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No Baggage Challenge

Rolf Potts will travel through 12 countries in 42 days, with his current location updated here. He intends to do all this with no luggage, no backpack, no man purse -- not even a fanny pack. [via mefi projects]
posted by gman on Sep 15, 2010 - 51 comments

The Numbers

The amazingly detailed origin myth of The Numbers, the largest South African prison gangs. Jonny Steinberg details the three largest gangs' (tenuously) shared myth, which accounts for their strangely symbiotic relationships by dictating who may steal, who may rape, and who may judge. [more inside]
posted by pollex on Aug 5, 2010 - 35 comments

Jack Parow, Cooler than You...

Jack Parow is a South African rapper known for the oversized bill on the hat he wears, unlike Die Antwoord (Previously) he raps in Afrikaans almost exclusively. [more inside]
posted by schyler523 on Jul 13, 2010 - 32 comments

Finally

The World Cup Final is almost here, only 24 hours and 30 minutes away: Sunday Night, 19:30 GMT [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Jul 10, 2010 - 206 comments

No witty title for such a topic.

Toothed female condom unveiled in South Africa. South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse. "She looked at me and said, 'If only I had teeth down there,'" recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. "I promised her I'd do something to help people like her one day." [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Jun 24, 2010 - 186 comments

blow that horn!

Stadiums in South Africa are currently resounding with the riotous blare of the vuvuzela. And while most of the folks making their joyous noise in the stadiums will be doing so in a basically random fashion, this vuvuzela ensemble is demonstrating the funky hocketing technique that is a feature of certain strains of traditional African music, played for centuries on horns very much like these modern-day plastic versions. Well, anyway, like the shoe ads almost say, just blow it.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 8, 2010 - 49 comments

Available in three sizes.

In his book The Unspoken Alliance, writer and academic Sasha Polakow-Suransky references documents released by the South African government, indicating that Shimon Peres offered nuclear warheads to PW Botha's apartheid regime. Israel strongly denies the claims.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on May 24, 2010 - 79 comments

Ballad of a South African Football Fan

16 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa and one month before the first ever World Cup to be held in Africa begins, Raymond Whitaker writes about his memories of football (not rugby) in South Africa in the 60s and 70s. [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on May 10, 2010 - 3 comments

BBC World Service Documentaries

BBC World Service has over 500 audio documentaries you can download. The subject matter is incredibly wide ranging, for example, internet cafés, the influence of Islamic art on William Morris, South African female AIDS activist Thembi Ngubane, Yiddish, the importance of cows, novelist Chinua Achebe, financial risk management, Obama as an intellectual, the physical and emotional effects of a car crash and many, many more. If the quantity and variety are overwhelming, you can subscribe to a podcast, which delivers a new documentary to you every single day.
posted by Kattullus on May 8, 2010 - 22 comments

Young Indiana Jones Discovers Missing Link (maybe....)

"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."
The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2010 - 26 comments

"Eish. This is Africa."

Bongi is a South African surgeon working, as he puts it, "in the notorious province of Mpumalanga." He blogs regularly about the devastating effect of recent political changes on the skill level of the local medical system, as well as the struggles of trying to practice medicine under a system so badly decaying that its infrastructure is collapsing. Sometimes his posts ring with a dark humor, sometimes with wise and intelligent advice. But it's his bleakly frank portrayals of the terrible state of daily South African life that are the most haunting for me.
posted by KathrynT on Apr 8, 2010 - 12 comments

Cause, meet effect

In March a South African High Court heard a demand to ban the president of the African National Congress Youth League from singing the song Ayesaba Amagwala; the ruled the song unconstitutional hate speech for its incitement to "shoot the Boer", to the disappointment of the ANC, but the Freedom Front Plus were more enthusiastic. Yesterday another Afrikaner farmer was found hacked to death in his bed. This one was more notorious than most.
posted by rodgerd on Apr 3, 2010 - 16 comments

A Cubic Foot

How much life could you find in one cubic foot? With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project) surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 2, 2010 - 25 comments

"I'm like all these different people fucked into one person."

Die Antwoord is a "next-level rap-rave krew" from South Africa. Their incredible video, Enter the Ninja, is probably the best introduction to the group. The group consists of a white MC named Ninja, his mulleted wife Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and DJ Hi-Tek (aka Leon Botha), a painter who at 24 one of the oldest living sufferers of progeria syndrome. Further viewing: Zef Side. [more inside]
posted by meadowlark lime on Feb 1, 2010 - 68 comments

'I don't want to do high-budget films'

Neill Blomkamp talks to the LA Times Hero Complex blog about what's next after District 9, making science fiction films and why he is turning down big budgets to make better movies: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
posted by Artw on Jan 6, 2010 - 41 comments

"How fortunate are the dead" -- Dennis Brutus dead at 85

Noted anti-apartheid activist and poet Dennis Brutus has died. [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Dec 28, 2009 - 11 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

District 9 Now Playing in South Africa

District 9 has generated some discussion here and elsewhere. But, what do South African viewers of the film think about it?.
posted by smrtsch on Aug 31, 2009 - 121 comments

White Refugee

This past Thursday the Canadian government granted refugee status to Brandon Huntley, a South African who has been living illegally in Canada since 2005. Huntley claimed that if he were to be repatriated back to South Africa he would be persecuted due to the fact that he is white. The South African government is not amused. [more inside]
posted by PenDevil on Aug 31, 2009 - 56 comments

Cat food.

Welcome to District 9. Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg" into a full-length feature film - examining xenophobia in an allegory of Apartheid, set in a slum recalling District 6 of Cape Town in South Africa.
posted by crossoverman on Aug 23, 2009 - 135 comments

Rape and Regret in South Africa

Man Who Committed Rape Asks for Victim's Forgiveness Decades Later [more inside]
posted by thisperon on Jun 26, 2009 - 43 comments

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder. Jacob Zuma is a former goatherd, a master of traditional Zulu stick-fighting, a resistance hero, a one-time spymaster, a graceful dancer, and the father of some 20 children. He has been tried for rape and indicted for corruption, racketeering, and fraud. He has been called the next Mandela and the next Mugabe, a black Jesus and a crass rube. A profile of South Africa's recently elected president.
posted by lullaby on Jun 3, 2009 - 22 comments

Drawing, erasing, redrawing

William Kentridge creates animation by working into charcoal drawings; drawing, erasing, redrawing, layering, to create stories that frequently link the intensely intimate with the politics of his native South Africa. Johannesburgh -1989 introduces characters that recur through many of his films. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on May 6, 2009 - 5 comments

A Most Disgusting Song

Sixto Rodriguez aka Rod Riguez was a platinum-selling urban-poet folk-funk singer in South Africa, a hit across Australia and New Zealand -- and had no idea. He was working on a construction site in his home town of Detroit until his daughter Eva Alicia found a fansite called "The Great Rodriguez Hunt". [more inside]
posted by msalt on May 5, 2009 - 22 comments

The Doctor Will Sue You Now

"If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue." Science journalist and blogger Ben Goldacre has released the missing chapter of his book, Bad Science, telling the story of Matthias Rath, vitamins and the AIDS crisis in South Africa. [Previously. Also.]
posted by xchmp on Apr 9, 2009 - 40 comments

Zines!

The Zine Library has hundreds of zines in pdf format for your perusal. They are organized into categories ranging from the common political (anarchism, political prisoners & animal liberation) and identity based zines (indigenous, race & gender) to the more esoteric (anarchist history, primitivism & theory) as well as the useful (cooking, DIY & organizing manuals) and arty (art, comics & music). Now, zines are by their very nature hit and miss but there are some real treasures to be found. I recommend these three: [all links pdf] The Rebel's Dark Laughter - The Writings of Bruno Filippi, Barefoot in the Kitchen and Delivery from Below, Resistance from Above - Electricity and the Politics of Struggle in Tembisa, South Africa. Note: Many if not most zines are set up to be printed out and bound together in chapbooks. That requires a bit of going back and forth when reading in pdf-format, but they wouldn't be real zines if they were straightforward to read ;) Don't know what a zine is? A pretty good overview is provided by zine librarian Jenna Freedman in Zines Are Not Blogs: A Not Unbiased Analysis. [This site has been posted previously but was buried deep in the weeds of more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Mar 10, 2009 - 16 comments

"The anti-apartheid movement's cricket team"

"Far more is known about...the activities of the secret service in Moscow...than what the England selectors said and did that night": Basil D'Oliveira was a Coloured South African all-round cricketer who moved to the UK to avoid the colour bar that prevented him representing South Africa; representing England with considerable credit, he created a crises for English and South African cricket, with Nazi sympathiser and South African Prime Minister Vorster ordering the British not to select him to tour South Africa. [more inside]
posted by rodgerd on Jan 11, 2009 - 8 comments

"Many times when the women were sewing they would cry."

Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory, an online exhibit of comtemporary textiles created (mostly) by women living in war zones.
posted by Miko on Jan 9, 2009 - 4 comments

A Reactionary Musical Moment?

A recent series of posts on the web site of First Things magazine looks at what could be described as a reactionary moment on the part of some folk and roots musicians in Québec and around the world... and we're not talking The Goldwaters (Wikipedia). [more inside]
posted by Jahaza on Jan 7, 2009 - 10 comments

Out of Africa

Out of Africa. As award-winning Globe and Mail Africa correspondent Stephanie Nolen bids farewell to a place she's come to love, she reflects on how it has changed, and how it changed her. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 16, 2008 - 4 comments

Miriam Makeba Has Died

Miriam Makeba, 1932-2008. "Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and dislocation which she felt for 31 long years. At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us" -- Nelson Mandela [more inside]
posted by fourcheesemac on Nov 10, 2008 - 46 comments

Presenting African Swim

African Swim is the newest free album being offered by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. This time the album features South African hip hop groups.
posted by drezdn on Oct 21, 2008 - 12 comments

Should This Feat With No Feet Be Defeated?

Should Oscar Pistorius be allowed to run with prosthetic blades in the Olympics for South Africa? Current money says maybe.
posted by Xurando on Jul 16, 2008 - 154 comments

Xenophobic Attacks in Johannesburg, South Africa

Xenophobic violence breaks out in Johannesburg and around South Africa. The victims of these attacks have been primarily poor foreigners living in townships and shack settlements. Durban-based shack dwellers' movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (previously) have posted an incisive and informative response. More coverage of the events here and here. Photo galleries here and here.
posted by huffa on May 21, 2008 - 12 comments

Poor whites in South Africa

Given the history of the country and the fact that a huge number of South Africa's black citizens still live in conditions of desperate hardship, a film seeking to draw attention to white poverty in that nation might understandably raise some eyebrows or some suspicions. But Poor Whites - South Africa is worth a view. Perhaps things aren't always quite as, er, black and white as this South African TV spot would indicate. Meanwhile, ANC president Jacob Zuma, visiting poor whites at a shantytown yesterday expressed surprise at the level of poverty among white people. "You have shown me that it exists", he said to Solidarity officials who had invited him. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 20, 2008 - 16 comments

Apartheid: then and now

Then and Now presents works from 8 South African documentary photographers - each contributes 10 photos taken during apartheid and 10 made since the democratic elections of 1994. (On display at Duke University through July 27.) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 13, 2008 - 12 comments

So, you thought Cricket was for sissies, aye?

First, a bit of an introduction to the game of Cricket (youtube) for those of us who may not be familiar with the sport. Next, a few clips (1, 2, 3, 4) on how awesome the Gentleman's Game can be (and you thought we didn't do anything but roam around in our white pants and cotton shirts...). But, if that wasn't enough for you, then here's a taste of Twenty20 Cricket (the fast, fast paced version of the game), and the new DLF Indian (pdf) Premier League. (This is in addition to the One Day Matches, which were instituted to bring in a bit more excitement into the game during the 1970's, prior to which the match only consisted of Tests. However, some purists still maintain that the game would've been better served had it not been commercalized to the extent that it has, and still prefer the leisurely pace of the original format to its current incarnation.) [more inside]
posted by hadjiboy on Mar 20, 2008 - 56 comments

Baobab!

The Sunland Big Baobab tree is large enough to contain a tree bar and wine cellar.
posted by dhruva on Jan 31, 2008 - 8 comments

S. African nuclear facility attacked

Nuclear Facility in South Africa attacked by armed intruders. According to the Pretoria News, four armed men broke into the control room of the Pelindaba Nuclear Research Center, shooting "a senior emergency officer" in the process. The government nuclear agency Necsa has told the paper that publishing the story would be a violation of the National Keypoints Act. The facility seems to be part of South Africa's nuclear weapons program.
posted by Kirth Gerson on Nov 11, 2007 - 18 comments

Lucky Dube Shot Dead

Lucky Dube Shot Dead - Lucky Dube, the South African Reggae musician, has been shot dead by car hijackers in Johannesburg. In front of his son. [more inside]
posted by Henry C. Mabuse on Oct 19, 2007 - 35 comments

"A Compound From Olive-pomace Oil Gets 80% Slowing Down Of HIV Spread"

In the past, various possible treatments and methods have been suspected of helping combat AIDS, which have later been proven correct. Other, less reputable treatments have also been claimed to work, the likes of which descend towards malpractice, pseudoscience and criminal negligence. But in a turnabout, the olive oil element of South Africa's controversial treatment, deemed to be "Africa's Solution", actually helps as well.
posted by duende on Jul 9, 2007 - 7 comments

Ready or Not

Ready or Not. "South Africa is a great place to have a party, and people are incredibly generous of spirit. What we should be doing is trying to make the World Cup experience uniquely African: where the bus comes 10 minutes late but nobody gives a toss because they are having such a good time. Instead, the organisers seem to want to try to run the World Cup as efficiently as the Germans did. What a load of bull. The Germans could invade Poland in three days. We could not invade Swaziland in three months." Article in today's Observer about preparations in South Africa for the soccer World Cup in 2010.
posted by hydatius on Jun 3, 2007 - 17 comments

South African National Anthem

Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrica
Sounds the call to come together,(youtube)
And united we shall stand,(audio)
Let us live and strive for freedom, (wmp)
In South Africa our land. (scroll down for writer Sol Plaatje performing the first recorded version of the song.)
posted by serazin on Feb 27, 2007 - 7 comments

Size Doesn't Matter... Size Doesn't Matter... Keep repeating...

I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all [maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
posted by wendell on Aug 14, 2006 - 65 comments

Forty years of singing hope for black South Africans

In apartheid South Africa, "We were the first blacks to go everywhere, that was the power of our music." Despite dozens of album credits, two Grammys and the long list of major artists they've performed with, their proudest accomplishment may be singing at President Mandella's inauguration and being told "Your music gave me hope when I was in prison." Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been making a difference with their traditional Zulu Isicathamiya music for over 40 years. Listen.[popup w/audio]
posted by raedyn on Feb 16, 2006 - 11 comments

You're Feeling Verrrry Sleepy...Verrrry Relaxed

Mind Over Matter: South African Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy site. Bound by the code of conduct of the South African Association of Hypnotherapists ("1.17 Practitioners must not practice dentistry unless they hold an appropriate qualification. 1.18 Patients suffering from AIDS may be treated at the discretion of the practitioner"). Possibly associated with these folks; I'm certainly inspired to put my subconscious in the glittery hands of this guy. P.S.: The female orgasm is 100% Purely Mental.
posted by Gator on Feb 14, 2006 - 7 comments

Israel and Apartheid

Last week, the Guardian posted a three-part special report by their Middle East correspondent (and former South African correspondent) Chris McGreal on the similarities between the current situation in Israel and the South African Apartheid regime. The report provoked many heated responses, a selection of which is reproduced here and here. The Guardian responded by inviting Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor of the famously anti-Apartheid Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, author of a number of books on South Africa and founder of Yakar, a Jerusalem center for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue to weigh in with a response.
posted by ori on Feb 13, 2006 - 20 comments

DeBeers cares about black people

DeBeers is selling 26% of its mining operations to a South African "black empowerment" holding company. The new company's shareholders include DeBeers mines' local employees and pensioners and trusts benefiting disadvantaged groups. Its chairman has been a prominent figure in the ANC and the National Union of Mineworkers. Seems pretty cool, even if DeBeers is only doing it because South Africa's Mining Charter says they have to.
posted by thirteenkiller on Nov 8, 2005 - 37 comments

This Hurts Just Reading About It

Rapex, the anti-rape female condom (Reuters link)
The invention of a South African woman, the rapex anti-rape female condom (worn like a tampon) has sharp barbs in it that lock into the rapist's penis and need to be removed surgically which makes it pretty easy to notify the police. Opponents are, understandably, concerned about an escalation of violence against the rape victim.
Rape statistics are sobering and saddening with some estimates that women, children and even babies are raped every 26 seconds in South Africa though Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, has refuted the findings. Virgins are highly sought for rape as there is an urban myth that sex with a virgin will cure HIV/AIDS.
posted by fenriq on Aug 31, 2005 - 60 comments

Tales of the Deep

In the August edition of Outside Magazine, Tim Zimmerman chronicles the story of divers Deon Dreyer and Dave Shaw. Dreyer, a 20-year-old experienced diver, died in 1994 while exploring Bushman's Cave in Boesmansgat, South Africa, the third deepest cave in the world. In October 2004, Dave Shaw, while diving to the bottom of Bushman's Cave, discovered the body of Deon Dreyer and, tying a line to him, promised to recover the body for Dreyer's family. A few months later, in January 2005, Shaw died in the attempt, unintentionally filming his own death. Both bodies have since been recovered.
posted by Moral Animal on Aug 3, 2005 - 20 comments

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