Tag Archives: Africa

Marginal, central

Kuduro is a type of music and dance from Angola.

Titica is a transexual kuduro performer who’s won support through her career.

M.I.A. has defined the modest origins and therein the strength of kuduro:

“It initially came from kids not having anything to make music on other than cellphones, using samples they’d get from their PCs and mobiles’ sound buttons. It’s a rave-y, beat oriented sound. Now that it’s growing, they’ve got proper PCs to make music on.”

Music always makes one stronger.


You know, it’s very hard to be interesting without speaking.

(Paul Morrissey)

Picture by Phyllis Galembo.

Motion in culture

Today is Brazil’s National Day.

For most of us though, September 07 is just a day to enjoy our friends’ and families’ companies or basically do nothing – by a pool, preferably.

So here I was, just surfing the internet after lovely breakfast with dear guests when I found Karin Dreijer Andersson‘s mixtape on DazedDigital.

Listen to her delightful music list here

It is so remarkable how my tastes sometimes go around in circles. If you read this blog, you probably know I’m mildly obsessed with both Africa and Scandinavia.

Fever Ray's new tour costumes

These places are universes apart, but then I come across one of my favorite artist’s playlist and find lots of African music in it.

I should have known by now that Fever Ray is always surprising. It seems that what I wrote about the end of the project might have been a bit hasty. Since then it seems Karin changed her mind. The new tour is a witness to that change.

How extraordinary it is to see all these tastes and references come together. Unlike what most xenophobes might believe, culture is not stagnant.

You do the math.

No answers for identity issues

My roommate has killed all the ants in the apartment. Using some sort of bug spray/powder, he put an end to the rule of the tiny insects which dotted our kitchen walls with their silent empire.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. What does that say about my sense of belonging?

Which reminds me of one of my latest obsessions: Sub-Saharan Africa.

I’m only mildly obsessed with South Africa in specific, but it is indeed the country that intrigues me the most. Of those, white South Africans puzzle me even more.

How does a white person with their own local culture fit into a continent which seems so different from them? This sense of not-belonging is what has been quite key in my interest for the country.

It bears such a strong resemblance to Brazilian whites and especially those in the upper classes. How does one who cherishes imported ideals belong to a culture so deeply rooted in its own mélange?

For inspiration:

Die Antwoord is a South African act of seemingly Afrikaans background who provides us with an ironic insight to what might solve the question of identity.

Live and let live.

Familiarity in strangeness

Brazil and Africa are so close in so many aspects that I am constantly tempted to say: Brazil is Africa.

Ever since my curiosity about our ancestors and their legacy to Brazilian culture was sparkled by music, I’ve been restlessly searching for a truer face of the continent. Unfortunately, it seems that most information about Africa is second-hand, that is, written by other people with their foreign mindsets. It seems that cliché is also just around the corner in most reports about Africa.

Luckily though, there are people like Pieter Hugo. A talented and politically aware photographer from South Africa, he has over the years produced startling images of the African people in the most diverse and intriguing situations.

The Hyena & Other Men series

Although acquiring great fame and recognition for his series of works entitled Nollywood (which depict s actors and ordinary people connected to Nigeria’s film industry), his work with the hyena tamers is to me the most impressive.

What I like most about his work is his ability to capture a glimpse of what the human soul and its secrets are supposed to be even in the strangest sets and situations.

What is then the connection of Pieter Hugo’s work to Brazil? Absurdity. The absurd things and and the absurdness of life bring the two places together in a very special way. It is when one feels familiarity in strangeness that one can really see a close link between nations and continents.


Since the beginning of the month, I’ve been dedicating a lot of my time to reading novels I’ve always wanted to read.

Today I finished a fascinating book by 19th century Portuguese master Eça de Queiroz. His realistic descriptions and depictions of bourgeois (Portuguese) society and their petty lives are delightfully truthful even today. A deep critic of society’s institutions, his work is remarkably interesting when it comes to women. They are portraited in an extremely independent way, with strong minds and a lot of will power, though constantly stifled by their counterparts.

Lisbon, where "Cousin Bazilio" takes place

The book which I just read and in which this is very clear is Cousin Bazilio, a thoroughly exciting novel that tells the story of Luísa, a young married woman who risks everything due to the return of her childhood love, her own cousin (unlike the US, dating cousins is not a taboo in Portugal or Brazil).

Now my reading glasses are turned to J.M. Coetzee‘s Disgrace, a book I’ve been meaning to read for quite some time, even before my interest for Africa had been awakened.

There’s nothing like literature to ease one’s heart.

Fighting Prejudice in Africa

Today is the second day of Chanukah and I shall use this remembrance day of victory under difficult circumstances to talk about other groups of people who are suffering due to ignorance.

Following my recent and intensive interest in everything African, I decided to investigate how the situation for young Africans is at present. I am not talking about black gay people, rather those men (and women) who were born and/or live in the African continent and who happen to feel attracted to the same sex.

The picture is appalling. Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries and gay men and women are subject to all kinds of discrimination, violence, hatred and even to being killed because of their sexuality.

Fortunately, some people are mobilized for the homosexuals of Africa and doing a great work in bringing awareness of the issues involved in it: Behind the Mask. In their own words:

Behind the Mask is a communication initiative around LGBTI rights and affairs in Africa. The organization considers information and communication technology (ICT) and independent journalistic activism as its main tools. By way of publishing a website magazine the organization gives voice to African LGBTI communities and provides a platform for exchange and debate for LGBTI groups, activists, individuals and allies.

From now on I shall be very keen on helping our African fellows in the global fight for Human Rights and Equality.

African me

Lately I’ve been quite obsessed with anything Bantu-related or Sub-Saharan African. I don’t know why but this new-found interest has been so present in my mind for quite some time. How curious.

As a Brazilian, it is quite likely that I am partly descendant of an African people, unbeknownst to my family for political or racistic reasons. Still, given the way African people were brought to Brazil, it is quite probable they came from a Bantu nation somewhere in Angola or Mozambique or the regions nearby.

Due to the heavy European influence, getting information from South Africa happens to be much easier than the other countries. I have become quite a fan of Miriam Makeba, a South-African singer of the Xhosa ethnic group who is actually known in Brazil for her connections and contributions with local artists. Here’s my all time favorite song interpreted by her:

The sound quality is rather poor, but it’s possible to hear it using headphones.

Another sing who’s captured my attention was the relatively famous Cesaria Évora, aka the Barefoot Diva, a Cape Verdean. She sings in her country’s creole, which is a mixture of Portuguese with diverse African languages. After studying about it, I can quite understand the lyrics too. Enjoy:

I’ve got to go back to work now – I’ve got new destinations to spare money for.