And, surprise its not about Zimbabwe’s people. Sadly, it is only about their struggles of the paper’s reporter (usually based in South Africa) who sneaked into the country and got arrested. What Robert Mugabe’s thug police did to reporter Barry Bearak is inexcusable and granted the Zimbabwe authorities “discourage” journalists (that’s to put it mildly), but three pages? It is a riveting read nonetheless. Here. (the images are from the Times website)
Archive for April, 2008
Posted in New York City, Not just about Africa, politics, tagged Brooklyn Flea, Brownstoner, Fort Greene, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania Primary, Presidential Election, T-shirts on April 23, 2008 | 2 Comments »
Posted in documentary films, film, Johannesburg, journalism, money, Not just about Africa, South Africa, television, You can't make this stuff up, tagged Africa, African Hunting Holiday, BBC, Louis Theroux, media, Paul Theroux, South Africa, television on April 23, 2008 | 4 Comments »
I asked my friend Herman Wasserman to unpack Louis Theroux’s (son of Paul) recent visit to South Africa as seen on the BBC:
‘… There he stood, poor Louis Theroux. Thin and civilised, black-rimmed spectacles and shirtsleeves, having to watch how an overweight Afrikaner, dressed in khaki, gets all excited about his daughter felling a wild hog with one shot from a crossbow. Initially, upon watching his program ‘African Hunting Holiday‘ (BBC), one sympathizes with Theroux to a certain extent – the dusty bush of Limpopo is no place for nuanced arguments or bookish chaps. As one of his interviewees less than delicately puts it in a heavy accent: “Africa does not have computers…it’s fucked, because we chop down everything and we eat everything. This (hunting) is a way of making money out what there is here.” But Theroux’s posh indignitation at the bloodlusty, weird Afrikaner father-and-daughter pair becomes annoying when he insists on framing the farmers as the brutes, and lets their clients go scot-free. One cringes at the poorly executed machismo of the American clients who pay good money for the thrill of the kill. Although towards the end it seems Theroux becomes a bit more sympathetic to the complexities of the hunting industry, what remains lost from sight is that these farmers play up an image of wildlife, the bush and ferocious animals to feed into Westerners’ fantasies about Africa. On several occasions what becomes clear is that the farmers actually care deeply about the animals and the bush, and try to arrive at an ethical way of doing their job. But Theroux does not allow himself to dwell on these contradictions. Rough farmers are part of the fantasy that the Americans come to enjoy, and Theroux actually is more complicit in upholding this colonial narrative than he would care to acknowledge. And then there are those parts of the fantasy which go wholly unspoken. Theroux never complains about the black workers having to sit on the back of the truck or clean the bloody carcasses while he and the hunters engage in elevated debate about animal rights or enjoy the scenery from air-conditioned comfort. Fantasies have many sides.. ‘
Posted in film, literary culture, Music, New York City, Not just about Africa, tagged Afrofunk, Afropop, Brooklyn, Chimurenga, Felasophy, Fort Greene, literary magazines, magazines, New York City Parties, parties on April 20, 2008 | 1 Comment »
Not for the Cabinet ministers or members of the Apartheid regime’s security council or its death squads. I forgot that was a ‘democratic’ government.
There are now finally — 18 years after Mandela came out of prison, and 13 years since he became South Africa’s first democratic President — attempts through legislation tabled in the US Congress to ‘fix the problem.’
I am not surprised: the US was a staunch ally of the previous racist South African government (Ronald Reagan, President from 1980 to 1991, once made clear why he supported Apartheid: “[South Africa is] a country that, strategically, is essential to the free world in its production of minerals.”) and current US Vice President Dick Cheney is infamous for his countless resolutions in Congress to declare Mandela a terrorist ‘who deserved to be jailed.’ .
Now that Mugabe has emerged from his self-imposed silence after losing the March Presidential elections, to change the subject again, and the feeling of inevitability of the last few weeks (I was giddy too, thinking this was the end for him) it is useful to be reminded by Guardian foreign editor Simon Tisdall’s warning right after the elections:
Mugabe’s final choice, and possibly the most destructive, may be termed the Musharraf gambit, after Pakistan’s current president: when facing electoral difficulties, and if all else fails, declare a state of emergency, impose martial law, suspend parliament and the courts, and rule by presidential decree with the support of the armed forces. Locking up your opponents, or failing to protect them from assassins, are optional extras.
Full context here.
Holland Cotter (in the New York Times) on the exhibit Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem till June 29:
Afropolitanism is the modish tag for new work made by young African artists both in and outside Africa. What unites the artists is a shared view of Africa, less as a place than as a concept; a cultural force, one that runs through the world the way a gulf stream runs through an ocean: part of the whole, but with its own tides and temperatures.
Featured are the work of Thando Mama, Mustafa Maluka, Otobeng Nkanga, Thierry Fontaine, Latifa Echakhch, Modou Dieng, Elias Sime, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Olalekan B. Jeyifous, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
For a slideshow and the review from the New York Times, see here.