I am not sure if this was by chance. Seems unlikely, but who knows. A bread in surprisingly precise shape of Africa. Okay, of course it’s not exact, but we must give it some break, it was a bread, a ciabatta, for goodness sake. This is my version of the holy mother appearing in things to catholics: )
17 June 2008
I lack some very basic qualities of a journalist. Not that I am not cynical enough, but at times I can also get excited. I don’t feel the need to criticise what doesn’t need criticising. I am openly out of the closet fan of certain things. I don’t think that makes me less objective when I talk and write about them; after all, I like them because I like them. There’s no particular unconditional love in these fan relationships.
As a journalist and as a fan the past few days have been exciting because I think, as sincerely as I only can, that South Africa is living very interesting times literature wise. The new wave of Black, often a-political, witty, intelligent and engaging opinion leaders and writers has arrived in a big style and I have had a chance to chat and meet with almost every one that I have enjoyed reading. Granted there must be others that I didn’t get to meet and whose books I haven’t read, but it’s been a privilege nonetheless.
Like the previous post was already plugging, the last one of these new guys was Ndumiso Ngcobo. The author of Some of my Best Friends are White chatted with us after his presentation at the publisher's stand. He’s pretty cool; a bit of an anecdotalist and observer. He also blogs and based on the book, blog, presentation and our interview, he’s a kind of person that one would like to have as an in-house opinion machine. To sort of comment every story, and hey, since both in his book and presentation he mentioned an arrangement similar to this being his dream, if only we had the funding to hire him, we probably would.
Tuesday is the last day of the book fair. We’ll still go there to record bits and pieces before we put everything finally together. It’s been busy but wonderful few days. It’s great time to live in South Africa. It may not be a perfect country, but having lived in a handful of countries, what is.
16 June 2008
The second day of Cape Town Book fair was not nearly as busy for us as the first. That doesn’t mean that the good stuff wasn’t good, just that there was less of it. At least for us there was.
Morning, well it was at eleven, started with a talk “Making Light of the Dark Continent” in which author Sihle Khumalo (he's the one in those photos below) was being interviewed. Now, no person who has been walking into a book shop within past half a year or so, couldn’t miss his book Dark Continent My Black Arse. It’s a great travelling book - an African exploring Africa. Sounds refreshing and it also is just that. Sihle came across like a cool and humble guy just like Niq Mhlongo and Thembelani Ngenelwa on previous day. I hate to say this but I’ve been so surprised how down to earth writers seem to be. I don’t know what I expected. I guess I’ve always given much credit to anyone who writes a book, almost any kind actually, and partly because I have a background of interviewing all kinds of pop musicians who have opinions of themselves.
Sihle Khumalo speaks
We’ve almost done with a small feature on Sihle as I also got to interview him one-on-one and that will be featured here in next few days.
Monday, the third day of the event, doesn’t leave us cold either. It’s quite incredible that we’ve so far had a chance to meet most of our favourite new and young(ish) authors of the new SA and last one is Ndumiso Ngcobo. He’s talking on Monday about his witty and observational Some of my Best Friends are White. We hope to ask him few questions as well.
Niq Mhlongo interviewed
We’ve also been busy recording more material for our forthcoming Xenophobia documentary which attempts to look a little deeper and understand what’s been happening in South Africa. On top of our otherwise insightful interviewees we added one more definite A-lister on the roster. We talked with legendary George Bizos and what an honour it was indeed.
Three more days left and we’re planning to attend all of them if everything goes as planned. From Sunday I’m definitely most looking forward to Sihle Khumalo who wrote the brilliant travel book Dark Continent My Black Arse. But more about that when it has happened.
8 June 2008
5 June 2008
For the second time in the past month we had a chance to hear Dr Mamphela Ramphele speaking. She is the co-founder of Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) and generally incredibly sharp individual with enough love for her country to criticise it. Tuesday night’s event in the Book Lounge was part of the launching of her recent book Laying Ghosts to Rest. I am still yet to start reading the book as there’s been few others on my reading list before that, but I hear it’s an interesting one to say the least.
Unlike on last occasion, we actually recorded her speech, or rather question and answer session, and we are going to use that in our future projects for Voxpop Africa.
Dr Mamphela Ramphele signing her new book
The photograph is actually from the previous event at Cape Town’s Waterfront. This time we didn’t have time to take photos.
As a side note: we’re going to see one of the top comedians of all time Chris Rock this Thursday and while the event is purely social (there’s certain amount of red tape to record such events i.e. you cannot do it) it’s very exiting nonetheless.
3 June 2008
After posting my previous post I immediately found myself in the middle of a major demonstration against xenophobia. While my wife Amkelwa was interviewing the participants I was busy taking photographs. I have been taking photos of demonstrations before and it’s notable that the photos tend to always end up looking more dramatic and intense than what the actual event did. I suppose that has got to do with the fact that photographer finds him/herself drawn to the dramatic scenes, rules out uninteresting, which most often means calm and peaceful scenes and people, whether they are shouting and chanting peacefully or angrily tend to look similar and our mind conditioning, especially in the case of Moslems is that surely they are upset. That is also why coming back from such an event and checking the pool of photos myself, I end up feeling torn about the seriousness of what I witnessed. And in the name of clarity, I mean seriousness as in was there a personal threat to me, not was the issue at hand serious.
Having said this, check the photographs from this link. As said we also recorded audio and are currently working on that.
Amkelwa doing interviews in anti-xenophobia demonstartion in Cape Town.