Pan African Space Station, NYC

A periodic, pop-up live radio studio, a performance and exhibition space, a research platform and living archive.

Photo by Alice Obar.

The Cape Town-based arts collective Chimurenga publishes a magazine (named for the collective) and a newspaper (The Chronic), puts on live performances and runs the Pan African Space Station (PASS),  “… a periodic, pop-up live radio studio; a performance and exhibition space; a research platform and living archive, as well as an ongoing, internet based radio station.” Per Chimurenga, the Space Station was “founded by Chimurenga in collaboration with musician and composer Neo Muyanga in 2008.” PASS takes inspiration from American musician, Sun Ra. “PASS is a machine for traveling at the speed of thought – it borrows [his] slogan ‘There are other worlds out there they never told you about’ …” Finally, “has landed in and transmitted from Johannesburg, Paris, London, New York, Lagos, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Cairo, Dakar, Mexico City and Harare featuring over 150 artists, musicians, writers, activists and more.”

In November 2015, Chimurenga brought the Pan African Space Station at Performa 15 to New York City. The session in New York City, run over multiple days, consisted of a “market” of sorts and a pop radio radio session featured (amongst others) the Brooklyn-based African Record Center/ Yoruba Book Center; artist and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti; and poet, choreographer, and Afrosonics archivist Harmony Holiday.

As part of the installation, Africa is a Country curated three panels over the course of the weekend, covering reflections on music and migration, identity and cultural expression in photography; as well as the exchange between African and Caribbean music. All the sessions are available on our Soundcloud.

We also made a short video on the PASS installation, directed by via Alice Obar (one of editor Sean’s former students) featuring interviews with Chimurenga associate editor Stacy Hardy, artist Nontsikilelo Mutiti, and African Record Center co-owner Roger Francis. Not to mention highlights from the panel discussion, as well as some music by Lamin Fofana, Innov Gnawa, and Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa.


Further Reading

Resonant music

The film “Africa Mia” (2019), directed by Richard Minier and Edouard Salier, explores the musical connections between Cuba and Mali.

Wyuyata’s story

While Sierra Leone has come very far in its fight against sexual violence the question of safeguarding victims especially children needs urgent attention.

The politics of elegance

German historian Daniel Tödt wrote a history of the Congolese évolués. In this interview, he talks about the historiographical interventions of his book and the role of Patrice Lumumba in the history of évolués.

Bring Patrice Lumumba home

The return of Patrice Lumumba’s remains must not be an occasion for Belgium to congratulate itself, but for a full accounting of the colonial violence that led to the assassination and coverup.

Back from Safari

If you hadn’t noticed, we were on our annual break from just before Christmas 2021 until now. We are back, including with some inspiration.