Adam Haupt discusses the Fanonian resonances in his new book Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media and Film.
Cutting across academic disciplines, the creative arts and the media, Haupt’s interdisciplinary book forms the basis of his presentation which critically examines music, cinema, social media and the politics of change after apartheid. Static explores some of the ambiguities of life in contemporary South Africa, providing key insights into recent media phenomena, such as Die Antwoord; the 2010 Soccer World Cup; Bok van Blerk; Tsotsi; Kuli Roberts’ Sunday World column on ‘coloureds’; revisionist film Afrikaaps; the University of the Free State’s Reitz video scandal; umShini Wami and The Spear. Playing with two different definitions of the term ‘static’, it poses two central questions: Is South Africa changing for the better, or are we static? Is there too much static for us to hear each other clearly?
Haupt investigates the notion of creative and political agency in South Africa after apartheid, contending that although it is possible for a newer generation of South African artists to move beyond the confines of apartheid racial thinking, the challenges of the past have not all dissipated. By examining racial and gender politics in work by a range of artists, it would appear the legacy of a patriarchal, racialised system lingers on. Moreover, Haupt explains, South Africa’s neoliberal economic policies have perpetuated an order that protects uneven access to (cultural) resources. It is arguable that not much has changed for marginalized artists in South Africa, given the persistence of media monopolies, racialised class disparities and attitudes towards race.
Adam Haupt is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of Stealing Empire: P2P, Intellectual Property and Hip-Hop Subversion, published by the HSRC Press in 2008. In 2010, he was a Mandela Mellon Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, where he conducted research for this book. Haupt has taught at the Universities of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch, and freelanced as an arts journalist for publications such as the Mail & Guardian. In the mid-nineties, he set the scene for research on black youth culture with his work on pioneer rap crew Prophets of da City, whose work was banned by the previous government.
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