AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

South Africa

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Africa is a Radio: Epsiode #6

Africa is a Radio went on break last month along with Africa is a Country, so I’m just now able to get to posting July’s show here. This episode focuses on South African Hip Hop, both commercial and underground with a special report from Pretoria by Ts’eliso Mohaneng. Enjoy, and look out for September’s Episode

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Naked Woman on Nelson Mandela Square

On Monday, a woman walked towards the giant Mandela statue at Nelson Mandela square in Sandton, Johannesburg and stripped naked until security guard came to remove her as demonstrated in the cellphone images that were captured and...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Redemption Trope in South African Cinema

Come Back Africa (dir. Lionel Rogosin), Mapantsula (dir. Oliver Schmitz) and Tsotsi (dir. Gavin Hood) mark three distinct eras in South African cinema. The oldest of the three, Come Back Africa, shot secretly in the late 1950s,...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

James Matthews being James Matthews

The film, Diaries of a Dissident Poet, follows poet James Matthews around Cape Town, tracking him during a year, from his 83rd to 84th birthday. It opens with a small celebration of his 83rd at the District...

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The winners and losers of the platinum strike in South Africa

On January 23 this year the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), a firebrand breakaway of the COSATU-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), took an estimated 50,000 mineworkers to the plateaus of Rustenburg to demand a...

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

White Schools in postapartheid South Africa

It’s a little over two decades ago that South Africa’s Whites Only schools began to ‘welcome’ Black students (African, Coloured and Indian) students into their classrooms. Guided by the official principles of multiculturalism and equality, many a...

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

It may be time to drop the ‘world music’ label (and The Brother Moves On has something to say about it)

Last week the second Cape Town World Music Festival (CTWMF) took place, and warmed up a very cold and wet “Mother City” weekend. The notoriously lax Cape Town audience (myself included) got out from under our duvets to...

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Watch’s Umlilo’s new music video “Magic Man” here first

You’ve seen the teaser, now see the video. Umlilo, is back with his fifth music video single, ‘Magic Man’ from his upcoming EP, ‘Aluta’. 

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Why Oscar Pistorius’ anxiety spectacle might matter more than we think

Guess what? Oscar Pistorius, the South African Paralympic champion who is tried for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, turns out to be sane. He might still lose his temper, like the other day when VIP-ing...

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Obituary: Nadine Gordimer

My first introduction to Comrade Nadine was through her writing during my student activist days in the mid-1970s and later when I was serving five years on Robben Island as a political prisoner from 1979 to 1984....

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The film about the small businessman who took on the bread cartel

“Crumbs–Toppling the Bread Cartel” is the inside story of a Cape Town businessman, Imraahn Mukaddam’s fight for social justice and the personal cost of blowing the whistle on corporate greed.  To fill you in: in late 2006...

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Film Review: “The Good Man” and relegating good intentions to the dustbin

In Chicago literary scholar Lauren Berlant’s formulation, cruel optimism describes an object of desire that is, in her words, “actually an obstacle to your flourishing.” This optimism becomes cruel, she explains, “when the object that draws your...

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

On being young, black and queer in South Africa

Umlilo (previously profiled on Africa is a Country here) continues to push societal boundaries, crushing the norms of sexuality and gender roles with ‘Magic Man’, a track from his latest album, which will be released in July...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Buckingham Palace, Cape Town

My Word! Redesigning Buckingham Palace, is a one-man play, written by Sylvia Vollenhoven and performed by co-writer and actor, Basil Appollis. It is based on the life and work of the writer, Richard Rive, who grew up...

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Artist Mohau Modisakeng: Probing Subliminal Violence

Those who are playing football there now are walking over dead bodies. Their euphoria and the deaths that occurred there during the hostel violence of the 1990s is a dichotomy that, even as the artist stands in...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Scenario Planning for White South Africa

Scenario planning is something of a cottage industry in South Africa and was particularly popular during the negotiations for democracy in the early 1990s. Careers were launched on the back of this industry, and speakers known for...

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Adam Sandler’s “Africa” (late night TV talk shows can’t get enough of it)

Just based on the trailer alone, it was safe to predict that “Blended,” the comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore about two single parents who after a dismal first date, magically end up on vacation at the...

Friday, May 30th, 2014

“Miners Shot Down;” a haunting and emotional documentary

When Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a miner from Marikana in South Africa’s Northwest Province, traces his family lineage of miners at Lonmin Mines, he invokes in me memories of how I narrowly escaped becoming a miner, breaking the lineage...

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

The story of a South African “tribe”

In October 2013, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the Bethesda Methodist Church in the north of Johannesburg, warned us of a resurgence of tribalism in South Africa. In January of this year, Mbeki once again had the...

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Fader goes to Cape Town

So I’ve been following the Sprite Obey You Collective video series on The Fader website. They have been profiling some young South Africans doing great things. I liked the idea. I saw the Okmaloomkat clip. I liked...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Don’t believe the media hype about striking mine workers in South Africa

The platinum strike led by new trade union Association of Mining and Construction Workers Union (AMCU), is now over four months long, making it the longest strike in the history of South Africa. The majority of the...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

‘Dreams Close To Home’: In search of the perfect wall to paint in South Africa

Sometime last year, I attended an exhibition opening entitled “Dreams Close To Home” at the Two by Two Art Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg. It was the culmination of a self-initiated project by the artists Lisolomzi Pikoli (Fuzzy Slipperz, illustrator),...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

How much has really changed on South Africa’s wine farms?

Sixty five years ago, Margaret Bourke-White traveled to South Africa, and spent some time in what are today known as the Worcester winelands, in the Western Cape. According to South African Tourism, still today “the largest wine...

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Why Is No One Else Talking About These Musicians?

I got the chance to be part of the Redbull Basscamp in Johannesburg during October 2013. For six days, a unique cross-section of hand picked South African musicians holed up in central Johannesburg for lectures from music industry heavyweights in...

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Peter Clarke: “I remember thinking, if he who is black can be an artist, so can I.”

Influenced by the Mexican muralists of the 1930s and ‘40s, and also by the German Expressionists, the South African artist Peter Clarke (who passed away at the age of 85 on April 13, 2104)  built his reputation...

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Why you’ve got to love the way the tabloid Daily Sun reported Caster Semenya’s marriage

Despite its much lauded, progressive marriage equality laws, South Africa can be a shit place for gay people, especially black lesbians living in poor neighborhoods, but then this also happens there: Olympian Caster Semenya has announced that...

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The music that changed my life

The Cape Town suburb of Observatory is known for being a small bohemian enclave, providing low cost housing for students, artists and ‘free spirits’ of all sorts. Walk down Lower Main Road past the quaint mini-Victorian houses...

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Admit it, you didn’t expect the Economic Freedom Fighters to do so well

At first sight, the results for national and provincial elections in South Africa may suggest that little has changed. The ANC still got more than 60% of the national vote (despite its poor leadership); the largest parliamentary...

Monday, May 5th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom in South Africa: Elections and captured politics

Recent public commentary has celebrated the virtues of a competitive electoral market in South Africa. The common argument is that the emergence of new political formations on the electoral landscape provides space for increased competition to have...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Seven Things To Tell Young Black South Africans

Last week, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation held an election debate in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, on intergenerational justice. It would have been great if some terms, like intergenerational justice, had been framed more...

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