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Artistic ‘Freedom’ in the 80s and Now

  The 1980s was a heady time in South Africa’s cultural history. Apartheid repression was at its height, but so was mass resistance. The independent label Shifty Records brought together a courageous, outspoken and rebellious group of artists who captured in their music the despair and hope of that turbulent period. It is this legacy […]

Praying the Devil Back to Hell

  As you enter the theatre there is heavy smoke in the air. It smells as though firewood is being burned close by. Before you can find a seat you’re immediately immersed into the atmosphere, desperate to breathe clean air. But as for what happens next, there’s a strange void in language that doesn’t allow […]

What Mthethwa Really Said

  Between the lines of the address by Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa at the official opening of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown   Programme director, I am honoured and pleased to be opening this year’s festival and to discover that we actually have an event like this. As a festival virgin, […]

HIFA: The Price of Art

  In Writing Revolt, British historian Terence Ranger’s memoirs of his time in Rhodesia, he states that “Salisbury [now Harare] was the most segregated city in southern Africa”. This sounds rather melodramatic considering that the scholar, en route to taking a teaching appointment at the University College of Rhodesia − as the University of Zimbabwe […]