On our Lists this week: Noname, Mongane Wally Serote, and Sawubona Music Jam

The Playlist

Room 25 by Noname: This is right on time. There’s growing turmoil in my life and who better to keep me grounded than Noname? I love this woman. There’s a quiet badass element to her gentle flow that I resonate with. Just fifty-something seconds into the album I cried as if the older sister who has been away for months is finally home. Noname hasn’t changed, she’s just seen more and she’s not afraid of talking about it. It’s so clean. So earnest. (ZH)

Sawubona Music Jam: I haven’t been doing this as consistently as I should. Once on a Tuesday and on another occasion on a Wednesday, I make my way to Soweto to check out the fabled Sawubona Music Jam sessions. I plan to be a regular. They take place in Musingadi Street in Chiawelo on Tuesdays and at Native Rebels in Jabulani on Wednesdays. From what I’ve seen, the two sessions have distinct vibes. Tuesday has more of a hip-hop and Afrofunk bent, while Wednesday brings all the jazz cats to the yard for some intense jamming, mixed with a couple of South African standards. If you’ve been ensconced in your suburban cocoon you may forget that Soweto is where it’s at. Before the days of black hipsters chasing the lure of gentrification, it was where Jo’burg got its flavour. (KS)

Green Man Flashing by Mike van Graan: The other day, on the invitation of actor Sechaba Morojele, I went to a rehearsal of Mike van Graan’s classic play set around a rape involving a government minister with presidential ambitions. In the cramped rehearsal space, with the actors fluffing the occasional line, the intensity and the passion that goes into theatre hit me viscerally. We are working on a video looking at facets of this complex piece, including its analysis of race and power. (KS)

The Reading List

Revelations by Mongane Wally Serote and July’s People by Nadine Gordimer: I’m trying to do a comparative analysis of Serote’s Revelations and Gordimer’s July’s People. This was not planned. I just happen to be reading both intermittently at the same time. This means jumping from the doomsday plot of apartheid South Africa through Gordimer’s difficult, weighty and revelatory prose to the 2000s through the story of travelling artist Bra Shope and his assistant Otsile in Serote’s fast manifestations of our post-apartheid condition. Reading these texts together makes it more difficult to form single narratives about our country’s victims and perpetrators and perhaps, in the case of Revelations, offers the suggestion of a true north and how tenderly we need to carve the road towards it. (MB)

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