Posts Tagged ‘colonialism’

Breaking Barriers – DJ Kwe unites indigenous women in music

2019/04/24

Crystal DJ Kwe Favel “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” album was released in early April 2016. Kwe’s dance tracks of electronic drum music are dedicated to the Tonga people in Binga Zimbabwe.

Kwe herself belongs to the Cree and Metis, indigenous people of BC Canada. DJ Kwe – that is, “DJ native woman” [pronounce: kway] – listened to many of the 2012 recordings from Binga by radio continental drift; she heard her relations and ancestors speak in the Voices of Binga:

This is the story of my people…” she wrote to me, “i want to make an album of my music dedicated to the Tonga women…”. And she did…

Award ceremony at Damba Primary School 2012

Radio Remixes Voices of Binga” went public the very day I took off to Binga to join Zubo Trust women on the journey to their own media production. “Women document women stories” is an oral history collection recorded by Zubo women in their villages, communities and Women Forums.

When I traveled around Lake Kariba to join women producers at Zongwe FM in Zambia, oral history became “radio active” and Binga women recordings built a radio-bridge between Tonga communities both sides of the Zambezi.

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DJ Kwe’s dance tracks were part and parcel of these three-in-one journeys. Her music joint women across frontiers in listening to each others stories, uniting indigenous knowledge from Canada and Zimbabwe in contemporary dance tracks, and marrying oral-history-in-remix to contemporary electronic media and music.

 

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Women on-air Mweezya Sinazongwe

Zubo Docu workshop Women Stories8

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Prior to the release of “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”, and starting from Kwe’s first contact to me, another amazing, but much more hidden journey unfolded… The album was produced in a year long email and listening correspondence between DJ Kwe’s studio on the West coast of Canada and my attic room somewhere on the Eastern edge of the Ruhr-Valley in Germany.

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The journey here unfolds entirely between two pairs of ears and imaginations. Crystal would choose the tracks which spoke to her most clearly and which she wanted to remix; send me her tracks packaged in her thoughts and descriptions of musical elements; I would listen, and listen again, and write comments, recommend different or related recordings, highlight certain excerpts, and package it all with my storytelling of local experiences in Binga and bits of ChiTonga knowledge.

Crystal DJKwe Favel turn-table and Zubo women Ilala bag copy

In finalising the Album, DJ Kwe wrote letters of appreciation and gratitude to all the vocals featured in “Radio Remixes Voices of Binga”. Displayed here in image are the letters for tracks 2 and 9 both addressed to Abbigal Muleya, at the time monitoring- and evaluations officer with Zubo Trust.

 

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Abbi tells the story of the traditional team work of Tonga women, how it can even break barriers for women, and how it came to stand at the very centre of Zubo women’s work.

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Download the Letters of Appreciation From DJ Kwe

During my stay in Binga in 2016, I made an effort that the letters, appreciation, and music of DJ Kwe reached firstly those who were featured in the music. This included a visit to Siachilaba Primary School meeting Mr Kelias (former Head of School; track 4, The Baobab Tree) and Jossam Munkuli, keeper of the horns of Tonga Simonga musicians (track 14 Revitalise our culture).

 

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Together with Luyando Muyalali (tracks 10 and 14), we walked the 8 km from Manjolo to her native Damba. The Tonga Anthem included in the album’s first track was sung by children of Damba Primary School and recorded during an award ceremony under the tree…

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Mrs Chilowana Senior Teacher – it is not so easy for the girls…

2019/04/05

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Sinazongwe Primary School was established in 1958 – i.e. at the time of the forced resettlement of the Tonga people. Over the 50 years since it was established, the school didn’t have one female head teacher… as Mrs Chilowana tells us.

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Mrs Chilowana has been in the teaching services for 25 year; the past 10 years as a Senior Teacher at Sinazongwe Primary/ Secondary School. In the interview, we ask Mrs Chilowana to give us a little insight in to the life of a woman in employment and public service in the rural areas of Sinazongwe district. In the first track, Mrs Chilowana tells a bit of her own story…

It’s not so easy…”

In the main part of the interview, we ask Mrs Chilowana to describe for us the social expectations on girl children in the community and how these community customs translate in to challenges in young women’s lives and education…

Girls are expected to do much of the home chose…”

There are various programmes in place to sensitize the community, lighten the plight of the girls and take steps of changing community habits. In the last part of the interview, Mrs Chilowana describes some of the “moderate changes” and tells us i.a. about the activities of the Guidance Office, a re-entry policy to school for young mothers and the involvement of the various stakeholders in the area.

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One of our responses to the situation Mrs Chilowana describes in her interview was “Basimbi Radio” – radio with and for girls, a special venture throughout the school holidays in August with weekly workshops and live shows. Music: DJ Kwe

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The Radio-Bridge Compilation has some powerful tracks, tools for us, that we often played in our Basimbi Radio shows like this remix by Feralmind (London woman DJ) based on a recording by Zubo Trust’s Margaret Munkuli of Labecca singing a warning song for girls…

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Gogo – an ancient voice of the future

2019/03/28

 

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Thembi Ngwabi prefers to be called Gogo; ugogo meaning “granny, grandmother” in Ndebele. Even in 2012, when we recorded our first interview at Amakhosi Cultural Centre, the title of the elder and, an ancestral calling was already with Thembi. In 2013, I found her just relocated to the Lupane bush, in search of a realisation for her calling, and with a programme of cultural dance for local women and children at hand. We documented also this encounter with recordings.

The rain rituals have taken over my life…

In the present recording from October 2018 made at CoCont (Cont’s place) in Lupane, you may listen to the story of a demanding calling in Ugogo’s own words and voice. She describes her transformation from a young creative woman grown up in town (Bulawayo), a dancer, bass-guitarist, director of plays and films and of the Amakhosi Performing Arts Academy to a rapidly-aged, traditional rain-dancer in the Lupane bushland who follows spiritual instructions to build a new rain-making shrine which, as she has is linked straight to the Njelele shrine…

Almost everyone in Binga knows Maalila…

I ask Gogo in particular to tell us about her recent research in Binga. She had discovered that the geographically and historically closest rain-maker to her area in Lupane had lived in Binga. They went for a two-weeks research to Binga, and got to know the story of Maalila. He used to perform rain-making rituals at Binga’s hot springs until the Zimbabwe government and National Parks claimed the land as private property. Based on Gogo’s research, a thirteen-episode TV series about Maalila was developed and produced in Binga.

We need to go back to where we lost ourselves…

I also encourage Gogo to talk about her role as a woman in local culture and a woman leader of a new spiritual centre. I’m interested in Gogo’s contemporary open-mind now joint by an ancient voice; and curious about what I hear as a balance between a revival of culture and a celebration of diversity. Gogo ends the interview on a strong call and vision for her people… “we are fake… we don’t know what we are doing… we need to go back to where we lost ourselves…then, we can move on…”

Ugogo and her girl apprentice perform a traditional rain-making song.

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I felt shy photographing Ugogo… thus the pictures show mainly the dry Lupane bushland… and the trail of what was Cecil Rhodes’ dead-straight road through the bush….

Women on-air at Zongwe FM

2018/01/07

 

 “MUGUWA IN THE COMMUNITY”

A live on-air show with Patience Kabuku aka DJ Petty Young, Monica Siabunkululu aka DJ Mo and Claudia Wegener aka “Mukuwa Mutinta” aka radio continental drift in the Zongwe FM studio in Sinazongwe, Zambia, 2 Sept. 2016. (English/ ChiTonga).

Mukuwa” means the white, English-speaking stranger in ChiTonga, the language spoken by Tonga people both sides of the Zambezi; “muntu siya” means the black person, the African.

 

In this show, we are going together on a radiophonic journey to “mukuwa-country” and “munutusiya country”. What does it sound like in “mukuwa country”…?! Or, what sounds would we hardly come across over there, which are so familiar to us here, on the African continent…?!

We are listening to the sounds around a borehole and the sounds on a German motorway bridge; and, via on-air transmission ringing “mukuwa-country” church-bells over all Sinazongwe for probably the first time. We are listening to the sounds of the night and the different sounds of open markets this side and that side; and we get to talk about cleanliness and hygiene, relations to staple foods, social effects of cold weather, gardens, compounds, holidays and loneliness. 

Via the links can listen to the soundscapes on the All Africa Sound Map.

 

A white stranger in the rural areas will typically be greeted by the local children running together screaming “mukuwa, mukuwa!” This may be similar in rural areas across the globe; but here, on the African continent it has the bitter taste of colonial history and racism – probably not for the children, but certainly for me, the “mukuwa” and, other grown-ups listening to the encounter.

However, together with Patience and Monica, we pick up on the underlying prejudice and stereotypes on a lighter note, challenging each other in a vocal dance around stereotypes on the stage of a radio listening-play.

 

In August, 2016 radio continental drift has been partnering with ZongweFM, training five young presenters in audio recording, interview techniques, oral history methods, archiving, audio editing and playlist development for live on-air shows. Together with the two women in the Zongwe staff team, Patience Kabuku and Monica Siabunkululu, we developed 9 live on-air radio shows in which we are presenting project recordings from Zubo’s women in Binga and recordings with Sinazongwe women clubs.

Find a playlist of clips from three of our live shows at Zongwe FM

Zongwe FM is a community radio station in Sinazongwe, Southern Province of Zambia.

Mothers of Education and Custodians of Culture

2015/12/09

 

…celebrated in sonic remix by the vocalist-lyricist-composer Ms. Soli Tii in Berlin, artists/ composer Joseph Ba aka BroodingSideofMadness and the music/ poetry duo Asymmetroi Faroi in Greece and, in visual remix by the painter, researcher and art teacher Agness Buya Yombwe, based in Livingstone, Zambia.

 

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These contributions celebrate the important social roles of mothers passing on indigenous culture and knowledge to their children and grandchildren and, ensuring with their hard daily work, often in subsistence farming, a basic education for their children.

 

 

This stands against the dark background of colonialism – of yesterday and today – leaving impoverished communities where education of girl children became a luxury and child marriages are frequent. Additionally, the histories of colonial interference and missionary work on the continent, often left an imprint of patriarchal social structures on post-independent nations; where possibly before, in matrilineal tribes of Southern Africa, women’s rights and economic independence were safeguarded in indigenous tradition.

 

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The remixes of Joseph Ba and Assymetroi Faroi lend resonance to Linda Mudimba’s “praise song” for her Mum. Linda Mudimba is a student of African languages and Communication at Lupane State University, Zimbabwe (or perhaps she is already working as a journalist writing in ChiTonga – as was her vision…); at the time of the recordings Linda was one of the National Volunteers with Basilwizi Trust in Binga.

 

 

 

From the call-out playlist, Ms. Soli Tii has chosen the voices of two women talking of their mother and grandmother and, something like the love and duty to the culture they inherited through their female elders… Esnart Mweemba (Zambia) talks about her mother’s special art of basket weaving; Simudenda Bertha (Zimbabwe) recounts learning the art of bead-making from her grandmother, now passing it on to her children; she adds an appeal to the Tonga people to value and appreciate their culture. The two tracks could be seen to represent the BaTonga both sides of the Zambezi, one people today separated by the man-made lake of Kariba.

 

 

Ms. Soli Tii herself has started a musical women’s project called the “World Women’s Project”, which as she writes on the website was inspired by “The Women of the Great River”; and is dedicated to the memory of her late mother.

 

red beads on the bed, painting from the Taboo series by Agness Buya Yombwe 2015


I’m delighted presenting the first contribution of an artist from the region to “The Women of the Great River” call-out, Agness Buya Yombwe in Livingstone Zambia. Agness’ paintings are a visual remix to clip 51 in the playlist, a recording in which Luyando and her aunt Janet talk about female initiation rights among the Tonga people in front of related artifacts at the BaTonga Museum in Binga. Here, Janet relates the women’s custom of placing red beads (which she’s usually wearing) on the bed, indicating to her husband that she’s in her menstrual cycle.

A warm thank you to ‪Anna Stereopoulou who created a beautiful page hosting ‪Agness Buya Yombwe art works and, the many stories around the images and source recordings.

In clip 54 of the Call-out playlist, you can hear Agness Buya Yombwe herself talking about her experience of listening to the recordings with Janet and Luyando in Binga.  It was there and then that Agness “promised” making a painting about what she had heard from Janet. 

 

Mbusa teachings - photo Agness Buya Yombwe

 

I played the Binga recordings to Agness, knowing her interest and research about indigenous cultures, and the “Mbusa” (female initiation rights) among the Bemba people in particular. The above photo shows the Mbusa teachings in process at Wayi Wayi Gallery’s permanent Mbusa installation room.

A Visual Artist, designer and art teacher from Lusaka, Agness founded and runs Wayi Wayi Art Studio & Gallery with her husband, the painter Laurence Yombwe, in Livingstone, Zambia.

 

Wayi Wayi on Aporee Maps

Colonial divide-and-rule stories… in remix

2015/12/04

 

“…I’m also fascinated by the Tonga people because they are marginalized like I am…”  (Penny Yon)

 

Zim flag Tyunga School

 

The remix by sound-artist Inge van den Kroonenberg transports Penny Yon’s story of a “mixed race” Zimbabwean to another level and, “extracts” the painful awakening of the people after independence that Colonialism was not over, but in fact continuing in new guises… – though, at least in Inge’s evocative remix, there’s a “tongue in cheek” too; things are never one-dimensional… Coffee may be one of the first and major goods extracted by European colonialists from the African continent – the noises of coffee-making sound like an explosion to a nearby microphone, carrying the history of an ongoing colonial exploitation…; but, “the ritual of coffee-making is bringing people together” to tell their stories…

 

 

Inge van den Kroonenberg writes about her remix:

“I put the original voice recording on microcassette and mixed it with my coffeepot coming to a boil. By moving the microphone and tape deck around the stove the sounds of voice, tape, gas and boiling coffee blend together in a distorted murmur. I choose these particular sounds and the social/economical/political issues they are linked to; gas extraction, transportation of coffee beans and (the history of) colonization as a situation that is still ‘boiling’. But I also wanted to refer to the ritual of coffee making and how it brings people together to share thoughts and conversation in an intimate and familiar way.”

 

Inge’s remix also resonates, to my ears, with the sounds of radio communication.. even Morse code at the start of the piece… and again, as with the sounds of coffee-making, there is a double edge to the history of radio broadcasts, as a tool of oppression, or one of liberation…

 

Zongwe FM in Sinazongwe Zambia - photo M.C.Diess

 

Zongwe Community Radio, a Zambian station across the Kariba Lake broadcasting into Zimbabwe since 2013 supported by Panos Southern Africa, Basilwizi Trust and the Zimbabwe Austrian Friendship Association. So the people in Binga can now hear programmes in ChiTonga broadcast by their “cousins” on the other side of Kariba Lake. In Zimbabwe itself community radio licenses though existing since 2000 have not yet been granted. The state-broadcaster ZBC occasionally airs programs in ChiTonga, but the radio signals cannot be received in Binga.

 

Geography class in Siachilaba Primary School

 

…we are on the grounds of Siachilaba Primary School in the Binga district of the Zambezi Valley… listening to a geography class under a tree…

a clip from the recording also features in the call-out playlist of “The Women of the Great River”

 

Album 4b

 

 

A history of displacement… in sonic remix

2015/12/02

…told by Janet Mwiinde and Luyando Muyalali in Binga remixed by DJ and Radio Maker Lisa Greenaway aka LAPKAT in Australia

 

Damba ceremony 2012

 

It’s the history of displacement of the BaTonga from their ancestry land at the Zambezi, which Lisa Greenaway brings to resonate in her composition. In the original recording, Janet and Luyando are telling me about the meaning of a ritual whereby, during a public ceremony, a woman quietly went around the speakers splashing water from a bucket on the ground. Janet says, the water may refer to the Zambezi, life source of the Tonga people; and her nice Luyando adds that the water may be here a memorial gift to the ancestors, and especially those who lost their lives when the Kariba Dam was constructed by the colonial government and the rising water of the Zambezi flooded the ancestry land of the BaTonga.

 

 

The BaTonga are descendants of those who were forcefully removed from their fertile land at the Zambezi by the British Colonial Government in the 1950s. They had to escape into the arid, higher regions both sides of the Zambezi valley where agriculture is almost impossible. The land of their ancestors is now at the bottom of the Kariba Lake. Even after independence, water and electricity from the dam bypasse them serving others in the country. “Having lost everything their culture survives strongly as a driving force of self-assertion, resilience and development.” For information please also see some of the related websites: Zubo Trust, Basilwizi Trust, Mulonga, Kunzwana, Austrian Zimbabwe Friendship Association 

 

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As I first witnessed the ritual during a public ceremony in the village of Damba, I’d imagine that the water ritual may be part and parcel of many ceremonies among the BaTonga, including most probably initiation or weddings. The two songs in the remix belong to female initiation rites and wedding (as far as I’m aware…). One is sung by Janet Mwiinde, from, what’s now, the Zimbabwe side of Lake Kariba; the other, by Christine, Ester and Mtenda, three Tonga women from the Zambian shore of the Zambezi (though now living in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe).

 

Album 3

 

listen to the sounds of the “water ritual” at Damba Primary School

 

All Africa Sound Map - Damba Primary

Women Artists from Zambia and Zimbabwe raising their voices

2014/10/14

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Joyce and Lina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a special playlist released on the occasion of

Sound::Gender::Feminism::Activism 

October 16th – 17th 2014, London College of Communication/ CRiSAP, UAL

The playlist (audio: 35 minutes, 33 tracks, 78 MB) listen and download: 

part 1part 2

featuring clips of recordings with:

Artists of the Zambia Popular Theatre Alliance (ZAPOTA ); the playwright Mulenga Kapwepwe; the poet Blackheat DeShanti and Band; the cultural activist Ruvimbo Tenga; the Thandanani Women’s Ensemble; the writer Virginia Phiri; the broadcaster and poet Soneni Gwizi; the dancer, musician and actress Thembi Ngwabi; the late Mbira Star Chiwoniso Maraire; the writer and filmmaker Joyce Jenje Makwenda; the broadcaster and gender activist Mavis Moyo; the linguist and gender activist Abbigal Muleya (ZUBO Trust); members of the DMI Women Groups Chipata; the filmmaker Priscilla Sithole; the DJ Petronella Kalimbwe; the poet Linda Gabriel; the poet and actress Sithandazile Dube.

Our call-out for your contributions:

Hallo listeners, participants of SGFA and sista comrades in the arts!

We are inviting you to use the archived recordings of women artists from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Choose one of the women’s voices from the archive and mix it with recordings of your own. Please send us your 2-3 minutes remixes by the end of this year (upload online and post us the link). Your contributions will be part of an online playlist and special radio show that we want to publish documenting and celebrating this cross-continental audio correspondence.

We are here in our sound and voices!

Download the playlist cover and call-out here

Where are you African names?

2013/05/18

               … in which clouds are you buried ?  The Black Poet  

 

Charity Nyelele · Ntando Gumbo · Sihle Ndlovu · Lindatumune Nyono Mudimba ·  Abigal Muleya · Barbara Mudimba & Viola · Janet & Luyando · Luyando Muyalali · Tyunga Women Drama Group · Florence Musaka · Mary Munsaka · Sophia Mutebele · the Pupils of Damba Primary School · Margret M Moombe · Sialwindi aka Jossam Munkuli · Peter Mungombe · Siamudenda Bertha · Mr Mwinde Kelias · Mrs Banda Zilas · Multeya Elita · Jos Martens · Christine Hankwebe · Ester Michero · Mtenda Luvinda · Rosie Ndebele · Sharon Sithole · Nothando Mpofu · Cont Mhlanga ·  Thembi Ngwabi · Priscilla Sithole · Hope Ranganayi · Thembele Hlachayo & Juliette Markara ·  Nonhlanhla Mathe · Sithandazile Dube · Ericah Gwetai · Soneni Gwizi · Angela Jimu · Annie Mpalume · Bella Katherine Tapezicier · Mavis Moyo · John Masuku ·  Anna Miti · Annah Mushaninga · Rudo Machairo · Rumbizai Dube · Vivienne Marara · Anesu Katerere · Penny Yon · Batsirai Chigama · Dudu Manhenga · Chiwoniso Maraire · Nancy Mukondyo aka Blackheat DeShanti · More Blessings Size · Ngonidzashe Tawiwa aka Upmost · Linda Gabriel · Mbizo Chiracha aka The Black Poet · Babara Breeze Anderson · Elizabeth aka Zaza Muchemwa · Joyce Jenje Makwenda · Virginia Phiri · Tashinga Matindike-Gondo · Currage Zvikomborero Chinokwetu · Ruvimbo Tenga · Faith Dube · Vimbai Y. Mapanda ·  Tina Rolfe · Sharon Mukebo · Thabit Gambire · Shieza Mzeza · Mayoba Aluta Gwaba · Pamela Ela Nyambe Kalimukwa · Kunda Mando ·  Mrs Namunkolo · Mrs Chitalunyama · Petronella M Kalimbwe · Chipego · Felistas Chipako Nwaneri · Mwaka Nyimbili · Mulenga Kapwepwe · Mulenga Mulenga · Zenzele Chulu · Tutu Matilda Mfumu ·  Mary Mutinta Manzole · Tasila Phiri · Yande Yombwe · Salome Nakazwe · Nicholas · Precious M. K Mungambata · Marilyn Kabalere · Rita · Yvonne Sishuwa aka Winter · Peter Nawa · Lydia Mwale · DMI women groups ·  Sitali Mayamba · Victoria Beenzu · Lorraine Hamusonde · Bellon Chintombwa · Esnart Mweemba · Patrick Mweemba · Yvonne Ndaba ·  Agness Buya Yombwe · Mwenya Muyeba · Barney Kanjela

Note: The page allows a quick overview and access to the archive of THE WOMEN SING AT BOTH SIDES OF THE ZAMBEZI at its current stage of uploading. It will be updated regularly with the new links. Links embedded in the first part of a name lead to a sample listening. Links embedded in the second part of the name to the playlist for the entire interview or recording.

Join our facebook group

Development Through Radio

2013/02/01

click here to listen to Mavis Moyo ))))) 

DTR Clubs Seke; photo: Calvin Dondo

“DTR Clubs Seke receive radios”; photo: Calvin Dondo

MAVIS MOYO is an 85-year-old veteran broadcaster with Radio Zimbabwe (Radio 4) and a founding member of the Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ 1985). Here she talks to radio continental drift how she got involved in the media and what it meant for her at the time (1954) as an African woman from rural Matabeleland. She relates how what became known as DTR or Development Through Radio grew from the seed of a collaboration and exchange between urban and rural women, initially between the Jamuranai Women’s Club in the Harare township of Highfield and rural women from Seke South of Harare. It is this relation between women across urban-rural divides, which developed into an early precedence of participatory radio in Africa to an unprecedented scale… See More

click for playlists (1) )))))   click for playlist (2) ))))))


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