Sunday, 30 December 2007

SUNDAY COVER & POETRY (X)


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{Poem: A Martian Sends a Postcard Home, by Craig Raine. Raine is founder and editor of the literary magazine Arete'. His poetry collections include The Onion, Memory (1978), A Martian Sends a Postcard Home (1979), and History: The Home Movie (1994). His latest book is T.S. Eliot: Image, Text and Context (2007) - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
BOAS ENTRADAS!
KANDANDOS!

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{Poem: A Martian Sends a Postcard Home, by Craig Raine. Raine is founder and editor of the literary magazine Arete'. His poetry collections include The Onion, Memory (1978), A Martian Sends a Postcard Home (1979), and History: The Home Movie (1994). His latest book is T.S. Eliot: Image, Text and Context (2007) - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
BOAS ENTRADAS!
KANDANDOS!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

2007 PUBLICATIONS ON "LUSOPHONE AFRICA"


SELECTED TITLES

Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA) da Univ. do Porto
(Coord.), Trabalho Forçado Africano – Articulações com
o poder político. Porto: Campo das Letras 2007

Chissico, Hermínio Paulino. O Racismo: Na sua Perspectiva Sociológica e
Psicológica - Como o Mesmo se Manifesta a Nível Global e em Moçambique.
Maputo: 2007

Fermino, António José - ANGOLA EVOCAÇÕES (Vida
do angolano e suas relações. com os europeus nos
longínquos anos de 1950-70 ). Lisbon: Europress,
2006, 171 p. ilustr. ISBN 978-989-20-0737-3

Francisco, Miguel. Nuvem Negra. O drama de 27 de Maio
de 1977. 199 pp. Lisbon: Clássica Editora 2007.

Ganhão, Carlos. Dembos: A Floresta do Medo: Angola - 1969 a 1971 [Romance].
Lisboa: Terramar [Tudo Ficção], 2007

Marcos, Daniel de Silva Costa. Salazar e de Gaulle: A França e a Questão Colonial Portuguesa (1958-1968). Lisboa: Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros [Biblioteca Diplomática, Série D], 2007

M’Bokolo, Elikia. ÁFRICA NEGRA. História e
Civilizações do Século XIX aos nossos dias. Tome II.
Lisbon: Edições Colibri 2007.

Mondlane, Janet Rae. O Eco da Tua Voz: Cartas Editadas de Eduardo
Mondlane. Volume I (1920-1950). Maputo : IU, 2007

Oliveira, Pedro Aires. Os Despojos da Aliança: A Grã-Bretanha e a Questão Colonial Portuguesa, 1845-1976. Lisboa: Tinta-da-China, 2007

Ribeiro, Margarida Calafate. África Feminino: As Mulheres Portuguesas e a Guerra Colonial. Porto: Afrontamento [Textos 55], 2007

[COMPREHENSIVE LIST]


SELECTED TITLES

Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA) da Univ. do Porto
(Coord.), Trabalho Forçado Africano – Articulações com
o poder político. Porto: Campo das Letras 2007

Chissico, Hermínio Paulino. O Racismo: Na sua Perspectiva Sociológica e
Psicológica - Como o Mesmo se Manifesta a Nível Global e em Moçambique.
Maputo: 2007

Fermino, António José - ANGOLA EVOCAÇÕES (Vida
do angolano e suas relações. com os europeus nos
longínquos anos de 1950-70 ). Lisbon: Europress,
2006, 171 p. ilustr. ISBN 978-989-20-0737-3

Francisco, Miguel. Nuvem Negra. O drama de 27 de Maio
de 1977. 199 pp. Lisbon: Clássica Editora 2007.

Ganhão, Carlos. Dembos: A Floresta do Medo: Angola - 1969 a 1971 [Romance].
Lisboa: Terramar [Tudo Ficção], 2007

Marcos, Daniel de Silva Costa. Salazar e de Gaulle: A França e a Questão Colonial Portuguesa (1958-1968). Lisboa: Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros [Biblioteca Diplomática, Série D], 2007

M’Bokolo, Elikia. ÁFRICA NEGRA. História e
Civilizações do Século XIX aos nossos dias. Tome II.
Lisbon: Edições Colibri 2007.

Mondlane, Janet Rae. O Eco da Tua Voz: Cartas Editadas de Eduardo
Mondlane. Volume I (1920-1950). Maputo : IU, 2007

Oliveira, Pedro Aires. Os Despojos da Aliança: A Grã-Bretanha e a Questão Colonial Portuguesa, 1845-1976. Lisboa: Tinta-da-China, 2007

Ribeiro, Margarida Calafate. África Feminino: As Mulheres Portuguesas e a Guerra Colonial. Porto: Afrontamento [Textos 55], 2007

[COMPREHENSIVE LIST]

Friday, 28 December 2007

LOCAL VOICES OFFLINE (2)

Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…


I was about to post this yesterday when the news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination made me suspend it for at least a day.

“Now We’re Talking” is part of a show on Gabz FM by top Botswana radio DJ and comedian extraordinaire Michael “Dignash” Morapedi (read about him here and here). It consists of a delightful series of pranks he plays on unaware, innocent people he manages to get on the phone… Mimicking an amazingly wide range of personalities, voices, accents and tones, he succeeds at caricaturing some of the most interesting aspects of daily social, economic and political life in Gaborone, Botswana and the wider Southern African region. Truly a ‘must listen’ if you are around…





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Intro

To help us unwind and try to rescue the rest of this holiday period from the somberness of yesterday’s news, I selected this ridiculously funny episode ('Don't Touch My Wife') about the absurdity of a situation that leaves a poor man crying… Enjoy!





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Don't Touch My Wife

Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…


I was about to post this yesterday when the news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination made me suspend it for at least a day.

“Now We’re Talking” is part of a show on Gabz FM by top Botswana radio DJ and comedian extraordinaire Michael “Dignash” Morapedi (read about him here and here). It consists of a delightful series of pranks he plays on unaware, innocent people he manages to get on the phone… Mimicking an amazingly wide range of personalities, voices, accents and tones, he succeeds at caricaturing some of the most interesting aspects of daily social, economic and political life in Gaborone, Botswana and the wider Southern African region. Truly a ‘must listen’ if you are around…





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Intro

To help us unwind and try to rescue the rest of this holiday period from the somberness of yesterday’s news, I selected this ridiculously funny episode ('Don't Touch My Wife') about the absurdity of a situation that leaves a poor man crying… Enjoy!





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Don't Touch My Wife

Thursday, 27 December 2007

BENAZIR BHUTTO (R.I.P.)


With the brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto today, the small list of female political leaders in the world has gone even shorter.
Shocking as this news came, and independently of her gender and politics, the most pressing question in my mind, particularly at this time of the year when, regardless of faith and religion, humanity is supposed to be vying for world peace, is this:

PAKISTAN: CAN THERE EVER BE PEACE?

With the brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto today, the small list of female political leaders in the world has gone even shorter.
Shocking as this news came, and independently of her gender and politics, the most pressing question in my mind, particularly at this time of the year when, regardless of faith and religion, humanity is supposed to be vying for world peace, is this:

PAKISTAN: CAN THERE EVER BE PEACE?

Sunday, 23 December 2007

SUNDAY COVER & POETRY (IX)

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{Poem: Jesus Isn't Just For Christmas , by John Hegley. John Hegley's collections include Glad to Wear Glasses (1990), Can I Come Down Now Dad (1991), and Dog (2000). His latest collection is The Sound of Paint Drying (2003). He has also released his own CD of songs and poetry Saint and Blurry. Musician Keith Moore accompanies John Hegley on his track here - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

MERRY XMAS EVERYONE!
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{Poem: Jesus Isn't Just For Christmas , by John Hegley. John Hegley's collections include Glad to Wear Glasses (1990), Can I Come Down Now Dad (1991), and Dog (2000). His latest collection is The Sound of Paint Drying (2003). He has also released his own CD of songs and poetry Saint and Blurry. Musician Keith Moore accompanies John Hegley on his track here - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

MERRY XMAS EVERYONE!

Friday, 21 December 2007

LOCAL VOICES OFFLINE (1)

Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…


GREAT PARLIAMENTARY SPEECHES

"It took a long time to broadcast the British Parliament. It was one of the last in the Western world to agree to it. And that was after a long series of votes, narrow majorities against, and limited experiments in the Sixties and Seventies.

But it wasn’t for want of trying. Almost as soon as the BBC was founded questions were asked in Parliament. In 1923 the Prime Minister Mr. Bonar Law said that it would be “undesirable” – and that continued to be the official view till well after the Second World War. In the same year, with remarkable prescience, the first issue of the “Radio Times” began on its front page: “When WE broadcast Parliament – and it’s bound to happen this century or the next…”. Even at that time, ‘Popular Wireless’ was making jokes about it. But despite the continuous pressure from Sir John Reith, politicians remained hostile to radio. “The Week in Westminster” was founded in 1929, as an attempt to bring Parliament to the housewife, if microphones were barred in the House.

Throughout the Thirties the BBC was not permitted a permanent representative in the Press Gallery – that only came in 1945, with the start of “Today in Parliament”. Clement Attlee had written a dissenting note to the Ullswater Report of 1935, - which modestly recommended allowing a BBC reporter access to the Gallery to report debates, - on the grounds that he could not be objective. Direct broadcasting of Parliament, said the report, was “impracticable”.

Winston Churchill took a different view. He tried to get microphones installed so that an “electrical recording” could be made of his speech on a Vote of Confidence in January 1942 – he persuaded the War Cabinet, but not the House."


[Keep reading here]


First Day




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At the end of Question Time on the first day the Commons was broadcast, the Speaker, GEORGE THOMAS, had a humorous comment in reply to a point of Order from JULIAN RIDSDALE, (Con., Harwich). The first MP to speak on the air, after the Speaker, was John Morris, Welsh Secretary, answering Welsh questions. (3/4/78)

“Turkeys voting for Christmas”




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March 28th, 1979 was a fateful day for the Labour government – the Lib-Lab pact had collapsed, the Nationalists had turned on Labour after the failure of its devolution bills, and a few crucial Ulster votes could not be guaranteed. At ten o’clock, the vote (of confidence) was taken, the government lost by one, and the Prime Minister, JAMES CALLAGHAN, was forced to call an election. Labour were out of power throughout the Eighties. Opening the debate, Callaghan derided the Liberals for “spinning like a top” over talks on devolution, and the SNP for destroying their own future. (28/3/79)
Things someone, somewhere in the world, was talking about but you probably weren’t listening…


GREAT PARLIAMENTARY SPEECHES

"It took a long time to broadcast the British Parliament. It was one of the last in the Western world to agree to it. And that was after a long series of votes, narrow majorities against, and limited experiments in the Sixties and Seventies.

But it wasn’t for want of trying. Almost as soon as the BBC was founded questions were asked in Parliament. In 1923 the Prime Minister Mr. Bonar Law said that it would be “undesirable” – and that continued to be the official view till well after the Second World War. In the same year, with remarkable prescience, the first issue of the “Radio Times” began on its front page: “When WE broadcast Parliament – and it’s bound to happen this century or the next…”. Even at that time, ‘Popular Wireless’ was making jokes about it. But despite the continuous pressure from Sir John Reith, politicians remained hostile to radio. “The Week in Westminster” was founded in 1929, as an attempt to bring Parliament to the housewife, if microphones were barred in the House.

Throughout the Thirties the BBC was not permitted a permanent representative in the Press Gallery – that only came in 1945, with the start of “Today in Parliament”. Clement Attlee had written a dissenting note to the Ullswater Report of 1935, - which modestly recommended allowing a BBC reporter access to the Gallery to report debates, - on the grounds that he could not be objective. Direct broadcasting of Parliament, said the report, was “impracticable”.

Winston Churchill took a different view. He tried to get microphones installed so that an “electrical recording” could be made of his speech on a Vote of Confidence in January 1942 – he persuaded the War Cabinet, but not the House."

[Keep reading here]


First Day




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At the end of Question Time on the first day the Commons was broadcast, the Speaker, GEORGE THOMAS, had a humorous comment in reply to a point of Order from JULIAN RIDSDALE, (Con., Harwich). The first MP to speak on the air, after the Speaker, was John Morris, Welsh Secretary, answering Welsh questions. (3/4/78)

“Turkeys voting for Christmas”




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March 28th, 1979 was a fateful day for the Labour government – the Lib-Lab pact had collapsed, the Nationalists had turned on Labour after the failure of its devolution bills, and a few crucial Ulster votes could not be guaranteed. At ten o’clock, the vote (of confidence) was taken, the government lost by one, and the Prime Minister, JAMES CALLAGHAN, was forced to call an election. Labour were out of power throughout the Eighties. Opening the debate, Callaghan derided the Liberals for “spinning like a top” over talks on devolution, and the SNP for destroying their own future. (28/3/79)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

NOTES FROM THE AFRICAN DIASPORA: AN ECONOMIST'S VIEWS ON THE EU-AFRICA SUMMIT IN LISBON

I just came from Jewels In The Jungle, where I was left lost for words by this early Christmas present from BRE (in fact, I suspect it's going to be my best this year and, gosh BRE, how I wish I could find the words to adequately reciprocate... can you possibly do with just this: THANK YOU!)

*

Introduction

The following analysis of the recently concluded EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon is rather lengthy so I will try to keep this introduction short. The editorial was authored by an Angolan economist and economic historian, Ana F. Santana, who lives and works in London. I have admired Ana’s writing online about Africa and African issues for several months and she has just celebrated her 1st anniversary as a certified global blogger & citizen journalist at her personal blog “Koluki”.

Toward the end of November I received a request for an article about the EU-Africa Summit 2007 from Jörg Wolf* in Berlin. I responded to Jörg’s request “that I had just the right person to write that article for his prestigious organization” if she would be willing and had the time to do it. Fortunately Ana accepted the invitation and I had effectively passed a “hot potato” on to someone I felt was better qualified to write about this historic and important meeting of African and European leaders. Jörg was also delighted to have Ana’s contribution, adding a new and different perspective on transcontinental issues in contrast to the predominately European viewpoints on the summit published in the European press and aired on TV and radio news programs.

*Jörg is the co-author of the Atlantic Review blog and Editor-In-Chief for the Atlantic Community, a new “open think tank” focusing on transatlantic issues and dialogues between North America and Europe. Some of my readers may remember Jörg from our collaboration on the very popular March/April 2007 series about Black and African History in Germany and Europe.

Ana’s editorial is the product of what I term “a beautiful mind”, knowledge and opinions from a well-educated, hard-working, young woman interested and engaged in world affairs. Through her writing online Ana is helping to create a better world by freely sharing her knowledge and skills with others around the globe. Ana earned a MSc. degree in Economic History and Development Economics from the prestigious London School of Economics. A short bio with more information about Ana F. Santana can be found at the Atlantic Community and Die Welt Online websites.

It is an honor for me to be able to present Ana’s full editorial at Jewels in the Jungle. A shorter version of the article titled “EU-Africa Summit: Trade Disagreements Hinder Better Partnership” can be found at the Atlantic Community Policy Workshops and in the Debatte section of Die Welt Online, a leading German newspaper and flagship publication of the Axel Springer Verlag.
I just came from Jewels In The Jungle, where I was left lost for words by this early Christmas present from BRE (in fact, I suspect it's going to be my best this year and, gosh BRE, how I wish I could find the words to adequately reciprocate... can you possibly do with just this: THANK YOU!)

*

Introduction

The following analysis of the recently concluded EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon is rather lengthy so I will try to keep this introduction short. The editorial was authored by an Angolan economist and economic historian, Ana F. Santana, who lives and works in London. I have admired Ana’s writing online about Africa and African issues for several months and she has just celebrated her 1st anniversary as a certified global blogger & citizen journalist at her personal blog “Koluki”.

Toward the end of November I received a request for an article about the EU-Africa Summit 2007 from Jörg Wolf* in Berlin. I responded to Jörg’s request “that I had just the right person to write that article for his prestigious organization” if she would be willing and had the time to do it. Fortunately Ana accepted the invitation and I had effectively passed a “hot potato” on to someone I felt was better qualified to write about this historic and important meeting of African and European leaders. Jörg was also delighted to have Ana’s contribution, adding a new and different perspective on transcontinental issues in contrast to the predominately European viewpoints on the summit published in the European press and aired on TV and radio news programs.

*Jörg is the co-author of the Atlantic Review blog and Editor-In-Chief for the Atlantic Community, a new “open think tank” focusing on transatlantic issues and dialogues between North America and Europe. Some of my readers may remember Jörg from our collaboration on the very popular March/April 2007 series about Black and African History in Germany and Europe.

Ana’s editorial is the product of what I term “a beautiful mind”, knowledge and opinions from a well-educated, hard-working, young woman interested and engaged in world affairs. Through her writing online Ana is helping to create a better world by freely sharing her knowledge and skills with others around the globe. Ana earned a MSc. degree in Economic History and Development Economics from the prestigious London School of Economics. A short bio with more information about Ana F. Santana can be found at the Atlantic Community and Die Welt Online websites.

It is an honor for me to be able to present Ana’s full editorial at Jewels in the Jungle. A shorter version of the article titled “EU-Africa Summit: Trade Disagreements Hinder Better Partnership” can be found at the Atlantic Community Policy Workshops and in the Debatte section of Die Welt Online, a leading German newspaper and flagship publication of the Axel Springer Verlag.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

SUNDAY COVER & POETRY (VIII)




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{Poem: Sitting On The Pavement Outside The Camden Falcon, August 1987, by Alan Buckley. Alan was brought up in Merseyside and now lives in Oxford. He is currently one of two poets running the Live Literature Programme at HMP Grendon in Buckinghamshire - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}



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{Poem: Sitting On The Pavement Outside The Camden Falcon, August 1987, by Alan Buckley. Alan was brought up in Merseyside and now lives in Oxford. He is currently one of two poets running the Live Literature Programme at HMP Grendon in Buckinghamshire - in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

Friday, 14 December 2007

REMEMBERING OTIS

It's 40 years this week since the tragic untimely death of Otis Redding. Here's how his widow, friends and extended family at Stax Records remembered him:



MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1967 was a typically balmy winter’s day. The weather was nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit at midday – too warm for fur coats, but perfect for sunglasses and sharkskin suits, particularly when you put the top down to cruise into work at three in the afternoon, when the sun was at its highest peak. Stax Records, a movie theatre-cum-recording studio a few miles east of the Mississippi, was poppin’ that month: Carla Thomas and Albert King had released Top 100 hits, while The Charmels’ As Long As I’ve Got You and Jeanne And The Darlings’ Soul Girl were making local waves. But in the hallways at 926 East McLemore Avenue the buzz was all about one artist, Otis Redding, who’d returned to the studio for a marathon three-week session following surgery to remove throat polyps. The mood at Stax was stultifying, until Otis stepped up to the mike sometime after lunch and started laying down more than a dozen tracks, including the potentially career-changing tune (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, a pop-inspired stylistic departure from his previous gut-bucket soul oeuvre.


‘When Otis had the chance to work that long, my kids and I would come into Memphis and stay with him at the Holiday Inn for three or four days at a time,” says Zelma Redding, who met the Macon, Georgia native in 1960 and married him a year later. “Stax was a family – you could feel the warmth, and how these musicians worked together and hung out together,” she says. “The musicians – Wayne [Jackson, trumpeter] and Andrew [Love, saxophonist], and Isaac [Hayes, then a staff songwriter] worked so hard, but they had so much fun working! It wasn’t about money – it was about doing something they loved to do. Then when Otis came in, it was like God had walked in. It was a great feeling.” That reception was a far cry from Otis’s humble beginnings at Stax, just seven years earlier. “Johnny Jenkins And The Pinetoppers pulled up, and Otis was the guy that carried the food and the cloths,” remembers organist Booker T. Jones. “But what I remember most is the end of the session with Otis singing his demo of This arms Of Mine, that moment of him singing that song. It was one of those moments. You’re not thinking that it’s gonna sell a lot of records. You’re just thinking it’s all heart. Nobody hardly paid any attention to him. It was like, ‘Well, we got to do this. The guy’s been sitting here waiting all day, Let’s see what he sounds like.’”


He had on overalls and a plaid shirt, like he was milking a cow,” adds session bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, “but he took a song and just kicked your ass with it.” “My hair lifted about three inches – I couldn’t believe this guy’s voice,” says Stax guitarist/producer Steve Cropper, who with Jones, Dunn, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr, formed instrumental group Booker T. And The M.G.’s, the nucleus of the Stax sound. “Back then, we were living in a two-room apartment in Macon, and we barely had money to put food on the table,” recalls Zelma. “Otis said, ‘I’m taking Johnny to Memphis,’ and I probably said goodbye. Otis Redding always believed in Otis Redding – he’d tell me, ‘Don’t worry, I’m gonna make you happy one day,’ and I was like, Lord have mercy, we could starve to death! That’s just how positive he was!”





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(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay

In its soft Southern drawl, Jones says it best: “When Otis came into the picture, life became about more than just sound. We became friends, and because he seemed to be a person with a mission, we sort of picked up that mission and it became our mission. His intent was so strong and so powerful when we were recording, it translated to more than just music. I’d never been with anybody that had that much desire to express emotion. It’s the longing. It translates to the listener and the player and anyone who hears it, and when that happens, millions of people listen.” (…) Otis took the label to another level. He put a spark under Stax, there’s no question about it,” he explains. “With all due respect to the great artists that came to those doors, Otis Redding was the one that everybody in that band looked forward to coming back to town. He had the greatest sense of rhythm and timing of anybody I’ve ever worked with. His feel of what he wanted to hear the horns do was unbelievable. He would come up with riffs, and we’d go, boy, they’ll never be able to play that. And they would be awesome. When he’d go sing and they’d play that lick, it was amazing what he’d pull off. He never ran out of ideas. Try A Little Tenderness – that song had been around since the ‘30s or whatever. It became a new song. It was amazing.”





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Try a Little Tenderness

Otis’s dates in early December ’67 were nothing out of the ordinary. He and his backing group, Memphis teenagers The Bar-Kays, flew to Nashville for a gig on Friday, December 8. On Saturday they landed in Cleveland, Ohio, to tape an episode of Upbeat, a local TV music show, before playing at Leo’s Casino. Sunday morning, the band – without bassist James Alexander, who took a commercial flight – boarded Redding’s twin-engine Beechcraft, headed to Madison, Wisconsin for another show. “It was his second plane,” says Zelma. “He worked Thursday through Sunday, and he’d come back to Memphis early on Monday to get The Bar-Kays’ saxophonist Phalon Jones, drummer Carl Cunningham, guitarist Jimmy King, and organist Ronnie Caldwell, all just 18 years old, wouldn’t graduate with the rest of their senior class. On their way to Wisconsin, their plane plunged into in icy Lake Monona along with the 26-year old star.


‘I could see something floating in the water, and I got colder and colder trying to swim toward it,” says Bar-Kays trumpeter Ben Cauley, the only one on-board to survive the crash. “My head was bleeding pretty bad, and the current kept pushing all of us apart. I was in the water for about 25 minutes. I got so cold I could hardly hold on. I gave up, and at that moment, one of the fellas onshore grabbed me. I was thinking, Did they get everybody? By the time we got to shore, the hospital people had showed up. They asked, ‘Who are you?’ I said, Otis Redding and The Bar-Kays, out of Memphis. Is everybody all right? And they said no, everybody but me was dead.” Jon Scott, then a Dj at the FM-100 radio station, was, like most Memphians, devastated by the news. “I remember thinking it couldn’t possibly be true,” he says. “I had met Otis. I’d hung round him at the studio. He was, without question, the most captivating artist I’d ever seen, a true genius, and he died way too soon, way too early. We’d lost Buddy Holly the same way, but Otis was just too close to home.” “The crash happened on a Sunday,” says Cauley, “and I was flying home [later] that same week, so shook up about it that if the plane did a curve, I curved with it. I’d just turned 19, and it hit me like a ton of bricks to have to face reality, but James Alexander and I put the band back together again.”


A few months before the 40th anniversary of Otis Redding’s death, an exhibition, I’ve Got Dreams To Remember, chronicling the singer’s ascent to superstardom, opened at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, not far from the bronze statue of Otis on the banks of the Ogeechee River. The Bar-Kays, with Ben Cauley on trumpet, joined Otis’s sons Dexter and Otis Redding III on-stage for a fundraiser for the Big O Youth Educational Dream Foundation, while Zelma Redding eulogised her husband as “an everyday country boy – regular people. Otis was just a down-to-earth, loving person. When he came back home, it wasn’t, ‘I’m different – I’m a star.’ He didn’t live that ego. The average person can really feel like they knew Otis Redding when they listen to him sing, because he sang from the heart. Back when he cut These Arms Of Mine, I never thought he would hold the legacy he holds today, but this is what Otis was born to do.”





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These Arms of Mine

{Extracts from MOJO Music Magazine, DEC 07 - JAN 08}

It's 40 years this week since the tragic untimely death of Otis Redding. Here's how his widow, friends and extended family at Stax Records remembered him:



MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1967 was a typically balmy winter’s day. The weather was nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit at midday – too warm for fur coats, but perfect for sunglasses and sharkskin suits, particularly when you put the top down to cruise into work at three in the afternoon, when the sun was at its highest peak. Stax Records, a movie theatre-cum-recording studio a few miles east of the Mississippi, was poppin’ that month: Carla Thomas and Albert King had released Top 100 hits, while The Charmels’ As Long As I’ve Got You and Jeanne And The Darlings’ Soul Girl were making local waves. But in the hallways at 926 East McLemore Avenue the buzz was all about one artist, Otis Redding, who’d returned to the studio for a marathon three-week session following surgery to remove throat polyps. The mood at Stax was stultifying, until Otis stepped up to the mike sometime after lunch and started laying down more than a dozen tracks, including the potentially career-changing tune (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, a pop-inspired stylistic departure from his previous gut-bucket soul oeuvre.


‘When Otis had the chance to work that long, my kids and I would come into Memphis and stay with him at the Holiday Inn for three or four days at a time,” says Zelma Redding, who met the Macon, Georgia native in 1960 and married him a year later. “Stax was a family – you could feel the warmth, and how these musicians worked together and hung out together,” she says. “The musicians – Wayne [Jackson, trumpeter] and Andrew [Love, saxophonist], and Isaac [Hayes, then a staff songwriter] worked so hard, but they had so much fun working! It wasn’t about money – it was about doing something they loved to do. Then when Otis came in, it was like God had walked in. It was a great feeling.” That reception was a far cry from Otis’s humble beginnings at Stax, just seven years earlier. “Johnny Jenkins And The Pinetoppers pulled up, and Otis was the guy that carried the food and the cloths,” remembers organist Booker T. Jones. “But what I remember most is the end of the session with Otis singing his demo of This arms Of Mine, that moment of him singing that song. It was one of those moments. You’re not thinking that it’s gonna sell a lot of records. You’re just thinking it’s all heart. Nobody hardly paid any attention to him. It was like, ‘Well, we got to do this. The guy’s been sitting here waiting all day, Let’s see what he sounds like.’”


He had on overalls and a plaid shirt, like he was milking a cow,” adds session bassist Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, “but he took a song and just kicked your ass with it.” “My hair lifted about three inches – I couldn’t believe this guy’s voice,” says Stax guitarist/producer Steve Cropper, who with Jones, Dunn, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr, formed instrumental group Booker T. And The M.G.’s, the nucleus of the Stax sound. “Back then, we were living in a two-room apartment in Macon, and we barely had money to put food on the table,” recalls Zelma. “Otis said, ‘I’m taking Johnny to Memphis,’ and I probably said goodbye. Otis Redding always believed in Otis Redding – he’d tell me, ‘Don’t worry, I’m gonna make you happy one day,’ and I was like, Lord have mercy, we could starve to death! That’s just how positive he was!”





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(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay

In its soft Southern drawl, Jones says it best: “When Otis came into the picture, life became about more than just sound. We became friends, and because he seemed to be a person with a mission, we sort of picked up that mission and it became our mission. His intent was so strong and so powerful when we were recording, it translated to more than just music. I’d never been with anybody that had that much desire to express emotion. It’s the longing. It translates to the listener and the player and anyone who hears it, and when that happens, millions of people listen.” (…) Otis took the label to another level. He put a spark under Stax, there’s no question about it,” he explains. “With all due respect to the great artists that came to those doors, Otis Redding was the one that everybody in that band looked forward to coming back to town. He had the greatest sense of rhythm and timing of anybody I’ve ever worked with. His feel of what he wanted to hear the horns do was unbelievable. He would come up with riffs, and we’d go, boy, they’ll never be able to play that. And they would be awesome. When he’d go sing and they’d play that lick, it was amazing what he’d pull off. He never ran out of ideas. Try A Little Tenderness – that song had been around since the ‘30s or whatever. It became a new song. It was amazing.”





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Try a Little Tenderness

Otis’s dates in early December ’67 were nothing out of the ordinary. He and his backing group, Memphis teenagers The Bar-Kays, flew to Nashville for a gig on Friday, December 8. On Saturday they landed in Cleveland, Ohio, to tape an episode of Upbeat, a local TV music show, before playing at Leo’s Casino. Sunday morning, the band – without bassist James Alexander, who took a commercial flight – boarded Redding’s twin-engine Beechcraft, headed to Madison, Wisconsin for another show. “It was his second plane,” says Zelma. “He worked Thursday through Sunday, and he’d come back to Memphis early on Monday to get The Bar-Kays’ saxophonist Phalon Jones, drummer Carl Cunningham, guitarist Jimmy King, and organist Ronnie Caldwell, all just 18 years old, wouldn’t graduate with the rest of their senior class. On their way to Wisconsin, their plane plunged into in icy Lake Monona along with the 26-year old star.


‘I could see something floating in the water, and I got colder and colder trying to swim toward it,” says Bar-Kays trumpeter Ben Cauley, the only one on-board to survive the crash. “My head was bleeding pretty bad, and the current kept pushing all of us apart. I was in the water for about 25 minutes. I got so cold I could hardly hold on. I gave up, and at that moment, one of the fellas onshore grabbed me. I was thinking, Did they get everybody? By the time we got to shore, the hospital people had showed up. They asked, ‘Who are you?’ I said, Otis Redding and The Bar-Kays, out of Memphis. Is everybody all right? And they said no, everybody but me was dead.” Jon Scott, then a Dj at the FM-100 radio station, was, like most Memphians, devastated by the news. “I remember thinking it couldn’t possibly be true,” he says. “I had met Otis. I’d hung round him at the studio. He was, without question, the most captivating artist I’d ever seen, a true genius, and he died way too soon, way too early. We’d lost Buddy Holly the same way, but Otis was just too close to home.” “The crash happened on a Sunday,” says Cauley, “and I was flying home [later] that same week, so shook up about it that if the plane did a curve, I curved with it. I’d just turned 19, and it hit me like a ton of bricks to have to face reality, but James Alexander and I put the band back together again.”


A few months before the 40th anniversary of Otis Redding’s death, an exhibition, I’ve Got Dreams To Remember, chronicling the singer’s ascent to superstardom, opened at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, not far from the bronze statue of Otis on the banks of the Ogeechee River. The Bar-Kays, with Ben Cauley on trumpet, joined Otis’s sons Dexter and Otis Redding III on-stage for a fundraiser for the Big O Youth Educational Dream Foundation, while Zelma Redding eulogised her husband as “an everyday country boy – regular people. Otis was just a down-to-earth, loving person. When he came back home, it wasn’t, ‘I’m different – I’m a star.’ He didn’t live that ego. The average person can really feel like they knew Otis Redding when they listen to him sing, because he sang from the heart. Back when he cut These Arms Of Mine, I never thought he would hold the legacy he holds today, but this is what Otis was born to do.”





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These Arms of Mine

{Extracts from MOJO Music Magazine, DEC 07 - JAN 08}

OUTBLOGGING @ ATLANTIC COMMUNITY





THE EU-AFRICA LISBON SUMMIT AND THE FUTURE OF AFRICA

In spite of the high-pitched controversy surrounding the contentious issues of Zimbabwe and Sudan, the 2nd EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon over the weekend ended with the signing by the leaders of both continents of an “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership”. Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, ended the event on a positive note stating that the two continents have opened a new chapter in their relations, "What is important is that we met each other face to face on an equal setting in a new spirit. I think I can say the idea that has been expressed most often is that this summit represents the turning of a page in history," he said.

However, the apparent fallout over the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) seems to suggest that, if a page in history was indeed turned it might not have been clearly towards a brighter future for either the EU/Africa relations or the African economies in general. In fact, while Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is reported to have stormed out of the meeting stating that "It's clear that Africa rejects the EPAs. We are not talking any more about EPAs, we've rejected them", European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso emphasised that Brussels was not pressurising African countries over trade, but warned that if no more interim deals take place by year end to avoid trade disruption, "the preferential agreement will no more be applicable from Jan. 1, 2008."

Whatever the outcome of the current deadlock, there are at least two sets of constraints both the EU and African States must address if the “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership” adopted by the Lisbon Summit is to be successfully implemented and any mutual benefits are to be reaped from the relationship between the two continents in years to come. These constraints arise, on the one hand, from the EU institutional approach to Africa and, on the other, from the existing fragmentation of economic spaces in the continent.



The graphs above illustrate the issues: the one on the left is extracted from an EC presentation entitled “EU-Africa Partnership: Lisbon and Beyond”, while the one on the right depicts the existing overlapping African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). It would seem that little needs to be added to these graphs to make the point that neither Africa can be treated “as one”, as desirable as this may be as a long-term goal, nor deeper and wider economic integration can take place in Africa for as long as all the existing RECs are not adequately rationalised.

The EPAs negotiations were expected to be essentially about striking the right balance between costs and benefits for Africa so that its long-term development goals, including the MDGs by 2015, are not jeopardised in the process. All these elements seem to be covered by the newly adopted “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership”. So there seems to be no need to ‘look back in anger’. However, in a wider context, Africa is faced with the challenge of simultaneously liberalising its markets in the context of EPAs and pursuing a path towards deeper regional integration as provided for by the Abuja Treaty, against a backdrop of overlapping memberships of RECs by most Member States. The successful meeting of this challenge is a prerequisite for the emergence of a fully operational African Economic Union, which will certainly be a convenient partner for the EU in a “real relationship of equals” capable of “turning a page in history” as purported by some of the final documents and statements issued by the Lisbon Summit.

[A slightly different version of this article, originally written on 09/12/07, can be found at Atlantic Community and also at the Die Welt Debatte]

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE





THE EU-AFRICA LISBON SUMMIT AND THE FUTURE OF AFRICA

In spite of the high-pitched controversy surrounding the contentious issues of Zimbabwe and Sudan, the 2nd EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon over the weekend ended with the signing by the leaders of both continents of an “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership”. Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, ended the event on a positive note stating that the two continents have opened a new chapter in their relations, "What is important is that we met each other face to face on an equal setting in a new spirit. I think I can say the idea that has been expressed most often is that this summit represents the turning of a page in history," he said.

However, the apparent fallout over the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) seems to suggest that, if a page in history was indeed turned it might not have been clearly towards a brighter future for either the EU/Africa relations or the African economies in general. In fact, while Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is reported to have stormed out of the meeting stating that "It's clear that Africa rejects the EPAs. We are not talking any more about EPAs, we've rejected them", European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso emphasised that Brussels was not pressurising African countries over trade, but warned that if no more interim deals take place by year end to avoid trade disruption, "the preferential agreement will no more be applicable from Jan. 1, 2008."

Whatever the outcome of the current deadlock, there are at least two sets of constraints both the EU and African States must address if the “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership” adopted by the Lisbon Summit is to be successfully implemented and any mutual benefits are to be reaped from the relationship between the two continents in years to come. These constraints arise, on the one hand, from the EU institutional approach to Africa and, on the other, from the existing fragmentation of economic spaces in the continent.



The graphs above illustrate the issues: the one on the left is extracted from an EC presentation entitled “EU-Africa Partnership: Lisbon and Beyond”, while the one on the right depicts the existing overlapping African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). It would seem that little needs to be added to these graphs to make the point that neither Africa can be treated “as one”, as desirable as this may be as a long-term goal, nor deeper and wider economic integration can take place in Africa for as long as all the existing RECs are not adequately rationalised.

The EPAs negotiations were expected to be essentially about striking the right balance between costs and benefits for Africa so that its long-term development goals, including the MDGs by 2015, are not jeopardised in the process. All these elements seem to be covered by the newly adopted “Africa-EU Strategic Partnership”. So there seems to be no need to ‘look back in anger’. However, in a wider context, Africa is faced with the challenge of simultaneously liberalising its markets in the context of EPAs and pursuing a path towards deeper regional integration as provided for by the Abuja Treaty, against a backdrop of overlapping memberships of RECs by most Member States. The successful meeting of this challenge is a prerequisite for the emergence of a fully operational African Economic Union, which will certainly be a convenient partner for the EU in a “real relationship of equals” capable of “turning a page in history” as purported by some of the final documents and statements issued by the Lisbon Summit.

[A slightly different version of this article, originally written on 09/12/07, can be found at Atlantic Community and also at the Die Welt Debatte]

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Thursday, 13 December 2007

TODOS AO MORRO DO KIM!


Assim das minhas 165 postagens de idade vos convido para o BATUKE.
Traje obrigatório: O lugar mais alto das vossas existências.
Preço da entrada: ALEGRIA

Kim

CLIQUE NA IMAGEM PARA ENTRAR NA FARRA!










Angola Kuia (Mendes Brothers)

Assim das minhas 165 postagens de idade vos convido para o BATUKE.
Traje obrigatório: O lugar mais alto das vossas existências.
Preço da entrada: ALEGRIA

Kim

CLIQUE NA IMAGEM PARA ENTRAR NA FARRA!










Angola Kuia (Mendes Brothers)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

QUANDO O FEITICO VIRA CONTRA O FEITICEIRO...

AFINAL, JAMES WATSON TEM GENES NEGROS

A análise dos A-T-C-G de James Watson, as quatro letras do alfabeto genético com que se constrói a molécula de ADN de todos os seres vivos, revela que 16 por cento dos genes do cientista norte-americano são de origem negra, um valor 16 vezes acima da média dos europeus brancos. Um desfecho irónico, depois da polémica em que Watson esteve envolvido em Outubro, por ter afirmado a um jornal britânico que os negros são menos inteligentes do que os brancos. Watson tinha dado uma amostra de sangue para que a empresa 454 Life Sciences e o Centro de Sequenciação do Genoma Humano, ambos nos EUA, pudessem descodificar-lhe a sequência do ADN. Cada um de nós possui a sua própria sequência dos 3000 milhões de pares de letras com que se constrói um ser humano.

Em Maio deste ano, Watson, um dos premiados com o Nobel da Medicina de 1962, por ter descoberto a estrutura da molécula de ADN, recebeu a sua sequência de A-T-C-G e, tal como tinha prometido, tornou públicos os dados, na Internet. A partir daí, outra empresa, a DeCODE Genetics, da Islândia, avançou para a análise dos genes do cientista. Esse estudo mostrou que terá herdado 16 por cento dos genes de um antepassado africano, enquanto a maioria dos europeus brancos não tem mais de um por cento de tais genes, relatam os jornais britânicos The Independent e The Sunday Times. "Este valor é o que se esperaria para quem tem um bisavô africano", disse Kari Stefansson, líder da DeCODE, citado nestes jornais. "Foi muito surpreendente."

A análise do genoma de Watson revelou ainda que outros nove por cento dos seus genes serão oriundos de um antepassado asiático. Fez-se também uma lista das doenças a que o cientista é mais susceptível, como a diabetes de tipo 2, esclerose múltipla, artrite reumatóide ou obesidade. Pelos seus comentários racistas, Watson recebeu uma chuva de críticas. Mesmo os cientistas a trabalhar em Biologia Molecular distanciaram-se das suas afirmações, dizendo que não existe qualquer ligação entre os genes envolvidos na cor da pele e os relacionados com as funções intelectuais e que nem se conhecem as bases genéticas da inteligência. A polémica levou o cientista, de 79 anos, a pedir desculpa, mas o desfecho, ainda em Outubro, foi a sua a demissão do conselho de administração do Laboratório de Cold Spring Harbor, nos EUA, onde trabalhou mais de 40 anos.

[Artigo daqui]
AFINAL, JAMES WATSON TEM GENES NEGROS

A análise dos A-T-C-G de James Watson, as quatro letras do alfabeto genético com que se constrói a molécula de ADN de todos os seres vivos, revela que 16 por cento dos genes do cientista norte-americano são de origem negra, um valor 16 vezes acima da média dos europeus brancos. Um desfecho irónico, depois da polémica em que Watson esteve envolvido em Outubro, por ter afirmado a um jornal britânico que os negros são menos inteligentes do que os brancos. Watson tinha dado uma amostra de sangue para que a empresa 454 Life Sciences e o Centro de Sequenciação do Genoma Humano, ambos nos EUA, pudessem descodificar-lhe a sequência do ADN. Cada um de nós possui a sua própria sequência dos 3000 milhões de pares de letras com que se constrói um ser humano.

Em Maio deste ano, Watson, um dos premiados com o Nobel da Medicina de 1962, por ter descoberto a estrutura da molécula de ADN, recebeu a sua sequência de A-T-C-G e, tal como tinha prometido, tornou públicos os dados, na Internet. A partir daí, outra empresa, a DeCODE Genetics, da Islândia, avançou para a análise dos genes do cientista. Esse estudo mostrou que terá herdado 16 por cento dos genes de um antepassado africano, enquanto a maioria dos europeus brancos não tem mais de um por cento de tais genes, relatam os jornais britânicos The Independent e The Sunday Times. "Este valor é o que se esperaria para quem tem um bisavô africano", disse Kari Stefansson, líder da DeCODE, citado nestes jornais. "Foi muito surpreendente."

A análise do genoma de Watson revelou ainda que outros nove por cento dos seus genes serão oriundos de um antepassado asiático. Fez-se também uma lista das doenças a que o cientista é mais susceptível, como a diabetes de tipo 2, esclerose múltipla, artrite reumatóide ou obesidade. Pelos seus comentários racistas, Watson recebeu uma chuva de críticas. Mesmo os cientistas a trabalhar em Biologia Molecular distanciaram-se das suas afirmações, dizendo que não existe qualquer ligação entre os genes envolvidos na cor da pele e os relacionados com as funções intelectuais e que nem se conhecem as bases genéticas da inteligência. A polémica levou o cientista, de 79 anos, a pedir desculpa, mas o desfecho, ainda em Outubro, foi a sua a demissão do conselho de administração do Laboratório de Cold Spring Harbor, nos EUA, onde trabalhou mais de 40 anos.

[Artigo daqui]

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON EUROPEAN-AFRICAN RELATIONS

INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON EUROPEAN-AFRICAN RELATIONS
AND
PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY OF AFRICAN STUDIES

On occasion of the Europe-Africa Summit, promoted by the Portuguese
presidency of the European Union, the African Studies Centre of
ISCTE-Lisbon and the Central Library of African Studies organize an
International Meeting dedicated to critically discuss European African
relations.

The traumatic and contested memories of the colonial period are today in
an apparent process of pacification that sanitises history, be it through
nostalgia, by new economical assertively, or by the political management
of the growing influx of African immigrants to various European
countries.

A new field of study lies before us that grow beyond classical African
studies (in themselves a heritage of the colonial framework): the study
of African-European relations, based on dialogue and cooperation between
African and European researchers.

The Central Library of African Studies, based at ISCTE, is a general
African studies library for the Social Sciences and the Humanities. It is
the materialization of an old dream of the main Portuguese African
studies centres (CEA-FLUP, CEA-FLUL, CEA-ISCTE, CESA-ISEG and IICT).

The African Studies Centre of ISCTE is a founding member of AEGIS
(African-European Group of Interdisciplinary Studies).


ENCONTRO INTERNACIONAL SOBRE RELAÇÕES EUROPA-ÁFRICA
E
APRESENTAÇÃO PÚBLICA DA BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL DE ESTUDOS AFRICANOS
ISCTE

Por ocasião da Cimeira Europa-África, promovida pela presidência
portuguesa da União Africana, o Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE-
Lisboa e a Biblioteca Central de Estudos Africanos organizam um
Encontro Internacional dedicado a uma reflexão crítica das relações entre
a Europa e a África.

As memórias traumáticas e mutuamente contestadas do período colonial
sofrem hoje um processo de aparente pacificação que redunda na
higienização da história, seja por via da nostalgia, por novas
assertividades económicas, ou pela gestão política do crescente influxo
de imigrantes africanos a vários países europeus.

A constatação desta realidade abre um novo campo de investigação: já não
apenas os estudos africanos (em si, uma herança da mentalidade colonial),
mas o estudo das relações Europa-África, num contexto de diálogo e
cooperação entre os investigadores africanos e europeus.

A Biblioteca Central de Estudos Africanos, sediada no ISCTE, é uma
biblioteca de estudos gerais africanos nas áreas das ciências sociais e
humanidades. É a materialização de um projecto antigo dos principais
centros de investigação em estudos africanos portugueses (CEA-FLUP,
CEA-FLUL, CEA-ISCTE, CESA-ISEG e IICT).

O Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE é membro fundador do AEGIS
(African-European Group of Interdisciplinary Studies).

[PROGRAMA]

INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON EUROPEAN-AFRICAN RELATIONS
AND
PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY OF AFRICAN STUDIES

On occasion of the Europe-Africa Summit, promoted by the Portuguese
presidency of the European Union, the African Studies Centre of
ISCTE-Lisbon and the Central Library of African Studies organize an
International Meeting dedicated to critically discuss European African
relations.

The traumatic and contested memories of the colonial period are today in
an apparent process of pacification that sanitises history, be it through
nostalgia, by new economical assertively, or by the political management
of the growing influx of African immigrants to various European
countries.

A new field of study lies before us that grow beyond classical African
studies (in themselves a heritage of the colonial framework): the study
of African-European relations, based on dialogue and cooperation between
African and European researchers.

The Central Library of African Studies, based at ISCTE, is a general
African studies library for the Social Sciences and the Humanities. It is
the materialization of an old dream of the main Portuguese African
studies centres (CEA-FLUP, CEA-FLUL, CEA-ISCTE, CESA-ISEG and IICT).

The African Studies Centre of ISCTE is a founding member of AEGIS
(African-European Group of Interdisciplinary Studies).


ENCONTRO INTERNACIONAL SOBRE RELAÇÕES EUROPA-ÁFRICA
E
APRESENTAÇÃO PÚBLICA DA BIBLIOTECA CENTRAL DE ESTUDOS AFRICANOS
ISCTE

Por ocasião da Cimeira Europa-África, promovida pela presidência
portuguesa da União Africana, o Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE-
Lisboa e a Biblioteca Central de Estudos Africanos organizam um
Encontro Internacional dedicado a uma reflexão crítica das relações entre
a Europa e a África.

As memórias traumáticas e mutuamente contestadas do período colonial
sofrem hoje um processo de aparente pacificação que redunda na
higienização da história, seja por via da nostalgia, por novas
assertividades económicas, ou pela gestão política do crescente influxo
de imigrantes africanos a vários países europeus.

A constatação desta realidade abre um novo campo de investigação: já não
apenas os estudos africanos (em si, uma herança da mentalidade colonial),
mas o estudo das relações Europa-África, num contexto de diálogo e
cooperação entre os investigadores africanos e europeus.

A Biblioteca Central de Estudos Africanos, sediada no ISCTE, é uma
biblioteca de estudos gerais africanos nas áreas das ciências sociais e
humanidades. É a materialização de um projecto antigo dos principais
centros de investigação em estudos africanos portugueses (CEA-FLUP,
CEA-FLUL, CEA-ISCTE, CESA-ISEG e IICT).

O Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE é membro fundador do AEGIS
(African-European Group of Interdisciplinary Studies).

[PROGRAMA]

Sunday, 9 December 2007

SUNDAY COVER & POETRY (VII)

"In positing any solution we have to be aware of some historical background. Africa was colonized at a time when the nation state was a primary determinant of the historical process. The consequence was that the continent is today divided into more than forty-six-states – more than three times the number of Asia, whose land mass is fifty percent larger. This was done largely to further the interests of European power and commerce."
(...)
"Given that Africa was wrongly assumed to have had no history of its own before the arrival of Europeans, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that Europe created the image of Africa that the colonial period bequeathed to the world. Europe drew boundaries and undertook to establish a civilizing government in each with hierarchical administration and military support – according to the prevalent model of the nation state.”
(...)

“The question cannot be, do Africans have human rights, but what do Africans understand and desire their human rights to be? Otherwise we are yet again remaking Africa, and Africa’s struggle, in the image of our own modernity, or more truthfully, our own recent past.”

GET MORE CONTENT HERE






Free file hosting by Ripway.com




{Poem: Europe, by Sarah Maguire. Sarah is the founder and director of the Poetry Translation Centre. She has published four poetry collections. Her latest, The Pomegranates of Kandahar (Chatto & Windus) is The Poetry Book Society's Summer Choice, 2007. in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}
"In positing any solution we have to be aware of some historical background. Africa was colonized at a time when the nation state was a primary determinant of the historical process. The consequence was that the continent is today divided into more than forty-six-states – more than three times the number of Asia, whose land mass is fifty percent larger. This was done largely to further the interests of European power and commerce."
(...)
"Given that Africa was wrongly assumed to have had no history of its own before the arrival of Europeans, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that Europe created the image of Africa that the colonial period bequeathed to the world. Europe drew boundaries and undertook to establish a civilizing government in each with hierarchical administration and military support – according to the prevalent model of the nation state.”
(...)

“The question cannot be, do Africans have human rights, but what do Africans understand and desire their human rights to be? Otherwise we are yet again remaking Africa, and Africa’s struggle, in the image of our own modernity, or more truthfully, our own recent past.”

GET MORE CONTENT HERE






Free file hosting by Ripway.com




{Poem: Europe, by Sarah Maguire. Sarah is the founder and director of the Poetry Translation Centre. She has published four poetry collections. Her latest, The Pomegranates of Kandahar (Chatto & Windus) is The Poetry Book Society's Summer Choice, 2007. in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

Saturday, 8 December 2007

FINALLY, HERE IT IS: THE EU-AFRICA SUMMIT


After seven years of much anticipation and controversy, the second EU-Africa Summit is finally taking place this weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.


And since controversy begets controversy, the Summit starts, among other notorious "inconveniences", under the sour taste inflicted upon the leaders of both continents by a damning letter addressed to them a couple of days ago by a group of African and European writers who accuse them of "political cowardice".


Here's the full text of the letter:

"In a few days heads of state from Africa and Europe will meet in Portugal to discuss issues common to two continents whose histories, for good and bad, have intertwined for centuries. This is a historic opportunity to inaugurate a new era founded on shared values and a genuine friendship where we can support each other and learn from each other.
But that will not be possible while the summit meeting shies away from discussing two of the world's worst humanitarian crises, those in Zimbabwe and Darfur. Despite Europe's and Africa's shared responsibility to address such crises, neither one is on the agenda. No time has been set aside for formal or informal discussion
What can one say of this political cowardice? We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage. When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished. Where they funk the difficult issues they make themselves irrelevant. Why should we listen to the mighty when the mighty are deaf to the cries of the afflicted? Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late."

Signatories:

Europe: Vaclav Havel, Günter Grass, Roddy Doyle, Tom Stoppard, Jose Gil, Colm Tóibín, Jürgen Habermas, Dario Fo, Franca Rame.
Africa: Professor Wole Soyinka, Mia Couto, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gillian Slovo, Ben Okri, Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee, Goretti Kyomuhendo.



[Pictures at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007: 1 - Muammar Qaddafi, Libya's leader, adjusts his sunglasses; 2 - Umar al-Bashir Sudan's president, left, and Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, center, talk before a group photo session. Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg News]


After seven years of much anticipation and controversy, the second EU-Africa Summit is finally taking place this weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.


And since controversy begets controversy, the Summit starts, among other notorious "inconveniences", under the sour taste inflicted upon the leaders of both continents by a damning letter addressed to them a couple of days ago by a group of African and European writers who accuse them of "political cowardice".


Here's the full text of the letter:

"In a few days heads of state from Africa and Europe will meet in Portugal to discuss issues common to two continents whose histories, for good and bad, have intertwined for centuries. This is a historic opportunity to inaugurate a new era founded on shared values and a genuine friendship where we can support each other and learn from each other.
But that will not be possible while the summit meeting shies away from discussing two of the world's worst humanitarian crises, those in Zimbabwe and Darfur. Despite Europe's and Africa's shared responsibility to address such crises, neither one is on the agenda. No time has been set aside for formal or informal discussion
What can one say of this political cowardice? We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage. When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished. Where they funk the difficult issues they make themselves irrelevant. Why should we listen to the mighty when the mighty are deaf to the cries of the afflicted? Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late."

Signatories:

Europe: Vaclav Havel, Günter Grass, Roddy Doyle, Tom Stoppard, Jose Gil, Colm Tóibín, Jürgen Habermas, Dario Fo, Franca Rame.
Africa: Professor Wole Soyinka, Mia Couto, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gillian Slovo, Ben Okri, Nadine Gordimer, JM Coetzee, Goretti Kyomuhendo.



[Pictures at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007: 1 - Muammar Qaddafi, Libya's leader, adjusts his sunglasses; 2 - Umar al-Bashir Sudan's president, left, and Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, center, talk before a group photo session. Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg News]

Friday, 7 December 2007

UNDER THE DRUM BEAT


I am not exactly someone to judge a book by its cover but I must admit to being sometimes inclined to buy a magazine just for its cover…
Now, here’s a magazine I would certainly buy just for its covers: the Drum magazine of ‘50s and ‘60s South Africa. I might have bought one or two of its more recent editions for their content, but those early ones would have got my money just for the covers. Of course, they are now collector’s items and highly protected by the Black African History Archives (BAHA) and The Bailey Archive, so I doubt that a common mortal like me would have a chance to get hold of one these days. But I can, nonetheless, claim possession of one of those highly coveted t-shirts printed with Drum covers put on the SA market by the very talented, clever and praised Nkhensani Nkhosi, actress and founder/creative director of fashion house Stoned Cherrie and one of the symbols of the New South Africa.

I mean, who, among those of us grown up in Southern Africa knowing of and experiencing, even if only indirectly, the antics of the apartheid system, would have imagined that within that system there was ever a place for a magazine telling through its covers of such a glamourous and exciting Black South Africa? And beyond that, of a Black Africa – there were, in fact, a South African and a West African (based in Ghana) versions of Drum, the latter telling us such amazing stories as Louis Armstrong’s visit to his motherland in February 1961 – precisely when armed struggle against colonial rule in Angola had started?

From a historical perspective, I would venture that that Drum of the ‘50s and early ‘60s could only be a testimony of the resistance of a social makeup the apartheid system (instituted in 1948) hadn’t yet managed to completely suppress, which makes those numbers even more valuable. That is precisely what those fortunate enough to have looked inside its covers will tell you: Drum was a repository of all the gripping stories chronicling the early years of the apartheid regime – except, apparently, for the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which its legendary owner, Jim Bailey, reportedly didn’t allow to have mentioned in the magazine…

About Bailey, Bongani Madondo and Don Morrison wrote in an investigative story on Drum, What Made Drum Beat?, for the, now defunct, British “Zembla Literary Magazine”, in 2004: (…) After all, nobody knew about sensationalism better than Jim Bailey, a man whose name inspires perjoratives from former friends and victims. Ruthless. Dreamer. Freak. Wannabe Black. Bohemian. Drinker. Rich liberal son of colonialists (and quasi-colonialist himself). But also Visionary. Scholar. God’s gift to African publishing. Bailey’s father, Sir Abe Bailey, was a well-known South African mining magnate, financier and friend of arch-colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. Jim’s mother,Lady Mary Bailey, was an aviatrix whose 1927 solo flight from Croydon to Cape Town is legendary. After graduation from Oxford, young James Richard Abe Bailey joined the World War II British army and became a fighter pilot. Somewhere in the mid-to-late 1940s, he headed to Cape Town, then – as now- a magnet for bored Europeans in search of sun and excitement.

There Bailey met Robert Crisp, sole proprietor of a dull magazine called ‘The African Drum’, previously ‘The Bongo Drum’, which covered the quantly colorful lives of rural blacks who feared God and endured the missionary. Bailey saw an opportunity. All over the world, black people were becoming style-makers and urban culture creators. In New York and Paris, blacks were arbiters of fashion for both the counterculture and the mainstream. The Beat Generation imbibed jazz and the blues, smoked and wrote out of an existentialism espoused by blacks.Poetry, music, fashion – aaah, to be black, Bailey thought. He purchased the publication in 1951 and moved it to Johannesburg, where he imported from England an energetic editor named Anthony Sampson (who later found fame with his ‘Anatomy of Britain’ and 'Mandela', the official biography). Together, they got down to the business of remaking the magazine and making waves.

Bailey fell in love with Sophiatown and its rowdy, urban energy. A slum on the surface, Sophiatown was a mix of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Greeks and Jews doing business and living in relative harmony. The town offered everything white South africa and Europe did not: sex, alcohol, extraordinary characters, style, hope, hopelessness. “Noisy and dramatic,” was how David Coplan described Sophiatown in his 1985 book ‘In Township Tonight!” “A new synthesis of African culture sprang out of its potholed streets, communal water taps, the rectangular jumble of yards, brick and wood dwellings here and eye-catching mansions there. Sophiatown was crime-ridden yet heaved with music and wishes and dreams, vulnerability and stubborness that gave it its swaggering personality.”

Into this heady atmosphere, Bailey launched ‘African Drum’. He quickly cut the title back to ‘Drum’ and assembled a staff of untrained township youngsters into what would be known as the “Drum School” of writers. A few of its graduates – Casey Motsisi, Todd Matshikiza, Ezekiel Mphalele, Bloke Modisane, Bessie Head – went on to become successful novelists, poets, dramatists and composers. To the thousands of blacks who migrated to Johannesburg during the 1940s and ‘50s, ‘Drum’ was a manifesto of social realism. The magazine’s lurid, over-written feature stories, with their violent, tragic, fashionably dressed characters – dice hustlers, jazz musicians, racist policemen, babes and molls – and especially the accompanying pictures, not only entertained Sophiatowns but embodied Sophiatown. Drum portrayed celebrities, especially actors and jazz musicians (who were often the same), as accessible pople who lived within the same poverty-stricken township as their fans. At its peak in the late-1950s, the magazine had editions all over the continent recording “the ladder down the stocking” of Bristish Imperial rule. Its total circulation topped 800,000.

Bailey and his staff took particular care with the covers. The most beloved of all the cover girls was blues singer Dolly Rathebe, an icon to Sophiatown ‘tsotsies’ (gangsters). To them, she was Marilyn Monroe and Josephine Baker rolled into one. Blessed with a husky, sometimes coarse voice, she would wisper, coo, and sing-talk like Nina Simone. She wiggled her hips to the ‘tsotsies’, sang the blues to the troubled, and crooned Yiddish lullabies to the rich Jewish patrons of the Johannesburg jazz scene. Dolly reshaped the whole continent’s sense of African feminine beauty. She was even courted by one of Drum’s writers, Can Themba. Themba, along with literary journalist Bloke Modisane, “Hollywood detective” columnist Arthur Maimane and music critic Todd Matshikiza, were the ears of Drum. Photographers Jurgen Schadeberg, Bob Gosani and Peter Magubane became the eyes that captured the town’s vibrancy. But one personality reigned supreme: Henry Nxumalo, who more than anyone embodied the magazine. “From the coffee plantations of the Gold Coast to the jazz-stung nightclubs of Nigeria,” he wrote in a 1956 blurb, “in the dreaming hamlets of Zululand, among Cape Town’s fun-filled coon life, and Johannesburg’s teeming, thrilling thousands, everywhere, every month, Drum is read and relished.”

After obtaining his junior certificate at a missionary school, Nxumalo trekked down to Jozi, where he served as a messenger at the ‘Bantu World’ newspaper. When World War II erupted, he signed on with the British Protectorate regiment and served as a sergeant in Egypt before coming back to the paper as sports editor. In 1951, he was hired as Drum’s first black reporter. Slim and dapper, he quickly became a familiar presence on the Sophiatown scene, covering crime and club dates with equal verve. Within a year, Nxumalo began writing as “Mr Drum”, a byline under which he produced some powerful exposes. “In those days”, remembered fellow reporter Themba in a posthumous 1985 memoir, “rumour was strong that farmers were ill-treating their labourers in the Bethal district. [Indeed, one had been flogged to death.] Dear ol’ Mr Drum fastened his braces, tied his shoelaces, fixed his Woodrow hat and got on a roll to investigate – simply by getting himself a job as labourer himself, in one of those Bethal potato farms.” It wasn’t just the emotional shock of the labourers’ conditions that excited interest in what Nxumalo wrote, but the courage he displayed in getting a job as a virtual slave and then escaping from it. The piece he wrote turned both Nxumalo and his magazine into urban icons.

Not long afterward, authorities at Johannesburg’s notorious Number Four prison were rumored to have introduced a dehumanizing new way of searching inmates for smuggled items such as tobacco, dagga (cannabis) or anything that could have been hidden in the rectum. Prisoners were lined in a row, naked, and made to skip and jump as they ran in front of their jailers. This was called the ‘Tausa’, or monkey, dance. On 19 January 1954, Nxumalo contrived to get himself arrested in Johannesburg by staying out past the night-time curfew without the required pass. By a stroke of luck, he was sent to Number Four. In “Mr Drum Goes to Goal”, illustrated with clandestine photos, Nxumalo described the ‘Tausa’ dance and other abuses at Number Four. The expose’ caught the prison system by surprise. Authorities were enraged, and Nxumalo suddenly became a figure of great interest to South Africa’s security branch. By then, his exploits as an investigative journalist had earned a number of enemies, among them thugs, crooked politicians, farm owners, and police.

On New Year’s Eve 1955, Nxumalo headed into the warm Sophiatown night, humming to himself. He stopped at his cousin Percy Hlubi’s place and, shortly after seeing in the new year, walked out into the night. His battered body was discovered the following morning by a cousin’s wife on her way to catch the day’s first train.
Still in his suit, he was face-down on a patch of dry grass, with one shoe missing and a blood trail that went back a thousand metres to the entrance of Coronation Hospital in Newclare. Nxumalo left a wife, Florence, who died in 1979, and five children. No one was ever convicted of his murder.
Can Themba died of alcohol-related complications in exile in Swaziland, Todd Matshikiza died in exile in Zambia, Nat Nakasa committed suicide in New York and William Bloke Modisane died in exile in West Germany. Dolly Rathebe died on 16 September 2004 from a stroke.


Drum’s home turf is gone too, a victim of the apartheid policy of forced removals from “white areas” – which included a longtime black enclave like Sophiatown. At 5:30am on 10 February 1955, government trucks backed by 2,000 heavily armed police removed the first hundred and ten families to what is now part of Soweto, the black township. Over the next three years, other families followed as bulldozers razed the buildings around them. Before long the place was a wasteland of rubble. A white suburb was developed on the site. The government called it Triomf (Triumph).

Today, Johannesburg – “Jozi” to initiates – is a multi-ethnic sprawl, where Somali Muslims rub shoulders with Nigerian drug lords and Congolese le Sapeur fashionistas. Drum is a mere shadow, resold, repositioned and defanged since its glory days. But the magazine’s early spirit of iconoclasm is being celebrated with a new zest: Drum’s golden era of the ‘50s and ‘60s and Nxumalo’s story have been the subject in the last few years, among a flurry of books, essays, articles and documentaries in SA and abroad, of a feature film, Drum: Stories from Sophiatown (2004), directed by South Africans Zola Maseko and Dumisani Dlamini, produced by Hollyhood’s Chris Sievernich (The Quiet American) and Rudolf Wichmann (Love and Rage), co-written by Jason Filiardi (Bringing Down the House) and starring US-born Taye Diggs (Chicago) and a posse of talented South African actors.

{You can download an excellent video about Drum here}




Free file hosting by Ripway.com

(Sophiatown is Gone - Miriam Makeba)

I am not exactly someone to judge a book by its cover but I must admit to being sometimes inclined to buy a magazine just for its cover…
Now, here’s a magazine I would certainly buy just for its covers: the Drum magazine of ‘50s and ‘60s South Africa. I might have bought one or two of its more recent editions for their content, but those early ones would have got my money just for the covers. Of course, they are now collector’s items and highly protected by the Black African History Archives (BAHA) and The Bailey Archive, so I doubt that a common mortal like me would have a chance to get hold of one these days. But I can, nonetheless, claim possession of one of those highly coveted t-shirts printed with Drum covers put on the SA market by the very talented, clever and praised Nkhensani Nkhosi, actress and founder/creative director of fashion house Stoned Cherrie and one of the symbols of the New South Africa.

I mean, who, among those of us grown up in Southern Africa knowing of and experiencing, even if only indirectly, the antics of the apartheid system, would have imagined that within that system there was ever a place for a magazine telling through its covers of such a glamourous and exciting Black South Africa? And beyond that, of a Black Africa – there were, in fact, a South African and a West African (based in Ghana) versions of Drum, the latter telling us such amazing stories as Louis Armstrong’s visit to his motherland in February 1961 – precisely when armed struggle against colonial rule in Angola had started?

From a historical perspective, I would venture that that Drum of the ‘50s and early ‘60s could only be a testimony of the resistance of a social makeup the apartheid system (instituted in 1948) hadn’t yet managed to completely suppress, which makes those numbers even more valuable. That is precisely what those fortunate enough to have looked inside its covers will tell you: Drum was a repository of all the gripping stories chronicling the early years of the apartheid regime – except, apparently, for the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which its legendary owner, Jim Bailey, reportedly didn’t allow to have mentioned in the magazine…

About Bailey, Bongani Madondo and Don Morrison wrote in an investigative story on Drum, What Made Drum Beat?, for the, now defunct, British “Zembla Literary Magazine”, in 2004: (…) After all, nobody knew about sensationalism better than Jim Bailey, a man whose name inspires perjoratives from former friends and victims. Ruthless. Dreamer. Freak. Wannabe Black. Bohemian. Drinker. Rich liberal son of colonialists (and quasi-colonialist himself). But also Visionary. Scholar. God’s gift to African publishing. Bailey’s father, Sir Abe Bailey, was a well-known South African mining magnate, financier and friend of arch-colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. Jim’s mother,Lady Mary Bailey, was an aviatrix whose 1927 solo flight from Croydon to Cape Town is legendary. After graduation from Oxford, young James Richard Abe Bailey joined the World War II British army and became a fighter pilot. Somewhere in the mid-to-late 1940s, he headed to Cape Town, then – as now- a magnet for bored Europeans in search of sun and excitement.

There Bailey met Robert Crisp, sole proprietor of a dull magazine called ‘The African Drum’, previously ‘The Bongo Drum’, which covered the quantly colorful lives of rural blacks who feared God and endured the missionary. Bailey saw an opportunity. All over the world, black people were becoming style-makers and urban culture creators. In New York and Paris, blacks were arbiters of fashion for both the counterculture and the mainstream. The Beat Generation imbibed jazz and the blues, smoked and wrote out of an existentialism espoused by blacks.Poetry, music, fashion – aaah, to be black, Bailey thought. He purchased the publication in 1951 and moved it to Johannesburg, where he imported from England an energetic editor named Anthony Sampson (who later found fame with his ‘Anatomy of Britain’ and 'Mandela', the official biography). Together, they got down to the business of remaking the magazine and making waves.

Bailey fell in love with Sophiatown and its rowdy, urban energy. A slum on the surface, Sophiatown was a mix of Africans, Indians, Chinese, Portuguese, Greeks and Jews doing business and living in relative harmony. The town offered everything white South africa and Europe did not: sex, alcohol, extraordinary characters, style, hope, hopelessness. “Noisy and dramatic,” was how David Coplan described Sophiatown in his 1985 book ‘In Township Tonight!” “A new synthesis of African culture sprang out of its potholed streets, communal water taps, the rectangular jumble of yards, brick and wood dwellings here and eye-catching mansions there. Sophiatown was crime-ridden yet heaved with music and wishes and dreams, vulnerability and stubborness that gave it its swaggering personality.”

Into this heady atmosphere, Bailey launched ‘African Drum’. He quickly cut the title back to ‘Drum’ and assembled a staff of untrained township youngsters into what would be known as the “Drum School” of writers. A few of its graduates – Casey Motsisi, Todd Matshikiza, Ezekiel Mphalele, Bloke Modisane, Bessie Head – went on to become successful novelists, poets, dramatists and composers. To the thousands of blacks who migrated to Johannesburg during the 1940s and ‘50s, ‘Drum’ was a manifesto of social realism. The magazine’s lurid, over-written feature stories, with their violent, tragic, fashionably dressed characters – dice hustlers, jazz musicians, racist policemen, babes and molls – and especially the accompanying pictures, not only entertained Sophiatowns but embodied Sophiatown. Drum portrayed celebrities, especially actors and jazz musicians (who were often the same), as accessible pople who lived within the same poverty-stricken township as their fans. At its peak in the late-1950s, the magazine had editions all over the continent recording “the ladder down the stocking” of Bristish Imperial rule. Its total circulation topped 800,000.

Bailey and his staff took particular care with the covers. The most beloved of all the cover girls was blues singer Dolly Rathebe, an icon to Sophiatown ‘tsotsies’ (gangsters). To them, she was Marilyn Monroe and Josephine Baker rolled into one. Blessed with a husky, sometimes coarse voice, she would wisper, coo, and sing-talk like Nina Simone. She wiggled her hips to the ‘tsotsies’, sang the blues to the troubled, and crooned Yiddish lullabies to the rich Jewish patrons of the Johannesburg jazz scene. Dolly reshaped the whole continent’s sense of African feminine beauty. She was even courted by one of Drum’s writers, Can Themba. Themba, along with literary journalist Bloke Modisane, “Hollywood detective” columnist Arthur Maimane and music critic Todd Matshikiza, were the ears of Drum. Photographers Jurgen Schadeberg, Bob Gosani and Peter Magubane became the eyes that captured the town’s vibrancy. But one personality reigned supreme: Henry Nxumalo, who more than anyone embodied the magazine. “From the coffee plantations of the Gold Coast to the jazz-stung nightclubs of Nigeria,” he wrote in a 1956 blurb, “in the dreaming hamlets of Zululand, among Cape Town’s fun-filled coon life, and Johannesburg’s teeming, thrilling thousands, everywhere, every month, Drum is read and relished.”

After obtaining his junior certificate at a missionary school, Nxumalo trekked down to Jozi, where he served as a messenger at the ‘Bantu World’ newspaper. When World War II erupted, he signed on with the British Protectorate regiment and served as a sergeant in Egypt before coming back to the paper as sports editor. In 1951, he was hired as Drum’s first black reporter. Slim and dapper, he quickly became a familiar presence on the Sophiatown scene, covering crime and club dates with equal verve. Within a year, Nxumalo began writing as “Mr Drum”, a byline under which he produced some powerful exposes. “In those days”, remembered fellow reporter Themba in a posthumous 1985 memoir, “rumour was strong that farmers were ill-treating their labourers in the Bethal district. [Indeed, one had been flogged to death.] Dear ol’ Mr Drum fastened his braces, tied his shoelaces, fixed his Woodrow hat and got on a roll to investigate – simply by getting himself a job as labourer himself, in one of those Bethal potato farms.” It wasn’t just the emotional shock of the labourers’ conditions that excited interest in what Nxumalo wrote, but the courage he displayed in getting a job as a virtual slave and then escaping from it. The piece he wrote turned both Nxumalo and his magazine into urban icons.

Not long afterward, authorities at Johannesburg’s notorious Number Four prison were rumored to have introduced a dehumanizing new way of searching inmates for smuggled items such as tobacco, dagga (cannabis) or anything that could have been hidden in the rectum. Prisoners were lined in a row, naked, and made to skip and jump as they ran in front of their jailers. This was called the ‘Tausa’, or monkey, dance. On 19 January 1954, Nxumalo contrived to get himself arrested in Johannesburg by staying out past the night-time curfew without the required pass. By a stroke of luck, he was sent to Number Four. In “Mr Drum Goes to Goal”, illustrated with clandestine photos, Nxumalo described the ‘Tausa’ dance and other abuses at Number Four. The expose’ caught the prison system by surprise. Authorities were enraged, and Nxumalo suddenly became a figure of great interest to South Africa’s security branch. By then, his exploits as an investigative journalist had earned a number of enemies, among them thugs, crooked politicians, farm owners, and police.

On New Year’s Eve 1955, Nxumalo headed into the warm Sophiatown night, humming to himself. He stopped at his cousin Percy Hlubi’s place and, shortly after seeing in the new year, walked out into the night. His battered body was discovered the following morning by a cousin’s wife on her way to catch the day’s first train.
Still in his suit, he was face-down on a patch of dry grass, with one shoe missing and a blood trail that went back a thousand metres to the entrance of Coronation Hospital in Newclare. Nxumalo left a wife, Florence, who died in 1979, and five children. No one was ever convicted of his murder.
Can Themba died of alcohol-related complications in exile in Swaziland, Todd Matshikiza died in exile in Zambia, Nat Nakasa committed suicide in New York and William Bloke Modisane died in exile in West Germany. Dolly Rathebe died on 16 September 2004 from a stroke.


Drum’s home turf is gone too, a victim of the apartheid policy of forced removals from “white areas” – which included a longtime black enclave like Sophiatown. At 5:30am on 10 February 1955, government trucks backed by 2,000 heavily armed police removed the first hundred and ten families to what is now part of Soweto, the black township. Over the next three years, other families followed as bulldozers razed the buildings around them. Before long the place was a wasteland of rubble. A white suburb was developed on the site. The government called it Triomf (Triumph).

Today, Johannesburg – “Jozi” to initiates – is a multi-ethnic sprawl, where Somali Muslims rub shoulders with Nigerian drug lords and Congolese le Sapeur fashionistas. Drum is a mere shadow, resold, repositioned and defanged since its glory days. But the magazine’s early spirit of iconoclasm is being celebrated with a new zest: Drum’s golden era of the ‘50s and ‘60s and Nxumalo’s story have been the subject in the last few years, among a flurry of books, essays, articles and documentaries in SA and abroad, of a feature film, Drum: Stories from Sophiatown (2004), directed by South Africans Zola Maseko and Dumisani Dlamini, produced by Hollyhood’s Chris Sievernich (The Quiet American) and Rudolf Wichmann (Love and Rage), co-written by Jason Filiardi (Bringing Down the House) and starring US-born Taye Diggs (Chicago) and a posse of talented South African actors.

{You can download an excellent video about Drum here}




Free file hosting by Ripway.com

(Sophiatown is Gone - Miriam Makeba)

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

CYBER SEMINAR: A CLIMATE OF GREATER URGENCY

CLIMATE CHANGE AND AFRICA: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADDRESSING THE CONSEQUENCES?

Faced with increasing temperatures, melting polar ice and more volatile weather, delegates from nearly 190 nations started the negotiations of a new climate treaty at the U.N. climate conference in Bali yesterday. Mithika Mwenda from Climate Network Africa and Kate Raworth from Oxfam UK are both in Bali, following the negotiations closely. They will answer your questions during the Norwegian Council for Africa’s Cyber Seminar session on December 11, 12-14 local time in Norway (GMT + 01:00)

The Cyber Seminar is a virtual seminar – a forum for participants all over the world to engage with each other and with panellists from academia, politics and civil society on issues of current interest to Africa. For the first ever Cyber Seminar session, the issue is climate change and Africa: Who is responsible for addressing the consequences?

Activists and organizations around the world have the last years underscored the need for urgent progress on climate change and poverty alleviation for there to be real improvement in Africa's living conditions. While rich countries are responsible for three quarters of green house gas (GHG) emissions, it is the poor countries – particularly in Africa – that are hit the hardest. Climate change will critically jeopardise Africa’s economic development and poverty reduction achievements. What are the challenges ahead, who are responsible for addressing the consequences and can the Bali conference provide any answers?

[
More Details]
CLIMATE CHANGE AND AFRICA: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADDRESSING THE CONSEQUENCES?

Faced with increasing temperatures, melting polar ice and more volatile weather, delegates from nearly 190 nations started the negotiations of a new climate treaty at the U.N. climate conference in Bali yesterday. Mithika Mwenda from Climate Network Africa and Kate Raworth from Oxfam UK are both in Bali, following the negotiations closely. They will answer your questions during the Norwegian Council for Africa’s Cyber Seminar session on December 11, 12-14 local time in Norway (GMT + 01:00)

The Cyber Seminar is a virtual seminar – a forum for participants all over the world to engage with each other and with panellists from academia, politics and civil society on issues of current interest to Africa. For the first ever Cyber Seminar session, the issue is climate change and Africa: Who is responsible for addressing the consequences?

Activists and organizations around the world have the last years underscored the need for urgent progress on climate change and poverty alleviation for there to be real improvement in Africa's living conditions. While rich countries are responsible for three quarters of green house gas (GHG) emissions, it is the poor countries – particularly in Africa – that are hit the hardest. Climate change will critically jeopardise Africa’s economic development and poverty reduction achievements. What are the challenges ahead, who are responsible for addressing the consequences and can the Bali conference provide any answers?

[
More Details]

Monday, 3 December 2007

AFRICAN DIASPORA IN LONDON ON THE MOVE

The fourth African Ambassadors Interactive Forum(AAIF) with the African Diaspora and Africa Business & Investment Showcase took place on 28-29 November 2007 in London. Under the theme “African Ambassadors and the African Diaspora as Economic Gateways”, the 4th AAIF aimed at providing a platform for building business linkages and partnerships and attracting International Capital investment to the Continent using the sustainable resource of the African Diaspora Community.

According to the organizers’, the AAIF was borne out of a necessity to promote the integration and development objectives of the African Union in a more operationally sustainable way. The NEPAD Initiative, which is the flagship economic and political development program of the African Union, lays strong emphasis on building partnerships and involvement of all stakeholders to fast track the development of the African continent. This Forum aims to be a platform for translating these noble objectives into reality through harnessing the resources of the Africa Diplomatic Missions and Africa Diaspora to fulfill Africa’s economic development agenda.

The African Union has defined the African Diaspora as “consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.” Its constitutive act declares that it shall “invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our Continent, in the building of the African Union”. The AAIF recognizes the growing and significant role of the African Diaspora in the development of their countries of origin. The African Union has actually designated the African Diaspora as a sixth Sub-region of Africa.

(Pictures from previous events)
More details here
The fourth African Ambassadors Interactive Forum(AAIF) with the African Diaspora and Africa Business & Investment Showcase took place on 28-29 November 2007 in London. Under the theme “African Ambassadors and the African Diaspora as Economic Gateways”, the 4th AAIF aimed at providing a platform for building business linkages and partnerships and attracting International Capital investment to the Continent using the sustainable resource of the African Diaspora Community.

According to the organizers’, the AAIF was borne out of a necessity to promote the integration and development objectives of the African Union in a more operationally sustainable way. The NEPAD Initiative, which is the flagship economic and political development program of the African Union, lays strong emphasis on building partnerships and involvement of all stakeholders to fast track the development of the African continent. This Forum aims to be a platform for translating these noble objectives into reality through harnessing the resources of the Africa Diplomatic Missions and Africa Diaspora to fulfill Africa’s economic development agenda.

The African Union has defined the African Diaspora as “consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.” Its constitutive act declares that it shall “invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our Continent, in the building of the African Union”. The AAIF recognizes the growing and significant role of the African Diaspora in the development of their countries of origin. The African Union has actually designated the African Diaspora as a sixth Sub-region of Africa.

(Pictures from previous events)
More details here

Thursday, 29 November 2007

"JO SOARES: UM GORDO MUITO IMBECIL"

O titulo nao e' meu! E' deste blog, onde tambem se diz isto:

"Hoje, por coincidência, a segunda entrevista foi com Marcelo Paixão, que falou sobre “multiculturalismo e a situação do negro no Brasil“. Algo que somente piorou a situação, um remendo pior que o soneto, algo arranjado. A impressão que se tem, é que pegaram o primeiro “entendido” do assunto para botar panos quentes sobre as atrocidades que se falou e culpar, na verdade, a sociedade sobre os preconceitos de nossa cultura.Com frases do tipo “eu não opero por uma ótica relativista absoluta” e vários “a nível de“, “aportes“, “qüestões” (sic) Marcelo Paixão falou muito em tolerância, diálogo e compreensão. Jô, teceu vários elogios à eloqüência do entrevistado e sua facilidade de falar, ao que atribui um dom natural. Provas de que foi algo arranjado? Dos dois livros escritos pelo Marcelo, nenhum deles era lançamento. Ao fim da entrevista, Soares errou o nome da faculdade em que ele leciona - era UFRJ e ele falou em UERJ. Para finalizar, somente uma pessoa puxou o aahhh, típico de finais de entrevistas interessantes.
Sr. José Eugênio Soares, pede para sair! Pede para sair!"


Mas ha' quem tenha feito uma 'leitura' diferente, e.g.: "o Prof. Marcelo Paixão da UFRJ, e coordenador do observatório Afro-Brasileiro foi entrevistado pelo Jô. Vale a pena assistir ao vídeo, pois, além de ser uma verdadeira aula sobre a questão do preconceito, mostra o quão o Jô está alienado sobre estas questões (se mostrou um verdadeiro babaca). É cômico ver a cara do Jô sem saber o que questionar ou comentar sobre as exposições do Prof., de tão atrapalhado e embasbacado, ele até quebrou seus óculos. Este foi um verdadeiro "cala-a-boca" no gordinho. Vale a pena assistir e divulgar." Comentario daqui, onde tambem se fica a saber que o Jo ja' apresentou ontem uma "desculpa esfarrapada"... 'a Lusa.

Entretanto, a Embaixada de Angola no Brasil parece ter-se decidido a dizer qualquer coisa... 'a Lusa (aqui).

[Clique na imagem para aceder ao video]
O titulo nao e' meu! E' deste blog, onde tambem se diz isto:

"Hoje, por coincidência, a segunda entrevista foi com Marcelo Paixão, que falou sobre “multiculturalismo e a situação do negro no Brasil“. Algo que somente piorou a situação, um remendo pior que o soneto, algo arranjado. A impressão que se tem, é que pegaram o primeiro “entendido” do assunto para botar panos quentes sobre as atrocidades que se falou e culpar, na verdade, a sociedade sobre os preconceitos de nossa cultura.Com frases do tipo “eu não opero por uma ótica relativista absoluta” e vários “a nível de“, “aportes“, “qüestões” (sic) Marcelo Paixão falou muito em tolerância, diálogo e compreensão. Jô, teceu vários elogios à eloqüência do entrevistado e sua facilidade de falar, ao que atribui um dom natural. Provas de que foi algo arranjado? Dos dois livros escritos pelo Marcelo, nenhum deles era lançamento. Ao fim da entrevista, Soares errou o nome da faculdade em que ele leciona - era UFRJ e ele falou em UERJ. Para finalizar, somente uma pessoa puxou o aahhh, típico de finais de entrevistas interessantes.
Sr. José Eugênio Soares, pede para sair! Pede para sair!"


Mas ha' quem tenha feito uma 'leitura' diferente, e.g.: "o Prof. Marcelo Paixão da UFRJ, e coordenador do observatório Afro-Brasileiro foi entrevistado pelo Jô. Vale a pena assistir ao vídeo, pois, além de ser uma verdadeira aula sobre a questão do preconceito, mostra o quão o Jô está alienado sobre estas questões (se mostrou um verdadeiro babaca). É cômico ver a cara do Jô sem saber o que questionar ou comentar sobre as exposições do Prof., de tão atrapalhado e embasbacado, ele até quebrou seus óculos. Este foi um verdadeiro "cala-a-boca" no gordinho. Vale a pena assistir e divulgar." Comentario daqui, onde tambem se fica a saber que o Jo ja' apresentou ontem uma "desculpa esfarrapada"... 'a Lusa.

Entretanto, a Embaixada de Angola no Brasil parece ter-se decidido a dizer qualquer coisa... 'a Lusa (aqui).

[Clique na imagem para aceder ao video]

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

PROGRAMA DO JO SOARES: ABAIXO ASSINADO DE PROTESTO!


LEIA E SUBSCREVA O ABAIXO-ASSINADO AQUI

Leia post inicial "Etnografia de Curral ou Bestialidade Culturral" e comentarios AQUI

[Click na imagem para aceder ao video]


LEIA E SUBSCREVA O ABAIXO-ASSINADO AQUI

Leia post inicial "Etnografia de Curral ou Bestialidade Culturral" e comentarios AQUI

[Click na imagem para aceder ao video]

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

EDIFICIO PORTUGUES NA FINAL DO STIRLING PRIZE 2007

O Channel 4 (canal Inglês) irá brevemente transmitir o RIBA Stirling Prize 2007 (concurso que visa destacar e premiar obras de referência em termos de arquitectura moderna). Actualmente, o CHannel 4 tem a decorrer uma "votação" no seu site para encontrar o edifício que mais agrada ao público. Pela primeira vez, uma obra portuguesa aparece em destaque nesta votação – a Casa da Música.
[Mais detalhes aqui]



America's Cup Building

Casa da Musica

Dresden Station Redevelopment

Museum of Modern Literature

Savill Building


Young Vic Theatre

Sunday, 25 November 2007

SUNDAY COVER & POETRY (VI)








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{Poem: Double Wedding, 1615..., by Jane Yeh. Jane is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. Her debut collection, Marabou (Carcanet, 2005), was shortlisted for The Whitbread Poetry Prize and The Forward Poetry Prize For Best First Collection. in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}







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{Poem: Double Wedding, 1615..., by Jane Yeh. Jane is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University. Her debut collection, Marabou (Carcanet, 2005), was shortlisted for The Whitbread Poetry Prize and The Forward Poetry Prize For Best First Collection. in Life Lines 2/Poets for Oxfam/Edited by Todd Swift, 2007}

Friday, 23 November 2007

AFRICAN DIASPORA FILM FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK

The program for the 15th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival, which will take place in New York on November 23-December 9, 2007, has a special "Portugal and Africa Program," which includes old and new films about Lusophone African topics. The program lists many other interesting films, including some from Brazil.


_Cape Verde, My Love_ (2007, NY premiere), fiction - A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde. Ana Ramos Lisboa, the director, will also participate on panels on Dec. 7 and 8..

_Escape from Luanda_ (2007, US premiere), documentary - profiles three students at the Music School in Luanda, culminating with their end of year concert.

_Nelio's Story_ (1997), fiction - the story of an orphan boy whose magical powers make him the leader of homeless boys in Maputo, based on Henning Mankell story.

_A River / Um Rio_ (2005, US premiere), fiction - based on a Mia Couto novel, about members of an extended family who gather to bury their patriarch, each person representing different aspects of recent Mozambican history.

_Tatana_ (2005), short fiction (12 minutes) - a grandmother appears after her death to help her grandson accept fate and death.

_Skin / Pele_ (2005, US premiere), fiction - set in 1970s Lisbon, about a mixed race young woman sorting out her identity.

For further information about venues and dates, as well as longer summaries of the film stories, see
http://www.nyadff.org/.


(By Kathleen Sheldon - H-Net)
The program for the 15th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival, which will take place in New York on November 23-December 9, 2007, has a special "Portugal and Africa Program," which includes old and new films about Lusophone African topics. The program lists many other interesting films, including some from Brazil.


_Cape Verde, My Love_ (2007, NY premiere), fiction - A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde. Ana Ramos Lisboa, the director, will also participate on panels on Dec. 7 and 8..

_Escape from Luanda_ (2007, US premiere), documentary - profiles three students at the Music School in Luanda, culminating with their end of year concert.

_Nelio's Story_ (1997), fiction - the story of an orphan boy whose magical powers make him the leader of homeless boys in Maputo, based on Henning Mankell story.

_A River / Um Rio_ (2005, US premiere), fiction - based on a Mia Couto novel, about members of an extended family who gather to bury their patriarch, each person representing different aspects of recent Mozambican history.

_Tatana_ (2005), short fiction (12 minutes) - a grandmother appears after her death to help her grandson accept fate and death.

_Skin / Pele_ (2005, US premiere), fiction - set in 1970s Lisbon, about a mixed race young woman sorting out her identity.

For further information about venues and dates, as well as longer summaries of the film stories, see
http://www.nyadff.org/.


(By Kathleen Sheldon - H-Net)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

NOW THEY'RE CRYING FOR THE "SPECIAL ONE"...

Sinceramente, ando muito triste e condoida pelos meus ‘anfitrioes’ Ingleses…
Bolas, uma pessoa bem que torce por eles, mas… e’ mentira! Sao batidos no Rugby, sabotados na Formula 1, surrados no Cricket… haja do’...

Mas isso de nao ganharem nada de geito no Futebol, para quem o ‘inventou’… e’ mesmo demais!

Ontem la’ foram estrondosamente derrotados em casa pela Croacia (3-2), apesar de os jogadores terem jogado sob a perspectiva de receberem um premio extra de 250 mil libras caso conseguissem apenas empatar para que a Inglaterra se qualificasse para o Euro 2008… Enfim, uma dor de alma. Anyway, antes ainda de o jogo ter terminado, ja’ se ouviam na radio adeptos a pedir a cabeca do McClaren e a dizer: “bring in Mourinho!”

Meanwhile, McClaren, que ontem ao final do jogo dizia que nao se iria demitir, foi hoje demitido, (sacked!) pela FA da Inglaterra, enquanto o popular “The Sun” trazia como manchete estes dizeres: “Useless, pathetic, insipid, spineless, desperate, rubbish and all those other words we are not allowed to print in the nation’s favourite newspaper. England are the joke of European football.”

Pois que venha “the special one” a ver se ao menos se alivia um pouco de tanta dor!

E’ que isto de ‘anfitrioes’ frustrados as vezes da’ em ‘hospedes’ feitos “bodes expiatorios”…
Sinceramente, ando muito triste e condoida pelos meus ‘anfitrioes’ Ingleses…
Bolas, uma pessoa bem que torce por eles, mas… e’ mentira! Sao batidos no Rugby, sabotados na Formula 1, surrados no Cricket… haja do’...

Mas isso de nao ganharem nada de geito no Futebol, para quem o ‘inventou’… e’ mesmo demais!

Ontem la’ foram estrondosamente derrotados em casa pela Croacia (3-2), apesar de os jogadores terem jogado sob a perspectiva de receberem um premio extra de 250 mil libras caso conseguissem apenas empatar para que a Inglaterra se qualificasse para o Euro 2008… Enfim, uma dor de alma. Anyway, antes ainda de o jogo ter terminado, ja’ se ouviam na radio adeptos a pedir a cabeca do McClaren e a dizer: “bring in Mourinho!”

Meanwhile, McClaren, que ontem ao final do jogo dizia que nao se iria demitir, foi hoje demitido, (sacked!) pela FA da Inglaterra, enquanto o popular “The Sun” trazia como manchete estes dizeres: “Useless, pathetic, insipid, spineless, desperate, rubbish and all those other words we are not allowed to print in the nation’s favourite newspaper. England are the joke of European football.”

Pois que venha “the special one” a ver se ao menos se alivia um pouco de tanta dor!

E’ que isto de ‘anfitrioes’ frustrados as vezes da’ em ‘hospedes’ feitos “bodes expiatorios”…