Africa is defined in the popular imagination by images of wild animals, savage dancing, witchcraft, the Noble Savage, and the Great White Hunter. These images typify the majority of Western and even some South African film fare on Africa.
Although there was much negative representation in these films I will discuss how films set in Africa provided opportunities for black American actors to redefine the way that Africans are imaged in international cinema. I conclude this essay with a discussion of the process of revitalisation of South African cinema after apartheid.
The study of post-apartheid cinema requires a revisionist history that brings us back to pre-apartheid periods, as argued by Isabel Balseiro and Ntongela Masilela (2003) in their book’s title, To Change Reels. The reel that needs changing is the one that most of us were using until Masilela’s New African Movement interventions (2000a/b;2003). This historical recovery has nothing to do with Afrocentricism, essentialism or African nationalisms. Rather, it involved the identification of neglected areas of analysis of how blacks themselves engaged, used and subverted film culture as South Africa lurched towards modernity at the turn of the century. Names already familiar to scholars in early South African history not surprisingly recur in this recovery, Solomon T. Plaatje being the most notable.
It is incorrect that ‘modernity denies history, as the contrast with the past – a constantly changing entity – remains a necessary point of reference’ (Outhwaite 2003: 404). Similarly, Masilela’s (2002b: 232) notion that ‘consciousness of precedent has become very nearly the condition and definition of major artistic works’ calls for a reflection on past intellectual movements in South Africa for a democratic modernity after apartheid. He draws on Thelma Gutsche’s (1972) assumption that film practice is one of the quintessential forms of modernity. However, there could be no such thing as a South African cinema under the modernist conditions of apartheid. This is where modernity’s constant pull towards the future comes into play (Outhwaite 2003). Simultaneous with the necessary break from white domination in film production, or a pull towards the future away from the conditions of apartheid, South Africans will need to re-acquire the ‘consciousness of precedent’, of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the New African Movement, such as is done in Come See the Bioscope (1997) which images Plaatjes’s mobile distribution initiative in the teens of the century. The Movement’s intellectual and cultural accomplishments in establishing a national culture in the context of modernity is a necessary point of reference for the African Renaissance to establish a national cinema in the context of the New South Africa (Masilela 2000b). Following Masilela (ibid.: 235), debates and practices that are of relevance within the New African Movement include:
1. the different structures of portrayal of Shaka in history by Thomas Mofolo and Mazisi Kunene across generic forms and in the context of nationalism and modernity;
2. the discussion and dialogue between Solomon T. Plaatje, H.I.E. Dhlomo, R.V. Selope Thema, H. Selby Msimang and Lewis Nkosi about the construction of the idea of the New African, concerning national identity and cultural identity;
3. the lessons facilitated by Charlotte Manye Maxeke and James Kwegyir Aggrey in making possible the connection between the New Negro modernity and New African modernity;
4. the discourse on the relationship between Marxism and modernity within the context of the Trotskyism of Ben Kies and I.B. Tabata and the Stalinism of Michael Harmel, Albert Nzula and Yusuf Mohammed Dadoo; and
5. the feminist political practices of Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Phyllis Ntanatala and others.
The oldest public collection of radical history completed a digital archive of over 2,000 posters. The Joseph A. Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan Library announced this month that its posters on anarchism, civil liberties, feminism, labor, and other political movements are online for the first time.
“It’s not enough for us to preserve the artifact if people cannot see it,” Julie Herrada, Labadie Collection curator, told Hyperallergic. “Posters are a difficult format because they are fragile and can only withstand so much physical handling, so providing access to these materials while keeping them safe is a complicated process, or it was, until the technology and resources became more readily available to us.”
Read more: http://hyperallergic.com/the-revolution
The aim of this paper is to remind modern researchers studying modern, post-Soeharto Indonesia of the research on the history of political capitalism in Asia, including the Indonesian Archipelago done by the Dutch scholar Van Leur. While preparing his well known thesis on the Asian Trade system, he concluded that the Indonesian island group has a bipartite geopolitical structure. This structure consists of a maritime zone of sea routes and coastal urban centres dominated by local and interregional political capitalism, and a peripheral part that stands partly on its own and is in part connected to the first zone. The question he asked was why the Asian type of political trade capitalism had been able to survive for such a long time and had even had been continued by the V.O.C., while in Europe this form of capitalism had long disappeared.
Today these questions once again become interesting as we become progressively aware that, on both the national and the regional level, the Soeharto regime that fell in 1998 was fuelled by a type of political capitalism that came close to what had existed during pre-colonial and early colonial times. And thus the question of the continuity of political capitalism returns to the agenda of modern Asia research.
In the introduction I pointed out that Indonesia’s recent ethnic tensions occurred especially in the coastal cities and coastal areas where Indonesia’s strategic resources are located, and not to any great degree in the interiors of the major islands. In the course of Indonesia’s long history, many ethnic groups have evidently settled in and around the coastal cities, where they live together. This geographical curiosity has its roots in Indonesia’s past as an international emporium and trade port in the overseas trade between India en China, as well as at certain times between Asia and Europe. This trade needed ports of call [i] under the control and protection of local rulers. These rulers allowed foreigners [ii] that contributed to the settlement’s trade to settle in their own wards with their own heads and courts. These wards had a certain measure of diplomatic immunity, turning the ports of call into places with an international population. In this context, foreign businessmen and traders became the driving force behind maritime Asia’s coastal economy. The geographical position of the urban settlements in the archipelago and their mixed populations has not fundamentally changed in the past two thousand years, as is evident from maps 1 through 2.
The question that arises from this historical continuity is whether the underlying political and economic systems have remained unchanged as well. The answer is partly yes and partly not. Partly yes, because, as will become clear in this chapter, the central organizing factor behind the distribution of coastal cities and ethnic communities has been political capitalism, both then and now[iii]. Partly not, because the modern form of political capitalism in Asia, to wit the nationalistic side of the modern nation-state, subjects everything within its borders to its authority and mistrusts foreign businesses and capital because of their excessive power in the world-markets and their danger to the domestic market. Read more
By Islamic Historiography I mean written material concerning the events of the early period of Islam written by Muslim historians. This material is essential for any major research on Islam but has been continuously discredited by predominantly Western scholars. Therefore, before the study of these texts, an outline of their characteristics and a short discussion about the criticisms of these texts and their authors is indispensable.
Among the problems proclaimed in the criticisms are: the gap between the historical events and their recording, the fact that early historical compilations have not survived and have been paraphrased or summarized in later digests, the problem of the oral origin of many reports, the task of the historian, the incompatibility of non-Islamic sources, forged reports, political influences on historiography, the purpose of historiography and the originality of the historian.
In this paper the criticisms concerning the Islamic historiography and the answers of the some historians to these criticisms will be surveyed.
The origin, the terminology and the form of the early Islamic historiography
According to Robinson, Arabs produced very little written material before Islam and relied instead on orality.
It seems logical to conclude that the enormous volume of written work which was produced after Islam must be ascribed primarily to the emphasis in various Qur´ānic verses on writing and the stories in this book about the previous peoples and prophets, which encouraged the Muslims to narrate, and reflect and investigate about the origins of those narrations, examples are, the next two verses:
…By the pen and what they write with it…. (Qur’ān 68:1)
Relate these allegorical stories (to the people) perhaps they might think. (Qur’ān 7:176).3
The second important impetus seems to have been the traditions of the Prophet of Islam which were to be preserved for the future generations. Islamic Tradition informs us that the Prophet of Islam discouraged his followers, in the initial stages of his mission, to write about him in order to prevent any confusion between his sayings and the Qur´ān.
However the reports about the alteration of this attitude in a later stadium encouraged the biographers to write Sīra or biographical collections at the end of the first and beginning of the second Islamic century. The campaigns of the Prophet (Maġāzī) and the conquests (Futūḫ)  were the other historical works, produced in the period between the first works and the later great compilations.
The collections with the modern name for history, Ta’riḥ, appeared in the 2nd/9th century.
Their source material consisted of Aḥbār which according to Rosenthal means both information and the events and corresponds to history in the sense of story, anecdote (ḫekāyat). Later, when the term was used together with āthār, it became synonymous to hadīth.
The other sources were the above mentioned Sīra, Maġāzī and Futūḫ works, the books of aḥbāriyyūn and genealogical works and oral accounts.
Thus, the first historical works, as the ordered record of the events of the past, began as a mixture of the above mentioned genres. This is the same multi-faceted character that Robinson says history used to have:
“…coming via Latin from the Greek historia, generally meant ´inquiry´; it earlier described a variety of genres, including geography, folklore and ethnography, in addition to what we would commonly understand to be history.”
And the way Rosenthal defines history:
History in the narrow sense.., should be defined as the literary description of any sustained human activity either of groups or individuals which is reflected in, or has influence upon the development of a given group or individual….for the modern mind, the general concept of history may, in theory, be extended to include all animate or inanimate matters. 
While he also mentions that:
Muslim historiography includes those works which Muslims, at a given moment of their literary history, considered historical works and which, at the same time, contain a reasonable amount of material which can be classified ashistorical according to our definition of history, as given above. 
Thus, history is made up of many elements which together have certain meaning for certain people. This is by no means the denial of general definitions of or theories about history, rather, the emphasis is on the meaning of a certain concept, object or idea in a specific context.
Not only the combination of aḥbār and āthār became synonymous to ḫadīth, but also the form of historical narratives took the form of ḫadīth. According to Dūrī two perspectives existed among the early compilers: the ḫadīth perspective and the tribal perspective. Very soon, the first perspective prevailed which explains why the Islamic historiography has maintained the form of ḫadīth, thus, beginning with an isnād or chain of transmitters, continued by the report (ḥabar).
The problems concerning the Islamic historiography
Islamic history books and Muslim historians have been the subject of both praise and critique. There are problems concerning the historical texts and those concerning the narrators both historians and their transmitters.
One problem ascribed to Islamic historiography is the fact that there is a gap between the time of the events of the early period of Islam and their historiography. Is this gap so long that it can in fact disqualify the whole historiography? It seems that this gap was not considered to be very important when the Western scholars first came into contact with the Islamic sources of the second and third century of Islamic era. Perhaps this was caused by their earlier experiences with other historiographies. The later recording of the events in Islam had its precedents in other historiographies. For example, according to Robinson: The gap between event and record in early Islam is relatively narrow compared with our source material for the ancient Israelites, which usually dates from several centuries after the facts they purport to relate.
Thus the problem of late compilation does not seem to be restricted to Islamic historiography. Read more
Fatsoenlijk land – Porgel en Porulan in het verzet van Loes Gompes Het boek verscheen in 2013 bij Rozenberg Publishers – ISBN 978 90 361 0350 3 – Met DvD van de documentaire Fatsoenlijk land (Lumen Film – 60 min.)
Proloog ~ Verzet in twee werelden
Athene, Rome en Jeruzalem in Alkmaar
De Duitse inval en het ontslag van de vaders
De Vrije Groepen Amsterdam
Porgel en Porulan in documenten en voedsel
Bevrijding – Foto’s Jan Hemelrijk
Jan Hemelrijk gaf de groep de naam PP-groep. Dat gebeurde bij de oprichting van de Vrije Groepen Amsterdam (VGA) in 1944 toen elke groep een naam moest kiezen. Je zou kunnen denken dat het een verwijzing is naar Potasch en Perlemoer, de twee kibbelende joodse zakenlieden uit de bekende gelijknamige vooroorlogse volkskomedie. Maar dat was niet het geval. Jan liet zich inspireren door de ‘porgel’ en de ‘porulan’, fantasiebeesten in het clandestien verschenen nonsensrijm De Blauwbilgorgel (1943) van Cees Buddingh’.
Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Mijn vader was een porgel,
Mijn moeder was een porulan,
Daar komen vreemde kind’ren van.
Raban! Raban! Raban!
Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Ik lust alleen maar korgel,
Behalve als de nachtuil krijst,
Dan eet ik riep en rimmelrijst.
Rabijst! Rabijst! Rabijst!
Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Als ik niet wok of worgel,
Dan lig ik languit in de zon
En knoester met mijn knezidon.
Rabon! Rabon! Rabon! I
Ik ben de blauwbilgorgel,
Eens sterf ik aan de schorgel,
En schrompel als een kriks ineen
En word een blauwe kiezelsteen.
Ga heen! Ga heen! Ga heen!
Cees Buddingh’ (1918 – 1985)
Professional Blindness And Missing The Mark ~ The Historical Analysis Of Four Major Crises During The First Two Decades Of The Republic Of Indonesia
Within a few days we will begin publishing Professional Blindness And Missing The Mark ~ The Historical Analysis Of Four Major Crises During The First Two Decades Of The Republic Of Indonesia. The paperback edition will be available in the beginning of 2015 (EHV Academicpress – Bremen).
This book contains six captivating articles about decisive moments in the first two decennia of the Republic of Indonesia’s existence (1945-1965); one per chapter with an introduction. They were presented at the memorial in honor of Professor dr. Wim Wertheim’s centennial birthday in 2008 – the doyen of post-war Dutch Indonesia research.
Each chapter explores a significant event from that era and was written by experienced researchers – Mary van Delden, Saskia Wieringa, Ben White, Pieter Drooglever and Coen Holtzappel – making use of source material that for the most part has been neglected by previous research. The analyses of the material reveal the new Republic’s struggle to bring together, and keep together, the colonial heritage of the Dutch East Indies in one independent and productive Republic of Indonesia. The foundation of a domestically, across the archipelago, and internationally accepted national government, as well as obedient regional governments and obliging armed forces, were deciding factors in this struggle.
Violent confrontations between armed forces and the communist party PKI took place in 1948 during the Indonesian National Revolution, as well as in 1965 after the Republic had already been independent for 14 years. The dividing issue was the power balance between politics and army top in state, government and land. A rigorous break with the past was made in 1965, which saw the installation of a junta regime under the leadership of General Soeharto that stayed in place for the following 32 years. Democracy had to wait until the army top made sure every part of politics and armed forces was finely adapted to work with the other. Not until then would the clock of government, production and control be fully set.
The articles reveal a blind spot in Western research of Indonesian developments in the discussed period; research that from 1965 onward was further, and permanently, influenced by the Indonesian army’s view. The Cold War raged domestically as well as abroad.
Coen Holtzappel – Preface
Mary van Delden – Internees from the Republic
Coen Holtzappel – The year 1948 and the Madiun affairs, a year of cheat and rumours
Pieter Drooglever – Papua Nationalism. Another blind spot
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part One
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part Two
Coen Holtzappel – The Thirtieth September Movement of 1965, as viewed by the perpetrators – Part Three
Saskia Eleonora Wieringa – Sexual Slander And The 1965/66 Mass Killings In Indonesia: Political And Methodological Considerations
Ben White – The anthropologist’s blind spot: Clifford Geertz on class, killings and communists in Indonesia
Coen Holtzappel & Pieter Drooglever – Postscript
About the authors