6019
7 mins read

The ‘Fake Interpreter’

A few days ago, when the story of the “fake interpreter” broke in the South African media, the ANC denied any knowledge of who he was and how he got to be on the podium, signing while world leader after world leader gave inane speeches intended to tell the world that “Yes, I more than anyone, I was close to Madiba; we had dinner together once, and he paid special attention to me. Furthermore, his saintliness is the reason why I, too, should be close to the same beatification treatment.” (Yes, Drone President, I’m looking at you.) That would have been a tough job for any veteran of sign language, who must not only convey the words, but also the emotional impact and context through a mixture of physical movements and psychological engagement with both speaker and audience. It is translation—and like translation between any two languages, it has all the attendant complexities of signs never adequately meeting the requirements of the signifier—but with an added layer of physicality essential to convey the speaker’s intended tone.

4757
7 mins read

Tata Mandela

June 16 is a national holiday in South Africa – Youth Day, commemorating the June 16, 1976 Soweto student uprising and those who lost their lives in the violence that…..

9506
4 mins read

Anthony Bourdain goes to South Africa

In a recent episode of his CNN “Parts Unknown,” the American chef and writer Anthony Bourdain traveled to South Africa. In my mind at least, this episode was long overdue and in fact, I’ve even said so on this blog in the past. The episode focuses on Gauteng Province (Johannesburg and Pretoria), signaling to a desire on the producers’ part to focus on emerging and predominantly urban black South African sensibilities and avoiding the pre-packaged, proto-European sensibilities and more superficially palatable aesthetics of Cape Town and the Western Cape altogether. The result is at once an imperfect and incomplete, yet compelling glimpse into one of the most complicated and confusing places in the world.

2 mins read

Found Objects N°21

German singer-songwriter Joy Denalane (born to a South African father who’s a cousin of Hugh Masekela) recorded her song ‘Im Ghetto von Soweto’ twice. I prefer the original, less explanatory,…..

Less than a minute read

Soweto Soul

What better way to start the week than with some a cappella soul courtesy of South African singers Buhlebendalo Mda, Luphindo Ngxanga and Ntsika Fana Ngxanga (better known as ‘The…..

Less than a minute read

Beginning Workout

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

1 min read

Spinning in Gauteng

Journalist/photographer Chris Parkinson, who lives in Johannesburg, has shot this short film about car spinning in the city. Invited by a fellow photographer, who is also a spinner, he headed…..

Less than a minute read

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.

Less than a minute read

Music Break

Oakland, California rap group The Hieroglyphics and Goapele singing about some kind of Soweto circa 2002. You can go to the jungle/Go to the city/Visit Soweto/Live in the Bay or/Somewhere…..