An honest song about the violence of white fear, and sadly just as relevant as ever.
“[W]hat will shape South Africa’s political destiny is not “the truth” but the careful navigation and understanding of how words are digested by those watching and listening.”
A deeply perceptive piece by Siya Khumalo about how South Africans are talking past one another.
Almost everyone on my Facebook has been asking the same question: how did the #ZumaMustFallMarch become about race? Isn’t it clear that the current president is bad news for the country?
Jacob Zuma – the person and the president, the body that is depicted visually and the figure that is related to politically – is the terrain on which South Africa’s race issues have played themselves out in weird and telling ways. Without realising it, mainstream media has done the ANC a huge favour in playing up the DA’s “Zuma is corrupt” trope because as well-intentioned and truthful as it may be, what it’s done is exacerbate the friction among the races – especially between black and white people – because white people do not know how to level an insult so it lands where it’s intended. This is because colonialism and apartheid skewed racial relations.
Let’s say Jacob Zuma…
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The Dears – Summer of Protest
Siri Karlsson – När Mörkret Faller
Triakel – Torspar-julaftas-våggvisa
Istapp – Snö
16 Blåsare Utan Hjärna – Instrumental
Vaaralliset Lelut – Katselen Hiukan Ympärilleni
BLK JKS – Summertime
Blackmilk – Summer Eye
Sambassadeur – Ice and Snow
The Cardigans – Slowdown Town
Hello Saferide – I thought you said summer is going to take the pain away
Carolina Wallin Pérez – Pärlor [Kent cover]
Säkert! – Isarna
Sofia Jannok – Snölejoninna
Die See – Somersdag
Johannes Kerkorrel – Somer
The Knife – Reindeer
Vacum – Den Sista Vintern
Detektivbyrån – Om Du Möter Varg
Anna Von Hausswolff – The Hope Only of Empty Men
Arne Domnérus & Gustaf Sjökvist – Largo
Ghost – Here Comes The Sun (Beatles Cover)
Chris Letcher – The Sun! The Sun!
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Standing in the Sun
The Cure – Hot! Hot! Hot!
The Brother Moves On – Shiyanomayini
Karen O – Indian Summer
Hosts: Botha Kruger & Rosemary Lombard
He stood in front of us
held his palms up
be calm comrades
sit down comrades
do not do anything to antagonise them
They knew his face, though we could not see him between the arms of a chokehold.
He sat on the floor among us
legs crossed under him
They stunned us, clicked tazers.
pulled him out and away.
He fell to the floor
when the first grenade cracked
through the crowd.
Pulled up and bashed against shields
holding his burned face
dragged across the gravel.
He sat on the steps
away from the crowd
They ripped him to his feet
he showed his empty palms
into the back of a van.
He held his hands over his head.
He held his empty hands over his head.
He held his open palms over his head.
He held his head.
Ever noticed how when you have to leave a place, time speeds up in the last few days, almost gurgling as it’s sucked into the wormhole of your impending absence?
Watch Roger Young’s award-winning portrait of white South African male entitlement:
Practically unconscious from a night of drinking, Sebastian is deposited by taxi outside his security complex. Too late he realises that he doesn’t have his keys, wallet or cellphone.
Failing to convince a security guard to just let him in, he sets off into the night to find the taxi driver responsible. Sebastian attempts to bully his way home through a mounting series of micro-aggressions against women and service staff, verging increasingly on violence, unaware of the redemption that lies just outside his grasp.
“A portrait of a young man who, while seemingly popular, has no real relationships, no community, and yet no sense of humility.” – Dylan Valley / Africa Is A Country
“A slick, fierce sociopolitical critique” – Grethe Koen / City Press
Winner: Best South African Short
– DIFF 2014
– Lights, Camera, Africa (Nigeria)
– AFRIFF (Nigeria)
– Zimbabwe International Film Festival
– Shnit Cape Town (South Africa)
– Lusaka International Film and Music Festival (Zambia)
– Verona Festival Africano (Italy)
– Cap Spartel Film Festival (Morocco)
– XPONorth Film Festival (Scotland)
– Picture Farm Film Festival (USA)
– IMSFF (South Africa)
– Indie Karoo Film Festival (South Africa)
They don’t understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture,
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
whips at our backs –
The Man holding the whip did not build –
Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away.
Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
pulled by rats.
A polite revolution over tea and crumpets, good Sir,
‘twas the order of the day.
When could we mourn?
When could we cry?
When could we scream
for our loved ones lost
our chances trampled on?
Please Mastah Baas Meneer,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
gee my ‘n kans om te huil.
Let me stand up for myself
and for those who stood before me.
Let me march for myself
and for those who marched before me.
Let me call out AMANDLA
and raise my fist
and let me cry
after hundreds of years
let me cry.
— Ameera Conrad
B.A. Theatre and Performance at UCT
Please visit Ameera’s blog, HERE.
BREMNER OCCUPATION STATEMENT
We, the Rhodes Must Fall movement, are occupying the Bremner building with the intention to 1) disrupt the normal processes of management and 2) force management to accept our demands. We have chosen to occupy the Bremner building, and the Archie Mafeje room specifically, because of its strategic and historical significance – it is the place where management carries out its activities, and these are precisely the activities we seek to subvert. In addition, the building is a historical site of protest – in 1968 UCT students opposed the university’s decision to rescind the professorship of one of the continent’s leading anthropologists, Archie Mafeje. We have chosen the Archie Mafeje boardroom to recognise his struggle against the very institutional racism we are fighting against.
We have claimed and transformed this space to begin the decolonisation of the university. We are implementing a programme of rigorous political education under the guidance of a group of black lecturers from UCT and other South African universities that interrogates and problematizes the neo-colonial narratives pertaining to Africa. This education forces us to reject these narratives and their normative nature because they re-inforce our displacement both geographically and existentially.
We have begun to question the entire neo-colonial situation, whether South Africa belongs to all those who live in it and whether it is us the people that are occupying this building or whether we are realising the fact that this building and its land always belonged to the people. This education has extended far beyond the falling of the statue and has reached the language of struggle. How do we organise, how do we mobilise and most importantly how do we get what we want. How do we resolve the tensions between Pan-Africanism and intersectionality, moreover how does that implicate our own movement. Management has told us that they are allowing us to stay in Bremner. This building that sits on the land of black people, this building that was constructed on the sweat and blood of black people. If UCT is not afraid at this point all we have to say is NANG’UMFAZI OMNYAMA MAX PRICE!
We are here because we are calling into question the legitimacy of the supposedly democratic process Dr Max Price has put in place to address the removal of the Rhodes statue.
It is infuriating that management is attempting to open up a process of debate through their plan of action. Alumni have been emailed and asked for input, and notice boards have been put up near the statue to allow for comment from the broader student body. This is unacceptable to the black (by this we mean all oppressed people of colour) students, workers and staff belonging to this movement. It is absurd that anyone besides those who experience the statue as a violent presence should have any say in whether the statue should stay or not. White students in particular cannot be consulted in such a process because they can never truly empathise with the profound violence exerted on the psyche of black students. Management is making clear through this process that they are not interested in alleviating black pain unless the move to do so is validated by white voices. Opening up the discussion to an alumni that is overwhelmingly white and male will only prejudice black people, and black women particularly, in the decision-making process. To refuse to explicitly acknowledge these skewed demographics is unacceptable. Our pain and anger is at the centre of why the statue is being questioned, so this pain and anger must be responded to in a way that only we can define.
Further, the ‘Have Your Say’ notice boards have only made UCT’s black community more vulnerable – UCT has crafted a space that allows students to be blatantly racist with impunity, at the expense of a safe space for black people. This shows that UCT either does not know the violence black people face here, or they truly have no interest in our protection. Finally, it is revealing that while black protestors are threatened with and are facing investigations, the racist backlash from white students has been met with silence by the university.
That the presence of Rhodes is seen as debatable shows that management does not understand the extent of the terrible violence inflicted against black people historically and presently. The push for dialogue around the statue reflects the disturbing normalisation of colonisation and white supremacy at UCT.
In his letter “From the VC’s Desk: Rhodes statue protests and transformation”, Dr Price states that there has never been such university-wide discussion on this issue. He does so without interrogating why this is the case. It is the fault of UCT management that discussion has been suppressed for so long. Black students have clearly not had any channels through which to express their pain within the university, and no genuine steps have been taken by UCT to provide such. It is telling that a student had to go to the lengths that Chumani did in order to garner the university’s attention on issues of black pain. The fact that management has clearly disregarded the experiences of black students, staff and workers for the last 21 years on this campus calls into question their legitimacy in dealing with the issue of removing the statue.
The illegitimate nature of this process is also illustrated by our walk-out last Monday in protest of the disingenuous Heritage, Signage and Symbolism seminar. After the walk-out, the remaining members of the seminar stopped the discussion to respect student protestors and our decision that any conversation on the statue can only happen on our terms. The fact that the Vice-Chancellor mentioned this seminar in his letter without contextualising it reveals that he is committed to upholding a process that is clearly to the detriment of black students.
We take issue with Dr Price’s reasoning that “it is a council decision”. Again, the only view relevant to the decision is that of black students, workers and staff, and we refuse to accept the trivialisation of this fact in the form of management prioritising white stakeholders. We are also fully aware that UCT senior management has taken unilateral decisions before with no delay – we refer here to the decisions taken on the admissions policy which was pushed through by senior management.
We stress that this movement is not simply about the removal of a statue, and removing the statue is only the first step towards the radical decolonisation of this university. The removal of the statue is the first condition of our campaign – from which point we will allow management to engage with us. We demand that Management accepts that there is no decision to make: this movement has decided that the statue must fall. We demand that Dr Price organises an emergency meeting of council this week Friday the 27th of March to discuss the processes involved in removing the statue from this campus. We will remain in Bremner building until we receive confirmation of this.
This was written in 1979 and can be found on Kalahari Surfers’ first album, Gross National Product, originally released by Chris Quircke’s OBS Productions in 1983.
Watch Felix Laband’s brilliant set at the 2015 Cape Town Electronic Music Festival on 8 February (click the hyperlink – the darn embed function doesn’t seem to work properly on WordPress).
Felix opens this particular “Deaf Safari” with a dodgy old recording (that I think I actually gave him!), of Marais and Miranda entertaining a frightfully colonial white 1950s audience with their “knowledge” of “Hottentot” and “Zooloo” linguistics. With a subversive stammer, it segues into an hour-long journey of cut-up sounds and visuals.
Laband displays fluent familiarity with and yet alienation from spectacular capitalist consumer tropes. The oversaturated bricolage of radio preachers, politicians, porn, pulp cinema, big game and exoticised cultural representations is absurd and defaced: eyeless, toothless, festering with skulls. Sound and visuals work in counterpoint: horny assemblages dripping blood and infection; a snatch of Cat Power’s languid “Satisfaction”. His work foregrounds our mindless addiction to and manipulation by these fragments bouncing off the walls onto one another, their banality dismembered, dislocated, demented, discordant, decaying.
A voice in Queen’s English: “I was wondering what it is that you don’t want to remember so badly… To put it another way, what are you trying to forget?”
The response, implied in the guitar run sampled from Nico’s “These Days”: “Please don’t confront me with my failures… I had not forgotten them.”
Felix forces us to examine ourselves honestly. This I love most deeply about what he does: he will not allow us to forget, nor feign ignorance. There are naive melodies, but there is no innocence, no deafness nor blindness. We are taken through his cabinet of jabbering apparitions, racist, patriarchal horror haunting every suburban corner, lullabies, toyi-toyi chants… The valley of the shadow of death… We are not tourists. This is our own back yard. We stare the nightmares down, bopping in slo-mo. The voices persist, demand acknowledgement until they dissolve. It’s a kind of exorcism.
And beyond that, always, despite all the schizophrenic folly and sadness, hope and jubilation live on in the unfinished refrains of blues ghosts captured long ago on wax… Vera Hall, Stack O’Lee, prisoners and murderers alike now free… and there is space to breathe, place to be here now, without judgement… we are bathed in grace and exquisite melody. This is strong muti for South Africans’ sickness.
I can’t wait for his new album, and I highly recommend that you see him live if you get the chance: he’s on form like never before and it’s a profound trip.
P.S. Read Sean O’Toole’s great interview piece for Mahala on Felix’s return (his new album, Deaf Safari, is set for release next month, after an almost decade-long gestation).
This chillingly insightful documentary on the Marikana massacre should be required viewing for every South African. It’s two years tomorrow since that terrible, indelible day.
The film is available to watch in full on Youtube for a few days only. Don’t miss this opportunity. EDIT: 18/8: The film is no longer available on Youtube. Please visit its website to find out about future screenings.
In August 2012, mineworkers at one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages.
Six days later, on 16 August 2012, the police used live ammunition to suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more.
Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, “Miners Shot Down” follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers.
What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence, police brutality and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. If you still have any doubts that this was a premeditated massacre by Lonmin, the government and the police, this documentary will change your mind with a lot of previously unseen footage. Nobody will have an excuse after watching this to continue to blame the miners.
South Africa will never be the same again.
“Mr President” is the controversial first single released on Long Talk 2 Freedom. It is a work of hip-hop protest literature which deals with the failed presidency of Jacob Zuma. The work remixes, and was inspired by, Tunisian rapper El-general’s classic, “Rayes lebled”, which became the theme song of the Tunisian revolution which brought Tunisian Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali down in 2011.
Written, produced, mixed and mastered by Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh aka Vice V
Recorded by Tiger.X
T. Lekota, “Response to the State of the Nation Address”, February, 2013.
J. Malema, “They Shot us Behind the Mountain: Address on the First Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre”, August, 2013.
GHOSTS examines the consequences of international gun trade in Africa while questioning our uncomfortable fetishism and worship for deadly weapons.
“Do you love your guns? YEAH! God? YEAH! Government? F*** YEAH!!” So sings Marilyn Manson of America’s rabid obsession with ballistic, religious and political weapons of mass destruction.
While America has its God and its government – and certainly no shortage of guns – it is from a handful of Africa’s most volatile nations whence any form of “god” has fled and whose anarcho-fascist kleptocracies reduce just about any notion of “government” to a brutal, bloody farce.
Ziman may have made America his home but it is the continent of his birth upon which his dark, disturbing vision continues to fall.
“GHOSTS” confronts the complex socioeconomic and political circumstances of the African arms trade – a multinational, multibillion-dollar industry that moves in one direction only – into Africa.
Ziman spent six months collaborating with African artisans to produce wool garments and beaded replicas of the iconic AK-47 used in the series.
“They have lived around crime and violence both in their adoptive South Africa and their native Zimbabwe,” Ziman says. “There is a sadness about the pictures—a loneliness and distance.”
Ziman’s work challenges the tragic cliché of our times: a war torn, violent Africa of militant and corrupt dictators, child soldiers, and unceasing civil wars fed by a growing international arms-trade.
For him, the series is a platform to discuss the corruption, greed and influence of foreign world superpowers who, eager for a stake in Africa’s abundant natural resources, provide weapons to dictatorial governments in trade, and often to opposing factions as well, ensuring a perpetual cycle of war for generations.
Ziman is a South African artist currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the director of hundreds of music videos for superstars ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Michael Jackson, and held the reigns as writer/director/producer for Hearts and Minds that premiered at the Berlin and Montreal Film Festivals, as well as Jerusalema, South Africa’s official entry to the 2008 Academy Award Foreign Language section.
Ziman is also well-known in the U.S. for his public art in Venice and is currently working on a private commission in Santa Monica.
SO VERY EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO SHARE THIS AT LAST! I’ve had the privilege of being involved in putting this amazing archive online over the past few months.
Find out more HERE, and then visit the archive for free downloads of more than 56 hours of jazz played in Cape Town between 1964 to 1972 by South African musicians — some famous, others who have had little exposure. Download a PDF of the book, browse the pictures, engage, enjoy!
It is estimated that over 50% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 9 rapes are reported. It is also estimated that only 14% of perpetrators of reported rape are convicted in South Africa.
This past week, I experienced a powerfully evocative art installation by Asanda Kaka and Valentina Argirò addressing (no pun intended!) the silent magnitude of this scourge during Cape Town’s annual public arts festival, Infecting The City.
On approaching the rows of dresses hung on crosses, one’s face materialises in mirrors positioned in the “head” space above the dresses, making it impossible to distance one’s own body from the figures represented.
Venue: Cape Town Station
Date: 14 & 15 MARCH 2014
According to a report issued by UNISA, at least one rape case is reported every four minutes in South Africa – this translates into approximately 360 cases per day. 3600 A Day is an installation of women’s’ clothes, donated by women in support of the project. The exaggerated number of 3600 serves to highlight the magnitude of the problem and the number of unreported cases of violence against women and children. In a visual shock of magnitude, the installation warns against the normalisation of such violence.
Installed on crosses, the dresses represent the individual, yet also communal impact that abuse has on all women and children in this country. Reflected in the mirrors on top of the crosses are the faces of those who approach – possible victims, perpetrators or bystanders.
EVERYONE IN SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS TO SEE THIS FILM.
In August 2013, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is a collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.
Read more about this documentary HERE.
“A minute of silence in images for all the absent images, censored images, prostituted images, machinated images, delinquent images, buggered images, images beaten up by all the governments, televisions and westernized cinemas that rhyme information and repression with trash and culture.”
— Jean-Luc Godard – Le Gai Savoir (The Joy of Learning), 1969
“We can’t really understand. Of course. They’re speaking out of order.”
The perfect song for South Africa today. From the album The Wozard Of Iz, released on A&M in 1968.
“Shit on your whole mortifying, imaginary, and symbolic theatre!”
― Gilles Deleuze/Felix Guattari – Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
Yesterday, on the day those in control would later turn Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s life support system off, allowing him his final, politically expedient release after months held captive in a purportedly vegetative state, I was driving with my niece Juliette in KwaZulu-Natal, behind a white woman in a bakkie. The passenger seat of the vehicle was empty. In the open back, bumping around in the drizzling rain, sat a black woman in a blue maid’s uniform trimmed, profound irony, with ribbon in the rainbow hued design of the “new” South African flag.
Utterly disgusted, Juliette and I wanted to yell out something as we drove past, something to say that we saw, we recognised, we hated the thoughtless inhumanity of the woman in the driver’s seat, and that we saw, we recognised, we hated that this was a microcosm of the sickness persisting in the world all around us every day… but something in the grim, faraway expression on the face of the woman in the back made us realise that anything we said, however well-intentioned, would only compound her humiliation. Even the clouds were spitting on her.
South Africa still has so far to go before there can be any exaltation about transformation here. Sadly, far too little in the material circumstances of the majority of South Africans has changed since 1994, and for this reason the triumphant official narrative we are bombarded with today, as the media orchestrate the nation’s performance of grief for Mandela’s passing, rings hollow. Despite the man’s humility and admission of his own fallibility, South Africans have fashioned of him a myth, a brand, a magical fetish that distracts from the truth that we are ALL responsible for changing the way we live in this country, this world… and that we will need to do more, much more, before we can talk about freedom from oppression.
My friend Andre Goodrich posted a similar anecdote on Facebook this morning, and I would like to share what he wrote and echo his exhortation:
“From my office window, I can see a young white foreman, a child really, sit watching black men at work. I see this when I look up from marking first year exam essays on the political economy of race and class in South Africa. Alongside the stack of exam papers is a sheet of paper a garden worker used to explain to me how he sees the word ‘location’ as related to the Tswana word for cattle kraal. Between these, the excitement I felt in the 90s for the massive change promised by Mandela’s release from prison feels false and jaded.
I am saddened by Mandela’s death, but I am angered by his leaving such a sense of transformation amid such an absence of it. I encourage you to be angry too, and to hold us all to a better standard than what we have settled for.”
Lala ngoxolo, Madiba. A luta continua.
“skin and bones
blood and stones
Check out more of Faith47’s beautiful, profound street art and paintings HERE.
“Face Deep is an experimental, animated (stop motion) film that allows for a free-flow of thought and exploration of self within an otherwise overly produced, technical and character driven practice. This sequentially photographed film looks at animator as lead character, allowing internal personalities/burning stories to emerge on skin surface whilst a sense of play within the medium is explored.
By listening to the songs of local low-fi Cape Town band Tape Hiss and Sparkle on loop, the raw and honest lyrics/sounds from Simon Tamblyn lead the animator deeper into herself to explore her own raw and honest inner spaces. The film allows one orator to evoke new stories in another orator, and for their different methods of story telling (sound/visual) to co-exist together; sometimes it is another person’s truth that helps us explore our own.”
— Meghan Judge, Simon Tamblyn
More of Meghan’s work is HERE.
“Liars rule the world…”
“Treason” and “End Beginnings” — tracks from the album End Beginnings (Shifty, 1991). This is the sound of South Africa in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Of course, I never got to hear this until years later.
Music: Warrick Sony
Words and voice: Lesego Rampolokeng
Download this album HERE.
I have been working for the last while as researcher and production manager on a weekly SABC-commissioned TV documentary series, I Am Woman – Leap of Faith. Here’s one of the episodes, directed by Jane Kennedy:
In January 1996 Shelley Barry was 23 and on her way to a job interview in Cape Town when she was caught in the crossfire of taxi violence caused by rival taxi groups battling for ownership of the same routes.
She was sitting next to the taxi driver in the front of his minibus when an assassin pulled up alongside the moving vehicle and opened fire. The driver was shot seven times and was killed instantly. The taxi crashed, injuring many of its passengers.
Shelley was hit by one of the assassin’s bullets and was instantly paralysed. Her life hung in the balance and it was assumed she would not survive. The friend she was travelling with was seriously injured but has recovered, despite the bullet still lodged in her chest. Shelley has been in a wheelchair ever since. Today she is 42.
How does one create a life for oneself after something like this? How does one find work and meaning once again? Importantly, what happened to Shelley Barry’s dream, held close since childhood, of becoming a filmmaker?
Join this remarkable woman, teacher, activist and filmmaker as she describes her life before and after the shooting: The life of a young girl who told her childhood friends that one day her films would be on the big screen and has achieved that, despite a bullet getting in her way and forcing her into a wheelchair for over twenty years… The life of an activist who worked in the Presidency and has made a significant difference to the lives of the disabled in South Africa… The deeply spiritual journey of a sensitive, funny and bolshy woman who, despite her circumstances, is determined to continue making her mark on the world.
Shelley Barry graciously lets us into her world, describing the many Leaps of Faith she has taken so far and continues to take each and every day.
Catch the broadcast of this programme on SABC 3, Sundays at 09h30, or watch archived episodes on the I AM WOMAN – LEAP OF FAITH WEBSITE.