AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Henry Okelue suggested that today's History Lesson be about Nigeria's security agencies. Problem is, there's paucity of verifiable information, so, we'll go ahead with what was mapped out for today, which is about slavery, it's effects on us, up until this day. And before some people chop my head off, it is not possible, in any way, to compress five centuries of history into a few paragraphs. The idea behind this is so that those who are interested will pick it up. Like I stated earlier, I committed to doing this once a week as a response to Nigeria's removal of history from its school curriculum.…[ read more ]

“The Forgotten Kingdom,” the new feature film by American director Andrew Mudge, depicts the story of a rebellious young man called Atang, toiling in inner city Johannesburg. When Atang’s father, living elsewhere in a Joburg township, passes away, he must voyage back to his homeland of Lesotho to honour his father’s wish to be buried in …[ read more ]

What is it with some white South Africans' penchant for living in an a-historical bubble? Gumtree, the South African Craigslist, is running an ad for an apartment in Randburg, a former white suburb of Johannesburg (with about 30% black residents) to which only "young white professionals" are invited to apply; then people who should know better (journalists, researchers) think Apartheid wasn't so bad after all. Now there's a Cape Town company that--in the name of subversive "art"--designs products using a slave ship drawing from a 1788 abolitionist broadside (chances are you've seen it). Yes: a graphic of a slave ship packed with slaves, intended to depict the inhumanity of chattel slavery, is now printed on dresses, aprons and ironing boards (which they actually refer to as "slaving boards").…[ read more ]

April 14th, 2014
Peter Clarke–In Memoriam

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Peter Clarke. It is such sad news to hear of his passing quietly in the middle of the night on Sunday 13 April. His body is gone but his art remains - bearing witness, etched into memory. Peter Clarke holds a special place in my personal history. He was born in my home town, Simonstown in Cape Town. He and my mum grew up in the Kloof (pronounced Kloef)--what was then the poorer part of town. They went to the same school, Arsenal Primary, and my mum always recalls his artist prowess from then; the Clarkes were regular customers in my grandfather's shop in Waterfall Road, at the foot of what is still one of the resident naval barracks. He is the only South African artist I know of to have captured Simonstown pre-forced removals.…[ read more ]

The stuff rich white people say sometimes. The New York Times’ Style section is more often than not full of arse-kissing puff pieces that do little besides illustrating the genealogies of privilege stretching between New York, Hollywood, Paris, London, and Caribbean island tax havens. Lots of these people also claim to love everything “Africa” (read: going …[ read more ]

It had been three years since I’d visited Cartagena, and I was shocked by all the changes. They must have been bubbling under the surface the last time I came, because they seemed so drastic. On my first visit to Colombia’s Atlantic coast, I was on a mission to hear of Afro-Colombian sounds produced and consumed …[ read more ]

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