Case of the rotting mummies

first_img The head of a Chinchorro mummy. Photo courtesy of Marcela Sepulveda “In the last 10 years, the process has accelerated,” said Marcela Sepulveda, a professor of archaeology in the anthropology department and the Archeometric Analysis and Research Laboratories at the University of Tarapacá, during a recent visit to Cambridge. “It is very important to get more information about what’s causing this and to get the university and national government to do what’s necessary to preserve the Chinchorro mummies for the future.”What was eating the mummies? To help solve the mystery, Sepulveda called on experts in Europe and North America, including Ralph Mitchell, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Biology Emeritus at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Mitchell has used his knowledge of environmental microbiology to pinpoint the causes of decay in everything from historic manuscripts to the walls of King Tutankhamen’s tomb to the Apollo spacesuits.“We knew the mummies were degrading but nobody understood why,” he said. “This kind of degradation has never been studied before. We wanted to answer two questions: What was causing it and what could we do to prevent further degradation?”Preparing the mummies “was a complicated process that took time — and amazing knowledge,” Sepulveda said. The Chinchorro would first extract the brains and organs, then reconstruct the body with fiber, fill the skull cavity with straw or ash, and use reeds to sew it back together, connecting jaw to cranium. A stick kept the spine straight and tethered to the skull. The embalmer restored the skin in place — sometimes patching the corpse together using the skin of sea lions or other animals. Finally, the mummy was covered with a paste, the color of which archaeologists assign to different epochs in the more than 3,000 years of Chinchorro mummy-making: black made from manganese was used in the oldest, red made from ocher was employed in later examples, and brown mud was applied to the most recent finds.The first thing that Mitchell and his team needed was physical evidence, something Sepulveda supplied in the form of samples — both damaged and undamaged skin — taken from the museum’s collection. The task of receiving the unusual shipment fell to Alice DeAraujo, a research fellow in Mitchell’s lab who also played a lead role in analyzing the samples as part of her thesis for a master’s degree in biology at Harvard Extension School.It became apparent to DeAraujo and Mitchell that the degradation was microbial. Now they needed to determine if there was a microbiome on the skin that was responsible.“The key word that we use a lot in microbiology is opportunism,” Mitchell said. “With many diseases we encounter, the microbe is in our body to begin with, but when the environment changes it becomes an opportunist.”Mitchell had a series of questions: “Is the skin microbiome from these mummies different from normal human skin? Is there a different population of microbes? Does it behave differently? The whole microbiology of these things is unknown.”The pair isolated microbes present in both the degraded and uncompromised samples. But because the mummy skin was limited, they needed a surrogate for the next step: culturing the organisms in the lab and testing them to see what happened under exposure to different humidity levels. Using pigskin provided by colleagues at Harvard Medical School, DeAraujo began a series of tests. After determining that the pigskin samples began to degrade after 21 days at high humidity, she repeated the results using mummy skin, confirming that elevated moisture in the air triggers damage to the skin.This finding was consistent with something that Sepulveda reported: Humidity levels in Arica have been on the rise.DeAraujo’s analysis suggested that the ideal humidity range for mummies kept in the museum was between 40 percent and 60 percent. Higher levels could lead to degradation; lower ones make equally damaging acidification likely. Further testing is needed to assess the impact of temperature and light.The results will help museum staff fine-tune temperature, humidity, and light to preserve the mummies in their extensive collection, Mitchell said. But he is keen to solve an even larger challenge.According to Sepulveda and others, there are large numbers — perhaps hundreds — of Chinchorro mummies buried just beneath the sandy surface in the valleys throughout the region. They are often uncovered during new construction and public works projects. Rising humidity levels are likely a threat to the unrecovered mummies. The degradation process, relatively controlled at the museum, is worse in sites exposed to the natural environment.“What about all of the artifacts out in the field?” Mitchell said. “How do you preserve them outside the museum? Is there a scientific answer to protect these important historic objects from the devastating effects of climate change?”The solution to preserving the 7,000-year-old Chinchorro mummies, Mitchell believes, may draw from 21st-century science. “You have these bodies out there and you’re asking the question: How do I stop them from decomposing? It’s almost a forensic problem.”In addition to DeAraujo and Mitchell, contributors to the research included Vivien Standen, Bernardo Arriaza, and Mariela Santos of the University of Tarapacá, and Philippe Walter from the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Moléculaire et Structurale in Paris. In the valleys of northern Chile, where the Chinchorro people lived 7,000 years ago, large numbers — perhaps hundreds — of mummies are buried just beneath the sandy surface. Photo courtesy of Marcela Sepulveda Ralph Mitchell, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Biology Emeritus at Harvard, and Alice DeAraujo, a research fellow in Mitchell’s lab, helped determine that humidity played a large role in the deterioration of the Chilean mummies. Photos (left) by Eliza Grinnell/SEAS Communications; (right) courtesy of Alice DeAraujo A complete Chinchorro mummy at San Miguel de Azapa Museum in Arica, Chile. Photo courtesy of Vivien Standen At least 2,000 years before the ancient Egyptians began mummifying their pharaohs, a hunter-gatherer people called the Chinchorro living along the coast of modern-day Chile and Peru developed elaborate methods to mummify not just elites but the ordinary as well — men, women, children, even fetuses. Radiocarbon dating as far back as 5050 B.C. makes them the world’s oldest mummies.But after staying remarkably well-preserved for millennia, in the past decade many of the Chinchorro mummies have begun to rapidly degrade. To discover the cause, and a way to stop the deterioration, Chilean preservationists turned to a Harvard scientist with a record of solving mysteries around threatened cultural artifacts.Nearly 120 Chinchorro mummies are housed in the collection of the University of Tarapacá’s archaeological museum in Arica, Chile. That’s where scientists saw that the mummies were starting to degrade at an alarming rate. In some cases, specimens were turning into black ooze. Slowing the decay of mummieslast_img read more

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Data and analytics: It’s about insights and execution

first_imgCUNA Mutual (Madison, Wisc.) is both affirming continuity in its service to credit unions and executing a kind of departure with its launch of CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics LLC,  a new data and analytics technology and services business designed to help credit unions deliver a better member experience through actionable insights. CUNA Mutual describes the new entity as the industry’s most integrated end-to-end solution, bringing together data management, reporting and performance management, and advanced analytics.CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics represents part of a more than $250 million investment in innovation to help the credit union industry. In its statement announcing the new entity, CUNA Mutual says that the AdvantEdge Analytics’ full suite of software tools and intelligence reporting will integrate and significantly expand the scale of data to help credit unions gain stronger member intelligence, accelerate analytics adoption and strengthen their market share. CUNA Mutual Group recently acquired Chicago-based data analytics startup, SavvyIntel, to further build-out the analytical reporting capabilities for the AdvantEdge Analytics product suite. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Men’s golf looking to build on past experiences in 2010

first_imgThe USC men’s golf team has never won a national championship. According to fifth year coach Chris Zambri, it is time for that to change.“Our goal this year is to win the [NCAA] Tournament,” Zambri said. “We want to be the best.”Strong words from Zambri, but not unrealistic. Last year the Trojans rode a wave of youth to a 15th place finish at the NCAA Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn. It was their fourth straight appearance under Zambri. Starting three freshmen in their five man rotation, the Trojans consistently faced more experienced, veteran teams as they fought to navigate the second most difficult schedule in the nation.“We try to play in the toughest events,” Zambri said. “I sometimes wonder if we should, but there’s a lot to be said for playing the toughest courses and best players.”That experience will hopefully go a long way toward eliminating the inconsistency that plagued the Trojans last year as they struggled to play well throughout the course of the season.Indeed, last year they never won a tournament, although they did succeed in racking up a string of top-10 finishes against loaded fields, their best finish a second place showing at the NCAA West Regional. That is something Zambri wants to rectify.“We want to start off quickly and win tournaments. I think we can do that,” Zambri said. “We have a very good team, but we have to prove it.”All-American T.J. Vogel is now in his second year with the team, as are standouts Martin Trainer and Sam Smith. They will be joined by junior Steve Lim, who was one of the few points of consistency last year for the Trojans, as he recorded four top-20 finishes in nine outings.“I expect Steve to be a number one player for us,” Zambri said. “I’m really proud of his summer, and I think he could be an All-American.”Lim and company will be joined by a pair of true freshman standouts in Jeffrey Kang and Ramsey Sahyoun, two of the top rated high school golfers in the nation.Kang, who hails from Fullerton, Calif., received a spot on the 2009 Rolex All-American team and was the No.1-ranked high school golfer in the country last year, according to Golfweek magazine. Sahyoun, from Van Nuys, Calif., won the 2009 36-hole U.S. Junior Amateur Championship qualifying tournament.Zambri said he expects each to step in and compete for playing time, as the team must replace a former two-time All-American in Matt Giles, who left the team after the end of his junior season to play professionally.The Trojans look to have enough firepower to battle through a loaded Pac-10 conference in 2010, which features five of the top 10 teams included in the NCAA Men’s Golf Poll. Stanford and defending Pac-10 champions Washington pace the conference at number two and three, respectively, while USC begins the year just outside the top 10 at No. 11.Thus, in order to achieve their goals, the Trojans will have to do the one thing they did not last year: win. And with a fresh infusion of youth in Kang and Sahyoun and the continued development of last year’s freshman class, this might not be out of reach.last_img read more

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Stock Watch: Who impressed and who regressed in Syracuse football’s win against Central Michigan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm Contact: [email protected] | @jtbloss Syracuse picked up its second win of the season Saturday with a 41-17 win over Central Michigan. SU (2-1) held the Chippewas (2-1) scoreless in the second half and had its best performance on the ground in the Dino Babers era, finishing the game with exactly 300 rushing yards.Here’s an assessment of some of SU’s notable performances.Stock upSean RileyRiley did it all for Syracuse on Saturday. He returned two kicks for a total of 98 yards, forcing CMU to kick away from him. He added four receptions for 82 yards and rushed four times for 47 yards. Add 20 yards on punt returns and that’s 247 all-purpose yards for the sophomore. With senior receiver Ervin Philips’ status unknown at this point, electric outings like this from Riley will be a big pick-me-up for the SU offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Andy Mendes | Digital Design Editor Moe NealThe sophomore broke loose for a 71-yard gain in the third quarter, marking a breakthrough for SU’s run game that struggled mightily through two games. It was Neal’s only major contribution, as he only received five carries, but it reinforced the notion that he is probably the team’s best big-play threat. With primary running back Dontae Strickland struggling to get in a rhythm, keep an eye on how many touches Neal gets moving forward.Evan FosterFoster took a bad angle when attempting to make a tackle on the sideline in the first quarter and his error allowed CMU’s Cameron Cole to run free for a 56-yard touchdown. But less than five minutes later, Foster made up for it by grabbing a tipped ball and taking it 24 yards to the house for a pick-six. Foster, along with several of his teammate in the secondary, deserves a good deal of credit for keeping the Chippewas scoreless for the final 37-plus minutes of the game. The unit has responded well to its mistakes, an encouraging note for a group that had some question marks entering the season.Sterling HofrichterHofrichter’s performance was key in giving CMU unfavorable field-positioning. SU’s punter averaged a career high 51 yards on seven punts and did not allow a single Central Michigan return. He booted a 64-yarder and pinned two CMU drives within the Chippewas’ 10-yard line and would’ve had a third if his coverage team didn’t accidentally step on the goal line when trying to down what was pretty much a perfect punt from Hofrichter at the one-yard line.Wasim Ahmad | Staff PhotographerStock DownCole MurphyMurphy’s struggles away from the Carrier Dome have been well documented, but it’s hard to justify some of his mistakes made at home. He sent two kickoffs out of bounds, giving CMU solid field position at the 35-yard line without having to earn it. He almost missed an extra point, but it bounced off the right post and in. Murphy did convert on each of his two field goals, one from 41 yards out and the other from 25.Dontae StricklandThe Orange’s featured back had two touchdowns over the weekend, one involving an open-field cut that showed Strickland’s potential when working in space. Strickland has struggled to consistently find that needed space through three games. He still has yet to rush for more than 10 yards on a single play and averaged just three yards on 15 carries Saturday. Strickland will continue to get his touches, but with weapons like Neal and Riley impressing, he’ll need to start making bigger plays to avoid losing touches. Commentslast_img read more

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Eureka, St. Bernard’s moving on in NorCals

first_imgA memorable postseason run will continue for two local high school teams this weekend, while a third gets to reflect on its remarkable achievements.Both the Eureka and St. Bernard’s girls won their first-round NorCal Tournament matchups on Wednesday, moving into the elite eight of their respective brackets.In Division 2, No. 2 seed Eureka comfortably took care of Granite Bay 63-43 and will now play No. 10 Del Oro at Eureka High on Saturday at 6 p.m.While in Division 4, No. 8 St. Bernard’s …last_img

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Vlasic’s health questions raise concerns for Sharks blue line

first_imgSAN JOSE — Pete DeBoer insists that he isn’t afraid to lean on the Sharks top blue liners in the playoffs if need be. He might be forced to play that hand with the uncertainly surrounding his top-shutdown defenseman’s health.At this point, it’s unclear whether Marc-Edouard Vlasic will suit up for Game 3 of the Sharks first-round playoffs series with the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday. Vlasic missed the last 38:58 of Game 2 after he blocked a Shea Theodore shot up high while …last_img

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SA heads anti-dirty money body

first_img30 June 2005South Africa has taken over the presidency of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which fights money laundering across the world.FATF is an inter-governmental body consisting of 33 member states whose purpose is to develop and promote national and international policies and standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.It was established by the G8 in 1989 in response to mounting concern over money laundering and in recognition of the threat posed to banking systems and financial institutions worldwide. South Africa is the only member from Africa.The presidency is a one-year term, rotated between members of the task force. Former education minister Professor Kader Asmal was appointed to the position by the Cabinet.Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, Asmal said South Africa focused on money laundering because it was a profit centre and the tools used by money launderers were familiar.“The challenge posed by money laundering to nations such as South Africa is obvious,” Asmal said. “It affects government’s ability to deliver on its development objectives. Taxes are not paid to the government from illegal gains.“Monies that could be put to use in worthy socioeconomic causes such as education, healthcare and housing are withheld from our fiscus. There are also social costs of money laundering. Money laundering affects the fabric of our society and interferes with good governance,” Asmal said.He said South Africa would seek to introduce initiatives into FATF work that were important to developing nations.He also explained that one such area was the prevention of trafficking of women and children, a phenomenon that was increasing in Asia and East Europe.“Our country has passed its own anti-terrorist legislation which is now in force. Ongoing efforts within FATF to counter the financing of terrorism will receive continued attention from South Africa,” he said.According to Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, South Africa has had in the region of 24 000 reported cases of suspicious transactions in the last two years. Prosecutions should take place soon.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Remembering Soweto’s class of ’76

first_img14 June 2012 A memorial and a youth centre with a difference are being built near the school in Soweto where students set off on the morning of 16 June 1976, a day that changed the course of South Africa’s history, to protest against apartheid and its “Bantu education” system. Youth Day, a public holiday celebrated in South Africa every year on 16 June, pays tribute to the hundreds of students who lost their lives during the 1976 uprisings sparked off by the students’ march and the violent reaction of the apartheid security forces. Mphuti Street in Jabavu, Soweto holds a strong significance to the events of 16 June 1976. On this street is Morris Isaacson High School, where the students’ protest is said to have gained momentum after starting at Naledi High School in the southwestern end of the township.June 16 Heritage Trail It is at Morris Isaacson that the June 16 Heritage Trail, which follows the route that protesting Soweto school students took, begins. Directly opposite the school, a new June 16 Memorial and a Youth Institute are being built. Bheki Nkosi, Gauteng province’s MEC for infrastructure development, took the media on a tour of the construction site last week. Work on the R28-million project, funded by the department, began in October 2010 and is expected to be completed and handed over to the City of Joburg in July. The City is a development partner in the project. Speaking on site, Nkosi said: “The Youth Institute is [part of] the June 16 Trail Project aimed at identifying and recognising the contributions made by the young people of Soweto and South Africa in general towards the struggle against oppression and subjugation. “Once completed, it will become a centre for memory and a resource for young people to contribute their role in the community through various youth developmental programmes that will be run from the institute.” It will be a place of learning and skills development. It contains a computer room with space for 10 computers. There is also a multimedia room that will contain another set of computers, television screens and print material, including educational books. A server room will connect all computer systems.Technology The institute is technologically advanced. It also has a room for a back-up generator that will service the whole building in case of power outages. It will kick in automatically the moment the electricity cuts off, and will have a large enough fuel tank to last for 24 hours before being filled again. On the ground floor, there is an open space that will be used as an art gallery. “We are saying to young people, ‘This is your chance to showcase your potential in this institute.’ We have to make sure that the battles of June 16 are won in his building,” Nkosi said. A medium-sized multipurpose room will be able to accommodate just over 100 people, to be used for various purposes. Obed Madzhini, the project manager, said the basement would consist of a large space that would provide an alternative venue for meetings and conferences. It would also have storage space. Ablution facilities, including for disabled people, will also be located in the basement. Parking will also be in the basement, which will have ramps to the ground floor for easy access for disabled people. The ground floor is paved with concrete slabs, strips of black granite and brick.Architecture From the outside, the two-storey building has a unique design: Mmakwena Selepe, the chief director of capital works, said that once it was complete, it would have the shape of an AK 47 rifle. “The AK 47 is a symbol of the struggle. It is relevant to the events of June 16.” Outside the centre, a steel foundation for a pictorial memorial wall has already been built. Once it is finished, pictures of June 16 heroes will be engraved on the wall, along with the history of the student uprisings. “It will tell the whole story of June 16 and its heroes.” Madzhini said the foundation had been designed to be very strong, to ensure that it lasted for years, “if not for ever”. Next to the memorial, near the entrance on the west, a second statue of Tsietsi Mashinini will be erected. Mashinini was one of the student leaders of the march. He died in exile in the 1990s. There is already a statue of him at the school, unveiled in June 2010. It was the second monument erected in Soweto specifically to commemorate the contribution of the class of 1976 to the liberation struggle. The other was the June 16 Memorial Acre and Artwork that was unveiled in 2006. It is part of the Hector Pieterson Memorial and the other plaques that have been unveiled along the route followed by the youth. To be displayed at the entrance to the institute will be a section of glazed steel bearing the words: Struggle, Liberty, Freedom, June 16, Memorial Acre, Youth and Rise. The building is 80 percent complete; 93 locals have been trained during its construction through the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme, a national plan aimed at drawing a significant number of unemployed South Africans into the productive workforce by providing them with skills training. Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

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FIA Academy nod for South African teen

first_img12 August 2013Racing driver Kelvin van der Linde’s outstanding recent form was rewarded with his nomination last week by Motorsport South Africa (MSA) to represent the country at the Africa regional training and selection event of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) Institute’s Young Driver Excellence Academy.A total of 25 applicants between the ages of 17 and 23 were considered, with that number being whittled down to a shortlist of five drivers who were then interviewed by a panel which included multiple former South African motor racing champion, and ex-Formula One driver, Ian Scheckter.‘Unanimous’MSA CEO Adrian Scholtz, who was a member of the selection panel said in a statement: “The panel was unanimous in its decision that Kelvin would be best placed to represent South Africa at the selection event.“We are confident that the maturity, confidence, professionalism and humility demonstrated by Kelvin during his interview, in addition to his unquestionable racing ability, will stand him in good stead in his bid to secure a place in the elite Academy.”Van der Linde, who became the youngest ever South African national circuit racing champion at the age of 16 last year, is currently top of the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup standings in Germany after winning three of four races.‘Thrilled’Commenting on the Van Der Linde Racing website, he said: “Naturally, I’m thrilled and proud to have been chosen by MSA to represent South Africa at this prestigious and important training and selection event.“I’d like to thank Motorsport South Africa and the selection panel for putting their trust and confidence in me during the process as well as my family, friends and supporters for their unconditional support in my career so far.”The training and selection event of the Young Driver Excellence Academy for the Africa region will be hosted and organised on behalf of the FIA Institute by Motorsport South Africa and is to be held at the end of September.Racing familyVan der Linde comes from a family steeped in South African motorsport, with his grandfather Hennie, father Shaun, and uncle Etienne all being multiple South African champions.His father, Shaun, won an international BMW Young Driver selection competition at the Nurburgring in Germany in 1993 when he was 19 and went on to win the South African Touring Car Championship for BMW the following year. He also won titles in Formula GTi and production car racing.His uncle Etienne is a former single-seater star, who won national championships in karting, Formula Vee and Formula GTi in South Africa and in the Formula Opel Euroseries in Europe.Grandfather Hennie won three national saloon car championships in the 1980s.Waiting in line behind Kelvin is his younger brother Sheldon, aged 14, who has already twice won national karting titles like Kelvin. Sheldon intends following his brother onto the senior circuit next year when he turns 15 and becomes eligible.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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South African poet takes African women’s message to the world

first_imgPoet Koleka Putuma is a South African cultural icon-in-waiting. Her straight-talking multimedia poetry tackles racism, sexism and social ills head-on, giving young African women a formidable global voice.Koleka Putuma is a South African spoken word poet who uses poetry, music and the power of the internet to give African women a voice. (Image: Facebook)CD AndersonPutuma’s words are never minced and are delivered without formula or platitude. Whether in spoken word format or written, her poetry tackles serious issues with the gravity they deserve.Following her win at the inaugural South African National Poetry Slam in 2014, as well as a 2016 PEN SA Student Writing Prize, Putuma released her first anthology of poetry in April 2017, titled Collective Amnesia. The book has gone on to sell more than 2,000 copies; this in a local literary market where poetry books rarely sell more than 100 copies.The anthology is a top seller in a number of South Africa’s most popular independent bookstores, but what makes Putuma’s success different is her approach to delivering her work to the world.Embracing new media such as video and social media, she delivers her voice directly to the people.Collaborating with video artist Jarryd Kleinhans and photographer Andiswa Mkosi, Putuma presents visual interpretations of her work through online video-sharing sites. The effect is immediate and collaborative, changing poetry from being a monologue into an interactive dialogue.However, to read her words in print, in book form or through her social media postings, the full effect of her use of language and metaphor offers a closer exploration of her work.Following an intense three-month book launch performance tour to 13 centres across the country, and as it is about to enter its third print run, Collective Amnesia has been chosen as a prescribed text for second-year university students. Putuma is turning South African poetry into the new rock ‘n’ roll.Born a year before South African post-apartheid democracy, Putuma is of a generation that doesn’t have a living memory of apartheid, yet she still feels and can articulate the repercussions ingrained in modern social ills of gender violence, entrenched patriarchy and ongoing discrimination.Milisuthando Bongela, cultural editor of the Mail & Guardian, praises her precocious talent, saying: “This person who was born in 1993 was never meant to experience apartheid or any sort of discrimination, has now written a book that archives her experiences in this so-called free country that we live in.”Her performances are delivered in an idiosyncratic and eccentric style, a very modern mix of meme-culture, quirky slang and unapologetic youth coolness.The poem 1994: A Love Poem is an acidic tongue-in-cheek take on South Africa’s middle-class obsession with Nelson Mandela and how it is very different in real life interactions between black and white South Africans: “I want someone who’s going to look at me and love me the way white people look at and love Mandela. You don’t know love until you’ve been loved like Mandela/ You don’t know betrayal until you’ve been loved like Mandela/ You don’t know [expletive] until you’ve been loved like Mandela.”Koleka Putuma is a South African spoken word poet who uses poetry, music and the power of the internet to give African women a voice. (Image: Andiswa Mkosi)Her poems celebrate young Africanness, yet mourn the deep-rooted problems of gender politics. In the poem Black Solidarity, Putuma explores the hypocrisy of sexism and patriarchy, particularly in social and political activism: “How come your revolution always wants to go rummaging through my underwear?… How come references to your revolution are limited to Biko and Fanon and Malcolm?/ Do you read?/ Your solidarity, it seems, is anchored by undermining black woman’s struggle.”Speaking during a Johannesburg launch of her book at the end of June 2017, Putuma explained her position: “I used to look at my mother and my auntie’s choices and think, ‘Why would you stay? Why would you choose that in that particular situation?’ But after writing this book and having experienced things as a black woman, I learned that, in that particular situation, your mother and aunt chose silence so that they could live, or so that there could be peace in the house, so that they could eat.”Established South African poet Lebo Mashile calls Putuma a revolutionary new voice in South African poetry. “She’s exploding the model of South African literature, which is a wonderful thing. She is emerging, and with authority, to claim her space and audience. The work that [she is] doing is very necessary. [She is] opening the way for [young people, particularly girls and young women to find their voices]. Ten to 15 years from now, they will reference and thank [her].”For a more in-depth look at Putuma’s work, visit her website and Facebook page.Source: Okay AfricaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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