On our Lists this week: Aretha Franklin, love letters, and Amandla Freedom Ensemble

Old favourite: No one needs a reason to listen to the legendary Aretha Franklin. Photo: Olle Wester

Old favourite: No one needs a reason to listen to the legendary Aretha Franklin. Photo: Olle Wester

The Reading List

Old emails to a lover ongade asithele (won’t retreat).

Putting this edition together has revealed some important things about love and human beings. If there was anything to prove that it is master and we are its slaves — it is how afraid writers are to write about it, how difficult it was for my colleagues to talk about it, and how frightening it is to be vulnerable enough to admit that we don’t really understand it. I surrender to the impossibility of grasping it as I would a word or a spoon in my hand.
Hoping that the wisdom of time might have helped me to understand a difficult, unending love between me and a man whose love for me is a humbling education, I’ve been reading our years’ old, uncomfortable emails and love ­letters. It has been a humiliating exercise in better understanding myself. (MB)

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene: I was telling one of my three brothers about my need to commune with creatives. Time alone is very important but I do not want us like-minded peers to exist in silos. Sometimes it can feel very lonely and I wish there was a place or group of people to get with and create alongside. I told him about the new space artist Banele Khoza has created and how slowly but surely, it’s becoming that type of place for me. I went on and on about how approachable and funny everyone is, that there’s always a story to tell and how you never know who might walk through the door. He then handed me this book and told me to read the chapter that details the story of how Andy Warhol’s studio space became the Factory. How good it is to realise that this act of communing, nje, with people I don’t know is an age-old one — and one that can seduce success. (ZH)

The Playlist

You’re all I need to get by Aretha Franklin

No particular reason. Call it a flight from reality. (MB)

Born to Be Black by Amandla Freedom Ensemble

A sprawling, larger-than-life piece of work, Born to Be Black, is a testament to bandleader Mandla Mlangeni’s obsession with the cross-generational, diasporic dialogue, and is an ode to the people we live and make music with. A modern love letter to ourselves, it launches today and tomorrow with two dates at the Orbit. (KS)

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