July 6, 2016

Opening the racist door: Monsieur Cannibale part deux

Filed under: General,History,Music by Orangemaster @ 9:02 am

The ball of this story got rolling back in 2014 when an American journalist was ‘shocked’ at an amusement park ride from De Efteling called ‘Monsieur Cannibale’ (French – new and improved explanation coming up) that features a black cannibal-like character with a bone through his nose cooking up unsuspecting children.

The racist door has now opened up as the Stop Oppressive Stereotypes (SOS) group published an open letter to the amusement park accusing it of featuring racist rides, one of which is Monsieur Cannibale and the other Carnaval Festival that features Asian stereotypes. However, Efteling asked SOS for a sit down and SOS haven’t responded yet – to be continued.

One side is telling the other to get a life and ideally a job and the other is having a ‘hey’ we never really saw things that way and it makes us feel uncomfortable moment, akin to the debate about Zwarte Piet. The Efteling says it mostly gets complaints about serving unhealthy food, but not about racist stereotypes.

I love Sacha Distel, the French singer and guitarist who sang this 1966 racist and sexist song that the Efteling chose to subject to children: it matches the ride perfectly in its bad taste. Distel’s song is about a white man captured in Africa by black cannibals who thought he was a spy, trying to politely plead the head cannibal (hence addressing him as Monsieur) not to eat him, but negotiates his way out of it by offering him porno magazines. The head cannibal laughs, brings the guy back to his harem for a week after which the guy lose 20 kilos and refuses to leave. The man basically shagged all the presumably black ladies who were all “hungry for it”.

Here’s a version of the song with a decent Dutch translation:

And since the French playback performance I posted in the original post was removed, here’s the same offensive performance sung in Spanish. He still pulls his eyes sideways to indicate the Chinese language at the beginning, so the Asian stereotypes are conveniently addressed by Distel as well.

(Photo: Photo of an Efteling dragon by Jeroen Kransen, some rights reserved)

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January 9, 2016

These West African wax prints tell a story

Filed under: Fashion by Branko Collin @ 11:55 pm


A brand named Vlisco has long been in the business of selling wax print textiles in African countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria where these fabrics were used in traditional wrapped fashion styles.

Sellers used to tell stories about the prints to make them more attractive to their customers. The above Vlisco classic for instance, depicting birds escaping a cage, is called ‘Si Tu Sors Je Sors’, French for “if you cheat on me, I’ll cheat on you.”


The 1945 design ‘Six Bougies’ (six spark plugs) originally signified wealth, but in recent years it has come to mean a woman who can take on six men.

These very African textiles originally came from Indonesia by way of the Netherlands. Somewhere during the 1860’s, Messyness Chic reports, the uncle of a Dutch entrepreneur convinced his nephew to use a recently acquired factory in Helmond to produce batik, wax-dyed cloth.

Making batik the Indonesian way, by hand, took a lot of time, so using machines to do the work would cut down on the cost. Unfortunately for Vlisco, these machine produced textiles could not compete with the real thing and the Indonesians rejected them. However, the little flaws in Vlisco’s product appealed to West Africans because it meant every garment would be unique.

Although Vlisco only has stores in Africa, in 2014 the company created a special edition fabric to commemorate the inauguration of the new Dutch King.

(See also: Congo Story; photos: Vlisco)

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August 17, 2014

The populous African street photos of Lard Buurman

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 2:49 pm


African Junctions is a series by Amsterdam-based photographer Lard Buurman about the ‘overcrowded and chaotic cities’ in Africa.

Buurman’s photos are manufactured, doctored collages. His viewpoint is always the same, but he mixes different exposures together so that the end result is much busier than what originally happened in front of the camera. Sometimes you even see the same person appear several times in the same image.

The series is also a book published in Germany by Hatje Cantz.

(Link: Holly Moors)

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November 1, 2013

English colonial stamp sold for record amount

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:30 am

Originally valued at 150,000 euro, an African postage stamp from Kenya-Uganda has fetched 208,000 euro at an auction house in Weesp, North Holland this week. The stamp was sold for 170,00, but with a 20% commission on top, the total comes to the record amount of 208,000 euro, the most ever paid for a stamp at a Dutch auction.

The stamp features the portrait of British King George V who ruled over East Africa, and was bought by a German collector. The stamp was never hinged, with only four other known copies of such a high quality left in the world.

(Links: nos.nl, ed.nl, Photo by Wikimedia user Jonathunder, some rights reserved)

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May 27, 2013

Artist wants to use old refugee boats for canal trips in Amsterdam

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 12:26 pm

Meet Teun Castelein. His plan is to sell you boats that African refugees (the successful ones) used to reach the shores of Europe. Apparently these boats end up being destroyed by the town of Lampedusa in Italy, but Castelein sees a second life for them as the pleasure boats of the citizens of Amsterdam.

Castelein, 1:53 into the video:

Take this one. I believe this boat really suits Amsterdam. There is something cosy about it. This is a boat that makes you want to spend time with your friends. With its two benches facing each other it is excellently suited for sipping a rosé. It even has a cute little roof for when the sun is beating down on you. [Picks up a booklet from the deck] By the way, to seal the deal I include this authentic Gambian passport, just so you know where this boat came from.

AT5 says of Castelein that he tries to find the boundaries of the free market. In the past he unsuccessfully tried to register the brand Allahclothing. He also introduced marihuana cheese: “I live in the souvenir shop that is called Amsterdam. […] Eighty percent of the tourists are 35 years old or younger. And they all come here for the weed and the cheese. The Netherlands should embrace this product as it represents the tolerance, craftsmanship and trader’s spirit that have dominated Amsterdam for centuries.”

In 2004 the city of Amsterdam measured that on a sunny Summer day, on average 764 boats (PDF) pass any given point in the city centre. Busy sluices even process up to 1132 boats per hour.

(Link: Trendbeheer, Photo: crop from the video)

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