AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Sharpeville Now

Today, March 21, is Human Rights Day in South Africa. It should be called Sharpeville Day instead. 50 years ago today white police attacked and killed 69 black protesters (they also wounded or injured several others) who were peacefully protesting the pass laws which restricted the free movement of black South Africans.  But what is

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Lesego Rampolokeng’s Elegy To Robo The Technician

“Raise your hand up if you’re a hip-hop head” said Lesego Rampolokeng, rallying a house full of poets at a gathering in Melville on a wet Sunday afternoon in 2013. I put mine up, as did a few...

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Mandela was the Last Founding Father in Africa’s Decolonization

The death of Nelson Mandela has provoked an outpouring of mourning, celebration, and commentary around the world that is unprecedented for an African leader. Glowing tributes have gushed from world leaders and major magazines and newspapers have...

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Why aren’t we discussing Mandela’s Politics?

Now that the first week after Mandela’s death is coming to a close, we’re finally beginning to see more critical obituaries, or at the very least nuanced accounts, and a gradual abandonment of hagiography. Of course, idealistic...

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Long Walk to Toronto

It is a warm and breezy Sunday afternoon in Toronto, just the kind of weather that makes us question whether we should be going into a dark movie house to catch one the “hottest” screenings at this year’s international...

Friday, July 5th, 2013

3 Books on Nelson Mandela

The American public radio network, NPR, asked me to recommend 3 books its listeners could read on Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. Of course I recommended Long Walk to Freedom and Conversations with Myself. I also included this small...

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Apartheid in Manhattan: The International Center for Photography’s “Rise and Fall of Apartheid”

The International Center for Photography (ICP) is located in the heart of Manhattan, at the corner of West 43rd Street and the Avenue of the Americas. Nearby, Times Square’s mirages—brilliant expanses of neon fantasies, some spanning the...

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

The Voortrekker Monument and “the many mistakes” of the Afrikaner past

On a recent trip to South Africa, I managed to fit in a visit to the Voortrekker Monument, the enormous mausoleum on a hilltop just outside the capital Pretoria. The monument, which celebrates Afrikaner nationalism, was begun...

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

While we were tweeting…

The month of August came and went explosively in South Africa, with 34 striking miners killed in a hail of police bullets. Ten more have died in the protracted strike (2 police, 2 security guards, and an...

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Classic African Films N°3: ‘Come Back, Africa’ by Lionel Rogosin

‘Come Back, Africa’ (1959) is an explosive film; a strongly political piece, its show the hardship, joy and pain of township life, otherwise closed to the world by the Apartheid regime's strict hold. Enriched through Lionel Rogosin’s...

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Independence Day in Namibia

Not only is it Human Rights Day in South Africa today (read up on its meaning by searching our archive for ‘Sharpeville’), this day 22 years ago also saw Namibia wrestle itself officially free from the same...

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

When Monk met Dollar Brand

From historian Robin Kelley’s retelling of the day in 1964 that Thelonius Monk met the South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, then still known as Dollar Brand: … were at Kongresshaus in Zurich...

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Review: “Next Stop … Soweto”

Recently I reviewed the new 3-part Strutt Records compilation, “Next Stop … Soweto,” for The National. The album series are re-releases of rare 45s and other recordings from 1960s and 1970s South Africa. The first installment showcases “Township Sounds from...