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Jazz in Cape Town

In Cape Town jazz here is not just jazz. It’s a whole lot more. For one, it is a dance style that continues to be the predominant feature of successive generations of Cape Flats families. Almost similar to what is called salsa in the Latino communities, jazzing on the Cape Flats is now somewhat of a tradition. And I use tradition in a deliberate way, to think about inheritances of practices that are shared, dynamic and made and remade anew, but always defined also by what is continued as it is passed down.

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Songs for Mandela: Weekend Music Break 64

This post combines Steffan’s wonderful playlist of South African tunes of and for Nelson Mandela and the international playlist we published when we first heard news of the great man’s…..

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Songs for Mandela [South African Edition]

This is the South African edition of our selection of Songs for Nelson Mandela. Last night we posted the international edition and many of our readers asked if we’d forgotten about…..

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“To Bring the Beat Home”: Soul Power in Kinshasa

The opening scene: Soul Brother No. 1 dressed in a skin tight matador-cum-gimp suit, drop-kicking the mic, screeching, roaring, galvanising a Congolese crowd into pure hysteria, while chanting ‘I’m black…..

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1 min read

Weekend Music Break, N°19

Got caught up in other stuff yesterday, so this week’s Bonus Music Break comes a day late. “Sister Deborah” Owusu-Bonsu calls herself a “creative hustler” and yes, she is the…..

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The Legacy of Nat Nakasa

On a warm July morning in 1965, South African writer Nat Nakasa stood facing the window of a friend’s seventh floor apartment in Central Park West. In the distance he…..

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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 collaboration with the Drum writers Lewis Nkosi and Bloke Modisane on the script, the film possesses a ‘Kafkan sterility’ (Modisane 1990), and tells the archetypal story of the rural man forced toward the city through hardship and the prospect of a better life, something Modisane speaks of with bitterness in his autobiography Blame Me On History (published in 1963).

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Film Review: ‘Come Back Africa’ (1959)

This film is exquisitely crafted and structured. The actors may be amateurs but, as Brecht knew, this is not the same as being bad, and there are several terrific performances in Come Back, Africa; performances that are only richer for their volatility. Nkosi and Modisane both appear, as does fellow Drum writer Can Themba. The long shebeen scene, in which only Miriam Makeba’s arrival can end a drunken debate ranging across issues local, national and existential, is among the greatest pieces of cinema I’ve seen.

2 mins read

Paul Simon’s Graceland Reconsidered

2011 was the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” I don’t have to remind you of the album’s significance. It is hard to imagine now the impact of that album,…..