On our Lists this week: Mongane Serote, Mykki Blanco, and Salim Washington
THE READING LIST
To Every Birth Its Blood: Mongane Serote. Ntate Serote’s early prose in this, his first novel, published in 1981, is so unlike what one would imagine of the cultural and literary sage he has become. I’m pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to immerse myself in Tsi Molope, his journalist protagonist with as potty a mouth as I’m used to hearing in the office, and his world of flawed but relatable colleagues.
How tender the writer’s tone becomes, flowing easily through his characters when exploring the intimate lives of regular people fighting against apartheid South Africa.
Out and Bad: London’s LGBT Dancehall Scene. I spent part of my Wednesday morning watching Mykki Blanco’s documentary on Johannesburg’s LBGTI scene. Lady Skollie’s gem, about how it doesn’t serve anyone to treat women well in this country, reminded me of Noisey’s Out and Bad, in which one of the subjects explains how they dealt with homophobia in the dancehall scene. “I think I must have been about eight when TOK’s Chichiman came out. It was about stepping on them and killing them. It just felt like such a personal attack on me. But now I love it. It was like a retribution, dancehall for me ’cause, the things that were a negative then became a positive … and actually, the songs that would insult us the hardest would be the ones that we’d dance to the hardest.” (KS)
THE PLAY LIST
Baligh Hamdi on Collection Sono: Egypte. Since downloading an app called Radiooooo, on which you can pick a country in the world and listen to music from it from any decade in the past century, I have had a hard time getting out of 1970s Egypte, especially out of the grips of Baligh Hamdi’s compositions of various Arab singers, guitarists and instrumentalists. It has already brought two neighbours to my window asking what this wonderful music is. (MB)
Salim Washington: Sankofa. I’m still trying to digest this gem, bought on a whim when I caught sight of Mzwandile Buthelezi’s signature cover art. What I will say at this point is that the album avoids the potential pitfalls presented by the combination of jazz and poetry. Each to his own, but usually, words and delivery are found wanting in these scenarios, not this time, bru. Elsewhere too, there is emotive use of the voice as instrument. (KS)
The Lists were compiled by Friday editor Milisuthando Bongela, writer Kwanele Sosibo and intern Zaza Hlalethwa