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October 28, 1988 - Image 21

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-28
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- .gt.s
7 Some thoughts on midtermrs

.~. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dresexamine the 'Coloured

side of Sot

October 28. The weather is get-
ting colder; the leaves are turning
colors; and mid-terms - as in-
evitable as the fall - are jumping
out of nowhere like Halloween
Preparations for midterm exami-
nations always make me crazy. I
get delirious, slur my speech, and
say weird things all on my own
without the help of alcohol. For
instance last Monday in the
"Fishbowl," I was hectically perus-
ing my notes in hopes that I could
absorb a semester's worth of
knowledge via osmosis in less than
three minutes, and a classmate of
mine (I'll call her Lisa) also perus-
ing, introduced me to a friend of
hers who was sitting near us. Her
friend (I'll call her Beverly) turned
to me and said, "Hi, my name is
I smiled and replied, "Hi, my
name is Sheala, a.k.a. Cocoa,
b.k.a. Peaches. Beverly looked sur-
prised, and my classmate hung her
head in embarrassment, mumbling,
"Sheala, That's Not The Move."
Maybe I had too much caffeine that
morning to help keep me alert after
studying all night.
But midterm aggravation doesn't
end once a student enters the class-
room either. Every time I take a


Michele Rosewoman
Innovative pianist and bandleader
discusses the explosive future of jazz
Michele Rosewoman is a critically acclaimed innovative jazz
pianist/composer. She has won numerous awards including recognition in
the Down BeatCritics Poll and the ASCAP Foundation/Meet the Composer
Commision for works performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
Rosewoman was interviewed by Eclipse Jazz Co-coordinator Jeff Brown.
- She will be appearing at the Ark 8 and 10 p.m., Friday,.Nov. 4.
W:How did you get into jazz as a music?
R:Growing up around it. Just hearing it from the time I was very little, my
folks listened to a lot of classics.
W: Were your folks jazz musicians?
R: No, my father is from New York and so much was going on here. And
he used to go and hear a lot of music and hang around record stores.
Eventually, before I was born, he and my mother opened a small record
store. I grew 'up in an artistic family because my mother is a painter, a great
painter in fact. Between the two of them, I heard a lot of music including all
kinds of World music. A lot of things... add up to major influences for me.
But I heard Duke and Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Earl
"Fatha" Hines, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum - just all the greats.
W: When did you start playing?
R: I started playing when I was six.
W: And was it jazz that you started playing?
R: No, to me the piano was just a big exciting toy. I used to just sort of
play with it and see what it could do - to see what I could do with it. You
could say I started out through improvising and eventually I ... started
playing when they brought a piano into the house. But I would say that I
started from a very intuitive approach and I ended up back at it.
W: Did you go through any formal type training at any of the "famous"
music schools?
R: No, I sure didn't. I haven't had formal education in music. I went
through a little struggle to get accepted into UC-Berkeley, where I was
actually enrolled. I tried to get in as a music major and had been refused. I
had to audition and I improvised so I'm sure it was on that basis that they
refused me. And then I had to auditior. to take any classes in music at all. I
dealt with another lady who at that point asked why I wasn't trying to get in
as a music major and I said I had tried and had been refused. She got very
angry and took it up with the Board and got me in.
Within less than half of a year I had stopped going there at all. I felt there
were no classes there at the time on anything other than 16th-18th century
classical harmony. There were no ethnic music classes, no indigenous music
classes. There was nothing then of interest to me. Meanwhile, I had tapped
into a good situation. Out there they have what they call junior colleges and
they're free. I'd heard of auditions for a big band, a jazz band, and I went and
auditioned. At the time, I couldn't really read big band charts but I could hear
that it was the blues in there. So I sat down and I improvised and got
accepted into the big band and when the classics began to conflict, I just
stopped showing up. That was the end of my career to the institutions.
See INTERVIEW, Page 11

test, I usually wind up sitting next
to some person with a bad cold
who's bleary-eyed, feverish, and
carrying a box of Kleenex. This
person usually feels that it is
necessary to announce their condi-
tion by saying something to the
effect of "I'm sick as a dog." To
which I usually reply, "I can see
that." I find it hard to concentrate
when people in this condition plop
down in the seat next to me. As far
as I'm concerned they can find an-
other seat and keep their germs to
But wait, I'm not finished. While
I'm writing my answers, there is
always someone who just has to
put their big Neanderthal feet on the
back of my chair. This is so rude.
Once I get a whiff of those clod-
hoppers, I always ask the perpetra-
tor nicely (at first) to put them on
the floor where they belong.
Blue books and the emphasis
placed on them by professors is
still interesting to me. There are

some students who have professors
who insist that they use a blue
book, and if the student doesn't
have one, the professor will insist
that they go out and buy one. By
the time the student has had a
chance to run up the street to the
store and back with the book, there
are usually only 20 minutes left to
complete three essay questions.
So far I've focused on midterms,
but I haven't forgotten about those
students who have papers to write
instead - students, who knew
about the paper topic a month and a
half ago but because of procrastina-
tion, long phone conversations,
walks through the Arb, and parties
in the Union, may be in some
campus computer center this very
minute trying to piece together one
of those last minute jobs.
Some people get irritated if they
have to take a number at the com-
puting centers, but the wait gives
me a chance to catch up on my
reading. I do recall being just a lit-
tle upset once while I was typing a
sixteen page paper, and the moni-
tors kept running around saying,
"save your work." They even tack
up little stickies by each station
that say the same thing, but all too
often, good advice goes unheeded.
See DURANT, Page 13

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Vignettes uncover the plight of
Indians living under Apartheid




V*. zN



ONLY 3 cubic Ff f.-


Hajji Musa and the
Hindu Fire-Walker
Ahmed Essop
Readers International, 1988
An insane Muslim prophet
fiercely denounces the decline in
morals threatening his status within
the South African Indian commu-
nity. An aging Indian bachelor re-
jects his own people in a quixotic
attempt to ape a white
"civilization" that refuses to accept
him as an equal. An unscrupulous
gangster seeks to compensate for
what white society designates as his
racial inferiority by perpetrating as-
tounding cruelties against his fel-
low Indians. And, again and again,
Indian women find themselves the
victims of men who treat them as
degraded slaves in an effort to forget
their own enslavement in a segre-
gated society.
Vignettes such as these make
Ahmed Essop's stories of Indian
life under Apartheid - the first
collection of his work published
outside South Africa -a painful
reading experience. Though many
of his stories are superficially
comic, the difficulties involved in
maintaining a person's dignity in a
country that legally designates that
person as inferior leave their har-
rowing mark on nearly all of Es-
sop's efforts.
Furthermore, the effort to portray
those daily struggles significantly
qualifies the power of Essop's work
as well. Much like his characters,
he is obsessed with being a man in
a world continually telling him he
is a boy. The losers in such a world
are, inevitably, the women; Essop's
heroes flirt with manhood by deny-
ing their "girls" the right to grow
Nearly all of Essop's stories
concern the question of authority
and the different social and biologi-
cal conditions working to under-
mine it. "Aziz Khan" and "Film"
are poignant accounts of how the
Muslim leaders of the community
watch the erstwhile allegiance of
their "flock" evaporate before the
pressure of modernization and their
inability to fight the oppressive
policies of the Apartheid regime. In
"Father and Son," "Ten Years," and
"The Betrayal," aging men are con-
fronted by more powerful and po-

tent sons or proteges, who chal-
lenge them and steal their patriar-
chal mantel. And in "Yogi,"
"Dolly," and "Two Sisters," Indian
men repress a sense of their politi-
cal subjugation' by transforming
women into sexual slaves, compli-
ant "mirrors" reflecting and con-
firming male desires for and illu-
sions of mastery.
In all of these tales, women serve
as props for Essop's probes into the
anxieties and preoccupations of the
male psyche. Duplicating the very
pattern of displaced victimization he
so successfully captures in his
work, Essop himself achieves much
of his power as an artist by deploy-
ing the women in his plots as
willing and silent slaves - slaves
who move his stories along with-
out ever themselves making an ap-
pearance or emerging as individuals.
Essop is at his best when he di-
rectly exposes the naked political
brutality of the South African
regime and then asks the hard and
honest questions concerning what
this brutality is doing to degrade
Indian people and rend the fabric of
Indian communities in places such
as Fordsburg, the Johannesburg
suburb, that is the setting of most
of his work.
In the short but powerful story
"The Commandment," for example,
a revered and loved African servant,
Moses, learns at the end of his long
employment that he will no longer
be allowed to live in Fordsburg. As
a Black man who is no longer "a
productive labor unit," he cannot,
under South Africa's Group Areas
Act against racial integration, re-
main in a "Coloured" (Indian)
Essop's story traces the
community's reaction to Moses'
impending removal, following in
scrupulous detail how love turns to
hate beneath the pressures of guilt
and impotence aroused by the Indi-
ans' inability to do anything to
save a man they had grown to love.
On the morning he is supposed to
leave for his tribal homeland,
Moses is found hanging from a
roof-beam in a lavatory in the yard
- a fitting commentary on the
moral cesspool generated by
Apartheid's legal structures.
"Gerty's Brother," perhaps the
best story in the collection, also
examines the effects of Apartheid
but with greater subtlety. Here an
Indian, Hussein, casually takes a
poor white orphan as his mistress
and her eight-year-old brother as his
page. But rather than degenerating
into another tale of sexual conquest,
Essop here concentrates on the bur-
See BOOKS, Page 11

I I' ~


Want a date?
It's not too late
That's your fate
Bake a cake
Twist of fate
Put on weight
I just can't wait
- Law Library bathroom stall



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wells 9 - 10)
WEDNESDAY ... Quarter Night (No cc
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