The New Chimurenga

The most creative, incisive political arts and literary publication produced on the African continent, or anywhere for that matter.

(Wiki Commons).

From its inception as a one-off experiment in Cape Town more than 10 years ago, Chimurenga Magazine, named for the Shona (Zimbabwe) word meaning “revolutionary struggle” and founded by Jean Noel Ntone Edjabe, has evolved into arguably the most creative, incisive political arts and literary publication produced on the African continent, or anywhere for that matter. Over the years, with its highly original content and design, Chimurenga, which is also edited by Stacy Hardy, has adroitly demonstrated to its readers how to question (mis)representations of African people and politics. This week their new issue, the Chronic, launches worldwide.

Some readers might be confused since they can remember Chimurenga publishing an edition of the Chronic last year. But this is the official inaugural edition. Published in the form of a newspaper, complete with book review magazine and sports writing, the Chronic is an intrepid re-imagining of the literary magazine as we know it.

Through its reincarnation as “a gazette,” the Chronic confronts the very manner in which we take in information. By shedding light on the people and perspectives that those in positions of power would prefer to sweep under the rug, Chimurenga effectively pulls the rug out from under those very same power structures.

Within the pages of the Chronic are stories ranging from investigations into the business of moving corpses to the rhetoric of land theft and loss; from latent tensions between Africa’s most powerful nations to the soft power of the biggest satellite television provider. These stories push us as readers and thinkers to interrogate the information we receive and to reflect on how we as individuals and as communities respond (or fail to respond) to social injustices. Reading Chimurenga represents the essential beginning of the process to reconfigure the social archive of our collective memory. This is a process of unlearning, of resistance, of disassembling constructed versions of history, while daring to reengage with our humanity, our diversity and our revolutionary spirit.

The Chronic features writing and artwork from filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo, writer Binyanvanga Wainaina, Rustum Kostain and Nic Mhlongo, academics Dominique Malaquais and Mahmood Mamdani, provocateur Andile Mngxitama, Gwen Ansell, Patrice Nganang, Achal Prabhala, Karen Press, Paula Akugizibwe, Tolu Ogunlesi, AIAC’s Sean Jacobs (who was also present for some of the early issues as a contributing editor), Harmony Holiday, Howard French, Billy Kahora and others.

To get a copy of the Chronic, go here. To read articles from past issues of Chimurenga, go here.

Bonus: To put some faces to Chimurenga, here’s a video AIAC’er Dylan Valley made of Chimurenga around the time they won the Prince Claus Fund prize in 2011:


Further Reading

A power crisis

Andre De Ruyter, the former CEO of Eskom, has presented himself as a simple hero trying to save South Africa’s struggling power utility against corrupt forces. But this racially charged narrative is ultimately self-serving.

Cinematic universality

Fatou Cissé’s directorial debut meditates on the uncertain fate and importance of Malian cinema amidst the growing dismissiveness towards the humanities across the world.

The meanings of Heath Streak

Zimbabwean cricketing legend Heath Streak’s career mirrors many of the unresolved tensions of race and class in Zimbabwe. Yet few white Zimbabwean sporting figures are able to stir interest and conversation across the nation’s many divides.


After winning Italy’s Serie A with Napoli, Victor Osimhen has cemented his claim to being Africa’s biggest footballing icon. But is the trend of individual stardom good for sports and politics?

The magic man

Chris Blackwell’s long-awaited autobiography shows him as a romantic rogue; a risk taker whose life compass has been an open mind and gift to hear and see slightly into the future.

How to think about colonialism

Contemporary approaches to the legacy of colonialism tend to narrowly emphasize political agency as the solution to Africa’s problems. But agency is configured through historically particular relations of which we are not sole authors.

More than just a flag

South Africa’s apartheid flag has been declared hate speech by a top court. But while courts are important and their judgments matter, racism is a long and internationally entrenched social phenomenon that cannot be undone via judicial processes.

Resistance is a continuous endeavor

For more than 75 years, Palestinians have organized for a liberated future. Today, as resistance against Israeli apartheid intensifies, unity and revolutionary optimism has become the main infrastructure of struggle.

Paradise forgotten

While there is much to mourn about the passing of legendary American singer and actor Harry Belafonte, we should hold a place for his bold statement-album against apartheid South Africa.