Sathima’s swansong

There is a time for everything: Between Afropunk and the passing of a musical legend, Sathima Bea Benjamin, is our Weekend Music Break.

It’s weekend of the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, New York, and a few of us at Africa Is a Country who are based here, will be partaking in the madness.  If you can’t make it to Afropunk this year don’t worry we’ve got a very solid collection of videos to generate an instant music festival wherever you happen to be getting down.

On a nostalgia tip, Olugbenga revisits his old stomping grounds on the streets of Lagos around the Ojuelegba Bus Stop in the Andy Okafor filmed video “Silver Pixie, Iyawo Mi.” This was Olugbenga’s first trip home since he was 15.

Philadelphia producer King Britt has this to say about his afro-futurist electronica project Fhloston Paradigm: “It walks the line of duality, both science fact and science fiction. It is the future of the now moment. The purpose is to transmit the omni-versal message of divine abstractions into aural pleasing tones.” He explains the video for Chasing Rainbows is a “sprained fable of a wanderer who is her own congress. Can time pry dance from the preface of no more?”

Afrikan Boy, still terrorizing London, channels Fela in “Hit Em Up.”

We’ve got a fantastic collection of live footage of South African rap crew, Driemanskap, for their track “Hosh/Hosa.”

Somali sisters Faarrow show us they were down with music from a young age when they go back home in the Studio Africa-produced video “Say My Name.”

Ghanaian singer Sala gives us a club ready track with “Today Na Today“. And if you need any ideas, the well shot video, filmed at a garage, will show you how to move:

You know how musicians are always reading lyrics off of their phones these days when they’re recording in the studio? Mosotho hip-hop artist Juvy and friends take that to the next level in the hilarious video for “Sotha.”

The title of Berlin-based Ugandan singer Jaqee’s new track says enough: “Dance.”

Talented Ghanaian singer Paapa demonstrates his lyrical depth in “Write for Me”. This is a guy to pay attention to.

Tanzanians Nay and Diamond let us know the music scene in Bongo is still very much fly with “Muziki Gani Part 2.”

And finally, from Sathima Bea Benjamin, the legendary Cape Town jazz singer who went home to the ancestors this week (see Sean Jacobs’ review of her autobiography for some background on her politics and musical career), we have her epic masterpiece “Africa.” This song comes from her Songbird LP that was rereleased by Matsuli music just last month. Ms. Benjamin gave a few rare performances at the Mahogany Room and Tagore’s in Cape Town for the occasion. Download an audio recording from the Tagore’s show here, Sathima swansong in this world.


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.