Film
Still from Scenes from a Dry City.

Watch this Evocative South African Documentary 'Scenes from a Dry City'

The 12-minute short film highlights the water crisis in the city of Cape Town.

The racial divide between those living in the poor township of Khayelitsha to the affluent beach-side suburb of Clifton is growing wider. Stringent water restrictions on those who've always had water have almost leveled the playing field with those who've always lacked it. A persistent drought, dangerously low dam levels and the ever-present threat of taps running completely dry, are just some of the poignant scenes depicted in Scenes of a Dry City.


Veteran South African documentary filmmakers Francois Verster and Simon Wood teamed up with Academy Award-winning producer Laura Poitras to create a deeply moving and reflective piece of protest cinema.

Cape Town has been struggling with dwindling water sources for years now. Insufficient rains, near-empty dam levels and the looming 'Day Zero' are the daily realities of its residents. What is interesting, however, is how the crisis and subsequent attempts to privatize water have affected its residents differently.

Still from Scenes from a Dry City

Scenes from a Dry City explores the Cape Town water crisis from different societal perspectives. From illegal car washers, religious groups in protest of water privatization to golfers on lush green courses who are completely oblivious to the water crisis as a whole.

In their press release, Verster and Wood say:

"There had been a slate of journalistic films about the impact of the water crisis in Cape Town. We wanted to make a film that attempted instead, perhaps in a very tenuous way, to inhabit the perspective of water itself, its ultimate indifference to what is happening in the city, and thereby to try assess some of the deeper existential dimensions involved in the debate."

Still from Scenes from a Dry City

The documentary has been described by the International Documentary Film Festival as "a film that is as visually stunning as it is urgent".

Watch the documentary below:


Interview
Photo: Shawn Theodore via Schure Media Group/Roc Nation

Interview: Buju Banton Is a Lyrical Purveyor of African Truth

A candid conversation with the Jamaican icon about his new album, Upside Down 2020, his influence on afrobeats, and the new generation of dancehall.

Devout fans of reggae music have been longing for new musical offerings from Mark Anthony Myrie, widely-known as the iconic reggae superstar Buju Banton. A shining son of Jamaican soil, with humble beginnings as one of 15 siblings in the close-knit community of Salt Lane, Kingston, the 46-year-old musician is now a legend in his own right.

Buju Banton has 12 albums under his belt, one Grammy Award win for Best Reggae Album, numerous classic hits and a 30-year domination of the industry. His larger-than-life persona, however, is more than just the string of accolades that follow in the shadows of his career. It is his dutiful, authentic style of Caribbean storytelling that has captured the minds and hearts of those who have joined him on this long career ride.

The current socio-economic climate of uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrusted onto the world, coupled with the intensified fight against racism throughout the diaspora, have taken centre stage within the last few months. Indubitably, this makes Buju—and by extension, his new album—a timely and familiar voice of reason in a revolution that has called for creative evolution.

With his highly-anticipated album, Upside Down 2020, the stage is set for Gargamel. The title of this latest discography feels nothing short of serendipitous, and with tracks such as "Memories" featuring John Legend and the follow-up dancehall single "Blessed," it's clear that this latest body of work is a rare gem that speaks truth to vision and celebrates our polylithic African heritage in its rich fullness and complexities.

Having had an exclusive listen to some other tracks on the album back in April, our candid one-on-one conversation with Buju Banton journeys through his inspiration, collaboration and direction for Upside Down 2020, African cultural linkages and the next generational wave of dancehall and reggae.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

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