Kenyan model Yaya Deng | photography by Cybele Malinowski
The work of South African costumer and puppetmaker Macdonald Mfolo caught our eye after a recent interview with Another Africa highlighted the large scale puppets he created as part of the collaborative fashion and photography exhibition NOT x Chris Saunders. The cross-cultural project fuses the work of South African artisans and designers together with that of Jenny Lai, a New York-based experimental womenswear designer, and Chris Saunders, a photojournalist living and working in Johannesburg. The exhibition puts a spotlight on the social and cultural climates that creatives from New York and South Africa find themselves inhabiting while showcasing the viability of global collaborations in this digital age.
On August 7, 1914, the first shot fired by British troops in World War I took place in Togoland (the German colonial protectorate now know as Togo) and is commonly attributed to sergeant-major Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast regiment. Grunshi’s act showcases rather clearly how the European dispute played out in its colonial territories abroad as well as the active involvement of Africans in the Great War. Yet despite this history, the story of WWI and how it has been popularly remembered has been one void of an African presence.
Godfried Donkor, Jamestown Masquerade Series, 2011
A new online marketplace has emerged for designers of African and African inspired clothes, shoes, accessories and houseware to sell their items directly to customers. A cross between eBay and ShopBop, Makowla allows a hand-picked selection of vendors to upload their products directly to the site. Check out the goods over on the website, and keep up with sales and new items on Instagram and Facebook.
The Makoko Floating School,a multifunctional schoolhouse and community center located in the Lagos waterfront settlement of Makoko, is the brainchild of Kunlé Adeyemi. The Nigerian architect and urbanist set out to create the floating structure as a solution to overcrowded living conditions, seasonal infrastructural damage from tidal flooding, and the recurring state-sanctioned demolitions frequently experienced by the community’s residents under the guise of progressive development. In June 2012, Makoko’s population of almost 86,000 was given 72 hours to evacuate their homes by the Nigerian federal government with no offer of compensation or transient housing made to residents. Such forceful evictions–often executed without warning–are indicative of the larger social justice and human rights violations carried out by government officials who seek to capitalize on prime waterfront property with no regard for the lives and livelihoods of those who call these coastal communities home.
Toya Delazy sits atop South Africa’s electro-pop throne as the founder and reigning queen of J.E.H.P. (the term she coined for her fusion of jazz-electro-hop-pop). But back before she was the South African Music Award‘s newcomer of 2013 for her high energy solo debut, the KwaZulu-Natal-born music and streetwear icon was a young pianist/vocalist by the name of Latoya Buthelezi. Toya got her start in the music industry, she told us, playing acoustic music for the punks around Durban’s pub scene. And so when we caught a glimpse of this acoustic footage, we knew we’d have to get Toya behind a piano on her most recent trip to New York City. “Pump It On,” she explained, is the song that “liberated” her. It was her very first single and its video remains her most viewed clip to date. Where Toya is from, “music is not seen as a career,” she told us. That all changed with “Pump It On,” and OkayafricaTV was very fortunate to sit down with Toya as she performed her breakthrough song as a piano ballad for the latest installment of our Okay Acoustic series. Watch Toya Delazy’s live acoustic performance of “Pump It On” above.
Boldly touting the distinction of South Africa’s “first dance film,” Hear Me Move centers around Johannesburg’s underground dance crew culture and an intense rivalry that brews between two dancers. The feature film debut from director Scotness Smith puts a welcome spotlight on popular South African dance forms such as pantsula and sbjuwa while tackling deeper issues of identity, family, loyalty and self-expression. The film, which screened at last week’s Durban International Film Festival, is scheduled to open in South African theaters on 19 December. Read the full synopsis here and watch the high energy trailer which features a snippet of DJ Mujava’s relentless earworm “Township Funk” above.