Posted by: Naima | February 2, 2009

Amandla! Abroad

Back at Bates, I am the publicist for Amandla! – the black students’ union on campus. Due to this seemingly minor connection to one half of an anti-apartheid chant, a certain magazine I noticed in Muizenberg stood out to me.

The magazine Amandla! is a left wing publication that operates out of South Africa. I leafed through it and decided that it would be a really great opportunity if I was able to work with them during my semester in Cape Town. I emailed the editors and within a couple of days I received a call to come in and discuss a temporary role I could have at the magazine. The discussion was more of a brainstorming session with a photojournalist and one of the radio DJs on staff about how we could tie our different forms of reporting together. While I was a bit intimidated at first, I was able to chime in when I discovered something relavent to say. It was interesting because so much of the conversation was geared towards South African politics; the upcoming election and the recent split of the most dominant political party (ANC). It’s a shame I don’t know much about either. But, once I figure out my class schedule and uncover a productive role and point of view I can have on behalf of the publication, Mark (one of the editors) said I could write an article or two for the book – perhaps a comparative look at Cape Tonian infrastructure. At the very least, I am really excited to learn more about the political directions of South Africa. One of the best things about working with Amandla! might be their resource center, a large shed of recorded histories, publications, etc.

While I’d like to think that it was my incessant charm and intelligence that hooked me up with this great group, I’m pretty sure the fact that I am a part of a group that shares its name with the publication didn’t hurt much. Not to mention the other groups on and off Bates’ campus that I’ve been able to work with (The Student, Outright L/A, etc.)

I am really excited about this, it’s a solid mixture of my two favorite things: writing and fighting for equality. I cannot wait to learn more about the struggles an triumphs of this country. I feel like these learnings will provide a layer of understanding about struggles in the U.S. and put into perspective inequities all of the world. There are a lot of opportunities (in and around the University of Cape Town) to help those in need. Unfortunately, before I can try and dismantle debilitating infrastructure, I have to attend UCT orientation and register for classes. Easy, Action – one step at a time.

Peace and then some,

Naima

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