The Chimurenga Chronic
Chimurenga’s new publishing project is a once-off, one-day-only edition of a fictional pan African newspaper to be released on “Black Wednesday”, October 19th 2011 – a historic day in South Africa that marks the banning of numerous Black Consciousness organizations and independent newspapers by the old apartheid regime.
Titled The Chimurenga Chronic, the project is an intervention into the newspaper as a vehicle of knowledge production and dissemination. Our sense of history, our sense of what is important and our sense of record are all marked by the newspaper medium.
To explore this, the Chimurenga Chronic is backdated to the week of May 18-24 2008, the period marked by the outbreak of so-called xenophobic violence in South Africa.
A low-tech time-travel machine, The Chimurenga Chronic seeks to provide an alternative to mainstream representations of history, on the one hand filling the gap in the historical coverage of this event, whilst at the same time reopening it. The objective is not to revisit the past to bring about closure, but rather to provoke and challenge our perceptions.
The Chimurenga Chronic is both a bold art project and a hugely ambitious publishing venture that gives voice to all aspects of life on the continent.
The 128-page multi-section broadsheet features news, analysis and long-form journalism by award-winning writers and journalists. Its content rages from in-depth investigations into xenophobia, border politics, the business of migration and ethnic economics, to innovative coverage of sports, arts, mental health, media, technology and more.
The stand-alone 40 page Chronic Life Magazine features photography, essays, guides, games, columns and more, and the Chronic Book Review Magazine is a self-contained 96 page magazine packed with interviews, analysis and over 30 pages of book reviews, as well as new fiction and poetry.
The Chronic also comes packaged with a free audio CD supplement in the form of a “mixtape,” titled Dipalo and composed, arranged and performed by Neo Muyanga.
A Pan African Collaboration
In an effort to challenge the newspapers’ history as a tool of nationalism, The Chimurenga Chronic is a pan African production, created in cooperation with independent publishers Kwani? in Kenya and Nigeria’s Cassava Republic Press. It brings together journalists and editors, writers, theorists, photographers, illustrators and artists from around Africa and the world to create a platform for debate, dialogue and exchange.
Other participating partners include Chinua Achebe Centre for African Writers and Artists at Bard College, New York, USA; Mail & Guardian, South African’s weekly national newspaper; and Glänta, the Swedish literary journal.