So it doesn't look like the Cape Town Carnival soapie is going to happen this year; Not enough money for such a project so close to its fruition.
Though it should be noted that it is a good proposal that can be applied to other events happening in Cape Town. The Mother City being one of those worldly places on the planet where things are happening all the time; and in competition for the spotlight...the drawing of the large crowd.
But as we (Shepi and me) were being approach for the project, there was also a conference going on at the University of Cape Town.
The Centre for African Studies in cooperation and support from Chimurenga, Brown University, Addis Ababa University and the University of the West Indies hosted the event around Theories / Practices / Imaginaries they called Thinking Africa + The Diaspora Differently.
It was to be a different kind of conference. Though i must say it was not different, at least not that i could detect. Most of their differences came from performance interjected segments. The major performance being the Keynote address.
The keynote address instead of being a speech delivered by a dynamo in the field was given as a musical performance by an Eastern Cape performer and her trio: Umthwakazi. Her name i was told subsequently means Cave dweller or Sand person...something to do with the origins of the first people of this southern region of Africa. It was a fine performance and all. They even started the set with instrumentation from a bygone era. Here is what a posted (40sec) on YouTube of that opening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBgTwpUTb2o&list=UUYE2pc-WXgBIRs-hBCURiiA&index=1&feature=plcp
It was all well and good; however i did not connect it with the conference at all. Maybe it would have been better for the group to compose something, in movement(s) - the three subtitles: Theories / Practices / Imaginaries - especially for the occasion. It seemed to me they just played a regular gig. But that may be just my perception. Plus there was too much chatting as the performance was going on. I can't imagine that volume of chatting going on with a speaker.
On the whole the conference was very enlightening and all... as most of these things are. I did have one conversation with a woman about the current flagrant use of the word nigger (world-wide). I went into this historic treatise on the subject which included the fact that the beginnings of the Hip-Hop culture was born out of abandonment. Their elders abandoned them, the society abandoned them, the most of all mentoring mechanisms were not in place to guide a post-urban unheaval, pre-crack generation of young people. So when the Black Caribbean immigrants, met the (break) dancers nee martial artist, met the spray-can artists, met the rhymer/poets in abandon housing and playgrounds with more portable technologies hauled around by turntablist and audiophiles... Results: the only cultural expression, i know of, to evolve without "adult" supervision or mentored guidance. A large part of the expression was reaction to the falsettos of the R&B singing, the truncation of a very workable education system, the continued thrashing of Black men and most importantly the killing of young Black men as an extension of the killing of young Black leaders of the civil rights / Black movement era.
One of the points i brought to the Sister's attention was that in my formative years, it was common for the first person who ever called you a Nigger was someone in your own family.
At any rate, here is part of an email i wrote to the Sister a few days after our conversation:
(Meanwhile)...Tatenda and i had a spirited conversation during the Centre for African Studies event last week. The conversation centered around the Hip Hop generation's use of the word NIGGER, and all its variations.
I was pointing out to the Sister how it is also a generational thing.
So someone of Maya Angelou's generation, a generation vested in the elimination of the word, would have a different take than someone of my generation --(Well maybe it's only me)-- who is pretty neutral on the word, but understands the various ramifications.
I actually don't use the word.
But then i don't use Bitch or Jew...and a bunch of other words... Though i do think my voicing of the word(s) have more to do with the harshness of their sounds, or something like that...
Anyway here (included) is what a collage buddy of mine forwarded to me...
my word, from my generation is the Samuel L. Jackson overused: Muthafucka!
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: guardian.co.uk <<a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank">firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 4:40 PM
Subject: [From: t r] Maya Angelou criticises Common collaboration
t r spotted this on the guardian.co.uk site and thought you should see it.
To see this story with its related links on the guardian.co.uk site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/dec/19/maya-angelou-common
Maya Angelou criticises Common collaboration
Poet offended by rapper's use of N-word on a track in which she appears, saying his language is 'vulgar and dangerous'
Tuesday December 20 2011
The poet Maya Angelou has criticised Common's use of the N-word. Angelou said she was "surprised and disappointed" at the rapper's language on a new track in which she appears.
"I had no idea that Common was using the piece we had done together on [a track] in which he also used the 'N-word' numerous times," Angelou told the New York Post [http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/rapper_bombs_poet_pal_vGpl6qIvAl1judJ7oszEFI" title="]. She was referring to the opening track on Common's new album [http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/dec/06/common-believer-john-legend" title="], The Dreamer/The Believer.. Common is a huge fan of Angelou's and convinced her to make a rare hip-hop cameo, reciting one of her poems. "From Africa they lay in the bilge of slave ships," she reads. "And stood half naked on auction blocks/ and still they dreamed."
But Angelou's isn't the only voice on the track: Common is there too, rapping about "Ferrari testers, Armani dressers" and "exquisite thick bitches". "Walking on water, building my faith up," he continues, "Niggas with no heart, I'm the pace maker."
According to the New York Post, Angelou had no idea Common uses the N-word, which she calls "vulgar and dangerous" to black people. "I don't know why he chose to do that," she said. "I had never heard him use that [word] before. I admired him so because he wasn't singing the line of least resistance."
Common denied Angelou was offended. "She knows I do use the word," he claimed. "She knows that's part of me."
Just for Clarity