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Dope Saint Jude: Hip-Hop, Feminism, Race Politics & Cape Town Queer Culture

Cape Flats-born rapper Dope Saint Jude talks hip-hop, feminism, race politics and Cape Town queer culture.

Catherine St Jude Pretorius, otherwise known as Dope Saint Jude, is a socially conscious advocate for feminism, body politics, class, race and gender neutrality in Cape Town. Born in the Cape Flats, Miss St Jude brings a slightly controversial, edgy and playful energy to the music scene, particularly within the coloured community. In addition to rapping, she's also guest lectured on hip-hop as a social vehicle at a few of Cape Town's top universities.


After landing on our radar a year ago with "Hit Politik," she's since released videos for "The Golden Ratio" and most recently "Keep In Touch," featuring new kid on the "Nu-Queer" block Angel-Ho. Shot and edited by Chris Kets (who previously worked on Boolz' Langa-shot "Aphe Kapa"), the clip sports a quirky array of voguing ninjas, bucket hats and brief vocabulary lesson in Gayle (Cape Town queer slang). On the heels of her latest video, Dope Saint Jude spoke with us about Cape Town queer culture, being a "boss bitch" and a coloured woman in Cape Town's rap scene and more.

Shiba for Okayafrica: So tell us a bit about Gayle ("gay slang used in urban communities of South Africa"). I've never heard it used in music before, is there a reason for that?

Dope Saint Jude: Gayle is Cape Town queer urban slang created by predominantly coloured men. It was created as a secret language for queer people to communicate with one another in spaces where being queer was considered deviant. I first came across Gayle hanging out with friends in the Cape Flats. I immediately picked up the language as it is extremely colourful and expressive! I did further research into the language and found it hard to find an online dictionary for it. This is because the Gayle language is constantly evolving and is picked up by spending time in communities where Gayle is spoken. One really needs to immerse oneself in the culture to pick up the language.

OKA: And you? What does the persona of Dope Saint Jude encompass and how does "Keep In Touch" emulate that?

DSJ: Dope Saint Jude is so many things, but if I can convey one important thing about me it is that Dope Saint Jude is an example to all girls. Dope Saint Jude is an academic, a thug, a rapper, a hustler, an activist, a producer, a community worker, a filmmaker, a party animal, a lover, a sista and a BOSS BITCH! 2015 is an exciting year for me because I am dropping my EP and mixtape, a few more music videos and I am directing my first documentary. I am also facilitating my community project called iNtombi Workshop, where we focus on arts education at a high school in Elsies River, my hometown.

OKA: As a coloured woman in Cape Town's rap scene, how do you see your presence being felt?

DSJ: My coloured identity has always been a difficult thing for me to deal with. I am a first generation coloured person, as I come from a mixed race family. I recognise my blackness, even though I am coloured. I feel a great sense of responsibility to my community and to young women, to be a role model and to work hard. I think it is so important for us to have our voices heard, to change voice of the media and to create the climate we want in South Africa!

Keep up with Dope Saint Jude on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and Tumblr. Download "Keep In Touch" here.

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(From left to right) Stéphane Bak and Marc Zinga in 'The Mercy of the Jungle.' Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Congolese Actor Stéphane Bak on His Intense Experience Shooting 'The Mercy of the Jungle' In Uganda

We catch up with the actor after the film made its North American premiere at TIFF.

When actor Stéphane Bak first got the script for The Mercy of the Jungle (La Miséricorde de la Jungle), he knew there was one person he had to consult: his father. "My dad did school me about this," he says. While Bak was born and raised in France, his parents had emigrated from what was then Zaire in the 1980s—before the events of the movie, and not exactly in the same area, but close enough to be able to pass on firsthand knowledge of the simmering ethnic tensions that underpin the action.

The story takes place in 1998, just after the outbreak of the Second Congo War—which came hot on the heels of the First Congo War. Two Rwandan soldiers find themselves separated from their company and have to make a harrowing trek through the jungle to link back up with their regiment. Bak plays Private Faustin, the young recruit hunting Hutu rebels to avenge his murdered family, a foil to Marc Zinga's seasoned Sergeant Xavier. As a Congolese militia swarms the area, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell enemies from friends, the two are forced off the road and into the thick vegetation.

Their journey is physically difficult, but the jungle also nurtures them, providing food, water, and shelter. "The title is very explicit in a way," says Bak. It is the human beings they encounter, from rival soldiers and militiamen to the hostile security forces guarding illegal gold mining operations, who bring sudden danger and violence. The challenges are conveyed as much through the actors' physicality as through the minimal dialogue. As for the strain on his face, Bak says it was all real. "To be honest, it was very difficult," he says of the shoot, which took him 25 days. "I had to learn my accent in two weeks." Prior to commencing, there was training with the Ugandan army for realism. Due to the ongoing conflicts in the DRC, the movie itself was shot in Uganda.

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Brazil Has Made Yoruba an Official Language

The language will also be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum in the country, says the Minister of Culture.

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

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Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.

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This EP Blends the Afro-Brazilian Rhythms of Bahia With Bass Music

Get into Telefunksoul and Felipe Pomar's Ré_Con Ba$$ EP.

Brazilian producers Felipe Pomar (of TrapFunk & Alivio) and Telefunksoul come through with a dizzyingly energetic EP in the form of Ré_Con Ba$$.

Telefunksoul, who happens to be one of the main promoters of Bahia Bass music, came up with the concept of exploring the rhythms coming out of Recôncavo of Bahia and showing how they can fit into bass music.

Through the 7-track Ré_Con Ba$$ EP, him and Pomar mold and transform the diverse music of Bahia, fusing its rhythms with afrobeat, future house, deep house and much more.

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