Diane Awerbuck

The Echo Chamber

The new monsters are different. Like Frankenstein’s creature, they are composed of the philosophical offal of the past century, with all its intellectual hurts and grievances. They have been reanimated, sewn together with the black thread bought in bulk by the far right. Intelligent, eloquent, urbane, they plow their considerable energies into forging new identities…

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Nobody puts Baby in a corner

Patrick Swayze died and took the early girlhoods of the Western world with him. When his name is mentioned, hetero men still roll their eyes and swear they’ll never watch the film; hetero women roll their eyes, but for a different reason. Some of it is about the obvious: tight black trousers go a long…

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At a darktown cakewalk, or, shave and a haircut, two bits

Sometimes, I don’t know if I remember what I’ve done or whether I’ve heard it from other people, or maybe read it in the newspaper. In the courtroom Johan Nel leans forward, elbows on the knees of his new suit pants, and grins at the families of the people he killed. He has had his…

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Miriam Makeba’s Leopard-Print Dress

On stage before the velvet drop, three men hidden by your hips, instrumental ciphers — double bass, guitar, drums — they strum; you stroll and roll your eyes. Say them slow — Saar-tjie Baart-man, Jo-se-phine Ba-ker, Grace Al-mighty Jones — the old flesh over new bones, that puzzling Three-in-One. Pray for us, Miriam, pray for…

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Kristallnacht

At the Harrington Street drop-off today, there was a woman sitting on the floor, her legs stuck out straight in front of her in that peculiarly African pose. She was staring at her limbs, as if she could not believe that they had carried her here, that the same legs had carried her over moss…

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All your base are belong to us

Call Centre Girl: Hello. Am I speaking to Diane, please? Me: Yars. CCG: This is the Democratic Alliance. We just need to know if you’re still living at 6 Behr Road. Me: [Whoa. Who needs the Scorpions?] No. I … um … moved to Woodstock. CCG: What is your new address there? Me: [Don’t panic….

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High fidelity

Embroiled as I am in an argument with a furious member of the artistic community, I’m feeling the need to clear up some issues about art in this country. And before anyone starts saddling up the old high horse preparatory to riding me out of Dullsville, let me point out that just about the only…

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New York is Nooit

This weekend I saw DJ Spooky take one for the team. It was an ugly but necessary procedure, and the kind of thing you never — but never — see happening to an artist at an exhibition opening. Especially an American one. We have a troubled relationship with all things international, we South Africans. On…

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