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FKA Twigs by Ellen Von Unwerth for The Wild magazine

(via musingsofanawkwardblackgirl)


In various schools in Uganda, and some other parts of Africa, children as young as five are punished for speaking African languages, indigenous languages and mother tongues at school. The modes of punishment differ. The most common one in Uganda is wearing a dirty sack until you meet someone else speaking their mother tongue and then you pass the sack on to them. In some schools, there are specific pupils and students tasked with compiling lists of fellow pupils and students speaking mother tongues. This list is then handed over to a teacher responsible for punishing these language rule-breakers. According to Gilbert Kaburu, some schools have aprons that read: “Shame on me, I was speaking vernacular” handed over to an offender of the No Vernacular rule, who then is tasked with finding the next culprit to give the apron. Most of the punishments, in their symbolism emphasise the uselessness of the African languages.

Commenting on a photo of two children in Uganda wearing dirty sacks as punishment for speaking their mother tongues, Zimbabwean writer, Tendai Huchu says:

“That sums up our self loathing and inferiority complex. Junot Diaz once said we do a better job of enforcing white supremacy ourselves than white supremacists ever could. I should add, notice how the punishment consists of wearing sack-cloth. The image is telling. You are rags if you speak your own language.”

Halima Hosh, agreeing with Tendai Huchu opines:

“It’s outrageous. What a slave mentality that a colonial language is considered higher or better/more worth than their own local language. Unbelievable. Do the Europeans learn any African language in school? No. Why not? Because we are not proud of our heritage, not proud of our languages, not proud of Black African history. These teachers need to be fired.


This is a serious problem. Read the entire article here: http://thisisafrica.me/schools-punishing-children-speaking-african-languages/ (via linglife)

Languages don’t generally become endangered because people just don’t really feel like speaking them anymore: it’s often much more brutal. And similar methods for repressing indigenous languages happen all over the world: this reminded me of a memorable quote from a man in Alaska “Whenever I speak Tlingit, I can still taste the soap.” 

(via allthingslinguistic)

Here in South Africa, there are some schools where black kids get punished for speaking their mother tongue instead of English. Even if it’s just a sentence they get reprimanded at best and given detention at worst because “it’s against school rules to speak anything other than English”. Yet no one says anything to the white kids who speak Afrikaans.

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when you and ya bestfriend say something at the exact same time

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Why do I keep seeing posts spreading information about the protests in Hong Kong that end in sooooooo US INTERVENTION


Fuck your whitehouse.gov petition. The worst thing that can happen is the US to come swooping in in a “humanitarian intervention” 

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One of my pet hates is when people compare tanning with skin lightening. Because they are NOT the same thing. The pressure to tan is nowhere near the pressure to lighten your skin. I absolutely hate it when people say “I can totally understand, I get made fun of for being too pale”. They will…


Subotzky’s book on Pointe City is finally being released tomorrow! I deeply respect and admire their careful, compassionate and deeply conscious relationship to the communities they work with, and their approach to photography as a whole. Hear Subotzky speak through poetry and empathy on his work at a TEDx talk here.

Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse: Pointe City, Johannesberg South Africa.

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse spent much of the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 engaged in the quixotic task of taking a photograph out of every window, of every internal door, and of every television-set in Ponte City. This circular 54-story building has been the subject of their three-year investigation of its structure and its position as the crucible of Johannesburg´s urban mythology.

Pointe City Background (from Artist’s Website):

The fifty-four-storey Ponte City building dominates Johannesburg’s skyline, its huge blinking advertising crown visible from Soweto in the south to Sandton in the north. When it was built in 1976 – the year of the Soweto uprisings – the surrounding flatlands of Berea, Hillbrow and Yeoville were exclusively white, and home to young middle-class couples, students and Jewish grandmothers. Ponte City was separated by apartheid urban planning from the unforgettable events of that year. But as the city changed in anticipation and response to the arrival of democracy in 1994, many residents joined the exodus towards the supposed safety of the northern suburbs, the vacated areas becoming associated with crime, urban decay and, most of all, the influx of foreign nationals from neighbouring African countries.

Ponte’s iconic structure soon became a symbol of the downturn in central Johannesburg. The reality of the building and its many fictions have always integrated seamlessly into a patchwork of myths and projections that reveals as much about the psyche of the city as it does about the building itself. Tales of brazen crack and prostitution rings operating from its car parks, four storeys of trash accumulating in its open core, snakes, ghosts and frequent suicides have all added to the building’s legend. Some of these stories are actually true, and for quite some time most of the residents were indeed illegal immigrants. And yet, one is left with the feeling that even the building’s notoriety is somewhat exaggerated – that its decline is just as fictional as its initial utopian intentions were misplaced and unrealized. 

>continue reading overview

Also see Subotzky’sother projects here, and here