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A Study of Female Victims, Perpetrators and Detectives
Author: Sabine Binder
In this ground-breaking study, Sabine Binder analyses the complex ways in which female crime fictional victims, detectives and perpetrators in South African crime fiction resonate with widespread and persistent real crimes against women in post-apartheid South Africa. Drawing on a wide range of crime novels written over the last decade, Binder emphasises the genre’s feminist potential and critically maps its political work at the intersection of gender and race. Her study challenges the perception of crime fiction as a trivial genre and shows how, in South Africa at least, it provides a vibrant platform for social, cultural and ethical debates, exposing violence, misogyny and racism and shedding light on the problematics of law and justice for women faced with crime.
Author: Li Guo
This handbook aims mainly at an analytical documentation of all the known textual remnants and the preserved artifacts of Arabic shadow theatre, a long-lived, and still living, tradition — from the earliest sightings in the tenth century to the turn of the twentieth century. The book consists of three main parts and a cluster of appendixes. Part One presents a history of Arab shadow theatre through a survey of medieval and premodern accounts and modern scholarship on the subject. Part Two takes stock of primary sources (manuscripts), published studies, and the current knowledge of various aspects of Arabic shadow theatre: language, style, terminology, and performance. Part Three offers an inventory of all known Arabic shadow plays. The documentation is based on manuscripts (largely unpublished), printed texts (scripts, excerpts), academic studies (in Arabic and Western languages), journalist reportage, and shadow play artifacts from collections worldwide.
Author: Clarissa Vierke

Abstract

This paper interrogates the notion of intervention in popular poetry. It takes the example of popular poetry from Dar es Salaam, which has so far not received much scholarly attention, since it can neither be classified as traditional nor avantgarde. The urban poets struggle to make ends meet, but regularly publish their poetry in the newspaper or through social media and organize themselves in networks. They often remain without a voice in their society, but, contrary to a romanticist perception of the downtrodden, also do not seem to do much to criticize the status quo. Rather than following patterns of postcolonial paradigms which reduce poetry to a political message, I will argue for the potential of the aesthetic experience of poetry, whose imagery stirs the imagination of alternative worlds. Taking the example of a poem by the a female poet, Bi Jalala Sikudhani, I will show how the poem offers alternative views on her lifeworld.

In: Matatu
Author: Samuel Ndogo

Abstract

This paper starts on the premise that comedy performed in vernacular languages in Kenya has proliferated over the last two decades. Specific focus is on Gĩkũyũ language plays performed by Fanaka Arts, a theatre company based in Nairobi. I settle on three titles namely Nyoori Momori, Tũirio Twega and ITINA SACCO to demonstrate that: (a) these plays draw inspiration and thematic material from the everyday social cultural and political experiences and (b) they employ vernacular language and various literary techniques to provide entertainment as well as to impart didactic values to the audience. One feature that is common in the three plays is the marriage motif; there are convergences and divergences in the ways each reference and parody marriage, infidelity, urbanity, politics, and unpopular government policies. The key question I ask is: what makes these plays appealing to the audiences? References to the body as well as descriptions of sexuality in veiled figurative language are other common features in these plays. As such, it is the libidinous metaphors and sexual innuendoes in the titles of these lewd comedies that make them attractive to the audiences in Nairobi. Apart from being a form of entertainment, these monthly theatre performances in Gĩkũyũ language enable the urban middle class to connect with their village and cultural roots. Moreover, through comedy, they articulate what may be considered as trite social-cultural issues in ways that other conventional media may not achieve. As such, these comedies make people to reflect upon and laugh at themselves concomitantly. The hilarious depictions of various social concerns can also be considered as subversive and aesthetic means of political critique.

In: Matatu

Abstract

The city reflects a politics of possession, upon which pieces of land ultimately get encircled by walls for exploitation. Walls—the entities that frame up the city—are territory ma(r)kers, yet this architectural gesture, far from being innocent, symbolizes a lurking desire at owning territories in the ma(r)king. This paper brings this idea home by examining the other meanings of the wall in contemporary Morocco, by closely studying the poetics and politics of the wall in the context of the Jidar street art festival of Rabat, situated, as it were, in the intersection of concepts (such as festival, paint, street art, wall, patronage, cooptation, resistance, local and global). We argue that the JSAF presents, among other things, a venue for local artists to perform and translate their thoughts and artistic visions into murals of a grand scale. Yet under the gaze of power, their performances accentuate the existentialist yet ambivalent position of city walls not only as embodiments of visual escape, but also as terrains of artistic/economic opportunities, incompatible social emotions, and contentious politics.

In: Matatu
Author: Marie-Anne Kohl

Abstract

Departing from a close reading of a particular performance to examplify localisation processes of the global Reality TV talent show format, this paper offers an analysis of the relationship between talent shows and patronage. Based on a concrete music and dance performance analysis, it further contributes to the more general discussion of transnational format trade and format adaptation by putting a focus on the entanglement of patronage, intervention and transformation. The analysis of the performance in question addresses how the musicians and dancers approached a concrete problem by creating a sense of belonging, involvement and disorientation through aesthetic means. With their critical stance, they position themselves in a specific local performing arts tradition, which itself is connected to earlier theatre and TV talent contests. Referring to the concept of glocalisation, I suggest that local topics of critique and intervention are part of the localising effect of the Reality TV talent show format.

In: Matatu
In: Matatu

Abstract

Patronage in the arts has always been a paradox. This article grapples with this paradox as reflected in the symbiotic relationship between artists and their sponsors. This paradoxical, complex and complicated co-existence of patronage through arts’ sponsorship is scrutinized through the intervention community theatre initiatives of Sponsored Arts for Education in Kenya (S.A.F.E-K). The paper argues that the ideology and the messages as framed, circulated and conveyed by the film Ni Sisi on the post-election violence (PEV) that visited Kenya in 2007/2008 is immensely influenced by the commercial and publicity interests of its main sponsor. The article as such draws attention to the nuanced subtleties of aesthetic framing in this film and how these are implicated in the sponsor’s intentions of projecting a positive image of itself disguised as a project of ‘demonizing’ violence and foregrounding a peace culture. The article identifies and interrogates the subtle indices that are found in the film that appears to cunningly exonerate the sponsor from any role that might have led to escalation of the post-election violence. The reading of such nuanced subtleties in absolving the sponsor of complicity in the perpetuation of violence remains the focus of this article.

In: Matatu
In: Matatu
In: Matatu