.

Although initially focused on Nigeria’s arts and cultures, Glendora grew into a pan African journal with regular features and interviews of icons such as Ngugi wa Thiongo, Mbongeni Ngema, Sembene Ousmane or Sun Ra, and critical texts on African literature. The journal also included a books supplement.

The last issue of Glendora appeared in 2004 and its publishers have focused since on the publication of books, namely the excellent tome of the West African megapolis, Lagos: A City At Work.


traduction française par Scarlett Antonio

Glendora Review a été conçu dans une atmosphère de crise intellectuelle à la suite du fossé cérébral venant du Nigéria pendant le régime Abacha. Son fondeur, Olakunle Tejuoso, dont la famille possède l’alternative du magasin de livres au Lagos après lequel il prend son nom, voulait créer un forum où les gens pouvaient avoir accès au travail fait par les intellectuels nigériens qui ont fui le pays et créer un pont pour les théories et activités artistiques étant propagées par les intellectuels africains en Occident et leurs contemporains dans le pays.

Constamment engageant et interrogeant l’idée de l’Afrique en tant qu’une invention contestée et dynamique, Glendora fournissait une plateforme pour les débats intellectuels sur la littérature, le visuel et la performance des cultures qui est sensible aux mutations et aux complexités du travail culturel sur l ‘Afrique dans une période globale. Un sens de l’esthétique puissant couplé avec un style de rédaction qui, bien que rigoureux a réussi à éviter d’être trop intellectuel ou ésotérique, a attiré une grande étendue de lecteurs au Nigéria et à l’étranger.

Bien que concentré initialement sur les cultures et arts du Nigéria, Glendora a grandi pour devenir un journal de la [pan] africaine avec des chroniques régulières et interview d’icônes tels que Ngugi wa Thiongo, Mbongeni Ngema, Sembene Ousmane ou Sun Ra et des textes critiques sur la littérature Africaine. Le journal a aussi inclus un supplément de livres. La dernière édition de Glendora apparut en 2004 et ses éditeurs se sont depuis concentrés sur la publication de livres, notamment l’excellent tome de la megapolis Africaine occidentale, Lagos : Une Ville Au Travail


PEOPLE

Dapo Adeniyi, Akin Adesokan, Michael Veal, Okwui Enwezor, Sola Olorunyomi, Greg Tate, Sefi Ransome-Kuti (Sefi Atta), John Collins, Ololade Bamidele, Chika Okeke, Odia Ofeimun, David Aradeon, Giarokwu Lemi, Dele Jegede, Depth of Field Collective

FAMILY TREE

  • Black Orpheus (1957)
  • Transition (1963)
  • New Culture (1978)
  • Kurio Africana (1989)
  • The Eye (1992)
  • Uso (1995)
  • Agufon (1997)
  • Position (2001)
  • Farafina

RE/SOURCES

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The Spark of Life: Where Novels Come From

wani? Manuscript Project, Kwani Trust’s new literary prize for African writing. Including contributions from Aminatta Forna, Leila Aboulela, Ellen Banda-Aaku and Helon Habila, the articles offer advice and inspiration for developing your novel manuscript over the next 2 months. In this, the first article in the series Aminatta Forna explores where the ideas for novels.

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Ten Pieces of Advice for the Writing Life

Read to become a better writer. This sounds like “eat to become stronger” and in a way reading is the food of the creative process. Read for all the reasons a reader reads but also read for inspiration, read to be influenced, read in order to pick up tricks and techniques, read in order to answer the questions, “How on earth did the author pull this off? How on earth did he/she get away with this?”

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ECRANS D’AFRIQUE

Founded by African filmmakers in Burkina Faso in 1992, during a period of intense worldwide interest and commentary on African T.V. and film, the bilingual journal Ecrans d’Afrique: Revue Internationale de Cinema Television et Video (also known as African Screen) explored all aspects of African film production. It, along with its many contemporaries, sought to ameliorate an intellectual climate which suffered from a dearth of commentary on African film. A corollary of the journal’s efforts was to improve worldwide exposure and access to African films – it was linked to the Festival Panafricain du Cinema de Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the continent’s leading film festival, from its inception. Ecrans d’Afrique has also been lauded for its wide gaze covering the whole of the African diaspora and for its excellent coverage of Caribbean film developments.




GRANDMA’S GRAMMER a film by Jean Pierre Bekolo

traduction française par Scarlett Antoniou

Fondé par des producteurs de films africains à Bukina Faso en 1992, pendant une période d’intense intérêt et commentaire mondial sur la TV et le film africains, le journal bilingue Ecrans d’Afrique: Revue Internationale de Cinéma Télévision et Vidéo (Cinema Television and Video International review) (aussi connu sous le nom d’African Screen) a exploré tous les aspects de la production du film africain. En parallèle avec ses nombreux contemporains, il a recherché à améliorer un climat intellectuel qui a souffert de la pauvreté du commentaire sur le film africain. Un corollaire des efforts du journal a été d’améliorer l’exposition internationale et l’accès aux films africains  il a été lié au Festival Panafricain du Cinéma de Ouagadougou (FESPACO), le principal festival du film du continent, depuis son commencement. Ecrans d’Afrique a aussi été louangé pour son grand regard couvrant toute la Diaspora africaine et pour son excellent reportage du développement du film antillais. 


PEOPLE

Clement Tapsoba, Alessandra Speciale, Francoise Pfaff, Mbye B. Cham, Baba Diop, William Tanifeani, Therese-Marie Deffontaines, Jean Servais Bakyono, Frank Ukadike, Beti Ellerson


FAMILY TREE

  • La Feuille (1990)
  • Le Film africain (1991)
  • Regard (1992)
  • Black Film Bulletin (1993)

RE/SOURCES

  • Ecrans d’Afrique on Wikipedia
  • FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinema de Ouagadougou)
  • “Nous sommes tous responsables,” Abdoulaye Dao
  • Research in African Literatures special issue on African film, Fall 1995, 26.3.
  • Iris special issue on African film, Spring 1995,18.
  • Films d’Afrique, edited by Michel Larouche.
  • Sub- Saharan African Films and Filmmakers: An Annotated Bibliography (London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1988)
  • Sub-Saharan African Films and Filmmakers 1987-1992: An Annotated Bibliography(London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1994)
  • “The Challenges of African Film Bibliography: Content and Audience,” African Research and Documentation, 72 (1996), 1-8.
  • Cinemas of the Black Diaspora, Michael T. Martin
  • African Cinema: Politics and Culture, Manthia Diawara
  • Black and Third Cinema: Film and Television Bibliography, Vieler-Porter
  • Critical Perspectives on Black Independent Cinema, Cham and Andrade-Watkins
  • Schmidt, Nancy J. “Special Issues of Periodicals on African Film.” African Studies Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, (Apr., 1997), pp. 113-119
  • “Documents: Ecrans d’Afrique”
  • “Ecrans d’Afrique / African Screen Conversations with Keyan Tomaselli- Ecrans d’Afrique”
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Like Words For Weapons

I contacted Comrade Fatso a poet and social activist and founder of MAGAMABA Projects and bandleader of Chabvondoka who is also internationally renowned for blogging for CNN’s on the ground coverage of the controversial 2008 Zimbabwean elections; to gauge his attitude about the current power sharing arrangement and his opinion on the political climate in his country.

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Civil Lines

Launched in 1994 by publisher Ravi Dayal, Civil Lines quickly became the home of vital new Indian writing in the English language. Initially inspired by British magazine GRANTA, its focus on high quality unpublished fiction, personal history, reportage and inquiring journalism instantly appealed to what its founding editors describe as a new generation of “intelligent literate urban Indians” who valued high quality English writing and bought fiction and non-fiction for the pleasure of reading.

Significantly the magazine sought to challenge the traditional literary model by refusing to publish to a set schedule. Instead it prioritized quality, with issues appearing only when the editors felt they had garner enough fine, unpublished writing connected with India to warrant an issue. The result has been five issues to date, all defined by their consistency, surprise, eclecticism, intelligence and originality. Largely edited by practicing writers (Rukun Advani, Ivan Hutnik, Mukul Kesavan and later Kai Friese) rather than academics and with no defined literary manifesto determining the content, Civil Lines is ultimately a testimony to power of the story to describe, illuminate and make real.


“The first thing that was ground-breaking about a journal like Civil Lines in India, then, was precisely this: it revealed exactly where it was coming from, its hybridity, limitations and possibilities, without shame, without deception, without fronting, without pretensions to subalternity, without abandoning politics.”

Four Ground-breaking Things In Five Issues of Civil Lines or, Ways to Get Your Head Out of the Postcolonial Sand – An Essay by Vivek Narayanan



SOMETHING BARELY REMEMBERED a film by Priya Sen

Civil Lines advertises itself as New Writing from India. This is misleading (as most advertisements are) because in its short life Civil Lines has been host to old writing newly translated, writing by not-Indian writers, writing by Indians Elsewhere and so on….”

Civil Lines An Essay by Achal Prabhala
2008


PEOPLE

Anita Roy, Amarish Sat-wick, Susan Visvanathan, Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, Amitava Kumar, Amit Chaudhury, Saba Naqvi Bhaumik, Nirmala Subramaniam, Sankarshan Thakur, Mishi Saran, Lauent de Gaulle


FAMILY TREE


RE/SOURCES

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Mafika Gwala speaks to Andrea Meeson about not living in the shadows.

“I have been always where I am today. Why do they speak of me as if I am emerging from the dark?” Mafika Gwala speaks to Andrea Meeson about not living in the shadows.

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Amkenah

Founded in 1999, Amkenah magazine is published by writer Alaa Khaled and photographer Salwa Rashad in Alexandria, Egypt.

Amkenah (“Places”) is concerned with “the poetics of place”: the people who live in, work at, and pass through places. A direct response to elitism, parochialism and conservatism in the literally scene in Egypt, as well as its Cairo’s centralism, it was born out of a search for a literary form that was more open and accessible. As such, it aims to re-forge a direct link between literature, art and culture on the one hand and life as it is lived more broadly on the other.

Through essays, interviews, photographs and archival extracts which feature different places, the editors to aim make visible that the life of people living in a certain place is the basic dimension of contemporary reality.
Amkenah looks at culture, literature and place primarily from the viewpoint of transformation. It seeks to trace the points of transformation in a particular place at a particular time. This allows place and art and literature to be seen as fluid, changing elements. In this way, it hopes to escape the game of exclusion and inclusion played by a global culture bent on obliterating the particular. Place becomes a container of change and dispute; a reference point that can’t be easily obliterated, or superseded by meta-narrative or cultural theory.

In keeping with its commitment to lived experience it publishes primarily nonfiction written from a subjective point of view that challenges formal, academic styles with inventiveness, colloquialism and humanity.
Texts by experienced writers, poets, scholars and journalists are published alongside new voices and supplemented with art and photography.

Openly defiant of the conservative “independent scene” and the nepotism-ridden state-affiliated press, the magazine was initially self-funded by its editors and while it currently publishes intermittently, it’s completely financially self-sufficient.


PEOPLE

Alaa Khaled, Salwa Rashad, Mohab Nasre, Heba El-Cheikh, Adania Shibli, Haytham el-Wardany, Ahmad Farouq, Youssef Rakha, Tarek Naga, Richard Jacquemond, Stephanie Dujols


FAMILY TREE


RE/SOURCES


CREDITS

  • Thanks to Fouad Asfour
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AFRICAN FILM

Published by Drum in Nigeria and later also Kenya and Ghana in the early 60s, African Film was just one of the many photo comics or “look books” that flooded English-speaking West Africa in the early post colonial era. Catering to the new urban youth, the series featured the mythical persona of Lance Spearman, a.k.a. “The Spear,” a black James Bond-like crime fighter as the central character.

In contrast to the racist stereotype of the uncivilised, uneducated, spear-carrying cannibal, or the eroticised “noble savage” that characterised the depictions of Africans in most Western comic books from the time, Spearman was sharp, stylish and sophisticated. Combining re-appropriated Western references with a distinctly African cultural identity, he reflected a newly defined black Atlantic modernity. Here was a comic book hero that presented a potential critique of colonialism, as well as a significant variation in how the genre classically figured normality and otherness.

While the series was criticised for its sometimes stereotyped portrayals of blackness and masculinity, it none the less had a lasting influence in fostering postcolonial pride and identity. Its combination of extreme (often cartoon-like) violence, with pastiches of early Hollywood melodramas, dashes of romance and glamour – via the street and touches of black nationalism preceded the Blaxploitation explosion in American cinemas in the 70s and its use of inventive DIY tactics to overcome budget constraints (Spearman’s trademark Corvette Stingray was often a picture of a dinky-toy) had a lasting influence on the Nollywood industry.



Into this culturally colonized milieu came a new comic published by Drum Publications called African Film featuring Lance Spearman, a raffish and nattily-dressed black super cop with an ever-present Panama hat. And we all instantly fell deeply in love with him. No one forced Spearman on us. For the first time, we had a comic hero who was actually black like us. 

Black Like Us by Tunde Giwa 


Spearman… Lance Spearman – the name synonymous with the intrepid hero of the photo-comic staple, African Film, started by the publisher of South Africa’s Drum Magazine, produced by fledgling writers and read voraciously by 1970s Nigerian schoolboys, including Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, who dreamed of wars and victories other than those around them.

THE IMPOSSIBLE DEATH OF AN AFRICAN CRIME BUSTER by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu


Traduction Française Par Scarlett Antoniou

Edité par Drum au Nigéria et également plus tard au Kenya et Ghana dans les années 60, African Film était juste une des nombreuses bandes dessinées photo ou “livres à regarder” qui a envahi l’ouest de l’Afrique anglophone durant le début de la période postcoloniale. S’adressant à la nouvelle jeunesse urbaine, les séries avaient pour vedette le personnage mythique de Lance Spearman, a.k.a. “The Spear” (La Lance), un lutteur noir contre les crimes ressemblant à James Bond, comme caractère principal.

En contraste avec le stéréotype raciste du cannibale porteur de lance barbare et non instruit, ou le “noble sauvage” érotiques qui caractérisaient les représentations des africains dans la plupart des livres comiques occidentaux du temps, Spearman était tranchant, élégant et sophistiqué. Allié aux références occidentales de nouveau appropriées avec l’identité culturelle distinctement africaine, il reflétait une modernité atlantique noire nouvellement définie. C’était là un héro de livre comique qui présentait une critique potentielle du colonialisme ainsi qu’une variation considérable dans la manière avec laquelle le tableau de genre illustrait classiquement la normalité et l’ensemble des autres.

Tandis que les séries étaient critiquées pour ses portraits parfois stéréotypes de la couleur noire et de la masculinité, il a eu cependant une influence de longue durée dans la manière d’encourager l’identité et la fierté postcoloniales. Son mélange d’extrême violence (souvent comme des dessins animés), avec des pastiches d’anciens mélodrames Hollywoodiens, des moments de romance et de séductions à travers la rue et les touches de nationalisme noir, précédait l’explosion du ‘Blaxploitation’ (exploitation des noirs) dans les cinémas américains des années 70 et son utilisation de tactiques inventives faites maison pour surmonter les contraintes de budget (la marque déposée de Spearman Corvette Stingray était souvent l’image d’un jouet mignon) ont eu une influence de longue durée sur l’industrie Nollywood.


FAMILY TREE

  • Boom featuring Fearless Fang
  • The Stranger
  • Sadness & Joy

RE/SOURCES

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Listen to “Sankomota: An Ode in One Album”

Perhaps outside of Fela’s Egypt 80, very few music bands have managed to influence their countries in the manner and to the extent that Sankomota did.

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RIP Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina was a friend, a Chimurenga founding father, an award winning writer, author, journalist, chef, lover, a literary revolutionary and an inspiration. We pay tribute.

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The Pharaoh’s New Clothes

Its location, vocation, and publication intended to speak to a politicised Third World imaginary.

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New Cartographies

Since its launch in 2011, every edition of The Chronic has engaged with this question:  […]

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Search Sweet Country

In his first novel, and in conversation with Binyavanga Wainaina, Kojo Laing talks to a future Ghana by exposing its present, full of the jargons and certainties of one dimensional nation building.

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10 Paragraphs of Music Criticism

Kodwo Eshun discusses selected paragraphs of music criticism, taking in Kim Gordon’s […]

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Frantz Fanon’s Uneven Ribs

For me knowledge is very powerful. Any knowledge has claws and teeth. If you don’t see the teeth and the claws then it is useless, then somebody has emasculated it.

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Colossal KOUROUMA

What could have happened in his head to take literally this type of injunction quite common in lands of Africa? A sense of the word given? The desire to take seriously the hopes of children who usually have little voice? Mystery. 

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They Won’t Go When I Go

A Manifesto/ Meditation on State of Black Archives in America and throughout the Diaspora by Harmony Holiday

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Joe An Essay by Sam Kahiga June 2008

All my life, I wanted to be either a writer or a […]

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Civil Lines

An Essay by Achal Prabhala At some point in the 1980s – […]

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FOUR GROUND-BREAKING THINGS IN FIVE ISSUES OF CIVIL LINES OR, WAYS TO GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE POSTCOLONIAL SAND

an essay by Vivek Narayanan [Note: while preparing this piece, I benefited greatly […]

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Black Images – An Essay by Peter James Hudson

July 2008 The premiere issue of Black Images: A Critical Quarterly of Black […]

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The Impossible Death of an African Crime Buster

Spearman… Lance Spearman – the name synonymous with the intrepid hero of […]

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The Emperor of Kinshasa’s Street Comics

by Nancy Rose Hunt Beginning nearly fifty years ago, in 1968, Kinshasa […]

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Spear: Canada’s Truth and Soul Magazine

by Peter James Hudson November 2010 Spear: Canada’s Truth and Soul Magazine launched […]

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Staffriding the Frontline

An Essay by Lesego RampolokengMay 2008 Down from a couple years beyond […]

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Staffrider

An Essay by Ivan VladislavićMarch 2008 I joined Ravan Press as a […]

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POETS WITH GUNS: A CONVERSATION WITH CHIRIKURE CHIRIKURE

Chirikure Chirikure means “that which is far is very far.” He is […]

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Short Review – The Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat Marc Anthony Richardson FC2/ University of Alabama Press, […]

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WHAT AFRICAN WRITERS CAN LEARN FROM CHEIKH ANTA DIOP

In a testament to Cheikh Anta Diop, Boubacar Boris Diop raises radical views on creative writing, a challenge to what he laments as our literary Sahara.

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WRITING AS AN ACT OF GENEROSITY

MAMADOU DIALLO All of our current texts in English or French were, […]

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The Making of the Impossible

Review by GWEN ANSELL October: The story of the Russian revolution China […]

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PORTRAIT OF MYSELF AS MY FATHER

A CONVERSATION WITH NORA CHIPAUMIRE Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, and based in New […]

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NATIONAL HEROES ACRE II & III

National Heroes Acre II Photographs by Jekesai Njikizanava National Heroes Acre II […]

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KÀDDU- THE ECHO OF DISSONANT DISCOURSE

Ibrahima Wane Translated by David Leye When it was published by Présence […]

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CHEIKH ANTA DIOP – AN AWAKENING

Ayesha Harruna Attah recounts a voyage of discovery that begins from a […]

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To Defend and to Question

Zinedine Zidane has described him as “the greatest footballer of all” and […]

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English Language Visa

by Keorapetse William Kgositsile Some years back, when writers like Ngũgĩ wa […]

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An Essay on Uneven Ribs: a Prelude

by Taban Lo Liyong [from Frantz Fanon’s Uneven Ribs ] 1 Bill […]

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Blame Me On History

Atiyyah Khan is a writer, researcher and arts journalist based in Cape […]

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The Sahara Is Not A Boundary

Stacy Hardy is a writer and senior editor at Chimurenga. She is […]

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How To Cook Your Husband The African Way

Stacy Hardy is a writer and senior editor at Chimurenga. She is […]

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A Letter from a Homeless Prodigal

Emeka Ugwu is a Data Analyst who lives in Lagos, Nigeria. He […]

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Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams:

From the earnest hustle of our elders in writing during the 1960s […]

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Calabar Winch

By Akin Adesokan I When the goddess of happy accidents stumbles on […]

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The Complete Gentleman

In London Kamwendo’s interpretation of Amos Tutuola’s sly satire of spectral global capitalism […]

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Monumental Failures

Dominique Malaquais reports from Cameroon on the active objection of one ‘Combattant’ to the negation of many, cast in stone. Decrying these monumental symbols to the least salubrious of colonial exploits, his rebellion is most fitting in a country that stands on ceremony other than its own.

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The Art of Suspense

Lidudumalingani Mqombothi revisits the football matches of his childhood, when radio, not […]

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The Invention of African Football

Moses März documents his fleeting orbit of the “African” football scene, from […]

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A Fine Madness

By Masande Ntshanga  Here’s how this starts: halfway through Mishka Hoosen’s debut […]

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Politics of Betrayal

Using historian and author Jacob Dlamini’s latest work as a backdrop, Bongani […]

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How Third World Students Liberated the West

In a twist to mainstream tropes of radical student movements of the 1960s, and their impact on the history of political thought and action, Pedro Monaville argues that the terrains of the Third World, and particularly the history of student movements in Congo, are vital to explore if we are to makes sense of how that period informs the present.

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Dansons Donc le Zouglou

By Henri-Michel Yere Déscolarisé In 1980s Côte d’Ivoire, exclusion from the schooling […]

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Creating Theatre: A George Hallett Photo Essay

“Exile demands contemplation because it is unavoidably real for those who experience […]

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CAMFRANGLAIS – a lexicon

By Stephane Akoa (translated by Karen Press) Avoir la godasse: avoir le […]

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Love and Learning Under the World Bank

Stacy Hardy recounts seventeen stories of the hierarchies, the anti-heroes, the hard […]

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Land Homeland

Q&A with Mahmood Mamdani Chronic: Your book Define and Rule: Native as […]

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The Sahara is not a Boundary

Ziad Bentahar is an assistant professor of French and Arabic at Towson […]

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Jeune Afrique

By Moses Marz In 1968, Béchir Ben Yahmed launched his first attempt […]

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Souffles

By Toni Maraini The first issue was thin, but it responded “to […]

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Trajectories of the Sudanese Gulf

By Michael Vasquez Hiwar The journal that the Congress for Cultural Freedom […]

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Hiwar

By Michael Vasquez The journal that the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) published […]

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Qibla

 Qibla leader Imam Achmad Cassiem in conversation with Khalid Shamis. “When the […]

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Writing the City in a Different Script

The Arabic-Afrikaans Tradition of the Cape By  Saarah Jappie A hundred years […]

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Secular Stories

“Spare a thought for secularism. One month into the life of The […]

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Waiting for Wame

By Elnathan John It is June 20. I am in pain. The […]

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Authority Stealing in Kenya

In pursuit of some scriptwriter talent, Billy Kahora discovers that academic mantras, […]

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Both Sides Then and Now

By Rustum Kozain Perhaps too short for the reading pleasure it provides, […]

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Authority Stealing in Nigeria

Akin Adesokan confronts the ‘real world of Nigerian politics’ and comes to […]

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Authority Stealing in India

Rakesh Khanna explores the web of Indian-language crime fiction publishing, in which […]

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I Think I’ll Call it Morning

 by Bongani Kona   Penumbra Songeziwe Mahlangu Kwela Books,  2013 Sometime in […]

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The Shifting Fortunes of a Performing Poet

Post-apartheid poetry and its makers have witnessed the commodification of the art […]

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Black Man in the White Suit

A Letter from Cape Town by Kiluanji Kia Henda. In 2008, the […]

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Pan Africanism in Katanga

In the margins of a specific history, in which land and inhabitants […]

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Becoming Chimamanda’s Boy

by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo. I was part of the 2014 Farafina Creative Writing Workshop […]

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Creative Industries as Underdevelopment

Are the creative industries turning the tide against urban development in the […]

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All That is Solid Melts into PR

Mark Fisher, author of the book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? […]

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Reviews in Brief

by Stacy Hardy.   Our Lady of the Nile Scholastique Mukasonga (transl. […]

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Operation Protective Edge

by  Paul Wessels. The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of […]

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Portrait of the Artist as a Daughter

by Ed Pavlić. “Where material is absent, dialectics is groundless.” – James Snead, […]

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Licking Dirty Hands

by David Shook. In the tradition of German poet Heimrad Bäcker, who turned […]

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Undoing the Spell

by Ben Verghese. Many of the dominant narratives of the partition focus on […]

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The Undeveloped Intellectual in Zombie-land

by Ibrahim Farghali. This is Rakha’s second novel after his début, The Book […]

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Breaking the Rules Beautifully

by Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire. “Breaking the rules attracts implications, Jennifer.” I overhear British […]

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Men and their Dogs

by Gwen Ansell. Leonardo Padura is perhaps best known outside his native Cuba […]

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Miniature Metamorphoses

by André Naffis-Sahely. In his dotage, Henry Kissinger has come to resemble Emperor […]

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The Other Brother

by Bongani Kona. At the centre of Masande Ntshanga’s debut novel, The Reactive, […]

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A Geography of Times and Affects

by Marissa Moorman. An Angolan friend of mine refuses to read Ondjaki. […]

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And the Books Lived Happily Ever After

by Harry Garuba. If Amos Tutuola had not lived, and written stories in […]

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Which Africa Are We Talking About?

In the era of rapid globalisation the exemplary novelists seem to be […]

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Shooting From Point Blank Range

Moses Serubiri turns on the television and watches the news unfold, in […]

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Beneath the Underdog

Fighter, soldier, poet, arguably the PR-unit and embodiment of the Economic Freedom […]

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Shifting Gulfward

The apparent demise of the millennia-old Arab cultural centres and the rapid […]

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Life After Oil

Jeremy Weate explores the cultural politics of the petro-based economy in Nigeria, […]

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We almost died thrice…

A letter from Lagos by Wanlov the Kubolor. I dey lie for […]

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The Bite and the Embrace

A Letter from Malabo by Recaredo Silebo Boturu. I’m writing from here in […]

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The Face: Cartography of the Void

Chris Abani has lived in several places and been assumed to be […]

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A Brief History of Mapping

by Stacy Hardy. In 1921, the independent Polish scholar Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski […]

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How Close Are You To This Place?

by Karen Press. Where is the heart of darkness? We think we know. It’s […]

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Situation is Critical

Jeremy Weate moves from text to context in search of the current […]

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How to write about Africa

by Boniface Mongo-Mboussa Serpent à Plumes’ republication of Yambo Ouologuem’s Le Devoir de violence […]

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In Suburbia

Suburban South Africa is glowing. The sun is up, the trees are […]

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The Chronic – mapping the new – soon come

“In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the […]

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What Follows? The State of Black Collectivity in the Year of the Sheep

Continuing to sing a vital and urgent message of black collectivity, Harmony Holiday writes from […]

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Between Worldliness and Exile Homelessness and Cosmopolitanism

With essays by Akin Adesokan, Imraan Coovadia and Ngugi wa Thiong’o bound together,  Sean O’Toole examines idiosyncratic writing […]

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Dispatches from Beirut

Comic artist and musician Mazen Kerbaj keeps a visual diary of a week […]

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In the Listening Room with Neo Muyanga

This Thursday (January 15), Pan African Space Station present “Revolting Songs”,  a concert-lecture […]

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The African Renaissance Hoer-o-scope for Politicians

by Zebulon Dread ARIES Your best bet at survival is not a […]

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Kangsen Feka Wakai Can’t Breathe

Transition are calling for responses to the latest sweep of murders by police of unarmed black […]

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Beyond Oppression-Liberation-Maendeleo

by Parselelo Kantai It may have been the economist David Ndii who coined […]

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Ankara Press, new romance imprint from Cassava Republic Press

A new romance imprint from Cassava Republic Press is now public: Ankara Press. Press […]

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Propaganda and Politics tunnel vision history of art activism in South Africa

The important contribution of the Black Consciousness Movement to art activism in […]

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The New Thing

Out of the silence, the crevices, cracks and forgotten places of Cape […]

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Exitour as Rhizome

“Why did we embark on this insane trip?” Having journeyed together from Douala to […]

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Une Hommage à Goddy Leye

With his imagination, sharp wit and all-round uncontournable wholesome beautyness, Goddy Leye has […]

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The G.Spot Protagonists

by Goddy Leye I am sitting in front of the Cologne cathedral, amazed by […]

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Honouring Somaliness

Binyavanga Wainaina and Diriye Osman sit down in south London to speak of […]

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Poets Pressing Record(s)

by Harmony Holiday  Privacy is dead and the word itself sounds a […]

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Mythscience Records

Mythscience Records, a label arkiving necessary voices for us all to learn from. Poet Harmony […]

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This is a pigment of my imagination

Looking like a ‘Negro’ in India and searching for a connection has […]

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How Kenya Exploded In My Heart

A letter from Harare by Petina Gappah   I once lived in a […]

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XXYX Africa

by Nick Mwaluko On the subject of voicing that inner scream that […]

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Buru Buru

Billy Kahora reflects on the state of the ‘estate’ of his Nairobi […]

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The Case of Sipho Mchunu

by Bongani Kona In her brilliant review of Didier Fassin’s book, When Bodies Remember: […]

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Poets Are Hurting: Lesego Rampolokeng in Conversation with Mafika Gwala

Mafika Gwala emerged as a significant writer in the 1970s during his […]

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Accordion Cowboys

Tseliso Monaheng explores famo, a popular form of accordion music that blends […]

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AF 888

AF 888 – a letter from above the Mediterranean Sea by Christian Botale […]

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Palestine Journey

In February 2005, Ishtiyaq Shukri’s novel The Silent Minaret, won the first European […]

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L’impossible n’est pas Camerounais!

Kangsen Feka Wakai traces personal lineage, and the often blurred and disputed […]

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Visioncarnation

by Orijit Sen                 Orijit Sen is […]

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The Black Guru

Gael Reagon meets the spirit formerly known as Zebulon Dread. On Friday […]

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The cosmic lives and afterlives of Zebulon Dread

byAchal Prabhala Part 1: Elliot Josephs Elliot Josephs was born in 1958 […]

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11 YRS OF DEMONCRAZY!!!

11 YRS OF DEMONCRAZY!!! O nee Got.!! Got!!! Got!! ! I can’t […]

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Historieda

In his letter from Agolam, Yvan Alagbé riffs off a recent visit […]

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Motshumi’s Country

For more than three decades, Mogorosi Motshumi has drawn comics, cartoons and […]

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It’s only a matter of acceleration now

by  Binyavanga Wainaina 1. I am about to interview Youssou N’Dour. I […]

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New Bush, Old Ghosts

Cyber crime is a burgeoning business in West Africa, despite often primitive […]

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When You Kill Us, We Rule

Audre Lorde‘s poem, “The Black Unicorn”, is woven into rhetorical charcoal drawings by […]

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Sketches of ‘Trane

    Atang Tshikare is a artist and illustrator based in Cape […]

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The End of Elections

by Paula Akugizibwe   Jose Saramago’s Seeing is no Arab spring. Revolutionary […]

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On Mermaids and Microwaves

Diriye Osman is a storyteller – on page, stage and canvas. His […]

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A Brief History of Presidential Libraries

by Stacy Hardy Léopold Sédar Senghor, Aimé Césaire and George Pompidou were friends […]

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In Praise of Complexity

by Martin Kimani  Adéwálé Àjàdí is a contrary brother striving to live based […]

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Translations – A Call For Proposals

      This call is published in the December 2013 edition […]

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The skin I’m in: Afro-Bengali solidarity and possible futures

Naeem Mohaiemen reviews Vivek Bald’s Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of […]

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Paris-Algiers, Underground Class

by Mustapha Benfodil  It’s romance landed me this job. I am a mailman […]

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“I’m Not An African Writer, Damn You!”

by Akin Adesokan One is an African writer, or rather one becomes […]

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Number 11

Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño muses on writing, borders, Latin American literature and the […]

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The Hyphenated African

Teju Cole takes a break from Twitter to speak to Sean O’Toole […]

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Fuzzy Goo’s Guide (to the Earth)

Playing with words, the original Black Heretic Insider Dambudzo Marechera writes his own rulebook […]

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Even the Dead

Jeremy Cronin reports of corrupt apartheid-era games; questioning our (in)ability to remember the […]

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Shoes

Shoeless and bible blacked, Sandile Dikeni recounts childhood kickabouts on uneven playing fields […]

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A Three Point Shot from Andromeda

When not teaching white boy’s how to shuffle, acting Tuff, or fixing […]

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Onitsha Republic

Uzor Maxim Uzoatu visits the sprawling city of his childhood in the […]

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Neo Africanus: In Teju Cole’s World

Teju Cole, author of the award winning book Open City, recently announced […]

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I Have Always Meant to Fail

Isoje Chou knows the road is long, winding and full of mythical, […]

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Nigeria’s Superstar Men Of God

Who needs the God of the bible with his promises of trials and tribulations, crosses and paths of repentance? Yemisi Aribisala listens to the sermons, counts the money, watches the high-flying life of Nigeria’s mega-preachers and wonders.

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How to be a Nigerian

Peter Enahoro a.k.a. Peter Pan’s How To Be A Nigerian was first […]

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A Corpse and its Jurisdiction – a letter from Lagos

Akin Adesokan tropes on the detective genre after he stumbles on an […]

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When We Hear the Name of President

Nigerian poet Tanure Ojaide evokes a language of high stakes, hi-jinx, and […]

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Washing Henry – a letter from New York

by Dave McKenzie As a memento of the process, I received a […]

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Che

First published in 1968 in Buenos Aires, the biography of Ernesto “Che” […]

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Death by Memory [of Freedom]; Truth & Reconciliation

A tryptych in honour of Steve Biko. Firstly, Graeme Arendse, as his alter-ego Ramgee, presents In […]

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Who’s Free, Who’s Not, Who Was, Who Wasn’t, and Who’s Dead: And, Are You Sure You Know Which Way Is Up?

A Letter from Istanbul by Ed Pavlic   Trayvon remains underground, to my […]

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Suspect Sammy

A Letter from Toronto by Andrea Meeson   It’s another Monday morning after […]

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