Zackie Achmat is a leading AIDS activist in South Africa, and presently, the initiator of Ndifuna Ukwazi in Cape Town.
Alok is based in Bombay and that’s about all he can reveal about himself at the present time.
Akin Adesokan is a journalist, critic, columnist and award winning author of Roots in the Sky and Sea of Forgetting. He is also an editor of Glendora Review, a literary journal in Lagos.
Paula Akugizibwe is a music-possessed writing-obsessed pan-African nomad.
George Mathen, aka Appupen, is a visual artist and storyteller. His first graphic novel, Moonward, published by Blaft Publications in 2009 was selected for the Angouleme comics festival in France. He is currently working on two more books from the world of Halahala after which he plans to work on two more. Appupen’s work appears in various publications including Rolling Stone magazine where he has a tiny monthly strip. His work is archived at www.georgemathen.com.
Haseeb Asif studied economics at the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) and, in between making a living, writes for online and print publications in English, Urdu and Punjabi. More such satire and subversion is available on his blog, and he can be found making no sense whatsoever on twitter.
Varun Baker was born in Brazil and since then has lived in Jamaica, the U.S.A., Italy, Bermuda and Canada. He got his first camera at nine, a pink, plastic point and shoot. Since then, he has been using photography as a way to immerse himself in new places and the cultures and people that occupy them.
Jean Pierre is a film director from Cameroon known for his comic and sardonic style. He studied physics at University of Yaoundé, and then went on to teach his unique film-making style at Duke University, University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Jonathan Berger is a South African troublemaker masquerading as a respectable lawyer. After a decade in public interest litigation and legal action, working for the non-profit organisation SECTION27 (and its predecessor the AIDS Law Project), he sought greener pastures as a member of the Johannesburg Society of Advocates. If and when he passes his bar examinations later this year, he will be found waiting for his cell phone to ring and his next brief – as a hired legal gun – to begin.
Franck Biyong & Massak
Franck Biyong is a Cameroonian musician credited with the launch of the Afrolectric Music label which he began in 1997 after the death of Fela inspired him to go back home from Europe, and pursue the musical struggle of his black president in his own way.
Chief Boima is a Sierra Leonean-American electronic musician/DJ, cultural activist, and writer currently based in New York. He is a member of the Brooklyn based music, arts, and culture collective Dutty Artz.
Foikn Bois are a Ghanaian based Hip Hop group consisting of Wanlov the Kubolor and emcee M3NSA. They are well known for their politically incorrect yet charged lyrics and have gained global popularity for these attributes. Their debut album ‘Fokn with Ewe’ was released in 2011.
Kola is a Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist and poet. She is however more widely known for admitting to being the former mistress of Osama Bin Laden.
During the years 2001 to about 2009 the name ‘Liberation Chabalala’ was attached to a variety of DJ mixes and public events influenced by experimental electronica, spoken word traditions, and cut ‘n paste culture. For example, the phrase appeared at the bottom of flyers distributed for the legendary Sambafrique party at the Bijou bar as well as spoken word slams held in the early part of the decade, and has been used as DJ name by a member of the Fong Kong Bantu Sound System. While the more recent career of the name is mysterious, research shows that Liberation Chabalala’s activities were already documented in an activist newspaper published in Cape Town in the mid-1950s.
Jean Comaroff is the Bernard E. & Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and Honorary Professor of Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. She has written extensively on colonialism, healing, liberation struggles, and the problems of modernity, based on fieldwork conducted in southern Africa and Great Britain.
John L. Comaroff
John Comaroff is the Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. His interests include corporate Christianity, witchcraft, political culture, colonialism, the history of consciousness, politics, historical anthropology, law, post colonialism, modernity, and social theory.
Tsitsi Dangarembga is a well known writer and film maker whose book Nervous Conditions won the Commonwealth Prize in 1989. Her other works include a sequel to her first novel, The Book of Not, and the film Mother’s Day.
The wildly flamboyant Betty Davis is 60s funk’s most outrageous performer. She was a huge influence on Miles Davis, her husband for a year, and is the inspiration behind his “Mademoiselle Mabry“. Her eponymous debut album finally appeared in 1973, followed by 1974’s They Say I’m Different and 1975’s Nasty Gal. While she received little commercial success in her life time, she has become a cult figure in recent years and a greatest hits album, Anti Love: The Best of Betty Davis was released in 2000.
Samuel Delany is an American author, professor and literary critic. His work includes a number of novels, many in the science fiction genre, as well as memoir, criticism, and essays on sexuality and society. He is currently a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he is Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program.
Sandile Dikeni is a South African Poet whose writing, produced both while in detention in 1986 and at political and cultural events after his release, has made him an important poet of freedom.
Jacob Dlamini is a journalist, writer and scholar. He is the author of the acclaimed book Native Nostalgia and was a Ruth First fellow at Wits University in 2009. Jacob is currently the recipient of an OSI fellowship and a researcher at the University of Barcelona; he recently earned a PhD in History at Yale University.
For over a decade, the man born as Elliot Josephs terrorised Cape Town in his literary avatar, Zebulon Dread. This was only appropriate; he was, after all, the original “cultural terrorist.” His weapon of choice? A zany, unpredictable, hand-drawn, hand-printed journal he made himself, called Hei Voetsek! which he thrust upon willing and unwilling and bewildered people who invariably found themselves becoming patrons of art. His art. Then, some years ago, Zebulon Dread was sacrificed to make way for a long-standing dream: Swami Sitaram. Whether in Bonteheuwel or Observatory, or indeed South Africa and India, this profoundly original thinker, writer, philosopher and rabble-rouser has no parallel.
Julius Eastman was an African-American composer, pianist, vocalist, and dancer. He is credited with being among the first musicians to combine minimalist processes with elements of pop music.
Kodwo Eshun is a British-Ghanaian writer, theorist, and filmmaker. He studied English Literature at Oxford University. He is currently course leader of the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College. Eshun’s writing deals with cyberculture, science fiction, and music, with a particular focus on where these ideas intersect with the African Diaspora. He has contributed to a range of publications including the Guardian, The Face, The Wire, i-D, Melody Maker, Spin, Arena, Frieze, CR: The New Centennial Review and 032c. Eshun’s book More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction (1998) explores the intersection of black music and science fiction from an afrofuturist viewpoint. In 2002, Eshun co-founded The Otolith Group with Anjalika Sagar. The group’s work engages with archival materials, with futurity, and with the histories of transnationality. The group was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010.
Kai Friese is a journalist and magazine editor. He lives in New Delhi.
Oliver Husain, a German-Indian artist currently based in Toronto, uses visual media to explore ideas of geography, migration, and globalization. His award-winning short films range from documentary, to live-action composite, to Bollywood dance sequences, to most anything you can and can’t imagine. He carefully crafts worlds that are somewhat familiar to the viewer, but are also vaguely bizarre, visually captivating, and fantastically delightful.
Sean Jacobs is Assistant Professor in International Affairs at New School for General Studies. He is working on a book on the intersection of mass media, globalization and liberal democracy in postapartheid South Africa. His books include Thabo Mbeki’s World: The Politics and Ideology of the South African President, which he co-authored (Zed Books, 2002). His most recent scholarly articles have appeared in Politique Africaine (2006) and Media, Culture, and Society (2007). He is a regular contributor to the Guardian’s Comment is Free site. Previously he taught African Studies as well as communication studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Aryan Kaganof is a South African filmmaker, novelist, poet, visual artist, musician and blogger on Kagablog. He has published several books including Uselessly, 12shooters and Hectic! Published verse includes Jou Ma Se Poems, Drive-Thru Funeral and The Ballad Of Sugar Moon and Coffin Deadly. His acclaimerd films include Western 4.33, Sharp Sharp! – The Kwaito Story, Giant Steps (co-directed with Geoff Mphakati), SMS Sugar Man and more.
K. Kakudji is a DRC born artist based in Paris. Pilfering freely from the vast image bank of popular culture, Kakudji creates works that critique a quintessentially late-capitalist sensibility by focusing on the intersection of money and sex, labour and love, and offering a startling reconfiguration between politics and the body in a dire, image-clotted culture.
Ginu Kamani was born in India and graduated from the University of Colorado with an MA in Creative Writing. Pieces of her work were published in the anthology Our Feet Walk the Sky: Women of the South Asian Diaspora in 1993. She is the author of the acclaimed short story collection, Junglee Girl.
Parselelo Kantai is one of Kenya’s leading investigative journalists, currently based at Africa Report. His fiction has been published in several journals, including Kwani? and Chimurenga. His short story “Comrade Lemma and the Black Jerusalem Boys Band” was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing.
Wanjiru is a Kenyan writer and entertainment manager. She has a degree in Journalism and Literature from the United States International University- Nairobi, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.
Rustum Kozain is a poet and editor based in Cape Town. He won the 2007 Olive Schreiner Prize for his collection of poems, This Carting Life. His new book Groundwork has just been published by Kwela. He regularly writes book reviews for newspapers such as Die Burger and the Sunday Independent and blogs at www.groundwork.wordpress.com.
Fela was a Nigerian born musician, instrumentalist, composer, political and human rights activist and is considered the father of Afro-beat music.
Jackie Lebo is a journalist and writer based in Nairobi. She is currently at work on a book on the history Kenya’s long distance runners.
Christopher J. Lee
Christopher J. Lee is the editor of Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (2010) and the author of a forthcoming book on nativism, to be published by Duke University Press in 2013. Currently an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he will be starting a new position at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in January.
Ryan Lobo is a photographer, writer and film-maker from Bangalore. Lobo spent his career taking haunting stills of everything from Yakuza tattoos and the illegal organ trade to the Indian middle class. He’s worked as a field producer on nature-oriented shows for National Geographic and founded Mad Monitor Productions, a production company based in Bangalore and Washington, D.C. His intense fieldwork continues to illuminate his travelling (you can read about his journeys and see more photographs on his website). He is currently working on a book.
Bongani Madondo has written for Best Life, Reader’s Digest, Marie Claire, Daily News, City Press, Sowetan, Sunday Life, Notions, Zembla, Songlines, Big Issue, Transition and Shook, where he was associate editor, and Sunday Times /Lifestyle where he was a senior staffer. He is the author of Hot Type: Icons, Artists and God-Figurines (Picador Africa, 2009) and the recipient of a NEA grant which entailed a fellowship at the American University. He is currently a Senior Editor/ Writer at Rolling Stone, South Africa.
Dominique Malaquais is a senior researcher at Centre d’Etudes des Mondes Africains, the director of SPARCK (Space for Pan-african, Research, Creation and Knowledge – The Africa Centre, Cape Town). She is currently completing a book entitled Dreaming the Global City. She is an associate editor at Chimurenga.
Fumi May is a recovering homo-fascist who is now open to the idea of peacefully co-existing with non-homosexuals – just as long as they don’t ‘tolerate’ him or try to give him his own special ‘rights’. A nerd by nature as well as by training, during the day he is a furious number-cruncher, operating under the misapprehension that he’s making a difference in the world. By night, he is a lazy writer and a neglectful blogger, getting by on sporadic commissions and the odd rant on twitter under the handle @onefumi
Achille Mbembe is a Cameroonian philosopher based in South Africa, and associated with the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of several books including the acclaimed On the Postcolony, and most recently, Sortir de la grande nuit – Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée. He is a contributing editor to the journal Public Culture.
Karen D. McKinnon
Karen D. McKinnon is an American filmmaker based in London, where she attended Goldsmiths College. She wrote “Dance/Art”, for the PBS network and was selected for an emerging directors fellowship at Columbia Pictures. Her films have been shown in festivals and galleries across Europe and America and funded by the UK Film Council. Selected for EON Productions sponsored WFTV mentorship program in 2011.
Nandipha Mntambo is an artist born and based in South Africa who has become famous for sculptures, moving images and images that focus on the female body and human identity by using natural, organic material. She has a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town.
Neo Muyanga is a songwriter, composer and one of South Africa’s most acclaimed musical directors. He is also a founder of Blk Sonshine, and co-curator of the Pan African Space Station.
Riason Naidoo is the Director of the South African National Gallery at Iziko Museums. A previous director of the South Africa-Mali Project: Timbuktu Manuscripts project (2003-2009), he has also worked as a curator, photographer and new media artist; his work is represented in public art collections around the world.
Sam Okello was born in Kenya and is a story teller. His works include of Lulu’s Grip, The Night Bob Died, A Crown of Fire and I Watched An American Sunset. He is also the founder and CEO of Sahel Books Incorporated.
Yemisi Ogbe is a food writer and columnist living in Calabar.
Pampalone has been a columnist and editor for magazines and newspapers in the United States, the Czech Republic and South Africa. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, Elle, Cosmopolitan, O – The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Reader, Might, Maverick, Empire, Food and Home, the Prague Post, Prognosis, Sunday Life, the San Francisco Examiner, The-African.org and the Mail & Guardian. Tanya is the features editor of the Mail & Guardian; she also lectures on media ethics and editorial independence the Sol Plaatjie Institute at Rhodes University.
Ebony Patterson is a Jamaican artist, working out of Lexington, KY and Kingston, Jamaica. After graduating from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2004, she received an Honours Diploma in Painting from the Sam Fox College of Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis in 2006, as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in Printmaking and Drawing. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Her ongoing body of work Gangstas for Life explores notions of machismo via fashionable trends within Jamaican dancehall culture.
Born and raised in India, Annie Paul is a writer and critic based at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she is head of the Publications Section at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies. She is the editor of Caribbean Culture: Soundings on Kamau Brathwaite and the recipient of a grant from the Prince Claus Fund (Netherlands). She was one of the founding editors of Small Axe and the original Caribbean Review of Books; she has been published in international journals and magazines such as Newsweek, the UK Guardian, Slavery & Abolition, Art Journal, South Atlantic Quarterly, Wasafiri, Callaloo, and Bomb. She blogs at Active Voice and you can follow her on twitter.
Iolanda is an art critic, researcher and cultural producer, she is scientific director of WikiAfrica for lettera27 Foundation. Founding and board member of iStrike Foundation, she worked as a freelance consultant for Doual’art and the Africa Centre; she collaborated with EHESS, Multiplicity and several Italian and international magazines.
Achal is a researcher and writer in Bangalore and a contributing editor at Chimurenga.
Dinah Rajak is a senior lecturer in anthropology and development at the University of Sussex, UK and is a co-founder of the Centre for New Economies of Development (www.responsiblebop.com). Her research concerns the role of transnational corporations in development, corporate social responsibility and moral economy, with a focus on the extractive industries and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Moroccan-born Mohamed Razane lives and works in Paris. His first novel, Dit violent, was published by Gallimard in 2006. He is part of Qui fait la France?, a group of ethnic minority authors in France who believe in committed and realist fiction.
Peter Dean Rickards
Peter Dean Rickards is a photographer, cinematographer and director based in Jamaica.His twitter handle (@afflictedyard) describes him as “doing the lord’s work since 1999”. He is acclaimed for his his photographic art, and his essays have appeared in leading publications and exhibitions around the world. For more about him and his work, see www.peterdeanrickards.com and www.afflictedyard.com
Elaine Salo is an academic and Director of the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Pretoria; she works on gender issues and human rights.
Sony Labou Tansi
Sony Labou Tansi was a Congolese novelist, poet, and dramatist and a member of the African avant-garde whose critical but hopeful satires met with a great deal of censorship. Tansi’s central themes were the corruption of power and the possibilities of resistance. He often provocatively broke common Western literary models, styles, and genres, switched points of view, and employed carnival-like exaggeration, dismembered language and anti-naturalistic aesthetics. Tansi’s works addressed political satire and criticism and touched on universal themes such as love, life and death.
Tripp is an artist and filmmaker, she had a fellowship at PS1/MOMA NY, “The Making Of Americans”(2004) starring Jean Grae, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Postell, Saul Williams, received an award at Cinema Paradise Hawaï and was screened in museum venues and Ghana Real Life Film Festival, H2O Film Festival New York and La Mostra Venice 61, Italy.
Dick Tuinder is a post-avant-garde pragmatist who spends the time he isn’t making feature films illustrating man’s attempts to discover the Higgs boson particle. Dick’s great achievement has been fathering Parker and he not only cooks up a mean pasta but can actually tell you off the top of his head all the chords that Django Reinhardt ever played. He’s dope like that.
Nicole Turner is a Johannesburg based writer. Her journalism and fiction work has been translated into German, French and Chinese and has been published in English by Chimurenga, where she is an occasional contributing editor. She is working on a trilogy of crime novels.
Binyavanga Wainaina is the founding editor of the literary magazine Kwani? and won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002. He has written for the New York Times, the Guardian and National Geographic. He is the director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College. His memoir One day I will write about this place was recently published to worldwide critical acclaim.
Eve is a Kenyan illustrator currently studying comic illustration at the Kassel Art University in Germany. She has produced a number of comics, illustrations, films and performances, her goal being to use her multilingual-multicultural exposed-self to produce art that dances on cultural barriers.
Johan van Wyk
Johan van Wyk was born in 1956 and studied at the University of the Witwatersrand (BA), and Rhodes University (PhD). He taught for several years at the University of Durban-Westville (now UKZN) and has published extensively both in the academic and general press. Man-Bitch, his iconic novel, was first published in 2001; a revised version was later published in 2006. You can see more of his writing here.