danni diana on bogus muthi (and ad agencies)

A year or so ago, some colleagues of mine did a campaign for a film called Night Drive, which was a slashy, schlocky horror that centred on the body-parts-for-muthi trade. The campaign handed out a couple hundred pamphlets, in the style of those ridiculous pamphlets that offer penis enlargement, bad luck cure, womb cleaning etc that we see littered around town every day. The pamphlets offered money for body parts, and linked to a website that detailed the “doctor’s” cash-for-organs trade in more detail. The people who received the pamphlets went ape-shit, calls were made to the national media, everyone was pranked and much outrage ensued. The campaign was slammed by the Department of Health for trivialising a “Serious Problem”, and was pulled, effective immediately, complete with apology from the ad agency in question, and a promise to conduct an “internal disciplinary procedure”.


Pamphlet collected in Durban by Rosemary Lombard, 2009

My question is, what exactly is being done about this serious problem? Why do people get up in arms about a cash-for-body-parts hoax, but think its OK (and hilarious) for there to be pamphlets offering safe abortions, womb cleaning, AIDS cures and a whole manner of sexual health treatment that is not only bogus, but seriously harmful to those who pursue it. What effort is being made by the Department of Health to shut down these “doctors”? Most disturbing is the discriminatory gender ideas at the root of these so called treatments. Muthi to “make lover have sex with you”, and treatment for women for, among other things “cleaner vaginas, more willingness to have sex.”

These charlatan muthi men make a mockery of traditional healing, and the pamphlets and posters not only mislead the poor, vulnerable and uneducated, but reinforce negative stereotypes about traditional healing and the communities that take advantage of them. Is any work being done to address this “Serious Problem”, or do people only care so long as the content of said media panders to savage stereotypes of murderous muthi men lurking in the shadows to chop your heart out?

Pamphlet collected in Durban by Rosemary Lombard, 2009

Pamphlet collected in Durban by Rosemary Lombard, 2009

treading through an untrimmed memory

Tran Nguyen - Treading Through An Untrimmed Memory

Tran Nguyen – Treading Through An Untrimmed Memory

Tran Nguyen is a Georgia-based artist. Born in Vietnam and raised in the States, she received a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009. She is fascinated with creating visuals that can be used as a psycho-therapeutic support vehicle, treading the mind’s surreal dreamscape. Her paintings are created with a delicate quality using color pencil and thin glazes of acrylic on paper. Tran’s oeuvre has been exhibited with galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, and Barcelona. “ I find interest in illustrating the universal emotions we come across in everyday living — emotions that are tucked away, deep inside our psyches.”

Her blog is HERE.

tindersticks – city sickness (1993)

“Our first film. This Way Up had money to make a video, we wanted to make something more like a film. We were told about Jarvis and Steve from Pulp, who were making films with Martin Wallace. We made it during the summer of ’93. Dickon’s not in it because he was in Mexico as part of his studies. It was good fun and hard work, driving around in our Ford Cortina, Jarvis squashed on the passenger seat floor. Sidonie, Stuart’s daughter, is the baby. It was the start of a long and joyful relationship with Martin Wallace, who’s become a wonderful friend.”

anne michaels – phantom limbs (excerpt)

So much of the city
is our bodies. Places in us
old light still slants through to.
Places that no longer exist but are full of feeling,
like phantom limbs.

Even the city carries ruins in its heart.
Longs to be touched in places
only it remembers…

(from The Weight of Oranges / Miner’s Pond. McClelland & Stewart, 1997. p.86)

this is what democracy looks like

My cousin Paul Davey is a Zimbabwean-born photographer, writer and graphic designer living in London. Growing deathly bored with commercial shoots, he found renewed inspiration by getting onto the capital’s streets and shooting 40 000 protest photos last year. He put them into the book This Is What Democracy Looks Like – a chant frequently heard at protests – resulting in a lively collection of images of people, protests and events from 2012 in London, particularly the Occupy movement.

It’s essentially a book of portraits, portraying the often eccentric, artistic and highly intelligent protestors, and it offers a glimpse – usually not shown by mainstream media – of who they are, what they believe and the events they are caught up in, as they try to change the world in which they live.

Civic protest is definitely alive and kicking in good ol’ Blighty, and the reader will gain some insight into how their system attempts to control uprisings. Our South African police could learn a thing or two from the British bobbies – for instance, they employ a technique called ‘kettling’ in which they surround the crowd of dissenters, with the police linking arms, and contain the protestors until their bladders are full and their steam cools off.

Paul also interviewed many of the people he shot; you can read the interviews on http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/paul-davey/. Here is a sample, from a man known as Dom.


First Name: “Commonly Known as Dom”

Age: 37-ish

How long have you been in the camp? I first visited St Paul’s four days into their process.

What were you doing before you joined the Occupy movement? I was trying to live outside the system of control. I was living in the wild in the hills of Wales. I came here to Babylon from nature. Three years ago I was doing a law degree, but left that. It was the system and I didn’t want to be part of it.

Are you a full time resident in the camp?
No. I’m not resident of anywhere I park my body. I live outside the system of control, outside of the others’ world.

Do you have a specialist role in the camp?
I speak my truth.

What compelled you to become an Occupier? Staying in the ‘now’ brought me here.

How will you as an individual make a difference? By sharing my knowledge, because knowledge has value and [through knowledge] becoming rich in friends.

Who is your Enemy Number One? The Tavistock Institute and Common Purpose.

Who do you admire? Everyone. Everyone has something that makes them special.

Why? We can all learn from each other. If only we could all see each other as teachers.

What is the best part of being in Occupy? To expose Occupy for what it is. Exposing the orchestration.

What is the worst part?
Occupy is a leaderless movement but there is a hidden hierarchy trying to control others. It is like a [government] social experiment.

Is Occypy making a noticeable difference? No. It is not here for that. It’s a social manipulation experiment.

Why? It has Common Purpose facilitators and Tavistock Institute workshops.

Anything else?
The donation money was going the Climate Camp. The legal team, which claims to represent all of us, is self appointed. In fact all the leadership is self appointed.

To purchase the book This is What Democracy Looks Like visit http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/detail/3901497

face of democracy