WATCH: 1976 and 2015: Vital turns towards true freedom

Thursday, 16 June 2022 — New Frame

The uprisings of 1976 and the Fees Must Fall protests of 2015, almost 40 years later, were important turns in the continuing fight for the true emancipation of a majority of South Africans.

Even though the 1994 settlement was an important political moment, it did not do much to dismantle the systems that propped up both colonialism and apartheid. The security apparatus, for example, still exists to exert control, to protect power, to protect capital. And the path to a better life for many of the country’s people is full of obstacles, many of which are structural. These are systems that were designed to benefit a few. That pattern remains. Until such systems are removed, South Africa will know no progress or equity.

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South African history, through Rashid Lombard’s lens

29 April 2022 — New Frame

The struggle photojournalist, activist and jazz photographer has given UWC custody of his archive, with plans to digitise it and start an accessible photography centre.

By: Atiyyah Khan


Circa 1989: Rashid Lombard at the Cape Town Press Centre in Shortmarket Street. (Photograph by Shadley Lombard Archive)

Rashid Lombard’s home feels like a photo gallery. Images of all sizes line the passages and bedrooms as moments of history stare at you from the walls. The legendary photographer sits in his lounge with his wife Colleen and daughter Yana, in their home in Athlone, Cape Town. The family presence is important to him as they are central to ensuring his legacy endures.

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Land in South Africa Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It: The Twenty-Third Newsletter (2022)

Thursday, 9 June 2022 — The Tricontinental

Hunger series Part1 001 1440x960 1 768x512Sbongile Tabhethe works in the food garden at eKhenana land occupation in Cato Manor, Durban, 9 June 2020. Credit: New Frame / Mlungisi Mbele

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

In March 2022, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres warned of a ‘hurricane of hunger’ due to the war in Ukraine. Forty-five developing countries, most of them on the African continent, he said, ‘import at least a third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia, with 18 of those import[ing] at least 50 percent’. Russia and Ukraine export 33% of global barley stocks, 29% of wheat, 17% of corn, and nearly 80% of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. Farmers outside of Russia and Ukraine, trying to make up for the lack of exports, are now struggling with higher fuel prices also caused by the war. Fuel prices impact both the cost of chemical fertilisers and farmers’ ability to grow their own crops. Maximo Torero Cullen, chief economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said that ‘one of every five calories people eat have crossed at least one international border, up more than 50 percent from 40 years ago’. This turbulence in the global food trade will certainly create a problem for nutrition and food intake, particularly amongst the poorest people on the planet.

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South Africa: Let them have a ridiculously large luminous flag

Friday, 20 May 2022 — New Frame

The ANC is so out of touch with reality that it is now firmly ensconced in the realm of farce. The need for credible alternatives could hardly be more urgent.

The ANC has destroyed or severely damaged the post office, the national airline, the railways, the electricity system and some of our most crucial hospitals. It was recently announced that the deterioration of the country’s network of weather stations has reached a critical point. Many public buildings, as well as other infrastructure, have been abandoned and then taken apart, sometimes brick by brick, by people who have no stake in the established order – such as it is – and take what they can, when they can, to get by.

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Another assassination in Durban

Friday, 6 May 2022 — New Frame

As political killings continue in the city, claiming the lives of activists exposing ANC rot and failures, serious questions need to be asked of our democratic commitments.

by New Frame

October 1 2021: Slain activist Nokuthula Mabaso, centre, at the eKhenana Commune in Cato Manor, Durban. (Photograph by Nomfundo Xolo)

Last night, just before 8pm, Nokuthula Mabaso was assassinated at the eKhenana Commune in Cato Manor, Durban. She was shot six times, four times in the back, and died in the arms of her comrades. She is the second leader in the commune to be assassinated. Ayanda Ngila’s life was taken on 8 March.

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‘It’s not the notes, it’s how they’re played’

Friday, 28 January 2022 — New Frame

Pianist Sibu Mashiloane’s new album enacts the collective dance of South African jazz. It is his sixth album in six years, and a work of many trusted hands.

9 January 2022: A portrait of pianist Sibu Mashiloane. His new album, Music From My People, is his sixth in six years. (Photograph by Hugh Mdlalose)

Setting goals is one thing; meeting them sometimes another. But pianist Sibusiso “Mash” Mashiloane vowed in 2017 he would release an album a year until 2023 – and number six, Music From My People, has just landed. Conceived on a much grander scale than its predecessors, it involves 17 other musicians and brings together his music praxis and the theoretical insights his academic research into the identity of South African jazz is mining.

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Long Read | Home and exile, freedom and loss

Thursday, 6 January 2022 — New Frame

Mandla Langa and Mphuthumi Ntabeni’s new novels, The Lost Language of the Soul and The Wanderers, intersect in their reflections on the lives of Umkhonto weSizwe freedom fighters.

(Photograph by Thabang Malatji)

Novelist, poet and short story writer Mandla Langa’s latest book, The Lost Language of the Soul, is a coming-of-age tale set largely in Zambia and apartheid South Africa in the late 1980s. The novel chronicles the odyssey of Joseph Mabaso, the son of an Umkhonto weSizwe soldier who goes in search of his mother after her sudden disappearance from their home in Lusaka. The search takes Langa’s teenage protagonist through various towns and borders until he ends up in South Africa.

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Love on Fire

13 December 2021

When I read this poem by Dimakatso Sedite, it just blew me away, so much so that I’ve given it a page all on its own! To my mind, this is what poetry is all about. I think I’m in love with Dimakatso. B

LOVE ON FIRE by Dimakatso Sedite

I love Adhip, mama, his hair drips of Maghreb sands.
I’m happiness on fire. My madness is trapped on his tongue.
He does not break me like bread or fling me open like scissors.
His chest — a cocoon of hairs — not that stone that sawed my bones,
Not slippery like Galela’s gumboots.
My eyes claw on him as if sesame seeds on a bunny chow.
My love sweats the kind of madness you smell
In dogs on the run;

‘My child, when you love in seconds like that,
your heart will be charcoal within an hour,
twisting in the oven to die like soot,
like boulder Galela who got weary of the yellow
you burnt on his chest. Fires like yours flare
up everywhere, in these shacks,
in Adchip’s Atchar, in men so icy they slide
to the next house with rods writhing
bleeding feelings like yours.
Your blasted heart
will hover over pages of this township
like the hunger we breathe to fill our guts.’

Taken from: Yellow Shade by Dimakatso Sedite, Deep South Publishing

Buy the book here (for South Africans) and here for everyone else

The bleak shelter of Yellow Shade

11 December 2021 — The Mail&Guardian

Off-kilter: Sam Nhlengethwa’s My Grandmother’s Kitchen in the 60’s

The asymmetrical chair and the table cloth sitting skew in the Sam Nhlengethwa lithograph (My Grandmother’s Kitchen in the 60’s) on the cover of Yellow Shade (Deep South) are apt metaphors for how Dimakatso Sedite represents black life. Scenes are off-kilter and co-ordinates are out of place. Her poems are set in townships — the post-apocalyptic townships of the present — with her imagery giving a vertiginous sense of what it feels like to be trapped in the continuum of apartheid.

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Go to hell, Shell

26 November 2021 — New Frame

The explosion of rage in South Africa in response to the multinational company exploring for oil and gas in the ocean off the Wild Coast is entirely justified.

The corporate drive for profit frequently takes the form of a psychopathic monomania. But among the many horsemen of the corporate apocalypse, Royal Dutch Shell has a particular record of infamy.

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South Africa: Trouble in the promised land

8 November 2021 — New Frame

The socialist commune Abahlali baseMjondolo built from the eKhenana land occupation in Durban has won international admiration and solidarity, but it now faces a new wave of repression.

28 October 2021: Abahlali baseMjondolo deputy president Mqapheli Bonono walks past the Thuli Ndlovu community hall in eKhenana, Durban.

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South Africa: All of them must go!

29 October 2021 — Origin: New Frame

Monday’s elections offer scant hope for a way out of our escalating crisis. Reality demands a rigorous pessimism of the intellect if we are to generate a viable optimism of the will.


It seems likely that the elections on Monday will bring significant change to how many of our cities are ruled. All the surveys show that millions of South Africans hold local government in contempt, that a significant number of former ANC supporters will not be able to bring themselves to vote for a party that is now rotten from the bottom to the top, and that there will be a sharp decline in turnout.

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Where Flowers Find No Peace Enough to Grow: The Thirty-Eighth Newsletter (2021)

23 September 2021 — Tricontinental

George Pamba South Africa New Brighton Port Elizabeth 1977 2Milwa Mnyaluza ‘George’ Pemba (South Africa), New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, 1977.

Dear friends,

Greetings from the desk of the Tricontinental: Institute of Social Research.

On 13 July 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopteda landmark resolution on the prevalence of racism and for the creation of an independent mechanism made up of three experts to investigate the root cause of deeply embedded racism and intolerance. The Group of African States pushed for this resolution, which had emerged out of global anger over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on 25 May 2020. The discussions in the UNHRC considered the problems of police brutality and went back to the formation of our modern system in the crucible of slavery and colonialism. A number of Western countries – such as the United States and the United Kingdom – hesitated over both the assessment of the past and the question of reparations; these governments were able to remove the requirement to investigate systematic racism in US law enforcement.

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Likely Assassination of UN Chief by US, British and South African Intelligence Happened 60 Years Ago Today

18 September 2021 — Consortium News

New evidence over the past decade has led to a UN probe into the probable assassination of the second UN chief, but U.S., British and South African intelligence are rebuffing UN demands to declassify files to get at the truth.

Dag Hammarskjöld arrived in Katanga for talks with Katanga authorities and Belgian representatives about withdrawal of Belgian troops and the deployment of the UN Force. At Elisabethville airport prior to his return in Leopoldville. Aug. 14, 1960. (UN Photo)

Former President Harry Truman told reporters two days after Dag Hammarskjöld’s death on Sept. 18, 1961 that the U.N. secretary-general  “was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said ‘when they killed him.’”

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South Africa: Not even the dead

17 September 2021 — New Frame

Our history of violence accumulates into the present as time slips by, and taints the future too. There must be decisive action against all political murders, old and new alike.

South Africa is one of the most violent countries on the planet. We have the highest rate of rape recorded anywhere in the world. The murder rate here is the 10th highest in the world, as is the rate of suicide.

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Marikana: The Struggle for Breath and Dignity

26 August 2021 —  Internationalist 360°

Bonile Bam

31 July 2021: Former mine employee Bongani Mpofu says life in Marikana is hard for its impoverished residents. (Photographs by Bonile Bam)

The Marikana area in North West province may be rich in platinum group metals, but the profits from mining them do not benefit residents, who have little hope of improving their lives.

“We are dying slowly in Marikana,” says Bongani Mpofu, 31, who lives in the North West province mining town’s Maditlokwa shack settlement. “The carbon monoxide that comes from underground by way of ventilators that are positioned in the veld blows in the direction of the community.

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South Africa: The dangerous collapse of non-racialism

30 July 2021 — New Frame

Transcending the colonial fabrication of race is a radical idea. Now, as opportunists whip up hatred, South Africa needs to restore this emancipatory horizon.

15 April 2017: A mural by Faith 47 of anti-apartheid activists and proponents of non-racialism: from left, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Zainunnisa Gool and Iman Haron. (Photograph by Frédéric Soltan/ Corbis via Getty Images)

The death toll in the recent riots and the campaign of sabotage that accompanied them is now said to be at more than 330. National attention has overwhelmingly focused on Phoenix, the largely Indian and working-class township in Durban where 16 deaths have now been recorded. This has generated considerable focus on the relationships between Indian and African people.

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