• Film,  Miss N

    Wanuri Kahiu brings Rafiki to Cannes

    When the credits rolled and the lights came up at the end of her film’s premiere in the Palais des Festival, director Wanuri Kahiu stood next to her lead actresses Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, all dressed in off-white outfits, taking in the acclaim of a standing ovation. Someone in the audience shouted, ‘Thank you!’ and Kahiu put her hand over her heart. Festival director Thierry Fremaux motioned for them to look up and see just how many people were clapping in the theatre’s balcony seats too, lauding the first Kenyan film to ever debut at the Cannes Film Festival. “What’s incredible about the response is that people are so…

  • Culture,  Theatre

    The Fall in Brooklyn

    As a South African living in NYC, it’s often hard to keep track of what’s happening back home. The time difference and going about the daily business of staying afloat in this city is a lot to deal with. Not to mention that local news reports just often don’t include news from further beyond the US of A in their bulletins. Plus, you know, it’s a big world out there so by the time they get to South Africa, it’s when the president is resigning or being charged with a crime. I remember when I was in LA on an entertainment news assignment in 2008, and was asked by the…

  • Miss N

    Songs for Sabotage.

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Haroon Gunn-Salie’s piece at the New Museum since seeing it at Monday’s preview. It’s part of the museum’s Triennial. Titled Songs for Sabotage, the group exhibition looks at how young artists around the world use their art respond to issues of social and political importance – how for them, art is not just something to be looked at, but something urging engagement of some kind. Haroon is from South Africa, and so naturally I was drawn most to his work. But I would’ve been anyway, I think, even if I wasn’t from the same country. When you enter the 3rd floor of…

  • Culture,  Miss N

    A Restaurant Named Madiba

    There aren’t many places to go in New York when you’re homesick for a lekker South African meal. For ‘n bietjie bobotie, some pap & vleis, a bowl of mngqusho, or a slice of malva pudding. Up until Sunday night, there was only one place to go that fed your soul just as much as it did your stomach. To residents who live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Madiba became a staple on the block of Dekalb and Carlton streets, opposite the Edmonds Playground, close to the park. To South Africans – and Africans – it became a home-away-from-home. A place to go when you wanted to support your team during…

  • Film

    This is Black Panther

    In Blood Diamond, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Zimbabwean ex-mercenary utters a line that became one of those oft-heard film quotes. As a means of explaining the way things work – or don’t work – on the continent, he tells co-star Jennifer Connelly, “TIA.” When she doesn’t get his homemade-acronym the first time around, he spells it out: “This. Is. Africa.” It may have taken over a decade, but you could say Black Panther is the cinematic blockbuster retort to that. A long-awaited clap-back in the form of a roar.  This is Africa. Yes, it’s a heightened, idealized version of it — where vibranium, not diamonds — is the major resource. Yes, it’s…