Notes from the Now

Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’

Quick Thought On “Long Walk to Freedom”

In Africa, Film on December 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm


I want to see it a second time before trying to write a proper review, but let me say right off the bat that I was surprised (pleasantly) by how much time Winnie Mandela got in the story — AND how well-done the telling of her story was!


Speakers @ Mandela Memorial Chicago

In Africa, Chicago, Events on December 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm


Some of the speakers at the event hosted by the Rainbow Push Coalition

Governor Quinn at Mandela Memorial Chicago

In Africa, Chicago, Events on December 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm


December 2013 @ Rainbow Push Coalition. Chicago.

ANC Headscarf at Chicago Mandela Memorial

In Africa, Art, Chicago, Events on December 14, 2013 at 12:15 am


Mandela Prayer Vigil – Chicago 12/6/2013 – @RevJJackson @RPCoalition

In Africa, Chicago on December 7, 2013 at 7:55 am

Some pix from the Rainbow Push Coaliton’s Prayer Vigil for Nelson Mandela on 12/6/2013 in Chicago.

Fridge Magnet Madiba

In Africa on December 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm


With me Every home I’ve lived in since ’01. Didn’t have a fridge in 99-01 when I lived in Vaalwater South Africa

Review — After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa

In Africa, Books on December 8, 2012 at 11:44 am


After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa
After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Douglas Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had the opportunity to hear Douglas Foster give a particularly fascinating multimedia talk about “After Mandela…”, so I’m not entirely sure how well the book’s unorthodox structure – part high-level political reportage, part youth ethnography, part
part personal reflection — would hold together without that kind of forewarning.

What Foster does that’s remarkable is two-fold: 1) He gets access to Jacob Zuma in a way that to date no one else really has, and 2) he reaches out to a younger generation of political families and gets ten on the record in a way that will certainly be fascinating to look back upon. Arguably the third thing he does that’s remarkable is telling stories of ordinary South Africans in conjunction with these other two pieces, and there’s certainly an importance to that.

I’d say this one is great for those who have a solid understanding of the modern South African history already and can then really appreciate the nuance and these additional layers that Foster brings into the discussion.

“After Mandela” – Doug Foster @UCHICAGOCIS (10/17/2012)

In Africa, Books, History, University of Chicago on October 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I’m at about page 80 of Doug Foster’s “After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa“, so I jumped at the opportunity to hear him speak at the IHOUSE as part of the Global Voices series.

I walked in with some trepidation about another foreign writer writing about South Africa, which has been the subject of so much schlock journalism over the years. While I’m not entirely sure that the book is entirely divorced of the lazy writing that categorizes everything South African as Miracle or Tragedy, I’m at least pleased that Foster addressed it in his comments and then moreso during the Q&A.

Looking forward to finishing the book!


  • He referred to the book as having an “Upstairs / downstairs setup” where in one stream he talks to political leaders (most notably Jacob Zuma) about South Africa from their perspective, and in the other stream he talks to youngsters and a cross section of the society.
  • Heavy emphasis on the “Born free generation”. Note: 40% of South Africans are under the age of 18.
  • He eagerly shared his first “Mlungu” moment, where he confidently declared that yes, he knows eminem.
  • Very conscientious that “As an outsider you have to struggle to avoid falling into tropes” and stressed that as a journalist his number 1 goal was fidelity to the story
  • 6 featured stories, lots of group interviews. 1000s of people covered in the group interviews.
  • I asked a question about Zuma’s assuming a more leftist stance that Mbeki during the election, and then reverting to form, and what that means for Malema who is also trying to outflank Zuma on the left. Foster’s answer was interesting — that Zuma didn’t do as much posturing as we’d think and that for the most part he just let people create the persona (the non-Mbeki persona) that they were comfortable voting for
  • He didn’t take my question about Malema, but he took the next person’s — basically he thinks Malema learned quite a bit from following zuma around in ’07, but that he will most likely end up in jail.
  • He thinks the move to oust Zuma is coming from a cadre of core ANC loyalists who feel like Zuma has strayed too far in many directions — not from folks to “the left” who want most socialist land/economic policies.
  • Neatest part of the talk was that he played some of the audio from the actual interviews so you could hear the voices of some of the featured subjects. Very nice touch.


Highly Recommended: “Have you heard from Johannesburg?” #PBS

In Africa, Film on January 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

In no uncertain terms, the documentary “Have You Heard from Johannesburg” is worth watching for anyone interested in South Africa, History, Human Rights, International Movements, Mandela, etc.

Parts One and Two aired this past week but can be found online *in their entirety* on PBS!

Part 1: “Road to Resistance” –  History, Oliver tambo, setting up the ANC abroad, Sharpeville

Part 2: “The New Generation” the Dutch, Steve Biko, Black Consciousness, Soweto

SoundtrackAvailable on Spotify

Random Screen Caps:

My March 2010 In Books

In Africa, History, literature on April 4, 2010 at 9:27 am

Here’s what March 2010 looked like for me reading-wise:

  • Jackie McMullen w/ Larry Bird & Magic JohnsonWhen the Game was Ours” : I’m a sucker for 80s hoops stories. The sports media reported on all the big “reveals” before the book was released, but the stories were still engaging. It turns out I didn’t know as much about Larry Bird as I thought I did!
  • David CohenNelson Mandela A Life in Pictures” : Nice general history of South Africa & Mandela, with excellent photographs and excerpts of speeches.
  • Fried & Hannsson (of “REWORK” : I don’t read many of these web2.0-style business books, but the hype around REWORK (and the interestingness of 37Signals) made me give this one a try.  It’s a little too slogan-y (but that might just be the genre), but they give anyone who’s trying to run a small organization some ideas and ways to think about priorities.
  • Vaclav HavelDisturbing the Peace” : Probably read this out of order, should have read a solid “standard” biography first.  Havel fascinates me.
  • Chinua AchebeThe Education of a British-Protected Child” : The essays/speeches are a little uneven, until Achebe starts talking about Joseph Conrad’s “the Heart of Darkness” and it’s legacy.  Worth reading those if you are interested in the post-colonial interplay between the West & Africa (you’ll probably learn something about Biafra along the way).
  • Cormac McCarthyThe Road” : An artful modern classic worthy of acclaim.  I started reading this in the Winter, but had to put it down until the Spring.  It’s too bleak a story to read when your own personal environment feels bleak, but when the sun comes out, you can appreciate McCarthy’s triumph.