‘The Real Tarzan’ and other colonial fantasies

Blackbookmag.com reports that two British artists have built a “Heart of Darkness”-themed hotel in the shape of a steamboat on the roof of a Thames River arts center in London. It is named Roi des Belges (King of the Belgians). They charge between 120 and 185 pounds for singles or couples per night to stay in the hotel. “Inside, the cozy paddle steamboat is lined with timber, vintage books, and props that echo details from Conrad’s works, such as maps of Africa.” Two days ago, The Guardian (of all publications) put up a travel piece with this introduction: “I was alone in the middle of deepest, darkest Congo. Worse still, I was being chased by eight angry tribesmen in two dugout canoes – and they were gaining on me.” We figured it must be a joke. Then there’s this guy, DeWet Du Toit (in the images above and below), who left South Africa to work as a security guard in Manchester, and returned to George, a coastal town in the Western Cape region of South Africa (where else?), where he lives out his fantasy as ‘the real Tarzan’, complete with promotional video (he wants to break into Hollywood like Charlize and District 9), animals, black helpers (see the picture below) and friendly news coverage.

Further Reading

Take it to the house

On this month’s AIAC Radio, Boima celebrates all things basketball, looking at its historical relationships with music and race, then focusing on Africa’s biggest names in the sport.

El maestro siempre

Maky Madiba Sylla is a militant filmmaker excavating iconic Africans whose legacies he believes need to be known widely—like the singer Laba Sosseh.

Madiba and Mali

There is a remarkable connection between Mali and South Africa, dating back to the liberation struggle, and actively encouraged by the author’s work.

A devil’s deal

Rwanda’s proposed refugee deal with Britain is another strike against President Paul Kagame’s claim that he is an authentic and fearless pan-Africanist who advocates for the less fortunate.

Red and Black

Yunxiang Gao’s new book takes a fresh look at connected lives of African American and Chinese leftist activists, artists and intellectuals after World War II.

The Dar es Salaam years

In the early 1970s, Walter Rodney, expelled from Jamaica, took a post in Tanzania. In Leo Zeilig’s new book, he captures those exciting, but also difficult years and how it formed Rodney.

Rushing to boycott

The cultural boycott of Russia turns to the flawed precedent of apartheid South Africa for inspiration, while ignoring the much more carefully considered boycott of official Israeli culture by the BDS Movement.