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Feminist Technoscience

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‘Networked feminism is a phenomenon that can be described as the online mobilization and coordination of feminists in response to perceived sexist, misogynistic, racist, and other discriminatory acts against minority groups. This phenomenon covers all possible definitions of what feminist movements may entail, as there have been multiple waves of feminist movements and there is no central authority to control what the term “feminism” claims to be. While one may hold a different opinion from another on the definition of “feminism”, all those who believe in these movements and ideologies share the same goal of dismantling the current patriarchal social structure, where men hold primary power and higher social privileges above all others. Networked feminism is not spearheaded by one singular women’s group. Rather, it is the manifestation of feminists’ ability to leverage the internet to make traditionally unrepresented voices and viewpoints heard. Networked feminism occurs when social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are used as a catalyst in the promotion of feminist equality and in response to sexism. Users of these social media websites promote the advancement of feminism using tools such as viral Facebook groups and hashtags. These tools are used to push gender equality and call attention to those promoting anything otherwise. Online feminist work is becoming a new engine of contemporary feminism. With the possibility of connecting and communicating all around the world through the Internet, no other form of activism in history has brought together and empowered so many people to take action on a singular issue.’

Tech is taking ‘the covers off’ social issues while feminism is now becoming the perpetual adoration of the female intelligentsia.  Technology has certainly opened our eyes to the plight of women and girls around the world. Consider the impact social media had on galvanizing international outrage after the horrific and deadly gang rape of a young Indian medical student, or the power of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, an advocate for the right of girls to an education, who was targeted and shot by a gunman, and who has since become an international heroine.

“Technology has definitely taken the covers off a lot of social issues when it comes to women,” said panelist Tara Hughes, senior director of technical product management at Turner Broadcasting, CNN’s parent company. “I think it’s provided a voice for the voiceless, so we wouldn’t know some of the things that were going on in countries like India or (in) the Middle East if it wasn’t for some of those social networks.”

Is feminism the new racism, the dishwater of imagination? Is prejudice still the new education between the haves (knowledgeable boys, guys and men) and the have nots (girls and women), the soft domestic animal shamed if she is not a goddess. Technology is not gender neutral. Domesticity is not gender neutral. Feminism is not gender neutral. Art is not gender neutral. Feminism must confront the danger zones, the assumptions of the lives of women. It is technology that is influencing the intelligentsia of women for the most part today. Daughters doing what they did in a disembodied space, a personal space that is filled with images where men hate women for their emotional maturity and intelligence.

What about the future of feminism, tech, generations of girls to come? Is it always going to be masculine, primed for a man’s brain, a man’s brain cells clicking away? What is fundamental is that women are becoming just as smart as men are if not smarter.

There are women against feminism but there are more women who are in praise of it, who worship and appreciate their physical bodies, their independence. In the end feminism, humanities, the digital divide, there is and will be enough potential for it to develop alongside each other.

‘Networked feminism’s impact is somewhat limited because not everyone has access to the internet. According to Samhita Mukhopadhyay, the executive editor of ‘Feministing’, a popular feminist blog, “we tend to forget the women who aren’t online – there is a digital divide – and I think that part of the feminist movement should be focused on reaching out to people face-to-face doing community work, doing international work. A lot of people are online but not everybody, not by a long shot.’

Slacktivism (sometimes slacktivism or slackervism) is a portmanteau of the word’s slacker and activism. The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little physical or practical effect, other than to make the person doing it feel satisfied that they have contributed. Slacktivism can be defined as the act of showing support for a cause but only truly being beneficial to the egos of people participating in this so-called activism. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low-cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research.

Many websites and news platforms have integrated social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter into their interface, allowing people to easily “like”, “share” or “tweet” about something interesting they saw on the Internet. People can now express concern about social or political issues with nothing more than the click of a mouse, raising the question, what is actually being accomplished by these “likes” when very little thought or effort is required?

Slacktivist activities include signing Internet petitions, joining a community organization without contributing to the organization’s efforts, copying and pasting of social network statuses or messages or altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services. Research is beginning to explore the connection between the concept and modern activism/advocacy, as groups are increasingly using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS describes the term “slacktivist”, saying it “posits that people who support a cause by performing simple measures are not truly engaged or devoted to making a change”.

There are millions of feminists out there today. Hundreds of mental sketches, mental sketches about the role that technology plays in the lives of ordinary women, exceptional women, extraordinary women, brilliant women, mothers and daughters all in certain support of political activism whether they vote or not. Governments may not have found solutions of philosophical consequence, writers’ movements in Nigeria are moving towards the memoir, there might not be inspired peace in the four corners of the globe but girls have options. Girls go on pilgrimages into the guidebook, the ebony and ivory, the psychoanalysis, the psychological framework, the history of the wilderness of Europe and America. Girls have the otherworldly guidance to the kitchen table wisdom of their mothers and grandmothers on their side and that is their guide to the unveiled male brain.

When it comes to the affections of intellectualism, there is a hidden telepathy in creativity, the scarcity of a female mind being suppressed by successful, powerful men, intelligent men who minded the materialist in likeminded women who were their equals, in the synchronicity of the vanity of that savage impulse. For the man subjugates the woman’s movement, thinks his essays are far more superior, that it signals ‘humanity’. Technology is never going to bypass even the African feminist. There will always be advancements in technology, in footprint of climate change. Someday technology may even surpass humanity. The intersection and perspective, the knowledge and networking of technological advancements made in social media will affect feminism in the long run as well but not in the way that you think it will. In the eighties it was debate, in the nineties it was a perspective that no one wanted to own up to although there were feministic parameters, in the new millennia it was another wave of feminism, modern feminists who were more technological savvy than their counterparts in previous decades were.

There is what I call ‘evolutionary displacement’, a creative outlet for the modern feminist and the African feminist which goes to say that there are integral theories that are a ‘kindergarten’ work in progress of paradigms of indigenous knowledge systems. Intelligence in women is no longer an illusion, no longer abandoned memory work. The intellectual woman is no longer an argument, no longer Darwin’s argument. Her sensations are no longer trivial. Spiritual poverty no longer has an inner voice for the female intellectual. Now that all women are awakened to the fine art of the accumulation of the pessimism of social media, sexual violence is being taken to a new kind of virtual level kind of phase/playing game. There is no kind of Jane Austen society that exists today in the universe. Even less a Dorothy Parker society to a lesser extent. But the feminist is more comfortable in her skin. The Goth is more comfortable in her skin amongst.

It is necessary to look at the violence, the waves in the shallows of this hallucinatory reality, modern society demands that women become more technologically-savvy alongside their male counterparts, Do intelligent women take themselves a seriously as men take themselves? The African feminist’s life is an unexamined life. The onset of the nature of life is symbolism, the consolation prize instrumental in demonstrating the female property is the sensibility of intuition. What is feminism and what in the world does technology have to do with it? Feminism is an abandonment of the vibrations that alters the relations of the biochemistry of childhood into adolescence. Both, by establishing specificity, flatters intelligence, are learning curves, emotional and independent of each other. Both are liberating. Women are gifted since ancient times, since fighting for contraception, the vote, and the encouragement of the suffragette movement. Women are oracles, and at the end of the day a woman’s work is never done.

Self-awareness comes with pain (what does technology have to with that. It is where the introvert and the extrovert, the inhibited intellectual and the exhibitionist meets) but it also comes with futuristic technological advancements to be made. Here is a self-portrait of a machine or robot who we think has no sense of intuition but has a ‘narrative’ or ‘text’ running through it of his own volition that although it cannot think for itself it has science, it is coded, and it has an energy, a personal velocity. It is the creative hand in hand with the advancements in technology who will imagine our future, alongside feminists, female intellectuals and women who are as smart as men, who fought their way to think the way their fathers did or who are smarter than the men they know of, work with or socially interact with or engage with or relate to. It has always been men who has inspired the female intellectual since she was a child and not a woman. Not the mother figure in her life.

The mother figure is a miserable failure to the girl child who wants expression (to express herself), the girl child that wants to be part of a collective but to also be seen as an interloper in modern society. The girl child is fascinated with her older contemporaries. She is always re-enacting scenes from the introduction to her father’s acute sense and sensibility, his culture, his pride, his prejudice becomes part of her psyche, whatever arrogance or anticipatory narcissisms, neuroses that her father portrays it will become part of the girl child’s psychological framework. She writes to liberate herself. She thinks to liberate herself and the miserable failure of a mother does not write, does not think. This is strategic on the part of the girl child. To distance herself from her ‘miserable mother’ who is most probably tired (with a household to run, a husband and children underfoot), sad (because she has no energy, no time for herself), lonely (because she has simply no one to talk to about the things on her plate, she is having to think about the performance about it all when it comes down to it), and depressive (too many things on her mind).

The values of a man have been ingrained in her since childhood, that all book-knowledge is powerful. That was the case with me. What can women share with each other? Education, stories about childbirth, fertility and motherhood. I am not in any way saying that is the case with all women who decide to write as a lifelong career, go into academia, become a feminist (a feminist is ‘being’, it is a kind of humanity, you do not become a feminist, in the end to me it is a small triumph). Aesthetics on the other hand is a panorama, a cordoned off view of explorations, perspectives, small little triumphs, A feminist is a little-known landscape to the mother. There is a crossroads when it comes to the world of tech and the world of the feminist. If you are a feminist you are not only making a statement that this is your identity. You are either a feminist or an egoist or both. You have a lack of an ego, it is also a lecture, my hairstyle, my clothes, my dress, my attitude, the films that I watch and who I choose to love you are saying you are feministic and that it is not a phase. How can technology save women, save feminism, save the girl children? Education can save women, save feminism and save the girl child?

The girl child who grows up to become a writer or a feminist or an intellectual projects what her father projected, what the men around her as a child projected whether they were alcoholics or mentally ill or had beautiful, artistic hands and kind eyes even though perhaps she felt abandoned or neglected by an absent father, even though she had a mother who showed her a world of life. I write the way I write because my mother was the one who abandoned and neglected me. She was the miserable failure who was tired, sad, lonely and depressive. Harsh words but then not every one’s life is a Disney fairy tale. The girl child embroiders fantasia, but when it comes to tech another world opens itself up unto her of biblical proportions and she becomes a Moses, Jonah, a Noah, an Elijah, and a Daniel. Science and education can do that to you. Literature and existential phenomenology can do that to you. Make a radical out of you. Decorative imagery can make tech look pretty. Dealing with tech and feminism is easy, retouching critiques. It is not for the boys anymore.

Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.

African Renaissance

Thoughts From the Frontline

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Photo: Keenan Constance/Unsplash

“Hip/Hop, Trap. I would describe my music as different, unique, compared to what I hear in the music industry in South Africa. It is a different sound of genre based on hip hop. In my downtime I listen to artists like Mexikodro, Playboi Carti, Diego Money, Pyrex Whippa, Lil Gotit and Sahbabii. In my life my family has been and still is a major influence, I just want to see them happy and stress free. I want to be successful so that they can spend the rest of lives living comfortably. I chose music because I believe that it is something I’m good at. I wouldn’t call myself a musical genius, or say that I’m talented musically because I’m not but, I have taken the time to learn everything that I know today, I started as a rapper, but now I am a producer as well, a very good one if I should say, I mix and master vocals, well I try to. It is still something I am learning on a daily basis and I believe that one day if not soon, I will understand that aspect of music. The guys who I record with are so gifted at what they do, we really inspire each other to take it to the next level. I would be lying if I said that I inspire myself, well maybe I do, I don’t know, however what I do know is that we can go to the next level together because nowadays you rarely see a duo or a group of rappers in the South African music industry, there are 4 of us in our group including others who aren’t full time as yet, I think that makes the odds better for us to take it to the next level as opposed to being a solo” SUPREME ZEE, CEO OF Holidae Don’t Stop!

“What inspires me to take it to the next level is basically my daughter, Family and my everyday experiences growing up and living in Westbury losing friends and family to gang violence had a huge effect on me since a young age I’ve been through hell and back if I may describe in short and I’ve realized, to make it out you really need to dig deep. This is also one of the main reasons why I started writing music. I love Music, it is my passion that is mainly why I chose to make music, ever since a young age I’ve just been through the worst writing music and articulating every word I write is therapeutic. Manifesting and having faith in God has carried me through. Major influences in my life remains God, my baby girl, my family and obviously my Team Holidae Dont Stop! We always encourage one another to do our best we definitely do bring out the best in each other and I’d say the beats that supreme Zee creates brings out the best in me personally and it’s also one of the major influences in my music career it’s only elevated since the moment we started. In my down time I listen to All types of music mostly Gospel & HDS. I would describe my music as being one in a million very versatile, real and unusually different from the usual and it has an unorthodox flow and style to it so you can literally expect only the best” TheGR8ACE, CEO and co-founder of Holidae Dont Stop!

My inspiration comes from knowing that I have a God given talent and my friends (HDS) and family that motivates me day to day to do better. I chose music because as a hobby it is something I love doing which started out in high school where I had friends that used to rap over beats and I’d just stand within the circle and listen to their rhymes and it became to amuse me when I found out that there are people in my community creating their own music, whereas in 2019, I linked with the crew Holidae Dont Stop! and it has been a wonderful journey ever since! Learning and growing at the same time. My mother has played a role as one of my biggest inspirations including friends (HDS) have been a major Influence in my life, for they always pushed me to be a better me. Not giving up on me and providing not bad advice but love and positivity. I’ve been in difficult situation in the past and I am just trying to make a better standard of living for my family, my friends as well as my community (Westbury). In my down time I listen to various genres like Rock, Rnb, Hip/Hop, Rap, Emo Rap. I would describe our music as Western Plug for it derives from Hip-hop with an offbeat including 808s and guitar and piano samples that Supreme Zee (Producer) recreates and when hearing the beat, I can automatically put my heart on it.” Bando -recording Artist at Holidae Dont Stop!

 To conclude this, we are all from Johannesburg South Africa as one of our members spread across as far as Cape Town, temporarily. Our member who are not full time are – Leiph Camp (Splaash66) Stock broker, Razaak Benjamin (Glock) Salesman and Marion Reyners (Marion The Great) Facilitator. “Our music is Bold, Iconic and timeless” TheGr8ce. Our crew is based in Jozi (Johannesburg) although we do not have a manager as yet. Our follow up record will sound similar to the “Western Plug tape” that we have recently released, followed by 3 singles. Plug is a genre that derives itself from Hip-Hop and our next single will drop in 2 weeks. The link to our music is on all platforms and the Love and support would be much appreciated. We literally wont stop! –

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African Renaissance

Slavery and the real life bending sinister

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What is slavery? It is nothing more than poverty of the mind. It is not a school of thought or a philosophy. It is scarcity. It is lack. It is cumbersome. It is heavy. It is a burden.

What does it have to do with politics? Ask what it has to do with genocide.

What does it have to do with the power of having a slave mentality? Just as easily as we rise, we fall. A leaf. Ask yourself this. Does the leaf or gravity have the slave mentality or is it just a path to its consciousness, and if it is a meandering path to its consciousness what does that make of gravity? Gravity is easily the culprit or saboteur. A cup carries water but how does the water break through the physical wellness of the body to sate thirst, how does water flow through the universal meridians and find sanctuary in all the wild places that the ocean cannot contain, in code, in which case what observations come out of these natural and bohemian studies.

A slave is a slave is a slave. My grandfather was a slave. My great-grandfather was a slave. On both the paternal and maternal side they are non-existent for me. I live for my father. My father is not a slave. You see his mind is not enslaved. His psyche, his mental, emotional, physical wellness, intellectual prowess and integrity is intact inasmuch as he is not a slave to the peculiarities and eccentricities of the people he finds himself amongst.

In the stages of my own life I can see that I have been enslaved (my mindset and attitude was) by my body image, my identity of cosmic Africa, the cosmos, my self as an African, what I was entitled to, my basic self esteem. I was a slave to my sister, her dalliances, her whiteness, her renouncing Africa for America then Europe and I understood what loneliness, family, friendship and family finally meant and this frightened me a great deal because I realised I had never really loved myself before. I was a slave to every moment up until I heard James Baldwin speak up. I had truly been a slave to waiting for someone to release me and offer me relief somehow from this kind of suffering and cognitive thinking. I wanted happiness but the price for my freedom was this. Somebody else had to love me before I could.

Ask what slavery has cost us as humanity. Look back at history. When I look back at history, all my life I never felt safe. Whether it was the bogeyman, or a horror film, or apartheid, or reading about apartheid, acknowledging it was the difficult part. How would you even begin that dialogue? What could you partner with those hectic images that left you with an urgency and a sense of betrayal from God? So, I grew up with an unpleasant disdain for middle class families in South Africa. It was easy for me to picture them as racist which they were and still are to a certain degree and yet how could I not be? The thought of slavery and decolonization never left me even as a child as I sought to fight for the betterment of society and to right all the evil wrongs.

Slavery is everything. It is primitive. It is visible if you look hard enough. We haven’t even begun to talk about or discuss in rational terms without venting or becoming agitated or irrational about race relations in South Africa or slavery as a concept or narrative in Africa.

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African Renaissance

On watching David Mamet in an African context

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His boots made a squelching sound. In the whorl of her ear a squelching noise on the welcome home mat. The man was quick. The girl was slow. The woman was slow to speak. She was slow to communicate what she was thinking and feeling. The secret part of the actor was valid. Her fear, anxiety and chemistry becoming like the flapping wings of a Bach woman. After the interview came the hurricane. Late morning the man realizes his mistake. The woman remembers her parents’ relationship from childhood. The man remembers how the young woman looked the day he married her. He remembers their courtship and the day they got married. How he squinted at her through the sunlight that fell upon her hair that day at the beach. He had gone fishing. Caught nothing.

He had left her alone to read a magazine on the beach. The town was near decay. It was a tourist destination for the mega rich.  She will think one day (the girl inside of her) that she married the wrong one.  The apparitions come at night. The snow in winter. David Mamet is a mega rich American writer and Republican intellectual. He has made it. Millions won’t. Millions idolize him. Thousands want to be him. They want to live his life for him. They admire him for living so well. There is driftwood on the beach. The chips of wood are like a magnet almost as if they are chipping away something of life at the root heart of humanity. There is always a story to be told from life, from everything. Everyone has a story to tell. The girl sighs with a thousand other girls. Her soul is bitter. She has lost something. She feels she has lost everything because the guy has up and left her stranded with the baby. What is she thinking, what is she feeling? David Mamet is a well-known playwright. In a shining circle the bleak ones live in this world feeling nothing. Existing on the fringes of this life world. They wait in unison for the hereafter. I realize my mistake now. The young girl fell for the wrong guy. The twig sucks me in. The man walks in beauty. Wild geese are calling with a purpose. Music in Africa has its own language.

We are conditioned to think that nothing lasts forever in politics. The only thing that really lasts is a story. It has prophecy and legacy combined. Which one lasts longer? What of our playwrights and our songwriters? It is a summer evening. People are dancing in the street. The smell of barbecue is smoky. She looks at her face as she passes a shop window that is brightly lit up and doesn’t recognize her own face. The wretched and forlorn look upon her face. The young girl smells of bloom ad smoke. She thought she would give it up for Lent. David Mamet is a world-famous director and writer who understands the nature of art and truth when it comes to telling and writing original stories. He started his own theatre company. He married an actress. Conquerors know of miracles. The house has a room that has been standing empty for years. The naming of parts comes with having a range of intelligence, scrutiny, wearing a sorrowful mask, understanding suffering. The woman has a slender body. The actress has a stunning face. The woman has a confession. There is a sharp intake of breath as the man’s fist comes crashing down on the table. You cut your finger with a kitchen knife. Remember, the day you cut your finger with the kitchen knife. Or was it really your fingernail?

The director goes back and forth, back and forth cutting between the tension and the dialogue of the actors. He walks them through their paces. The actors take a well-deserved break. They talk and interact with each other. They smoke and laugh. The girl throughs her head back and sounds silly when she tries to put everyone else at ease when she is not with her own performance. There is some insecurity there. Some self-doubt. They run lines. The gravity of the thing comes into view. We all struggle. Don’t we all, someone in the group says. There are confessions. Then there are more confessions with a trimmed and a manicured nail. I am getting old. I can feel it in my bones. The flesh of my flesh was very tender that day I cut my finger with the kitchen knife. I sliced it like a pear. Prizes make you happy and sad. Here is the ballad of a growing intimacy, a camaraderie amongst the actors in this theatre company. They mill around. No one wants to end the flow of the conversation. They want to work. They don’t want to go home yet. It means sitting at home alone for some. It means a lonely night. The beauty of the dahlias is complicated. Will there be real flowers or plastic fruit on opening night on the table? My sister doesn’t phone to talk to me.

When she does telephone, she speaks to my mother. I wish I was more real than having this kind of a fake personality.  The actress is deciding whether to paint her toenails a fire engine red to stay in character. Pain helps you to grow. If you forsake pain, you also forsake growth. All of us should conquer something in life. Let us go into the wild that is calling. My life has always been on this path.

On the edge of uncertainty. My soul is gone to tell you the truth. It has lost a bit of its own mystery.

When I speak of David Mamet, I think that in the context of Africa that there is the worker Mamet in all of us. Whether it comes to the tradition of oral storytelling or not, the linear arrangement of the goal of the storyline or in the sheltered pose of the actor reading their lines from a script. The past slips out of its calling. Its shell of water. It passes away into nothingness. That means absolutely nothing and everything to me.

I feel it coming. I feel it coming on. Turning me around. This lonely night. Beyond the trees I feel the thaw.

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