Arts + Culture

South African Art: 9 Women To Watch In 2015

Arts and culture writer Stefanie Jason picks out nine women on South Africa’s arts scene to watch in 2015.


Tony Gum, Black Coca-Cola

From Zanele Muholi’s striking portraits of queer black South African women - which became ubiquitous on the international art circuit - to graffiti writer Faith 47’s visually commanding and socially conscious murals across global surfaces, 2014 was an interesting year for South African women around the art world. Working from an extensive list, Mail & Guardian arts and culture writer Stefanie Jason picks out nine women on South Africa’s arts scene to look out for in the new year.

Stefanie Jason writes art stories when she’s not rumbling through Johannesburg's dusty thrift store stockpiles and gallivanting around the city’s many visual art galleries. You can follow her on Twitter @StefJason.

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Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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