Swami Sitarama Dasa in conversation with Gael Reagon


To launch the new Chronic (a graphic issue), we’ll be having a special event this Friday 18 July at The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town:

Swami Sitarama Dasa, the black guru formerly known as Zebulon Dread (of Hei Voetsek!), in conversation with Gael Reagon. Excerpts from the new edition of the Chronic can be previewed at, including Binyavanga Wainaina in Dakar with Youssou N’Dour and Achal Prabhala‘s essay: the cosmic lives and afterlives of Zebulon Dread.

Copies of the new Chronic and back issues will be available to buy on the night.

Photo credit: Ingrid Masondo.

Wasafiri New Writing Prize – deadline Friday 25 July

The deadline for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize is fast approaching …

Wasafiri is looking for creative submissions in one of three categories: poetry, fiction and life writing. The competition is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book in their chosen category.

To enter, simply complete an entry form and send it along with your work and entry fee to Wasafiri by 5pm GMT on Friday 25 July 2014. The word limit is 3000 for fiction and life writing entries and a maximum of 5 poems (other terms and conditions apply). The prize is £300 and publication in the magazine. This year’s judges are Susheila Nasta, Editor of Wasafiri, Bidisha, Inua Ellams and Monique Roffey.

For further details and the entry form look here.






New edition of the Chronic, focus on graphic stories. Out now!

Chronic covers

For the new issue of Chimurenga’s pan African gazette, the Chronic, the focus is on graphic stories; comic journalism. Blending illustrations, photography, written analysis, infographics, interviews, letters and more, visual narratives speak of everyday complexities in the Africa in which we live.

Binyavanga Wainaina meets Youssou N’Dour in Dakar, learns to swim in the Atlantic and runs into a foul-mouthed Neneh Cherry.

Michael Jackson makes a come back in Nigeria, where Native Maqari and Biyi Bandele also revision Chinua Achebe‘s Girls at War.

Turning the page, in Equatorial Guinea, Ramón Esono (AKA Jamón y Queso) dreams of President Obiang Nguema’s nightmare: to live a single day as an ordinary citizen. Meanwhile, Dudumalingani Mqombothi and Buntu Fihla return to South Africa’s Eastern Cape looking for former Ciskei ruler, Oupa Gqozo. In Harare, Fungai Machirori has an Independence Day date with Robert Mugabe.

Then, from the Namib desert in Angola to an interrogation room on US soil, Victor Gama searches for Augusto Zita and inadvertently uncovers South Africa’s nuclear weapons programme. Willem Boshoff produces practical language for politics and governance. Lesego Rampolokeng interviews Mafika Gwala.

Across the continent, Paula Akugizibwe battles border blues while Kangsen Wakai explores citizenship from a Cameroonian perspective. Vincent Plisson illustrates nationality codes further asking jus sanguinis or jus soli?

Honouring late fathers, we doff our caps to departed greats: Annie Paul on Stuart Hall, Gaspar Orozco on Manuel Ahumada, the hair architecture of J.D.Okhai Ojeikere, Peter Clarke and Percy Sedumedi‘s art.

Supplementing the broadsheet, Chronic Books explores comics and their makers. Nawel Louerrad shows Canan Marasligil her Algerian dances, Mogorosi Motshumi highlights (the lack of) Black Consciousness in South African comics, and Tony McDermott‘s dubwise cover art for Scientist gets a reload. Bharath Murthy, Rakesh Khanna, and Sudarshan Purohit critique India’s thriving comics industry.

Nigeria’s cartoon and comics traditions are examined through Akin Adesokan‘s recollections of the bootylicious Ikebe Super, and Uzor Maxim Uzoatu‘s quest to find the all-action superhero from African Film, Lance Spearman. Where is The Spear?



The Chronic also features a special 8-page insert: the lost issue of Hei Voetsek! A reawakening of Zebulon Dread‘s cult, handcrafted periodical featuring graphics by Cape Town’s art collective, Burning Museum.

Produced in Cape Town, Harare, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, London, Douala, Dakar, Accra, Kigali and Kolkota, and distributed globally, the Chronic seeks to write Africa in the present and into the world at large, as the place in which we live, love and work.


To order the Chronic (in print or as a PDF), visit Or our stockists around the world.




The Chronic is a quarterly pan African gazette, published by Chimurenga. For more information visit and/or contact Chimurenga on +27(0)21 4224168 or


The Chimurenga Chronic is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Goethe-Intitut. Other project partners include Heinrich Böll Foundation, Keleketla!Cassava Republic Press, Glänta and Kwani Trust.


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Read the Chimurenga Chronic in German


A special German-language edition of Chimurenga’s pan African gazette, the Chronic is now available.

The 68-page publication features translations of selected writings from the first 3 editions of the Chronic, with themes ranging from ways to overcoming borders to Astro/Afrosonics.

Contributors include Akin Adesokan, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Parselelo Kantai, Jackie Lebo, Harmony Holiday, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, Yemisi Ogbe, Adewale Maja-Pearce, Ainehi Edoro, Agri Ismaïl, Florence Madenga, Elnathan John, Paula Akugizibwe, and many more.

Embedded within the broadsheet is a 12-page pull-out Chronic Books section with a collection of dispatches, examinations of the politics and practice of translation, and a declaration that “I’m not an African Writer, damn you!” As well as reviews of works by José Saramago, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Ed Pavlic, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This German-language edition of the Chronic was produced in cooperation with the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Goethe Institute and Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Available in print and digitally from selected locations in Berlin or from our e-store.

For more information visit or contact Chimurenga on +27(0)21 4224168 or



Festac 77 programme

In 1977, thousands of artists, writers, and musicians from Africa and its diaspora descended on Lagos, Nigeria for the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77).

Can a past that the present has not yet caught up with be summoned to haunt the present as an alternative? What is important here is not the reiteration of the actual past, but the persistence of what never actually happened, but might have.

Over a two-year research, exhibition and publishing project, we are investigating the legacy of FESTAC ’77, as well as presenting an opportunity for contemporary African creators to engage with its history

The first public presentation will be at San Francisco Public Library from May 24 – June 29 2014.

For more information: chimurengalibrary/festac-77

PASS presents Soul Housing Project live

On Tuesday 29th April, the Pan African Space Station (PASS) partners with Pro Helvetia Johannesburg to digitally broadcast a live performance curated by Bokani Dyer and Sakhile Moleshe (Soul Housing Project). This live music stream opens a window into musical conversations and audio experimentation happening now-now in Cape Town.

PASS Soul Housing Project live

Switch to for the live video broadcast: 21:00hr (CAT), Tuesday 29 April 2014.

Follow announcements via: Twitter: @Chimurenga_SA      Facebook: Chimurenga

Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme at Market Photo Workshop

Striking Marikana Miners, Rustenburg, South Africa © Sebabatso Mosamo, PDP 2012

1. About the Market Photo Workshop

Located in Newtown, Johannesburg, the Market Photo Workshop strives to create an environment where students learn, not only the technical and conceptual aspects of photography, but also ways of critical thinking integral to the understanding of contemporary photographic practice.

Equipping students with an extensive insight of the role photography plays socially, politically and in the wider cultural community, the Market Photo Workshop provides students with the vital tools needed to negotiate the urban terrain that is present-day Johannesburg.

Through its various endeavours and ongoing projects the Market Photo Workshop continues to make strong links with organisations both locally and internationally. Dedicated to the development and nurturing of new talent, the Market Photo Workshop fosters a rich culture in visual literacy for the furthering of photography in South Africa and Africa.

The Market Photo Workshop plays a crucial role in establishing new voices in South African photography. Alumni include: Jodi Bieber (seven times World Press Winner), other World Press winners like Themba Hadebe, and Sydney Seshibedi; and internationally acclaimed photographers such as Nontsikelelo Veleko and Zanele Muholi who has recently in 2013 been appointed Honorary Professor at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany.

History of the Market Photo Workshop

The Market Photo Workshop was started by world-renowned photographer David Goldblatt in the late eighties. At the outset, the aim was to provide visual literacy and practical training to young photographers who were excluded from formal training in tertiary education institutions by the policies of the government at the time.

The schools initial focus was on social documentary photography, a genre which would provide photographers entry into the media landscape, allowing them to create a viable career for themselves. This was the core of the curriculum, as photography as a social and political practice was an important strategy in documenting the socio-political landscape of apartheid South Africa.

Since then, the Market Photo Workshop has successfully adapted to the challenges of a new democratic dispensation, and the influences democracy has had on visual arts in South Africa. The Market Photo Workshop now offers short and long courses in photography, educating learners in all technical and practical aspects the medium.

The Market Photo Workshop is a division of the Market Theatre Foundation.

2. About Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme

The Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme (PDP) is a year-long course intended to address the needs of aspirant photojournalists from South Africa and further afield on the continent. Students who complete the programme are able to integrate themselves quickly and efficiently in newsrooms across a variety of media organisations (newspapers, picture agencies, radio stations with a presence on the web, etc) as photographers or in other capacities.

While applicants accepted into the course are required to have a demonstrable prior knowledge of photography from at least an intermediate level, they undergo rigorous training designed to bring their technical and conceptual skills to the level required of professional photojournalists. Students are further challenged to analyse and question photographic and social conventions, so as to report insightfully on their cultures and add depth to coverage of African issues.

The PDP begins mid-January and ends mid-December. It comprises four terms, with the third semester largely devoted to internships in which students gain work experience at news organisations in Johannesburg and elsewhere.

2.1. Core Subjects

  • Photojournalism (including multimedia components) : In this course students learn how to approach breaking and general news events, and how to tackle other assignments typically given to photojournalists
  • Documentary Photography:  This course enables students to embark on a year-long photographic assignment that is covered from various perspectives.
  • Technical and Digital Practice: During an intensive period of training at the start of the PDP, students are drilled in photographic and editing techniques.
  • Visual Culture Literacy: During this course, students learn how and why images have the effects that they do, and how interpretation of visuals is influenced by the background, knowledge and value system of an individual.
  • Media Practice: This course helps photographers gain confidence with the written word through introducing them to the basic principles of news and feature writing. Students are also given insights into current challenges with regard to journalistic ethics and freedom of expression.
  • Internships: For their work experience, students are placed at organisations across the media spectrum: daily and weekly newspapers, wire services and broadcasters that make use of multi-media
  • Protects: The Photo Workshop regularly joins forces with various groups to run projects that enable students to share their photographic and writing skills, and document issues of interest
  • Exhibition: The exhibition is a high point of the PDP: it gives students a showcase for their work, and raises the profile of the PDP in the photographic arena.

2.2. Important information for applicants:

  • The PDP welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, including:
  • Practising photojournalists and documentary photographers who would like to hone their skills
  • Persons with recognised prior learning in photography who wish to advance in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography
  • Graduates in media studies or related fields
  • Passionate people with a talent for photography
  • Persons applying for the PDP should have demonstrable prior knowledge of photography from at least an intermediate level, and a reasonable command of English
  • Entry-level professional cameras and other equipment can be rented from the Market Photo Workshop by students who do not have access to these resources. Learners are required to pay deposits for each piece of equipment that they book out, and their use of equipment is closely monitored

2.3. Time frames and costs:

  • The PDP is a year-long course, beginning mid-January and ending mid-December
  • The course runs full-time from Mondays to Fridays, 09h00 to 17h00
  • Fees for the 2014 PDP have been set at R30 000
  • Bursaries may be made available to candidates who can clearly demonstrate financial need. Recipients of financial aid are required to do bursary duties that may require their presence at the school after hours and over weekends
  • Equipment rental fees (in the form of refundable deposits) are currently set as follows:
  • Digital camera: R450
  • Tripod: R100
  • Voice recorder: R150

For more info please log on to : 

Call proposals for a transdisciplinary residency at Utopiana, Geneva

Nature, adversity, etc. – A call for proposals for a transdisciplinary residency at Utopiana (Geneva, Switzerland). 

The propositions may be comprised of artistic projects in different media, workshops, or other forms of interventions.
Utopiana is developing its activities around three axes: artist residencies, “Plantopic” – a research and gardening project – and a public event entitled “The Beast and Adversity,” the latter to be held in 2015.

In 2013 an urban garden, created by artists and neighbors of the residency, integrated itself into Utopiana’s universe. At present we are launching an open call for propositions for residencies in this context. The garden is a microcosm that allows us to question the old couple of nature and culture.

Contrary to the preconception of “the artist-genius,” which inspired romanticism with the conviction that “the contemplation of nature can bring us to understand the deep meaning of things,” Utopiana invites interested persons to take part in the residency to follow “the secret life of plants.” In addition to the workspace traditionally offered by the residency, a garden parcel of 5m2 will also be available as a space of experimentation in the community garden “Pote à Jean.” This call for those who believe themselves able to contribute to the subject at hand and who are ready to enter into a dialogue with the garden and its occupants.

This residency will be accompanied by the research group Plantopic, which bases itself around permaculture seen as an attitude and alternative form of social construction. In this same direction, Plantopic’s research is concerned with seeing art mediation as the creation of a milieu, an intermediary, but also an environment, a context, and “producing knowledge that contributes to writing our history differently….”

The residency is organized in view of an event that will take place in 2015, “The Beast and Adversity.” The notion of adversity refers to the fundamental ambiguity of our existence, which results in our desire to possess and master nature, when in fact nature possesses and masters us at least as much. In this way, in the heart of our being and in our environment there lives a force that makes us as much as it escapes us. The question that guides us in this project is thus: If nature is neither a reservoir of resources to exploit, nor an inert space to possess, nor an ensemble of mechanisms to master, how then might we come to terms with it? In this research we aim to question our relationship with nature constructed economically, culturally, and politically, and to explore alternative practice and thought in these subjects.

Interested candidates are asked to send by e-mail an application file consisting of a portfolio, CV, availability for a residency between March 2014 and March 2015 (maximum three months), as well as a motivation letter of 500 words or less. For more information, write to

Deadline: 31 January 2014.

For more about Utopiana, please see our website

The Chronic – out now-now


 The new edition of pan African quarterly, the Chronic, offers forays into interlaced subjects of power, resistance, protest, mobilisation, mobility and belonging. Marked by an urgency to unsettle divides between opportunism and opportunity, life and liberation, here and there, and then and now-now, the newspaper acts as a platform from which to engage the practices, dilemmas and possibilities of different world.

In its pages writers, photographers and artists from across the pan African world challenge political processes, question identity and interrogate economic justice. South Africa’s EFF articulates a fierce rejection of the official left, aligning itself instead with younger, insurgent forms of resistance. But, asks Kwanele Sosibo, is the new political party fighting or fronting?  Rustum Kozain excavates the deeper history underlying Cape Town’s shit protests and Boniface Mwangi pushes the limits of public art to agitate for political change in Nairobi. In addition Paula Akugizibwe exposes the aesthetics of election engineering in Kampala and Kangsen Wakai interrogates Biya’s mouthpiece in Yaoundé.

Then, in a multi-voiced requiem to revolution, Egyptian filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri delivers a paean to the lost dreams and radical ideology of the African independence movements; Mohannad Ghawanmeh mourns the passing of the anti-hero of Egyptian cinema and Youssef Rakha protests with ferocious invention the failure of revolution. Writing from the height of the uprising in Cairo, he engages it as a failure of the imagination and demands a new language by which to address it.

Elsewhere, Louis Chude-Sokei crosses the Atlantic to narrate an intimate family history of splintered identity, shattered ideology, exile and alienation expressed through and beyond the Biafran war; Yemisi Ogbe questions the Nigerian elite’s obsession with birthing Americans and Florence Madenga maps how death in the diaspora disrupts borders and bureaucracy and shows pathways beyond them.

Writing from South Africa, Ronald Suresh Roberts reveals the real failures behind the failed apartheid lawsuit; Bongani Kona investigates the country’s oppressive culture of incarceration; Dudumalingani Mqombothi jousts with stick fighting in Khayelitsha and Tseliso Monaheng crosses the border to document the frontier wars of Lesotho’s “accordions cowboys.”

Finally, the Chronic attends Lagos Fashion Week, investigates the “Bad Blacks” inciting class wars in Kampala and joins 40 000 Brazilian football fans more interested in a bottom-division team than the coming FIFA World Cup.

As always, The Chronic includes the 48 page Chronic Books magazine. This edition foregrounds the politics and practice of translating Yambo Ouologuem into English, Proust into Haitian Creole, cowboy noir into Nollywood, Wordsworth into Zapotec and more. Also Madhu H. Kaza interviews Ama Ata Aidoo; Nta Bassey takes on Taiye Selasi; Nick Mwaluko reads between the lines in three queer anthologies; and Akin Adesokan lays bare the “dangers of a single video” while the puzzling compulsion of African writers to both conform and disavow.

 The Chronic is a quarterly pan African gazette, published by Chimurenga.

Produced in Cape Town, Cairo, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Paris, Lagos, Yaoundé, Accra, Kinshasa, Dakar, Kampala and Delhi, and distributed globally, it seeks to write Africa in the present and into the world at large, as the place in which we live, love and work.

Pre-order your copy in our online shop now.


Call for submissions: Africa39

Words from Chimurenga friend and contributor, Binyavanga Wainaina, read on:

URGENT Call for submissions:  Africa39


Dear Friends, Writers, publishers and African Literary organisations,


My name is Binyavanga Wainaina. I am the coordinator of the Africa39 Longlist.

I write to you with some urgency. I have recently been contracted to put together a long-list of 120 of most promising fiction authors under the age of 40 from Africa South of the Sahara and diaspora.

This is a huge undertaking and will lead to an announcement of 39 of the most promising African writers under the age of 39 in April 2014. Time is of the essence.

I have to submit this longlist by the 15th of December 2013. I would like to encourage all published fiction writers who qualify to apply.

As many of you may have heard, Port Harcourt City in Rivers State, Nigeria has been conferred the status of UNESCO World Book Capital in 2014. It is the first African city south of the Sahara to be given such status.

The Port Harcourt Book Fair (PHBF) is an initiative of the Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria and is an event for writers, book sellers, literary connoisseurs and all major players in the book industry.

The PHBF in 2014 with Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital City will therefore be a major pan-African and international literary event which will significantly advance the state of literacy, literature, and publishing in Africa.

I am asking you please to distribute this application document to your contacts, mailing lists, writers, media, and other relevant networks and forums.


PLEASE refer all replies & queries ONLY to:

All updates will be posted on Twitter @Africa39list and you are advised to check regularly.

This details in this document may be modified slightly and you are advised to refer to this document before submitting your work.


What is Africa39 Project?

The Africa39 Project has been set up as a key part of the programs and celebrations of Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.  In April 2014, Africa39 will announce 39 of the most promising African writers of fiction under the age of 40.

The Africa39 Project is a partnership between the Hay Festival of Literature & the Arts Ltd., UK; and the Rainbow Book Club (Port Harcourt, Nigeria).

The Africa39 Project will contact and liaise with African literary prizes, writers groups, literary magazines, and literary festivals.

I understand this is coming to you at short notice. As you imagine this undertaking is huge, and I have only recently become involved in this project. This is a huge opportunity for a new generation of writers, and I urge you to encourage as many as possible to submit an application consideration. Details below.

Rules for applicants

  • Writers may apply on their own behalf

  • Agents and publishers can apply on behalf of writers in their stable.

  • Writers must be under 40 years of age  (born after January 1st, 1974).

  • Writers must have published at least one work of fiction.

  • By “published” we mean that you should have published a piece of fiction in print (including self-published) or on-line (including blogs).  The piece you submit for the Africa39 project, however, need not be published.  It may be a new piece.

  • We are keen to promote writers who show promise.

  • The judges’ decision is final and they will not enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions.

  • This prize is open only to African writers.

  • By African writer we mean that you are a resident of; or were born in one of the countries listed below.  By African writers, we also mean that any writer who has one or more parents from any of these countries:  Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria,  Réunion, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Saint Helena, São Tomé and Príncipe Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

  • Writers from the Diaspora(s) of any one or more of the countries listed above are encouraged to apply.

  • The author must provide the following essential information on the cover page:

    • full name, date of birth, country of origin.

    • contact details: e-mail, telephone number (including country-code), twitter handle.

    • a 200 word biography.

    • a short bibliography of your published literary work.

  • The author must also attach:

    • a scanned copy of the biographical page from one of the following: your passport,your official national identification card,or your driver’s licence.

    • a square author photograph in .png format  minimum of 180×180 pixels.

  • The deadline for ALL submissions is midnight (East African Time/GMT+3) Dec 10th, 2013.

  • ALL applicant submissions should be made VIA EMAIL ONLY TO:

  • All questions should be directed ONLY to this email address:  or on Twitter @africa39list

  • Please ensure your submissions keep strictly to the guidelines and application criteria we have provided in this document.


Application Criteria

  • Applicants must submit one creative piece, that they feel is their strongest work of fiction. This may be a short story, or an excerpt of a longer work of fiction. We are open to creative non-fiction submissions, or an excerpt of a non-fiction novel.

    • The submitted piece must be no longer than 5000 words.

    • The submitted piece must be typed, double-spaced, and delivered ONLY in Times New Roman, 12pt.

    • The submitted creative piece must only be sent as TWO document attachments, each with a cover page containing the details specified in the rules.

    • One of the TWO document attachments must be a Microsoft Word (.doc) file, and another must be a Adobe Portable Document format (.pdf) file.

    • These two documents should have page numbers.

    • Please ensure your submissions keep strictly to the guidelines we have given.

    • With each creative submission, make sure to include, after the cover page, a 500 word synopsis if the submission is an excerpt of a larger work.

    • We strongly encourage submissions of work in African languages. If there is no professionally produced literary translation of creative submission in an African language, we will arrange to have one done.

    • Translations into English of creative submissions originally written in French/German/Spanish/Portuguese or other language are welcome.

    • Where necessary, we will arrange for professional literary translations of creative submissions into English.

  • ALL Submissions, as well as queries, should be e-mailed to:

  • Submissions will be read by a panel headed by Binyavanga Wainaina which will submit  a long-list of 120 authors to the final judges by 15th December 2013.

  • The distinguished judging panel will include the following eminent literary figures: Elechi Amadi, Tess Onwueme, and Margaret Busby.

  • The judges will select the final 39 winners from this long-list of 120, and announce them in April 2014 at the London Bookfair and in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

  • Rainbow Book Club and Hay Festival will contact the 39 authors selected for the Africa39 Project to inform them that they have been selected, and to commission from each, a short story or extract that will be published in the anthology. The prestigious publishing house Bloomsbury is committed to publishing the anthology in English by October 2014 if the commissioned works by the authors are ready by end of March 2014.

  • Nobel Prize winner Professor Wole Soyinka will write the introduction to the anthology.

  • Renowned editor, Dame Ellah Allfrey (OBE), will edit the anthology.

  • The judges’ decision is final and under no circumstances will they enter into any correspondence with entrants regarding their decisions.

  • The copyright of each submission remains with its owner.