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Archive for November, 2008

South African TV just debuted this commercial, below, for a popular chicken fast food chain. It features the character Evita Bezuidenhout, a kind of South African Dame Edma played by satirist Pieter Dirk Uys. My hunch is it will be well-received as with much of Uys’ satire and comedy (he even got a free pass from Apartheid’s junta)

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The same can not be said for how South African politicians usually respond to humor.

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“Show we a factory in the DRC that produces AK 47s. They don’t exist,” a UN colonel tells reporter Benjamin Pauker in this short PBS Frontline news piece on the source of the arms in that regional war (it implicates Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1998 at least 4 million have died in the conflict. A big problem is the availability of guns.  The funs are increasingly coming from one particular source. Here’s a clip.

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The full documentary.

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“Buraka Som Sistema has become a European sensation, thanks to their unique take on kuduro, a strain of dance music from Luanda, Angola. Most recently, the band has worked with M.I.A. to produce the song “Sound of Kuduro,” currently making the rounds on YouTube and their newest album, Black Diamond. Kuduro originated with resourceful Angolan DJs—who managed to turn free computer sample sounds from outdated PCs into some of the most kick-ass and energetic dance music around.” [Via Revision3]

H/T: Marissa Moorman.

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Video for her single “Fire on the Mountain.”

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Sample her music here.

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“You Think You Know Me…” Jazz Broadcasting Under Apartheid
Gwen Ansell
Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor, Columbia University Fall 2008

In 1955, the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s controller of ‘Bantu Music,” Dr. Yvonne Huskisson, had declared that the aim of official cultural policy was to wean Africans away from jazz. By 1969, however, she was praising the SABC for “leading” Africans towards this “sophisticated” music (at least a third of documented working black composers were working in jazz by that time), and by the mid ‘70s, she was taking a credit as producer on SABC transcription recordings of jazz. How did South African jazz survive, thrive and win this war of the airwaves under the highly unfavorable conditions of the apartheid police state – and what was it about jazz as a music that put it at the center of this struggle?

Thursday, December 4, 2008, 7:30 pm
620 Dodge Hall, Columbia University Morningside Campus
116th and Broadway, New York City

Source

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Front page of The New York Times today:

A new study by Harvard researchers estimates that the South African government would have prevented the premature deaths of 365,000 people earlier this decade if it had provided antiretroviral drugs to AIDS patients and widely administered drugs to help prevent pregnant women from infecting their babies.

The Harvard study concluded that the policies grew out of President Thabo Mbeki’s denial of the well-established scientific consensus about the viral cause of AIDS and the essential role of antiretroviral drugs in treating it.

Coming in the wake of Mr. Mbeki’s ouster in September after a power struggle in his party, the African National Congress, the report has reignited questions about why Mr. Mbeki, a man of great acumen, was so influenced by AIDS denialists.

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Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim talks to Philippa Kennedy in (the Adu Dhabi-based) The National about musical education:

“… Ibrahim spends so much time in schools and colleges talking to young music students … He wants them to feel the music, not just play it. He talks about music as a holistic process that takes in body, soul and all the references to the past. For example, he says, “Art Tatum is an incredible piano player. He would walk in and people would say ‘God is in the house’. He wrote a piece called Elegy and one day he went to a bar where a young man was playing his tune. Tatum didn’t even listen. He said: ‘He knows what I play but he doesn’t know why I play.’ “

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