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*Re-write, original post was lost*

I discovered another form of art, Hyper-realism. It is a form of art that appear extremely realistic to the extent that they trick the eye. It is so real, it is hard to tell the difference from a photograph. I came across Alex Peter amazing works and had to make sure he tells us the story behind his art.

A little bio about yourself

I’m Alex Peter, discovered my gift of Arts and painting at a very young age. I grew in it and developed a deep passion for it. This passion ignited my love for and respects for arts. I have been able to develop my artistic skills using different kinds of drawing mediums like a pen, pastel, pencil and Pyrography art/wood burning (use of a razor, sandpaper, and burner). I’m a self-taught pencil artists and a self-taught PYROGRAPHY (wood burning) artist. My artworks centers around what my eyes can capture and how life is perceived relating to the African settings, which I then skilfully executes realism.

An hyper-realist artist, what form of art is that?

Hyper-realism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph.  Where it seems like you can’t differentiate photography from an artwork. Hyper-realism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the different methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures.

Razor blade on wood and burner, how did you start?

I started this Pyrography art (Razorblade on wood)  as of 2010.  Was doing pencil and pastel works as at then. Because of how my passion was for art, I searched for more different kind of unique styles until I discovered this kind of art at Benue state, so I worked hard and do self practices on this technique, by infusing my pencil style to this kind of art to form realism. Was also inspired by an artist called Simon Agbo. I grew and improved on this genre of art, that’s how I was able to create realism with it now.

What drawn you to art?

Art has actually has a place in me, since i was a kid. The passion to create is crucial thing in my life till date.

What inspires your kind of art? What message are you trying to pass across with your art?

I’m inspired by my environment and how it is been perceived by people and me.i try to express the feelings, emotions of how my environment is been perceived and how people can stand up to any challenges life offers.

Have you done any exhibition since you started? 

Yes, I’ve done exhibition. Exhibited at Omenka gallery, Lagos

Which other artist(s) inspire you?

I’m inspired by the likes of Kelvin Okafor, Harinzey Stanley, Simon hexbyn and some other great artists.

Which artist will you love to work with? 

Would love to work with Simon Hexbyn, Harinzey Stanley, Oscar Okunu, Ayo Filade, Isimi Taiwo .

You can follow the works of Alex on Instagram – @alexpeter_art

*Re-write, original crashed with the old server*

I  have appreciated art right from a very young age. Even though I can hardly pick up a brush to paint to save my life. I took 3 months of photography lessons some years ago, I can still remember some basic things as I plan to get a lovely camera someday. Came across Aaron Kajumba images from a Ugandan friend’s page, Aaron is part of a team of young Ugandans who created a platform called KoikoiUg which they use to bring creative people together to explore their beautiful country and show it to the world. Aaron’s work is amazing and I had to listen to the story behind his art. Enjoy!


A little bio about Aaron.

Hey! I am a pastor, yes haha a pastor living in Uganda on a mission with Fishers Of Men Uganda. My passion for the art started when I was given an iPhone 3G in 2009, which had a great camera at the time. Soon after, Instagram was launched! Through the years, I was able to culture my own unique style and even added drone photography to my belt. I grew very fond of capturing the raw emotion of when, where, who and what I shot. I guess I shoot for the feels.


What drew you to Photography?

I think it was being able to immortalize moments. To make people feel how that moment felt years later.  I thought that was awesome.


What inspires your kind of photography? In what way do you intend to inspire Africans with your photography?

I love to shoot for emotion, would love that my photography inspires Africans to stop and see the beauty in the simple things around us. There is so much color, life and character in our communities to revel in as people. We just need to take the time to stop and look.

Do you feel there’s a relationship between your art and Uganda?

That’s an interesting question. I believe my eye did change when I moved back here because of the ten thousand things I had missed growing up. People, places and was able to appreciate the beauty of Uganda much more through a photographer’s eye.

Which Photographers inspire you?

I don’t particularly follow anyone religiously but there are a few people I was amazed at when I started out.

Joel Nsadha, he started #soulofman, an online portrait gallery of people he has met. He is also from Uganda and currently lives in New York.

Brian Woeffel is a photographer I like truly for hos Lightroom edits! Till this day I still edit off of my phone using the VSCO app. But this guy’s stuff always moved me to make that Lightroom switch. Maybe I will this year!

Now, Temiloluwa Coker is widely known for his creative approach in photography and design. Being creative is more than just a hobby to him, it’s his passion and everyday he gets the opportunity to teach the younger generation the power of creativity and how it can change the world. He is originally from Nigeria.

Pei Ketron is a photographer, educator, speaker and traveler based in San Francisco. What really caught my eye back then was that she was getting these really professional looking images shot off her iPhone! Her work encouraged me to push the boundaries of my iPhone photography.

Isaiah Kajumba is definitely on this list. Haha yes, we are brothers. Photography for him is a creative outlet that lets him be much more expressive. We actually got dslrs in 2015 and shooting with him has definitely matured how I see life through the lens.

Mutua Matheka is a Kenyan based photographer who became known because of his architectural photography. His pictures of Nairobi at night blew my mind and totally gave me a new perspective on what African cities could look like through a creative eye.

What is the Photography scene like in Uganda?

There are a lot…literally myriads of upcoming photographers in the country and workshops to help people grow their craft. It’s really cool to see people enjoying what they are doing and learning from each other.

Other photographers will you like to work with?

I would love to work with, (by work with I mean even carry the lens of) Mutua Matheka. He was one honestly one of the African photographers that I saw truly embodied what it meant to be a photographer and love it!

“For the boys who will never be known

And the girls who become numbers”

– Stars without a Name

            If you have been wondering how the recent happenings in the north-eastern part of the country are going to turn out, you might as well stop wondering and pick up Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday to check if it fits into what you thought they would look like. Not only has Elnathan John ventured into the murky waters of insurgency in the North-East, he has tried as best as he can to explain some of the things happening in the North-east so that those who have never been there nor know next to nothing about what operates in the north-eastern part of Nigeria can understand to a certain extent what the Boko Haram insurgency is all about without having to grapple with details. Elnathan brings to bear the situation in this part of the country through an engrossing story told by a young boy, Dantala, whose growth we witness, from boyhood to manhood.

Divided into four parts with 263 pages, is a book that chronicles the coming of age of Dantala from an innocent Almajiri who learns at the feet of Mallam Jinadu, to a street urchin under the tutelage of Banda, to a mosque boy taken in and groomed by Sheikh Jamal and finally a black spirit, resolute even in the face of death.

The book Born on a Tuesday takes its title from the name of the protagonist Dantala which means someone born on a Tuesday (P.33).  It is narrated in the first person point of view which makes it more personal to the reader. It starts in Bayan Layi, in 2003 where we are introduced to the life of street urchins in the northern part of Nigeria as told by Dantala, a young Almajiri who ends up under the Kuka tree because of circumstances beyond his control. Who sends a child off to a Quaranic school under the instructions of a stranger for 12 years without checking on him and expects the child to turn out okay and return as a perfect man in the sight of Allah and his people?

Elnathan John touches on how politics is a tool that fuels the crisis in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. Although according to the book, the crisis between the Shia and Shiites has been in existence as far back as when Islam started, the elections were what opened the door to insurgency. Crisis are fueled by the politicians who give money to religious leaders to gain their supports causing division between ‘brothers’ who are supposed to have each other’s back.

Religion is supposed to bring equality among all but thanks to Born on a Tuesday, we now know that bigotry also exists in the religious circle. Mallam Abdul-Nur’s betrayal was alluded to him being a Yoruba man and according to Sheikh Jamal,

A Yoruba man is a Yoruba man.

No matter how Muslim they become.

They stab you in the back.

That is how they are. Hypocrites. (p.210)

            Elnathan John does not just leave it at politics, religion and insurgency; he delves into issues like homosexuality, masturbation, adultery and prostitution which are usually not talked about whenever religion is discussed. Dantala’s inability to confront Abdulkareem and Bilal about what he sees and the Sheikh’s decision to ignore Dantala’s masturbation to talk about marriage shows the hypocrisy in the religious circle concerning issues like this.

Worthy of note is Dantala’s journal entries which started when Jibril starts to teach him English. These entries though in simple English which sometimes are wrongly made and cancelled reflects Dantala’s inner thoughts. They are deep and although they are sometimes serious, there are times when you can’t keep yourself from smiling at the humour presented in the narrations.

Born on a Tuesday is such a good read and until you have read it, you just might not understand what it really is about when they say ‘every king was once a crying baby’. We are first humans before religion, culture and tribe separates us.

Thanks Elnathan for bringing to mind the Burni Yadi boys who were murdered in their sleep at Federal Government College Burni Yadi, Yobe on the 25th of February 2014 and the 276 Chibok girls kidnapped from their dormitory at Government College Chibok, Borno State on 14th of April same year.

 

 

Chaka is a profound historical fiction of the life of the founder of the Zulu Kingdom, Chaka, (sometimes spelt Shaka) who built a mighty empire during the first quarter of the 19th century. As an epic tragedy, the story’s arc followed the normal curve or the inverted ‘U’, where events are built up to the peak and begin to descend uncontrollably ending in the demise of the main character, Chaka.

 
In this novel, Mofolo mixes facts with fiction to recreate the legendary and wondrous life of one of Africa’s most mysterious and highly enigmatic figures. The eventful reign of Chaka (Shaka) became the epic tragedy of a heroic figure whose overweening ambition drove him to insane cruelty and ultimate ruin.

 
“I do not believe,” Mofolo writes, “that there was ever a human being whose life was as full of mystery as that of Chaka.” An attempt to capture this mystery led Mofolo to write Chaka in 1910. But his missionary publishers were so freaked out by the novel that they refused to publish it until 1925.

 
Chaka, born out of wedlock, became the first male child of Senzangakhona, the tribal king, who was previously without male children. He decided to marry again so that he can have a male offspring for the kingship. He became attracted to Nandi and, overcame by her beauty, took her when they were yet to be married, in violation of tribal law. She became pregnant, whereupon the two got married secretly. Chaka was born afterwards.

 
His position, however, became precarious after Senzangakhona’s senior wives began to bear him male children. The other wives were jealous of Nandi and her son Chaka, conspiring and imposing on Senzangakhona to send Chaka and Nandi away from the palace. They threatened to expose Senzangakhona for impregnating Nandi before marriage. Fearing that his tabooed deed might be found out, Senzangakhona acceded to his wives’ demands. In spite of this, and perhaps exacerbated by it, the news of Chaka’s rejection and his illegitimacy spread through the villages, making him object of ridicule and persecution.

 
Like any oppressed soul, Chaka believed that things would change since right and justice was on his side. That illusion however faded away when he heard his father order his death, even as he stared Chaka in the eye.

 
Chaka was on the run from assassins when he met one of the most ruthless witchdoctors that ever graced the pages of an African novel, Isanusi. Isanusi, who liked the young man and promised him that if he will obey in all things, he will one day inherit his father’s kingship, which was rightfully his by birth. Isanusi was the guy who made things happen. He was the magician, the sorcerer, the therapist, the priest, the conman, the strategist, the visionary, the confidante, the doctor, the hit-man, the fixer—the everything man— that every great empire-builder in history has had by his side.

 
He was the one who “inoculated” Chaka with the “medicine of blood.” “If you do not spill blood,” Isanusi explains to Chaka, “it will turn against you and kill you instead. Your sole purpose should be to kill without mercy, and thus clear the path that leads to the glory of your kingship.”

 
Isanusi turned Chaka into a killing machine. A man who had been hunted all his life had returned to bring the world to its knees.

 
By living up to this mandate to kill or be killed, Chaka instituted a political order never before imagined in his part of the world. But the blood on which his beautiful empire was built did not stay still forever. Chaka was eventually consumed by the violence that made him king and lived out the rest of his days in what can be described as schizophrenia.

 
The story of great emperors gone mad is old and familiar, but Mofolo tells it with all the dark, romantic flair of an African storyteller—sorcery, the supernatural, graphic violence, and tragic love. According to Mofolo himself
“The events in Chaka’s life were overwhelming because they were so numerous and of such tremendous import; they were like great mysteries which were beyond the people’s understanding.”

 
Mofolo’s novel is a dark, mysterious, and poetic critique of the principle of violence that defines all empires. There are novelists in Africa—a multitude of novelists. But there’s only a handful of storytellers. Mofolo was one.

 

Chaka
This book was listed as one of the best African books of the twentieth century. I recommend it for all those who love historical fiction and who want to know more about different cultures.

The Africa Utopia is back for a third year celebrating the act and culture of one of the world’s most beautiful, dynamic and fast-growing continent. The festival looks at how Africa can lead the way in think about culture, community, business and technology and includes topics ranging from fashion, gender and power to politics, sustainability and activism.

 
This year’s festival features some of Africa’s greatest artistes across music, dance, literature and art. The three day event held at London’s Southbank centre features fascinating and exciting events that reflect the richness of African culture and heritage and in some cases, what to expect from African creatives’ based at home and in the diaspora.
The Festival features also interrogate key themes attributed to the narratives of the continent such as migration, and displacement through visual art and theatre.

 
There were lots of events lined up at Africa Utopia. Some of the features from the 3 day festival:
Through Dance, music, art and literature the festival showcased appearances from Tavaziva Dance-when king Gogo met the chameleon,

legendary drummer Tony Allen, one of the acknowledged co-founders of Afrobeat,

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Senegalese super group Orchestra Baobab;

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Phoebe Boswell’s Transit Terminal,

Photo: Africa Utopia

Funmi Adewole,

Diene 'waaw waaw' Sagna, one of the performers at the opening of Africa Utopia, Southbank Centre, 11 September 2014. event. Photo: Carole Edrich

Maia Von Lekow,

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powerfully soulful West African(Mali) singer Kassé Mady Diabaté;

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Europe’s first Black and Minority Ethnic classical symphony orchestra, Chineke! and lots of others.

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Fashion and food lovers were not left out as there was an African-inspired fashion, a buzzing marketplace and delicious African street food to enjoy.

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Eritrean Food

Africa Utopia Friday Day Pass was an opportunity for people to participate in panel discussion, exploring African politics, technology, education and trade. Everything from disruptive innovation to the power and politics of data in Africa were discussed. A panel of writers with African roots explores migrations real and imagined, asking if we inevitably circle back to where we came from.

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It was a great and colorful festival.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy: AfricaUtopia

What makes me African?
What makes you African?
What makes us Africans?
What have we become?

 
Many questions yet few answers
We crave for much yet less is worked for.
We talk more than we act
We have become enemies of work.
We have become copy cats
We are about to die
For;
“Curiosity killed the cat.”

 
We have grown a hopeless desire
For things from the west
We claim to be modern
Yet the ways of modernization don’t depict ours.

 
Did our great grand fathers and mothers fight for nothing?
Did our ancestors pray to their gods for nothing
What of the manners they instilled and so much preached,
They would strike us if they had a chance.

 
We are a shame to our own kind,
We fight each other instead of creating bonds,
We have become hurtless monsters,
Not different from the lion that hunts other animals.

 
Our values are diminishing,
Just like our dishes,
Just like our ancient hobbies,
Hide and seek and Omweso.

 
We live by stereotypes,
They define us completely,
And we fight men,
Instead of ideas.
Greed defines our path,
Africans and greed,
We are one.
Our ancestors are all together angry.

 
The lovely night bonfire’s
The awesome beer parties,
The games and hunting of game,
The energy that flowed all day long.

 
We have become servants,
Of western interests.
We are still slaves
Neo-colonialism does that.

 
We have forgotten our music
Our lovely beats,
Even our dances that many pay for to watch,
We call all of it ATS.

 
We have become prisoners
We have imprisoned ourselves,
We believe in the white man,
More than in our selves.

 
We are Africans
Behaving like slaves and servants.
We are Africans
That have forgotten their roots.

 
We teach our children western ways
We teach them how to use these instruments
Of mass destruction and hate.
Socializing avoided.

 
Social media and laziness,
Unemployment and poverty,
If only we knew our worth,
The whites would want to know our secrets.

 

#IAmAfrican

 

 

Jhnkuyhtdkjhifnjku ‘Khona!’
Ghehdkkaghdgwlwu ‘Khona!!’
Adhtekknxmpuqnhye ‘Khona!!!’
Amdjtyslmlypmsts ‘Khona!!!!’

Even though I don’t understand a single word from this song, this song by Mafikizolo is one of my favourite house music. While growing up, my Dad was a huge fan of late Brenda Fassie and Mercy Phakela, so we were always listening to some of their songs like Vuli Ndlela, Too late for Mama, wedding day, Qula,(Oh yea I listen to all genres of music) which made me too become a fan of such music genre. Loved their style of music but never knew they were referred to as house music. With my curiosity of knowing bit about everything, I decided to hit the books and know what house music is all about.

Apparently, House music originated from South Africa or better put South Africa is the home to House music. A number of genres exist in the South African music scenes but the most popular appears to be House music. House music has become the sound of young democratic South Africa. Even though House music was first known in a Chicago club called ‘the warehouse’ (guess that’s where it got it name) but it wasn’t until the early 1990’s House music found it home in South Africa.

By the 2000’s, South African House music scene grew at a fast rate. Local DJ’s and amateur producers were experimenting with the sounds and this was believed to have given birth to the South African House music as we have known it today. House music in South Africa has unfurled into the related strains of kwaito, township tech, township funk, mzanzi house etc.

‘South Africa- the world’s biggest house music market per capita’

Just as the name, house music, in my opinion I think it is the best choice of music when having a house party, get-together family picnic, Sunday barbecue etc. When you need to sit back, relax and blow off steam of stress, House music got you. The way the rhythms in these songs are directed, juxtaposing darker, ultra percussive kwaito with bright electro down to guitar strumming will blow you away.

54 house

I have listened to loads of great house music coming from artist like Mafikizolo, Mi Casa, Brenda Frassie, Bucie, Dj Clock, Uhuru (Uhuruhuruhuruhuruhuru!!! (Can’t help it, I always do this when any of their songs and featured songs comes on), Dj Qness and lots more. The list is endless. I must say house music got a great and bright future ahead. We haven’t seen their best yet.

You can download, stream and listen away to some good house music to get through your week. Drop your comment on your favorite house song and artist.
Cheers!!!

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