Voortrekker Monument Fun via Flickr

Australia What Are You Doing?—There is No White Genocide in South Africa

Yes, radical land redistribution is needed in South Africa and no, white farmers are not more at risk than anyone else.

On Sunday, a large crowd marched in Brisbane Australia to show their solidarity with the white farmers allegedly being "massacred" at the hands of black South Africans.

They were also marching in support of recent statements by Australia's Home Minister Peter Dutton that he is considering a range of options designed to fast-track white South African visas on humanitarian grounds. The reason for the special treatment is the debunked belief that white South African farmers are somehow in more danger and thus more deserving of humanitarian treatment than any other group even as hundreds of legitimate refugees, including children, languish in Australian detention camps in the Pacific Ocean.

I am not surprised by the fact that white South Africans, once again, have succeeded in playing victim in the eyes of the world. In fact, this fear mongering is part of a growing campaign to perpetuate the idea of a "white genocide"—a bogus term once relegated to far-right spaces that has made its way into mainstream discussions in recent years.

The ratcheting up of the white victim narrative comes weeks after newly-elected President of the African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that land in South Africa could be expropriated without compensation as part of land reform policies designed to address the historical imbalance caused by the denial of property rights to black people under white minority rule. While this was a monumental announcement for us as black people (#bringbacktheland for the win), it's news that once again shook the stock markets and had white people up in arms.

I remember how back in high school geography class, my elderly, white (and very racist) teacher alluded to how land expropriation wasn't a viable solution. Her reasoning was that it would be unfair to take away land from its rightful owners in the name of redressing inequality and that black people wouldn't know what to do with the land in any case. I mean, just look at what had happened in Zimbabwe, she went on to say. Now, the naive version of myself back then could not fully appreciate her sentiment at the time and frankly, young as I was, I may not have been particularly keen to either way.

There is no white genocide taking place. Black people, like everyone else, are just as anxious to know what land expropriation without compensation will look like.

However, years later, I recall this incident and cringe. I am as much puzzled as I am amused at how white South Africans will, with incredible irony, talk about the unfair seizure of land as if they themselves are not the reason we need to reclaim land in the first instance. It is angering that when land was stolen from black people in this country, nobody talked of unfairness or unlawfulness. Where were the human rights activists when our sacred ancestral burial grounds were being taken over? Where was the outrage and righteous anger when people were forcibly removed from the vibrant Sophiatown or restricted to "native homelands?" But when we as black people seek to take back that which is rightfully ours, we are the barbaric and entitled bunch? We are the lot from which white South Africans need to be protected and safeguarded? We are the ones expected to meet our previous and current brutalisation with civility?

White South Africans play the "oppressed minority" card despite the fact that they are still largely in control of the economy and when its assets are compared to the poor black majority. "Civil rights" groups such as Afriforum have been specifically set up to propagate this lie especially to the outside world. The idea of a white genocide has gained considerable traction with white people (especially farmers) who allege that they are being mercilessly slaughtered by barbaric black South Africans despite a dearth of statistics to back up the claim. Absurdly I remember reading a post on Facebook by an advocate of white minority rights appealing to Ellen Degeneres (don't ask me why her specifically) to make the rest of the world aware of their oppression and urgent need for rescue. What a lot of BS.

Now, I am not saying that land expropriation is a simple matter, let alone land expropriation without compensation. It is not. There are many complexities and intricacies that need to be carefully addressed. We need to critically strategize which land will be expropriated, to whom and why, over what period and for what purposes. Without properly motivated political will, land expropriation could prove detrimental for South Africa. However, in spite of all these potential challenges, it is nonetheless the right way to go. Those who are truly invested in seeing the historic injustices of this country redressed in the spirit of genuine reconciliation would see this.

Look, I'm here to set the record straight. There are no white South Africans being murdered at a rate any different from other South Africans in a well, um, crime-ridden South Africa. There is no white genocide taking place. Black people, like everyone else, are just as anxious to know what land expropriation without compensation will look like.

All things aside, land represents dignity, opportunity and wealth far beyond a strictly monetary definition. Blackness has long become synonymous with impoverishment and it's high time we put an end to that.

Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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10 Essential South African Love Songs to Set the Mood This Valentine's Day

Here are 10 songs from Mthunzi, Kwesta, Ami Faku, Berita and several others that you need to add to your playlist this Valentine's Day.

It's Valentine's Day. No matter how and where you plan on celebrating the occasion, we've compiled a playlist of 10 essential South African love songs to help you make sure the mood is set just right.

From Mthunzi's serenading Zulu lyrics to Kwesta's real-life wedding tribute and Ayanda Jiya's glorious anthem, there's a song here for everyone. Whether you're looking for a nostalgic jam to remember love lost or a powerful number to help you navigate a budding romance, we've got you covered.

And, if by the end of this playlist you're still searching for just a few more gems to add that (hopefully) growing playlist, you can also check out our African Love Songs playlist on Apple Music.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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Sajjad's artwork for "Pull Up" from Burna Boy's African Giant. Courtesy of the artist.

Meet Sajjad, the Artist Behind Burna Boy's 'African Giant' Album Art

We sit down with the artist to talk about the art behind African Giant and his use of currency to creates collages that tell ambitious stories.

"Currency is something that for the most part doesn't exist," Sajjad tells me over a crackling phone line. It would have been hard to hear him if he didn't speak firmly. "It's all about trust. We trust that a bill is worth a certain value. That's what makes it real. It's an interesting duality play on something that's real but at the same time isn't."

This philosophy is what informs Sajjad's art. Using currency, the artist creates collages that tell ambitious stories about unifying countries. In 2019, he created the artwork for one of the best and most important albums to come out of the modern Nigerian—and African—music scene, Burna Boy's Grammy-nominated African Giant.

Sajjad got the idea to start using currency as an artistic medium in 2016, when stopping at a New York City bodega—"these little convenience stores on every corner that sell everything!"—where he saw that they had put up dollar bills on the wall from the first few people who had bought things there. It was at that moment something in him clicked and he realized how many powerful stories physical bills could tell and represent. Inspired by this, Sajjad began a journey of using currency and other mundane everyday objects to create art that tells a bigger story.

We sat down with the artist to talk about designing the album art of Burna Boy's African Giant, the power of currency and what the future holds for him.

Sajjad. Photo: Dan Solomito

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