2004

Two Notes on Being Proudly Safrikan

Pumla Dineo Gqola

1. Azania in Germania

I was out of breath changing between the tram and the U-bahn, the Munich underground, and was more than a little disappointed with myself for having left the ticket buying till so late. I tried hard to suppress the excitement because I would be seeing and dancing to that wonder named Bongo Maffin in less than two hours. Orchestra Baobab from Senegal, performing later, would be a bonus.

Are Africans interested in their Art ?

Iba Ndiaye Diadji

The Senegalese who saw the sculptor Moustapha Dimé emerge, grow, and die, or the Burkinabè who look on as the painter Ferdinand Nonkouni develops should logically be the people who love and understand these artists’ output the best.
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La solution se trouve-t-elle dans un repli dit identitaire ?

Goddy Leye

Universite de Xiamen, Chinese European Centre, fin septembre 2002. Un groupe d’artistes de diverses nationalites vivant a Amsterdam, preparent une exposition avec des collegues chinois. une question fuse de l’assistance. Vehemente mais pas innattendue: elle porte sur la suprematie de la scene artistique de l’Ouest et exprime les craintes de l’intervenant chinois quand a la disparition dans la nouvelle arène(culturelle), de l’identite de son continent de pays.
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Africa and the War on Terror

Mukoma wa Ngugi

President Bush, as if to settle the debate once and for all over what form a terrorist exactly takes stated, “you are with us or against us”. With that bold statement, he cast the world into one of a binary opposition, on one side evil and on the other good; the rest of the world and the West. But he was only stating what has been in effect in the way America deals with dissent, at home or abroad. Already his guns are set on Iraq, North Korea, the Philippines, Somalia you name it (actually he will). But he is only doing, with less sophistication, what his forefathers have done: consolidate an empire.
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N’Dombolo: the postulation of the post-Zaïko generation

Manda Tchebwa

N’dombolo? First and foremost, an artistic secretion (the magical respiration of an entire generation of young Congolese), the Wenge generation’s most emblematic creation, a form of humour and a playful ape-like mimicry. The outpouring of Kinshasa, city of dreams, city of turmoil.
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The Mosques on the Banks of the Ganges (in the era of the West and Islam)

Anant Kumar

These days, like most Europeans, I too think very often about the Muslims. This despite the fact that, in contrast to the adherents of Mohammed, neither my ancestors nor the numerous gods of my country ever had anything to do with the Occident. On the other hand, however, thousands of mosques are situated on the banks of the Ganges together with millions of Hindu temples. From Benares to Calcutta.
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Le règne de la médiocrité : lettre ouverte à Emmanuel Dongala

Tanella Boni

Tu souhaites que je réagisse à ton texte que j’ai reçu il y a des mois. La situation dans laquelle je vis ne m’a pas laissé le loisir de le faire plus tôt. Mais il faut que je le fasse sans attendre un moment propice. Sous le soleil «des démocraties», il n’ y a pas de loisir, il n’y a que des nécessités et des urgences. Comment prendre le temps de lever les yeux afin de balayer du regard l’horizon traversant nos rêves mourant à l’aube ? Les opportunités sont rares et elles arrivent au moment où on ne les attend pas[1].Je n’ai pas l’excuse de dire : je remettrai ce travail à demain. Ici, il n’y a pas de lendemain et le temps semble se résumer à la vie au jour le jour dans une société où le mot projet n’a pas de sens, le seul sens de la vie biologique étant la mort qui tous les jours se lève avec le soleil… Ici, le vivre heureux n’est pas à l’ordre du jour transformé en chaos. Dans ce chaos peut-être faudrait-il chercher un presque rien de dignité qui pourrait caractériser les êtres humains que nous sommes; ce presque rien qui nous autorise, malgré tout, à imaginer des raisons d’espérer…
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Under Mandela Bridge

Andile Mngxitama

I first came to Braamfontein about 13 years ago. Everything about the place had one clear message, “blacks are not welcomed here”. The streets where clean, there were no hawkers or beggars: it was another country, nothing like down-town Jozi, which lies less than a kilometre away. Our sheer numbers as we in fluxed into the space effected a fundamental change. Mzito was amongst the pioneers of that great rapid unplanned but human transformation of space. He set up an elaborate pap and vleis stand on Biccard Street behind the FNB. Soon, every corner had its own “chesa nyama”. Then came the women with brasiers and roosting of green millies. The aroma of the braaing meat, herbs and roasting milies travelling through the air, at times through thick clouds of smoke, gave Braamfontein a unique scent. Monday babalaas was sorted out with a quick sharing of a cold skop between De Korte and Biccard streets. I hated the look of the rubbery concoction of trotters and innards, but those who partook of the meal whilst reading the Sowetan sport page seemed to enjoy themselves.
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CHIMURENGA SESSION: NEW YORK CITY, MAY ’04

Strategising against the Gaze

Olivier Barlet

Confronted with Western criticism (which, after all, reflects the public’s desires and thus the success of these films in Europe), films by directors of African descent intrinsically have to prove their ‘Africanism’. Only then can they receive the holy unction, the recognition of their “authenticity”.
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