Understated sophistication Unrivalled picture quality
85 inch Samsung UHD TV
Mohau Modisakeng Inzilo [reflected detail from video still] 2013 Single-channel digital video Duration: Approx. 2.5 min Image courtesy of the artist and BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Cape Town S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 0 1
We believe that active participation creates long-lasting value.
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Samsung and art “I
am proud to introduce the first issue of S13 since I took over the role as President and CEO for Samsung Electronics Africa. Having spent five years in Africa as CFO for Samsung South Africa, I am familiar with the territory and excited about merging the experience I gained as President of Samsung Electronics Turkey with the continual growth Samsung enjoys across the African continent. For Samsung, connecting people is happening through our ever-evolving devices and through our commitment to the community. Through our Employee Volunteer Programme we showcase fellowship and the value of sharing and our future commitment to development on the continent. We believe that active participation creates longlasting value. This issue of S13 explores the growing relationship between art and technology. Samsung is no stranger to the arts. Through creativity we explore innovation. The Samsung Foundation of Culture has been a beacon for Korean arts and cultural development, committed to preserving Korean
traditional culture and heralding its achievements around the world while fostering international exchanges. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art was opened in central Seoul in 2004. The buildings of the art complex were designed by three of the world’s most renowned architects, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas. With a rich collection ranging from Korean ancient national treasures to cutting-edge multimedia pieces, Leeum provides not only exhibition space, but also a vibrant, dynamic cultural forum open to everyone. In addition, Samsung has sponsored Korean art galleries in prestigious museums around the world, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Musée Guimet, Paris. It has also been involved in presenting acclaimed exhibitions of Korean art in such preeminent institutions as the British Museum, London; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris. And this year, this interest and dedication is coming to Africa. Video Art Powered by
Samsung will be unveiled at the 6th annual FNB Joburg Art Fair. Mohau Modisakeng has been commissioned to present his first film to be shown on the Samsung Ultra HD 85-inch TV. Modisakeng is making waves in the global art scene, having recently exhibited at Volta NY, and in the past at the Saatchi Gallery in London and the Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal. He is just one of the bright new African artists we feature in this issue. By supporting his work in this unique way, we are telling the story of Africa through a new voice. An urban voice informing a modern, evolving Africa. A voice Samsung hears and responds to, a voice that is central to Built for Africa, our Africa-specific approach to product development and innovation. Samsung understands that a voice on its own is an empty echo – and central to our strategy over the coming years is the development of African content and the strengthening of African partnerships. We look forward to sharing that journey with you. Sung Yong Hong President and CEO for Samsung Electronics Africa
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Photographer Brett Rubin Stylist Nicole van Heerden Make-up Sarah Blatcher Pinafore and blouse by Superella! Production Eben Keun Lighting Margu Esterhuyse
FNB Art Prize 2013 winner Nelisiwe Xaba collaborated with our editorial team to create the cover image.
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Guest editorâ€™s note Smartphones are the new paint brushes and the internet is the new stage. The traditional Western art centres are increasingly culturally bankrupt and looking for new inspiration. So it is a happy confluence that both Asia and Africa are rising in cultural influence and that this is happening simultaneously with a technological revolution. Africa stands poised
to lead the trends and set the debate. As a new and more urban breed of artist emerges from the continent, art forms are merging and ancient roots plus Western influences are being remixed and sent back out into the world. S13Q3 offers a microphone to just some of the voices from the African metropolis. Charl Blignaut, City Press
Cover stor y...................................... 20 Joburg Art Fair.. ............................... 26 Samsung & the arts....................... 32 New voices in African cinema.... 38 Galaxy S4 Zoom . .......................... 44 Lagos Photo.. ................................... 48 Online artist dialogue.. ................. 54 Afrofuturism.. .................................. 58 3bute................................................. 60
inside S13Q3 share/invest
Samsung EVP.................................. 64 Investing in art............................... 70 Fashion business.. ...........................74 Apps for Africans.. .......................... 78 3 Star Pow Wow.. ............................. 84
City guide: Nairobi......................... 90 Samsung ser vice centres ........... 94 Female narratives.......................... 97 Fokn Bois........................................ 102 A day in the life of........................ 108
S13 Quarter 3 Editor in chief Eben Keun Executive Editor Nimi Pretorius Guest Editor Charl Blignaut at City Press Finance Ilan Green Designers Leanie Herbst, Nicole Sutton Pryce, Caryn Oberholzer, Jessica Vines Production Keo Sardinha, Michelle Nelson
Contributors 3bute, African Metropolis, Brett Rubin, Cristina de Middel, Emma Jordan, Federico Freschi, Galerie Ron Mandos, Gareth Pon, Gordon D. Cook, Goodman Gallery, Lagos Photo, Lloyd Gedye, Mayenzeke Baza, Nana Ocran, Nicole van Heerden, Patrick Latimer, Percy Mabandu, Phiona Okumu, Stevenson Gallery, SDR Photo, Shawn Driman, Ts Tsâ€™eliso Monaheng, Special thanks to Art Logic, Neliswe Xaba, Goethe Institute, Mohau Modisakeng, Osang Gwon, Teju Cole and Fokn Bois.
For editorial queries contact S13@breinstorm.co.za S13 is published quarterly for Samsung Electronics Africa by Breinstorm Brand Architects, Dispatch Building, The Media Mill, 7 Quince Street, Milpark, SA, 2092
Need to know Inspired by technology When Samsung Electronics Mexico recently collaborated with leading Mexican fashion and jewelry designer Tanya Moss, the brief to the designer was to transform four Samsung washing machines into works of art. All models used in this collaboration have technology aimed at saving natural resources and benefiting the environment. Moss, famous for her unique pieces that are both fashionable and functional, embraced the challenge, creating four singular washing machines, each with its own creative concept and message. The result was an exclusive collection called LĂnea Blanca.
Wang bags the Big Apple New York-based fashion designer Alexander Wang has once again joined forces with Samsung. He has created a special edition lambskin drawstring gym bag which will retail at $550 and raise funds for Art Start, a New York-based charity that brings positive change to communities through art. The celebrated designer used crowdsourced images to create the bagâ€™s NYC-inspired pattern - he collected doodles drawn by his friends on the Samsung Galaxy Note II. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 0 6
internet.org In a world that tweets about coffee before it gets up in the morning, it’s hard to imagine that two thirds of the globe is not online. Internet.org, a powerful new collaboration between technology giants like Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung wants to change that. The aim of the project, spearheaded by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, is to make the internet more affordable, more data-efficient and much easier to access. Plans include designing affordable mobile
devices and developing simpler apps that reduce the amount of data transmitted. On www.internet.org, an inspiring introductory speech by John F Kennedy describes the thinking behind the coalition’s vision of a more connected world: “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” Samsung’s participation in this project is driven by the belief that we live in one world and should all be connected in a way that we can afford, understand and
conquer. The internet is a powerful way to improve lives. Samsung is proud to be part of a project that aims to open that up to everybody, everywhere and invites the world to discover “Amazing”.
internet.org image: Getty Images, Zakes Mda image: Kevin Petersen
C& (Contemporary And)
The Sculptors of Mapungubwe
African contemporary art magazines come and go, battling to sustain themselves. But as the African voice in the diaspora grows and as the internet space becomes more viable, there’s every reason to believe the fresh and elegant Contemporary And will soar. C& doesn’t rely on paper. It’s an online magazine or “platform for international art from an African perspective” that highlights emerging African artists and creates a network for them. Strikingly visual and written in plainer English instead of just academic jargon, the initiative – funded by the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations – has also launched a virtual exhibition space, with an opening online show from Zimbabwean artist Misheck Masamvu.
The grand – and naughty – man of South African letters Zakes Mda has a new novel coming out. The Sculptors of Mapungubwe is another of Mda’s epic historical tales that allow the past to shine a light on the present. About a royal sculptor and his two sons, the novel tracks elements of African culture as they merge in the kingdom of Mapungubwe. Never without controversy, Mda says his research included uncovering pre-colonial homosexual practices in spiritual African societies. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 0 7
BBM™on your Samsung What if you could chat to all your BBM™ contacts - on your Samsung Galaxy handset? BBM™ will now be available for download from the Google Play and Samsung App Store on all Samsung Galaxy smartphones across Africa. “We are pleased to officially announce the BBM™ service on Samsung Galaxy smartphones across Africa.
We are focused on driving consumer experiences based on customisation to suit every lifestyle. By offering an additional messaging service through our Samsung Messaging Hub, it has never been easier to stay connected,” says George Ferreira, VP and COO of Samsung Electronics Africa. BBM™ is compatible with Galaxy smartphone devices that run Android 4.0 and above. Although the app itself is free, data charges may apply.
Red Hot + Fela
The new Chirumenga Chronic African critical thinking is increasingly being shaped by the groundbreaking Chimurenga Chronic, a panAfrican gazette with a monthly online edition and a quarterly print edition. The new Chronic print version – styled as a newspaper – is in book stores now and worth every cent of its purchase price. With articles ranging from dissections of the African Union and civil society to problems with first ladies and achieving peace in Kenya, it also boasts a spectacular book review section.
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Red Hot is an initiative that fights Aids through popular culture. The newest fundraising and awareness-creating album is due out in October and it’s fittingly themed around Nigerian Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti. Kuti, who has developed iconic status since his death, himself succumbed to an Aids-related illness. His children have become stars in their own rights, there is a stage musical dedicated to him and his back catalogue has been re-released. Red Hot + Fela features reworkings of classic Fela anthems by contemporary African musicians – among them Angelique Kidjo, Spoek Mathambo, Tony Allen, Baloji, Nneka, Just A Band, Zaki Ibrahim and Akua Naura.
Football image: Getty Images, Image on screen: Mouhamadou Moustapha Sow:- 012, Boys playing at Plage de Virage, Dakar, Senegal, September 2012, Fela Kuti image: MCA Records
Football comes alive The beautiful game is booming in Africa. Samsung Electronics, in partnership with DSTV, has announced an exciting football broadcast sponsorship for the African continent. For the duration of the tournament, Samsung will sponsor the broadcast of Barclays Premier League in all African countries with DSTV. “We are excited to be bringing the game to Africa,” says Jaco van Zyl, Product and Marketing Manager RHQ Samsung Africa. “With this broadcast sponsorship, we will manage to touch the lives of football fans across the continent.”
The sponsorship is vast and runs over the 10-month period, during which it will be impossible to miss Samsung’s presence. But the real magic happens when consumers experience innovative ways of capturing and reliving the action on Samsung Galaxy Smartphones. “Our products offer unbeatable viewing pleasure, bringing true fans closer to the action.” From using the Sound & Shot feature on your Galaxy smartphone to capture that winning goal, to sharing the excitement of the game via BMM™ (now available on your Samsung handset) – Samsung brings the joy of soccer to Africa in a way previously unimagined.
Crystal clear by definition Visitors to this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair are not to miss the Samsung-sponsored video installation by Mohau Modisakeng, perfectly displayed on a Samsung 85” UHD (Ultra High Definition) screen. But what if you could recreate the magic at home? Soon to be launched in Africa, Samsung’s new 55” and 65” UHD TV screens offer superior picture quality and a whole new viewing experience. With a chic, slim metal design, unrivalled sharpness and incredible picture clarity (up to four times better than HD), UHD allows viewers to discover true detail. The future of television starts here.
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Hair and now Cheil Worldwide’s Johannesburg office recently collaborated with Embassy Productions to create a Wigshot commercial for the panAfrican market. “We were very lucky in that even from the very first discussion with the agency, we were all on the same page in terms of execution, look and feel,” says director Peter van Jaarsveld. “We wanted a bright, feminine look; something that expressed the confidence and beauty of a modern woman and her ability to adapt to any situation simply through changing her hair. This was made possible through careful selection of the lead cast, locations and most importantly - the wigs!” His co-director Gabrielle Gray adds: “Specific camera shots employed - such as the slow motion wrap-around shot of our lead diving into the pool - were also very important, and enhanced all of the above to create the funky, confident feeling of the commercial as a whole.” The result is a fun, effective advert that perfectly illustrates the Samsung SMART Camera Wig Shot & Auto Share features. At the time of going to print, the commercial already had 1,368,582 hits on Youtube.
Champions of speed What happens when the world’s fastest man and a camera known for its speed and quick focus join forces? Samsung Electronics is celebrating this powerful combination by partnering with athletics legend Usain Bolt. With three world records and six Olympic gold medals behind his name, Usain Bolt is in a performance class of its own, but he is also known to have a heart of gold. As part of the sponsorship deal, Samsung will be working with the Usain Bolt Foundation to provide photography equipment and lessons to aspiring young photographers. Like Bolt, the NX300 thrives on adrenalin with its ability to capture great moments at great speed. With its super-fast 1/6000 sec shutter speed, this handy camera can shoot up to 8.6 continuous frames per second and share them instantaneously. Superior performance and a stylish, compact body make the NX300 ideal for anyone who wants to shoot high quality images on the move.
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Usain Bolt image: Elena Rusko, Marigold Masai beaded necklace image: Brett Rubin (available at Kim Sacks Gallery), Abuja Centenary City image: Greg Wright Architects
Masters of craft Few things can match the simple beauty of handcrafted jewellery. The Marigold Beading Co-operative, based in Pelendaba, Bulawayo are masters of this craft. Established in 1992 by a talented group of women, the co-operative’s exquisite beadwork is a symbol of skill and attention to detail. The beadworkers employ a near ritualistic working method, repeating each action over and over to perfect each bracelet, necklace and headband. Each strand is meticulously completed over a full day, using about 300 beads. Marigold hand-loomed beads are available at Kim Sacks Gallery in Johannesburg. For more information, contact Joni Brenner at www.kimsacksgallery.com.
The shape of things to come Abuja Centenary City, located in Nigeria’s capital, is Nigeria’s first smart city - the second largest development of its kind after the Sondo International Business District in South Korea. Located in the heart of this exciting development is The Museum of National History & Civilisation for Nigeria, a grand symbol of Nigerian culture and national pride. Designed by Greg White Architects, the museum’s structure covers almost three hectares, with approximately 25 000 m² of floor area undercover. This important cultural hub will extend to the newly-created botanical gardens, where visitors will enjoy lush surroundings, footpaths and walkways, cycle tracks, an amphitheatre, markets and public performance spaces.
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Threeâ€™s a charm
On 4 September 2013 in Berlin, Germany Samsung lifted the curtain on three innovative new premium devices: Galaxy Gear, Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1. Hereâ€™s why the world of technology will never be the same again. Words Nimi Pretorius
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Gear up Mobile communication has never been this intelligent, free and fashion-forward. Samsung Galaxy Gear gives you the best of three worlds - smart device connectivity, tailored technological features and stylish design - and lets you take it with you wherever you go. Always ahead of its time, Samsung has been asking itself this question for years: how do you take the Samsung Galaxy experience into everyday life? The answer: a wristwatch that combines all the magic of Galaxy in one premium, supersmart accessory. “Samsung Galaxy Gear bridges the gap between the mobile device and fashion worlds to create truly wearable technology,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics. “It frees users from the need to constantly check their smart devices while maintaining connections. It provides what we call ‘smart freedom,’ by allowing users to choose how, why, when and where they are connected.” Available in a range of attractive colours, Samsung Galaxy Gear notifies you of calls, texts, emails and alerts, delivers a preview of those messages and allows you to accept or discreetly ignore them. When an incoming message requires more than a quick glance, the Smart Relay feature will instantly reveal the full content on the screen, if you choose.
Other features and benefits include:
• A built-in speaker makes it easy to conduct hands-free calls directly from the Gear • With the Memographer feature, a 1.9 Megapixel camera, you can record both photos and video on the move and share them on social networks. • Voice Memo lets you record important thoughts or conversations and save them as texts on your Samsung Galaxy devices. • Auto Lock automatically secures the companion smartphone screen whenever the Galaxy Gear is more than 1.5 meters away from the smartphone - and then unlocks the smartphone when the companion devices are near each other again. • You can use it to control music played on all your Samsung Galaxy devices – browse, play and pause your favourite tunes even when your smart device is out of reach. • The device also works like a pedometer to track physical activity via enhanced, builtin sensor technology, so it’s the perfect motivator to hit the road.
Preloaded with 10 different clock options, Galaxy Gear also serves as an elegant wristwatch,
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with several face options that can be personalised. It’s available in six fashionable colours: J
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et Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green.
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Take note Powerful. Multi-tasking. With a more generous screen and an even smarter S Pen, the new GALAXY Note 3 turns everyday tasks into acts of pure pleasure.
The latest update to the Note product line, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, takes no prisoners. With a new premium look and feel, the device has been designed to make everyday life amazing by doing everything faster, smarter and better than before. So, how is better than its predecessor? For starters, it has a wider (5.7inch) full HD Super AMOLED display, but a slimmer (8.3mm) and S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 1 4
lighter (168g) hardware design. The 3,200mAh battery lasts longer than before and the 13 megapixel rear camera with Smart Stabilization and high CRI LED flash is a great improvement to this product. Showing off where it really matters, the device also boasts the industryâ€™s largest 3GB RAM â€“ which means faster, more powerful performance.
With a new premium look and feel, the device has been designed to make everyday life amazing by doing everything faster, smarter and better than before.
Why you’ll enjoy this device:
• Perhaps one of the best reasons to invest in the new Note is its bigger, better screen, a 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen. It provides a stunning and defined video viewing experience for watching Full HD content, distinct clarity for reading and an elegant canvas for content creation. Thanks to the device’s enhanced multi-tasking capabilities, the larger screen can be fully utilised. • The new advanced S Pen provides essential input and control features. It plays an integral role in how users interface with the device. • A simple click of the S Pen button launches Air Command, a palette of five powerful features that truly make tasks easier and faster: Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window. These functions allow you to take care of anything from creating handwritten notes and
sketches, to toggling between functions and looking at all your content in one place. • My Magazine displays all your personalised news, social media and entertainment in a dynamic magazine-style layout. • You can sync your device through Evernote or a Samsung account to access it from different devices. The advanced new Easy Clip feature allows you to roughly draw around a desired image to deliver a precisely cropped image. • Galaxy Note 3 comes with enhanced privacy and security protection, thanks to Samsung KNOX and the Find My Mobile feature that allows users to disable the phone when it is stolen or lost. This is a premium, elegant product that lets you truly design your life, express yourself with ease and take care of everyday tasks in style - a musthave gadget for today’s urban go-getter.
Screen Write Scrapbook Information
Screen annotation (Comments, additional info etc.)
S Finder Smart search
Action Memo Quick memotaking features useful for common everyday tasks
Pen Window A pop-up window drawn by the S Pen
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back covers in a myriad of fashionable colours.
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The beauty of productivity How do you balance productivity, powerful content creation and smart consumption in one portable tablet device? The third Samsung product to be revealed in Berlin this month holds the answer to this and more. It’s hard to imagine that a device equipped with WQXGA super clear LCD (2560x1600) resolution in a stunning 10-inch display, 1.9 GHZ Octa Core processor (for 3G / WiFi only version) and 3GB RAM can be as thin, fashionable and portable as the Galaxy Note 10.1. This powerhouse of productivity will be available with WiFi Only, WiFi and 3G or WiFi and LTE - available in 16/32/64GB + Micro SD. GALAXY Note 10.1: What’s not to love:
• The device’s large, crystal clear screen provides a premium content viewing experience. • Whether watching videos or reading magazines and ebooks, the new Galaxy Note 10.1 provides an immersive media consumption experience. A magazine-style UX lets you organise your favourite resources easy to use dashboard and then access that content for a stylish reading experience. • The updated S Pen improves responsiveness, delivers day-to-day efficiency enhancements and produces more creative input capabilities. • Pen Window enables users to simply draw a window of any size on the screen, and instantly access unique in-application
features such as YouTube or calculator. The tablet also offers expected S Pen features such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write and S Finder. • Thanks to Multi Window, you can run separate instances of the same application and use an enhanced S Pen to drag and drop content from one window to another. • You’ll have access to a host of exciting partner content that complements the device’s entertainment, productivity and creativity properties. The Samsung Content Gifts include content from leading news sources such as Bloomberg Businessweek+, The New York Times, Autodesk Sketchbook for Galaxy for painting and sketching, a redesigned version of social broadcast network Twitter optimised for the device, and much more. • For extra peace of mind, the device offers enhanced privacy and security protection provided by Samsung KNOX. Galaxy Note 10.1 takes life at home, work and play in its stride. It’s the perfect companion in all spheres of your life and a great way to get things done quickly, smartly and beautifully.
Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available in Jet Black, Classic White and Blush Pink, with exchangeable back covers in a myriad
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of fashionable colours.
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create/ inspire S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 1 9
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Makeup: Sarah Blatcher. Skirt: Misshape. Top: Superella. Masai Necklace: Kim Sacks. Tsonga Stools worn as shoes: Art Africa. Straw Broom : Kim Sacks
Photography: Brett Rubin. Styling : Nicole Van Heerden. Lighting: Margu Esterhuyse. Hair: Saadique Ryklief.
Neli X A B A
Nelisiwe Xaba, dancer turned art star, on mixing up the forms to find new ones Images Brett Rubin Words Percy Mabandu
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Necklace by Toyboy Designs Backdrop is safety pin art at Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg Top by Jamal Nxedlana
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All clothing by Missshape. Lego Necklace worn as headpiece by Toyboy Designs. Red Yoruba headpieces stacked,: Art Africa
Photography: Brett Rubin. Styling : Nicole Van Heerden. Lighting: Margu Esterhuyse.Hair: Saadique Ryklief. Makeup: Sarah Blatcher.
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he genre-bending and award-winning choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba has an awkward way of occupying a couch. She perches on the edge of the seat at Kadis coffee shop in Newtown with her legs crossed and her right elbow resting on her knee. It’s as if she’s about to rise to demonstrate a croisé, the dance position. Xaba speaks with her hands. She refers to the body as a “communicative instrument”. She insists there’s meaning in “how as an individual you use your body. It’s not like all the jazz musicians play the same instrument in the same way. It’s how you touch that instrument that gives it your best sound.” Now Xaba has used her body to win the prestigious FNB Art Prize at this year’s Joburg Art Fair in collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren. It’s for their video installation titled Uncles & Angels. The work is an aesthetic contemplation on the reed dance, a colourful custom practised by young women of various ethnicities in South Africa. The award entitles Xaba to a R100 000 cash prize and a booth to display her work at the
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art fair. She was chosen from a vast list of candidates submitted by all the galleries participating at the fair. Xaba is grateful for the award. “It means a lot to me to be given an award from the visual arts scene and not from dance. There’s more money. There’s more respect when you are in the visual art world than when you are dancing. Anyone can be a dancer, you know, our president can dance,” she says. Xaba says this is in spite of knowing perfectly well that dancers have to be extraordinarily hard-working and disciplined to do what they do. The artist started out doing theatre sketches and aerobics at the YWCA in Soweto. At the age of seven she enrolled to train as a dancer at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation. By 1996 Xaba had landed herself a scholarship to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. Two years ago she joined the Goodman Gallery’s roster of artists. Asked whether her criss-crossing of disciplines affects how she’s received by dance
purists, Xaba is forthright: “I don’t worry about that. Actually, if there were other platforms I’d probably not use dance spaces at all,” she says. She loathes the fact that “there’s no curatorship in dance”. Art has embraced her more readily than dance. “People who go to watch ballet have certain expectations and throw tantrums when they don’t get it. Since usually the story is there and everybody knows it already, they’re just looking at technique. Like how many turns or jumps can you do and not how a person is using the body to speak to you.” It’s these forces that are shaping her work into something unique, a future genre of mixed disciplines. That and politics. “There’s beauty in my work,” she says, “but not the kind of beauty you find in glossy magazines.” Xaba says her work is aimed at sparking a conversation in order to conscentise her audience. The reed dance is not just a celebration of tradition. It’s a site of conflict for girls. “There’s no way I can create work where we are just being beautiful, dancing and just gyrating,” she says. Xaba’s refusal to simply gyrate has earned her high regard.
I prefer to focus on a timeless African aesthetic that embraces traditional craft, juxtaposed with modern techniques and materials.
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All’s fair Images courtesy of gettyimages.com
The annual FNB Joburg Art Fair is back for its sixth season from 27-29 September 2013. This year is all about Africa. Words Nimi Pretorius
ast year, the FNB Joburg Art Fair welcomed 10 000 visitors, 27 galleries from half a dozen countries and 12 special projects. With a focus on photography, the sixth annual fair is set to include even more noteworthy galleries from around the world – but despite its now impressive global reach, this year’s fair is undeniably African at heart.
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Africa through the lens
Photography lovers who visit the FNB Joburg Art Fair will be spoiled for choice this year, as the event will house the largest collection of photography from the continent under one roof. The work of highly respected and recognised names will feature alongside S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 2 8
that of interesting newcomers earmarked for success. Laying the foundation for future collaborations between Johannesburg and Lagos, the art fair will present Phantasms of the Non-City, a selection from the 2013 edition of the Lagos Photo Festival, set to happen in Nigeria in October. In partnership with the French Institute, the fair will also host African Emerging Photography, a collection of
the images by a dozen dynamic photographers who have exhibited during previous editions of Bamako Encounters. While South Africaâ€™s most acclaimed photographer, David Goldblatt is the deserving featured artist for the fair, visitors can also expect exhibitions by award-winning lensmen Santu Mofokeng and Roger Ballen amongst others.
On our radar
Images courtesy of the artist and BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Cape Town and The French Institute of South Africa
Nelisiwe Xaba Our cover model for this issue, Soweto-born dancer and choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba is a joint winner of this year’s FNB Art Prize. The winning project, created by Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren, is a collaborative dance and film project that raises questions about purity and virginity by looking at the traditional reed dance through a stereoscopic film. Nandipha Mntambo Nandipha Mntambo explores female identity and physique through sculptures, photography and video art. “The work I create seeks to challenge and subvert preconceptions regarding representation of the female body,” says the artist. At this year’s art fair, Mntambo was commissioned by Pirelli to produce a series of artworks in line with the slogan Let’s Dance. Her work, based on the Paso Doble, will have a dedicated space at the fair. Roger Ballen Born in New York in 1950, Roger Ballen explores and documents the platteland and rural fringes of South Africa. His work has been exhibited at numerous noteworthy institutions. It is represented in many museum collections such as the Tate in London and Museum
of Modern Art in New York. He has also collaborated with shock rap outfit Die Antwoord in recent music video projects, resulting in six-figure YouTube hits. Ballen will present a solo show the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair, featuring previously unseen work. David Goldblatt Best known for his portrayal of South Africa during the apartheid era, David Goldblatt is the featured artist at the art fair this year. Goldblatt’s work is held in major museum collections worldwide, he has numerous publications to his name and is highly respected internationally. At the art fair Goldblatt fans can look forward to The Structure of Things Then and After - a collection of works from the photographer’s Structures series, which he began in 1961 by photographing Johannesburg places of worship. Some of his previously unseen work from the post-apartheid era will also be shown.
Mohau Modisakeng Mohau Modisakeng has previously shown his work at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Iziko South African National Gallery Cape Town and Saatchi Gallery London. Modisakeng’s innovative video project at the fair, displayed on a Samsung Ultra HD screen, promises to be one of the highlights at the event. The project shows a number of people performing gestures, repeated in unison, at the instruction of a central figure (Modisakeng himself). The result is a rhythmic exchange between the conductor and the performers - a sonic experience that resembles a forward- marching group. Dan Halter Born in 1977 in Harare, Zimbabwe, Dan Halter’s work addresses a dislocated national identity in post-colonial Zim within a wider context. He uses photography and video as well as craft and curio to explore these themes. Halter has shown his work internationally and has also participated in the Havana Biennale 2009 and the Biennale of Contemporary African Art, Dak’Art 2010. His special project for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair entitled Heart Land explores powerful ideas relating to nationhood and migration.
Nandipha Mntambo, Paso Doble, 2011, digital video, sound. Duration 9 min 11 sec. Edition of 5 + 2AP Fatoumata Diabaté, série, L’homme en animal Sikasso, 2011 Zanele Muholi, Miss Divine III, 2007 Baudouin Mouanda, Série: S.A.P.E, Congo Brazzaville, (2008) Mohau Modisakeng, Inzilo [film still], 2013, single-channel digital video, duration: Approx. 4 mins
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Images courtesy of David Goldblat t and The Goodman Gallery, Artlogic events, Whatiftheworld, Spier Architectural Arts
Spier Architectural Arts Steadily emerging as one of the country’s important collections, the Spier Art Collection promotes the work of local, contemporary artists in South Africa. Many of the works in the Spier Art Collection resulted from artistic development programmes by Spier designed to take raw artistic talent to new levels. Spier Architectural Arts, to be featured in the central atrium of this year’s art fair, will show you why.
At the fair, Spier Architectural Arts will present two large-scale artworks, including a handmade ceramic relief triptych by Sam Nhlengethwa and a sculptural mosaic piece by Gerhard Marx. Art Cities of the Future Finally, we look forward to the launch of Art Cities of the Future at the fair, a musthave publication that highlights the new global hubs of
contemporary art. Each city has an introduction written by one of 12 curators: Beirut by Kaelen WilsonGoldie, Bogotá by Jose Roca, Cluj by Jane Neal, Delhi by Geeta Kapur, Istanbul by Duygu Demir, Johannesburg by Tracy Murinik, Lagos by Antawan Byrd, San Juan by Pablo Leon de la Barra, São Paulo by Kiki Mazzucchelli, Seoul by Hyun Jung, Singapore by Eugene Tan and Vancouver by Reid Shier.
Dan Halter, Heart Land, 2013, found plastic mesh bag with custom woven tartan fabric, approx 68 x 29 Roger Ballen, Elias Coming out from Under John’s Bed, 1999, archival pigment prints, 40 x 40cm David Goldblat, Frances Baard, born in Kimberley either in 1901 or 1909 (the date is in dispute), was a militant trade unionist and leader of the ANC Women’s League. She was arrested in 1960, again in 1963 when she was held in solitary confinement for 12 months, and again in 1964 when she went to prison for five years for her ANC activities. After release in 1969 she was banished for two years. She died at Mabopane in 1997. Kimberley, 5 February 2013 Nelisiwe Xaba on the set of Uncles & Angels, Soweto Theatre, 2013 Uche Okpa Iroha, Being a Corleone, 2012 Spier Architectural Arts, Sam Nhlengethwa, Construction Workers (2013) Art cities of the future, published by Phaidon
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Mohau Modisakeng’s video work at the 2013 Joburg Art Fair, displayed on Samsung 85”UHD screen. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 3 2
10 powerful connections between
Samsung & the arts Technology and art: not exactly a natural fit? With a universal belief in the power of innovation and all things creative, Samsung is challenging this perception one significant art-related project at a time.
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2. Samsung video art at the London Olympics 2012
1. The Samsung Art+ Prize, United Kingdom 2012 New media art is a genre that includes artwork created with new technologies including digital art, computer animation, virtual art, and interactive art. A first for the UK, the Samsung Art+ Prize celebrates new media art and recognises artists who reveal how technologies touch our lives.
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As the Worldwide Olympic Partner for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Samsung Electronics unveiled a special collection of contemporary video art to the International Olympic Committee on 20 July 2012. Innovative artists from around the world contributed to the collection by recreating sequences from television, cinema and art history using basic digital drawing and animation software.
3. Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul SINCE 2006
Illustrations: Patrick Latimer. Images courtesy of Leeum.
The late founder of Samsung, Byung-chul Lee, was a passionate supporter of Korean art and kept pieces in galleries like Am Art Museum, Ho-Am Gallery and the Rodin Gallery. Following in his footsteps MrÂ Kun-hee Lee, the Chairman of Samsung, collects pieces by Korean and international contemporary artists and recently opened the Leeum, where Korean art and world art pieces are exhibited. Designed by the internationally renowned architects Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, and Rem Koolhaas, the Leeum is located on the slopes of the Namsan and helps to establish Seoul as a city of international cultural importance.
Museum 1 Mario Botta visualized the beauty of Korean porcelain by using terra cotta tiles, which symbolise earth and fire. Museum 2 Jean Nouvel used glass and rusted stainless steel, for the first time anywhere, to express high technology in contemporary art. SAMSUNG CHILD EDUCATION AND CULTURE CENTRE Rem Koolhaas used unusual materials, such as black concrete, to make a black box, and designed a futuristic architectural space that appears to be floating in the air. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 3 5
5. Samsung Art Master, Poland SINCE 2003
4. Nam Jun Paik Exhibition, Tate Liverpool 2010 Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was a South Korean video and performance artist and composer who turned video into an artist’s medium, reflecting the pace of technological change. On 17 December 2010, the Tate Liverpool opened a Nam June Paik retrospective, sponsored by Samsung Electronics. Samsung provided a range of products to enhance the display of Paik’s work, including the latest Blu-ray home cinema HD projectors and 3D-enabled LED monitors. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 3 6
Initiated by Samsung Electronics Poland, the Samsung Art Master covers various fields of visual arts – including new media. Hundreds of aspiring Polish arts gradutes enter the Samsung Art Master, hoping to win cash prizes and the opportunity to show their work at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Warsaw.
6. Samsung Incredible Art Piece, India 2012 The Samsung Galaxy Note II was designed to bring out the creative genius in you, with tools like the S Pen and features like EASY CLIP and S NOTE. This smartphone also invited users to be part of a magnificent mass art initiative. The Incredible Art Piece was an invitation from Samsung India to the public to contribute their creations to one mega art piece.
Illustrations: Patrick Latimer. Images courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum, Samsung Electronics Poland
7. The Korean Collection at the V&A Museum
10. The Samsung Sculpture Garden in Korea
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a strong Korean collection and a dedicated Korean gallery – the Samsung Gallery. Opened in 1992, it displays objects dating from 500 AD to modern times from silk embroideries to boxes inlaid with motherof-pearl and Park Young Sook’s Moon Jar.
Aimed at inspiring creative thinking and promoting artistic sensitivity among employees, Samsung installed a sculpture garden at Samsung Digital City in Suwon – a good example of Samsung’s belief that technology and creativity can inspire each other to achieve greater heights.
9. Samsungsponsored curator at the Guggenheim SINCE 2006
8. The Samsung Art & Design Institute, Seoul
To instil appreciation for Asian art, Samsung funds the position of Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Guggenheim since 2006, was the first to hold this title.
SINCE 1995 Founded in 1995, The Samsung Art & Design Institute is a new model for design education that prepares young designers with theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The school, based in Seoul, South Korea, offers the curriculum of the world renowned design school, Parsons the New School for Design, New York, and hopes to become an internationally recognised design school by 2020. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 3 7
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Images courtesy of Goethe-Institut South Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank, the Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam, executive producer Steven Markovitz
A new school of African film makers is emerging from music videos, short films and doccies – with a global headspace and a fresh take on the continent. Words Charl Blignaut
he new film makers in Africa have different issues to what their parents had. They have grown up in the cities and are more tuned in to a global film language. There are fewer rural stereotypes, more urban settings. They were born in independence while their parents were dealing with colonialism. Their films are more focused on being entertaining than political. Many of them studied film overseas and have returned home to build an industry.” So says Steven Markovitz. I’m chatting to the veteran producer about African Metropolis, his new short film project that aims to uncover a brace of new film talent in Africa. It was developed with the Goethe Institute with support from Guaranty Trust Bank and the Hubert Bals Fund. The six short films in African Metropolis premiered at the Durban International Film Festival earlier this year before heading to Toronto to greet the rest of the world. I ask Markovitz if there are common themes in them that point to what the new African voices are talking about. Identity, he says, especially sexual identity. “Much to my surprise,
when we sat down to watch the films we realized that almost all of them deal with sexual relations, sexual identity, dysfunctional sex. In the history of African cinema, film makers don’t really deal with subjects like sex and sexuality. People will start kissing and then the door will be closed.” Now the door is left open. The six film makers were chosen from Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. Their styles range vastly and realism is no longer the key to unlocking a narrative. “A shut-in afraid to venture out of his apartment, an obsession turned science fiction, an underground line-up of naked men hoping to earn big money from a mysterious woman, the new woman in a polygamous marriage bonding with her elder, an American artist adrift in the inner city bumping into his ghosts on a beach, a musician turned petty thief hustling his way out of a friendship; these are hardly stories that would call to mind African Cinema,” says critic Roger Young after watching African Metropolis. He says that the “pastoral, lost-past-centric nation building African cinema, the revolutionary Third Cinema” of the
These are hardly stories that would call to mind African Cinema.
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old masters has run its course. The films were anyway mostly screened in Europe while Hollywood and Bollywood flooded the film market in Africa. Now young film makers are taking all these influences and reworking them, infusing them with their own stories and starting to sell them back to the world. As digital technology brings down the price of production and YouTube offers a global platform, music videos, short films, experimental art and fashion segments and documentaries are a training ground for future feature film makers.
The short film is the new springboard. Look at Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu, another film maker that Markovitz produces. Her short Pumzi is regarded as an important stepping stone in the development of African science fiction and cemented her name. Set underground in an indoor landscape, it is a dystopian vision of a world without water. While currently developing a bold full-length love story set in Kenya, Kahiu has also been working as a television writer and a directing a new documentary. It’s called Just A Band: The Movie and is an
experimental collaboration with the Kenyan electro-pop stars. Jim Chuchu has directed Just A Band’s stylish and hilarious retro spoof videos – and it’s these that caught the eye of the African Metropolis producers. They picked up his script for Homecoming, an inner sci-fi story about a nervous young man in love in a time of “unidentified flying objects above Nairobi”. Chuchu’s striking visual language is a continuation of the styles flowing out of music videos from artists like Spoek Mathambo, Die Antwoord and Fokn Bois. Their videos are
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Images courtesy of Goethe-Institut South Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank, the Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam and Mayenzeke Baza,executive producer Steven Markovitz
basically short films. Chuchu has subsequently left Just A Band – apparently breaking up with them on Facebook – and started his own new band that features twins who are both him. More likely, though, is that he’s heading towards a career as a feature film maker. Fonko is a documentary series on exactly these kind of musicians who also work as visual artists. “The great music revolutions of our times have come from Africa and the next one is brewing there right now,” say the Swedish producers and creators, who also brought us The Black Power Mix Tape – Göran Olsson, Daniel Jadama, Lars Lovén and Tobias Janson. As music journalists they saw a huge new scene brewing in Africa and are touring the continent to document it. Episodes range from Fonko
Kuduro and Fonko Pidgin-o to Fonko Politico and Fonko Jesus-o. The rest of the world has started to sit up and notice African stories. Hot Docs, a huge documentary festival in Canada, has developed the Blue Ice Fund to grow these stories into feature documentaries. Mayenzeke Baza’s The Boy, The Blade & The Man calls for Xhosa circumcision initiation to adapt to the times. Nicole Schafer’s Buddha of Africa explores the life of a Malawian orphan raised by Buddhist priests. Markovitz is producing Eddie Edwards’ Rollaball, a doccie about the Rolling Rockets, Ghana’s disabled skate soccer team. Another Blue Ice backed documentary is Norwegian Crime in Congo, the story of two Norwegian citizens found guilty of the death of a taxi driver in Kisangani.
Just A Band’s video Huff + Puff
The Boy, The Blade & The Man
Sibusiso Gaca at initiation school
It’s directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, another important new voice. He wrote and directed the pioneering Kinshasa crime thriller Viva Riva! A stylish piece of black self-exploitation, it took Tarantino-styled cinema and injected it with the pulse of Africa. Now Munga is looking further afield. As Hollywood declines and cinemas close around the world, China is rising. So Munga and Markovitz are developing Inspector Lu, a Congolese-Chinese co-production that will vie for a slice of the lucrative Chinese cinema circuit. Most importantly, though, while he’s doing that, Munga has opened a film school in Kinshasa. It’s been going for over a year now and it’s geared to adding impetus to the new wave of film building across the continent.
Spoek Mathambo’s video Control
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To repel ghosts
The other woman
ABIDJAN- Côte d’Ivoire
Directed by Philippe Lacôte “During a visit to Abidjan, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat comes face to face with his own death.” I hear festival selectors love this one and that it’ll travel. Basquiat, the pioneering street artist and star of the Warhol scene is back in the public imagination, like Fela and Debbie Harry. As he should be. Some powerful scenes highlight the subversion of placing an American pop icon in Africa. Personally? Meh. A vague film with a grand nostalgia and a questionable accent from the lead.
Directed by Ahmed Ghoneimy “Adham travels to Cairo to pursue his musical career while trying to escape his debt to a life of petty thievery.” Yes please. Ghoneimy is able to suggest a much larger story through his narrative of a frustrated musician who has made dodgy deals to get by and now bonds with a male friend. A tenacious exploration of Egyptian masculinity and of the role of the artist in modern Egypt. No obvious revolutions; plenty of internal ones. Feature please.
Directed by Marie Ka “A housewife in her 50s discovers herself when she accepts her husband’s second wife into their home.” The other woman is hers, not his. She’s the new wife who forms a sexual bond with the elder wife of a polygamous man in the city. It’s sumptuous, bouncing off the visual palette of grand Senegalese film. It offers no political position against polygamy, in its place a searing, traditional love story of the kindness of women and the comfort of strangers.
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Images courtesy of Goethe-Institut South Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank, the Hubert Bals Fund of International Film Festival Rotterdam and Mayenzeke Baza, executive producer Steven Markovitz
JOHANNESBURG- South Africa
Directed by Vincent Moloi “Aging Jewish man in Hillbrow meets a prostitute each week. Today a different woman arrives in her place. The world has changed.” Jewish pensioner Aaron Zukerman refuses to move out of his inner-city apartment, yet Berea is changing around him at a pace that will pull the rug from under his feet. Empathy, fear, human courage and the changing city make a poignant, well-acted film that’s also well produced but isn’t breaking any major ground. Script problems, especially dialogue.
Directed by Folasakin Iwajomo “How far would you go to pay for a child’s life-saving operation?” In a bizarre and deliberately unresolved ritual, a man is willing to do anything to save his sister. As one of 10 men, at first strangers, he must strip and subject himself to inspection by a mysterious woman. Is she a pervert or is this metaphysical? To what length will we demean ourselves in order to protect those we love while government stands aside and capitalists rule? Many questions; few answers here.
Directed by Jim Chuchu “An obsessed neighbour invents ever-stranger scenarios for wooing the girl of his dreams.” Produced by Wanuri Kahiu, Chuchu’s short film is fresh, forensic and futurist. It takes a normal urban situation and spins it into an inner landscape where the young male city dweller plays the big bad wolf. He creates dystopian scenarios so that he can save the day. Or are they just fantasies? Hitchcock’s Rear Window reinvented in Africa and repeating on itself – stylishly. Big promise right here. Again, can we get a feature please?
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Picture this Nowadays we Instagram our lives. Social networks have become photo albums. Photography has become the universal language of communication. So Samsung South Africa gave several industry leaders a new Galaxy S4 Zoom and invited them to tell their stories. Words Charl Blignaut
Follow Gareth Pon on Instagram: @garethpon
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Portrait of Gareth Pon by Ofentse Mwase
cross Africa the smartphone is ushering in a revolution. A new generation is all but skipping the personal computer and replacing it with a mobile phone. As smartphone cameras advance technologically, everyone has become a photographer. But something else is happening too. Increasingly, professional photographers and film makers are turning to smartphones as a camera of choice. In 2006 South Africa shot the world’s first commercial entirely on a smartphone. In 2007 film maker Aryan Kaganoff shot SMS Sugar Man, Africa’s first feature film
to be shot on a mobile phone. Celebrated photojournalist Nadine Hutton has launched her art photography career with an exhibition shot on her phone – and followed it up with several mobile-created music videos. It’s not surprising, given advances in mobile cameras like Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom. One of the happening South Africans recruited to test drive the S4 Zoom is Gareth Pon, a professional film maker and photographer. “I’ve always loved the beauty that can be found in capturing a natural moment on the streets of Johannesburg,” he told us when he was showing us his raw, moody, street
black and white shots of the city. “But one of the biggest challenges I’ve always faced is that once someone spots your big DSLR [digital singlelens reflex camera] pointed at them they’ll either shy away or change their composure and then that natural moment is lost.”Shooting on the phone changes all that – something both Hutton and Kaganoff have frequently claimed as well. “A cellphone is always less intimidating than a DSLR and also less recognisable, so being able to get closer to subjects and inconspicuously shoot situations from a distance gave me the perfect opportunity to capture those moments that I’ve always wanted to,” says Pon. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 4 5
Meet the other storytellers MALOSE MALAHLELA
Malose Malahlela is the cofounder of Keleketla Library, an interdisciplinary, independent library and media arts project space in the city. His story guides us through his day as he navigates the streets of Joburg.
Hanneke Schutte, a recognized South African film maker shows us that inspiration is all around us and can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Brett Kelly is a music executive for EMI. His story takes us into the world of some of South Africa’s best musicians.
A gratuitous dog shot or a winter colour
And the heart takes over…
study? The high-rise buildings dominate.
ROB CREASER WANDI NZIMANDE
Wandi Nzimande, owner of the renowned brand Loxion Kulca, a streetwise kwaito chic clothing label, is no stranger to taking and making things personal. He tells his story of how he made the Galaxy S4 Zoom personal by having his own custom phone pouch made by a South African fashion designer.
Many people will order a meal at a prestigious restaurant and never be aware of the love and hard work that goes into the preparation. Rob Creaser, Executive Chef at The Michelangelo hotel in Sandton takes us behind the scenes of how he prepares one of his signature dishes.
XYLON VAN EYCK
Some stories are only understood once you know their history. Xylon van Eyck is the media man for the pro cycling team MTN – Qhubeka. Xylon integrated old and new images and gave us a glimpse into his battle against cancer.
Sixteen chemo sessions in hospital Et voila! A beautiful dish (photographed on
followed by a bone marrow transplant
macro setting): Grilled ostrich fillet, confit,
which meant I was in isolation for three
My new friend, the Samsung
ostrich babotie, pumpkin purée, spinach
weeks. I dreamt of an outside world that
Galaxy S4 Zoom.
“dahltjies”, melon chutney and baby herbs.
looked as pretty as this very moment.
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The best of both worlds
Features and benefits include:
Galaxy S4 Zoom - the first smartphone to offer 10x Optical Zoom
Zoom Ring, a simple and intuitive way to access the Galaxy S4 Zoom’s key features. When you’re in the middle of a phone call and you see something you absolutely have to share, a quick twist of the Zoom Ring activates the In-Call Photo Share feature, letting you capture and send an image directly via MMS while you’re talking.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom combines a high performance smartphone with advanced photographic capabilities. It’s also the only smartphone with a 10x Optical Zoom in the world to date. Combining 10x Optical Zoom, 16 Mega Pixel CMOS Sensor, OIS and Xenon Flash with the very latest Samsung Galaxy S4 technology, the Galaxy S4 Zoom sets new standards for perfect mobile photography. As communication continues to become increasingly visual in nature, people wish to capture and share their moments in the highest quality possible, but often do not have the space or inclination to carry a dedicated camera for this purpose. The Galaxy S4 Zoom changes this forever, combining the industry leading functionality and connectivity of the Galaxy S4 with the high quality photographic experience you’d expect from a compact camera.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom sets new standards for perfect mobile photography.
Quick Launch and Shortcut give you instant access to multiple camera modes including Auto, Gallery and Smart Mode with a simple twist.
The 10x Optical Zoom and 16MP BSI CMOS Sensor lets you capture beautiful images from far away or up close and personal, in all light conditions, without having to carry heavy camera gear around with you.
An Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) helps keep the camera perfectly still even when you’re not, reducing blur and stabilising the image while zoomed in for high-quality photos and video.
Photo Suggest instantly uses your location and connects you to huge libraries of images taken by fellow photographers, to help you find and compose your best shots anywhere in the world. Photo Suggest can even direct you to the ideal nearby location that will give you the vantage point you need for that perfect photo.
Story Album lets you arrange all your images and videos into one timeline to share with friends and loved ones. You can also edit images and even order prints directly from the device.
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Lagos Photo: The African city as an art gallery Nigeriaâ€™s annual festival of photography celebrates its fourth year in October - and it's growing up fast. Words Nana Ocran S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 4 9
he Mega City and The Non City is the theme of this year’s Lagos Photo exhibition, with a vision to expand into the streets and use the city as a backdrop. This year’s month-long festival highlights Lagos’s growing photography scene and places it in a global perspective. Its theme is hugely relevant across the continent, tapping into the now-worldwide conversation about rapidly growing urban centres in Africa and exploring the influences of new technologies. The digital revolution is transforming the way in which African stories are being told and consumed and in the process it is changing much of the politics behind the continent’s various narratives. “What we want is solid photography and solid, interesting stories,” explains festival director Azu Nwagbogu. “It isn’t just about nationality.” So at Lagos Photo this year, 30 international photographers will be showing their images of Africa from an eclectic range of perspectives. They have been selected not just from Africa, but also from Europe and the US. “But we never have less than 50% local representation in the festival,” adds Nwagbogu. He has a bold vision for the future of Lagos Photo. With Lagos being such a teeming metropolis, Nwagbogu’s intention has always been to rethink the use of its open spaces by having large-scale prints displayed outdoors, in addition to opening up venues ranging from hotels to art galleries.
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The fusion of art and design within the festival is driven by a hand-picked and creatively diverse team that includes architects and designers Ifeanyi Oganwu, Alafuru Sikoki Coleman and Tosin Osinowo. Through mentor-
Its theme is hugely relevant across the continent, tapping into the now-worldwide conversation about rapidly growing urban centres in Africa and exploring the influences of new technologies.
ship programmes, they have thrown down the creative gauntlet to young wannabe artists from Nigeria to create a pavilion space that will exist as an installation as well as an alternative display space for Lagos Photo. Nwagbogu’s ultimate aim is to create an arts and photography foundation - and based on the activity already springing
from the annual event he could see his dreams take root. A Lagos Photo summer school operates as an exchange between Nigerian and German photographers from the New School of Photography in Berlin. There are plans for a working partnership with Lagos’s new Yaba-based Nlele Art Institute. And there’s a three-year book project, Lagos: Entropy Unchecked – now in its second year of production. Of the visiting photographers, there are several dynamic names. Mouhamadou Moustapha Sow calls on his background in technology and branding to capture rural and urban life in Senegal. Adeola Olagunju’s performance-style images document working life in Nigeria. Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel’s awardwinning fantasy photo series Afronauts takes inspiration from a real life story of an optimistic but failed attempt at a Zambian space mission in 1964. Another huge attraction this year is Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso’s Mao, Emperor of Africa. It’s a commentary on the growing Chinese influence on the continent. Fosso’s work has artistic echoes of the now classic performance-based “selfie” images of US photographers Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman, although his style is probably far more deeply tied to the work of Malian photographers Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, both dons of documentary portraiture. The growing international interest in the Lagos Photo festival means repeat visits
Images courtesy of Criistina de Middel and Galerie Ron Mandos
from popular speakers including British photojournalist Martin Parr, who will host a workshop. With such an eclectic mix of perspectives, it will be fascinating to see how the imbibing of African culture and the retelling of old or less familiar stories from across the continent will influence the broader artistic movement in this particular part of West Africa.
The digital revolution is transforming the way in which African stories are being told and consumed and in the process it is changing much of the politics behind the continent’s various narratives.
World Press Photo Opening Exhibition 18 October – 7 November 2013 Eko Hotel & Suites, Ademola Adetokunboh, Victoria Island, Lagos. Lagos Photo Festival Grand Opening Exhibition 26 October 2013, Art 21; Eko Hotel & Suites, Ademola Adetokunboh, Victoria Island, Lagos. Additional venues throughout the city. Closing date 16 November, 2013. Lagos Photo Lagos Photo includes exhibitions, workshops, discussions and screenings and is sponsored by Etisalat, Eko Hotels and Suites, Echo Art and Lagos State Government. www.lagosphotofestival.com
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The Afronauts, 2012, Cristina de Middel, a selection from the series
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Dakar, Senegal, September 2012
Mouhamadou Moustapha Sow, A boy taking a solitude break in a fishing pirouge,
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Joburg meets Seoul M How much do two rising visual artists on opposite sides of the planet have in common? Emma Jordan hosted an online conversation between South Africa’s Mohau Modisakeng and South Korea’s Osang Gwon.
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ohau Modisakeng is the first artist to be commissioned to create an installation for Video Art Powered by Samsung, a project that debuts at this year’s Joburg Art Fair. The Soweto-born, Joburgbased artist’s new video Inzilo is showing alongside photographic works and a sculptural piece. Modisakeng recently showed at Volta in New York and on the Dakart Biennale in Senegal. His work is held in the Saatchi collection. Seoul-based Osang Gwon has exhibited throughout Asia and is currently preparing for a solo exhibition at Tair in Singapore. He is well known for his life-size papier mâché sculptures covered in hundreds of digital photos and has worked on collaborations with Fendi and Nike. Later this year Gwon will be exhibiting at the Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan. Two artists, both primarily sculptors, both booming in their regions. Where to next?
Images courtesy of the artists Mohau Modisakeng and Oswang Gwon
What are you currently working on? Mohau Modisakeng: My first solo show, which will be presented in Cape Town in 2014. It features videos, photographs and sculpture as well as some elements of performance. I am also preparing for a few lecture presentations at home and abroad. The lectures will form the basis for some of the text going towards a book project I am hoping to launch with my exhibition. Osang Gwon: I am preparing for a solo exhibition at Temenggong Artist in Residence programme, which is a non-profit organization in Singapore. I stayed there last winter, where I came up with some interesting ideas for the show. There will be new works where I combine objects and animal figures.
Where do you find yourself in your country’s art scene? MM: The South African art scene is comprised of a very small community of artists, publications, writers and critics, academic institutions and some museums. My position in all that is somewhat peripheral due to the nature of my work.
OG: I am definitely in the contemporary arts scene. Specifically I work with photography and sculpture. More and more, since I started exhibiting in 2003, I have moved solidly into sculpture.
When I reflect on myself in the work I am essentially engaging an image that speaks of Africa's troubled history and the nightmares that people of Africa have witnessed.
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Where do you find yourself in the global art scene? MM: I am only now learning about the vastness of the global art market. In the last few years I have had opportunities to travel doing residencies, visiting museums and presenting my photographic work. I have very ambitious plans to study in the United States in the next few years and introduce my work to the mainstream global art scene. OG: As the world continues to look “East” the contemporary Asian art scene gains more and more traction and Korea, in particular, is getting a lot of global attention.
Do you think your identity is informed by where you live and your heritage? MM: I do think that one's environment becomes instrumental in how you think of yourself, so a great part about who I am is rooted in this land and its people; the history of the landscape and the people that have lived on it is essentially my history. I belong to South Africa; I belong to Africa; and I am a citizen of the world. My work attempts to reflect on my own biography as a black South African, but we have a saying in (my home language) Setswana, "Motho ke motho ka batho". It means a person is only a person because of other people. When I reflect on myself in the work I am essentially engaging an image that speaks of Africa's troubled history and the nightmares that people of Africa have witnessed. That history is preserved in the language, customs, and indigenous belief systems of all black people.
OG: I recognise my generation is wholly urban. We are children of the 70s and the “rapid economic growth of Korea”. Because of that, we are a generation familiar with asphalt and the city. This is no longer insular. Because of the internet we are all now wholly global. [My generation] did not go through the Korean War. We are familiar with it, but we avoid talking about it and dealing with the fear and seriousness of it. I'm also interested in the history of sculpture, on how contemporary sculpture evolves from a foundation rooted in ancient sculpture, how there has been a movement in form and fabrication.
Are you political? Does it impact you either personally or professionally? MM: I believe that everything is political! Through my work I have discovered that the personal is indeed also very political. OG: Although many people are interested in politics in Korea, I don't want to put special political issues in my work. However I would be glad if the audience can briefly think about current political issues when they see my work.
Mohau, would you like to visit Korea? Osang, have you considered Africa? Do you have any thoughts on the continent as the next global creative voice? MM: I think Africa has always been the world's creative conscience. The continent has always had a contribution to
As the world continues to look “East” the contemporary Asian art scene gains more and more traction and Korea, in particular, is getting a lot of global attention.
make to the global discourse around art, but somehow been denied a voice. That being said a lot of the continent's artists have been integrated into the global ecosystem. Globalisation has reduced the entire planet into one platform where all kinds of borders are constantly crossed. I would very much like to visit Korea to engage with other creative minds and study how the confluence of geographically removed cultures affects the stories artists tell. I was meant to do a residency in South Korea a few years back but missed the opportunity. I am still very interesting in taking that trip in the future. OG: I have always admired Africa. And recently, my work has been garnering interest on the continent.
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African science fiction is emerging as a major trend, but it has much older roots in pop culture. Afrofuturism is a trend that embraces the art, imaging, music, film and fiction that rises from the meeting of technology and African identity.
GEORGE CLINTON Musician, producer and founder of the P-Funk movement. His bands pioneered the spacy, electronic sound
World War II Sci-fi became increasingly popular after WW II, as the world faced an uncertain but brave new future
Sun ra Pioneer musician of Afrofuturism. He was a prolific jazz artist and thinker known for his â€œcosmic philosophyâ€? and musical performances
octavia butler Sci-fi writer and pioneer of Afrofuturism. Her stories include themes of racial and sexual ambiguity
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S13 INFOGR APHIC
South Africa ZOO CITY Zoo City is a sci-fi fantasy novel by South African author Lauren Beukes. It won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award
Nalo HOPKINSON Jamaican science fiction and fantasy writer based in Canada
JoNATHAN DOTSE Sci-fi writer Jonathan Dotse, based in Accra, runs a blog called Afrocyberpunk
Images courtsey of www.tumblr.com, www.musicbloodline.info, www.drmasonsclasses.com, www.paraisoweb.com.br, www.pocko.com
Writer and activist who wrote the novel The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelour Pad
afrika bamba ata Pioneer of electro and hip hop and founder of the Zulu Nation movement.
mark dery US cultural critic. He coined the term Afrofuturism in his 1995 essay Black to the Future
Kenya PUMZI A sci-fi film about Africa in the future, 35 years after World War III, the water war AFRONAUTS
Photographer Cristina De Middelâ€™s first book, The Afronauts, engages with myths and truths, reality and fiction
Nigerian-American writer of sci- fi fantasy and speculative fiction Spain
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Future African comics “The Web is changing the way we exchange literature,” says Emmanuel Iduma over the line from Lagos. “We hope to engage a larger online audience for African stories and journalism,” adds Bunmi Oloruntoba over the email from Washington. The Nigerian duo may be on opposite sides of the planet, but they got together in cyberspace to create the web comic site 3Bute (pronounced tribute). 3Bute’s aim is to attract a new generation of readers by taking African journalism and fiction and turning it into graphic novel-form stories that are also interactive. If you visit the website and run a cursor over any given frame, you will see info popping up. “We call it a mashable surface,” says Iduma. Users offer links to reviews, news stories, tweets, videos and archives that offer context that’s often lacking from mainstream media. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 6 0
“The vast writing about Africa needs to be embedded in the larger world of things we care about,” says Oloruntoba. Within a few months of going live online 3Bute had picked up a Telkom-Highway Africa New Media Award for innovative use of technology for community engagement. 3Bute hosted comic versions of the short story finalists for last year’s Caine Prize. This year they’ve chosen to adopt a monthly theme and hire a curator to find relevant stories that Oloruntoba and his team illustrate. Go over to 3Bute’s site and you’ll find a range of stories on aliens right now. “I started with aliens because the idea of ‘alienated Africans’ was the single theme consistent in each of the stories sitting on my drawing table,” says Oloruntoba . The stories that comprise the aliens theme are drawn from a Chimurenga Chronic
article by Louis Chude-Sokei about Nigerian email scammers and excerpts from books by Awes Ahmed Osman, Nawal El Saadawi and Deji Olukotun. They’re about Somali students alienated in India; women alienated from a male-dominated Egyptian society; and a Nigerian scientist who works for Nasa and is an alien both at home and abroad. At its heart, says new media pioneer Oloruntoba, 3Bute is a blog. “Like a blogger, I extract from the story the part I need to illustrate a point and then I link back to the original source. The part that excites me about the process is finding the Africa-related stories. They are out there but they are scattered.” 3Bute is bringing them together month by month, comic by comic in a brave new world. www.3bute.com
Images courtesy of Bunmi Oloruntoba
3Bute is a pioneering Nigerian start-up that creates comics out of African stories – and then lets online users add their own links so that future readers can dig deeper. Words Charl Blignaut
MP3 vendor at Wuse Market
Songs for the North Country, by Various
Noura Mint Seymali
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Illustrations by Patrick Latimer
Companies are learning to care and share. Words Gordon D. Cook, co-founder of Vega School of Brand Leadership
nitially driven by regulatory requirements, companies are now increasingly selfstarting Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives. An interesting component of CSI is Employee Volunteer Activities or Employee Volunteer Programmes (EVPs). This focus reflects a realisation that businesses cannot sustain themselves as closed systems and have to adopt an open system philosophy. In other words, have an appreciation of the interdependency of the whole value chain of a business organisation and that the links in this chain are, in turn, dependant upon the sustainability of communities and the broader society. There is no point being a shining lighthouse on a sinking island. Or, as English poet John Donne said: â€œNo man is an islandâ€?. Let us briefly consider the difference between CSI and
EVP programmes. In both instances the focus is on doing good beyond the immediate mandate of the business. Successful initiatives align themselves to the values and vision of the brand and organisation is purpose. CSI is normally the overarching programme which could include specific social or environmental initiatives or could encourage individuals and departments to embark on voluntary work. There are many successful examples of EVPs such as those led by Discovery, Samsung, Timberland and The Marriott Hotel Group amongst others. There are also global volunteer organisations which companies can and do partner with such as Rotary International, The United Nations Volunteers, Gift of the Givers and Lions Clubs International. EVPs are about putting a social initiative into S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 6 5
Volunteering activities can take the form of emergency relief work, building knowledge and skills, or providing services for the needy.
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the hands of a company’s staff. The more recent usage of the term and concept of volunteering is in the context of community service. The Latin origin of the term suggests it is about giving with free will. It is about serving without expecting any material return. It is about undertaking service spontaneously in order to contribute to the greater good. Harvard’s Michael Porter and Mark Krammer argue that businesses must adopt a shared value mindset that capitalises on business opportunities to create “economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing its needs and challenges”. They criticise most companies for being “stuck in a ‘social responsibility’ mindset in which societal issues are at the periphery, not the core”. Volunteering activities can take the form of emergency relief work, building knowledge and skills, providing services for the needy such as the aged and contributing to community development programmes such as upgrading school classrooms. A majority of global companies now allow employees to volunteer during work hours. The better ones ensure that the causes have relevance to the vision and values of the brand and business. A caution against volunteering is to be sure that it is done with no hidden agenda or with an intent to promote any particular ideology. Employee Voluntary Programmes have many benefits as they directly involve staff whereas a CSI programme, managed by a separate division, can become
disconnected from the people working in the organisation. In a report by Good Companies Better Employees some of the positive outcomes of EVPs include: - increased employee pride in their company as a place to work - increased job satisfaction - increased positive word-of- mouth - higher retention rates for employees who participated in volunteer activities Organisations such as Samsung that have corporate citizenship as a value principle, have found that making staff more caring citizens results in improved morale and a realisation that this world exists as a interdependent system. Successful EVP programmes specify a certain number of hours to be contributed by staff to community-based projects or other voluntary services. Such programmes are also aligned with human resource department promotion, recognition and reward criteria. There is no debate that many more brands and companies, especially in developing countries, can benefit from EVPs. As US President Barack Obama said: “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Employee Volunteer Programmes fill the staff, the brand and the organisation with positive energy – a feeling of making a contribution beyond business to humankind.
Real people making a real difference Based on Samsung’s CSV (Common Shared Value), it’s easy to see why many Samsung employees sacrifice their free time to help others. “For Samsung employees, EVP is about rolling up our sleeves and making a tangible difference in the lives of others”, explains Keabetswe Modimoeng, who is responsible for Public Affairs & CSV. Modimoeng is based in the Johannesburg office and has coordinated many EVP expeditions from Korea to selected African destinations in need. Countries already visited include Zambia, Cameroon, Senegal, DRC, Tanzania and Ethiopia. “EVP is not just about handouts. We teach people to help themselves,” he says. “On a typical EVP, we set up camp for a week. During this time we teach the community valuable skills and educate them about the importance of good hygiene, like washing hands.” During Samsung’s EVP visits, people who would normally not have access to specialists, enjoy one-on-one consultations. Modimoeng mentions the mobile mother-and-child units as a great example of this. But what would drive a Samsung staff member to sacrifice their time and travel across the globe to work in what are often difficult conditions? For Bomie Kim, Assistant HR Manager from Seoul, the answer is simple: “The EVP I
participated in was my chance to be involved in big scale volunteer work. “This is something many people would want to do, but most of us wouldn’t know where to start. Others lack the means. Samsung’s EVP in Africa can mean a chance to make a real difference.” Kim was part of a group who visited Bishoftu, a town near Addis Ababa. The EVP group visited high schools in the area and ran classes for a week. “We ran 5 IT classes on Photoshop, HTML and Windows Movie Maker. We also helped to build a brand new computer lab, she says. As part of the EVP, the group also provided medical services for the townspeople, offered by Samsung Medical Center Seoul team. “Lastly, we facilitated cross-cultural activities. I taught a multimedia class and MC’d a K-pop contest. I will never forget how great it was to communicate with the kids in Ethiopia. They loved Korean music!” Samsung’s EVPs are also focused on the wellbeing of the community after the EVP group has left. In most cases, community members are trained to continue the good work of the volunteers and valuable equipment is left behind.
Notes from the field
My name is Darae Ahn. I live in Seoul, Korea. I am an Engineer/Android R&D Group1. My EVP experience was at a high school in Yaounde, Cameroon. We presented classes on science, chasing your dreams, and basic computer skills for teachers. Overall, the EVP was a fun experience. My colleagues and I helped each other where possible. I have never seen teamwork like that! I will always remember the kindness shown by the people of Cameroon. For most of us, it was our first visit to Africa. We came back to Korea with nothing but good memories.
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SENEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF ICT CENTRE MEDIA SITE VISIT & PRESS CONFERENCE PLANTING TREES COMPUTER LESSONS PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS TAEKWONDO CLASS ART CLASS CULTURAL EXCHANGE
CAMEROON KINDERGARTEN LESSONS PLANTING TREES
PATIENTS ASSISTED 1110 DAYS 03
Minor medical operations conducted and cases of inflammation and malnutrition handled due to the high poverty levels in the area Personal and medical hygiene lessons shared through French translators
COMPUTER LESSONS MULTIMEDIA CENTRE CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Medical camP PATIENTS ASSISTED
Most of the cases were malaria related and pregnancy check-ups A 4D ultrasound medical scanner was donated to the centre by Samsung Medical team. For most women, it was their first opportunity to see the development of their babies in the womb
ZAMBIA INSTALLING THE FENCE AROUND CDC (COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CENTRE) PLANTING TREES IN CDC COMPUTER LESSONS TAEKWONDO CLASS CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Medical camP PATIENTS ASSISTED
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ETHIOPIA CONFIGURATION OF ICT CENTRE MEDIA SITE VISIT & PRESS CONFERENCE
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The medical programme provided screening in seven different categories including ultrasound, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatrics and treating emergency cases as well as family planning education Over 100 children were taught basic hygiene practices like proper washing of hands and brushing of teeth Medical equipment, including an ultrasound machine and various medicines, was donated
COMPUTER LESSONS PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS ART CLASS CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Medical camP PATIENTS ASSISTED 1046 DAYS 05
TANZANIA CONSTRUCTION OF ICT CENTRE
MEDIA SITE VISIT & PRESS CONFERENCE
PLANTING TREES COMPUTER LESSONS PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS ART CLASS CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Deworming medication given to all patients due to the severity of the worm illness in the area Medical dispensary through Samsung pharmacists Personal and medical hygiene lessons shared through Swahili translators
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Banking your art Is contemporary African art becoming a sound investment for collectors in 2013? Words Federico Freschi
t was only really in 1999 that contemporary art from Africa came to the attention of the global art market. Sotheby’s auctioned off a number of works from the collection of the French philanthropist Jean Pigozzi. The sale was significant for two reasons. First, by exposing the work of postcolonial, urban African artists to a wider audience it went a long way to debunking common perceptions about African art as being perpetually frozen in a pre-modern, “primitivist” mode.
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Second, it demonstrated that contemporary art from Africa - a continent whose vast and rich visual cultures had always held a fascination for Europeans - could be a viable and indeed desirable commodity in the highly competitive global art economy. Most of the works on the auction fetched more than their estimates, with the top price of £10,000 being paid for a Willie Bester mixed media work - almost double the high estimate of £6,000.
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Fourteen years later, contemporary African artists are shown (and sold) in specialist galleries and on art fairs in major international art centres. Since 1996, the Dakar Biennale has focused on contemporary art from Africa, and increasingly attracts international attention. Since 2008, the Joburg Art Fair has made a substantial contribution to filling the gap left by the defunct Johannesburg Biennale. Such is the growing interest in contemporary art from Africa that its value has appreciated by an estimated 350% since 2002. Sure, this is off something of a low base, and is not comparable with the increase in the value of work from other expanding markets, like contemporary art from China. Nonetheless, it points to a shift in the perception of the value of contemporary art from this continent. It’s a shift underscored by the Tate Gallery in London, which recently appointed a curator and a buying committee to focus on contemporary African
art, sponsored by Nigerian’s Guaranty Trust Bank. As one of the most highly respected and recognised brands in the international art world, Tate will accord contemporary art from Africa a long-overdue new stature in the market. Add to this the West African focus at this year’s important Art Dubai fair and the launch of the first contemporary African art fair in the UK, called 1:54 (54 nations of Africa), to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair. Clearly, this is the time to be collecting contemporary art from Africa, and the Joburg Art Fair presents an ideal opportunity to do so. Young South African artists have been producing extraordinarily compelling work in the past few years. The work of artists like Nandipha Mntambo, Gerhard Marx, Mohau Modisakeng, Kudzanai Chiurai, Carla Busutil and Joni Brenner stand out. Their contemporary sculptor, Nicholas Hlobo, has already rocketed into the stratosphere, picked up for millions by international
Clearly, this is the time to be collecting contemporary art from Africa, and the Joburg Art Fair presents an ideal opportunity to do so.
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collectors. In different ways, their work engages issues that are at once specific to their African context, and yet have deep global resonance. Questions of identity politics, access to resources, the complexities and contradictions underpinning questions of cultural heritage these are pressing and relevant questions today and our artists seem to offer particularly nuanced views on them. Given the growing international interest in contemporary art from Africa and the visibility of contemporary African artists at international events, the interest in them will be sustainable. While the art economy in Africa may still be small and barriers to entry relatively low, collectors are in effect participating in a much broader economy, with exponential possibilities for an increase in value. An art historian, Freschi is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art at the University of Johannesburg.
Images courtesy of Nicholas Hlobo and Stevenson Gallery Cape Town/Johannesburg
Nandipha Mntambo Inkunzi Emnyama, 2009, diptych - archival ink on cotton rag paper, paper size: 112 x 85cm each, edition of 5 + 2 AP, photo: Tony Meintjies Nicholas Hlobo, Balindile IV, 2012, inner rubber tube, ribbons, canvas, hosepipe, steel, 160 x 50cm (dimensions variable) Nandipha Mntambo, Nandikeshvara, 2009, cowhide, cowsâ€™ hooves, resin, polyester mesh, waxed cord, 183 x 110 x 26cm Inkunzi Emnyama S 1 3 Kudzanai Chiurai, Untitled VII, 2011, ultra chrome ink on Innova photo fibre paper, 120x 180 cm, edition of 10 Q 0 3 P 7 3
AFI was started to support our long term retail strategy of taking refined African fashion and style to the world.
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Africa’s new fashion leaders As runways reach from Rwanda to Abuja, are fashion weeks the key to unlocking the business of fashion on the continent, and who is running the show? Words Emma Jordan
Images courtesy of SDR Photo
hree years ago I was in the audience at Fashion Talks when Fern Mallis, the maverick credited with starting New York Fashion Week, said she could go to a fashion week in a different country every week of the year. In the rest of the world maybe, but at the time it wasn’t true of Africa. Today, that’s all changed. In South Africa there are two main players — African Fashion International and SA Fashion Week — yet there has emerged a string of rural start-ups: Mpumalanga Fashion Week, KwaZulu Natal Fashion Extravaganza, Soweto Fashion Week and my personal favourite, Township Fashion Week.
The rest of Africa has shown the same trend. Recently the DRC made another clear move away from its troubled past by presenting Kinshasa Fashion Week. The Reunion Islands have a fashion week, as do Angola, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Nigeria, as is to be expected, has at least three. All of them purport to support the “business of fashion”, but fashion in Africa is notoriously difficult to monetise. A fashion week is not cheap to produce, averaging $100,000 for three days of shows. So who is paying for our fashion weeks — Are they a respectable business proposition and do they make a difference to fashion in Africa?
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Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe
“AFI was started to support our long term retail strategy of taking refined African fashion and style to the world,” says former general practitioner and wife of billionaire Patrice Motsepe. The company, founded in 2003, has grown to now include three annual entities: Joburg Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week, and Africa Fashion Week. The latter being the first to bring together designers from across the continent. In 2012 a sponsorship deal was signed with Mercedes-Benz, giving the car manufacturer naming rights and assimilating the African shows with a global movement (MercedesBenz is a major sponsor of the global IMG shows including New York, Berlin and Tokyo). AFI has been instrumental in promoting designers abroad and inviting international fashion figureheads to the shows, giving invaluable feedback and exposure to an otherwise locally-introverted industry. They run two development arms AFI Fastrack and AFI New Generation, positioning and nurturing new design talent. According to Motsepe a manufacturing division will be added to the offering.
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In November 2008, Tanzanian designer and qualified doctor Mustafa Hassanali created Swahili Fashion Week as a platform for Swahili-speaking countries to showcase their brands. According to him it has grown into the most recognised and largest fashion platform for East and Central Africa, hosting designers from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Hassanali is convinced that fashion weeks on the continent are a viable business model, stating that “if you make it selfsustainable and play with numbers well” they will succeed. Clearly a savvy businessman, Hassanali has secured sponsors that include Vodacom and US AID. Alongside the shows, an exhibition runs in the show venue where the public can buy garments directly off the ramp. They can also purchase Swahili Fashion Week branded T-shirts and other merchandise. Over and above supporting local fashion, Hassanali says Swahili Fashion Week “creates 300 jobs over the three-day period”.
Ghana Fashion & Design Week
No longer in the shadow of its mighty neighbour, Nigeria, Ghana is becoming one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. Run by a consortium of creatives, GFDW was founded in 2012 with the hefty weight of an Italian Vogue endorsement. Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of the style bible, made GDFW her African FW of choice, as she visited the continent looking for inspiration and new talent. She is a champion of ethical fashion and believes it has the potential to be a specific African USP. As such she advised GDFW to create ETHIKHA™- an umbrella under which the body promotes and supports ethical and sustainable fashion. GFDW is funded through private investment, but attracts lustrous sponsors - for example, Moët et Chandon.
Swahili Fashion Week “creates 300 jobs over the three-day period”.
South Africa’s first fashion week was started by Lucilla Booyzen in 1997 and over a decade later SA Fashion Week presents two collections a year. The Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections take place in Johannesburg and run as per international schedules - with a six-month lead time for seasonal orders. Although local buyers are few and far between, Booyzen resolved the problem by approaching retailer Edgars to host a permanent SAFW Collections pop-up in store. This, alongside pop-ups in Sandton City and Pretoria’s Brooklyn Mall, give designers a platform from which to generate income and consumer awareness. Booyzen regards an African aesthetic as inconsequential, positing that it’s important for local designers to have a global aesthetic that is appealing to a world consumer. Booyzen, a veteran show producer, says “the development of designers within the creative fashion design industry has been my life investment – it is only now starting to pay off”.
Lagos Fashion Design Week is the latest big fashion week on the continent. Started by Omoyemi Akerele in 2011 it aims, says the style maven, “to promote fashion as a viable tool for wealth creation and not merely a tool for marketing, publicity and entertainment which was previously the norm in Nigeria”. As if to underpin this, early 2013 Guaranty Bank was signed on as a headline sponsor. This followed their sponsorship of a Nigerian designer pop-up in Selfridges earlier in the year. Akerele is passionate about building a fashion industry off the ramp, and has aligned with the British Council, running a series of master classes that cover designing a collection, fashion as a tool for commerce, fashion in film and pattern cutting.
Maverick publisher of This Day, Nigeria’s biggest selling daily newspaper, Obaigbena launched ARISE magazine in 2006 as a showcase for African creativity. Led by fashion, the title hosted the first of three shows at NYFW 2010. In 2012 he took the concept back to Africa and founded the ARISE Magazine Fashion Week Lagos. No stranger to controversy, Nduka is known to go large - he’s hosted Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Beyonce - and he brings this to his fashion experiences. Unfortunately AMFWL 2013 was cancelled at the last minute, and there was no sign of an ARISE show at S/S New York Fashion Week in September.
To promote fashion as a viable tool for wealth creation and not merely a tool for marketing, publicity and entertainment.
Samsung presents a collaboration of 14 cross-continent designers and accessory makers at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa. The fashion week runs from 30 October – 2 November hosted in the City of Tshwane Tickets: www.webtickets.co.za
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Apps for Africans
Digital developers are unlocking the creative economy and spreading African culture across the planet through apps and online streaming. Words Lloyd Gedye
AFRINOLLY Mobile phones will be a major player in the future of African arts and culture — and a young start-up from Nigeria is proving the point. Afrinolly is a video streaming service for mobiles, hosting feature-length films, short films, music videos, stand-up comedy and film trailers. It also runs a short film competition, now in its second year, to help identify and nurture emerging African film talent. Now Afrinolly has inked a deal with South Africa mobile giant MTN, who will be rolling out Afrinolly as a content incentive for its hundreds of millions of subscribers across the continent. A market has already emerged; the app has been downloaded over three million times since its launch in 2011. It was conceived at the G-Nigeria Summit in Lagos and
developed for the 2011 Android Developers Challenge for SubSaharan Africa, organised by Google. Many of Afrinolly’s users come from African countries, but it regards itself as a global product and is servicing customers in America, Europe and Asia, particularly from the African diaspora. Chike Maduegbuna from FansConnectOnline Limited, the company behind Afrinolly, believes that African content has a great new digital future. “Afrinolly is just one practical example,” he says. “Mobile phones are movie screens and there are more people that have access to mobile phones than those that have access to cinemas.” But, says Maduegbuna, an app like this can be more than just a content aggregator and distribution model. He sees Afrinolly playing a much bigger
role in the film industry. “Now we are moving to applying technology in other areas of African movie ecosystems. Afrinolly provides databases of African movies, music videos and actors.” Maduegbuna says that the short film competition has shown that there are many African graduates of international film schools around the world that are ready to tell African stories. “The Afrinolly Short Film Competition, Afrinolly Masterclass and Afrinolly Radio Show provide unique opportunities to institutionalise a growth framework for African film,” says Maduegbuna, who is clearly thinking Big Picture.
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Can’t get your culture in the diaspora? Build an app for that. Founded by five Ugandans in 2012, Zikify is a tracks application that focuses on delivering East African music to users. Developer David Madra says the idea came to him when he realised how hard it was to get African music online and so he decided to build a service for Africa by Africans and give everyone the choice to access high quality free African music online. You can stream music for free through Zikify, however the website also offers a premium subscription service, which means that you don’t have to listen to ads between songs. Users can even purchase music directly from the website. Madra says the closest rival to Zikify comes from Nigeria in the forms of iRoking. Providing solutions for high and low speed internet connections, Zikify is aimed at all of nine million internet subscribers in Uganda and from there they plan to expand into East Africa and then the whole continent.
Everyone loves Nollywood and Nigeria’s film production sector is estimated to be a US$250million industry. Nigerian pop stars like D’Banj, meanwhile, are marching up charts across the world. Now iRoko Partners are taking Nollywood and Nigerian music to the next level by making content more accessible. In another case of scarcity breeding invention, founder Jason Njoku said that when he was living in London he realised that the Nigerian diaspora could not access all this content, so he decided to do something about it. In December 2010 Njoku’s business iRoko launched with a curated YouTube channel filled with Nollywood content. The channel was a success and soon Njoku branched into music and the iRoking music platform was born. In January 2012 iRoko Partners launched iRokotv Plus, an on-demand web-television platform that allows users to stream the latest Nollywood films for $5 a month. By 2013 iRoko Partners services seven million customers from 178 countries and they stream 207-million minutes of content every month.
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Based on the popular southern African game Morabaraba, which is also known by its Xhosa name Umlabalaba or Zulu Chess, Moraba is a mobile game that aims to educate users about gender-based violence. The original game is a twoplayer strategy board game, but it is simple enough that a board can easily be scratched on a stone or in the sand, with coins or pebbles (or whatever comes to hand) used as the pieces. The mobile version provides a new board for keen players but also adds a quiz element, which forces users to answer questions about gender-based violence – and in doing so educates and empowers them. Developed by South African app designer Anne Shongwe, Moraba already has tens of thousands of users and was selected in 2012 to compete at the Mobile Premier Awards in Barcelona, alongside 20 other global apps. Shongwe says her decision to work on the app came from watching her 10-year-old son playing games on a mobile phone.
Ma3Racer BOZZA Launched in 2011 by Planet Rackus, Ma3Racer laces the gamer behind the wheel of a Matatu minibus in the chaotic streets of Nairobi, Kenya. For many Kenyans, a Ma3 or Matatu is their main means of transport to school and to work. Ma3Racer gets faster and faster at different game levels and requires ever quicker reflexes to dodge oncoming obstacles while picking up as many money bags as possible. Joe Njeru from Planet Rackus says the team behind Ma3Racer got tired of playing games of stories they could not relate to. Although the game is free, Planet Rackus plans to make money off it by selling Ma3Racer-branded merchandise such as wallpapers, apparel, and eventually advertising within the game. The game has already been downloaded over a million times.
Africa is brimming with talented artists. But to take their skills to the next level, the rest of the world needs to be let in on the secret. Founded in March 2011, Cape Town-based Bozza.mobi is a platform that aims to connect emerging creatives from across the continent with consumers, talent scouts and corporates. This is how it works: Bozza.mobi allows Africa’s film makers, poets, musicians and artists to self-publish their content on the site and then consumers can access it for free. Obviously data charges apply. Then Bozza.mobi identifies the most popular artists and links them up with third parties like record labels, brands or advertising agencies. Bozza.mobi is the brainchild of Emma Kaye, who serves as its CEO. Kaye is a highly regarded player in the animation and social media space, having cofounded Triggerfish Animation and AnimationSA.org. Triggerfish’s animated childrens’ features Zambezia and Khumba have gone global and are competing with major Hollywood studios – on a third of the budget. Kaye was also involved in setting up Mobfest, Africa’s first user-generated mobile content platform.
Africa is brimming with talented artists. But to take their skills to the next level, the rest of the world needs to be let in on the secret.
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Cristina de Middel, The Afronauts, 2012, a selection from the series
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Giving the youth a voice Samsung Electronics Africa reaches out to Generation C
70% of the African continentâ€™s population is under the age of 30. In response to this powerful statistic, Samsung Electronics Africa hosted a unique interactive youth workshop in Johannesburg from 4 - 6 July 2013. The objective: to hear Africaâ€™s stories so that we can understand the youth in order to create products they aspire to. Words Nimi Pretorius
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KENYA Age:18 BA Audiovisual Communication
SIERRA LEONE Age: 25 Model
14 DELEGATES FROM 8 COUNTRIES
KENYA Age:23 Masters degree in African history
YALEZO WAINOGA NJUGUNA
MADAGASCAR Age:23 Development Sociology
GHANA Age:18 Entrepeneurial Leadership
NIGERIA Age:25 Bcom Information and Knowledge Management
NIGERIA Age:27 BA Strategic Communication (Honours)
MAURITIUS Age:18 A-level economics and geography.
ANGOLA Age:29 Bcom Marketing graduate
SOUTH AFRICA Age:23 Cheil South Africa
SOUTH AFRICA Age:27 BA in Brand Building and Management
SOUTH AFRICA BCOM degree in Marketing
t’s not often that 14 cool young people from across the continent get to spend four days together in and around Johannesburg, exploring the city and sharing their experiences. Hosted by Samsung Electronics Africa, the 3 Star Pow Wow had one key objective: content creation. This multi-layered brandbuilding workshop had all the obvious makings of a cool event – a trendy venue, popular activities and chic details like a Hummer limousine to take the delegates from one point to another. More than that, the 3 Star Pow Wow created a strong, credible platform for the youth to show us what cool is all about, by telling their stories using social media.
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SOUTH AFRICA Age:22 BA in Brand Building and Management
SOUTH AFRICA Age:21 Cheil South Africa SUNG MUN YEOM
POW WOW: 1. a meeting; a conference. (From an American Indian word): Let’s have a pow-wow on that issue. 2. to hold a meeting or a conference: Let’s powwow on that tomorrow.
An amazing experience Over the next couple of days, the group participated in a combination of fun, interesting and challenging events. Each part of the experience was carefully designed to encourage interaction, generate content or learn about the youth by rocking their worlds with new experiences. From bungee jumping to attending a DJ workshop and shopping at an inner city night market for their supper, each day had an unpredictable lineup, inspiring great content and new stories. But it wasn’t all fun and games. During the four-day event, they attended multimedia info sessions on a list of content-relevant subject matters, including:
3StarAfrica.net Content holds the power to connect with the youth, change their perception of the brand and build loyalty for it through constant interaction. It’s no coincidence that this generation is nicknamed Generation C – their hours are filled with screen time and they live largely in a virtual world.
Samsung Electronics Africa is now planning to launch a multi-layered, intelligent content platform for the youth called 3StarAfrica.net. By telling their stories and sharing their ideas, the youth of Africa will continue to give us a glimpse into their worlds so that their stories become ours.
Images courtesy of Phillip Kritharis
»» A-Z of Social Media by Jacques du Bruyn from Vega »» Hot Brands & Samsung by HDI Youth Marketeers »» Everything’s Connected by Dion Chang »» Branding and Being Human by Gordon D Cook »» Telling Stories That People Want to Read by Verashni Pillay
A badge and free data earned after each activity completed Different events that took place over the five days
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From the first tech incubator in Africa to fashion events for peace, Nairobi feels like a city with an African arts vision for the future. Words Phiona Okumu
Images courtesy of www.gettyimages.com
or some reason, every turn on Nairobi’s roads leads to another roundabout, which means it only takes a few impatient drivers to form a gridlock situation. But once you meet Nairobians, you quickly realise that this frequent and unpredictable standstill traffic is nothing in the face of their relentless drive. It could very well be that that vitality is what makes the Kenyan capital the center of attention that it deservedly is these days – it’s the fourth most visited city in Africa, has plans underway for a $10-million technology city, and has arguably the best nightlife in the region. Whatever the case it’s an infectious energy. With London a manageable eight-hour flight away, Johannesburg an even shorter four, and the Rift
Valley’s cradle of civilization a matter of an afternoon out, Nairobi really feels like the heartbeat of a continent
iHub Kenya wears the crown as Africa’s leader in the global tech economy, and Nairobi’s renowned iHub is one of its prized jewels. There exists an innately nurturing attitude towards technological development, out of which springs spaces like this one, the continent’s first known tech incubator. Boasting world-class facilities and a driven community of tech enthusiasts this is an open platform in which they can develop ideas into top-notch products.
4th floor, Bishop Magua Centre, Ngong Road, Nairobi
The Nest Much like the fêted iHub, the NEST operates an open-door policy, providing arts practitioners a podium to explore ideas in a group setting. Some of the NEST’s resident programmes include monthly film festivals, a 24-hour online streaming music radio initiative and interactive theater programs established to promote social dialogue through the arts. House Number 4, Jabavu Maisonettes, opposite Kilimani Police Station, Jabavu Road, Nairobi
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Former Camp Mulla lead singer Lady Karun’s highly anticipated solo album launch; soulful Afro-house guru Boddhi Satva’s listening party; leading fashion designer Katungulu Mwenda’s spring collection showing. Plans are afoot to display edgy and thoughtprovoking visual art collections from across the continent in this intimate space. The Priory Place, ground floor, Argwings Kodhek Rd, Nairobi
After her first three years in Kenya, Scottish-born Ann McCreath opted out of her job in the aid sector, throwing her energy instead into an avenue where she felt she could make more impact – fashion. So she began the design and retail house Kiko Romeo, champions for ethical fashion. It is the umbrella under which the annual Festival of African Fashion & Arts (Fafa) falls – an annual event born as a response to the political unrest in 2008. Fafa aligns arts and media professionals with designers from all over Africa for the Fashion for Peace event in the Nairobi National Park. 1st floor of the Yaya Centre, Kilimani, Nairobi
Shifteye Gallery Spanking new exhibiting space Shifteye Gallery is the talk of the town in Nairobi, thanks to the select swanky events to which it has played host in its barely two months of existence: S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 9 2
Vlisco store Vlisco became popular in East Africa thanks to its Dutchoriginated Wax Hollandais fabrics worn mostly in West and Central African cultures. With the current surge in the demand for Africa-inspired prints in fashion, Vlisco is enjoying something of a renaissance, discarding its former reputation as ornamental attire for mums at church services and weddings. For their fix of Vlisco’s expansive range, young Nairobi fashion enthusiasts can now easily get hold of the iconic brand, which has recently become available in leafy Lavington. Evelyn College of Design, Olenguruone Ave, James Gichuru Road
Maasai market These travelling open-air markets are a must for bargainhunters seeking curios, clothes, East African fabrics, jewelry and so much more other often locally hand-crafted artifacts. The market moves around the city on any given day of the week .
More than just a virtual fashion retail outlet, Chico Leco’s hallmark is style with an edge. Last April, it presented the collections of leading Kenyan designers including Ruth Abade (Black Fly), Sydney Owino (Blackbird), and Sunny Dolat in an eight-day online series by way of conceptual videos from three artistic perspectives. Their range of accessories includes cute must-have bow ties, earrings, brooches and snoods. www.store.chicoleco.com
Michael Joseph Images courtesy of www.lepalanka-nairobi.com, www.kikoromeo.com, Victor, Vlisco, www.gettyimages.com
Centre Safaricom’s multi-disciplinary arts house hosts concerts, creative business forums, workshops, plays and art exhibitions across four areas purpose built to engage the community using visual and performing arts and technology. The Michael Joseph Centre is free of charge. Upper Parklands Estate, Nairobi
Le Palanka Nairobi’s finest dining experience yet has arrived in the city courtesy Le Palanka, a sister restaurant to the Parisbased establishment of the same name. Most restaurants in Nairobi serving African cuisine tend to offer just a couple of generic options. Le Palanka delivers not just on finesse but also on sheer variety. Every region, if not
country, is delightfully represented. Equally impressive is the vibrant décor featuring paintings of acclaimed African musical heroes from Fela Kuti to Miriam Makeba. Seating options include the outdoor 6-seater banda huts. 909 James Gichuru, Nairobi
Blankets and Wine The longest-running live music monthly event in Kenya, Blankets and Wine. Once hosted in the posh Karen suburb, popular demand recently brought it to the far more accessible Carnivore grounds. Now more Nairobians can be assured of a quality, family-friendly live music experience which has showcased top-billing African artists from Thandiswa Mazwai to Just A Band. Carnivore, Langata Road
Electrafrique House music is making inroads in Kenya’s music mainstream, boosted especially by the scenes in countries like South Africa where acts like DJ Cleo, Mi Casa, Culoe De Song, Professor and a host of others are enjoying a new and enthused audience. Their sounds are now played regularly on commercial radio and, increasingly, at specialist house music events like Electrafrique. Here you will find a heady blend of electronic music fused with live elements from the likes of Nairobi slum drummers or the Beat Parade. A night of dancing always guaranteed! Museum Hill, Nairobi
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Designed to serve What does a consumer expect from a service centre â€“ fast, friendly advice? Product support and training? In the design of Samsungâ€™s new service centres, the expected was considered a good starting point. It is through the unexpected, though, that these hubs of service excellence really come alive.
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Images courtsey of Shawn Driman. Words by Nimi Pretorius.
Eye-catching décor is the order of the day
A Samsung Service Centre is a place
Hyesuk Sim, Service Marketing Manager.
and although each service centre has its
where consumers can experience some of
“It’s all about allowing our consumers to
own theme, the common threads used
the Samsung products in a tangible way.
get to know our products in an inspiring,
ensure a family of best-in-class venues.
Built-in kitchens simulate a home environ-
From comfortable waiting areas to chic
ment, equipped with the most premium
Each of Samsung’s Service Centres is the
product training zones, every area in the
of fridges to gas stoves and eco washing
result of months of teamwork, brainstorm-
service centre reminds you that you are in
ing and thoughtful design. From the
the company of a global technology leader.
“Firstly, you are welcomed by neatly
welcoming reception areas to the finest
“Great service is about about people,
uniformed, highly trained staff. Although
little touch, every detail has been debated
commitment, excellence, service, caring
appearances are important, service with a
and carefully selected by a savvy team of
and integrity,” says Luis Pinho, Cheil Retail
smile and customer satisfaction remains
service experts and designers. The result is
Manager. “We tried to incorporate these
a key ingredient of any good service
an unusual service space filled with lots of
concepts when we designed each service
hidden gems and smile factors.
“We also host fun events like cooking classes and movie nights,” says Sue S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 9 5
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Big or small, every visitor is treated like royalty. “Our kids’ corners are very popular with busy parents,” says Sim. Here children
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can play Angry Birds on 10.1” tablets, take photos with cameras or have a colourful time with toys and stationery.
We have new names Book Review: We Need New Names â€“ NoViolet Bulawayo Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Words Charl Blignaut
A new wave of novels by female African writers is igniting the literary scene. We need to be careful not to lump their voices together. S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 9 7
s a new wave of female fiction emerges from Africa, are we really going to respond by lumping women writers together as if they speak in one homogenous voice? I ask because much has been made of the similarities between NoViolet Bulawayo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s latest novels. I have no idea why. Apart from them both dealing with the immigrant experience, the books are poles apart. Adichie’s narrative is told with wry adult humour; Bulawayo’s with intense childlike naivete. Adichie explores a return to Africa; Bulawayo looks at leaving. Adichie almost flippantly unfolds an addictive, episodic love story about the nuances of cultural stereotyping. Bulawayo consciously constructs a dark fable of politics, poverty and violence and then drops a brick on her narrative, ranging it across time and continents. Adichie normalizes the African female narrative voice, which makes her third novel both slight and important. Bulawayo does the opposite. Her debut is very much a first novel that you are likely to either love or hate. Her
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impressive narrative energy is compelling at first – a description of hell through innocent eyes. But it overstates itself, trips itself up and stumbles head first into a string of clichés about African suffering and the tyrannical reign of Bob Mugabe. As it turns out Bulawayo has been short-listed for the Man Booker and not Adichie. Again I’m not sure why. Possibly the world is more comfortable with reinforcing the simplistic African story. Perhaps the Caine Prize – which Bulawayo won for her development work on the novel – is also culpable. Certainly the Caine lends more weight to expatriate and diasporan writers than writers living on African soil. It’s an issue that clearly also troubles Bulawayo, who lives in America. There’s a powerful scene where her narrator, Darling, hurls her Mac Book against a wall. She’s living in America and talking over Skype to her friend Chipo who has had a baby and called her Darling too, neatly replacing the heroine in her motherland. Chipo mocks her for talking about Zimbabwe – she left, she knows nothing about the country, is it even
hers anymore? There are other powerful scenes in the novel that compel the reader forward – a genius wedding scene for example – but there is a cartoonish quality in the Zimbabwe section, especially in the naming of characters, that jars and overstates. That would be okay, but the novel then yanks itself from Zim and the narrator’s tone changes fundamentally as she ages, but not believably. The last third of the novel doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s part immigrant alienation, part political sermon. We Need New Names shows huge promise but ultimately needed stronger editing. - This review first appeared in City Press.
Possibly the world is more comfortable with reinforcing the simplistic African story.
Teju Cole, Twitter star With his new book Open City, Nigerian-born writer Teju Cole is emerging as a pop star African thinker. And it’s his Twitter account that’s spreading his fame. SQ13Q3 cornered him at a book fair in South Africa and asked him about his social mediations.
thing. So when I went to Robben Island I was struck that there are still penal colonies like this today, I referred to Guantanamo Bay. Most people immediately got the example I was making. But I got idiotic responses such as: “You’re comparing Mandela to Al Qaeda!?” And this happens with every tweet I put up. CB: Still, this is the new reader. TC: Yes in a way. And the people who are getting it are there, just on the basis of retweeting. But there will always be a significant minority who will attack. CB: Does this filter into the writing in any way, this sense of unlocking a much broader set of ears?
Images courtesy of Random House Trade Paperbacks
TC: I think that both the attentive readership, which I’m now aware of in a new way, and the oppositional readership which I was not as aware of before, they have both sort of made me politically bolder. Charl Blignaut: Twitter’s become important to you? I mean you’re storified, making the big papers regularly for your tweet sets.
CB: How are you feeling about the fact that you’re a bit of a pop star in the literary scene? Was that expected?
Teju Cole: It’s sort of become important to me in part because people have taken it seriously. I cannot pretend to be an innocent on Twitter because I know that if I do a series of five tweets, or seven tweets, there’s a fair chance that somebody is going to want to collect them and discuss them, or put them in a paper of whatever.
TC: The first thing that I should say is that I‘m not a pop star. Young writers know me. It’s not expected. It’s not comfortable. I’m a private individual. Most of my life is actually taken up by enthusiasm, by the things I love. I’d be perfectly happy just tweeting playlists. Just being a radio DJ. I would rather be a good photographer than a great writer. I don’t trust language that much.
CB: I like the irony in your tweets. Very often you’ll tweet something deeply sarcastic in the nicest possible way and you’ll be taken very seriously. TC: You know the funniest thing is, whether they’re sarcastic or not, everything I tweet is taken the wrong way by somebody. Every single S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 9 9
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The Afronauts, 2012, Cristina de Middel, a selection from the series
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Beyond hip hop
You may be a bit offended by Ghana’s satirical rap performance outfit Fokn Bois, but you won’t be able to ignore them much longer. Words Ts’eliso Monaheng
– amasses chunks of multilayered twists as the Fokn Bois duo of Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa navigate the maze of West African city life. The product is dense visual candy that segues seamlessly in and out of different settings; residential houses, chop bars (restaurants), and cyber cafes. The dialogue is an illustrious rap interchange between two high school friends happy to share in-jokes and wax lyrical about good chefs who bring food on time. Expertly choreographed dance pieces add to the film’s sense of constant motion.
Now the rappers have produced the follow-up – Coz Ov Moni II. “It was faster. It was less than a year – from writing to filming,” reveals Wanlov on the line from Accra. Fokn Bois refuse to confine their output to a single platform; they use whatever avenue is at hand at any moment to advance their social commentary. Their zeal for engagement with pressing issues is evident on Fokn Wit Ewe, the debut album whose themes range from an American dystopia where that nation’s citizens have become dependent on aid
Images courtesy of Fokn Bois
hana’s left-field rap instigators Fokn Bois aren’t ones to mindlessly submit to authority. Their brand of hip hop is an audiovisual manifesto designed to interrogate the politics of identity, belonging and lateral thinking in society. It’s seen them undertake some pretty mind-bending artistic endeavours. They’re responsible for last year’s Coz Ov Moni, a 40-minute film credited as “the world’s first Pidgin English musical”. Its deceptively simple premise – wake up in the morning, collect debt, and head out to explore Accra’s nightlife
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to a post-homophobia West Africa where talking about “strong homosexual guys” doesn’t raise alarm. It’s all parody – but within that reside some uncomfortable truths. “For us the music is therapy, we don’t do music to help anybody,” Wanlov states. “It just so happens that there are other people out there who think like us and also enjoy us.” The song Help America, for instance, is Wanlov’s therapy session following being refused a US visa on the eve of their performance at the SXSW conference. At times, people tend to focus on the broad strokes of their message instead of the ironies. Thank
God We’re Not a Nigerians, a hilarious portrait of their West African neighbours’ eccentricities, got labelled as a xenophobic attack in certain quarters. The church and government spending also come in for a drubbing from the duo. In between the laughs and controversies, the Fokn Bois continue to create meaningful art. Both Wanlov and M3nsa also have their own solo careers. Right now they’re focused on their film, though. Coz Ov Moni II has already been booked for film festivals in London and Switzerland, and will make its Ghanaian debut in less than three months. In part one, the duo get ambushed by machete-wielding thugs in the
Fokn Bois refuse to confine their output to a single platform; they use whatever avenue is at hand at any moment to advance their social commentary.
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thick of the night. “Part two is the Fokn Revenge” reveals Wanlov. “We’re just tracking down those four people, one by one, and taking care of them.” Wanlov says that part two will be an epic dream sequence with remoulded characters rooted in Ghanaian (Kweku Ananse) and Romanian (Count Dracula) folklore. He concludes: “We went all out! We expect the film to be banned from the public in Ghana. What we’re gonna do is, at the film board where they approve of films, we’re gonna show them an edited version. At the premiere we’re just gonna play the uncut one. Whatever happens [will] happen.”
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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF Thabiet Allie Head of Content and Services, Samsung Electronics Africa Described in three words, my work is about creating pop culture. I am based in Johannesburg The best part about my job is introducing Africa to the world and the world to Africa. As head of content for Samsung, it gives me the opportunity to find the most exciting new trends in entertainment, apps and services – and bring that to our consumers. It also creates a space where we can showcase African innovation on a global stage. The most challenging part is being away from my family, as my job involves quite a bit of travelling. It has however made me appreciate the time we do spend together so much more. The greatest achievement of my career undoubtedly has been launching a health app in partnership with the UN. The app will be embedded onto our S 1 3 Q 0 3 P 1 0 8
smartphones across Africa, providing information on Aids, TB and Malaria at this stage and much more soon. It will also provide information on where medical advice and treatment can be obtained across the continent. On a typical day, I’m generally up around 6am, in the gym, and then off to the office when I’m not travelling. Meetings, planning and paperwork! The convergence of media and tech means that no two days are the same and every day is a new challenge. I try to get home by 8pm and to bed by 11pm. During my lunch hour, I’m usually in lunch meetings or out for a quick bite. My favourite restaurant is Ghazal in Bryanston – they make the best North Indian food in the world! When I’m online, I spend time on LinkedIn and Twitter. Most of my news is crowdsourced
by looking at what’s trending. Also News24 and Bloomberg – both have apps that make quick access to headlines easy. I feel lost without my cellphone – no surprise there! I’m quite literally connected all day. Chat, emails, information. In transit I use my phone to watch shows and listen to music. Sometimes I even make phone calls. In my free time, I enjoy watersports and get to either a pool or the ocean as often as I can. I am inspired by the women in my life. My mom, because she supports me no matter what happens. My sister, because she is caring and values human connections. And my wife because she reminds me that all limitations are self-imposed. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Honestly… nothing.
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Smartphones are the new paint brushes and the internet is the new stage. The traditional Western art centres are increasingly culturally ban...
Published on Sep 23, 2013
Smartphones are the new paint brushes and the internet is the new stage. The traditional Western art centres are increasingly culturally ban...