AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Cape Town

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Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Who’s Been Sleeping in My House?

South African television is fascinating. Every evening, as part of an ongoing anthropological investigation into the workings of the South African national consciousness, I take my dinner with an episode of 7de Laan (7th Avenue), a popular Afrikaans soap opera. The show is captivating in that it models a post-apartheid world around an expansive consumerist imaginary. So,

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Mapping neoliberalism

The recent release of crime statistics by the national Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Mthethwa has reaffirmed Cape Town as the most dangerous city in the country. Most South Africans, however, still think that Johannesburg and...

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Fok Your Hood

As someone who has lived in the Bay Area in California for over a half decade now, you don’t have to tell me about corny neighborhood renaming schemes spearheaded by property developers. After a year or so...

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard—A Story About Cape Town’s Tanzanian Stowaways—Summer 2012

Towards the end of 2012 Moses was arrested and charged under the Immigration Act for being in the country illegally. He called to say he was being held in Pollsmoor Prison, then weeks went by in which...

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard—A Story About Cape Town’s Tanzanian Stowaways—Winter 2012

Adam called one day in June 2012 to say he had seen a ship he liked the look of in the Ben Schoeman Dock, and that he would probably be gone before the end of the day....

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard—A Story About Cape Town’s Tanzanian Stowaways—Spring 2011

It was a few months before I bumped into Daniel-Peter again. His once tiny English vocabulary, which had nevertheless contained the words “anchorage”, “fibreglass”, “first mate” and “consulate”–gleaned from the Ukranian crew of a ship he boarded...

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard—A Story About Cape Town’s Tanzanian Stowaways—Fall 2011

It was mid-2011 when I first heard about the community of Tanzanian stowaways living under Nelson Mandela Boulevard at the foot of Cape Town, where the high rise buildings end and the docklands begin. David Southwood was...

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The flag-bearers of dub in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa, has been undergoing somewhat of an electronic music revival over the past five years. The initial boom happened in the early 2000s when, aided by the pioneering African Dope record label, artists such...

Monday, June 17th, 2013

The District on Cape Town’s “Fringe”

Cape Town is changing. One recent Sunday morning I took a walk through Walmer Estate, a suburb bordering on District Six, on the edge of the City Bowl, and stopped at one of the corner stores to...

Monday, April 15th, 2013

What the post-racials are looking for in South Africa

April marks the springtime festival of fertility and harvest, Holi, which is celebrated throughout northern India. Because Holi is a yearly event that includes a large amount of revelry, without the obvious presence of the sacred, it’s...

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Woman, object, corpse: Killing women through media

Since Valentine’s Day everyone has been talking about the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, although rarely in those terms. We know that her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, shot her four times and killed her while she was behind a...

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Cape Town goes Electronic

This weekend marks the 2nd year of the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, an event that seeks to present the “multi facets of South Africa’s electronic music scene” with a weekend of performances and workshops. Judging from...

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Peter Beinart went to South Africa

The next time Peter Beinart, who wrote a post on “The Israel Debate in South Africa” for The Daily Beast, visits South Africa, he ought to spend more time, with more people, getting a deeper sense of the...

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Photographing Afcon 2013 in Yeoville, Johannesburg

On a recent trip to Johannesburg (which is in Gauteng Province), a couple of friends decided to invade a Congolese restaurant in Yeoville; Kin Malebo on 31 Raleigh Street in Yeoville. The game was between DR Congo...

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

David Goldblatt is interviewed (by African Lookbook)

Aaron Kohn’s African Lookbook interview with David Goldblatt covers a wide swath of subject matter—from childhood experiences, how he began working as a photographer after his father’s death, and why he was never cut out to be...

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

An Ode to The Mahogany Room in Cape Town

“YOU might call me a catalyst. A catalyst changes everything, but it remains unchanged” — Sun Ra In just under a year, 79 Buitenkant Street in central Cape Town (around the corner from the country’s Parliament) has...

Friday, December 14th, 2012

God takes the train to work too

In 1986, the South African photographer Santu Mofokeng decided to document “train churches” — the culture of mobile worship by working class black South Africans on the country’s commuter trains that continues till today. Mofokeng was traveling...

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Jared Thorne’s Black Folks

Stencilled on the white walls of the Iziko Gallery ‘Annexe’ in Cape Town, South Africa, is this bell hooks quote from Black Looks: Race and Representation: For some time now the critical challenge for black folks has...

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Why didn’t Anthony Bourdain take his show to Cape Town?

Good on The New York Times for publishing an article on South African culinary options…I suppose something is better than nothing in this case. For those without a subscription, an article entitled “A Culinary Gateway to Cape...

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The View from the Cape

When legal apartheid finally ended in 1994, South Africa’s new democracy faced one overwhelming challenge: to improve the lives of the country’s poor, or at least to maintain the hope that the future would be better. Yet...

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Kyle Shepherd X

Artists loathe hyper-intellectualism. Rationalization tends to eradicate emotion and surrendering passion becomes another way to pay the devil. But then there are those artists whose intellectualism is a birthright, not by choice and inescapable. Take, for example,...

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

How to write about children in Africa

In early October this year, PBS released the documentary ‘Half the Sky’, based on the book by frequent AIAC target and New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn (a former Times journalist) focusing...

Friday, October 5th, 2012

When Solange filmed a music video in a Cape Town township

We had forgotten about American singer Solange Knowles until The Fader shared her new music video for ‘Losing You’ this week, calling it “a killer single.” The music video comes two weeks after another video by Swedish...

Monday, October 1st, 2012

My favorite photographs N°8: Sydelle Willow Smith

Among the most striking portraits in South African photographer and filmmaker Sydelle Willow Smith’s online portfolio are those taken in the Western Cape, reflecting much of what Cape Town and the wider province stand for: the engaging...

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Antjie Krog and the ‘magical power of literature’

South African poet and writer Antjie Krog recently gave a talk at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, republished in The (UK) Guardian this week. Krog spoke alongside Njabulo Ndebele, who is seminal to discussions on...

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

My favorite photographs N°6: Stanley Lumax

Stanley Lumax (born in New Jersey, US where his parents, Ghanaian immigrants, settled) lives in Brooklyn. He has made a name for himself photographing hip hop and basketball culture. In our “favorite photographs series” we ask photographers...

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Madala Kunene for all seasons

Guest Post by Deon-Simphiwe Skade Last Saturday, Cape Town was furiously cold. The weatherman predicted a wet and cold front to last well over a week. Naturally, the spirits of most people are low, except for those...

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Tutu’s Board Games

Shameless self-promotion. “Board Games” is a short documentary video I did for my friend Kent Lingeveldt who runs the independent Alpha Longboards company. I just showed up at his workshop when he told me to, followed him...

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Bathers at Sea Point: Photographs by Antoinette Engel

Antoinette Engel, a documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Cape Town (and a friend of this blog) took these images of bathers at Sea Point last year. We found them on the 75 photography website and asked to see...

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My delicious ‘Afrigasm’

We’re always ready to travel far to get satisfaction. God knows we’re prepared to get hot and sweaty. So when, after months of romanticizing and exoticizing, our dreams finally take off, there is only one thought on...

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