In the fall of 2015, universities across South Africa were engulfed by fires ignited by students’ discontent with the racial discrimination and colonialism that still defines the country’s institutes of higher education.
The protests broadcast on televisions around the world were neither without precedent nor without parallel. The University in Africa, and indeed South Africa, has always been a site of turmoil, conflict and insurrection. But as history reveals, without a wider call for social change in society and a deeper engagement with questions of decolonisation, student protest movements stand to die an isolated death in the university.
The latest issue of Chimurenga’s pan-African gazette, the Chronic, explores the tensions between reform and revolution, and decolonisation and the neoliberal order in the academy, through the lens of history and via the alternate education paradigms based in indigenous knowledge systems, and also arising from South Africa’s radical anti-apartheid struggle.
The late 1960s witnessed a wave of youth uprisings and student protests of a rare intensity. In his essay on the gestation, articulations and manipulations of student politics in Congo during that era, Pedro Monaville explores the ways in which one particular massacre on campus in Kinshasa ignited protracted protests and responses from the state that echo to this day in the physical and intellectual decay of the country’s tertiary institutions.
Writer and activist Frank B. Wilderson III draws from his memory of student protests at Vista University in Soweto, a historically black institution – which has all but vanished from public memory; Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire visits a university in eastern Uganda, named in honour of the pan African giant, Marcus Garvey, seeking, through the philosophy of Afrikology, to reinstate and mainstream indigenous knowledge systems that were distorted by Greece and Rome while Kwanele Sosibo travels to the University of Fort Hare in rural Eastern Cape, the alma mater of numerous African heads of state, and writes about a curriculum intervention called Life Knowledge Action that offers a unique “grounding” experience to all undergraduates.
Switching focus from the university to international diplomacy, Joshua Craze offers a sobering analysis of the United Nations in South Sudan, where civil war is the order of every day. Writing from Nigeria, Yemisi Aribisala rails against the new fundamentalism cresting the wave of global feminism sweeping her home country. She challenges the gender imperialism implicit in its aspiration to uniform ideas of celebrity, power, erudition and beauty.
Football is the focus of the books supplement, Chronic Books. Not so much
the game itself as the language produced in, around and about it. How football is spoken, written and narratively performed – from the informal commentary of bar talk, blogs, social media and stadium banter to more formal inquiries in mainstream media.
James Young writes from Brazil revealing the nexus between the twists of life on and off the pitch while Lidudumalingani Mqombothi revisits the football matches of his childhood, when radio, not television, was most people’s ticket to the beautiful game.
This edition of the Chronic also features a photonovella titled “Jabu Comes to Joburg”, a classic South African tale re-imagined by Achal Prabhala.
Other contributors to include Rustum Kozain, Florence Madenga, Ed Pavlic, Jon Soske, Meghna Singh, Masande Ntshanga, Abdourahman Waberi, Nick Mulgrew, Lindokuhle Nkosi, Wendell Marsh, Nick Mwaluko and many more.
Get the print edition of the Chronic from select retailers throughout South Africa from 22 April 2016. (visit www.chimurenga.co.za for a full list of stockists worldwide).
The Chronic is also available to order as both a print and digital edition from the Chimurenga online store
Michaelis Galleries are proud to present Fantastic, the catalogue follows the exhibition and an inter-disciplinary colloquium that ignite critical thought about the fantastic in contemporary art and visual culture.Curated by Nomusa Makhubu and Nkule Mabaso, the exhibition brought together video art and photographs that engage with the fantastic.
This publication, invites you to engage with the concerns of the exhibition and colloquium long after they the events ended.
The exhibition includes international artists such as Jelili Atiku (Nigeria), Dineo Bopape (South Africa), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe), Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria), Milumbe Haimbe (Zambia), Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Terence Nance (USA), Tracey Rose (South Africa), Zina Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria) and Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (Botswana) for whom the “image, the imagined, the imaginary… direct us to something critical and new in global cultural processes, the imagination as social practice” (Appadurai 1996). The exercise of power is related to the control of visibility/ invisibility, deception and silencing which begins, often, with the manipulation of images and of the imaginary. Works exploring the fantastic in photography and video art have been selected precisely because of the complex relations these technologies have in the construction of fantasies about ‘Africa’. This exhibition celebrates popular technologies such as video-film that have created novel ways of seeing and reading the real/ imaginary dialectic. The works show how the ‘real world’ and the ‘spiritual world’ collide but at the same time they remind us of the ideological machinations that construct these worlds.
Battleground, Michael Godby, R150
Charles Bell’s sixty drawings of the War of the Axe, 1846, constitute an invaluable record of an important moment in South African history. Yet, in representing the war from the colonial point of view, they inevitably incorporate the prejudices of the day, such as the settler view of the causes of the war and the colonial belief in the superiority of European over African peoples. In seeking to justify, as well as document, the war – especially when translated to engravings for an imperial viewership – the drawings assume the form of propaganda. This catalogue, and the exhibition on which it is based, seek to return Bell’s drawings from a purely aesthetic discourse to a meaningful historical context.
Book of Iterations, Pippa Skotnes, R500
Book of iterations accompanies the exhibition Lamb of God; a solo exhibition of work, reiterated in several venues and at different times, that reflects on histories of sacrifice and redemption.
Unconquerable spirit : George Stow and the landscapes of the San – Pippa Skotnes, R350
The exhibition of the work of the industrious (but little known) Stow at the Iziko South African Museum included a collection of his rock art reproductions and additional material produced by Stow including maps, documents and sketches. Also on display were some of his poetic works, quotations from his writings on the San and their history as he recorded and interpreted it, and contextual material from the Bleek and Lloyd archive. The exhibition brought together works from the Iziko South African Museum , the National Library of South Africa and the University of Cape Town. The book, Unconquerable spirit: George Stow’s history paintings of the San, was launched at the opening of the exhibition.
Jeannette Unite: Terra, edited by Andrew Lamprecht and Ivor Powell, R 350
Uncertain Curature, edited by Carolyn Hamilton and Pippa Skotnes, R 380