Archive for February, 2010

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Working Class and Gay in South Africa

CNN has a story on why despite South Africa’s progressive laws, lesbians and gays are still under attack there. The basic moral of the piece is that if you’re middle class, you can form your own safe, comfortable communities even if other middle class people want to discriminate against you. If you’re working

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Conflict of Interest

Foreign Policy’s website has this story: “David M. Crane, the former U.N. war crimes prosecutor for the Special Court in Sierra Leone, and his chief investigator, Alan A. White, indicted former Liberian warlord and president Charles Taylor...

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Video: The Media and Obama

I was one of the principal organizers of this “conversation” between journalists and commentators Gary Younge and Ian Buruma last Friday night at The New School in Manhattan. (I make a small cameo at the start of...

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Main Street (Johannesburg) TV

I am still not sure how I feel about Main Street Life, which is both a kind of video diary and a blog about a residential redevelopment in downtown Johannesburg called Main Street Life. Hotels, apartments, shops,...

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Player President

If Die Antwoord can, Jacob Zuma can too. The South African President gets into character by updating his wardrobe and has a new single with some nice beats. He also gets some help from his...

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The Sound of South African House

DJ Mujava’s ‘Mugwanti/Sgwejegweje’ remixed in Germany. Via Ghetto Bassquake.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Among the Savages

I asked journalist, filmmaker and photographer Pablo Mediavilla Costa, also one of my students at The New School, to give some perspective on the Spanish reality TV series, ‘Perdidos en la tribu’ (‘Lost in the tribe’) filmed,...

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

China Pays for Mugabe’s Birthday Bash

China threw a birthday bash for Life President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The Washington Post

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Behind the Rainbow

If you’re in the US tonight and you’re close to a TV, watch Egyptian filmmaker Jihan Al-Tahri’s documentary film, “Behind the Rainbow” (trailer above), about  the years between the South African ANC’s unbanning in 1990, the taking...

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Black History Month

I love the work of David Rees.

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Because He’s American

The Obama administration announced last week its nomination of Anthony Lake to serve as the new head of UNICEF. Current Executive Director Ann Veneman, a Bush appointee, announced she would not seek a second term in an...

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Playground Politics

From Funny or Die, the new HBO sketch comedy series. HT: Adam Esrig

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Is Die Antwoord a form of Blackface?

First world hipster bloggers and music websites (with foreign correspondents' not far behind) are besides themselves about South African performers, Die Antwoord. Linking to them. Talking about their style. Good for them and Die Antwoord. But...

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

The Screen Life of Winnie Mandela

Apparently Jennifer Hudson had to lose 60 pounds to star as Winnie Mandela in a planned biopic. Mandela was a leading figure in South African politics in the late 20th century and who was married to former South...

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Abraham Lincoln and Fela Kuti

Some critics went after Bill T Jones for his musical portrayal of the king of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti, on Broadway. Here, in the link below, Mr Jones responds–indirectly–to criticisms of “Fela!,” during a discussion with Bill Moyers...

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

U.S. Senators in Africa

Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are on a week-long trip to Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan. On their agenda: global health, peace keeping, water and sanitation, refugee camps and economic development. Let’s hope...

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Bring on Summer

While its freezing in New York City (including a snow storm last week that shut down the city) and my time is taken up by job talks and teaching, my friends in Cape Town talk about going...

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The Poor White Problem

It’s become common for foreign journalists going to South Africa to find poor whites and contrast these with the wealth of the small, black “middle” class.  Poor whites don’t even make up 5% of the poor. Contrast...

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Video: Akon’s “Africa”

The R&B singer, Akon has released his own 2010 World Cup song with the original title “Africa.”  (Akon is the second R&B or rap singer–the other is K’Naan–to release a World Cup related song.) Keri Hilson, in zebra top (it’s...

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Postmodernism on Ice

So it turns out that tonight at the Winter Olympics in the pairs figure skating finals, Germany will be presented by, Robin Szolkowy, whose father is Tanzanian (his mother is German), and his Ukranian-born partner, Aliona Savchenko....

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The Meanings of Sara Baartman

My friend, Gabeba Baderoon, is organizing a one-day colloquium on “The Meanings of Saartje (Sara) Baartman,” scheduled for March 1st at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. The meeting will focus on Baartman (aka the “Hottentot...

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Rapper Wale remakes an old West African standard

The music video for “My Sweetie,” the Nigerian-American rapper’s remake of an old West African standard.

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The Vice TV Guide to Liberia

The hipsters at Vice.TV produce original video reporting–which sways between brilliant and annoying. They’ve also become more important now that CNN has signed a deal with them to put Vice content on CNN’s platforms. About being brilliant...

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Pitchfork: New Music from West Africa

Pitchfork has a great piece–complete with some musical samples–by writer Dave Henshaw–on musical developments in Ghana (no one plays high life anymore), Cote d’Ivoire (“Ivoirian rhythms are so twitchy that crunk would have come like a tranquilizer...

Friday, February 12th, 2010

New Book: “Contemporary African Art Since 1980″

Next week–on Thursday, February 18th–art historians and curators Chika Okeke-Agulu and Okwui Enwezor launch their new book, “Contemporary African Art Since 1980,” at the Museum of Contemporary Diaspora Arts on Hanson Place in Fort Greene. (It’s in...

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The Nine Lives of Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma’s been in the news a lot lately about his personal life. If you forgot, Zuma has three wives, and 20 children by a number of women. Recently it also emerged that he cheated on his...

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Songs for Nelson Mandela

Brenda Fassie’s “Black President” is still the standard-bearer for Mandela tribute songs. Fassie did this one while Mandela was still in prison in the late 1980s. She also claimed they were related. But that’s another story. There’s...

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Kehinde Wiley paints African football

The German shoe and sportswear company, Puma, sponsors at least 12 African national football teams–five of which qualified for the 2010 World Cup. To commemorate the World Cup year (and because it is good PR and to...

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Good luck, Mr Jonathan

I could not resist the pun on the new Nigerian President’s name. Al-Jazeera English this week showed gruesome footage of Nigerian soldiers and police executing innocent people in broad daylight. The footage was taken last year when...

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Free Nelson Mandela

Twenty years ago today Nelson Mandela walked free from a South African jail. He had served a 27 year long prison sentence at the head of a mass movement opposed to Apartheid  I still remember that day...

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