Monday, 30 August 2010

I Am Slave

For those of you who missed it earlier tonight, I Am Slave is available on Channel 4 Catchup, but those outside the UK, this snippet & background info, jacked from the Channel 4 website, will have to do for now, till some technologically-advanced, kind soul uploads it onto YouChoob or Vimeo:
From the director of Death of a President and the writer of The Last King of Scotland, and inspired by real-life events, I Am Slave is the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for freedom from modern-day slavery.

I Am Slave, starring incredible international talent Wunmi Mosaku, is a powerful story of imprisonment, cruelty and despair, but also one of hope and humanity. The story begins when 12-year-old Malia, from the Nuba Mountains, is snatched from the arms of her father during a Muharaleen raid on their village. Sold into slavery, she spends the next six years of her life working for a Sudanese family. Then, aged 18 years old, she is sent to London where the brutality and inhumanity that she experiences continues, only under a different roof.

Hidden in plain sight, Malia's desperate situation goes unnoticed or uncared for by everyone she comes into contact with. Stripped of her passport and living in terror of what might happen to her family in the Sudan should she speak out, Malia is trapped in a ruthless, alien environment.

Despairing of the life to which she has been condemned, Malia calls on all her strength to make a dramatic escape back to Sudan to the father who never gave up hope that she was alive and who never stopped searching for her.

Max Tannone is a BEAST!!!!

Max Tannone's remixed Talib Kweli's songs over a reggae dub beat, as he did for Mos Def.
Get your siiick download here.

In DOPE Music We Trust!

Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down

An English Defence League member is KO'd by a Muslim brotha during an anti-Islam protest in Bradford this past weekend. Niceness!!!
                                                                                                          fisttap sonsofmalcom
Out now.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

L'Art du Métissage

The Kiss
Lovefuckme (my fav'rit)
Venus Baartman

All pics jacked from
Artist: Tracey Rose (S.A) (2001-2003)

'Apartheid never stopped people from seeing each other and fucking; I'm the living proof'

Notting Hill Carnival

The annual Notting Hill Carnival takes place this Sunday and Monday in West London. Carnival was originally staged in 1959 as a response to the state of race relations in Britain at that time. A decade earlier immigrants from the Caribbean began to arrive in large numbers to fill post-war labour shortages, but this caused resentment amongst some white Britons. Throughout the 1950s white racists and West Indian immigrants clashed, with riots taking place in Notting Hill for four days and nights during the August Bank Holiday weekend in 1958.
In response, Claudia Jones, a Trindad-born, New York-raised black activist and political campaigner, decided to organise a festival through which white and black Britons could understand each other’s cultures. Originally called Mardi Gras and staged in St Pancras Town Hall, the event moved to the streets of Notting Hill in 1964.
Carnival showcases the music and performance culture of the Caribbean, and in particular that of Trinidad & Tobago. Local African-Caribbean groups form carnival bands and play mas (or masquerade) through the streets of Notting Hill, accompanied by music...Claudia Jones died in 1964 but her work in creating greater understanding between native and immigrant cultures in Britain was a resounding success. Carnival is now one of the biggest events held in Europe, attracting more than a million visitors each year.

Words from Postal Heritage

'A people's art is the genesis of their freedom.'
Claudia Jones
Happy Birthday Michael

Friday, 27 August 2010

postcard from freetown...

On the Beach, Freetown Liberia

jacked from scarlett lion (google it),
foto cred: glenna gordon.

H.o.w L.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.

From Babylon With Love, Disguised Charity.
Destination: Ghana, where stolen umblical chords return as defunct electronic chords. Keyboards wedged in the sand send toxic letters to the deceased, buried beneath the wastemounds, declaring d-e-a-t-h s-t-a-y d-e-a-d to all would-be spirits and reincarnates and to the living who come everyday in search of copper, brass and zinc wires, premature obituaries reading ctrl-alt-del are strewn across the dumpyard. The fizzing sound of ice incinerating the yard fires drown the hacking coughs of yardies as they discard the melted plastic coverings for metal. Melting from the heat and flames, a liquified keyboard reads,
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.     till
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.     death
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.    can
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.    no
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.      longer
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.   be
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.   dumped?
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del.
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. till
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. these
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. walking
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. corpses
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. are
h.o.w l.o.n.g ? ¬ Del. buried?

copyright konwomyn 2010

UN #Fail ...Again

pic jacked from

I recently finished assisting on an academic project on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the protection of women from violence and their involvement in peacekeep and conflict prevention processes. After it's unanimous declaration in 2000 in Windhoek, Namibia, the subsequent failure to implement by member states led to a further UNSCR 1820, 1888 and 1889 being passed with the aim of safeguarding women and girls from sexual and gender based violence. Needless to say these were meaningless diplomatic hand-wringing declarations that amounted to piffle.
Even in countries where UN peacekeepers were stationed, violations of women continued unabated, Liberia and the Congo are prime examples. Even in an instance where the UN had a mandate to act as country administrator, like in Kosovo, the rights of women were not protected by UNMIK (UN Mission in Kosovo) or any of the UN Resolutions. On numerous occassions, UN peacekeepers have been found guilty of taking sexual advantage of civilians, trading food for sex or raping civilians as young as 6 particularly in the Congo, Haiti and Sudan. 
The latest in the series of catastrophies is the mass rape of 150-200 Congolese women and children by rebel fighters in Kivu in a space of 4 days, just an hour away from the UN base. How did the UN fail to intervene? How did they not know? A UN official in DRC claimed that "there was no particular suggestion of an attack, much less the kind of events like the mass rape." Lies. Absolute lies. The UN was 20km away for crying out loud! In '09 UNIFEM released statistics showing that in Kivu 40 women are raped per day! And we're s'posed to believe there is no 'particular suggestion'??? The UN should admit it's failure, it's more dignified than trying to weasel one's way out of this. While the UN is not be responsbile for the barbaric rapes (yes we all know that is the work of Rwandan Hutu and Congolese rebels, for want of minerals and military conquest), the UN is responsible for failure to act on them. With a year to go before the UN peace troops pull out of Kivu, this goes down as yet another failed UN mission and proof that a complete, complete, complete (!) overhaul is needed within the UN, that experts like Thomas Weiss have been calling for, for the longest time. But instead all this will amount to is one more beautifully worded 'never again' apology to the victims of Kivu and another non-mandatory, conscience-cleansing Security Council Resolution.

A Book Worth Burning

V.S Naipaul strikes again, this time in Africa. He recently returned from a six month trip to Uganda, Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa and Cote d'Ivoire and he's written a book about his travels. What he had to say reads like something out of an 18th century European explorer's narrative. Apart from helping to start a very big bonfire, the next best thing this book could be used for is script material for Uncle Ruckus in The Boondocks. This is an excerpt from the Evening Standard:

Essentially the book is Naipaul's idiosyncratic search for Africa's spiritual core. He collects experiences and stories of faith and belief on an odyssey across Uganda, Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Gabon — eventually travelling to South Africa, a country that he says he finds “mesmerising and profound”. But others he also found repellent, such as Ivory Coast: “I found out what was the best way of killing a cat or kitten. You put them in a sack of some sort and then you dropped the sack in a pot of boiling water. The thought of this everyday kitchen cruelty made everything else in Ivory Coast seem unimportant,” he writes.
The book is a dazzling spectacle of original travel reporting by the greatest living prose writer as he approaches 80, fearless in writing about what he sees and feels. In South Africa he notes human body parts made by witchdoctors into a mixture of so-called “battle medicine” for respectable middle-class Africans. Such images inevitably and understandably jar with those who want Africa to be progressive with economic hope for the 21st century. “I am nervous that people see the book as anti-Africa or use it to make some sort of political point,” Naipaul says. By choosing specifically not to dwell on the economics or the politics of Africa, he aimed to gauge what he perceived as the different inner nervous systems of Africa.

“Truth stares you in the face. You just pick it up and write it. It has not been my intention ever to create trouble, even from my very first book,” Naipaul says. He is more weary than wary of his armchair critics. “People who don't travel to look [for themselves] have their own precious principles, which … go beyond observation or truth and if you go against their principles with your observations, they do not like it. So that is the provocation.”

Naipaul is never deflected from what he perceives as harsh or unfashionable truths, however unpalatable. He has airily dismissed the Caribbean culture of the Seventies as “manufactured societies, labour camps”. Tony Blair was like a pirate who imposed on Britain a “plebian culture”. The fatwah by Ayatollah Khomeini on Salman Rushdie, he once joked, is an “extreme form of literary criticism”.
He is also used to the passage of time eventually making him seem more prophetic than provocative. When, 30 years ago, he wrote harshly about Islam as a potent global difficulty, he was castigated as a racial stirrer. Now his view is considered by many as mainstream. “What happens after a while is that what appears so bold, fire-burning and house-destroying eventually appears OK. I have gone out and done the work; that is my ticket really.”

His first visit to Africa was in the Sixties. This book was the result of his travels nearly 50 years on. “This time an unspoken aspect of my inquiry was the possibility of subversion of old Africa by the ways of the outside world. To witness the old world of magic was to be given some idea of its power and to be taken back to the beginning of things. To reach that beginning was the purpose of my book. To go in search of the beginning of things. It is very exciting, was at the time, to feel one is in touch with the beginnings of thought, the beginnings of metaphysical ideas. So that was what I meant by going back to the beginning — probably a romantic idea.”
The fact that there is no written culture in Africa, he says, was “a great drawback”, adding “I talked about this to people in Africa. They did not see it like that. They thought it just one of those little things that would be put right eventually. They did not see how fundamental it was not having a writing, a literature, a past you could turn to. I wondered why they could not do the writing.”
Not that he underestimates the power of “old Africa” but he sees it as limiting. “What they feel is very profound and it goes down to their very being. But they have no idea of history, though. No idea of a past. This is true of Africa generally. There is not a book in which you can see where you were 100 years ago and that for me is very disturbing.”

His soft hypnotic voice unleashes many stings in the tail. “I have been interested in earth religions that take you back to the remotest past of men.The simplicity took one's breath away. Yet profound belief comes from, as it were, very educated people, people with a gift of thought and everything else, and you can't say that about Africa, it is all emotion.”

For Naipaul, the country he found it hardest to get a handle on was South Africa. “I found it a very hard place to have a point of view, and that is half the battle. I became very frightened in a way that I was never frightened before. I felt stymied in South Africa and saw here race was everything; that race ran as deep as religion everywhere. I thought that I may not be able to do this book there. To be frightened was a new experience. I do not know whether it was age or what but it went away.”

Naipaul made his initial reputation in fiction with A House for Mr Biswas but his Noble Prize for Literature was as much for his travel writing as his novels. “There are few rules for travel, for instance, not too much about oneself — you have to be a seeing eye or a feeling mind.” He was intensely curious about the behaviour of the people, and the stories he encountered, and was at times shocked. “The unhappiness that people get caught up in, the women who try to kill their children — all of that was new to me.”
He was very moved by the sight of the vast forests in Gabon but he also saw and heard things there that chilled him to the bone. “There is a bad side, certainly in Gabon, they kill and the kinds of people they like to kill are children — it has to be a child or an older person, children because they are nearer to the beginning, an old person because they are near the end of life. All very sinister,” he says.
Naipaul may have gone in search of faith in Africa but he has none himself. “I believe in the endless processing of experience. My philosophical attitude does away with the need for faith. I also have no fear of death. None at all,” he says.

His mind is still razor sharp — this new book means a world tour — and his career has ben bolstered by having recently hired Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie as his new literary agent. Naipaul says he would like to please him by writing a novel next. But he simply does not know if he has it in him. He has been reading a book about how Oscar Wilde no longer wanted to write after he came out of jail. “His editor pressing him to write was asking him to become unhappy. Wilde wanted to be happy at that stage after coming out of jail. So I am just wondering if for a man of nearly 80 writing another book is inviting a kind of unhappiness on himself?”

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bulawayo Burning

If there's one thing, rather two things you must know about the great Professor Terence Ranger is his deep love for one of Zimbabwe's finest writers, Yvonne Vera and Bulawayo (the city with the bluest skies!), hence he named his book Bualwayo Burning after Yvonne Vera's Butterfly Burning, a beautiful novel set in 1940s Bulawayo about a young Black woman who dreams of becoming one of the city's first African nurses in order to escape the poverty of the ghetto. While Yvonne Vera focuses more on the personal experience of living in Bulawayo in 1948, Terence Ranger's book provides the historical backdrop of the text - fusing both historicl and literary styles of writing. I look forward to reading this book as it's been in the pipeline for some years now, since before Yvonne Vera's tragic and untimely death in 2005. The book is available for pre-order through James Currey in the UK incl. US & Europe and Weaver Press in Zimbabwe. 

Monday, 23 August 2010

L-Boogie in Rwanda

About a month ago, the uber fab, super stylish Lauryn Hill performed in Kigali, Rwanda at Fespad 2010 (a week after the faux Presidential election) and by the looks of things she tore up the place! Get 'em Lauryn, now hurry up and release an album! 

Electro + Kwaito = HyperDub

OKMalume KoolKat (pronounced ok ma-loo-may kool kat, translation: ok uncle kool kat, as a riff off of ok player) is one half of the phreshest up n coming duo, Dirty Paraffin and now he's teamed up with UK electrofunksters, LVThis wickd! choon is set to drop Oct 11th, iHope this gets him outta brokesville for good!

If this is ur kind beat, checkout !okmalume!'s blog for a Dirty Paraffin Greatest Hits mixtape free download & more info.

Monday Giggles Brought to You by News of The World

This past weekend saw the return of yet another series of the UK's biggest singing competition, the X Factor. Among the hopefuls was Gamuchirai Nhengu from Zimbabwe, currently living in Scotland. She has a beautiful voice and did her mom proud on stage, I hope she goes very far in the contest... However, the tabloid press just couldn't resist hyping it up. The News of the World takes the cup for the most idiotic headline and gutter press journalism par excellence! 

Peep this: 

'THE Scots girl who wowed millions on last night's X Factor is a survivor of evil dictator Robert Mugabe's brutal regime in Zimbabwe.
Gamu Nhengu, 18, escaped the horror which left tens of thousands dead - either murdered, starved or killed by disease. 

Her mum Nokutula, 38, fled in 2005 and found refuge in Tillicoultry, Clacks, with Gamu and sons Milton, 11, and Marty, ten.
A family friend said last night: "It's unimaginable what they must have been through.  "There's a melancholy about her that tugs at your heart strings. She must miss her home." Gamu's unique rendition of Katrina and the Waves' 1983 hit Walking on Sunshine had the audience on their feet screaming. And the charismatic student's stage confidence dissolved when she tearfully told judges: "This means everything.
"I want to give something back to my mum, she has worked so hard."
All four gave Gamu a a yes, and she's tipped as a front runner. '

...Needless to say this is absolute rubbish, but it makes for  good Monday laugh. It has all the right 'Africa's the Heart of Darkness' buzzwords and is filled with just the right dose of Mugabe is Hitler rhetoric, plus two absurdities thrown into the mix for 1xtra comedy: i. she 'beat' Mugabe (errr how exactly? Is he secretly on X Factor or is she secretly the new Prez'nit of Zimbabwe?) ii. she is a 'Scots girl' but she is a Zimbabwean - I distinctly remember her stating that she is a Zimbabwean who moved to Scotland and Scottish citizenship does not yet exist (although it is a national and ethnic identity), so she is either a Zimbabwean national living in Scotland or a British citizen orginally from Zimbabwe.

Anyway here's Gamu's performance, she reminded me of Fantasia Burinno when she was on American Idol, they kinda look alike. The meedja really need to leave her alone to do her thing on the show, this overhyping of her talent by any means necessary is dangerous, irresponsible reporting and also very untruthful. This isn't about Mugabe - iBetchu her mother has no political affiliations whatsoever and like many Zimbabweans is an economic migrant forced to leave because of the economy. And yea sure she can sing, but let her prove her worth on stage, rather than the press manipulating viewer's opinions with so much coverage - unsurprisingly the usual suspects, The Sun, the Daily Mail have been at it, but none quite like News of the World...

Shame abt XFactor using autochoon on some contestants, it was uneccessary, because this girl can SANG! Best of luck to Gamu!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Haile Gerima: Teza

Directed by Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima, Teza is set in the late 1970s Ethiopia just after HIM Haile Selassie I is dethroned by Haile Mariam Mengistu and his military troops.

From the blurb: "Set in Ethiopia and Germany, Teza examines the displacement of African intellectuals, both at home and abroad, through the story of a young, idealistic Ethiopian doctor -- Anberber. The film chronicles Anberber's internal struggle to stay true, both to himself and to his homeland, but above all, Teza explores the possession of memory -- a right humanity mandates that each of us have - the right to own our pasts."
fisttap theliberator
An Interview with Haile Gerima

Thursday, 19 August 2010

African Soldiers STANDUp!

When it comes to hiphop Nomadic Wax has that midas touch, this is one phresh video they did for OBC & Konkret, emcees from Burkina Faso. According to okayafrica the video was shot in different hoods in Ouagadougou where each of the emcees live, its always nice to see yung Afrikanz repping for their hoods and speaking truth to power.


The Farcical Trial of Owen Maseko

Owen Maseko

Earlier in March this year a Zimbabwean artist, Owen Maseko was arrested for his artistic interpretations of the ethnic massacre in the 1980s (Gukurahundi) in the southern part of the country. He was granted bail a few days later a his trial was set to begin this past Tuesday. He is being charged under Section 31(a) (i) of the Criminal Code Chapter 9:23: Publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state. Apparently he falsely represented the state in his depictions of Gukurahundi and 'undermined the authority of the President' - that's the second bogus charge...Are they serious? 20 0000 people majority Ndebele and Kalanga ethnicity killed, and the best the state can do is continue to deny this ever happened - despite the overwhelming evidence. It goes without saying that Mugs n Thugs Inc do not give toss about an artist's right to free expression but c'mon Prime Minister Tsvangirai, Ministers Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, and David Coltart and Deputy Minister of Justice Jessie Majome - one of you members of the opposition has got to have the testicular fortitude (excl J. Majome) to call this BS right out. Maseko's trial has been postponed to the 13th of September and as we knowing the snail's pace of the courts this could very well be like the neverending 'trials' and incarcerations of Jestina Mukoko, Roy Bennett and the WOZA activists...unless someone in power stops playing Zanu's ventriloquist doll for a minute and actually speaks up. This is more than about justice for Owen Maseko, it's also seeking some sort of recognition by the state for the atrocities against thousands. While the state may have the power to silence artistic expression with as much force as possible, it doesn't change the fact that Gukurahundi did happen, the 5th Brigade Army did kill thousand of civillians. This is your shameful history, deal with it!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Letter to Cordoba Center on Behalf of a Former Slave

Letter to Cordoba Center on Behalf of a Former Slave
by Mark Gonzalez (checkout his FB page)

I. After the world trade center collapsed, the three century old remains of 20,000 African men, women, children, stolen as former slaves, were discovered underneath.
II. Between twenty and thirty percent of all stolen Africans brought to America as slaves were Muslim.
III. A Letter on behalf of Cordoba Center by one such "slave"


Is an unspoken song on the tongues of the forgotten
    ever wonder where will you pray when your skin has abandoned you
    or what religion is your skeleton?
A note for Manhattan city residents & Mr. President:
if cemeteries have zip codes, air mail this poem to my mother
           courtesy of a masjid’s wings holding my father’s tears

New York: have you forgotten cities are built not by steel but bones
that breath is turquoise colored accessory of skeletons
wearing mahogany skin as Friday prayer best

Bedstuy bones have a Project Runway dream - to runaway from the projects.
Tired of being told their shade is out of season by men in midnight blue suits
attempting to tie a two-thumb thick bow tie noose around their neck.

              Strange Fruit is back.
        The new and the old Black
          in time for spring season.
        Muslims again the designs
breathing chest             heaving
swinging from government branch limbs.

        Dear America: I interrupt your Tea Party
            with reminders of ancestral legacy
             that picked the very leafs you sip
They say thirty percent of all slaves stolen from Africa were Muslim
             denied prayer on ships
             lynched and mocked
           whips for the worshipping
                shot for salaat.

slaves to the dollar enslaving slaves of Allah

When you built the World Trade Center over our cemeteries
did Senegalese mother’s hold drum circle protest at construction companies
for the steel saliva you layered on their children’s coffins?

New York City's living pretty luxurious brag
how little skin they own
that one can see their bones through rib cage as if Prada
fashioned design mannequins after auction block melanin.
While in 2002, twenty thousand African slaves were discovered
underneath the cat walk modeling states of decay
in basement of what is called the World Trade Center

                    Slaves.     Models.
                     believe in God

tolerated for invoking the name in anorexia’s reverse communion
practices Ramadan 365 days a year
stomach lining sacrifice offering to porcelains altars
in city subsidized stalls and clubs.

is child hiding with no one seeking
holding song of Quran In decomposed lungs for three centuries
the sum of Saladin’s sons and daughters under one hundred three steel exhales
separated from the ummah by a cracked twin tear
only homage to memory street cipher testimony
a windmill break dance spin cycles of seven
for circles never made around the ka’ba in Mecca.

Cordoba: thank you for daring to call adhan
in a den of lions illiterate to love.
They call our cemetary “Ground zero”
de facto nicknaming us en la tierra negative
absence of value

America: tell us
in this   space   moment   century
as you stand over our grave
that 20,000 spirits of Muslim African
slaves still do not have a right
or a place to pray.

New York:
Your building zones built homes upon our bones
Must you again deny us in death our rights you denied us in life.
We, deserve after three centuries to finally say

Bismillahir rhaminir rahim
Know our prayers end as they always do.
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

(May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon ALL & you)

Sincerely signed:

x (+ 19,995 times)

TwoCents: This is a very powerful poem and I'm feelin' it, BUT iCaaan't overlook what Arabs did when they brought Islam to Africa. Of course the poet's focus is New 'ork and the current waves of Islamophobia, but because he decides to get historical, why not go the whole mile and talk about everything ..if Amerikkka's up for it, that is. Africans and Arab Muslims are buried there and most likely before them are the Manhatee and Carnasie Indians, some of the the native inhabitants of New 'ork before Peter Minuit, rolled up in his Dutch West India ship and swindled them out of Manhattan for 60 guilders, the equivalent of $23.70.

The African Burial Ground

                               fisttap to my sis, SB in Brazil

Monday, 16 August 2010

Introducin'... Lindiwe Suttle

Been meaning to post this for the longest times, oops! This is Lindiwe Suttle, Felicia Mabuza-Suttle's daughter, and although I'm not a fan of her mother's talkshow (those from Southern Africa will know the Felicia show), Lindiwe - iLike! Oh so stylish (could jack her whole wardrobe!) n So so soulful, lookin' forward to samplin' her work & seein' her live one day.

Monday Reading For Squares...comme moi ; )

The notion 'postcolony' identifies specifically a given historical trajectory -that of societies recently emerging from the experience of colonisation and the violence which the colonial relationship, par excellence, involves. To be sure, the postcolony is chaotically pluralistic, yet it has nonetheless an internal coherence. It is a specific system of signs, a particular way of fabricating simulacra or re-forming stereotypes. It is not, however, just an economy of signs in which power is mirrored and imagined self-reflectively. The postcolony is characterised by a distinctive style of political improvis- ation, by a tendency to excess and a lack of proportion as well as by distinctive ways in which identities are multiplied, transformed and put into circulation. But the postcolony is also made up of a series of corporate institutions and a political machinery which, once they are in place, constitute a distinctive regime of violence In this sense, the postcolony is a particularly revealing (and rather dramatic) stage on which are played out the wider problems of subjection and its corollary, discipline.

...In the postcolony the commandement seeks to institutionalise itself, in order to achieve legitimation and hegemony (recherche he'gmonique), in the form of a fetish. The signs, vocabulary and narratives that it produces are not meant merely to be symbols; they are officially invested with a surplus of meanings which are not negotiable and which one is officially forbidden to depart from or challenge. So as to ensure that no such challenge takes place, the champions of state power invent entire constellations of ideas; they adopt a distinct set of cultural repertoires and powerfully evocative concepts; but they also have resort, if necessary, to the systematic application of pain.The basic goal is not just to bring a specific political consciousness into being but to make it effective. We therefore need to examine the way the world of meanings thus produced is ordered, the types of institutions, the knowledges, norms and practices that structure this new 'common sense' as well as the light that the use of visual imagery and discourse throws on the nature of domination and subordination.

From Provisional Notes on the Postcolony, Achille Mbembe (1992)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Irie Sunday Vibez

This is Meta & The Cornerstones whose members are from Africa, North America, the Middle East and Asia. This beautiful video was shot in the hometown of the leadsinger, Meta-Dia in Jaffa, Senegal. 

From okayafrica
[Meta & The Cornerstones] carry a sound that is a literal unification of the world’s musical experience. With a classic feel-good reggae sound that also channels the smoothness of soul, the political fire of hip-hop, and the energy of Afropop, the band has carved a niche for itself, especially here in New York City where they just announced a monthly residency at the 92Y Tribeca. The other day, National Geographic Music premiered the group’s first official video, featured above. This colorful masterpiece gets at the heart of Meta’s music – African inspired reggae goodness.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Extracted Truths

Proving that Mr Taylor, the former president of Liberia, travelled to South Africa thirteen year ago in possession of one (according to Mia Farrow), three (Naomi) or five (Naomi’s agent) rough diamonds won't definitively prove the case for the prosecution anyway.
They have already called about 90 witnesses, including about 30 so-called “insider witnesses”, those who could testify to being with Mr Taylor when he was arranging his deals with the RUF Sierra Leone rebels who procured the diamonds for him. It is the cumulative weight of this sort of evidence that is more likely to clinch a case against Mr Taylor, rather than the scrappy and often contradictory stories of a handful of celebs.

Already there is a lot of disquiet, anger even, in Africa at the length and cost of the Taylor trial. The current circus will do nothing to assuage a feeling in dirt-poor Sierra Leone and Liberia that Mr Taylor and all the highly paid lawyers are merrily wasting millions of dollars dragging out a case that should have been over many months ago. When I was at The Hague last year, the lawyers were hoping to be back at their day jobs by March of this year. Now August has come round again and still there is no end in sight. It would be far better for the course and cause of international justice for everyone to be debating whether there might be a better way to conduct these sorts of trials rather than whether Naomi really did flirt with Charlie at Nelson’s dinner table.
From The Economist Blog, African Baobab.

....two corrections I'd make is that a. Naomi Campbell said six, Jeremy Ratcliffe said three 'dirty-looking stones' and b. she's a model wiv attitude not a 'stroppy model', this is Ms Campbell. 

World Cup Blues

This irie summer choon by Rocky Dawuni from Ghana is dedicated to the Black Stars who lost 1-0 to Bafana Bafana last night in an international friendly.
Checkout the remix on ThisIsAfrica. There's also a free download link.

In DOPE Music WE Trust.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kelechi Meets Keziah

Kelechi Amadi Obi vs Keziah Jones from Joel Benson on Vimeo.

simply beautiful.

Who Killed Captain Alex?

Produced by Ramon Film Productions in Kampala and described as Uganda's first and greatest action movie, this flick prolly beats any wild action flick coming out of Nollywood and even Hollywood gotsta bow down to this! Who Killed Captain Alex? is set in Kampala shorty after a police raid in which Captain Alex and  drug dealer's brother are murdered and both the gangsters and police seek to avenge the deaths. According to the Ugandan Newspaper, The Observer, the film cost 8 million shillings (US $3500) and the police refused to provide the filmmakers with any support apart from uniforms - on their request list were guns, tankers and helicopters. (lol!)

From The Observer: It is a well scripted movie, but the visuals are too graphic. Nabwama says, he just wanted to produce an action movie, acted, produced and directed by Ugandans. But he can’t be forgiven for using toy guns and pistols in the production.
“When we approached CPS about the project, we were told that we [film industry] are not yet at that level. They could only provide us with police uniforms,” he says. “But we had asked them to provide us with helicopters, guns, tankers and access to army barracks. So we had to settle for the computer.”

...Apparently there's a sequel on the way.
fisttap PetinaGappah & GeekSystem

Quotable Truths

Rhodesia, as a space, defines an English race that discovers through the process of conquest and appropriation the nature of its own civilisation. The English become a race only through relation to their empire;
Rhodesians as spokespeople of the discourses of empire are also naming their own identity. […]
It is in his struggle to discipline both the perceived unruliness of African nature and the nature of the Africans that the Englishman becomes his true self, and the Rhodesian who in turn has appropriated that discourse becomes his or her true self.
(Anthony Chennells 1996:103)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Bruxelles v Southall

Bruxelles, Pour Mes Gens

Souf'all, Fi DeMassive!

Migrants We Might Be, But We Belong Here.
(albeit temporarily for some of us)
                                                                                                                     fisttap AfricasACountry

Friday, 6 August 2010

Spoek's 90s Throwback

SPOEK MATHAMBO – MSHINI WAM from spoek mathambo on Vimeo.

Mshini Wam is the latest vid from Spoek Mathambo who rapped as part of Sweat.X on a track I posted a while back. Kiddy choruses and hard baselines seem to be formula, its growing on me. Hope to hear he's on the Europe muzik circuit in the near futcha. iHad totally forgotten the Madiba viscose shirt was once all the rage...

Mo' Kwestinz

And so the story of the 'dirty stones' continues...
1. How many 'dirty stones' were there, 1 (Mia F.), 3 (Ratcliffe) or 6 (Nana)???
2. 'Dirty-looking Stones' sounds like a kiff quote to use in a diamond ad, non?
3. What exactly are 'blood diamonds'?
4. How does the ICC know that these particular dirty stones were in fact 'blood diamonds' that can be linked back to Fodey Sankoh's rebels? (haven't seen it in news articles so if u know, post a link.)
5. Is every, single diamond from a country at war like Sierra Leone a 'blood diamond' during years of conflict?
6. Is Shell in Nigeria or Trafigura in Cote d'Ivoire dealing in 'blood oil'? What about the ships using Ghana as a digital dumping ground and Somalia, as a toxic dump site, is that 'blood waste'?...Surely there must be a 'blood everything movement' within the leftwing meedja if it is truly to be the Plantation's voice of reason.
7. If Jeremy Ratcliffe is wrong for having kept the diamonds a secret then surely De Beers and their German padres in Zimbabwe are guilty of wrongdoing since they kept it a secret for years that there were diamond fields in Marange?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

NaNa Takes the Stand

Random Kwestins: 1.As much of a farce as the ICC is and also fully overstanding why Charles Taylor is standing trial, why did Nana's agent, Carol White grass her out? Mia Farrow...okay we know she's got activist street cred - failed hunger strikes n all to prove it, but Carol White, really??? Thought she was meant to be a mother figure to Nana, but she ratted her out and then sold/gave her story to the Daily Mail, of all papers. Lol.
2. How can Nana be a patron of several African charities and not know where Liberia is or be clueless about the war??? Santa puhleaaaze put an atlas and a newspaper subscription in her XMas stocking! Our girl can't be embarassing herself like that.
3. Which designer was she wearing? Good Look.
4. Was it a big, (presumably) clean diamond (Mia Farrow) or roughly six 'dirty stones' (Nana Campell)?
5. If you got 'dirty stones' in a pouch in the middle of the night wouldn't it occur to you that they were precious 'dirty stones', at best or 'dirty juju stones', at the worst?
6. Where is/are the diamond/s today?
7. Dontcha love this line? : "I gave the stones to Jeremy. Immediately, I got on the train I looked for him ... I said take them, do something good with them, make the children better, I don't want to keep them." (Nana Campbell). Awww, some poor li'l children need some 'dirty stones' to make it all better, do they? Lol.
8. How many people will still have an interest in the trial after today?
9. How important is Nana's testimony anyway? Taylor's on trial for 11 counts of war crimes, how does a couple of 'dirty stones' allegedly given to a celebrity come to dominate the trial? What about the other testimonies of Liberian army personnel who gave details of what they did under Taylor's orders? 
10. Say Nana recieved the 'dirty stones', does this bring the ICC prosecution any closer to proving prove a direct, causal connection between Taylor and the violence so he can be prosecuted? Considering that she's not said the stones were from Taylor.
11.During trial preparation did the ICC at any point think to call on Charles Mitterand and Jacques Chirac to testify about the support they provided to Taylor in the 1990s, surely past Presidents have some celebrity status worthy of the ICC witness box. ; )
12. Finally, when are Tony Blair and George Bush standing trial for war crimes, times awastin'.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Shangaan Electro

Please Note: 1. Dog is translation of his nickname which is Nozinja.
2. Artists in the West, regardless of race, gender or music genre, are notorious for stealing beats so when you hear a 'new' track sounding sumtin like dis, remember where you heard it first and shout TIEF!