AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012

‘Fictional’ Cape Town

French photographer Cécile Mella's project "Fictional Cape Town," documents the manufactured worlds produced by advertising firms using locations around Cape Town as a stand-in for European, British or American scenes. So that "... a characteristic wine farm is transformed into a Dutch homestead, or a Long Street cafe becomes a Parisian bistro for a day or two."...

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The fear-riddled DNA

What was Egg Films thinking? This award-winning South African production house responsible for several corporate commercials and short films created this video for 'The DNA project', a local "not-for-profit company committed to advancing justice through the expanded...

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

‘Soccer movies about poor, brown people’

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Film / Africans in America

Beautifully shot vignette of life among the mostly poor residents of The Fred Factory Gardens Project Houses in the majority African-American town of Spencer, Oklahoma. Filmed by Trevor Tweeten and Richard Mosse.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Fair and Lovely

Horrified by the skin-lightening creams you see advertised in the cityscapes of Africa? Wait till you see the adverts people walk past daily in India or Sri Lanka. This huge billboard (above) sits somewhere on the 10-kilometre...

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The people of Blikkiesdorp

For at least 3 years now South African photographer Lizane Louw have chronicled the lives of the people of Blikkiesdorp (translation: Tin Town), a temporary relocation camp in Delft–not to be confused with the Dutch town and...

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Jeremy Cronin’s Cape Town

By now Contemporary Literature has probably forced me to take down the series of Jeremy Cronin blog posts (more like cut and pasted from a long interview with my favorite Communist), so read quickly.  This excerpt, the...

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Street Party, Johannesburg

The series Security takes as its subject the guards employed for protection by the middle and upper classes in wealthy districts of Johannesburg. It includes a watched-over street party and a visual catalogue...

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

‘Insurrection’

Single released April 11th, which is the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots that levelled much of the town centre that both Linton and I call home. DJ Haitus.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Afro-Russians

Photographer Liz Johnson-Artur‘s images illustrates a piece by Sarah Bentley in the latest issue of Nigerian magazine, ARISE, on Russian nationals of mixed Russian and African descent. Those profiled in the piece mostly know each from the...

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Music Break

I love this track, “It Would Be,” by Cape Town’s Alleycat (government name: Enslin Grootboom) featuring fellow rapper, T100. The song is Cape Town for real: riding the Jamaican riddim, the transplanted patois and the stripped-down video. (Artists...

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Libya’s African Problem

As the report by Al Jazeera English, above, indicates, being black in Libya, always a precarious existence, have become even more dangerous since the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime commenced. I asked my former PhD advisor, David...

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The Uprising

“The Uprising of Hangberg” is filmmaking at its incendiary best. Part agitprop piece, testimonies, campaign document, and popular history, the film recounts the violent events of September 2010 when municipal police on the orders of the Cape Town’s...

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

The Race Card

Bridging the Western art world and the West African film industry, London-based artist Doug Fishbone cast himself as a local farmer in the film Elmina, a feature-length movie shot and produced in Ghana and starring well-known Ghanaian...

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Kenny Kunene is a Marketing Genius

You have to admire the shameless smarts of Kenny Kunene. In the last two months, the relatively obscure club promoter–unknown before the start of 2011–has assured himself some valuable, free publicity. Who is Kunene? A 40-year old...

Monday, September 27th, 2010

White People Eat Fried Chicken

Allison Swank Just as Nelson Mandela went underground as the Black Pimpernel in 1961 to evade the white apartheid government, in this TV ad for  a popular South African fast food chain, this white Afrikaner family goes...

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Who Are We?

My man Gary Younge, New York-based feature writer and columnist for The Guardian, has a new book out on 21st century identity politics: Who are We–And Should It Matter in the 21st Century? The clips above and below,...

Monday, July 26th, 2010

The Pass Office

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Who Cares?*

Shocker. Children don’t always look like their parents. (Unfortunately not everyone got the memo that it is none of their business; like here and here.) * Courtesy of my wife, Jessica Blatt. – Sean Jacobs

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Skin Deep Politics

I finally had a chance to read Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s profile of Jacob Zuma that appeared in “The New Yorker” on the eve of the World Cup final. You need a password to read the piece. But don’t...

Monday, July 19th, 2010

G’day Mate

“The thing that overwhelms most is the level of professionalism of native Africans in knowing how to serve a bottle of wine properly,” said Philip Crawford, a designer of luxury homes from Noosa, Australia. From a story...

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

New Zealand

Just like new Zealand It’s nice to see the odd Black face now and again * Haiku by Cape Town poet, Gus Ferguson, on the (not so new anymore) “Neighborhoods Market” (UPDATE: It’s actually the Neighborgoods Market)...

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Africa on Film: Black Diamonds

Black Diamonds is a recently released short documentary by Dutch filmmaker, Saska Vredeveld (view the film here). The film offers an inside view of the personal lives of three black South African entrepreneurs, including the odd Felicia...

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The Poors

The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” site has also published Reuters photographer Finbarr O’Reilly’s widely circulated series of a group of 450 poor whites shack dwellers living in a camp in Krugersdorp close to Johannesburg.   As I...

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Africa on Film: Out of Africa

While reviewing this week’s film, Out of Africa (1985), for our series Africa on Film, I wondered what I would write about. Many people have bones to pick with this film but I was unable to distinguish...

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Africa on Film: Tarzan!

Few other authors in the 19th and 20th centuries made greater contributions to Hollywood’s racist images of Africa than Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan’s creator. During his lifetime, Burroughs mastered the staple “jungle” movie that has characterized...

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Blue Balls

Last Saturday,  a rugby playoff match in South Africa was switched from the white suburbs of Pretoria to a stadium in Soweto. The move was required because the stadium in Pretoria was needed for the soccer World...

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Africa on Film: A New Series

We also aim to educate. Over the next few months, Allison Swank will commence a new weekly series on popular (and not-so-popular) films in the United States ‘about’ Africa. The focus will be on the idea of...

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

‘African Hospitality’

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The Race War

Al Jazeera’s media criticism TV program “The Listening Post” has a useful analysis of the South African media’s reporting of the murder of the white supremacist, Eugene Terreblanche, by two farmworkers, one a 15 year old, after...

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