Archive for South Africa

Mapping the Clamour in Africa

Posted in maps, maps & mapping, politics, racism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2011 by Sunshine Superboy

Everybody wants to rap about Africa this week. Nelson Mandela is out of hospital. Tunisia’s successful people-led ousting of their government has emboldened thousands among their Arab neighbors. The people of Egypt took bravely to the streets of Suez, Alexandria, and Cairo among other cities (see map below) and recently forced the police to go home! And oh yeah, didn’t the people of Southern Sudan just vote in record turnout to secede from the north a few weeks back?

Seems a fitting time to share some basic political geography of Africa. Of course, it doesn’t reflect the impending bifurcation of Sudan, but it gives places the names that are commonly used for them and all that, and it will save you from looking dafty (or worse, racist!*) while you’re discussing “the Africa” with all your pals. Maybe now Africa will seem less “mysterious” if indeed it previously had.

And while you’re at it, you can turn that geographic literacy into stunning smug commentary on the latest flashpoints of protest across the Map of Egypt.

…will never be defeated

Sunshine Superboy

*so actually not knowing the names and corresponding geographies of African countries does not make you racist. this was a joke just to have some fun with some of the folks who are jumpy about whether or not they are being racist- as if there were no way anyone could ever know for sure? LOL. buuuut, nor does not knowing shit about Africa make you “anti-racist”. Do us all a favor. Save yourself the embarrassment by brushing up a tad on this stuff. And for the love of god, please don’t refer to “Africa” out of wholesale uncertainty when you are really just talking about one specific city, ethnicity, culture or region within the vast, vast continent. Be brave and be specific. You’re smart, you’ll do great. (yes I do mean it).


California Represent! Geo-cinematic representations in Hollywood circa 1927

Posted in anthropology, film, maps, maps & mapping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Sunshine Superboy

This 1927 map by Paramount Pictures was apparently used for financial backers; it indicates shooting locations in California that could stand in for more exotic locales.

First of all, what the hell were they making movies about in 1927 that all you really need is Spain, New England, some rocky West and “Africa”?

anyways, I thought it was an incredibly interesting artifact of americana, industry, and representation.

The source is The American Film Industry by Tino Balio. According to the book, the variety of available geography in southern California is “one of the reasons” Hollywood became the center of the film industry.

I can think of a few others…

Up up and Away,
Sunshine Superboy

Pan-African Space Station

Posted in anthropology, art & music, race, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

There Are Other Worlds Out There They Never Told You About…

pass-facebook-copy_2 For a few more weeks, you can jam out to the sounds of streaming Pan African Space Station Radio. Check it outs!!!

The Pan African Space Station (PASS) is a 30-day music intervention from September 12 – October 12, on radio and the internet, as well as venues across greater Cape Town. It is an opportunity for Capetonians and visitors to engage up-close with the rich and complex web of creative expression which binds Africans across the globe.
PASS is also an exploration of and an intervention into spatial and cultural ghettos in the city and how to link them physically (through the music venues) and conceptually (on radio and the internet). Now in its second year, PASS continues its cross-cultural and cyber-spatial exploration, bringing together diverse pan-African sounds from ancient grooves to future hip-hop.3947868049_85771440e7_m


PASS radio, a unique freeform radio station, is back with 30 days of cutting edge music streamed live online. The station features themed shows, live performances and readings, debates, sound art, speeches, interviews and much more.
In the build-up to the festival, throughout September, the daily radio programme includes a free, live performance at PASS studios on Long Street. These live sessions run between 7-9pm and are curated by guest musicians, DJs and artists, including world-renowned, Montreal based groove archaeologist DJ Andy Williams.3955517532_89ffe7d89b
Other highlights on this year’s broadcast programme include Songs for Biko, a 24-hour praise party for Steve Biko on 12 Sept (Biko Day) and Songs for Bheki, a musical tribute to the late philosopher and musician Bheki Mseleku, which closes the live music component on October 4.


From October 1 – 4 2009, PASS II plays host to genre-busting music outfits from global Africa dedicated to exploring new musical territory. The line-up features Kora maestro Toumani Diabate; Queen of Ndebele music, guitarist Nothembi Mkhwebane; 9-piece, Chicago-based jazz troubadours Hypnotic Brass Ensemble; Cameroonian funk-master Franck Biyong and his Massak Afroletric Orchestra; Zanzibar’s legendary taarab orchestra and social club, the Culture Musical Club; Ras_G & the Afrikan from his El-Ay, Western Sahara space base; and Ghanaian Pidgin rapper Wanlov the Kubulor.

PASS II also features a series of new collaborations between South African musicians: Barry van Zyl’s southern African sound-rhythm stew, Baboti are joined by jazz vocalist and trombone player Siya Makuzeni; and politically engaged, slamming jazz upstarts uDaba perform with spoken-word author Kgafela oa Magogodi. Some of the continent’s most esteemed selectors, including Dar es Salaam’s DJ Yusuf Mahmoud and Cape Town’s own Fong Kong Bantu Soundsystem are also making appearances. In addition, the festival includes a collaborative, experimental chorale work based on the novella War Chorale by pioneering Chilean writer Fernando Alegria, with composition and direction by jazz guitarist Bheki Khoza.
The live music component PASS takes place in a series of different venues across greater Cape Town, engaging diverse together audiences and provoking new forms of creative expression and social mobilization that foreground history and memory as well as agency and difference. Audiences will travel from St Georges Cathedral, the Centre for the Book and the Slave Church in the city centre to Guga S’thebe in Langa and All Nations Club in Salt River.

thanks to my Capetonian peops for passing all this info along! You can stay in the loop from afar thru the Pan African Space Station blog!

who no know go know,
Sunshine Superboy


White Privilege part II

Posted in racism with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy


remember when I broached the subject a few months ago

white privilege doesn’t have to= white guilt. Owning up to your privilege (of any kind) is not an admission of being an evil judgmental oppressor. Check that BS at the door and lets get down to business, deal?

true story:
a friend of mine came to one of the United States from her native South Africa. She came for the purpose of studying here, ostensibly with people who were not idiots- her pursuit being a PhD in Anthropology. Somebody should have told her how unexpectedly idiotic and uninformed North Americans can be. Being a bright scholar, though, she figured this out very quickly and almost entirely on her own. I’m sure she anticipated that the privileges afforded legal citizens of Northern countries would come along with a certain ignorance, white-privilegebut surely political-economic legacies of institutionalized racism should be widely understood (at least among those who are privileged enough to embark on a graduate level social-science education)?! Even the white ones,… right???

So my friend, the South African scholar, she shows up in a mid-western United State and meets a white woman, a North American, and this north american women hones in on my friend and starts spouting some nonsense (leaning in to ensure that her heartfelt comments are really connecting), about how it “must have been really hard for [my friend] to get to the United States” and that her family “must be so proud and must have had to sacrifice a lot for [my friend] to be here”. Okay, so my friend is a white South African. Did I mention that?

So now my friend stares back at this quixotic North American and she’s all “actually, its not a big deal; you do get that I’m a white South African, right? Like there’s all this institutionalized privileged and wealth that was built up for white South Africans throughout most of the 20th century under apartheid.”

[blank stare] “but like, you’re from ‘Africa,’ and its like such a great privilege to have someone from your country study in the United States. Like I bet that doesn’t happen- like barely at all…”

Basically my friend walked away from the conversation after seeing that this American was not going to get it. Prolly something along the lines of “whatever, this person is an idiot.” My friend recounted this story to me, exasperated, like it was some anthropological testament to how totally oblivs someone could be.

And neither of us knew who should be more embarrassed? Me, her North American friend whose American citizenship and the inane cultural acceptability of national ignorance to global history and political economy was implicated? Or she, whose whiteness, like some sort of emperor’s clothes, could exist in the world as simultaneously so embarrassing, so arrogant, and such an impervious forcefield of power to shield, to wield, and to exert.

We shared a poignant silence realizing the fairly cast associations and how stupidities reflected on our own privileges. But also shared a motionless wink, with the trust we had in each other and solidarity that we shared, that we were who we were because we “owned” our privileges and worked to understand them. mirebiwhiteTo see the windmills and distinguish them from the real threats of institutionalized racism. To open our eyes and see that the Emperor struts, naked, vainglorious, exposed. And the roles that both nation (imperialism) and race (white supremacy) play in misrecognition and failure to identify.

My friend turned to this white gringo (she tells me), locks onto her gaze and explains quite matter of factly: “you get that being white in apartheid, and even post apartheid South Africa means that I very well may have been afforded more privileges than you (leading to my being here)?!!”

And I try to explain to white Northamericans all the time, the ways in which the overt machine of apartheid era racism, so shamelessly codified in law as recently as 15-20 years ago, is the same core of white supremacy that affords americans of european descent the hidden, invisible, or un-uttered advantages that keep the “good schools” white, the acceptible standards “anglo-american”, and the safe/innocent neighborhoods the palest in complexion.

I mean, duh. Who was locked up on Robben Island under apartheid? How many white folks (and institutions) talk about the two million black people (especially men) incarcerated in U.S. prisons– all for doing the a lot of the same shit that white folks do, in greater numbers, every day in this country??

As I said in my last post on white privilege. Shits just the tip of the iceberg.

Chimurenga! Chimurenga!
Sunshine Superboy

“psssst, dude, you sound like a racist”: