Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Gay Shame

Dear Tanya Harford and Jenny Green, At 3am in my hotel room last night, jetlagged and sleepless, I was dawdling online and read about the confrontation at Johannesburg Pride between you and a group of black lesbians and feminists who were forcing the march to halt, and demanding a mere 1 minute of silence for

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...

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Summer List: More Readings in New Academic Books

Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities by Carl Nightingale (University of Chicago Press, 2012) examines the world history of segregation, highlighting the notorious role played by South Africa in dividing communities along racial lines (a central...

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Akin Omotoso’s Country

A recurring theme in director Akin Omotoso’s films is the fraught postapartheid relationship between Nigerian migrants and their South African hosts. Part of the reason is autobiographical: Akin is the son of Kole, the literary professor, who...

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Music Break. Adam Glasser

Adam Glasser video shot in the legendary Kohinoor appliances & music store in Market Street, Johannesburg. In the early 2000s, Kohinoor still stocked hundreds of sealed (mint) jazz & soul vinyls, all super cheap.

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

My favorite photographs N°1: Zachary Rosen

We’re starting a new weekly series today. We ask photographers who make portraits of African subjects to introduce us to their work. Basically they pick their five favorite photographs, describe the subject matter, what brought them to...

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

The official Canadian view of South Africa

The Canadian High Commission to South Africa, probably meaning well or deliberately unaware of the emptiness of rainbow metaphors, is looking for photographs capturing “the Rainbow Nation”. They’re working with the Johannesburg Bailey Seippel Gallery on this....

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

The sound of Joburg label Iapetus

From Zetina Mosia’s upcoming album “The RoundAbout”, this track: ‘Lately’. We’ve said this before, but the Johannesburg label Iapetus is an exceptional breeding ground for South African artists — remember Fifi the Rai Blaster, Yugen Blakrok, Robo...

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Review. John Akomfrah’s ‘The Nine Muses’

John Akomfrah’s new film, The Nine Muses, continues the powerful cine-cultural tradition inaugurated by the Black Audio Film Collective in Britain in the early 1980s. Similarly to his earlier films, Akomfrah handles archival footage with a profound...

Monday, February 6th, 2012

More Benetton Politics

I swore I wasn’t going to add a thing to the discussion about the idiotic poster campaign by the student/youth wing of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance about a future non-racial love-fest. I have remained shtum (yiddish...

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Cape Town is ‘the most dangerous’ city in Africa

In the latest of those ubiquitous lists/rankings floating around the web, a Mexican research group has listed the world's most dangerous cities based on homicide rates. Most of the top candidates are listed from Central and South...

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The New South African Superstar

Zahara has become the top pop artist in South Africa in a fairly short time but curiously enough, for the media, she has remained something of an enigma because she doesn’t appear to have any obvious unique...

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Sending South African miners home to die

Epidemiologist Jonathan Smith is working to complete a documentary called “They Go to Die,” about the lives of four former mineworkers that were sent home from the mine after contracting TB and HIV in the South African gold mines....

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Beginning Workout

Talking about running: some ad people can make any city look good.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Coldplay’s “Paradise”

Coldplay’s new video for the song “Paradise” was released on the band’s website today. The plot revolves around a man dressed in an elephant suit (it later turns out to be Chris Martin inside the suit) who...

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Photography. Sam Buk


Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Guy Tillim and Adam Hochschild

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

State of the Nation

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Robo the Technician

From the Johannesburg-based record label that recently introduced us to Yugen Blakrok and Fifi the Rai Blaster comes this video for Robo the Technician. (“We’ve got a production studio here at Iapetus, that’s where it was shot.”)...

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Music Break / Spikiri

Browsing our archive, I found very little kwaito tunes. Our bad. Some of them are irresistible, like this one by Spikiri and friends. About the videos we can be short: we’re still waiting for the first one...

Friday, August 5th, 2011

‘The garden boy’s picture on the wall’

Earlier this year, while I was in Cape Town, I interviewed Emma Bedford, a specialist in painting, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture at Strauss and Co., fine art auctioneers based in Cape Town. I asked her about...

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Music Break / Khuli Chana

Strong track and video by Johannesburg MC Khuli Chana. JR (remember him) is driving the car.

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

The Sound of Johannesburg

South African artists BLK JKS and Athi-Patra Ruga provide this month’s mixtape for the Italian architecture, art and design magazine Domus (other mixtapes in the past gave us musical snapshots of Buenos Aires, London, Melbourne, Milan, Harlem...

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

The Gautrain

EDITED: Useful summary of the South African government’s ambitious plans for the first high-speed commuter train line in Sub-Saharan Africa; it’s from a story in The Globe and Mail about the large Canadian firm, Bombardier’s attempts to...

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Music Break

The new music video for “Drip Dry” by the Johannesburg hipsters Dirty Paraffin. The video was shot and edited by the people known collectively as Cuss Monthly. H/T: Dylan Valley.

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

An Ordinary Killing

Riveting piece of journalism in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine as well as an accompanying video piece (narrated by correspondent Barry Bearak) on the ordinary murder of a Zimbabwean migrant and widespread mob “justice” in Diepsloot,...

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron, who rejected the tag as the original hip hop artist, died on Friday afternoon. He had fallen ill while on tour.  This video, which gives a good overview of Scott-Heron’s life, is from a 2009...

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011


Voltz‘s reading of Johannesburg. A first track and video from his upcoming album ‘Revolt’.

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

War Photographer

New York magazine has a series of 29 images of and by war photographers, including Joao Silva, the South African photographer who lost his legs after stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan. Silva, is “… taking steps...

Monday, April 25th, 2011

The Bang Bang Club

Not a ringing endorsement from film critic Jeanette Catsoulis in The New York Times for “The Bang Bang Club,” the new feature film based on the real-life adventures of four white South African photographers making their reputations...

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