Stereo Embers The Podcast: Author Bianca Marais (Hum If You Don’t Know The Words)

Written by on 01/23/2023

“Bianca Marais Used To Watch Diff’rent Strokes”

For anyone in America who grew up in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, the above headline probably doesn’t seem like a very big deal. But for the South African-born author Bianca Marais, it was a very big deal, indeed. Contorting the antenna of her television into the lock-picking bunny ears format, Bianca was able to beam in a station that was broadcasting American sitcoms like “The Jeffersons” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” The experience was the first time Bianca saw black people who weren’t repressed and it marked the beginning not only of a new racial understanding but an organic deprogramming from the institutional racism South Africa tried to instill in its citizens. Bianca talks about how her debut novel Hum If You Don’t Know The Words was received in South Africa, the intricate censorship of her home country and when she first heard hip-hop. We also talk about sea monkeys, Laura Branigan and whether or not South Africans can control the weather…

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