The Lists this week: Al’amin Mazrui, Angela Davis and Herbie Hancock


A Giant Tree Has Fallen: Tributes to Ali Al’amin Mazrui. After his death in 2014, principled and accomplished scholar Ali Mazrui left behind a sterling legacy and a deepened understanding of Africa and its paradoxical place in human history. In this book, he is honoured in a fitting way, with hundreds of contributors gathering to pay tribute to him in the pages. Although the book does not focus on his scholarship per se, it does offer a portal into the mind of the man, rendered through hundreds of touching tributes and remembrances. (KS)

Angela Y Davis: Women, Race and Class. Davis’s lengthy, lyrical-cum-black book on the roots of the feminist liberation movement in the United States draws on the nuanced nature of any liberation movement. It begins in the post-civil war US, detailing the position that activists such as Ida B Wells would soon take on a fight in which black women were seen as an obstacle to the freedoms of white women and black men. It ends with a call for the capitalist state to pay for the domestic work relegated to women in the private space, because this produces the state’s most important resource: humans. (MB)


Herbie Hancock: Mwandishi. While trying to understand the quiet storm that is jazz artist Thandi Ntuli, she threw one reference at me and it all fell into place. Recorded at the tail end of 1970, in the thick of the era people now refer to as spiritual jazz, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi is a pivotal turn in what has been a career of ceaseless exploration for this futurist. From the snatches I’ve heard so far, Ntuli is also
traversing similar hallowed ground. (KS)

Music video marathon. The kids are making me feel old with all this talk of American singer-songwriter SZA and how “in their feelz” they are, so I also started listening, beginning with her wonderfully millennial music video Drew Barrymore, four minutes of the singer showing us how far we are from being cool like her squad. Barrymore, SZA’s favourite actress, also makes an appearance. More to my taste is Björk’s second music video for a song that already has a video — Notget — with arresting new visuals courtesy of Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, and it’s as freaky and titillating as expected. (MB)

The Lists are compiled by Friday editor Milisuthando Bongela and arts writer
Kwanele Sosibo

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