On our Lists this week: Santu Mofokeng, Cape Nguni cosmology, and makeup tutorials
THE READING LIST
Snakes, Spells, Cadillacs and Kruger Millions: The weaving of story in oral accounts of the extraordinary career of Khotso Sethuntsa by Felicity Wood (2004): A friend sent me this JStor PDF because I didn’t believe him when he told me that apartheid prime ministers HF Verwoerd and JG Strijdom used consult an inyanga in Lusikisiki in the 1940s, not just nje but for reasons related to gaining and maintaining political power. It seems there is truth to this, according to Wood’s writing.
The fantastical world of millionaire healer and story spinner Khotso Sethuntsa is daringly told by Wood, who rummages through many texts on narrative, Cape Nguni cosmology, archival news reports from papers such as the Daily Dispatch and, of course, oral accounts of who this man was and what his relationship to Afrikaner elite, mythology and apartheid was.This is a fascinating read.
I just wish it was longer than its 18 pages. (MB)
Chasing Shadows: Santu Mofokeng: Thirty Years of Photographic Essays: Published to coincide with the photographer’s retrospective in 2011, Chasing Shadows, is a dense, luxurious presentation of his work over the years, capturing both his photography and his work as an author. A fierce, inventive documentarian who often sought creative ways to counter the narrative on black life, he turned his back on journalism in 1989 to focus on documentary work. (KS)
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna on YouTube: I’ve developed a new winding-down habit to end the work part of my day. It doesn’t take up too much time, I learn new things and it requires very little from me. I don’t know why but YouTube makeup tutorials are keeping me together. I have narrow intentions to try out what I’m learning, not just about beautifying myself but about my skin too. Bronzer, highlighter, concealer, contouring, body lava, shimmer, eye shadow and contouring palettes, brow gels and so on. I never know what they’re going to put on their faces next. It’s like the perfect spot where sport and art meet in a way that I can happily consume. It’s so fulfilling and they can be hilarious. (ZH)
(Unedited) Luis Alberto Urrea with Krista Tippett: This is one of the most compelling interviews, especially because I had never heard of Urrea. An author, humanitarian and brilliant half-Mexican, half-American raconteur, Urrea manages to express well the purpose and life of a bridge person, one who makes it their mission to stand between two opposing sides and engage both by using the wisdom of story and guiding principles of universal spirituality. (MB)
Quincy, directed by Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks: One of the things you notice about this documentary as you wade through it is that it is long, clocking in at about two hours of viewing time. Produced by Paula DuPré Pesmen, Quincy ought to be a consistently revealing document of the super-producer but isn’t. But, grappling with such a mesmerising history, with the grandiosity to match, it is well worth a watch. (KS)