Cultural identity

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“Dead White Man’s Clothes”: The language of second-hand clothes in Africa
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Arts, Culture and Sport “Dead White Man’s Clothes”: The language of second-hand clothes in Africa

Second-hand clothes carry both the individual and collective identity of their origin, that is, the fashion, style, and aesthetics. They go by different names in different parts of Africa; mitumba in Kenya, obroni wawu in Ghana, in Zimbabwe mabhero or bhero, calamidades in Mozambique, hudheey/hudeey in Somalia, abloni or sogava in Togo — these names carry the societal or cultural meanings.

Alliance High School appoints new head — the smooth transition marks a new dawn
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Politics and Society Alliance High School appoints new head — the smooth transition marks a new dawn

In 2016, Kenya’s premier public high school, Alliance High School (AHS) popularly known as “Bush” infamously made headlines — the bullying of form ones by older boys. Subsequent scandals have exposed some of the school’s traditional excesses casting a shadow on a major positive incident to come out the school in recent times: The transition of power from one head to another, the smoothest in as many years.

Zimbabwe’s Game of Totems – Nelson Chamisa’s Pentecostal iconoclasm is the scream of symbolic castration
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Politics and Society Zimbabwe’s Game of Totems – Nelson Chamisa’s Pentecostal iconoclasm is the scream of symbolic castration

Zimbabwe has two infamous iconoclasts. Nelson Chamisa and Dambudzo Marechera. One is a Pentecostal dream-twister, and the other, an atheist prankster. Both are on record denouncing spirits of the dead, national symbols and indigenous religious beliefs. At face value, their irreverence is a sign of elitism and intolerance. On a deeper level, it is the crying out of the symbolically castrated. Marechera reminds us that no return to origins is innocent. Chamisa uses the Bible to settle scores with his political enemies, having been robbed of his former party’s spiritual capital and beaten to the commandeering of social memory by Zanu PF.

Afrojazz innovator meditates mortality and pandemic creativity
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Arts, Culture and Sport Afrojazz innovator meditates mortality and pandemic creativity

Vital Signs, the critically acclaimed pandemic album by Zimbabwean jazz innovator Vee Mukarati, masterfully negotiates the lockdown dilemma of being relevant to your time while staying true to your art. Mukarati swings, meditates and sings on mortality, precarity and alienation on an album that is, at once, deeply personal, richly Zimbabwean and unmistakably global. The Switzerland-based artist discusses navigating the challenges of lockdown creativity in this exclusive interview with This Is Africa.

HBO’s sci-fi horror series Lovecraft Country relives the Jim Crow era
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Arts, Culture and Sport HBO’s sci-fi horror series Lovecraft Country relives the Jim Crow era

Lovecraft Country, a must watch landmark show is a story which grapples with America’s troubled past and present, a binary opposite defined relationship of us versus them is pitted throughout the narrative, be it law enforcement vis-à-vis policing and white American supremacy in the fray. It can be read as an allegory for the Black American horror reality.