Western record hunters race to the past

1960s London record store
Photographer Alex Bartsch retraces reggae record sleeves in London
Your records should be uniquely, YOU

Reader in Music and Media at the University of Gloucestershire and author of PJ Harvey and Music Video Performance Abigail Gardner, writes an interesting take in Quartz on the recent trend of collecting and reissuing African music.

Are Western crate diggers the new colonists?

John Peel liked the freshness of The Bhundu Boys, they were contemporary. He didn’t live long enough to experience this recent race to the past in music, this tracking down of the undocumented curiosity, this search for music that sounds old but is new, this new colonialism. If he were alive now, he’d be playing Ata Kak’s new songs and moving things forward.

The True Size of Africa

Africa is a massive continent. But for whatever reason, map makers make it appear smaller than its “true true” size. As Polish-American scientist Alfred Korzybski reminds us, “the map is not the territory.” Lines are ultimately arbitrary.

Map design is deceptive. But computer-graphics designer Ka Kraise took it upon himself to ‘fight against rampant immappancy,’ in particular the popular Mercator projection originated by Gerardus Mercator in 1569 which tends to exaggerate the size of continents and countries more than others. Greenland, for instance, is 14 times larger than Africa.


As you can see above, Kraise illustrates the reality of Africa’s size, that which is “larger than the USA, China, Japan, and all of Europe, combined!” The Economist revisualized Kraise’s map as well.


Kudos to Kraise for illuminating our ignorance about geographical knowledge, pointing the finger at Western and Asian students who tend to inflate the size of their countries when in actuality Africa makes everyone else look so small.

Read more in The Economist: ‘The true true size of Africa’

Pascal Maitre’s African journey

Bata children after their First Communion. Equatorial Guinea, 1989 (Pascal Maitre/Agence Cosmos)

Photojournalist Pascal Maitre has been capturing Africa for over 30 years. But “each story is like new,” he said an interview with The New York Times, “You must find a new solution, a new piece to make the story.”

Photographers are first-class noticers. They wait for something to happen. Said Maitre:

“The most difficult part is to be in a place where something interesting is happening. To get physical access, authorization and safety. Once you’re on the spot, shooting is never difficult.”


Kenya Launches Bid To Be First African Olympic Host In 2024

If Cape Town didn’t get it in 2004, I’m highly suspect that Kenya will get selected, even if the event is 14 years away.   

But the bid demonstrates Africa’s new spirt and audacity.  While everyone is talking about the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), we’re about to see a new Africa emerge that is far more transcendent.  

Blind Eye

It doesn’t matter how big or small the cage, if you close the door the dog still wants to roam free.

Barking, crying, and scratching persists for as long as you stay near.  The dog will go on until it hears complete silence, acknowledging that no one is there to help. 

Many of us turn a deaf ear to many of the global events going on around us.  You may be aware that there’s a civil war going on in Syria?  Or that half of India just lost power for days. By the way, you can invest in Africa now.  Are we simply too far on the big island of America to care?  

We can’t help out everyone but we can show acknowledgement and concern by listening to the people are living in it.     

Here a starter:  Follow @SyrianDeveloper on Twitter for behind the scenes real-time Instagram photos.  

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