Our collective imagination around Nelson Mandela can do with more interrogation, says Kagiso Mnisi.
Thabo Mbeki is no hero. Neither is he the worst leader to emerge from the ranks of the African National Congress. A son of the liberation movement to a fault; an idealist who is romantic about Africa, and a vessel of complexity – now, that he is. As Mbeki celebrates his birthday, we reflect on his leadership. Will he cringe as he recalls some of his missteps or remain grandiose about his unfinished African Renaissance chapter?
The image that classically characterises 16 June 1976 is that of a tearful Mbuyisa Makhubo carrying a slain 12-year-old Hector Pieterson, flanked by a hysterical Antoinette Sithole, Hector’s sister, taken by Sam Nzama is a marker of history. Nzama’s image is unambiguous and intact. The role of the visual image has ceased to be iconographic. In these hyper-visual times, digital technology has lent greater complexity to our relationship with images writes Kagiso Mnisi.
The social media space has become a wonderful domain for independent content curators, Kagiso Mnisi writes, some of whom are celebrated for their ability to engage authentically with members of their generation.
How language relates to time is a philosophical humdinger. In his remarkable essay, ‘Midnight,’ South African novelist Imraan Coovadia writes that ‘science has yet to create a satisfactory description of time, an account of why it exists and how it progresses…the physical time of the cosmos, expressed in the changes of subatomic particles and forces and billion sun galaxies, differs from historical time, with its emphasis on economic and cultural processes, and also from the psychological time of human beings.’
It’s been quite interesting to see how creative industries within the continent have surpassed mainstream politics in advancing the ‘newness of Africa’, but on the flipside are also vulnerable to the stranglehold of neocolonial agendas operating through the language of ‘development’, ‘sustainability’, ‘Africa rising’ and all these other vacuous references.
The idea of a smart city within the continent is draped in novelty . This utopian narrative showers those who reside in it with the promise of uninterrupted connectivity, supplied surely by corporates able to farm data under the pretext of enabling innovation, employment and ultimately seeing ‘Africa Rising’
Kagiso Mnisi caught up with Just A Band, from Nairobi, to talk about the promise of the digital age, the merits of Afrofuturism, and other trends coming out of a continent where personal stories are starting to take centre stage.
Exploring Johannesburg’s inner-city sex trade: a murky world where women from across Africa sell their bodies for cash. This Is Africa took a walk on the wild side.