Day by Day
For this season's issue of Studio magazine, writer and scholar Amanda Alexander contributes a wonderful essay reflecting on Zwelethu Mthethwa's photographic portraiture, and the South African political backdrop.
South Africa’s first decade of democracy brimmed with the language of betrayal. Progressive commentators and representatives of new social movements denounced the administrations of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki for their broken promises—and for good reason. By 1999, the African National Congress (ANC) had made little headway in rectifying the material outcomes of colonialism, segregation, and apartheid; instead their own neoliberal economic policies were deepening racialized and gendered inequality.1 For these reasons, commentators have constantly reflected back on the early 1990s, obsessed with a lost moment, with what this democracy could have been and what the revolution might have brought. Social movements have continuously reminded the government that this is not the democracy they struggled for and have argued that it is up to the poorest South Africans to salvage the revolution, to make good on the insurrectionary promises made between comrades in trenches and jail cells.
Catching Up with a Young Designer
The two-hour trip from Harlem to St. Albans, Queens, is a trek and a pilgrimage that takes you from the brownstone bustle to quaint tree-lined streets. St. Albans is fabled for the black luminaries who called it home—from W.E.B. DuBois to Lena Horne to LL Cool J. Budding fashion designer and autodidact LaQuan Smith intends to add his name to this list.