Chimurenga Library – The Chimurenga Chronic https://chimurengachronic.co.za now-now, a pan African gazette - in print quarterly and online Mon, 23 May 2022 11:07:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/cropped-CHIMURENGA-LOGO-32x32.jpg Chimurenga Library – The Chimurenga Chronic https://chimurengachronic.co.za 32 32 Chimurenganyana: You Look Illegal by Paula Ihozo Akugizibwe (Feb 2022) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-you-look-illegal-by-paula-ihozo-akugizibwe-feb-2022/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-you-look-illegal-by-paula-ihozo-akugizibwe-feb-2022/#respond Tue, 22 Mar 2022 12:59:29 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=19015 A mediation on skin, violence, and the limits of citizenship in a country where black lives have long been brutally (mis)handled.

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“I know that even if angry hordes decided to descend on these neighbourhoods dominated by settlers with generational wealth—to tell them that they, too, should go back to where they came from—they would be shut down so rapidly, so ruthlessly, that it would leave us all breathless. There is no problem for foreigners like you. The hotel receptionist was more right than wrong, because proximity to whiteness offers protections. Unless what you need protection from is whiteness itself.”

Paula Akugizibwe’s essay draws its title from a deeply unsettling encounter with the South African police on the streets of Cape Town in early 2008 – a year etched in public memory by the images of Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a Mozambican national, burning in full view of the residents of Ramaphosa Park in the east of Johannesburg, and by the wide-spread violence directed at other Africans who live here. Akugizibwe’s dark skin marks her out as a person who in their eyes is ‘illegal’, undesirable; a body that can be violated without consequence.

The encounter with the police, and the insult hurled at her, provide the spark for Akugizibwe’s mediation on skin, violence, and the limits of citizenship in a country where black lives have long been brutally (mis)handled.

Cover photograph: Six Seconds by Alfredo Jaar


A limited Chimurenganyana edition of You Look Illegal is available in print at the Chimurenga Factory, or from our our online store

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Chimurenganyana: The Fear and Loathing Out of Harare by Dambudzo Marechera (Dec 2021) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-the-fear-and-loathing-out-of-harare-by-dambudzo-marechera-dec-2021/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-the-fear-and-loathing-out-of-harare-by-dambudzo-marechera-dec-2021/#respond Tue, 22 Mar 2022 11:56:30 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=19009 A selection of never-published essays by Dambudzo Marechera with an afterword by writer Tinashe Mushakavanhu

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by Dambudzo Marechera

“I formed the Harare eye: not just the Harare of the African flats or the Harare of the hotel bars or the shebeens and the kachasu drinkers or the high-density areas. For me the only way to express this Harare is to experiment with all available literary styles and perhaps come to a successful combination. There is no particular Harare psyche or mentality.”

During April 1985 Dambudzo Marechera began work on a book on Harare, inspired in part by the HS Thompson’s gonzo opus on Las Vegas. Writing that shows how the city held him in precarious balance, homeless at home, a black insider on the outside of the outside. At some point he abandoned the project and the pieces lived in the archives, unloved.

The Fear and Loathing Out of Harare is a selection of these never-published essays, in collaboration with the Dambudzo Marechera Trust, with an afterword by writer Tinashe Mushakavanhu and a map-poster of Marechera’s Harare conceived by the Black Chalk & Co collective.


A limited Chimurenganyana edition of The Fear and Loathing Out of Harare is available in print at the Chimurenga Factory, or from our our online store

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Chimurenganyana: Home Is Where The Music Is by Uhuru Phalafala (September 2021) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-home-is-where-the-music-is-by-uhuru-phalafala-september-2021/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-home-is-where-the-music-is-by-uhuru-phalafala-september-2021/#respond Wed, 08 Sep 2021 09:58:35 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=18591 “Home is where the music is” is drawn from Keorapetse Kgositsile’s poem […]

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“Home is where the music is” is drawn from Keorapetse Kgositsile’s poem “For Hughie Masekela”, dedicated to the South African trumpeter, composer and bandleader. The poem ends with the lines, “This then is the rhythm / and the blues of it / Home is where the music is”. The poem was published in the 1974 collection, The Present Is A Dangerous Place To Live, however it was presented to Masekela earlier. Bra Hugh then recorded a double album titled Home Is Where The Music Is, with artwork by South African abstract expressionist Dumile Feni, released in 1972. The album features the song, “Blues for Huey”, which evokes the lamentation and longing of exile in Kgositsile’s poem, interweaving New York and Maseru, revealing continuities across the Atlantic.

As soundtrack to the writing, Uhuru assembled a sonic documentary, which can be listened to here:

[for track info and credits, check in here]

A limited Chimurenganyana edition of Home Is Where The Music Is is available in print at the Chimurenga Factory, or from our our online store.

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Chimurenganyana: Even When My Soup-curlers Slur, I Still Keep the Take by Georgia Anne Muldrow (June 2021) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-even-when-my-soup-curlers-slur-i-still-keep-the-take-by-georgia-anne-muldrow-june-2021/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-even-when-my-soup-curlers-slur-i-still-keep-the-take-by-georgia-anne-muldrow-june-2021/#respond Thu, 17 Jun 2021 14:09:44 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=17875 A limited Chimurenganyana edition of Even When My Soup-Curlers Slur, I Still Keep the Take by Georgia Anne Muldrow is now available.

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

(from the preface by Harmony Holiday)

Also featuring drawings by Yaoundé Olu.


A limited Chimurenganyana edition of Even When My Soup-Curlers Slur, I Still Keep the Take is available in print at the Chimurenga Factory, or from our our online store.

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Chimurenganyana: Becoming Kwame Ture by Amandla Thomas-Johnson (Oct 2020) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-becoming-kwame-ture-by-amandla-thomas-johnson-oct-2020/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-becoming-kwame-ture-by-amandla-thomas-johnson-oct-2020/#respond Wed, 21 Oct 2020 10:33:31 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=17623 Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) was viewed by many during the civil rights […]

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Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) was viewed by many during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s as the dashing and eloquent heir to Malcolm X. His call for Black Power and his fiery speeches led to his ascension as the foremost symbol of black militancy. But the threat posed to white America by the triumvirate of Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X would be suppressed as the decade declined to a close. Indeed, X and King would meet death at the escort of gunmen, in ‘65 and ‘68, respectively, and in ‘69, Carmichael would board a plane bound for Guinea, never to return on a permanent basis.

But Kwame Ture lived on for another 30 years and he was as politically active as he had been in the ‘60s. At the time of his death, Ture had become perhaps the foremost Pan-Africanist of his day. He co-founded (with Kwame Nkrumah) and led the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, arguably the most significant Pan-African political party in its heyday, and he established himself as the leading black advocate for Palestinian rights. Why do we know so little about the last 30 years of his life?


A limited Chimurenganyana edition of Becoming Kwame Ture is available for purchase in print at the Chimurenga Factory, or from our online store. 

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FESTAC 77 BOOK (Oct 2019) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/festac77/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/festac77/#respond Tue, 01 Oct 2019 11:40:01 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=13686 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.

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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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Dakar https://chimurengachronic.co.za/installation_posts/dakar/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/installation_posts/dakar/#respond Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:48:14 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=installation_posts&p=12305 “Angazi, but I’m sure” is a common South African phrase. In English it means: “I don’t know, but I am sure”. It is a deliberately self-contradictory phrase that is usually spoken in prelude to a reply -

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Shebeen as a school/ “Angazi, but I’m sure” April 3 – May 26 2017

“Angazi, but I’m sure” is a common South African phrase. In English it means: “I don’t know, but I am sure”. It is a deliberately self-contradictory phrase that is usually spoken in prelude to a reply – often, when one is asked for directions or facts. “Angazi, but I’m sure if you turn left you will get there”; “Angazi, but I’m sure they will start at 9pm”. The respondent is uncertain – of what they “know”. Or, perhaps, they are certain, but they do not know how to speak it. Or, they know, but do not know what they know. Sharing knowledge in this way requires mutual trust – it is speculation, in every sense of the word.

“Angazi, but I’m sure” is a break between our linguistic selves and a world, between knowledge and our ability to speak or map it – the knowledge that is elevated as finished product. The phrase suggests that arriving is as much about displacement as about place. More urgently, it affirms lived experience, improvisation and imagination as themselves forms of knowledge. It calls for a knowing through seeking and a constant transforming and renewing of our image of the world. Finally, it is an expression of community: “I know you will find the way”. 

How do we learn to know what we know? How can we draw from disparate and often intersecting practices through which we stylise our conduct and daily life on the continent? How do we harness the inventiveness, the generative resilience and the agility with which we live?

This requires not only a new set of questions, but its own set of tools; new practices and methodologies that allow us to engage the lines of flight, of fragility, the precariousness, as well as joy and creativity and beauty that define the contemporary African moment.

Chimurenga has long considered the shebeen (illegal drinking tavern) as a college of music. Can we draw on the improvisational, pedagogical method of black musics, where learning is collapsed into performing, and teachers and learners share the stage? How do we embrace knowledge not as information but as a methodology – a way of learning that expresses the conditions of our lives, our very existence. Can we take seriously food as knowledge, music as research and pan-Africanism as a practice? What if maps were made by Africans for their own use, to understand and make visible their own realities and imaginaries? What could the curriculum be – if it was designed by the people who dropped out of school so that they could breathe?

These are some of the queries this session will investigate, via the forms and media we use – such as cartography, comics, library-making, music, food, broadcasting and publishing, and in collaboration with Yemisi AribisalaNeo MuyangaJean-Pierre BekoloIbou FallDominique MalaquaisJihan el TahriKodwo EshunClapperton MavhungaPhilippe RekacewiczFelwine SarrLionel Manga, Victor Gama, Laila Soliman. 

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UNIR CINéMA https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/unir-cinema/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/unir-cinema/#respond Fri, 12 Jul 2019 12:07:45 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=periodicals_posts&p=12000 Unir Cinéma: Revue du Cinéma Africain was the first periodical entirely devoted […]

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Unir Cinéma: Revue du Cinéma Africain was the first periodical entirely devoted to African cinema to come out of Francophone Africa. First published in 1973 on a tight budget, this Senegalese magazine was typewritten and duplicated through offset printing. Despite its low production values, it established itself as an essential reference tool on cinema on the continent. Written by both Senegalese and French reviewers and published by the Catholic Information Center of the diocese of Saint Louis, it provided up to date filmographies of recent motion pictures as well as more detailed entries (including credits, filmmakers’ biographies, film summaries and critiques) of the most significant cinematographic works by African filmmakers.

Its detailed reports on film festivals throughout the world revealed the exposure and appreciation of African cinema on an international level, while its listings of places where African films have been or will be commercially exhibited attested to the scope of their circulation. Carefully prepared by-country dossiers revealed both the status of cinema in different regions and the efforts undertaken by local governments to promote the production and distribution of their films. While little effort was made to offer more in-depth critical insights into the thematics, aesthetics and ethics of African cinema, Unir Cinéma did furnish its readers with bibliographies of the latest articles on African cinema in international magazines and journals as well as the names of international periodicals with a serious interest in the critique of African films.


PEOPLE

Edited by Pere Jean Vast until 1996, later edited by Pere Joseph Lambrecht (1998-2000)

FAMILY TREE

  • Unir Cinéma was initially (from no. 1 to 35) a general periodical titled Unir (L’Echo de Saint-Louis). In 1973 it switched focus exclusively to film and continued as Unir Cinema: Revue Du Cinéma Africain.
  • Ecrans d’Afrique (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 1992)
  • Les 2 Ecrans: revue mensuelle de cinéma et de television (Zirout, Algiers, Algeria)

RE/SOURCES

  • Pfaff, Françoise. “Researching Africa on film”, Jump Cut, no. 31, March 1986, pp. 50, 57
  • Schmidt, Nancy J. “Review: Periodicals on African Film“, African Studies Review, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Apr., 1997), pp. 113-119
  • u début des cinémas d’Afrique, la revue Unir Cinéma et le centre de documentation du Père Jean Vast Entretien d’Olivier Barlet avec Jean Sarr, Saint-Louis du Sénégal
  • African Cinema: Politics & Culture By Manthia Diawara, Indiana University Press, 1992

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The Chronic: Who Killed Kabila II https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/the-chronic-who-killed-kabila-now-out/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/the-chronic-who-killed-kabila-now-out/#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2019 08:07:33 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=12556 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. 

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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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Y MAGAZINE (THE FIRST 5 ISSUES) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/y-magazine-the-first-5-issues/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/y-magazine-the-first-5-issues/#respond Sat, 13 Jul 2019 12:09:33 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=periodicals_posts&p=12004  Born in 1998 out of a joint partnership between Studentwise, publishers of […]

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 Born in 1998 out of a joint partnership between Studentwise, publishers of white youth targeted SL Magazine and black youth targeted Johannesburg radio station YFM, Y Magazine was conceived as the new voice of the South Africa’s recently liberated black urban youth.

Published under the pay-off “Y – because I want to know”, it aimed to tap into the same market that made YFM the biggest regional station at the time. This was the so-called Y Generation, a “freedom’s children” that got to celebrate the liberation their parents fought so hard for. As poet Lebo Mashile explained: “if we were 20 or 30 in the 70’s and 80’s we would have been using everything we had to fight Apartheid… but now we have the freedom and space to do what we want with our talent and we have the ability to really manifest our dreams…”

Under founder editors S’busiso ‘The General’ Nxumalo and Itumeleng Mahabane, Y quickly came to encapsulate this spirit. Like YFM its emphasis was on urban street culture with a strong focus on the sounds of post-apartheid black South Africa especially Kwaito. Written in spoken English and drops of Scamto, it was filled with diverse youth interests without ever narrowing them down to just entertainment. From the relationship between kwaito’s apolitical, “hedonistic and flighty preoccupations” and President Thabo Mbeki’s macroeconomic ideology, to the politics of fashion and the aesthetic of struggle, Y Magazine was as one reader put it, “as rounded as Lil Kim’s ass”.

This radical challenge to the binary opposition political-apolitical placed Y a step or two ahead of other mainstream magazines, black and white. This also meant that corporate advertisers remained at arm’s length. Inevitably the magazine gave over to market pressures and changes at the radio station. Both Nxumalo and Mahabane stepped down as editors. Since then Y has continued under no less than eight different editors but it has never recaptured the idealism or attitude of those first few issues.



Forgive me if the facts are screwed, days were heady and chaotic. I think it was the late summer of 98 when it all started. In the precinct of Time Square, in Yeoville there was not much square and all the clocks had all stopped. That suited us fine, it was African time….

WHY: AN ESSAY BY NICOLE TURNER



PEOPLE

Sbusiso ‘The General’ Nxumalo, Nicole Turner, Sandile Dikeni, Itumeleng Mahabane, Lee Kasumba, Kgafela oa Magogodi, Kabomo Vilakazi, Kwame Moloko, Bongani Madondo, Gabeba Baderoon, Phaswane Mpe, Kabomo Vilakazi, Kojo Baffoe, Thami Masemola, Fungayi Kanyuchi, Rudeboy Paul Mnisi, Siphiwe Mpje, Fungayi Kanyuchi, Sbu Leope


FAMILY TREE

  • Drum Magazine (1951 – )
  • SL Magazine (1994 – )
  • Rage (1996 – )
  • Hype Magazine (2004 – )

RE/SOURCES

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Who Killed Kabila I https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/the-chimurenga-library-who-killed-kabila-catalogue-now-available/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/the-chimurenga-library-who-killed-kabila-catalogue-now-available/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:12:16 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=12558 The Chimurenga Library is a research platform that seeks to re-imagine the library as a laboratory for extended curiosity, new adventures, critical thinking, daydreaming, socio-political involvement, partying and random perusal.

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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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WIETIE https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/wietie/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/periodicals_posts/wietie/#respond Thu, 11 Jul 2019 12:08:56 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=periodicals_posts&p=12002 First published in 1980 by Christopher van Wyk and Fhazel Johennesse, Wietie […]

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First published in 1980 by Christopher van Wyk and Fhazel Johennesse, Wietie provided a literary platform for the prevailing philosophy of Black Consciousness. It gave voice to a new generation of South African writers who saw their work not only as a critique on oppressive systems, but – like Black Power – as a weapon of transformation. In keeping with this, the magazine employed a language that was both literary and defiant. Openly declaring its commitment to the ‘communication of revolutionary writing,’ while also providing a space to explore the realities of everyday life under apartheid, it published fiction, poetry and prose that challenged the both the political, cultural and racial status. Combining wit and humour with openly political writing, Wietie did not survive long under the Apartheid administration. After the first issue was picked up by the police in February 1980, the censors banned it, first on the grounds of obscenity (specifically, they objected to the use of the word ‘fuck’ in the short story ‘Aunt Molly and the Girls’), then on the grounds of sedition. After Wietie was forced to close down, Christopher van Wyk returned to Staffrider to become chief editor.



PEOPLE

Christopher van Wyk, Fhazel Johennesse, Omar Badsha, Peter Clarke, Bessie Head, Achmat Dangor, Peter Wilhem, Biddy Crewe

FAMILY TREE

  • The Classic (1970)
  • Donga (1976)
  • Medupe (1977)
  • Inspan (1978)
  • Staffrider (1978)
  • Stet (1982)
  • Botsotso (1994)

RE/SOURCES

  • Michael Chapman (ed), Soweto poetry, McGraw-Hill, Johannesburg; New York, 1982.
  • Peter D. McDonald, The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences, Oxford University Press, 2009

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Chimurenganyana: The Night Moses Died by Nicole Turner (June 2012) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/15301/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/15301/#respond Thu, 31 May 2012 15:04:01 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=15301 “Sleeking through the night city towards Hillbrow, it was Thapelo who asked […]

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“Sleeking through the night city towards Hillbrow, it was Thapelo who asked where we were going and why”. Photographs by Pete Williams, Peter McKenzie

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PASS LANDING AT LA COLONIE, PARIS https://chimurengachronic.co.za/pass_pop_up/pass-landing-at-la-colonie-paris/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/pass_pop_up/pass-landing-at-la-colonie-paris/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:09:03 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=pass_pop_up&p=12485 Chimurenga returned to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017,

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Chimurenga returned to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we installed a live radio station and a research library, and hosted talks, screenings and performances that asked ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination.

The equation was 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).

At La ColonieChimurenga installed a library that included books, films, and visual material mapping extensive research that investigates history and changing formations of rule and accumulation, space and territory, allegiance, citizenship, and sovereignty, and the African imagination in music and writing.

Each day, the Pan Africa Space Station, broadcast live with a programme of interviews, discussions and performances by collaborators from around the world including musicians, DJs, journalists, writers, political theorists, thinkers and filmmakers. After the event, the sounds and images generated in this process will contribute towards a special edition of our Pan African broadsheet, the Chronic.

Participants included Dominique MalaquaisParselelo KantaiPhilou LozoulouYvonne Adhiambo OwuorBarly Baruti, Victor GamaLulendo MvuluDéo NamujimboLuigi ElonguiMaurice PotoMengi MassambaHugo MendezJihan El-TahriBintou SimporeMartin MeissonnierPaulo InglêsFranck BiyongRay LemaBrice AhounouNadine FidjiSpiluluArnaud ZaitjmanJulie PeghiniSinzo AanzaKoba LubakiPercy ZvomuyaBoddhi SatvaAbdourahman WaberiAntoine Vumilia MuhindoSam Tshintu & AcademiaTrésor KibangulaBullitKovo NSondéRokia Bamba-MennessierEmmanuel NashiFranck LeiboviciJulien SeroussiDaniel KalinakiPascale OboloKivu RuhorahozaJacques Goba, Mo Laudi, Michelange Quay.

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Chimurenganyana: Rumblin’ by Dominique Malaquais (June 2012) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-rumbling-by-dominique-malaquais-june-2012/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-rumbling-by-dominique-malaquais-june-2012/#respond Wed, 30 May 2012 15:16:30 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=15316 A text and image reflection on the “Rumble in the Jungle”, the […]

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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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San Francisco https://chimurengachronic.co.za/installation_posts/san-francisco/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/installation_posts/san-francisco/#respond Tue, 23 Jul 2019 09:37:19 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=installation_posts&p=12294 Presented as part of the exhibition Public Intimacy, Chimurenga Library offered a simple system that allowed visitors to connect various items in the stacks at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library

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Presented as part of the exhibition Public Intimacy, Chimurenga Library offered a simple system that allowed visitors to connect various items in the stacks at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library in a way that generates different narratives, with a focus on the work of African American artists, writers, and performers who participated in pan-African festivals of the 1960s and 1970s.

The installation and research project included a panel discussion focusing on the legacy of FESTAC ’77, a cultural event that was held in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977 and remains the largest pan-African arts festival that has ever taken place. Featured speakers included Andrew Apter of UCLA, and Akin Adesokan of the University of Indiana at Bloomington.


Follow the project Tumbr: http://chimurengalibrary.tumblr.com/

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Chimurenganyana: In Search of Yambo Ouologuem by Christopher Wise (June 2012) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-in-search-of-yambo-oluguem-by-christopher-wise-june-2012/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-in-search-of-yambo-oluguem-by-christopher-wise-june-2012/#respond Tue, 29 May 2012 12:27:06 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=15329 Yambo Ouologuem, the Malian author of Le devoir de violence and other […]

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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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Notes for an Oratorio on small things that fall https://chimurengachronic.co.za/notes-for-an-oratorio-on-small-things-that-fall/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/notes-for-an-oratorio-on-small-things-that-fall/#respond Mon, 23 May 2022 11:00:35 +0000 https://chimurengachronic.co.za/?p=19186 Aditi Hunma reviews the launch of Notes for an Oratorio on Small Things That Fall, the latest offering from Ari Sitas

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by Aditi Hunma

‘Remember this date, 13 April 2022’ were the first words of Sarah Mosoetsa, Professor of Sociology at the University of Witswatersrand, as she initiated a powerful conversation with Ari Sitas, Omar Badsha and Faisal Garba in the Chimurenga Factory in Woodstock, a well-frequented hub for African writers and other artists. 

The venue was packed with academics, artists, activists, students sitting on cushions, chairs or leaning against the wall.  Sarah Mosoetsa celebrated the fact that those in the room had survived the pandemic, but in the same breath lamented the news of floods in KwaZuluNatal.  The book, Notes for an Oratorio too, in many ways speaks about the present, about the anomie brought about in the wake of industrialization and globalization, and the struggles of the working class.  In the introduction, Ari Sitas, the main author, chair of the ‘Re-centring Afroasia project’, sociologist, poet, composer and visual artist, describes the book as, ‘a map of the way of suffering, a via dolorosa for the twenty-first century’.  He goes on to describe the map as one that he walks and draws, suggesting that the map mirrors the terrain, and perhaps brings into salience the forgotten, less shimmery parts of it.  The other contributors are Kristy Stone, Greg Dor and Reza Khota who convey the terrain’s richness through illustrations and music.   

For Ari Sitas, the book came about through the act of listening to content from different spaces and ‘finding the midpoint’, meeting people across spaces and being open to their honest feedback, and having conversations with students.  It came about through an attempt to ‘try to understand where things come from, who cleans the shit’.  So, the book traces ‘the things that we most cherish’ back to the invisible workers who make them and their stories.  Omar Badsha, a South African documentary photographer, historian and activist comments that it is ‘a book of instructions that talks of today and takes us through the history of thread to create a magical world’.

As one peruses the book, one is immediately drawn to the tapestry of prose, poetry, photos and sketches for an elevated sensory experience of the terrain.  The motifs of this complex human story get threaded through repeated allusions to silk, suggesting the universality of exploitation and suffering, in the process of satisfying the world with coveted goods.

The story gets mediated by Nomxakazo, a mythical character in isiXhosa literature, who asks questions as she travels back home.  In A.C. Jordan’s book, Tales of Southern Africa, Nomxakazo was the spoilt daughter of a king who clung to the promise made by her father that upon her coming of age, he would give her as many cattle herds as would ‘darken the sun’.  Unfortunately, to fulfil this near-impossible promise, neighbouring villages got mercilessly plundered.  The excesses that Nomxakazo accumulated eventually led her into a moral abyss where she was held captive by an ogre, until the day she decided to flee.  Her escape and journey back home, as she got assisted and nursed by the very villagers that she was complicit in plundering, marked the beginning of a momentous learning process where she realised the consequences of greed. 

In Notes for an Oratorio, Nomxakazo’s encounters with Chinese factory workers, Syrian immigrants and Indian farmers among others offer glimpses of the costs of our endless material quest and accumulation in the twenty-first century, and how these have come to divest others of their dignity and humanity.  The title is quite telling given that Oratorios are generally grand musical compositions on sacred themes.  To envisage an Oratorio ‘on small things’ seeks to reinstate them to their true sacred nature.  It reminds one of the stories of the picaro or rogue from the Spanish literary tradition, whose marginal existence would heighten one’s awareness of the flaws of the very society that rejects him, while now offering him a space to be seen and heard.  The last part of the title, ‘Like a screw in the night’ is a verse from the poem of a Chinese worker trapped in the cellphone production chain before he commits suicide.  As Ari Sitas highlights at the launch, ‘Look at the cellphone, the most precious commodity of the twenty-first century, and yet it kills’, pointing to the real effects of the exploitative system.  The allusion to the Oratorio thus presents a powerful critique of human beings’ reduction to dismembered and replaceable cogs in the wheel. 

And yet, there is hope.  Nomxakazo’s journey back home is also a journey of growth, understanding, redemption, and of shedding the layers of artifice and material gain.  For Faisal Garba, ‘In the theatre of the everyday world is an outline of an alternative world’.  For Ari Sitas, actualising it requires effort, ‘transformation is an everyday task, it is not what we say, but what we do’. 


Notes for an Oratorio on Small Things that Fall (like a screw in the night) is available at the Chimurenga bookstore, or at our online store.

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PASS LANDING AT MUSEO TAMAYO, MEXICO CITY https://chimurengachronic.co.za/pass_pop_up/pass-landing-at-museo-tamayo-mexico-city/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/pass_pop_up/pass-landing-at-museo-tamayo-mexico-city/#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2017 12:45:49 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=pass_pop_up&p=14777 From 4 October – 26 November 2017, the Pan African Space Station (PASS) broadcast LIVE from Museo Tamayo, Mexico City.

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From 4 October – 26 November 2017, the Pan African Space Station (PASS)  broadcast LIVE from Museo Tamayo, Mexico City. For 8 weeks, the PASS studio functioned as “ecole du soir” (evening school) – a meeting place, a classroom, and laboratory where different worlds converged. The radio programming explored the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, contemporary South Atlantic exchanges and Afro-Mexican cultures – a public research platform toward a forthcoming edition of the Chimurenga Chronic on these themes.

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Chimurenganyana: The Making of Mannenberg by John Edwin Mason (June 2012) https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-the-making-of-mannenberg-by-john-edwin-mason-june-2012/ https://chimurengachronic.co.za/book_series/chimurenganyana-the-making-of-mannenberg-by-john-edwin-mason-june-2012/#respond Mon, 28 May 2012 13:00:48 +0000 http://chimurengachronic.co.za/?post_type=book_series&p=15330 On a winter’s day in 1974, a group of musicians led by […]

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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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