The new edition of pan African quarterly, the Chronic covers the interlaced subjects of power, resistance, protest, mobilisation, mobility and belonging. Photographers and artists from across the African world challenge political processes, question identity and interrogate economic justice.
South Africa’s EFF articulates a fierce rejection of the official left, aligning itself instead with younger, insurgent forms of resistance. But, asks Kwanele Sosibo, is the new political party fighting or fronting? Rustum Kozain excavates the deeper history underlying Cape Town’s shit protests and Boniface Mwangi pushes the limits of public art to agitate for political change in Nairobi. In addition Paula Akugizibwe exposes the aesthetics of election engineering in Kampala and Kangsen Wakai interrogates Biya’s mouthpiece in Yaoundé.
Then, in a multi-voiced requiem to revolution, Egyptian filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri delivers a paean to the lost dreams and radical ideology of the African independence movements; Mohannad Ghawanmeh mourns the passing of the anti-hero of Egyptian cinema and Youssef Rakha protests with ferocious invention the failure of revolution. Writing from the height of the uprising in Cairo, he engages it as a failure of the imagination and demands a new language by which to address it.
Elsewhere, Louis Chude-Sokei crosses the Atlantic to narrate an intimate family history of splintered identity, shattered ideology, exile and alienation expressed through and beyond the Biafran war; Yemisi Ogbe questions the Nigerian elite’s obsession with birthing Americans and Florence Madenga maps how death in the diaspora disrupts borders and bureaucracy and shows pathways beyond them.
Writing from South Africa, Ronald Suresh Roberts reveals the real failures behind the failed apartheid lawsuit; Bongani Kona investigates the country’s oppressive culture of incarceration; Dudumalingani Mqombothi jousts with stick fighting in Khayelitsha and Tseliso Monaheng crosses the border to document the frontier wars of Lesotho’s “accordions cowboys.”
Finally, the Chronic attends Lagos Fashion Week, investigates the “Bad Blacks” inciting class wars in Kampala and joins 40 000 Brazilian football fans more interested in a bottom-division team than the coming FIFA World Cup.
As always, the Chronic includes the 48 page Chronic Books magazine. This edition foregrounds the politics and practice of translating Yambo Ouologuem into English, Proust into Haitian Creole, cowboy noir into Nollywood, Wordsworth into Zapotec and more. Also Madhu H. Kaza interviews Ama Ata Aidoo; Nta Bassey takes on Taiye Selasi; Nick Mwaluko reads between the lines in three queer anthologies; and Akin Adesokan lays bare the “dangers of a single video” while the puzzling compulsion of African writers to both conform and disavow.
The Chronic is produced in Cape Town, Cairo, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Paris, Lagos, Yaoundé, Accra, Kinshasa, Dakar, Kampala and Delhi, and distributed globally, it seeks to write Africa in the present and into the world at large, as the place in which we live, love and work.