The Chadian director Mahamat Saleh Haroun’s new film “Grigris” premiered in Cannes. First reviews are up in Variety, the Guardian, Hollywood Reporter and rfi.fr. Rfi also has an interview with Haroun about his first meeting with the film’s lead actor and Burkinabe dancer Souleymane Démé. Watch one of the film’s opening scenes. Less space was taken up in the papers by the fact that Démé was held for hours by immigration officers in Brussels Airport on his way to Cannes. Says Haroun: “I think when you want a continent of freedom, it is outrageous that not only do we [Haroun has been residing in France for years] expel the undocumented, but also those people who come here with their papers in order.”
What’s happening in Salone? Joan Baxter asks: “Who are the new landlords in Sierra Leone and what lands do they hold?”
Meanwhile, on anthropologist Mats Utas’s blog, Tilde Berggren questions a recent Swedish Government’s aid scheme in Sierra Leone.
Better news on Sierra Leone: The newly launched Research in Sierra Leone Studies: Weave is a refereed, open access, open-text, electronic journal that publishes articles, book reviews, interviews, drama, fiction, and poetry on Sierra Leonean themes from national, international, diasporic, and global perspectives, aiming to “liberate Sierra Leonean scholars into international scholarship”.
This week’s series of photographs by Iwan Baan in the New York Times of Makoko’s “School at Sea” reminded me of a recent piece over at Nairaland Forum by “a Nigerian American” who asks: “Why Is Eko Atlantic Legal, And Makoko Illegal?”
A much-circulated follow-up piece on the discussion between Santiago Zabala and Hamid Dabashi (and less on Slavoi Zizek) by Aditya Nigam in Critical Encounters about the End of Postcolonialism and the Challenge for ‘Non-European’ Thought.
Eve Fairbanks wrote a long report (published in Moment) on South African campus life in the city of Bloemfontein. The interesting part is where Fairbanks details the “resegregation”, as she calls, that happened in some of the University of The Free State’s dorms in the late nineties.
File under unexpected collaborations: Congolese painter Chéri Samba illustrated a fancy travel guide for Paris, one of two cities he calls home.
Warscapes publishes an excerpt from the English translation of Mia Couto’s Tuner of Silences (originally published as “Jesusalém” in 2009). Don’t know why it still takes years to publish an English translation of Mozambique’s foremost author of fiction. An interview with Couto here; a rare review of the book here.
There’s a new book by Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo: We Need New Names. Granta published an extract here. The New York Times calls it a “stunning novel”. Also read Bulawayo’s short story, “Blak Power,” published by Guernica earlier this month.
More new fiction: Belgian-Nigerian writer Chika Unigwe’s new novel “De Zwarte Messias” (“The Black Messiah”) was launched in Antwerp this week. An English edition will most probably follow soon. The story is based on the life of Olaudah Equiano, Nigerian pioneer of the abolitionist cause. The English translation of the original Dutch title (“The Black Messiah”) is mine, but you never know with these Dutch editors. See the atrocious cover that publisher De Geus has come up with for the Dutch translation of Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I Will Write About This Place.
Joe Wright is directing Aimé Césaire’s “A Season in the Congo” in London this summer. The play follows Lumumba’s efforts to free the Congolese from Belgian rule and the political struggles that led to his assassination in 1961. Curiously, Wright seems to have chosen Ralph Manheim’s translation over the one by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. (Lead role for Chiwetel Ejiofor, dance choreography by Belgian-Moroccan Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.) Details and tickets here. The Guardian ran an interview with Wright about the play last year. Rumor has it he is also working on a film adaptation.
Finally, two music videos as a mini-Weekend Music Break. First is a track taken from Owiny Sigoma Band’s second album ‘Power Punch’ (remember them). The video was shot on location in Zanzibar on an iPhone. Might this be a first “iPhone-music-video” featured here on the blog? And new South African (Cape Town) Hip-Hop that made us sit up: Slippers'”Ndivotelen.”