Pan African Space Station, NYC

A periodic, pop-up live radio studio, a performance and exhibition space, a research platform and living archive.

Photo by Alice Obar.

The Cape Town-based arts collective Chimurenga publishes a magazine (named for the collective) and a newspaper (The Chronic), puts on live performances and runs the Pan African Space Station (PASS),  “… a periodic, pop-up live radio studio; a performance and exhibition space; a research platform and living archive, as well as an ongoing, internet based radio station.” Per Chimurenga, the Space Station was “founded by Chimurenga in collaboration with musician and composer Neo Muyanga in 2008.” PASS takes inspiration from American musician, Sun Ra. “PASS is a machine for traveling at the speed of thought – it borrows [his] slogan ‘There are other worlds out there they never told you about’ …” Finally, “has landed in and transmitted from Johannesburg, Paris, London, New York, Lagos, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Cairo, Dakar, Mexico City and Harare featuring over 150 artists, musicians, writers, activists and more.”

In November 2015, Chimurenga brought the Pan African Space Station at Performa 15 to New York City. The session in New York City, run over multiple days, consisted of a “market” of sorts and a pop radio radio session featured (amongst others) the Brooklyn-based African Record Center/ Yoruba Book Center; artist and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti; and poet, choreographer, and Afrosonics archivist Harmony Holiday.

As part of the installation, Africa is a Country curated three panels over the course of the weekend, covering reflections on music and migration, identity and cultural expression in photography; as well as the exchange between African and Caribbean music. All the sessions are available on our Soundcloud.

We also made a short video on the PASS installation, directed by via Alice Obar (one of editor Sean’s former students) featuring interviews with Chimurenga associate editor Stacy Hardy, artist Nontsikilelo Mutiti, and African Record Center co-owner Roger Francis. Not to mention highlights from the panel discussion, as well as some music by Lamin Fofana, Innov Gnawa, and Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa.


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.