2005

Thyme after time

(For Vernon February)
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Colossal KOUROUMA

par Abdourahman Waberi

1. Oracle

Au physique, un colosse à l’étroit dans sa carcasse, une tête ronde bien soudée sur son tronc, des yeux narquois parfois ensommeillés, d’autres fois tout en vif mouvement.

Felasophy Through the Years: Fond Recollections of Fela Kuti

by Tunde Giwa

Growing up in post civil-war Kaduna, Northern Nigeria, in the early seventies, I had been vaguely aware who Fela Kuti was when he led a band called Koola Lobitos. But it was not until my mother brought home a copy of the monster hit ‘Jeun K’oku’ and put it at the very top of the list of songs she’d sometimes pay my siblings and I to dance to, that he really established a place in my consciousness that persists till this day. Lyrically, ‘Jeun K’oku’ was an inconsequential pop dance hit that was immensely popular at the time. Over the years, numerous Fela songs followed covering the different thematic eras of his life – and mine. They included such early songs as ‘Beautiful Dancer’, ‘Jehin Jehin’, ‘Who Are You re?’ and the scandalously rude (for that time,) ‘Na Poi’ which was about sex and had a risqué album cover that was responsible for many of my barely-pubescent erections.
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I be African man. Original

by Howard French

The first thing I had noticed when I arrived in Lagos was how the city had been plastered with posters announcing that Fela would be performing that night at his own club, the famous Shrine. I had never seen Jimi Hendrix perform, nor had I seen Miles Davis – two other musical heroes of my youth – and having been a fan of Fela since college, I was determined not to miss his show.
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The train goes on coal

by Khulile Nxumalo

A friend of mine is fond of raising the point that today’s generation is Americanised beyond recognition. It always strikes me as intriguing that somehow such an observation is easier to vocalise these days. Perhaps because there is a louder clang of American culture in our popular media, perhaps because more and more malls are mushrooming each and every year, or perhaps because Oprah is a goddess to some.
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Calabash Afrobeat Poems

by Dike Okoro

Ikwunga Wonodi is not a new face among Afrobeat music followers in Nigeria and elsewhere; years back while a university student, he was a member of the “What?” collective which was an underground campus hit in Nigeria. As a young medical doctor, Ikwunga was a regular opening act for Femi Kuti at the Afrika Shrine in Lagos. Since the release of his latest album Calabash Afrobeat Poems Vol.1, Ikwunga has been the center of attention among the African community in the US and Britain. I recently spoke to Ikwunga via telephone and we both decided to set a date for this interview. Prior to our chat, Ikwunga had contacted me upon learning of my editorial work on a forthcoming poetry anthology in memory of his father, Okogbule Wonodi. Fated was what the contact turned out to be, for Ikwunga was also putting together his famed father’s posthumous collection of poems due for publication next year.
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Story of a Beautiful Country

by Sean Jacobs

“Story of a Beautiful Country” is a road trip documentary. Johannesburg-based director Khalo Matabane – accompanied by a driver and a cameraman – travels across South Africa, with the object of meeting “ordinary” South Africans and hearing about their feelings and impressions of their “new” country.
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Nurse, we have a problem…

by Jonathan Faull

So here’s my beef : I have this nagging suspicion about the good ole boys and girls down at Laugh it Off (LIO). I like their style – the getting-up-the-noses of Big Capital stuff, the dodgy t-shirts, the lame jokes. Good on you, it’s a part of the struggle of and for political citizenship, after all. But I don’t like the vibe: the model-C, middle-class, hodgepodge of those who can literally afford to disengage and Laugh it Off. I don’t like the faux politics, the half-baked principles, the lily-white prissy toyi-toyi outside the magistrates’ court.
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A cinema of patience – John Kennedy Marshall (1932-2005)

by Sandeep Ray

“Bloody hell”, John would say, and you would be unsure whether a hug or an epithet would follow.

John Marshall, Boston-based ethnographic filmmaker and human rights worker whose pioneering cinema-verite films put the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen into our collective consciousness died on April 22 at the age of 72. His magnum opus, ‘A Kalahari Family,’ a five-part film series, was completed in 2002 and screened at over 30 film festivals across the world. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Visual Anthropology in 2003 for his contributions to filmmaking.

This Carting Life

by Pumla Dineo Gqola

Rustum Kozain’s long awaited debut collection, This Carting Life, is at turns startling, touching, witty and insightful. The multi-award winning poet and essayist collects poems written over a decade, many of which are familiar because they have previously appeared in collections of various types all over the world. Even the less famous ones have a refinement that is signature Kozain. Arranged in four mini-sections – “Home”, “This Carting Life”, “Home Again”, and “Waking” – the poems nestle in the categories and still permit a ‘leaking of meanings,’ as Gabeba Baderoon might say.
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