#moneypowersex: the blog

the online interactive zone that provides a space for the free-flow of words, images, thoughts, discussions, and ideas around the OpenForum 2012 theme, 'money, power, sex: the paradox of unequal growth.'

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It’s a long ride from the swanky swag of Cape Town’s Convention Centre to the gritty unaffectedness of the township of Philippi. We are in town for a conference on inequality. Thousands of words of analyses, mind-bending philosophies, but inequality doesn’t get much clearer than the trip to Philippi.

I am in the networking zone, surfing a sea of intellectual encounters, when I encounter Tunisian graffiti artist eL Seed. He’s carrying bags full of canisters, on his way to Philippi to do some street art. “We’re leaving right now, come!” eL Seed’s got this lightning-and-rainbows enthusiasm about his art. It’s contagious. I grab my bag.

The mood is edgy on the drive. The anti-gravitational thrill of sharing beauty, grounded by a discomfiting self-awareness steeped in the pungent scent of privilege, the space from which we operate. eL Seed is grappling with the contradiction. “Do you think they’ll be offended?” He asks me. “Like, who does this guy think he is, that he can just walk into our community and do his art?”

I want to say no. No, of course not, a thing of art is a thing of beauty, a gift from the heart is never misplaced. But who am I to say? We are bringing art and asking nothing in return except that most sacred incorporeal asset – personal space.

“I don’t know,” I tell him. “You’ve linked up with people in the hood; I think that’s the important thing… ?” The question mark. It lingers uncomfortably through the rest of the drive. The politics of ‘giving’ are not for the ‘giver’ to decide.

The township of Philippi was established as a residential zone by South Africa’s apartheid government in the 80s. It was one of the final mass relocations of black people to the distant outskirts of Cape Town. Three decades later, government policies have shifted, but foundational geopolitics remain cemented in the country’s economic and social architecture. The place we are going today used to be a rubble dump for the Philippi area. Now twenty thousand people call it home – Sweet Home, to be precise, is its name.

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The Open Forum 2012 has come to an end in Cape Town, South Africa, with Day three putting a spotlight on Money, Power and Sex: The paradox of unequal growth, where the need for effective sex education was stressed.

There were lively and witty discussions on issues surrounding sex, with some strong argument focused on inequalities and homophobia as well as policies and legislation relative to women’s rights to sexual pleasure.

One of those sitting on the panel at a plenary session on The Politics of Sexual Pleasure was Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah of the African Women’s Development Fund, who runs a blog called Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women.

“Growing up, I had very little sex education, which was basically limited to…you watch TV programs and that teenage girl gets pregnant and she gets thrown out of school, that’s all I knew—those sad stories,” Sekyiamah told West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) at the recent Cape Town forum.

Seyyiamah explained that this was what led her to start her blog.

 “I didn’t know you can have safe sex, you can use contraceptions, sex should be pleasurable, I din’t know all of these issues,” the Ghanaian blogger added.

OpenForum 2012 was organized by four Open Society foundations in Africa convening in Cape Town from 22-24 May to discuss Africa’s future, in the face of present day realities.

WADR’s Peter Kahler caught up with the Ghanaian blogger and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah explains her motivation.

Listen to the audio, here.

In May 2012 the OpenForum took place in Cape Town, South Africa. The gathering brought together activists, artists, academics, policy-makers and business people to discuss the factors that will influence the African continent over the next decade. Leading up to the OpenForum, our partner website This Is Africa organized radio debates with Bush Radio in Cape Town, Ghetto Radio in Nairobi, XFM and YFM in Accra around the themes of the Forum. Altogether, 12 guests representing community based youth projects, media, literary publications and musical groups exchanged thoughts about the promises and challenges of democracy in Africa.

The Cape Town debate was hosted by SA hip hop legend Shamiel X and Bassie Montewa, the Bush Radio presenter who’s a legend in the field of talk radio in the Cape. The panel was made up of a diverse group:

Marion Wanza, sports coordinator at the Proudly Manenburg organization
Rebbecca Davis, journalist for Daily Maverick
Rithuli Orleyn, spokesperson for September National Imbizo
Nicolas Kock
, lecturer, Institute for Social Development, University of the Western Cape
Simone Witbooi (Hemel Besem), hip hop artist, social activist, development worker

The recording of the discussion has been re-edited by host Shamiel X into a podcast featuring 19 South African hip hop tracks, most of which are not available anywhere else. Another Africanhiphop.com exclusive!

Listen to podcasts and check out track list here

Laura Reynolds

Tue, 15 May 2012 10:52:52 GMT

An award winning photographer who has devoted her working life to documenting the lives of black lesbians has had five years worth of her work stolen.

 Zanele Muholi, described by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa as “one of the country’s foremost artists”, had more than 20 external hard drives stolen from her flat in Vredehoek, Cape Town on April 20.

The hard drives contain stills and video footage, including photos from the funerals of victims of homophobic hate crimes. It is thought that the burglars were targeting Muholi’s work, as little else was taken from her flat, and back up hard drives were also taken.

Muholi’s partner Liesl Theron, with whom she shares the flat, said that her possessions were left untouched, except for a laptop which was stolen, further fuelling belief that Muholi was the intended target of the crime.

The work taken had been captured across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Malawi, according to the Cape Times. Also stolen was work due to be shown at an exhibition in July, which Muholi believes she will now have to cancel.

Despite the volume of work stolen and the imminence of the planned exhibition, Muholi’s plight has been largely ignored by the media. It is believed that the lack of publicity is due to the nature of her work, which shows a different side to the black lesbian community than that usually represented in the mainstream media.

“I’m not myself. I can’t even sleep at night since I’ve heard about the burglary,” the devastated Muholi told DIVA. She has appealed for anyone who knows the whereabouts of the hard drives to return them.

Queer photographer Del LaGrace Volcano said of the theft; “Zanele’s work is, in my not so humble opinion, some of the most important work being produced, not just in Africa, but anywhere. I consider her a dear friend and mourn the loss of her archive as if it were my own.”

Zanele’s supporters are fundraising to help her replace the stolen equipment. Donations can be made online at IndieGoGo.

The investigation into the burglary is ongoing, according to a police spokesperson.

via navigatethestream

(via yourhue)