afrikan boy

there’s this incredibly young (this perspective’s coming up being more than six years from teenage. hell, yes.)  and in a way down-to-earth gent filled with beats called afrikan boy, which i’d love to see perform in stuttgart this weekend. though i’ve got promises to keep and won’t be able to shake my blessings at the bassschule; instead i’ll hook with a bunch of serious easy riders in the swabian province and – for the first time in my life (and, if the angels keep up with me as they used to (thanks, chicks!), the last time) – will climb a tank. coming back to afrikan boy – his tracks are decent ones for people in love with bass, and i’m really into his way of quoting african music styles, like he does with jams from naija. i fell for this guy when i stumbled into his small shoplifting-track ‘lidl’ some afternoon as well as for the nice ‘who stole my visa???’-shirt he sports.

he appeared on M.I.A.’s tracks and will probably entertain the crowd this weekend and in the year to come. besides the way of writing his stage name is a statement i totally agree with, he puts himself in a line of tradition here. wanna follow?

a most charming herr gave me a present concerned with exactly this issue the other day, a book by saki mafundikwa with the title ‘afrikan alphabets, the story of writing in afrika’. in a graphically alluring way it tells about the forgotten alphabets of african languages, on writing systems that, as the author points out, always have an aesthetic dimensions besides they’re informative matter, due to being part of the system of visual communication.

afrika should be written with a ‘k’, as the author points out. written like it is in every afrikan language. the ‘c’ came from overseas  (nice for germanspeakers, btw – on the right track for once, though most definitely not self-inflicted). this little punchline seems to initiate a rather limited revolution at first sight – in fact it raises fundamental questions of identity and cultural independence. mafundikwa takes a smart turn in taking the word alphabet to match all writing systems:

“the european colonizers claimed afrikan territory with impunity, and thereby created new historical realities for the coloniezd. i have taken a cue from them and claimed the word alphabet; so for the title of this book, all writing systems become alphabets – hence, Afrikan Alphabets”

this book is a very engaging and motivating one, honouring some great minds neglected in art history. it’s for people who are into (typo-)graphics and design, even more than that for concious people willing to learn and to break with stereotyping both afrika and europe. i started off indulging in mafundikwa’s research on a trip to the west, it inspired me a lot and in a variety of ways i’m not done with it yet (guess it needs another one of those lil aways to the left). read it! and afterwards let it flow and fly like a paper plane, like knowledge might at times, and turn up the speakers and listen, ladies’n’gents.


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