Chimurenga has given birth to yet another fascinating and topical project: The Power Money Sex (PMS) Reader. From the outset, this merging of the theme of this year’s Open Forum with Chimurenga’s penchant for the provocative was bound to get noticed by writers and artists whose work centers on the same. Their goal is to form an open source archive of writing and art that engages with “the interwoven relationship between power, money and sex” and to do so by maximising the sharing potential of online media.
The project, established in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), has already attracted the work of such creative luminarie as Aryan Kaganof, Jacob Dlamini, Sandile Dikeni, Tsitsi Dangarembga, John and Jean Comaroff and Zackie Achmat.
Read “Strangers from Underground” by Jacob Dlamini, excerpted from Native Nostalgia and published in the Power Money Sex Reader:
The rat occupies a special place in South African struggle mythology. Igundwane, Nguni for rat, is what you call a scab; amagundwane is what you call scab labourers. In struggle-speak, to be a rat is to be a traitor, vermin. It is not uncommon to hear striking workers shout: ‘Bulalani amagundwane! Kill the scabs.’ It is also not uncommon to hear of people being hacked to death, thrown off trains, doused with petrol and set alight – all for being scabs and crossing the picket line. To be a rat, then, is to be forever marked for gruesome death.
I am not a scab and do not think I am marked for death. But there may be hacks who see my question of what it means to be nostalgic for a life lived under apartheid as a sign of treachery. To these people, my attempt to upset the neat master narrative of the struggle in which blacks suffered and struggled at the same, might constitute behaviour no different from a rat. If these readers were indeed to think that way about this book, it would be, for a township boy like me, an ironic case of hunter becoming the hunted.