5406
4 mins read

Nelson Mandela’s Humanity was a Political Education

If you became politically aware in the late 1970s, you became aware of a world in which no greater sustained evil existed than apartheid. There were other horrors, of course, but apartheid was insidious, entrenched, and total. It built a model of permanent exploitation and enforced it with violence. It classified human beings and forbade them from loving and living beside one another. Its apparatus of segregation, Bantustans, prisons, and immiseration abused dignity with systematic perversity. Its helmsmen spread violence across South Africa’s borders and spat in the face of a disapproving world.

4031
3 mins read

Who will make the great Thomas Sankara biopic?

Twenty-six years ago this month, Thomas Sankara was brutally murdered. His biopic is still waiting to be made. A revolutionary leader possessed of a towering intellect and extraordinary magnetism, Sankara…..

10002
12 mins read

Long Walk to Toronto

It is a warm and breezy Sunday afternoon in Toronto, just the kind of weather that makes us question whether we should be going into a dark movie house to catch one…..

6157
10 mins read

We write what we like about Steve Biko

Had he not died, Steve Biko would have turned 66 years old today. But since the Apartheid police murdered him two months shy of his 31st birthday, we the living…..

6070
15 mins read

Struggles over memory in South Africa

Struggles over memory are commonplace in contemporary South Africa. The 1980s are an especially contested. That decade witnessed a mass resurgence of popular struggles that picked up a thread of civil opposition going back to the 1976 Soweto uprising. From outside South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) stepped up its armed struggle and sanctions campaigns; inside the country the United Democratic Front (UDF)—a loose federation of women’s, youth, and civic organizations founded in 1983 in Cape Town as a response to tepid government reforms—coordinated rent, service and consumer boycotts; and a new national trade union federation privileged political struggle. The state responded with more “reforms,” states of emergency, proxy wars, assassinations, and mass detentions. Today legal apartheid is a distant memory for most South Africans.

7 mins read

Africa as Science Fiction

Since Sun Ra descended in a breast-shaped Ark to recruit Americans for his planetary Afrotopia, science fiction has played a significant role in representations of African life. The original past…..

1393
2 mins read

Biko’s Son

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio 1’s program, The Current, this morning interviewed 40 year old Nkosinathi Biko about South Africa’s progress (and his dad’s legacy) 22 years after the unbanning of liberation movements (2 February 1990).

3 mins read

Batsumi's cascade of sound

By Dan Magaziner* South Africa’s 1970s are rightly remembered as a time of rising militancy. From the universities to the docks to the schools–the decade saw the rise of Black…..

Less than a minute read

‘Africa wants you to leave us alone’

The South African artist, Breeze Yoko, has generously allowed me to share these images of him completing this striking mural completed recently in Swiss city, Basel, while there representing at…..