Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Environment, Media, Music, South Africa

Quick Links –

* Mother Jones has a photo essay on commodifying death. We are told that 500 T-shirts are being sold a week by Studio X, based in Liberty City, Miami. The photos of mostly of teenage boys shot to death on Ts are big business [40% increase in the murder rate with twice as many teenage boys killed last year]. The fallen become heroes to be worn as trophy’s by the still living – until possibly they too become a badge, t-shirt, flag or dog tag.


As a documentary essay I find there is something lacking in the sense that the photographer does not engage with the subjects (t-shirt wearers) who are they, who are the dead. Though he does explain the circumstances of one young man’s death – it is still descriptive rather than exploratory. I would have preferred the accompanying text to add to the documentation of the lives of subjects so we are able to look beyond the photo into the social and economic realities of the their lives. Why so much easy death? Why the need to glorify death in this way so that the dead become like martyrs and the living martyrs in the waiting? the ready acceptance of the commercialisation of the deaths through badges, flags, T-s, why not mugs and mouse mats too?

*Mas Voces is a Spanish website that broadcasts alternative voices from across the world. Although they focus largely on the Spanish speaking countries but there are reports from Africa and elsewhere.

* The Blog of Jackie Tumwine is a blog dedicated to monitoring the tobacco industry across Africa. This week she reports from Nigeria on a N21billion suit lodged by Environmental Rights Action and the Lagos State Government against British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Limited and five others. The case centers around

“deceptive and fraudulent practices of targeting and marketing their products to young and underage persons, and other reliefs including monetary damages”

* Environmental Rights Action [Friends of the Earth Nigeria] have a brand new website and logo which is a great improvement on their previous site. They have also extended their work from oil issues in the Niger Delta to include a much broader range of environmental issues such as monitoring the tobacco industry and participating in the Commission on Sustainable Development with the aim of campaigning for Africa to become a “stand alone issue” on land, , drought and desertification.

* The Liberator Blog posts on the “psychology of compassion” and quotes (NY Times correspondent, Nicholas Kristof – who has written extensively on Darfur)

NY Times) “Save the Darfur Puppy”: Finally, we’re beginning to understand what it would take to galvanize President Bush, other leaders and the American public to respond to the genocide in Sudan: a suffering puppy with big eyes and floppy ears.

That’s the implication of a series of studies by psychologists trying to understand why people – good, conscientious people – aren’t moved by genocide or famines. Time and again, we’ve seen that the human conscience just isn’t pricked by mass suffering, while an individual child (or puppy) in distress causes our hearts to flutter.

Liberator comments

And now Africa is so “unmarketable” that our only hope is to dumb down the simple truths of human compassion and justice so that people will buy them? Ain’t that somethin. I guess Kristof, as representative of white liberalism, has hit that wall–nowadays even those who demand change, justice, even simple compassion must become pacified at the foot of the market, which itself is determined by what messages people will or will not consume comfortably. Ha.

Egyptian blogger *Rantings of a Sandmonkey has closed down his blog as protest against the Egypitan blogosphere’s lack of focus.

I have stated two reasons for quitting, and the majority of the people took the first one and ignored the second one, even though for me the second one was one of the major reasons for doing what I did. The truth of the matter is, the security situation and intimidation aside, this was a protest, my way of telling the Egyptian blogosphere that we need to focus. That we now have the media attention, the people’s admiration or at least interest, and the “zeitgeist’ is ours if you will, so it’s time we use it wisely. Blogs actually allowed the world to listen to us, so now that we have this tool, the question is : what do we have to say exactly? It’s personally depressing to see that very few, handful really, from those who command the attention, have anything to contribute to the debate, and even those are censoring themselves now. I am not saying that we should take ourselves too seriously, or start going on ego trips over our importance and role and believe that we are leaders and influential, but there are things to be done that we can easily do……………And even if you do feel disheartened about the apathy or the lack of interest or activism on the part of the average Mo in Egypt, well that too needs to be examined and worked on. Let’s face it, the average Egyptian is scared of political reform, and shies away from religious reform, so how do you get them involved? Well, there is still social reform, and they have shown keen interest in that..

Reminds me of the Nigerian blogosphere but I cant see how closing down your blog works as a form of protest? He comes up with some excellent suggestions on how to move forward as blogging activists in Egypt but which apply to almost any country with repressive governments and state run or uncritical media. Maybe he is planning something otherwise his “protest” is pretty a non-event.

Finally * Maveric – a band from Cape Town with a “mixed genre

Maveric is terrific. Bluesy. Jazzy. Pop. Straight up. Township perspectives and jams. With just a little nostalgia. But not much. It’s warm. You haven’t heard it before. Mavo says, “welcome to this genre”. He means this is something you haven’t heard before. In short, mamela sbali, Maveric is hot. .

Sharp Sharp : Listen and enjoy: MP3!

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  1. Sarah

    Hi Guys,

    I use Pageflakes too – I was wondering if you could add the Pageflakes RSS button so that I (and other users) can easily subscribe to your Blog’s RSS feed. Here’s some info on how to add it:

    Best regards from Seattle

  2. Sewere


    I just read the latest post after only catching up on you after a couple of weeks off.

    Please know that those of us who read Black Looks are eternally grateful to the tremendously hard work that you and your contributors put into talking about issues that speak to our lives and the lives of those we care about. Many of us do what we can whereever we can in the struggle to end oppression. Unfortunately, more often than not we forget to encourage each other through this struggle. If anything know that you are greatly appreciated, that your hard work has saved lives and opened opportunities for change. Please know that you make the difference in this struggle and I for one will do my best to encourage you in whatever you choose to do. And if you choose to return will do everything I can to encourage your work.

  3. Anonymous

    What a coincidence I went to the home of a client and the teenage son had on a Tshirt oand it said In Thuggish memory of …and all I could do is nod my head …to think such souvenir Tshirts would be made was so sad to me …and here it is on your blog. Outstanding writeup !!

  4. I hope that you come back soon. I think you will. We will miss what you write. You are one of the only African (outside of North America) bloggers I read. This is where I hear a lot of things about Africa. I hope you don’t give back and come back after a rest. 🙂