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Chimurenganyana: Becoming Kwame Ture by Amandla Thomas-Johnson (Oct 2020)

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?

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FESTAC 77 BOOK (Oct 2019)

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.
.

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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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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FESTAC 77 T-SHIRT – AVAILABLE NOW!

A limited edition of the iconic FESTAC 77 t-shirt now available.

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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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BECOMING KWAME TURE – OUT NOW!

Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) was viewed by many during the civil rights […]

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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 2009)

“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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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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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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FESTAC 77 BOOK – OUT NOW

Early in 1977, thousands of artists, writers, musicians, activists and scholars from Africa and the black diaspora assembled in Lagos for FESTAC ’77,,, To many, too many, FESTAC sounded like cacophony – we reproduced its music on the page, decomposed and an-arranged.

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Senegal & Festac 77

After New York in October 2019, and in the spirit of the trans-continentalism (aka Black World) of the event, we return to Dakar to celebrate the release of Chimurenga’s new publication on FESTAC ’77 – in collaboration with RAW Material Company.

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FESTAC 77 BOOK – Sample spreads

448 pages, colour illustrations featuring extensive unseen photographic and archival materials, interviews and new commissions.

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