"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place." Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, former chair of independent advisory group The Elders, was in the papers today. "I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this." Also reported by BBC News and The Mail on Sunday.
District 9 director Neil Blomkamp talks to WIRED about Elysium, District 10, Halo, his desire to buy a skyscraper and almost casting Eminem or Ninja from Die Antwood in Elysium's Matt Damon role.
The point being, an angry song about a political prisoner in South Africa, held captive for 21 years (at the time of writing), and written and performed by a bunch of chippy former pop stars who appeared hellbent on throwing their success back in the faces of their fans, has no business being this happy, this celebratory, and this powerful.
Why the students at one prominent South African university, once a model of racial harmony, chose to resegregate. "UFS hadn’t remained segregated after apartheid’s end—it had integrated and then resegregated later. I wanted to know why the white students raised those ancient flags, and why the black students had left Karee. I uncovered a tale of mutual exhilaration at racial integration giving way to suspicion, anger and even physical violence. It seemed to hold powerful implications well beyond South Africa, about the very nature of social change itself. In our post–civil rights struggle era, we tend to assume progress toward less prejudice and more social tolerance is inevitable—the only variable is speed. But in Bloemfontein, social progress surged forward. Then it turned back."
Greg Marinovich is well known as a member of the Bang Bang Club, winning the Pulitzer Prize for photography for his work during the death throes of apartheid in South Africa. Less known are the unique (and often difficult to obtain) images documenting the often secret rituals amongst the diverse peoples of his homeland. As he writes in a recent column remembering Mandela, making the right choice can often be a difficult one.
Mandela's release in 1990 was a pretty surreal series of events for me. As a fledgling photographer I was thrilled when a British agency asked me to cover it. It was a great chance to make a break into the business, but I was conflicted. I had also managed to gain access to an otherwise secretive ceremony in the far north of the country, scheduled for the same day. The distance between Pollsmoor Prison, where the news crews of the world were camped out, and the mysterious stockade of the Modjadji was some two thousand kilometres. I had to choose between two competing once-in-a-lifetime shoots.Here is a showcase of the works he has made publicly available as prints as well as collections from his close colleague, Joao Silva*. [more inside]
In 1977, Lamont Dozier, Motown veteran, released his album Peddlin' Music on the Side, featuring "the Afro-centric disco hit" Going Back to My Roots. That sound was popular in the US, and also in South Africa, where veteran alto player Teaspoon Ndelu covered the song with his group Teaspoon & the Waves as Oh Yeh Soweto, "changing the lyrics and toughening up the beat, but with the same killer riffs!" The one fault with the song could be that it's only half as long as Lamont's original. Fear not, Dr. Horn has edited the track into an extended form, which you can stream or download from Soundcloud. [more inside]
Black Gynaecologist (2008), 'I love the white middle class ...' (2008), Say! if you speak English... (2008).
The works and life of Anton Kannemeyer.
The works and life of Anton Kannemeyer.
With extensive flooding in Limpopo province the army have been called in to rescue residents from 15,000 escaped crocodiles.
The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar Empire RBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home.
Die Antwoord's new video FATTY BOOM BOOM is a bright and colourful African adventure, complete with wild animals, zef savages singing and dancing in the streets, and a special guest appearance by a sneaky little prawn star. (warning: contains ironic blackface)
Australian national identity. "Liam Pieper reflects on the shielding that has led to Australian peoples' perpetual ignorance of our true history." [more inside]
Two weeks ago 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa. Now, using laws once used by the apartheid regime to prosecute black activists fighting for democracy, the remaining 270 miners from the protest have been charged with their fellow workers' murders.
Sodastream will ignore a cease-and-desist letter from Coca-Cola regarding a marketing campaign in South Africa (and ~20 other locations) referred to as "The Cage."
Raising the Dead:'At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier. What happened after Shaw promised to go back is nearly unbelievable—unless you believe in ghosts.'
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation recently announced a two site approach, in Australia-NZ and Southern Africa, a move that was applauded by the Australian team. Once fully operational in 2024, SKA's one square kilometre collecting area should lead to major advances in astronomy. [more inside]
International street artist ABOVE (Wikipedia; Flickr pool; interview from 2009) convinced diamond traders at Johannesburg's Jewel City to let him paint their exterior wall with the phrase "Diamonds Are A Woman's Best Friend" ... but he didn't mention that he would be adding "And A Man's Worst Enemy" to the adjacent wall.
The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive has gone live. The archive organizes Mandela’s papers chronologically and thematically. You can jump into sections covering his Early Life, Prison Years, and Presidential Years, or explore his extensive book collections and work with youngsters or see his first recorded interview from 1961. (via)
The Pan African Space Station continues to arrive... I previously posted about Chimurenga's Pan African Space Station. Back then they were doing special events, but they opened up a world to innovative and experimental African musical artists. Now the Station has gone live and is broadcasting all night/all day! (Yes, that is a popup radio player...) [more inside]
The sad truth is that we have a govt that seems intent on turning corruption into a national sport...
Today the South African parliament, dominated by the ANC, passed by a large majority a media law which will restrict and constrain independent journalism in that country. Indeed, the law seems designed to squeeze, chill or eliminate independent reporting. The state is going to be accountable to the state. [George Brock][more inside]
Cricketer Basil D'Oliveira Has Died. "In 1968 he was named in England's squad to tour South Africa which was then cancelled as the ruling National Party refused to accept his presence." [more inside]
"A momentous and difficult decision for the family which has been in the diamond industry for more than 100 years and part of De Beers for over 80 years" ~ Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of De Beers on the recent announcement of selling the family's interest in De Beers to Anglo American and pulling out of the diamond business. The Oppenheimers may have ruled the roost for decades, but the company began with Cecil Rhodes, the English-born politician and entrepreneur who went on to found Rhodesia, which was renamed Zimbabwe in 1979 and the Rhodes scholarship scheme to Oxford University.
The Dalai Lama was prevented from going to South Africa for Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday by visa problems. So they used Google+ to "Hangout" instead.
Tennis player and coach Bob Hewitt is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who has held all the men's doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Hewitt, who was born in Australia but became a South African citizen by marriage, also captained the 1974 South African Davis Cup champion team. The Boston Globe reports that Hewitt's lengthy coaching career in the US and South Africa has long been accompanied by allegations that Hewitt sexually abused his female students, mostly adolescents but one as young as 10. Hewitt denies the charges.
An English couple weds in a Colonial Africa themed wedding in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.
"A censor pronouncing a ban, whether on an obscene spectacle or a derisive imitation, is like a man trying to stop his penis from standing up." - J. M. Coetzee
If we have, at the back of our minds, a stereotype of the censor or the censor type, it is probably of some nondescript male bureaucrat who comes to work punctually at 8:30 in the morning, locks his office door behind him, and spends the day going through piles of books, underlining dirty passages in red ink and stamping pass or fail on the cover, or else pouring over strips of film with scissors at the ready, ready to snip out images of breasts and bums, who, when the clock at last strikes 5:00, emerges into the daylight, catches the bus home to some anonymous suburb and spends the evening watching reruns of sitcoms on television before donning his pajamas and falling into a dreamless sleep. Or if we're thinking not of full time censors, people who dedicate their professional lives to the business of censoring, but of part time censors, people who like to do a bit of censoring on the side, then we might imagine that retired teachers, clergymen and moral busybodies in general would be attracted to the craft. But the records of the South African system don't quite fit the stereotype.- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel laureate author, speaks at his alma mater University of Texas Austin about his experiences with censorship in his native South Africa during apartheid. Coetzee mentions this essay he wrote about his time at UT Austin and a book he wrote on censorship, here's the preface to it.
In pictures: the life of a war photographer (There are some graphic images in here; not for the squeamish, though for most would be SFW for most workplaces).
'In South Africa's black townships, being gay can be fatal.' 'South Africa has a liberal constitution promising equal rights for all.' 'In a society that is deeply religious, traditional and highly patriarchal, lesbians and gay men contradict the dominant view of African manhood.' 'Across Africa, gay people are threatened, humiliated, raped, beaten, killed, jailed, outed in front-page newspaper stories, condemned by preachers as un-Christian and by politicians and traditional leaders as un-African.' 'In South African townships there's a crime dubbed "corrective rape," rape to "cure" lesbians, and sometimes gay men and transsexuals. They are told they are being taught a lesson: how to be a real woman or man, survivors say.' [more inside]
"Who knew township occultism and gangs of South African kids shared something of the pulse of post-punk dirges?" Spoek Mathambo covers Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" and sparks a journey into a world of grimey dub, white suits, musical dissemination via taxi cab, and a potential dash of
Black Identity. [more inside]
This is not the South Africa we dream of... (NSFW) "Using a Pentax camera with 35mm focal-length lens, Billy Monk photographed the nightclub revellers and sold the prints to his subjects. His close and long friendships with many of the people in the images allowed him to photograph them with extraordinary intimacy in all their states of joy and sadness. His images of nightlife seem carefree and far away from the scars and segregation of apartheid that fractured this society in the daylight."
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]
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]
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]
The World Cup Final is almost here, only 24 hours and 30 minutes away: Sunday Night, 19:30 GMT [more inside]
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]
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.
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.
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]
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.
"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]
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.
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.
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]
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]
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
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]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]