Freelance writer Tonje Robertsen dissects the Mayan Doomsday prophecy right from the epicentre, the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico: "Some argue that the telltale signs of a world about to go under are already here. The end of this baktun coincides with rare alignments in our solar system, which will not recur for another 26,000 years. There are also signs that the Earth’s magnetic poles are about to swap places. "
BHAVNA PURSWANI trawls through the variegated paradise of Dubai, establishing the courses of human diversity, underlining optimism, and the chameleonic adaptations to old and new traditions: "Take a businessman that works in a modern office in a skyscraper, wears Armani to work and seals a $100,000 deal in English. The same man comes home, eats a traditional Arabic dinner, changes into his kandura and retires for the night to the majlis on his terrace."
Ishmael Annobil introduces the mysteries of night photography to a fomalist photographer (Abiy Mamo) and an Avant Garde filmmaker (William Olivier), rediscovering the joy of film photography and problem solving: "It may be in the way shadows elongate, or the way the asphalt street holds and reflects light like a gemstone; it may even be the keen but soothed timbre of sound, or the wispy wind that strokes your face like the proboscis of a monarch butterfly, but whatever it is, it makes night very complex to capture on film."
Ishmael Fiifi Annobil celebrates Camden Town (“the ultimate kaleidoscope”) and its legendary Camden Market: "The sun seems to stand still at Camden Market, maybe because it favours a sunny dateline for most of its wares. Except, its abundant food fare is mainly Far Eastern, Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese, and some Indian and North African – what else?"
Aakriti Kaushik recounts her astonishing first-hand experience of female infanticide in Deorala, a small town in the western desert state of Rajasthan, fifteen years after an 18-year old woman was forced to burn herself alive on the death of her husband: "and, still, there are places like these where a girl is looked upon as a burden on the family, as just another expense. Be it a few minutes old baby or a few years old woman, life treats her inhumanly all the time."
Rose Sher explores the post-red-curtain Prague and pays homage to the spirit of the place, people and a contemporary icon of resistance, and "Lest I forget, e also embraced Prague’s nightclubs, which don’t start get crowded until after 1 a.m; we were slightly shocked by the provocative female dancers in RadostXF - Prague’s poshest club - which played only techno and house music and was full of good-looking Europeans."
Part I of Ishmael Fiifi Annobil's remarkable road journey to and from the Sudan, in the early 80's, predicting Sudan's protracted civil war, while chronicling the dire socio-economic and political catalysts of that struggle. After six long months of dissillusionment, and fear of war, he hitches a ride to Kenya, using the long road journey to reflect on the people he was leaving behind, the political brigandry of its Sudan's Islamic rulers to the the north, and bemoaning the near-apocalyptic reality of the Southern Sudan. This segment was first published in 1983.
Part II of Ishmael Fiifi Annobil's remarkable road journey to and from the Sudan, in the early 80's, chronicling the dire socio-economic and political catalysts of Sudan's protracted civil war. He uses his long road journey out of the troubled country to reflect on the people he was leaving behind, the political brigandry of its Islamic rulers to the the north of the vast land, and bemoan the looming, near-apocalyptic reality of the Southern Sudan. This second segmant was first published in 2000.
Correspondent Bhavna Purswani takes a stylised picnic in the Dunes of Dubai: "As we were led into the open air arena of the Al Hadeera* Restaurant, by a local man in traditional dress, I saw my partner’s face echoing my thoughts. After ninety minutes on the road, with nothing around us but desert, and mice with death wishes periodically streaking across the tar, this had better be good."