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South African author shares lessons after winning Caine Prize

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first_imgListening is important and reading is essential. These are just a few lessons Lidudumalingani Mqombothi gained on his journey as a writer. He won the 17th annual Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story Memories We Lost earlier this month.Mqombothi believes he is a vessel, an instrument to tell precious stories. When he was asked if Memories We Lost is an African story, he replies: “I do not know what that [African story] even means. It is important to tell stories that might appear African or even South African. We should not make the mistake of thinking our experiences are uniquely South African.”Mqombothi received his prize, £10 000 (about R188 000) at a ceremony at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. He told BBC Africa that a conversation with a South African friend inspired him to write Memories We Lost.“My friend was trying to write a series of poems about her father who has Alzheimer’s. That was two years ago. Since then I would find myself either reading or watching something about mental illness.” Shortly thereafter he says the opportunity came to write a story about the illness.Memories We Lost“The winning story explores a difficult subject – how traditional beliefs in a rural community are used to tackle schizophrenia,” said chair of judges Delia Jarrett-Macauley. “Multi-layered, and gracefully narrated, this short story leaves the reader full of sympathy and wonder at the plight of its protagonists”.Memories We Lost details the heart wrenching story of two sisters and how they deal with the mental anguish one endures. The narrator speaks of “This Thing” that sometimes transforms her sister, making her do bad things, and causes her physical and emotional pain. She remembers her sister dropping out of school. The reader also finds out about the false impressions villagers have about “This Thing”.This short story is published in the Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You by the Burnet Media, South Africa, 2015 edition.Listen to Mqombothi’s story here:Mqombothi grew up in the Zikhovane Village in Transkei in the Eastern Cape. He was in his early twenties when he started writing poetry. “I attended a poetry session and felt I could write better poems. I could not, but I continued writing and now here we are.”He is also a photographer and a filmmaker. On 7 July, a few his images featured in the Real City of Cape Town Group Exhibition held in the Bo-Kaap.Mqombothi says his influences include poets, novelists, essayists, photographers, filmmakers, and the everyday man.“To narrow it down to a few would be an impossible and an unfair task. To amuse you, I will give you a few names: Ben Okri, Bessie Head, Dambudzo Marechera, Lewis Nkosi, Anne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Junot Diaz, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Rachel Zadok and Zoe Wicomb.”Watch Mqombothi talk about his experience as a writer in South Africa:More about Caine Prize winnerThe Caine Prize for African Writing is awarded to an African writer of a short story published in English. The prize encourages and highlights the richness and diversity of African writing by bringing it to a wider international audience. The focus on the short story reflects the contemporary development of the African story-telling tradition.The other authors on the shortlist were:Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) for What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky,Tope Folarin (Nigeria) for Genesis,Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe) for At Your Requiem, published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You,and;Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya) for The Lifebloom Gift, published in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2014.last_img read more

Manipulating the Invisible Spectrum With ND Filters

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first_imgWhen it comes to the finer points of ND filters and the resulting color shift, things can sometimes seem overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know.Photo via Photography ElementPlaced in front of the lens, ordinary neutral density (ND) filters reduce light with no effect to image color or contrast while giving more control over exposure and depth of field. For celluloid film, ND filters only need to block light in the visible spectrum. However, many of today’s silicon-based digital sensors are sensitive to wavelengths the human eye cannot see, including the infrared spectrum, resulting in the need for “far-red” filtration as well.Without ND filters, the IR wavelengths are typically a non-issue. However, upon adding heavy ND, compensation for the IR spectrum becomes necessary. For example, if you add a 1.8 ND, providing six stops of non-infrared blocking exposure, you gain an imbalance in frequencies. In essence, your sensor is effectively being contaminated by the far-red, resulting in a muddy color shift across your image, particularly in the blacks and reflective synthetic materials. With proper IR filtration, however, the dark areas of your image are rendered crisp and clean.In the digital era, there has been a sizable array of ND options, but until fairly recently, no manufacturer has produced a truly neutral infrared ND filter. How is this far-red filtration achieved? There are a few different methods:1. DyesMany manufacturers will place a film of specialized green resin on top of (or sandwiched between) panels of optical glass. These types of filters are called Infrared Neutral Density Filters (IRND) and have been optimized for digital sensors. When light passes through the dye, it filters out an amount of the infrared spectrum by absorbing unwanted frequencies. Unfortunately, all IRND filters come with their own set of colorcast problems, and there is a varying degree of consistency across manufacturers and ND intensity.2. Hot MirrorsThe second method of infrared filtration is called a hot mirror. Hot mirrors are essentially infrared cut-offs and work through reflective interference: transmitting the shorter wavelengths and reflecting the far-red. Hot mirrors are made by placing fine dichroic coatings onto the surface of optical glass. Unfortunately, their high reflectivity is also a major drawback, as they have a tendency for ghosting. For this reason, they should be placed farthest from the lens in front of any other filtration.3. Carbon CoatedThe third and most recent form of infrared-blocking ND filtration utilizes a carbon metallic coating, which creates a truly neutral ND. The coating is bonded to the glass and provides impressively neutral color while blocking out infrared contamination. Unlike dyed IRND filters, carbon-coated IRNDs do not suffer from dye variance and thus produce the most color-consistent image available.Some digital sensors already have an amount of internal infrared filtration built in through the Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) placed directly in front of the sensor. So it is important that you research and perform tests ahead of time before deciding whether or not dyed IRND, hot mirrors, or carbon-coated IRND filters are right for your project.Here’s a great video from B&H that covers the basics of ND filter usage in both video and photography.Got any thoughts on ND filters? How many do keep in your kit? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

Meghalaya, Mizoram Chief Ministers register protest against Citizenship Bill

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first_imgThe allies of the BJP in Meghalaya, led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday to convey their opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.Meghalaya and the other north-eastern States are opposing the Bill that seeks to legitimise the stay of non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who came to India till December 31, 2014, because of religious persecution.Mr. Sangma, accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, told Mr. Singh that all the six coalition partners in the State felt that the Bill would affect Meghalaya’s social fabric and cause a serious law and order problem in the region. “Everybody in Meghalaya is opposed to the Bill. I urge your good office to reconsider the decision..,” BJP leader and Health Minister Alexander L. Hek told Mr. Singh. Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga too voiced concern over the Bill.last_img read more

‘Gathbandhan is the biggest thing I have’

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first_imgThe odds are stacked against the Opposition in Lucknow. The BJP has won the seat consecutively since 1991 with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee winning five terms while his lieutenant Lalji Tandon was elected in 2009. In 2014, Rajnath Singh, now Union Home Minister, won handsomely, defeating his nearest rival by 2.72 lakh votes.But Poonam Sinha believes the “euphoria was different” then and says the BJP government has “absolutely wasted” the last five years in matters of governance.“That is one of the main reasons why our Gathbandhan (alliance) has become so strong. Whenever I talk to people, I can see they want a change,” Ms. Sinha told The Hindu.Picked by the Samajwadi Party, rather to the surprise of both locals and observers, to fight the BJP in one of its strongest urban bastions, Ms. Sinha is making her electoral debut. She joined the SP just a fortnight ago to become the face of the alliance on this prestigious seat. Ms. Sinha brings along with her a mix of Sindhi and Kayastha identity — her husband Shatrughan Sinha, a Congress candidate from Patna Sahib in Bihar, is a Kayastha — and the communities have a fair share of members here.‘No shortcoming’But she faces the challenge of familiarising herself with the city with which she has little political connection. Her opponent, Mr. Singh, though from Chandauli in Purvanchal, has served as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, providing him plenty of personal linkages in the State capital. Ms. Sinha says the outsider tag is not at all a shortcoming. “I am really touched by the warm welcome and the acceptance that they (people) are giving me. I really feel great and I’m happy I chose Lucknow,” she said.The SP candidate also hopes to cash in on the image of her party chief Akhilesh Yadav and the work done here under his tenure as CM from 2012 to 2017. “Our leader thinks forward. He doesn’t think backward, unlike this government which is trying to undo whatever good work Akhilesh ji has done in his tenure,” Ms. Sinha said.While Lucknow’s sizeable Muslim population would offer Ms. Sinha a decent share of base votes, a real challenge to Mr. Singh would rely on her cutting into the majority community votes, especially her own Kayasthas and Sindhis and the Brahmins and Banias. So what arithmetic does she have with her? “The Gathbandhan. That’s the biggest thing I have,” she says, avoiding references to any caste. Ms. Sinha says among her top priorities would be women’s safety and security and to provide accommodation like hostels to working women who come from rural U.P. to the city. Pramod Krishnam, the seer-politician fielded by the Congress in Lucknow, said he, and not Ms. Sinha, was going to defeat Mr. Singh as the Congress and BJP were locked in an ideological battle.‘Nuisance value’ Ms. Sinha, however, dismissed him saying his candidature was “just nuisance value” and the she was the “main challenger”.Fighting from his home district of Sambhal as a Congress candidate in 2014, Mr. Krishnam had secured only 16,000 votes. In 2014, the Congress was runner-up in Lucknow with 2.88 lakh votes, but its candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi shifted to the BJP later and is now a Cabinet Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.The SP-BSP also have a steep climb. In 2014, SP’s candidate Abhishek Mishra and the BSP’s Nakul Dubey, both Brahmins, had managed only 56,771 and 64,449 votes, respectively.last_img read more

People supreme, Naveen reminds MLAs

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first_imgOdisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday told State legislators that democratic dissent should not eclipse democratic decency under any circumstances.Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day orientation programme for legislators, Mr. Patnaik said that democratic dissent is “a right, however, while exercising this right, legislators must not forget democratic decency”.“The roots of our successful democracy lie in our people and their unflinching faith in democratic values,” added Mr. Patnaik.“Every elected representative must understand this: whatever position you may be in, the people are supreme. Elected representatives should keep the common people at the centre of all their initiatives,” said the CM. Stating that the primary function of the legislature is to make laws, Mr. Patnaik said an appetite for information and education on legislative procedures, and understanding of socio-economic issues and policies is beneficial.“All our Acts and policies are essentially directed towards the greater public good. Legislators should endeavour to bring the Acts and policies to the public domain so that the people can be partners in the process of change,” he added.‘Lead by example’Stating that the legislators must lead by example. Mr. Patnaik said: “Simplicity should be at the core of our public behaviour. Leading a simple life can help us stay connected to the people.”Odisha Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro presided over the inaugural session of the programme., which was organised by the Odisha Legislative Assembly in collaboration with the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Deputy Speaker Rajanikanta Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha, Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Nayak and Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick also attended the event.last_img read more

Sangster Airport Gets New Control Tower

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first_imgThe new air traffic control tower at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, was officially opened and commissioned into service by Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, on Thursday, May 17.The tower is one of two built at Jamaica’s two major international airports, at a cost of $2.5 billion.Speaking at the opening ceremony, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Nari Williams-Singh, outlined some of the features of the state-of-the art facility.“The tower is fitted with an industry-leading air traffic management system. This has positioned Jamaica as a leading air traffic management environment, with the most advanced equipment available on the market to improve the safety of air operations nationally and globally,” he said.“The system includes a new Voice Communications Control System; a Time Control System, an Automatic Terminal Information System, microwave, fibre-optic and copper infrastructure; a Meteorological System; a Fire Detection and Signaling System and an Airport Lighting system, with remote control functionalities” he added.Mr. Williams-Singh pointed out that the new technology will allow the Authority to satisfy international requirements and to remain apace with improvements to technology in aviation.“As we carefully manage the risks and complexities of new systems and technologies, we continue to foster the adoption of advanced avionics and satellite-based procedures, performance-based navigation (PBN) and other fail-safe mechanisms, procedures, systems and structures, which make our industry safer, more resilient, incident-proof and efficient,” he saidThe new towers were built under the JCAA’s comprehensive modernisation programme to upgrade and replace major components of its communications, navigation and surveillance systems.last_img read more