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Archive | Music RSS feed for this section


From 5-9 May 2021, Chimurenga’s Pan African Space Station (PASS) landed at Lavoir Moderne Parisien in Goutte d’or, Paris, to imagine, re-examine and re-circulate sonic archives of black radicalism in the francophone world. This session dug into the “soundtrack” (bande-son), an underlying container of information and ideas that is seldom explored on its own terms.

We departed from cinematic practice, specifically films/filmmakers (Julius-Amedee Laou, Elsie Haas, Med Hondo, Kanor sisters, Sarah Maldoror, etc) represented in the printed archive we had recently installed in Centre Pompidou, and expanded the soundtrack beyond the screen to other areas of knowledge production: the street, the club, recording studios, kongossa, live performances, noise, even the magazine page.

We imagined a live in-studio soundtrack that responded to and expanded visual footage from the 2nd Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Rome 1959 – an event charged by the-then process of decolonisation and the unwelcome presence of younger, radical thinkers such as Fanon, Beti, Glissant, Beville and more. We took the cues from Fabienne and Véronique Kanor’s “La noiraude” to explore zouk as aesthetics of black transnationalism – a geography of unauthorised pleasure throughout the 1980s. We listened to Sarah Maldoror’s record collection, and her use of music on film.

In Julius-Amedee Laou’s “Solitaire a micro ouvert”, the brother of a man killed in a racist murder in Paris of the 1980s takes over of a black radio station to address the “community”. In “La Vieille Quimboiseuse et le majordome” he highlights the dialectic between the seen and the heard. We listened to the oral history of “La coordination des femmes noires” that writer Gerty Dambury continually produces; or Gerard Lockel’s development of gro ka moden as decolonial praxis; or the Paris-based afro/astrosonic network documented in the music Jo Maka, Ramadolf, Cheikh Tidiane Fall, Yebga Likoba and more, which not only connects directly to Maldoror’s film “Un dessert pour Constance” but also puts sound to the immigrant struggles of the post-May 68 era. And brought us to the ongoing gentrification and structural violence in Goutte d’or.

We considered Frank Biyong’s retelling of the war of decolonisation in Cameroun in his album “Ibolo Ini”, and more broadly his use of music as site of memorialising; and explored black ecologies through sound.

We presented “Act 2” of Christian Nyampeta’s acclaimed radio-play “The Africans”.

And live performances, talks, screenings, DJ sets. And more.

Recorded sessions from the landing are available for replay via PASS on Mixcloud.

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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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From Wednesday, 17 – Saturday, 20 February, 2021, Pan African Space Station (PASS) broadcast a daily session, produced for ‘Actions of Art and Solidarity’, a group exhibition curated by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) in Oslo and organised with Kunstnernes Hus. These PASS transmissions unpacked and expanded stories and research published in the Festac ’77 book in which we revisited the imaginative (im)possibilities of pan African festivals (the PANAFESTs) that took place in the utopian moments of the post-independence era.

Day 1, Wednesday 17 February:
Benin 1897 to Festac 1977, re-membering Erhabor Emokpae.
What are the legacies of Benin 1897? And how did the art of Erhabor Emokpae, designer of Festac’s visual identity, reignite the debate? Considering restitution debates and politics and the significance of Erhabor Emokpae, PASS hosted a conversation featuring Emokpae’s son the visual artist Isaac Emokpae, his granddaughter Ese Otubu, and the late Erhabor Emokpae himself.

Day 2, Thursday 18 February:
Freedom and Control, Technology and Science: a conversation with Arild Boman.
On this day in 1977, Agege Motor Road in Lagos, Fela Kuti’s Kalakuta Republic was infamously rampaged by military police. Arild Boman, a scientist, educator and experimental musician, witnessed the scene while attending Festac as a broadcasting consultant for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). In this PASS session we inquired how, with colleagues at the University of Lagos, Boman came to co-produce a remarkable Festac questionnaire and co-organise the Festac ’77 Video Art Workshop.

Day 3, Friday 19 February:
Pan-Africanisms, Afro-Asian movement and Tricontinentalism.
Exploring red and black solidarities, PASS listened to a variety of voices, including Uhuru Phalafala and Christopher Lee, about conferences and festivals, Alex La Guma’s Soviet journeying, the project of Third-Worldism, and networks of writers and artistic groups culturally working for liberation.

Day 4, Saturday 20 February:
Amandla! Power to the people and poets: a conversation with Lindiwe Mabuza.
PASS welcomed an ambassador of cultural-politics, scholar-poet Lindiwe Mabuza to share stories of her consciousness-raising and activism in the USA, then at Festac ’77 and as the ANC’s Chief Representative in Sweden where she helped conduct the movements of Amandla Cultural Group.

(Photo from New Directions magazine)

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Chimurenga Factory
Saturday, 06 November 2021

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PASS presents: FOKN Bois (LIVE at Greatmore Studios)

On 10 September 2016, the Pan African Space Station hosted Gospel Christain Porn Rap duo FOKN Bois at Greatmore Studios, Cape Town.

M3NSA (the Ghanaian Hiplife Pioneer) and Wanlov the Kubolor (African Gypsy) of FOKN Bois unapologetically venture into territories that other Ghanaian musicians stay well clear of. Controversial, bold and shocking, the duo is known to entertain and challenge the status-quo of everyday Ghanaian society. The performance was broadcast live on PASS via the airwaves and can be revisted here.

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Floating Points LIVE at Gugu S’thebe Theatre

On 7 March 2015, Pan African Space Station (PASS) hosted UK musician, composer, producer, DJ and neuroscientist Floating Points (aka Sam Shepard) LIVE at Guga S’Thebe Theatre in Langa.

His DJ work and love for vinyl records has taken him all over the world, with Brazil and Japan favourite regular destinations. This Pan African Space Station (PASS) show will be his first trip to southern Africa and shall see Floating Points perform a vinyl DJ set using his rotary “travel” mixer to combine his own productions with a vast array of influences.

As co-founder of the independent label Eglo Records (with Alexander Nut), Floating Points has helped create and shape a cutting-edge platform for contemporary soul and dance music. Since 2009, he has released a score of much lauded singles, remixes and EPs which continue to cause crowds around the world to dance. Hits including ‘Vacuum Boogie’ and ‘People’s Potential’. His debut album is due later in the year and is set to introduce even more audiences to Floating Points’ distinct and highly inventive sounds. In 2014, Eglo Records released the exceptional singer Fatima’s debut album, Yellow Memories. Floating Points wrote four tracks on this LP, including ‘Do Better’ with Theo Parrish.

This PASS performance was supported by the British Council, Connect ZA and New Music Connections grants and forms part of SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015 which is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa and the British Council.

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SONGS FOR BIKO and other stomps, screams and prayers

Photograph: Gregory Franz

September 12 is Biko Day. On this day in 1977, black consciousness philosopher, thinker, leader Steve Biko died in police custody in 1977. This day also historically marks the start of the Pan African Space Station intervention.

The 24-hr marathon praise party held to launch PASS in 2008, titled “Songs for Biko, and other stomps, screams and prayers”, included DJs, musicians, soundists, poets and generally noise people presenting music and sound inspired by Steve Biko’s work; and read from his words in I Write What I Like.

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Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime LIVE at Guga S’thebe, Langa

Listen to Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley ‘Declaime’ Perkins, recorded live at the Guga S’thebe, Langa on 2 October, 2010.

American funk-fusion chanteuse Georgia Anne Muldrow is, to have Mos Def tell it, ‘like Flack, Nina Simone, Ella, she’s something else. She’s like religion.’ Muldrow is a seeker, a journeywoman unafraid to chart new musical territories. Travelling side by side with soulmate, influential, purposeful and prolific executive producer/emcee/visual artist Dudley Perkins (Declaime), they forge the missing links between beat konductas like Madlib and Dilla and the early-1970s free soul and jazz pioneers like Pharaoh Sanders.


Hip-hop rhythms are rewired, cracked up by odd meters and halting beats that bleed over improvisational forays, corrupted with tinges of electro, R&B, soul, and modern laptop mayhem.

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Brice Wassy LIVE at Albert Hall


Listen to  legendary Camerounian drummer/percussionist Brice Wassy’s Trio performance, recorded live at the Albert Hall on October 1 2010

Known as the ‘King of 6/8 Rhythm,’ Camerounian drummer/percussionist Brice Wassy has been a centrifugal force in African music for the past four decades. The former bandleader for Manu Dibango and Salif Keita, he has worked with Miriam Makeba, Mabi Thobejane, Madala Kunene, Toure Kunda, Moses Molelekwa, and Busi Mhlongo, as well as the likes of French jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, Cuban percussionist Changuito, and Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira.

Credentials aside, Wassy is a formidable talent who deserves to be listen to on his own terms. His music is a full-frontal rhythmic attack profoundly rooted in Africa, but opened to all genres. Bringing together jazz and Afro-pop, he mixes improvisation with sophisticated compositional imagination; elasticity and experimentation with timbre and harmony; instruments new and old. As Fela Kuti once put it, Wassy has ‘opened our minds with the militancy of his message and our hearts to the rhythms of Afrobeat.’

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Studios Kabako presents ‘moremoremore…FUTURE’ – LIVE at City Hall, Cape Town

Listen to Kisangani (DRC) based dance collective Studios Kabako’s ‘More more more… Future’, recorded live at the City Hall on September 28, 2010

Infusing the hybrid rhythms of Ndombolo music with hefty doses of punk rage and cosmic energy, Studio Kabako deliver a pre-Sputnik space travelogue into the unknown. Flying in the face of fatalist perception of Africa, they merge explosive dance and experimental theatre, mysticism and militancy, riddle and confrontation, within a wholly new context, where weird worlds of sound open up before us.

To the seething poems of Antoine Vumilia Muhindo, choreographer Faustin Linyekula, makes dance boil over into trance, while fashion designer Lamine Badian Kouyate (Xuly Bët) gives inventive embodiment to the trailblazing harmonies and energies of the guitarist, Flamme Kapaya and his band. The result is a poetics of autonomy, conceived in sonic, social, aesthetic and economic terms, and prepared to sweating blood for a better future.

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Toumani Diabate – LIVE at Slave Church, Cape Town (2009)

Bringing Mandinka history lessons that chart 700+ years., Diabate mediates traditions inherited from Mali’s ancient Mande Empire through globetrotting jazz, blues and electro frequencies. A lifelong Bamako resident, Diabate rose to global acclaim almost 20 years ago when he recorded the world’s first solo kora album Kaira. Since then his career has been characterised by a fierce refusal to erect a line between an ancient locality and a modern cosmopolis.

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Featuring solos by Franco Luambo Makiadi, Pepe Felly Manuaku, Bansimba Baroza, Diblo Dibala, Dally Kimoko, Flamme Kapaya, Sarah Solo, Japonais Maladi and Kimbangu Solo; and commentary by Ray Lema

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Anthony Joseph & The Spasm Band – LIVE at Assembly, Cape Town

Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. Born in Trinidad, his experimental poetry, fiction, music and spoken word occupies a space between surrealism, jazz and the rhythms of Caribbean speech and sound, creating what he calls ‘liquid textology’. He is the author of two poetry collections and a novel The African Origins of UFOs.

This performance, featuring his jazz septet The Spasm Band, brings together the echoes of dub poets, Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Sun Ra cosmic visions. Joseph’s new collection of poetry, Bird Head Son, is due in 2008 and will be followed by a new Spasm Band album with the same title.

Live at Assembly, Cape Town on 2 October 2008.

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PASS presents: Salim Washington, Dalisu Ndlazi, Asher Gamedze in conversation

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Madala ‘Bafo’ Kunene – LIVE at Slave Church, Cape Town

Known to many simply as ‘Bafo’, Madala Kunene is undeniably one of the best guitarists to have come out of Durban. This eclectic musician has an aura of calmness and wisdom that is meticulously replicated in his music – deep-rooted in spiritual and traditional rhythms. Bafo has performed his trance-inducing sounds at festivals around the world and collaborated with the likes of Busi MhlongoMabi TobejaneMoses Molelekwa and countless others. In 2003 he composed the score for Oscar-award nominated Yesterday – the first ever full length feature film in Zulu.

For his appearances at PASS in Cape Town, Bafo launched a concept titled “Sounds in the Darkness of Light”, a solo performance in complete darkness. This places the audience in a realm of darkness where only sounds illustrate the images of one’s immediate surroundings. A realm well understood by the visually impaired, who dwell in it daily. Members of blind societies from surrounding communities were invited to the event and escorted the artist himself onto the stage.

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Bibi Tanga – LIVE at PASS

Bangui-born, Paris based Bibi Tanga is a singer and bass player whose music combines Curtis Mayfield’s truth-speaking falsetto, James Brown’s funk epics and Sly Stone’s lysergic experimentation with Africa’s big band traditions, including Miriam Makeba’s Bembeya Jazz National, Franco’s TPOK Jazz and Fela Kuti’s Africa 70. His current project is a collaboration with Professeur Inlassable, an accomplished DJ/producer and studio sorcerer, and a walking library of gothic samples. Their album, Yellow Gauze is a unique hybrid kaleidoscope of black music traditions. Weird and good.

Live the Assembly (Wed Oct 1, 2008)

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BLK JKS -LIVE at Assembly, Cape Town

BLK JKS are an internationally acclaimed, Johannesburg based band. Says music journalist Miles Keylock: “What makes them hip is that they’re South African and damn it, they sound it. In fact listening to BLK JKS is kind of like taking a slow cruise through Jozi with your windows rolled down. Afro-jazz riffs segue into tribal rhythms, which swagger through street-level sociology before exploding into hardcore bursts of noise, kwaai kwaito beats and addictive rock hooks. It’s not funk rock. It’s not punk rock. It’s not indie rock. It’s just music, and it’ll infect your mind if you let it”.

Live at Assembly, Cape Town in 2008.

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Cindy Blackman Quartet – LIVE at Slave Church, Cape Town

Cindy Blackman is widely regarded as one of the top drummers in the world. She’s upheld the backbeat and created texture for a veritable Who’s Who in jazz: Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Don Pullen, Hugh Masekela, Pharaoh Sanders, Sam Rivers, Cassandra Wilson, Angela Bofill, Bill Laswell, Buckethead. However, she’s better known as keeper of ‘polyriddims’ for funk rocker Lenny Kravitz since 1993. Indeed, she is one of a few drummers who can easily move from straight-ahead jazz to rock to funk and back again. Of her album Woks on Canvas, jazz critic Mike Zwerin said: “Some drummers act, some react. Some keep time, others create it. Cindy Blackman is among the few who can…” Cindy Blackman has also released an acclaimed drumming instructional video entitled Multiplicity.

Live at Slave Church in Cape Town on 1 October 2008.

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Bebson de la Rue & Tryonix – LIVE at PASS

Bebson de la Rue is a singer/rapper and the leader of Tryonix, an Afrofuturist project based in Kinshasa (DRC). As poet laureate of Kinshasa’s streets (hence his nickname “De La Rue” meaning “Of the streets”), Bebson is an influential figure in Ngbaka, one of the city’s most notorious ghettos, where he also teaches music and dance. He is also an inventor of music instruments and sound machines, some of which are used during Tryonix’s performances. Bebson and his brother Dicoco Boketshu, a bass player and video artist, formed Tryonix during the mid-1990s, as a collaborative project that blends Congolese rumba with rap and Jamaican raggamuffin with jazz sensibilities and electronica. Lyrically, Bebson taps into his vast knowledge of proverbs, Mongo chants and Kinshasa’s street slang. A sound they call Original Raggamuffin Folklore (ORF). In 1998, Tryonix released their critically acclaimed album entitled Mazapo, which lead to appearances at festivals across the DRC. They’ve since performed in Cameroon, Belgium and France.

Live at The Assembly (Wed Oct 1, 2008)

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The latest addition to the Chimurenganyana series

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Kaapstad! (And Jozi, The Night Moses Died)

a Chimurenga session to launch vol 7 (and coz we want to and we can)


Maverick feat. Jethro

Claire feat. Incense In Stereo

Fong Kong Bantu Soundsystem feat. Neo Muyanga

The Pan African Market, 76 on Long

Sat. 21, May 2005

From 3pm

Consider this an invitation

Dress code – whatever Prince says, no gold, diamonds, pearls or platinum.

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Writer Pierre Crépon selects recordings illustrating his essay on the American avant-garde jazz in Paris in 1969.

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Thursday, 24 June 2021 – 6pm

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A new issue of Chimurenga’s Chronic – out now. imagi-nation nwar – […]

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QAMATA PULA, an ancestral invocation

iPhupho L’ka Biko and Pan African Space Station present QAMATA PULA, an ancestral invocation collapsing past, present and future, over three days at the Chimurenga Factory

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Creative Urban Momentum: Witnessing the Black Unity Trio

In anticipation of the release of Black Unity Trios’ legendary album, Al Fatihah, Hasan Abdur-Razzaq recalls witnessing their rehearsals in the late 1960s.

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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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FESTAC ’77, a mixtape by Chimurenga

In this mix, we decompose, an-arrange and reproduce the sound-world of FESTAC ’77 to address the planetary scale of event, alongside the personal and artistic encounters it made possible.

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

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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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FESTAC ’77: PASS Playlist

A Festac 77 Mixtape featuring Randy Weston, Mandla Langa, Carlos Moore, The Blue Notes, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Michael McMillan, Miriam Makeba, Gilberto Gil, Tabu Ley Rochereau, Ray Lema and of course, Fela Kuti (voiced by Kolade Arogundade).

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Who Kill Kabila – Angola Mix

We tune into radio trottoir, radio one battery, radio 33, boca boca to get the word on the street from Angola.

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DIPALO a mixtape for those who practice counting

DIPALO: a mixtape for those who practice counting, composed, arranged and performed by Muyanga, was released as an audio supplement to issue 16 of Chimurenga magazine

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Whatever Zimbabwe is, and is becoming, already exists in the sound-worlds produced in the region.

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Dislocations in the Congolese World of Sound

A few years ago, while researching the political history of Congo/Zaire/Congo via the country’s music archive, particularly through the output of Luambo Makiadi aka Franco, we turned to the legendary record collection of “Jumbo” Donald Vanrenen.

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Neo Muyanga – The Sex For Money No Power Mixtape

PASS founder, a composer and musician Neo Muyanga highlights the currents and […]

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Revisit moments from the PASS landing in Amsterdam

From 11 -15 December 2016, the Pan African Space Station transmitted live […]

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Udaba with Kgafela oa Mogogodi – LIVE at Centre for the Book, Cape Town (2009)

On 1 October 2009, Pan African Space Station hosted Udaba at The […]

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N’Dombolo: the postulation of the post-Zaïko generation

First and foremost, an artistic secretion (the magical respiration of an entire generation of young Congolese), the Wenge generation’s most emblematic creation, a form of humour and a playful ape-like mimicry. The outpouring of Kinshasa, city of dreams, city of turmoil.

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The Invention of Africa by Franco & T.P.OK Jazz

– Ntone Edjabe A few years ago, while researching the political history […]

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Traditional Intellectuals

Izithunywa Zohlanga’s art is the art of combat because it assumes responsibility, and because it is the will to liberty expressed in terms of time and space.

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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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HIKIMA – a letter from Zaria

She eyed me. A thing wet around her eyes, like water from the evening rain. Lateef, she said, an incurable emphasis on both syllables: Lah-teef.

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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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Creating Theatre: A George Hallett Photo Essay

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

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Call for an Archive of AfroSonics

The collective improvisations of black America – and their profound impact on poetry and sound – are near impossible to find in the annals of US academe. In fact, their absence is as stark as the control of archiving is white, writes Harmony Holiday.

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Salut Deleuze!

Culled from a comic book tribute to, and intellectual biography of, Gilles Deleuze […]

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Calabash Afrobeat Poems

by Dike Okoro Ikwunga Wonodi is not a new face among Afrobeat […]

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