Many of us are still in full confinement, dreaming of trips through the cinema, books and that window to the world that is the internet. It seems that initiatives flourish non-stop and make our closed-in leisure more interesting. Above all, if we want to better understand African cultures.
To start the recommendations this Saturday, we are going to the Ibizan municipality of Sant Josep de Sa Talaïa, which is organizing a new exhibition of African cinema with its usual partners in Al-Tarab and the African Film Festival of Tarifa (FCAT), moving the screenings from the Can Jeroni cultural center to the virtual space. The cinephile offer is open until Monday: Karmen Gei, a Senegalese film directed by Joseph Gad Ramaka and visible here; the Moroccan The Orchestra of the Blind, by Mohamed Mouftakir, available here; Kinshasa Symphony, a choral documentary on the Congolese capital and a classical symphony orchestra, which can be viewed here; Mohamed Nadif’s Moroccan fiction entitled Andalousie mon amour; the romance of the Tunisian Hind Boujemaa called Et Roméo a épousé Juliette; the Afrofuturist fantasy Pumzi, which comes in a Kenyan-South African co-production with the story of Asha in a post-apocalyptic world that can be glimpsed here and to close the menu, Une place dans l’avion, by the Senegalese director Khadidiatou Sow, director fiction about a special plane destined for the United States available to anyone who wants to emigrate.
We are in luck because, to celebrate the month of Africa (on May 25, we celebrate its day), Netflix launches the new Made in Africa collection, with more than 100 titles from all over the continent. There are originals from the platform such as Queen Sono from South Africa, of which we have already spoken, to which are added other successes mainly from the English-speaking market, where Nigeria reigns with police such as King of Boys or comedies such as The Wedding Party or Lionheart. Titles like The Boy Who Tamed the Wind and Beasts of no nation are still available, and the roster is enriched by Shadow Khumalo, Potato Potahto, City of Joy, Much loved and Virunga, to name a few. Netflix announced two new African series last month: Blood & Water and the JIVA! Dance series, which is currently in production.
African Arguments offers us, for its part, a list of movies, series and television programs to follow from the couch and Namwali Serpell has selected five inescapable African speculative films. They can be seen at this link courtesy of the Wexner Center. We can also immerse ourselves in a film podcast series that celebrates the women of African cinema on Vimeo. Finally, you can take a look at the videos resulting from the #LockdownShakespeare initiative, which led South African actors and actresses to record, in full confinement, monologues by the English author to celebrate the quintessential bard’s birthday.
We are celebrating because this month Afrolit Sans Frontieres returns, the online literary festival born thanks to the tenacious and enthusiastic initiative of Zukiswa Wanner. The third session of this delight is announced from May 25 to June 1 with the slogan “Future, Present, Past” and will feature the hand of Mohale Mashigo, singer, novelist and former South African radio entertainer. All the information, as always, is available on James Murua’s blog. The invited writers for the occasion are Jose Eduardo Agualusa, Leila Aboulela, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Molara Wood, Max Lobe, Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Chimeka Garricks, Dilman Dila, Angela Makholwa, Vamba Sherif, Tanella Boni, Ayesha Harruna Attah, Masande Ntshanga, Beatam Uta Mairesse, Tochi Onyebuchi and Virgília Leonilde Tembo Ferrão. In total, 16 authors from 13 countries streaming from 15 cities and speaking in English, French and Portuguese with their readers. If you want to prepare for the occasion, here you can buy some of their titles, sent home from Great Britain.
Lastly, it is interesting to dig through the Twitter messages of the Ake Arts & Books Festival, whose director, Lola Shoneyin, launched the #ReadAfricanPoetryChallenge filling the networks of voices of authors from the African continent reading the verses of colleagues. A wonderful way to immerse yourself in the contemporary poetry of the continent.
Shoneyin started with the opening lines of Christopher Okigbo’s Heavensgate and continued to complete the poem with the following verses Wana Udobang, Logan February, Lebo Mashile, Titilope Sonuga, Lemn Sissay, TJ Dema, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Clifton Gachagua, Nick Makoha, Efe Paul Azino, Kayo Chingonyi, Kola Tubosun and Natalia Molebatsi. When The Lights Go Out (For Some Who Are In South African Jails), by Mongane Wally Serote, was the second poem of the challenge, recited by Maryam Bukar, Belinda Zhawi, Bridget Minamore, Dami Ajayi, Kadija Sesay, Koleka Putuma, Bash Amuneni , Poetra Asantewa, Chika Jones, Ola Elhassan, Isatoun Alwar Cham-Graham, Uche Nduka, Theresa Lola, Ogaga Ifowodo, Inua Ellams, Samira Negrouche and JJ Bola.
If you’re curious about contemporary African art, the Cape Town-based Norval Foundation is posting a series of videos on Instagram, within a series called # 60SecondArt. Finally, the Virtual National Arts Festival will come later, but it is interesting to put this South African initiative on our agendas. Planned from June 25 to July 5, it will not work open, like Afrolit: an online payment platform is being set up and “tickets” for specific artists and specific sessions can be purchased. The organizing team, entirely made up of women, explained in a webinar on YouTube how this initiative will be developed.
Here we recommend a theme, Brighter days, which arrives from Kenya and South Africa, with the Soweto Gospel Choir involved and talking about the best days to come. We also remember Tony Allen, creator of the Afrobeat together with Fela Kuti, who has just died at the age of 79, victim of the pandemic we are experiencing and who was the drummer and musical director of the Nigerian idol. We have selected one of his latest songs: Wolf eats wolf.
We return to African Arguments to complete this list of suggestions with an article on music recommended for confinement. The recently deceased Manu Dibango, Salif Keita, Khaled or Angelique Kidjo are part of the list that they propose us to enjoy this weekend, before many enter Phase 1 of return to the new normality. If you are among them, we hope that the good vibes will accompany and protect you.
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