Friday Top Five: March 22nd

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1.  Dear Mandela

Dear Mandela (2012) is a documentary that follows three activists living in squatter cities in South Africa. “DEAR MANDELA had its World Premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa, where it was awarded the ‘Best South African Documentary’ prize at the festival. The jury called DEAR MANDELA: ‘A movie about courage, this documentary is beautifully shot, socially relevant and still manages to offer humor as it reveals a growing grassroots political literacy in South Africa’s informal settlements.’ DEAR MANDELA has since screened in cities around the world – in New York, London, Addis Ababa, Prague, Seoul, Vienna and more. At the same time, the film is currently touring cities and rural areas across South Africa throughout 2012. DEAR MANDELA won the Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn Film Festival and was awarded the top prize – The Golden Butterfly Award – at the Movies that Matter film festival in The Hague and was recently nominated for an African Academy Award. The African broadcast on Mzansi Magic on the 26th April 2012 generated so much activity on Twitter that #dearmandela became the number 2 trending topic in South Africa.”

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Want to learn more? Check out this interview.


2.  “The Idea of Beautiful”

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“For as much flack this age of the Internet rapper receives, its most beneficial aspect is having the opportunity to watch an artist progress over time. From her North Carolina State days to co-founding Kooley High, and now the first lady of Jamla Records, Rapsody has made significant strides in her lyrical abilities. Under the tutelage of veteran producer 9th Wonder, she has also found her voice, a distinct trait that has been in preparation since her first solo project Return Of The B-Girl. This all comes together on The Idea Of Beautiful.

Where The Idea Of Beautiful really shines through is when Rapsody covers subjects with an intense yet graceful tone. “In The Town” examines the lost innocence of today’s youth, submerged in an environment that is limited by its own atrophy. Built over a soulful backdrop and BJ The Chicago Kid’s stellar crooning, “Good Good Love” delves into a relationship in turmoil, a result of the protagonists own doing. Emotionally immersed, Rapsody owns the words as if she was recounting a personal experience. Strong performances like these offset the few blemishes found on the album (“Roundtable Discussion,” “Celebrate”), detractions that are more due to lack of tone than effort.”  – HipHop DX

More music here.


3. “Energy Efficient House” Ted Talk

“What if you could live in a house that was fully energy-efficient? Better still, what if you had to design one? This was the challenge put to Denver Hendricks and his team of collaborators. They responded with the precision of engineers and the imagination of artists.

Denver Hendricks is a true bridge-builder in architecture and urban design. Owner of INafrica Designstudio Architects and Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, Denver has a wealth of experience from commercial to low-cost housing and public buildings. Because he has worked on projects from shoe-string to multi-million Rand projects, Denver deeply appreciates how each requires its own approach. He has attended the Green Building Council Course and intends to become a “green” accredited professional.”

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“What if Jan Van Riebeeck had been a vampire? What if the Dutch East India Company, pioneering colossus of international trade in the 17th century, was in fact controlled by a Council of Vampires?” Rebirth is a graphic novel produced in Johannesburg, that takes a very different look at the history of South Africa, meanwhile it also jumps forward to present day South Africa where vampires are quarantined and need to find a cure or they’ll have to face their own mortality. Authored and Illustrated by Josh Ryba, Daniel Browde, and Thenji Nkosi.


5. Nomsa Mazwai

“Nomsa Mazwai is an activist, a scholar, and the future of South African music. A gifted vocalist and social change advocate, Nomsa sings her unique blend of melodic poetry to the sounds of classic jazz, drum & bass, neo soul, electronic, and Afrocentric rhythms. Although making music is Nomsa’s passion, making a difference in South Africa is her priority. She is a Fulbright scholar, a published writer, and the first female student body president in the prestigious University of Fort Hare’s 90-year history. She recently completed an MA Economics, in the IPED program at Fordham at Fordham University in New York City, while preparing for the next stage of her music career.” – Tumblr

You know the deal. More music here!


Email ProjectAfrica.NS[at]gmail[dot]com to submit anything you want to see on the list or to volunteer to curate a list of your own! 


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