Thursday, September 11, 2008
the myths of our times
Its a strange old world. This is a chitenje (sarong wrap) worn by a woman in a village on the shores of Lake Malawi.
I wasn't sure whether to post this. I put it on facebook, hardly expecting the furore of comments it provoked.
We had a beautiful afternoon with a group of women who are part of a radio listeners club, a community radio project that gives listeners clubs their own recorders so that they can record inserts on the issues that affect them. They send the tapes to the local station and then they get aired - its a lovely, elegant design for community involvement - mostly in public health matters.
The photo was an afterthought - as we were leaving I noticed what she was wearing and asked if I might take a pic. She didn't really see what all the fuss was about - F the photoman was very excited by the image. You often see representations of Saddam, Osama, the towers, if you travel around Africa. On wall paintings, on cheap shirts made in China or India. These images have become like comic books or campfire stories to explain mysterious forces of the universe. Like the angry gods of old, they've grown out of their contexts like billowing dust clouds. Signifiers run wild and then tamed again.
I've decided that its safe to post it. Even though most of my dear loyal readers will have already seen it on facebook.
Safe, as in - I don't think Mrs Phiri (not her real name but common as Smith or Jones in Malawi) will get found out and arrested for running a terror outfit. Even though they do have their own radio.
And while we're talking about conspiracies... (er, we were though, weren't we?)
What are the chances we could arrange for the Hardon machine, I mean, sorry Hadron machine, to create a black hole that could devour Sarah Palin.
Here in Jozi, where the air is hot and still, we pray for peace.