President Zuma Looses Shower Head

13 May 2009 | 17:28 | English | Leave a comment
The shower head temporarily removed from president Zuma's head (Zapiro)Jacob Zuma, Sout-Africa's new president got rid of the shower growing out of his head. At least, it did so in the cartoons by David Shapiro. The South-African cartoonist consequently drew Zuma with shower head, since he had admitted in a rape trial against him that he did have unprotected sex with his HIV-positive accuser, but that he showered afterwards to avoid infection. After his inauguration the cartoonist known as Zapiro decided to give Zuma the benefit of the doubt. The shower now hangs on the wall in the presidential office, with a card attached warning that it's only a 'temporary suspension'. If the president 'doesn't perform or things go wrong' the shower will return, said the ever critical Zapiro to the BBC.

Beyond the Conflict: Lecture in Leeds

12 May 2009 | 15:16 | English | Leave a comment
Parkinson Building, main entrance of Leeds UniversityJust got back from beautiful - but terribly windy - Yorkshire. Last friday I gave a lecture at Leeds University on the media and their representation of Africa, invited to do so by the Leeds University Union. Under the title 'Africa: Beyond the Conflict' I explained to a small but interestingly international audience why Western journalists cannot seem to get a balanced image across of the African continent. To walk around the campus of the university where Nigerian author and first African Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka studied in the fifties, gave the visit extra colour to me.

Book & Movie Tip: Bang Bang Club

05 May 2009 | 22:33 | English | Leave a comment (one)
Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, The Bang Bang Club. Snapshots of a Hidden War (UK, 2000)You'll have to pe patient for the movie, that is being shot at the moment in Thokoza township, that used to be a no go area near Johannesburg in the early nineties. The book however is a mustread. The Bang Bang Club is the history of four South-African photographers reporting on the bloody hostel wars in the period heading to the first elections after apartheid in 1994. Followers of Inkatha and ANC engage in a bloody war, that later proved to be encouraged by the apartheid regime trying to frustrate South-Africa's transition to democracy. Now the AK-47's sound again on Khumalo Street, but this time they're firing blanks. The filming of The Bang Bang Club by director Steven Silver will appear next year.

Jazz in Ouaga

04 May 2009 | 21:47 | English | Leave a comment
What the yearly North Sea Jazz Festival is to the Netherlands, Jazz à Ouaga is to the Burkinabe.This weekend the seventeenth edition came to an end of this nternationally renowned jazz festival in the capital of Burkina Faso. A cross cultural collection of artists took the stage, concluded on Saturday with a performance of the transcontinental Trio Ivoire, an unlikely combo of a German pianist, a percussionist from Great Britain and an Ivorian xylofone player. Theme this year in Ouagadougou was how music can stimulate tourism. The West-African country is known for its music safaris for Western tourists. It is no coincidence that I have chosen a town in Burkina Faso as the last place I'm going to visit for my book on African city life this Fall. In Bobo Dioulasso I'll write about art, music and urban street culture.