Category Archives: Resources

Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to our Hillbrow (2001)

Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow

Refilwe was to observe, in Oxford, that people there talked about Africans and South Africans. These Oxfordians who talked so distinctly about Africa and South Africa were themselves a hybrid of native Oxfordians and those who had acquired citizenship by other means. All those we called by the term Oxfordian, without distinguishing whether they were, indeed, born Oxfordians, or English, or something else. It was no different to the way we generalised about Hillbrowans without venturing to clarify what we meant. […] She learnt that to come from South Africa and to come from Africa were not the same thing at all in the estimation of numerous Oxfordians. She also learnt that when people talked about South Africa, they meant Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Continue reading

Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to our Hillbrow (2001)

Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow

And when you finally come to this part of your journey that ends in the blank wall of suicide… with the spinning of cars the prostitution drug use and misuse the grime and crime the numerous bottles diving from flat balconies giving off sparks o red and yellow from mid-air reflections of street and flat neon lights only to crush on unfortunate souls’ skulls the neon welcoming lights the peace of mind you could see in many Hillbrowans the liveliness of the place and places collapsing while others got renovated new concrete and brick structures standing up where you thought there was no longer any space for anything Quirinalle Hotel changing names and you hoped activities to Badiri House Chelsea Hotel closing down Continue reading

Selma Dabbagh, Out of it (2011)

SelmaDabbaghOutOfIt

London was quiet to Imam. The traffic, planes and people worked along allocated channels. They moved along the grooves cut out for them. It was not a world shaken down and cut through night after night. The noise was conformist and the talk and expressions appeared to operate on one level only. People behaved in ways that seemed unconnected to others. Their actions had repercussions only for themselves. There was an enviable ability to relinquish involvement in the bigger picture, to believe that it was all under control, that somebody with your interests in mind was looking out for you.

Continue reading