DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "southern africa"

Seven Amazing Photographs That Show Urban Johannesburg Then and Now.

It’s been 20 years since South Africa transitioned from a segregated apartheid state to a democratic nation. Depending on who you ask, much has changed, but much more has stayed the same. However, what you cannot dispute is the physical change that has occurred in the make up of some of the country’s larger cities like Johannesburg, the economic capital.

Here are seven amazing photographs of the Jozi Central Business District (CBD) that show Johannesburg then and now.

Photography by: Roxanne Henderson and Pericles Anetos.

(source)

Illustration by South African artist Atang Tshikare of Zabalzaa Designs.

"I’m a shocker. I like to create controversy. It’s my trademark.” - Brenda Fassie.

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: Cedric Nzaka of “Everyday People Stories”.

From the street to the runway, and back to the streets again, Cedric Nzaka is a man on a mission. Armed with nothing but his great eye and passion for style, fashion and culture, and his camera, of course, the Kenyan-born South African-based creative has been documenting everything from the faces of Jozi’s style-conscious youth to the runways of fashion weeks in South Africa.

Intrigued by his documentation of the monthly Johannesburg brunch series THE WKND SOCIAL, I caught up with the jack-of-many-creative-trades to find out more about the man behind Everyday People Stories.

In a few words, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. 

I’m Cedric Nzaka, Kenyan-born and raised, but currently based in South Africa. I’d describe myself as a humanitarian, social documentary and landscape photographer, with a particular interest in NGO photography, and with a keen detailed eye for urban and street wear photography. Most of all, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche: “I’m an artist and no artist tolerates reality”.

It’s always so interesting to meet other foreign Africans in South Africa, and Johannesburg has become a magnet for many Africans from all over the continent and all walks of life in recent years. What brought you to South Africa? What’s it like being Kenyan in SA?

The main reason I came to South Africa was to discover a nation’s struggle for freedom whilst following the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, Hector Pieterson and many other celebrated revolutionaries. The South African freedom struggle is a compelling story that tells of the sacrifices made by the people in overcoming the oppression of colonialism and apartheid. 

Living away from your country can be a really interesting and unforgettable experience, but at the same time it has very important effects on one’s life. The major effect, and also a very common one, is that once you begin a life away from home, you find yourself missing everything from your past. This is not to say that you are unhappy, but rather that you are aware of your newfound solitude.

Missing your family and the attention they all paid to you is a very common feeling. Little details like sitting on a Sunday morning watching TV alone instead of helping your dad organizing his things or having a nice chat with your mom makes you realize how valuable your family really is. For me, being a Kenyan in SA has made it possible for me to achieve a certain kind of newfound knowledge. You learn how to accept being in another type of society and a foreign culture, as you’re now living in a place with different customs and traditions from yours. You have to be able to develop yourself in unknown conditions. This means making new friends, learning other points of view, accepting different opinions and values, and seizing every opportunity you have to go to new places. 

How long have you been involved in photography? Did you start out wanting to photograph fashion portraits or was there something else you had in mind when you began using a camera?

 I started out with documentary photography because I considered documentaries to be a powerful means of conveying social messages to the world. Many people use television and film as a form of entertainment and if one can add factual information to the mix, the medium of documentary films can produce great changes by creating awareness and simultaneously educating the masses.

But somewhere along the line while I was working on a travel documentary, I felt the urge to do something different and out of my conform zone. Something that would help me grow as an artist and as an individual, which led to me choosing to get involved in urban and street style photography.

You’ve photographed a range of different fashion scenes, from the street to the runway. Is there one particular environment you prefer over others?

Street Photography is art photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Truth be told, I do enjoy shooting on the runway as much as I enjoy working in the streets because it allows me to challenge myself as a photographer. But there is not that much that can be done when it comes to runway photography compared to street photography. To me, street photographs are mirror images of society, displaying “unmanipulated” scenes, with usually unaware/aware subjects. 

You’re someone who seems to be able to capture a certain kind of youth culture and soulful essence of what’s hip in Johannesburg. Where are your favourite places to photograph in Jozi? Can you tell us about some of your favourite hangout spots in Jo’burg?

One of my favourite places to photograph is Braamfontein Centre. It borders the city centre and is joined to Newtown by the Nelson Mandela Bridge. Braamfontein is fast becoming the hipster capital of Johannesburg as it’s home to a number of museums, theatres, restaurants and coffee shops, the Neighbourgoods Market - a Food and Design Market that’s open every Saturday, galleries and quirky design stores.

My second favourite place to photograph when in Jo’burg is definitely Maboneng which has been converted from industrial properties to a happening lifestyle playground. Street art is a big feature here, along with an eclectic selection shops. The pioneer development is Arts on Main and it’s also home to the Market on Main.

Third favourite place would be Newtown. Jo’burg’s original cultural precinct, Newtown is a vast heritage site with the impressively renovated Turbine Hall and immense Mary Fitzgerald square that hosts thousands of people for major cultural events.

My favourite hangout spots therefore would be anywhere around those three above-mentioned areas - from the famous Great Dane and Kitcheners in Braamfontein, all the way to Goethe on Main in Maboneng.

The Johannesburg street scene seems to be evolving from one great thing to the next. What are some of the trends you’ve noticed unfold in recent months?

Johannesburg is shedding its painful, crime-ridden past to emerge as Africa’s hippest hub for art, music and fashion. The fashion industry in Jo’burg is constantly growing - especially the design front of it all. The trends I’ve seen emerge a lot more are centered on the question of identity where most people communicate and express themselves through what they wear.

Besides photography, are there other things you’re involved in?

I’m a marketing consultant, graphic and fashion designer, fashion trend analyst, writer and illustrator. I’ve also had a passion for soccer from a very tender age and it’s something I still take part in when I’m not using my camera.

Lastly, what are five things you can’t leave the house without?

My iPhone, DSLR Camera + 50mm lens, clean pair of sneakers and most of all head gear. I’m always wearing some sort of head gear be it a beanie, snap back or 5 panel cap. I always have to have something on my head. 

Find him on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

#TBT: In 1989, Brenda Fassie tied the knot with Nhlanhla Mbambo and this wedding photo made it to the cover of DRUM Magazine’s March issue that year!

Watch the trailer for ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’, the award-winning film about a man who journeys to his home in Lesotho and the life-changing experiences that he encounters there. The cinematography is beautiful - a must-see film based on this clip alone.

Now showing at select cinemas in South Africa and Lesotho including:

PIONEER MALL LESOTHO

V AND A ART CAPE TOWN
PROMENADE MALL CAPE TOWN
WESTGATE JHB
ROSEBANK MALL JHB
CARLTON CINE JHB
STERLAND PTA
MAPONYA MALL SOWETO
GATEWAY KZN
MALL OF THE NORTH LIMPOPO

In Photos: “Family Album” by Mamaki Rakotsoana.

This series of images by South African photographer Mamaki Rakotsoana is a project in which she took her deceased father’s photographs and reproduced them in a manner that investigates her relationship to him, as well as his relationship to the women in his life.

New record deal and European tour dates for Shangaan Electro pioneer Richard “Nozinja” Mthetwa.

Considered to be the driving force behind the fast-paced Shangaan-inspired electronic dance music genre, the Limpopo based musician and entrepreneur has officially signed British record label Warp. His song Nwa Gezani My Love’ received a lot of attention online after being featured on Honest Jon’s compilation New Wave Dance Music from South Africa.

Nojinza is also the founder of Nozinja Music Productions, his Shangaan focused music label in Limpopo. About this style of music, Nozinja says:

"It’s similar to the Zulus, but faster and we put a lot of style inside. There’s disco in there, we use Pantsula moves…We don’t use the sounds of the hip-hop guys, or the afro-pop, or whatever, we’re using Shangaan sounds. The traditional Shangaan music is fast. You play it slow, they won’t dance."

He’ll be touring in Europe during the coming months.

Tour dates:

April
Tue 29 Bristol, Start The Bus
Wed 30 Brighton, Bermuda Triangle

May
Thu 1 Liverpool, Sound City
Fri 2 Paris, La Machine du Moulin Rouge
Sat 3 Krems, Donau Festival
Sun 4 London, Electrowerkz
Mon 5 Sheffield, The Harley
Thu 8 Gent, Vooruit
Fri 9 Berlin, Urban Spree
Sat 10 Utrecht, Spiegelbar

August
Fri 22 Katowice, Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival.

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All Africa, All the time.

Nothing wakes me up quite like this DJ ADEMAR “Afro-House Mix”.

An infectious blend of Angolan kudoro, Central African soukous and Afro-house music from Lusophone Africa.

Cape Town’s version of Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ is here!

I think it’s safe to say that Pharrell Williams’ jovial anthem is quite possibly the most globally infectious song of the decade.

Thanks to social media, people in cities all over the world have been creating and uploading videos of themselves dancing joyously to his Despicable Me 2 theme song. Africans are no exception. Cities like Cotonou, Tunis, Yaounde and Libreville have all participated in this trend.

Now, it’s Cape Town’s turn and as a dweller of the Mother City for the past three years, I absolutely love this video. The creators touched down in multiple areas of the city and its outskirts (not just the city bowl, thankfully) and the cast are an incredibly diverse array of individuals - a pretty darn good reflection of the city.

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All Africa, All the time.

FIFA U17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: QUARTER-FINALS STAGE.

Out of the three qualifying African teams at this year’s U17 Women’s World Cup that began on March 15th, hosted in Costa Rica, two - Ghana and Nigeria - have made it to the quarterfinals stage.

With only one win out of three against hosts Costa Rica, Zambia’s losses against Italy and Venezuela respectively sealed their fate early in the tournament denying them any chance of advancement out of the group stage.

Ghana was the first team in the tournament to make it to the knockout stage after beating Germany 1-0. Emerging at the top of their group with 6 points, Ghana kicked off their start in the tournament with a 2-0 win against North Korea followed by their win over Germany. Their loss to Canada didn’t hurt their chances of moving forward due to the negative results of Germany and North Korea.

Nigeria have smooth sailed their way through the tournament. Without a single defeat, the team made it to the quarterfinals at the top of their group with 9 points. The U17 ladies beat China PR 2-1 in their opening match, followed by a win over Colombia with the same result, ending with a 3-0 victory over Mexico.

In the quarterfinals, Ghana is set to play Italy on March 27th. Nigeria are pit against Spain on the same day.

Good luck ladies!

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All Africa, All the time.

South African ultra-customiser, illustrator and graphic designer Atang Tshikare.

Longboard decks and sneakers customised by Bloemfontein-born South Africa graphic designer, illustrator, graffiti artist, customiser and founder of Zabalazaa, Atang Tshikare.

Atang has customised and illustrated on various mediums and items, from canvas boards and furniture, to sneakers and bicycles. 

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All Africa, All the time.

Nandipha Mntambo - “Praça de Touros" (2008).

Shot in the now abandoned Praça de Touros arena in Maputo where black Mozambicans once fought for the entertainment of the colonial Portuguese, Mntambo rehearses the steps and takes on the persona of a professional bullfighter - a role usually reserved for men.

Where no animal is present, Mntambo dons an animal hide on her back suggesting that in the absence of an actual bull, she is both the fighter and the victim, the hunter and the hunted, both the fear and the feared in a scenario where neither occupant had agency over their being in the ring and the consequence of what lay ahead. 

About the cowhide, Nandipha says, “I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability.”

Nandipha Mntambo was born in Swaziland in 1982 but grew up in Johannesburg. She obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town in 2007, and in 2011, she was chosen as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art .

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All Africa, All the time.

Look at the children of the land leaving in droves, leaving their own land with bleeding wounds on their bodies and shock on their faces and blood in their hearts and hunger in their stomachs and grief in their footsteps. Leaving their mothers and fathers and children behind, leaving their umbilical cords underneath the soil, leaving the bones of their ancestors in the earth, leaving everything that makes them who and what they are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay. They will never be the same again because you cannot be the same once you leave behind who and what you are, you just cannot be the same.
NoViolet Bulawayo, "We Need New Names".

Campaign and catwalk: MaXhosa by Laduma.

Inspired by creator Laduma Ngxokolo's Xhosa heritage, MAXHOSA BY LADUMA is an innovative knitwear line that seeks to preserve culture through contemporary fashion.

Traditional Xhosa aesthetics are merged with tailoring and garments from other parts of the world, all made with South African mohair and merino wool, to create items ranging from cardigans to cushion covers. Laduma’s designs are more specifically inspired and guided by the Xhosa Ulwaluko (male circumcision and initiation) ceremony, one of the most important events in the life of a young man as he graduates into manhood.

Undoubtedly one of my favourite local designers.

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All Africa, All the time.