Curating Africa in the Age of Film Festivals by Lindiwe Dovey (auth.)

By Lindiwe Dovey (auth.)

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This work demands a different kind of “care”—not usually of original objects, since film is a mechanically reproduced medium,1 but of people and the presentation of their creations, a point to which I will return later. The distinction between “auratic objects” and “art” began a long time before the age of mechanical reproduction. A new way of looking at objects was cultivated during the Roman Empire, developing citizens into observers of “art” rather than participants in worship. Bassett suggests that “[e]mphasis on the aesthetic appeal of cult images neutralized their sacred qualities and in so doing made them legitimate objects of profane aesthetic contemplation of the Christian viewer” (quoted in Abt 2011: 119, my emphasis).

Tv, BuniTV, and iROKOtv. Complementing these are specific apps for mobile devices with African content, such as Afrinolly, a free app with feature films, short films, television shows, trailers, and music videos from Africa. An Economist article on Internet and mobile phone usage in Kenya speaks to the situation across much of sub-Saharan Africa when it notes that “Kenya is still a poor country; few of its people own laptops. But there are 74 mobile phones for every 100 Kenyans . . And nearly 99% of internet subscriptions in Kenya are on mobile phones” (Economist 2012).

Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika, Maluphakanyisw’ uphondo lwayo, Yizwa imithandazo yethu, Nkosi sikelela, Thina lusapho lwayo . . There was no dance performance that night. The power failure disrupted the possibility of that. But it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. That moment was extraordinary for me, personally, in terms of the political transition in South Africa. On no other occasion did I feel so intimately swept up in, and a part of, the “change” that politicians were talking about on television every night.

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