Author: Okayafrica

Grimy Cape Town noise-rap in Dookoom’s ‘Kak Stirvy’

Dookoom is the grimy noise-rap incarnation of Cape Town rapper (and past Die Antwoord collaborator) Isaac Mutant alongside producer Dplanet. The pair present a dark and unapologetic sonic landscape in Kak Stirvy, a track that sneaks in underneath the skin and bubbles up in an aggressive onslaught. The equally abrasive music video for the song, which was shot in the group’s home of Heinz Park, features Isaac Mutant in some Jeremy Scott sunglasses and smoking with his boys, as well as some rather peculiar playboy bunnies. Watch it below and stream Dookoom’s 6-track album here.

Killakam for, a blog dedicated to bringing you the latest from Africa’s New Wave. 

On Africa and the root of money

“Money is the root of all evil”  is a common saying around the world; but it is much more than a saying in Africa. It is the badge of honour accorded to poverty. This is not an argument about the truth behind the root of all evil though, it is a peek into the realities behind the root of money itself. How do genuinely rich people come about their money? How is money created and what is the cause of poverty? Is there even a cause for poverty? Nothing is set in stone but some realities are glaring. We only ignore them at our own peril. Africa must understand the root of money to deal with its age-long challenges with poverty.

There is no cause for poverty. Poverty happens naturally. If you do not produce you are poor. To survive, you are forced to depend on the benevolence of those who have money. You are forced to subject your dignity to the whims of those you beg from. Money on the other hand requires a cause; to make money, whether as a country or as an individual, there are things you need to do. Money is an effect of the process of creating value. The richest countries in the world are countries that are either adding value to products or countries that are creating value through services. Countries that solely depend on exporting mineral resources without adding value get to make some money from their natural endowments, but countries that add value to such products even get to make more off such endowments. This is the secret of poverty and prosperity and hating on these principles doesn’t change the cause and effect nature of their realities.

(Pic: Flickr / Tax Credits)
(Pic: Flickr / Tax Credits)

Like every human phenomenon, the process of making money can be abused. People cheat their way through, people steal, and there are indeed countless ways to abuse the principle of creating wealth but those who want to make money the right way must understand the cause and effect reality behind money. If many Africans are poor, it means many Africans are not creating value. Value creation does not have to come through jobs alone, value creation could come through work. Like it has been said, there may be a shortage of jobs; there is no shortage of work. Working without pay may not result in earning cash right away but it does result in gaining useful experience that would come useful when the paid jobs come. Money, it must be said, is only one of the byproducts of creating value. You learn new, better ways to do or not to do things, you engage your mind productively, you advance yourself and you enjoy the fulfillment of adding your quota to making society a better place.

As a people, we need to face the truths that stare us in the face everyday. How long are we going to continue excusing our collective poverty on things that are beyond us when as a matter of fact, we have the power to get wealth right within our minds and in our hands? How can we continue to pretend money is the root of all evil when we already know poverty is the face, soul and spirit of evil itself? The days of depending on governments must give way to the realisation that government cannot even save itself let alone save the people. We need to hit the farms and the workstations and look to be more productive. We need to learn new, better and faster ways to deal with old and new problems. We need to embrace the realities of a world that now depends on inter-relationships, not as a choice but as an unavoidable consequence of its continued modernity. We can pretend about the realities that exist in the world but our pretense cannot save us from their effects.

Every African reading this must come to an understanding; we cannot continue to blame others for our failings. We have to look at ourselves and seek for answers to our own questions. If we do not take responsibility, we will always be responsible for our failings. Thankfully, today looks far better than the Africa we used to know. Things are fast changing and economies are picking up. We must note that this did not happen in our years of almost complete dependence on aid, but in our newfound penchant for trade. That trade is today much more about natural resources but as long as we invest the money from these to better the lots of our people through education, the services sector that are already springing up across the continent will experience a boom in the face of the continued supply of labour in the coming years.

About 50% of our continent is under 20. That says a lot about our future. It can go either way – we either use this youthful energetic population to produce the much-needed value for our continent and the world, getting the consequential wealth in return, or we prepare for the curse of an idle youth population tomorrow. It is all in the understanding of this truth; value creation is the root of money and as long as we do not create enough value, we will continue to have enough poverty to cry about. It is in our hands. Literally.

Japheth J Omojuwa for Okayafrica, a blog dedicated to bringing you the latest from Africa’s New Wave. Omojuwa lectures at Berlin’s Free University. Connect with him on Twitter.


‘God Loves Uganda’: Uncovering a proxy cultural war

The latest trailer for God Loves Uganda adds a breath of anticipation for the upcoming theatrical release of Roger Ross Williams’ powerful exposé. The feature-length documentary is Williams’ uncompromising look at the implications of a more recent form of US engagement in Africa.

'God Loves Uganda' explores the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda. (Pic: Derek Wiesehahn,
‘God Loves Uganda’ explores the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda. (Pic: Derek Wiesehahn,

Uncovering a proxy cultural war on the part of Christian evangelicals in Uganda, the film points to evidence that in Uganda the Christian right see a new battleground for the war against sexual immorality that they’re losing in the US, the implications of which are to be seen in Uganda’s proposed anti-gay legislation – a bill which originally called for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality“.

You can read OkayAfrica’s interview with the director here.

Watch the chilling preview below.

Alyssa Klein for OkayAfrica

‘Tey’: a toast to life and exploration of death

“Satché must die by the end of the day.” Such is the surrealist Senegal of Alain Gomis’s Tey (Today), a toast to life through an exploration of its morbid counterpart. The latest from the French-Senegalese director is a diasporic tale of the final day in the life of Senegalese returnee Satché, played by Saul Williams, who has been away from his community after years of living in the US.

'Tey' tells the tale of the final day in the life of Senegalese returnee Satché. (Pic: OkayAfrica)
‘Tey’ tells the tale of the final day in the life of Senegalese returnee Satché. (Pic: OkayAfrica)

Tey makes its American theatrical debut on October 6, at New York’s Mist Harlem Cinema, and will thereafter run in selected theaters through a “hybridised, community-driven model.”

Said BelleMoon Productions founder Guetty Felin on the importance of reaching out to smaller markets: “The hybridised model for releasing Tey is really about ‘cutting our cloth’ as my mentor often says. We know our film very well, we know who is sensitive to this sort of cinema and who isn’t. It is definitely not mainstream.”

“Neither Alain nor Saul or my company BelleMoon productions for that matter, is mainstream. This is an independent foreign film with subtitles, and black … We’re not going to break box office with it and that’s not truly our main goal. We’ve figured out who our audience or community was for the film and we are basically bringing the film to them, whether it is through a small theatrical release, college [and] university screenings or community screenings.”

OkayAfrica’s Alyssa Klein spoke with Gomis about the film.

While living in Dakar during filming did you relate to Satché’s experience in terms of diaspora-related disconnect with Senegal?
I’ve lived between Dakar and Paris for 20 years now. I was saying with this film, like Satché, this is my place, this is my present. In fact I don’t have any patriotic feeling for no country. My land is in Guinea Bissau, my fights, my dreams are in Senegal, my cinema, my family, my loves, are everywhere. Even in my little family village in Guinea Bissau, I don’t know no pure people. As soon as you understand that everybody is fighting in his own body, you deal with human beings with fundamentally [the] same type of doubts. I am a filmmaker, I’m dealing with souls, I’m disconnected everywhere, and connected everywhere, just like Satché.

What about your experience with film, if anything, made you realise the necessity of a hybridised, community-driven model of distribution? Is there anything about this film in particular that would make such a model a goal?
Maybe each time that you’re trying to make something different, I mean with a free and no marketed form, you also have to imagine new ways to reach people, especially with an African film. Africa is like another planet for a lot of people. With this film we have organised special nights – “ciné-concerts” – in theatres, in underground places, in concert halls … trying to reach all kinds of audiences … from Addis Ababa to Sydney. We had wonderful experiences and above all, it is fun to do, travel with a film just like a band in tour. And people are surprised, because this film is about us, wherever you come from. In the Q&A people talk about themselves.

Has your attitude toward death changed as a result of your work on Tey?
Yes. One of the reasons I’ve made this film was to face my own fear of death. It has become a reality. And if your death becomes a reality, your life becomes a reality. It’s a film about life.

What music would you listen to if you knew today was going to be your last day to live?
I know now, that is something you can’t predict. I have to make my life connected with my present. My last days have started 40 years ago. Every second is my last one. Today I have listened to Baloji.

Watch the trailer below.

For more on Tey read the full press release and stay up to date here.

Alyssa Klein for OkayAfrica

Boys of Soweto: a love letter to township style

Boys of Soweto is the vividly shot tale of a dapperly-dressed circle of gentlemen, a group of suave-conscious South Africans known as Boys of Soweto. The short film, shot in just a day’s work, runs like a high-end fashion spread set to jazzy tempo, a love letter to both style and township beauty, a union perhaps most colorfully represented by Boys of Soweto. Alyssa Klein interviewed director Meja Shoba for Okay Africa.

Boys of Soweto, a vividly shot tale of a dapperly-dressed circle of gentlemen.  (Pic: Okayafrica)
Boys of Soweto, a vividly shot tale of a dapperly-dressed circle of gentlemen. (Pic: supplied)

What’s the concept behind the film? What’s the story?
The concept is about six well-dressed men who make a point to look good in order to vie for the attention of a beautiful young lady who routinely passes their way. One of the gentlemen fortuitously gets close to her, and they all quickly learn that her affection is won by a simple and sweet gesture.

Is it your first short film?
I’m in UCLA’s graduate film program studying directing, so I have shot a few short narrative films already, as well as a short documentary on South African kwaito-electro duo Dirty Paraffin.

What is the most important aspect of the film? The fashion, the guys or the story?
After meeting and plotting with the guys of Boys of Soweto, we all decided to organically integrate fashion and township elegance as part of the narrative, not as independent entities. I wanted to let the sensibility of story be the core of the film, and let all other elements such as the guys’ chemistry and rapport with each other, the fashionable suits, the beautiful young lady, and the Soweto location all enhance the look and feel of the film.

Who are the Boys of Soweto?
Boys of Soweto is a South African fashion and style group consisting of Bobo Ndima, Mbali Bangwayo, Pirates football player Manti Molemo Moholo, Kronic Bonisiswe Nhleko, and Morgan Kgobane. The group has an urban sophistication to their gentleman style. They are lovers of all things fashion and are quite known in the Johannesburg scene.

What do you guys have upcoming?
At the moment I’m scripting an African inspired Charlie’s Angels-esque heist film that I wish to shoot in Johannesburg. And as for Boys of Soweto, they recently were commissioned by Palladium boots for a photo shoot and continue to keep pushing their group to the public. I have a strong feeling I will be working with the guys very soon! It was fun collaborating with them.

Alyssa Klein for Okay Africa

With more than half the population in many African nations under 25, the bright continent is currently undergoing an explosion of vibrant new music, fashion, art and political expression. Okayafrica is dedicated to bringing you the latest from Africa’s New Wave.