archive - issue 14

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  • /

    By Ruth Barker
    On the QWERTY layout of my computer keyboard, the symbol / appears beside the questioning symbol ?. They are represented together on the same key, and
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  • Apartment / Containers

    By Vincent Bezuidenhout
    These diptychs are the start of a series of images I have been working on regarding the visual landscape we choose to surround ourselves
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  • I returned home after my first year in college to discover my younger sister had turned gorgeous. This was a disappointment, but not an
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  • Butterfly

    By Adriana de Barros
    The pupa, a silk wrap of emotionsIsolated, within breathing, wanting to bethe intense pronoun of selfIt is silly to be one's own pronounShe giggles
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  • Collage

    By Claudio Parentela
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  • Drag and Snap

    By Leigh-Anne Niehaus
    This series is inspired by the childhood game of "snapdragon", which allows for simplistic and delightful decision-making through random selections of colour and number.
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  • Evidence of Life

    By Tamlyn Martin
    Below is an extract from a series of 11 poems created in parallel with visual artworks. 5. Memories laced with visceral realityFlooding herThe gentle
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  • Forward! Slash!

    By Travis Lyle
    You think you're a forward-thinking kinda person, do you? Lemme be the one to break it to you, sunshine – you're as lame as the
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  • Human/Nature

    By Lydia Anne McCarthy
    This series explores moments between nature and human beings that are at once idealistic and unsettling. Each picture is an independent narrative, but placed
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  • Immigrants

    By Stanley Onjezani Kenani
    you want to livenothing leaveto liveyou swimor like fresh sardinesyou are packedin boatsyou leaveto live.  you leavegold in the belly of Africaoil in
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  • In Between

    By Tania van Schalkwyk
    Raised in an Arabian land of heat, fire and temper,sometimes the calm of England clamps downlike damp in a bathroom with no windowand a
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  • Letter to the Editor

    By Elan Gamaker
    Dear Sir/Madam I should like strenuously to object to the subject matter ("/") of your current issue. It must first be mentioned, however, that it
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  • Or: a line drawing

    By Gabeba Baderoon
    Pencil and nothing. Her face turned almost entirely away. Forehead, cheekbone,jaw,the bun low in her neck,shoulderand down,the long linejust enoughthen left alone.
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  • p u n c t u a t i o n

    By Ula Einstein
    Einstein works with a diverse range of media, including drawings and installation with fire, thread, and blades. The series of drawings and installations with
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    By Sean Hampton-Cole
    Keys. John speaking. 'Lo?Good morning. May I speak to Bob Mitchell please?Bob in Bonds?I'm not really sure. I'm trying to...You want extension 125. This
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  • Pretty Babies

    By Peregrine Honig
    With the premise that "/ " presents what is IN and what is OUT, the "Pretty Babies" series explores the fashion industry's well-published and syndicated DOs
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  • River Bank

    By Mario Sughi
    The symbol / is intended initially as a symbol of division. A real or unreal line divides the girl from the water, the girl from
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  • Scissor

    By Charlotte Gait
    There was a time when you and I were connected by iron, acid, vitamin and blood. Where every mouthful I took was with the
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  • Seasaw

    By Sol Kjøk
    Here, the motif is conceived of as a seesaw (the typo in the title is intended, as this drawing is part of a series
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  • Series Seven Up

    By Noel Fignier
    Text by João Branco Kyron, HipnóticaThe collision is imminent and in the fraction of time left, the eyes shut and the vision is superbly
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  • A battle over samoosas between the snobbish Cinderella and a homeless electrician is mediated by Cinderella's boyfriend JJ. The samoosa battle is conflated with
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  • Wayne Porter, freelance journalist, donned his anthropologist's birthday suit and hit the bowling alley. Bar the bowlers hat tipped gently off centre, the man
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  • The Incised Wound

    By Joanne Hichens
    "Please, for me, Dave," I placed my hand on his, and really, no begging, just asked him nicely, "Lay off the booze tonight." Whether
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  • He had been driving for hours through that unstable, somnambulist night when he fell asleep at the wheel. He awoke with a start and
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  • The space between.

    By Mehita Iqani
    It's a handy little line, the one that we use to make our options known. Either/Or. Paper and ink or binary code? Its clichéd,
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  • Un Hombre Fuerte

    By Tamo Vonarim Written these words are, at times of a subconscious flow – whether they are mine, I don't know. All I know is that I
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  • Unbroken Awareness

    My life is now a floating shellI am a vessel on that river.The storm, the ship, the sea,Whose shores we lost in crossing.  I
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  • Untitled

    By Wilhelm Saayman
    This series of images, made using pen and ink, photographs and Photoshop, explore alternate/dream realities.
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  • Untitled

    By Aryan Kaganof
    /At R550 rand I thought I'd rather die/ My mother: can I trust this woman?/ I thought the Romans were coming, dinkum/ …and always
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Saturday, 03 September 2011 02:00

Life After Death

By  Nick Mwaluko
Young, strong, sharp, reality's electric in your present tense-this is who you are before the phone rings:

"Dead? Murdered, who was?"

David Kato, 46, gay rights activist, Ugandan, bludgeoned with a hammer to the skull in his own home and now a group of organizers in New York City want a vigil in his honor followed by peaceful protest outside Uganda House would you like to come? Poof, just like that, from the time you answered the phone then put it back down, you're older, weaker, matured in the face of sudden death.

Two days later it's Thursday and two hundred-plus people gather outside Dag Hammarskojld Plaza on 48th street and 1st Avenue, yourself included. There are larger than life photographs of David Kato in black and white. Posters stamped with his profile held high above cardboard placards written in Kiswahili, east Africa's lingua franca, the common language that binds a people who share similar customs, tribal traditions, and legislative bigotry against same-sex partnerships.

Marching single column three-person thick, moments later we arrive at the Ugandan Mission to the United Nations. Men, women, leaders at the podium tell us why Kato's death is so important to this day and age. And so speech after speech adds power to our peaceful protest but the war of words, no matter how poetic or epic, can't quiet the pain of losing a gay brother to state-sanctioned bigotry, fear, hatred, ignorance, denial, silence.

The speeches die, the drumming stops, the chanting begins:

"What do you want?"

"Justice!" "

When do you want it?"

"Now!" "

Can't hear you. What do you want?!"


Meanwhile Ugandan diplomats, safely snug inside their cozy mission, peep through blinders at the spectacle below. We're a strong, diverse, fist-pumping crowd directing our anger at nobody in particular.

My first thought? Where is the rage?

My next thought? Why is activism so inactive?

My final thought? Since when is activity action? By which I mean, let's throw rocks at the window the next time a diplomat dares look down at us, shatter any false sense of safety by breaking glass or spilling blood. Kick down a door or two, set off an alarm maybe, set fire to a tall pile of paper trash. Do something, anything so they feel what it's like when hatred erupts at any given moment for no reason then goes unpunished and unexplained. Not that revenge can snuff the fire burning in our hearts by bringing David Kato back to life in a world remade without terror, a world filled with social justice. But unexplained hatred directed at someone for no reason is a feeling queers know all too well and Ugandan diplomats don't know enough of, so maybe they should experience it just once before drafting legislation against homosexuals.

It's late. Protestors interviewed by TV crews are gone. Those carrying posters with slogans in Kiswahili are gone too. So are the diplomats.

One group takes their candles, places them on a mound of snow covering slush. The candles are in a circle surrounding with flowers in the middle. They glow like embers, like stars in the nighttime sky.

Before leaving, the wind blows so I turn, take one long, last look at circle of candles to keep their flame burning in my memory forever. Dead, the wind blew them out. But there is one that stands alone, free, and still burns bright to this day.

David Kato.
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