December 19, 2014


Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 9:41 pm


first published here: http://drum.co.za/news/afriforum-lays-charges-against-malema/

December 18, 2014

mngxitama on the land question

Filed under: andile mngxitama,politics — ABRAXAS @ 10:57 pm

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tshepo goba on the dress code

Filed under: politics,Tshepo Goba — ABRAXAS @ 8:33 pm

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postcards from the revolution. #2 – the revolution’s birthday : steve biko

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 9:27 am


full interview with steve biko is here

December 17, 2014

classic moments in B.C> history: 2. When Dylan Valley joined Dashiki (1974)

Filed under: poetry,politics — ABRAXAS @ 8:45 pm

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athi mongezeleli joja on the role of white artists and critics in the new south africa

Filed under: art,athi mongezeleli joja,politics — ABRAXAS @ 6:35 pm

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December 15, 2014

malaika mahlatsi on 1000 years of mental apartheid

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 12:17 pm

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December 14, 2014

deon-simphiwe skade on literature in south africa after marikana

Filed under: deon skade,literature,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 6:59 pm


1. Do you think literature can be didactic in a good way?

Absolutely! In fact, I personally believe what distinguishes good literature from the rest is a successful concealment of that state of being didactic. Let us face it; all of us have a particular stance on just about anything of this world and beyond. And when we create (sometimes the motivation to create is in fact inspired by these stances) we are often guided by these opinions we possess. We may not always be fully aware of these drives, but they are there nonetheless; even if they creep in our consciousness much later when the work we are creating has taken many turns in our attempts to represent it as best as we can.


To illustrate my point on the instructive nature of literature (and other art forms), I will briefly reflect on one of my favourite novels from the so-called protest literature era – Ntate Mongane Wally Serote’s To Every Birth Its Blood. The first part of this book is simply magical in how English as a communication medium is made to work accurately in telling a story about the people of South Africa. Only a few novels succeed in creating this magical realm where language in its various forms creates a fusion of a very real world whose constructed integrity we cannot even question because it is so believable. Sadly, the second part of this novel does not emulate the success of the first part as it ends up appearing to be instructive in a certain kind of way.This in itself is not a bad thing because literature should make us move; hence I imagine those living during the times in which it was written may have been encouraged to do something about the gross injustices of that era. Thando Mgqolozana’s Hear Me Alone, Tracey Farren’s Whiplash and Ntate Njabulo Ndebele’s Fools and Other Stories are some of the novels that succeed brilliantly in avoiding being didactic.

In conclusion and going back to “in a good way” qualifier of your question, I would like to say the following: As long as literature (in a case of a novel) is presented in such a way that we forget about the author’s artistic engineering as we read, then literature is still in the right place. To have this phenomenon only elevates the author to the highest podium as having succeeded tremendously in surrendering to the story. On the contrary, overtly didactic art pushes us away from the created and forces us face the author’s agenda, which we do not want to see because it is his or her creation we are interested in. We should not find ourselves being preoccupied with the agenda the author was pursuing and how successful or less successful they became at it. Instead we should be consumed by the story in such a way that we forget that there is in fact a hidden instructive element somewhere in the background.

2. What is this need to document? Of what use is it?

There is an inherently vital need to document. We tend to forget that our world is made up of fragments which define our present and the future, thus we are always left with a historical account to reflect on. Naturally, it would be a momentous loss for mankind if we were to neglect the need to document. However, this crucial service of documenting needs to happen at different levels within our societies, this way we allow the fragments to tell us one complete story because nothing happens in isolation.

The benefit that the recorded material gives to mankind is timeless – it is for the era in which the record was made and certainly the future’s. Such is the record’s powerful ability to always stay relevant. Memory fails, and nostalgia among other human faculties, tends to influence our recollections of the past. That is why the documented becomes increasingly important – it minimises the possibility of distortions.

In hard news for example, what is initially reported as allegations soon become facts and begin to involve many other parties as the story develops. Similarly, what is initially reported as fact at times, soon becomes something else. Documentation in this regard helps us to establish the truth and other matters related to the story.

In literature for example, in as much the story in the novel is constructed from our reality, the benefit of documenting becomes even more substantive. A novel may present a big moral crisis, and through carefully thought out plan by the author, offer insights and resolutions to the problem that other media may not offer. It is for this reason we are made to imagine our world differently. The same can be said about film and other artistic disciplines in their quest to propel us forward in our thinking.

We are very fortunate to be living in the twenty first century. The mercurial growth of technology has availed to us many outlets through which we can share what we document. A medium such as a book, which was once confined to libraries and other places of books storage and sharing, has since become digital. Contrary to the past, we now find ourselves exposed to a much wider range of thinkers through a plethora of texts we encounter on various Internet sites such as blogs and social networking platforms. These are the kinds of thinkers we may have not encountered as gatekeepers of various publications may have deemed them too rough to publish. But thanks to blogs and other online outlets we are able to see those crucial fragments of the whole I referred to earlier. The beauty about all of this is that we get a universal picture of where we are and are going, as the Internet is worldwide.

In as much as everything seems to be fleeting nowadays, we are able to record all of it anytime and everywhere. If it is not for the benefit of the present era, it will at least be for posterity.

3. Can literature be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?

Like I said in the previous comment, literature is in a favourable position to offer us alternative views in how we currently see ourselves and how that can be changed if we do not like what we see. So, yes, literature is a powerful tool with which we can construct truths.Sadly there is a reality of economics and a fierce competition for audience affecting the continued growth and reach of this medium.

We are constantly shocked by the news reports on various aspects of our societies. There is always something occupying our collective consciousness because of its shock value or the way it generally makes us feel. And the society constantly wants to know more about these news items, but sadly even the news media houses cannot keep up with this demand which soon requires in-depth coverage to bring together all the fragments that make up a whole. That is where a great opportunity for comprehensive account of such news items presents itself, hence we see a lot of non-fiction books that offer a wide-ranging account of what the news media could not provide. These books usually go on to become best sellers, a financial success that helps publishers continue publishing literature, a medium they say does not make money unless of course you are like Deon Meyer whose books sell in large numbers.

The above scenario is not an optimistic one for literature. And this does not divorce from the fact that literature does fulfil as important service as non-fiction books do. There is a very complex creative process we find in literature that we cannot find in hard news for example. And it is this creative tool that allows for the construction of truths in ways we may have not seen anywhere else.


I am am again reminded of Thando Mgqolozana’s book, Hear Me Alone. It offers a perfect example of how successful literature can become when it offers and alternative account to the mainstream. In this book, the author, through meticulous language skill, recounts a well-known story of the birth of Messiah. But this Messiah is born in South Africa and of black parents in the rural Eastern Cape. The truth of this story is indisputable because there is great artistic and communicative excellence in how it is presented. We are reminded of how beautiful things used to be among our communities when we still had respect.Stacey Hardy achieves something momentous with her short story The Emperor’s New Hose. The insights she offers on the president’s story we have come to know quite well is remarkable to say the least. In the story the author offers a powerful truth we may often find missing in bare facts we find in the news media.

4. Is South Africa a productive field for literature today? In what way? How would you describe the literary scene here?

Let me get the issues of the literary scene out of the way quickly. It is a very lonely scene, I think. Its demographic make-up is awfully imbalanced. As participants in literary festivals and book launches
often joke, the audience members in these events are largely white senior ladies. There aren’t nearly enough black audience members in ‘the scene’, especially the young ones we so desperately need to read and help in the discourse of this country. In short, the literary scene is like a niche market.This means that there is a lot more work that still needs to be done to grow the literary scene. I often hear that there are book clubs, but they appear to be as hard to pin down as trying to get Number One to account for the expenditure on Nkandla. Due to the haunting loneliness I was beginning to experience within the scene, I found myself content staying home. Mind you I used to love attending books launches and festivals.

On the issue of South Africa being a productive field for literature,well, I’m not quite sure what to say on that one. There are definitely many literary books published each year and this is a good thing because it says people are still producing literature. But what kinds of stories make it to publishers? Are they of good quality? And do they take advantage of how dynamic South Africa has become? I really do not know. What goes without saying is that South African political and social landscapes provide alluring ideas in which literature may thrive. I am just not sure whether we are in fact taking advantage of this abundance.

I feel that we can do much more to revitalise literature so that it can continue to grow in way we may not have imaged before. We need to adopt a new approach in how we generally do things. For example, publishers should be more active in scouting for talent. As I indicated earlier, the Internet is filled with many new voices that may help steer literature to new frontiers. Monde Mdodana, a fellow blogger and friend, comes to mind as one such talent. With opportunities and the right grooming writers such as this one may truly take advantage of the current state of South Africa and produce compelling works.

5. What is the role of music in film?

I am tempted to label music as a conspirator to the visuals and dialogue we encounter in film. But this sentiment may be perceived as negative despite its positive nature. Imagine watching a film without music. Do you think you can experience the same magic as films in with an intelligent score is used for example? Certainly not!

It goes without saying that music gives life to film that other various components of film would not inject in it. Music also enhances parts of the film that would otherwise be less engaging. It helps us open up to a myriad of feelings a work of art such as moving pictures ought to solicit from us. With an exception of brilliant acting and inviting cinematography, films would be dead without music. But even in films with great acting and visual presentation, there ought to be music, unless of course it is a stage play we’re watching which allows actors to do more with their voices and bodies than in films.

I think music is an indispensable part of human beings. I believe music is always with us; whether we’re happy or sad, music is always there somewhere in our psyche. It is becomes such a wonderful feat when filmmakers handle film and music well. Quentin Tarantino is one such consistent filmmaker.

6. What can literature tell us about Marikana? What can literature do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

Quite frankly I don’t think any art medium has begun telling us a lot about Marikana. With the exception of your film and that of Rehad Desai among a few, plus the visual street-art employed by Tokolos Stencils Collective and the opinion pieces and other media here and there, I think we are yet to talk about the colossal tragedy of Marikana.

Threnody for the Victims of Marikana from Stephanus Muller on Vimeo.

Part of me fears what we have become as a society. Compared to murders committed by the apartheid regime to which there had always been collective sense of solidarity, we seem to have lost that in this new era. The massacres such as those that occurred on 16 June 1976 and 21 March 1960, have a monumental commemoration in South Africa. Sadly there is nothing for the victims of Marikana. Someone may argue that the Farlam Commission has not yet released its finding, hence not much has been done in this regard. I am almost certain that those in power would have insisted not only on a commemoration for this great tragedy before 1994, but a severe punishment for the perpetrators that were directly or indirectly involved in the massacre.

In literature, I feel the best medium through which a lament for Marikana may be communicated to the world at different settings is poetry – both in the written form and the performance type. Compared to novels for example, poetry has an ability to mutate in various setting through its very close relationship with music and stage. Poetry can be performed almost anywhere and at any time, whereas novels are read in individual spaces. Besides,novels take a while to put together. This is by no means an excuse why we have not begun writing anything around Marikana and related events. It has been over two years now and that has been more than enough time to produce a number of books on the terrible event.

Marikana reminds us of how increasingly brutal the police have become. It also makes us acutely aware of the manipulative nature of politics. If I remember well, civil society once strongly opposed the disbandment of the Scorpions. But we all know what ended up happening to the crime-fighting unit? South African people have been wanting the president to account for the extremely exorbitant expenditure in Nkandla, but the president along with the ruling party have been doing everything in their power no to account for anything. All these events, including Marikana, tell us that there is something extremely worrying about our leadership and society at large.

December 11, 2014

malaika mahlatsi on nkandla

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 9:42 pm

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poqo founder remembered

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 5:36 pm


first published here: http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/7416e2804f39186bb9c5bb1e5d06aea0/Former-PAC-leader-remembered-20131104

December 10, 2014

percy mabandu interviews lefifi tladi

Filed under: 2005 - giant steps,art,chimurenga library,percy mabandu,politics — ABRAXAS @ 7:40 am

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first published here: http://chimurengachronic.co.za/propaganda-politics-art-activism-south-africa/

December 9, 2014

malaika mahlatsi on mandelafication

Filed under: politics — ABRAXAS @ 3:32 pm

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nagmusiek author stephanus muller on art in south africa after marikana

Filed under: art,politics,six questions,stephanus muller — ABRAXAS @ 9:34 am


1. Do you think art can be didactic in a good way?

If you replace the ‘can be’ with ‘can be made to be’, I will answer with an unqualified yes. In the formulation you provide, I will have to give a qualified ‘yes’. Not all art, not all of the time, in other words, ‘can be didactic in a good way’. Art can, totally independent of its provenance or intentions, instruct, also instruct morally, and can therefore also be didactic in a good way. But it can also just give pleasure, or upset, or leave one indifferent. Art is also just a thing in itself, like war, or love, and can therefore just be that thing which exists in the world in the way that that particular thing exists. But can war be didactic in a good way? Yes. And love? Yes. And art? Yes. And interesting things (good things, moral things) can be learnt from it about life and about war and about love and about many other things too.


2. What is this “need to document”? Of what use is it?

The need to document derives from our (‘us humans’) curious awareness of death. In that sense, procreating is also a way of documenting (ourselves). Making art is documenting, collecting is documenting, writing is documenting. But actually, if one sees all need to document as an acknowledgement of mortality, then life itself is a way of documenting, of inscribing oneself in space and time. Thus art is life, or life is art. Both happen in the shadow of death. There is no other need for documenting, other than the need to come to terms with the fact that we are temporary and as an expression of our (sometimes) long and protracted farewell to our existence that starts as soon as we are born. This is also why, to return to your previous question, art (whatever it is) can be didactic in a good way. It not only provides a way for us to engage with non-being, but also with an-other being that gives us so much more life for the price of one.


3. Can art be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?

Yes. Of course, it goes without saying that answering this question in the affirmative also means that the obverse has to be true: art can be a means of historical obfuscation, and an apparatus for constructing lies. Adorno’s distinction between art and culture is meant to position art as the truth-seeking critical impulse and culture as the obfuscatory lie. Of course I simplify. But there is a problem with this, because Adorno equates art with the dialectical critical enterprise, whereas I think bad art (what I think he would call ‘culture’) also points to truth in a negative way, thereby fulfilling a critical function.


4. Is South Africa a productive field for art today? In what way? How would you describe the art scene here?

It depends on what you mean with ‘productive’. If you mean: a field abundant with the kinds of tensions, emotions, psychological extremes, forms, patterns, diversity, flows, shades, human conditions etc. that art thrives on, my answer would be: exceptionally so. But it comes at a heavy, perhaps excessive, price. And therefore if you mean ‘productive’ in the sense that this abundance has been productive for people who make art in South Africa, who ‘produce’, I would have to answer ‘no’. It seems to me as if the possibilities for such people in our circumstances are forced into two extreme options: Artistic response that opens itself fearlessly to the potential of this terrifying inferno, leading to the erasure of the boundaries between art and life in an act of self-destruction and resulting, ultimately, in the impossibility of art; artistic response that distances itself, in an act of self-preservation, from the danger of engagement described in the first response resulting, ultimately, in the impossibility of art. How would I describe the arts scene here? I speak as a musicologist: As the rat infested trenches holding both these positions with a no man’s land between them littered with sacrifices and failure and inevitability.


5. What is the role of music in film?

This is not a question I can answer. I know some of the theory, but that is not what you’d be interested in. It is not a question with which I have grappled. In the light of my previous answer, and the way film music has become the way to think about how South Africa relate to the world of ‘entertainment’ compositionally, I would extend the metaphor and say in our place and time the role of film music (as opposed to music in film) is to get the hell out of front line by pushing two pencils up your nose, faking insanity.


6. What can art tell us about Marikana? What can art do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

You have allowed me to hoist myself with my own petard, as you are so fond of saying. For I have to say now: Art can be didactic in a good way about Marikana, art can document Marikana in the face of mortality, art can historically elucidate Marikana and be an apparatus for getting at the truth of Marikana. All the qualifications in questions 1-3 apply, of course, as well as the risks of the entrenched positions outlined in question 4. If Marikana as news event is the transient headline, the anodyne report, the depressing con, then art can tell us that Marikana is something other. Art can connect with Marikana to show how it is different to what the media have made it. Of course it cannot un-make, it cannot restore life to those massacred, but it can make the events signify differently, in different registers, connected to different historical and political forces. It can make us see Marikana, hear Marikana, feel Marikana. If nothing else, art can grieve for Marikana, and for ‘democracy’ after Marikana.


December 8, 2014

Black Arts collectives post 1994: A review from below by athi mongezeleli joja

Filed under: art,hauntology of smoke and ochre,politics — ABRAXAS @ 9:26 pm


Friday Easter in Khayelitsha, just after a friend delivered a simmering lecture on the political situation of post 1994 in a church, we had thought immediately to go to a nearby chisa-nyam (braai place) to eat and drown sorrows (death of Christ) with cold beers. Indeed we went and then reflected on the turn off of the event. Whilst we were eating and engaging, I in my own private thought cave pondered concentratedly of what befell the church people; the irrational lashes of black revolutionary and emancipatory politics. I had tried to imagine what unfurled in their minds, when in my Marecherain head the chimurenga bashed against the walls of my scalp with malevolent anger.


This thought, slightly interrupted by my gluttonous gnaws, ignored the victuals and looped on pondering. My mind in fact stumbled over, leaping through my penurious knowledge of biblical scenarios, as a way to support what had interrupted me: Black arts collectives in the township! It occurred to me that our cultural baneful moment, launched into consistency by its paucity of political imagination, was a venomous jab of self terrorization, by accepting carcasses of neo-liberal madness, posing as radical sometimes, to penetrate us. The scourge of art collectives making lengthy leaps back into zones once declared native-yards a.k.a. ‘still disadvantaged communities’, bothers me. Like the prodigal son returning home, or like Aime Cesaire returning to his native land, but more politically aligned with Thabo Mbeki’s African renaissance, collectives claim to re-turn back home, from exile, inside national borders. What marks this re-turn?


The post 1994 moment is said to mark the transition from apartheid to reconciliatory democracy. Well I am not eager to waste your energies convincing you about the obvious. I am interested in precisely asserting, nonetheless, the available upgrade; the melaninised continuity of apartheid, that is, white supremacy needs melanin to flourish these days. The retentions of the ‘past’ social composition bare testimony in post 1994 moment through the perpetuity of a racial vertical cartography. Andile Mngxitama says: “Post-1994 is a white heaven and the ANC is the guard at the door to keep the black riff-raff out. In exchange for this service the guard is permitted occasionally to grab leftovers from the rowdy white gluttony going on inside”. As Stuart Hall argues that the post-colony blurs lines between colonizers and colonized, post 1994 disenfranchises the majority for white interests by unraveling a rainbow in a state where social affairs are still imagined, inscribed and experienced in brutal racial continuities. Sometimes this rainbow pretends to rebuke the status qua with radical rhetoric, but albeit its overt dishonesty is a blatant gigantic obvious.


The post 1994 black bourgeoisie government (however one can argue about the validity of their bourgeois-ness) controls keys into the black majority’s plantation or owns means of production in marxist terms. It suspends its ‘parliamentary butt’ on the powerless majority. But sometimes this isn’t overtly done as it cushions its evils under RDP houses, grants, charities and patronage. To purge their guilt and legitimize their ‘human-ness’ it also assumes potentiality for a visual source and this source is contemporary art. This is a commodity and entertainment cosmetic display; “it is the conveyor-belt manufacture of counterfeits and narcotics for the enjoyment of a ‘creative class’ sated with novelty” (chto delat? 2008). It has seduced the cultural producers with prurient gaudy leaflets (funding) in exchange of a violent noisy silence. David Riff says it better when he opines: Money, the great matchmaker, is indifferent to art’s many uses. In the mute world of commodities, where all human labor is equal, the singularity of aesthetic experience makes no particular difference; all artworks mirror one another (2008). Here a somnolent offspring was born: ‘contemporary African Art’. And its silence ‘promises’ gold. It buttresses the political imbecility and amnesia hovering in art circles, because “the truth is that they are just business made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce” (Adorno and Horkheimer 1944). You ask maybe, how is silence noisy?


It is the noise howled from the top, whilst there are no concrete remittances paying the dues or framing the sound waves to words in flesh. It drops mute objects, an “obscurantisme terroriste” in front of a raging black poqo. This ‘political’ noise in essence is befuddled. But in their befuddle-ness albeit I argue its not neurotic, it knows how to “use their black skin and our black collective experience of sorrow to insert them in the economic mainstream”” (Mngxitama 2007). This time art gets a share in the wabenzi pathology. As ‘art’ used to be practically a city commodity fetish, suspended behind big glasses, objects black mercenaries produce to either relentlessly ease elite’s pains or compliment the ego of white art critics, now meanders back home. What to make of its “prodigal son” maneuver booming in our ghettoes these days? You think, have the city-lords and galleries gentrified them with their ‘mute objects’ back to the periphery? Besides the city reminding them of their race and demanding from them their ‘paas’, but also they ‘think at the limit’. The limiting constraints are recurrent reminders that thwart their full inclusion and participating in a game still played with racial tokens. The prodigal son returns home, a derelict home encroached by past injustices and assumes a philanthropic position: give back to the community. A most prurient and sentimental zone; he operates within these vicinities of the marginalized as insider. And “let us acknowledge that the most effective missionary is in fact the black missionary, someone who speaks the language” (Bohmke 2010). The poor prodigal son knows that “in the contemporary art game, the picture of excluded people’s politics is worth a lot to the included – including transnational corporations” (Holmes 2003). He mimics rebellion spitting ‘bombastic’ english that blinds these very communities while fetishly goei-ing deep indigenous jargon to the dizzying ngamlaz masquerading as defiance. Black arts collectives ubiquitously dispose themselves around local black communities with facile intentions. The objective premise is that of precisely legitimizing the dominion over the poor by strategizing themselves as voices not only speaking on the behalf but claiming speaking to them, for them. This presupposes that a requirement for a radical ‘blacklist’ of whiteness and its affiliations be extolled. It exposes and purges every until now eulogized element working against them, howling ‘black this and that’ but precisely its aims in the opposition politics are that of inserting themselves into hermitages that exclude and exploit blacks. This is merely a mise-en-scene contesting the ‘malestream’ for inclusion to the white art market.


Worst that one could deduce from this patina is the commodification of radical thought. The conundrum of commodifying the ‘black collective experience of sorrow’ by simulating ‘counter positions that are critical tools of challenging prevailing institutional practices’ as Gabi Ngcobo tries to convince us. Radical thought, oppositionlity, history etc via representative approach merely becomes fetishised but moreover the collectives’ self-aggrandizement. The spectaclisation of black collective sorrow and black radical thought engenders a very interesting dystopian horizon that of rampant lies already inscribed in representative democracy. This fashion now more grossly, besides spectaclising radical thought or collective sorrow, it under serious scrutiny belts out an anthropological display of the ghetto, availing it for deeper consumption. The lived reality of the people becomes part and parcel of what is sold. You hear people saying they proud of being in a ghetto. This pride presupposes two ambiguous positions, that of arrogance and that of lies. The former is the predilection of marginality without any traces of subversive undertones and the latter that of acute understanding the affluence of black melancholy which humanitarians consistently want to save. Though the latter could be pretty much progressive and subversive, but what remains problematic in it is its reciprocal relations with anti-black sentiments. It perpetuates precisely the fundamental project which our current ANC government propounds and supports.


In the zone of art, true ‘literature of combat’ as Lewis Nkosi calls it, has withered away, and under the madness of consumptive logic everything even truth is sold. So it is under this proliferation that black arts collectives, which I argue is a serial reality throughout the arts, they belt out their sorrow and sell it under radical rhetoric. But the big problem that still is a stark colossus is the fact that the black majority relentlessly suffers while everyone else pushes their names behind its sorrow.

Read texts;

Gabi gcobo. 2009. I have yur back: notes on recent collaborative strategies in south Africa and beyond, in arte invisible catalogue.

David riff; when art again becomes useful, chto delat? Website online

Chto delat?

Adorno & Horkheimer.1944. the culture industry: the enlightenment of mass deception.

Andile Mngxitama 2008. letter to the black consciousness collective. Online

Andile Mngxitama, 2009. grammar of suffering @ mail and guidaine online.

Heirich Bomkhe. 2010. white revolutionary as a missionary. Contemporary travels and researchers in caffaria, in New Frank talk #5.

Brian Holmes. 2003. liar’s Poker. online

December 7, 2014

mary corrigall: resistance is futile

Filed under: art,mary corrigall,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 12:44 pm


December 6, 2014

andile mngxitama on the revolution and when it is coming

Filed under: andile mngxitama,politics — ABRAXAS @ 12:29 am

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October brought to an end in a dramatic fashion the brutal 27 years rule of Blaise Compaoré in Burkina Faso. After two days of protest the people burnt down Parliament and the president fled.

This event invites the question: What is the impact of this Burkina Faso revolution on that society and on sub-Saharan Africa? More specifically, are there any lessons for South Africa, given the ongoing and deepening political and economic crises that are compounded by an increased abuse of power and crude corruption?

These questions take the notion of revolution to mean fundamental transformation in the interest of the poor and working majorities. Here, revolution is the opposite of reform.

Reformism merely changes managers, but retains the system that benefits national economic and political elites. Reformism is what happened in South Africa in 1994 – change that didn’t bring change.

A proper response to the question as it relates to the Burkina Faso “revolution” should correctly be: it’s too early to tell.

Burning down Parliament and chasing out a president with mass protest is, however, an act of historic importance. Such acts transform people – not just the participants, but the spectators as well. No one can be the same again after such an event. This is true irrespective of whether the events after the act betray the revolution and turn to reformism.

The revolution of the person has already occurred, it’s the institutions that lag behind. A turn to reformism ends the dream at societal level, but the individual has seen the promised land. They are no longer of this place. Melancholy follows reform and compromise. One hopes this is not the fate awaiting the people of Burkina Faso. Post-revolution Egypt turned to reformism and now the people wallow in endless sadness.

More profitable questions to pose are: What are the underlying factors that lead to upheaval and revolutionary breakdown and are such factors present in South Africa even in nascent form?

The psychology of the oppressed is the best place to attempt an answer. In Burkina Faso it can be said that the trauma inflicted by the assassination in 1987 of the president, Thomas Sankara, was a key factor. That event brought trauma multiplied by scandal and produced collective shame. Under such conditions the desire for change is repressed and love, or the appearance of love, is performed towards those responsible for one’s own predicament. This paradox explains why evil rule can continue for long periods, but also how it can fall so suddenly.

In Burkina Faso, everybody knew that the man who took over from their beloved son, Sankara, was the same man who had a direct hand in his murder. For 27 years they called Compaoré president and pretended to be obedient citizens. It was a fraud from beginning to end. The whole nation was involved in a lie. But an unethical existence is also a restless existence.

This unethical existence can only be appeased by an upheaval that uproots and thereby cleanses the people and returns dignity to their being. This means social and political trauma can be repressed for decades but will, in all likelihood, lead to an explosion that heals the actors.

Revolution is a cleansing ritual. One can imagine the disbelief of those who found themselves inside hallowed spaces such as Parliament and television stations. One moment they were outside – power locked them out. The next moment they are inside and making history. They shout and look at each other and recognise not fear but victory and pride reflected in each others faces.

The protesters and rulers alike could never have anticipated how events would turn out. It’s the iron law of revolution; no one knows how things will unfold. The children of Soweto didn’t know they would end up with a massacre and shake apartheid to its roots with their Black Power cry.

The surprised yet elated Burkinabé protestors look at the smoke that rises from the ashes of Parliament and burst out laughing. The joke is on politicians who rule so long by lies. Protesters enter palaces and throw rocks and chairs about as if to erase from memory the 27 years of oppression. Parliament, which was once a symbol of power, was elected men in suits calling each other “honourable” while screwing the nation. But now it lies in ashes – a confirmation of defeat of the elite and resurrection of people’s power.

If you had asked the ruling party and its president a week before the two days that changed everything about the prospects of revolution, they would have laughed at you. Ruling parties are deaf to the roaring sound of rebellion always present, always probing, until the floods. Then it’s too late.

We can now ask, in post-1994 South Africa, what is the event that is likely to play a decisive role to inaugurate the repressed trauma that may lead to the upheaval? Pre-1994 South Africa had the Sharpeville and Soweto massacres. To ask the same question differently: What happened to the tears of the Marikana massacre; the tears induced by the public execution of Andries Tatane for demanding water? Haven’t we seen the same process of betrayal and shame among the people?

The only question becomes: How long before the flood hits? The triggers are likely to be the same: the arrogance of power, blatant corruption as in the Nkandla scandal, denuding the institution of democracy of any integrity, reducing Parliament to an instrument of absolving those in power. Mix all this with frustration and the legendary South African rage, then the Burkina Faso revolution will look like a Sunday school outing.

The ruling party in South Africa increasingly rules by administrative fiat of naked majoritarianism, not by a superior logic and moral authority emanating from ethical politics. The halo no longer sits with dignity on the head of the head of state. The emperor’s nakedness can only be covered by even greater obscenity, such as turning a mass of buttocks into the shield of Nkandla. The people look on with half amusement and half incredulity.

The restlessness of our people suggests something is in the air. It may not happen tomorrow, but it will certainly happen in our lifetime. It was Karl Marx who advised that “revolution comes at night like the thief”.

We had better be ready.

first published here: http://m.mg.co.za/article/2014-12-04-let-the-ashes-of-burkinabe-parliament-stand-as-a-stern-warning/

December 4, 2014

andile mngxitama on the meaning of mandela

Filed under: andile mngxitama,politics — ABRAXAS @ 8:51 pm


keep reading this article here: http://mg.co.za/article/2013-12-13-madibas-magnanimity-led-to-false-love

December 2, 2014

athi joja on brett bailey’s exhibit b

Filed under: art,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 9:38 pm

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art and politics in sa now now

Filed under: art,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 11:48 am

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first published here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/02/china-artists-masses-mao-style-cultural-campaign

December 1, 2014

sacp member Howard Smith responds to the six questions about art in south africa today

Filed under: art,music,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 9:02 pm


Art is not class neutral; people who represent it (whether their own or others work) as such are guilty of fraud. They must get honest.

Popular music is just that – not commercial music, not what broadcasters promote, not what is produced by muso’s whose wordy descriptions of, or interviews about, their work exceed manifold the number of pages that they have actually covered with musical notation.

I enjoy many different genres and periods of music – music inspires me, depresses me, makes me reflect, cry, laugh. That, what I listen to by choice, is not popular music either – but it can include popular music.

Popular music is what people create, use, repeat, exploit to express themselves. In what we refer to as western culture, the last expression of a genuine popular music was the protest songs of the anti-Vietnam war era, or of the civil rights movement. The Occupy Movement has produced nothing like it, one reason why it’s not the movement it should be.

In SA we seem to have lost the feel for popular musical expression since 1994 – but there is still a wealth of songs lauding Zuma, the ANC government and our popular struggles, alongside many others against all that. Has the EFF any such songs, or is exposing rounded butts sufficient, without or without fart-like sound effects?

Our airwaves could do more to popularise (ie broadcast) existing popular musical expression, thus contributing to the genre, its survival, development and future. But then in a world where everything has to have a price (become a commodity) that is difficult to organise.

I don’t think privileged composers (I mean those fortunate few who can make a reasonable living from it, unlike those who compose everyday of their lives to stave off hunger pangs and never see a penny for their creative effort) are particularly well placed to discuss popular music or pretend that what they do is create it. At the end of the day the reception of their work will decide, but they shouldn’t bemoan the audience they reach if they do not/cannot take their work into the townships and rural villages. If you compose for orchestras in concert halls, your audience will be those who frequent them; if you compose alongside your fellow strikers on a picket line, then your audience will be alongside you adding harmony to your creation.

November 28, 2014

mphutlane wa bofelo on art and politics in south africa after the marikana massacre

Filed under: art,mphutlane wa bofelo,poetry,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 11:33 pm


Do you think art can be didactic in a good way?

This reminds me of the question that a fellow writer who is also a publisher asked me recently: “ Why do stories matter?” My answer was: Narratives bring personal and psycho-social and socio-political and cultural context to issues, emotions, philosophies etc because every character presents a particular voice and perspective and the setting and scene gives you the context within which to interrogate the actions. I went on to say that fiction mediates social reality and deconstructs it by providing us with faces, voices, places, moments that allow us to go into the inner factors and a myriad of forces at play in society and beyond. I think this somehow sums up my perspective that the literary, visual and performed arts should not merely reflect social reality but should also mediate and interrogate that reality and imagine other ways of thinking, doing and living beyond what is there. Yes, art can educate, raise consciousness, and make moral judgements and value-leaden statements without being too preachy, propagandistic in a dogmatic and prescriptive way.


What is this “need to document”? Of what use is it?

Artists’ creation of works that serves to capture and document moments and histories is part of the struggle of memory against forgetting. Oppressive and exploitative structures thrive on amnesia. The manufacturing of consent, the construction of false-consciousness and the production of weapons and mediums of mass illusions rely heavily on making the people to move from one moment, festival and tragedy to the other without reflecting on the previous. It is easy to create hype about the next election if people forget about the travesties that occurred in past elections; and to get the South African people excited about hosting the Olympics if they have no memories of how the Olympics have affected other countries who hosted them before or engage in no critical reflections on the promises of 2010 World Football Crap and who gained and lost out of the flip it is here moment. Documentation can wake people from slumber and can be used to hold the establishment to account.


Is South Africa a productive field for art today? In what way? How would you describe the art scene here?

South Africa is a very interesting place to live in today for artists. This is a country pregnant with possibilities for fresh and creative ways of imagining the world and yet full of examples of how the celebration of mediocrity, romanticization of ‘struggle history’, obfuscation of the present and valorization of the paradise called the future ensures that we are trapped in to the status quo; and the mantra of patriotism and social cohesion is used to normalize conformism, complacency and apathy and to mask the contradiction, inequities and injustices based on class, race, gender, sexuality, disability and other forms of exclusion, discrimination and marginalization. The tragi-comedy comedy in the whole situation offers ample material for the creation of art. The entrenched culture of carrot –and- stick; demonization of critical minds and patronage to the parrots means that one either joins in the worship of mediocrity and the religion of convenience or simply dare to dream, think, imagine and make art and life outside prevailing orthodoxies, dogmas, canons and hierarchies. I think this country has proponents on both sides, just that those challenging orthodoxies, dogmas, canons and hierarchies are not in the papers, on TV, in the books, and shall not get the awards and honorary doctorates….naturally so …..

I have given poetic tapestry to this in my poem, Blues for the Jazz Rappers, dedicated to Robbo the technician and Lesego Rampolokeng

Blues For Jazz Rappers

(For Robo The Technician & Lesego Rampolokeng)

ladies and gentlemen!

i will not observe any protocol

to me hierarchy is the foundation of tyranny

pat me not on the shoulders

no ovations for me

i am not part of the propaganda machine

i have no regard for your orders

my regards are on the shop-floor

my credibility is in the ghetto

the pavement is my alter

to the masses i bow

that’s the only god i know

the underground is my heaven

rebellion is my religion

the mainstream is the hell i refrain from

sorry mister corporate and missus government

keep your podiums

high tables, circus stables

red carpets for puppets

blood in the wallets

the sting is in the conscience

emotions on sale, psalms for rent

some count cents for sense

for the rands they are the red ants

throw heretics off the stage

to clear the way for the market

silence in the theatre

it’s not police sirens

but the voice of the poet

doing a judas\brutas against Rap Master Supreme

a hatchet job for the gods

of poetry for pleasure

too many punches and no lines

they slaughter literature

googled beats & pirated melodies for the ambience

the gullible are in trance

perhaps it’s time for a séance

summon the ghost of Cesaire

call the presence of Count Bassie

invite the Mahlathini roar

bring on Mahotela Queens, Dark City Sisters; Nina Simone

an orchestra of voices

from the under-belly

we come wailing

with bob and the wailers

on the Pharaoh Express

bavino sermon a jeremiad against gutter education

no histrionic choruses

it’s a rage against clones & their masters

no mastering needed for this sound-track

it is beats pumping against the killing of life

no bane robotics, sir

some went mechanic with the sound

others technical with the word truth

robo lyrical with the technique

a return to the verbal

conscious music a freedom-weapon lethal

it’s no beats from the box, sir

it’s hearts pounding against the odds

life hip and hopping

at the grassroots

we rap the blues

from the ground

thunder, the wind

& the ocean

play our kind of jazz……

on that note of kinds & all that jazz

the word is clear

there is only one cry

the language of love

and resilience is universal

human experience has one voice

the difference is in the accents

you can rave to the rhythm and poetry

of throbbing hearts

croon it from the soul

jazz it up with polyrhythmic sounds

rock & roll with it on the dance-floor

rap and shoot it from the hip

chant it as pop or freedom songs

hum it as the spirituals

sing it as the gospel truth

or in raga style

you may wrap the moods

in expansive colours;

it all amount to the same thing

the yearning for love

in its many facets

in one word we call it blues


What is the role of music in film?

Music and film can fall under either of the categories mentioned in answer to your previous question. It can question, instruct, liberate, pacify; it can heal, conscientize, awaken or deaden the mind and the body. It can delink the personal from the public or it can show how political the personal is and how much private interests have a squeeze on the public and a hold on the state. Music and film can be part of the injection of amnesia or it can combat the de-memorization and de-historicization process; refuse to fall to the fallacy of the end of history; the lie that human inventiveness has reached its pinnacle; that there is no world other than the consumerist, crass materialist, capitalist world; the lie that accumulation and consumption are the culminating points of human existence or simply put, the dogma that to be is to accumulate and to live is to consume, with no consideration for the environment, other species and other generations. The music and film I root for is one that says: there are other worlds, other thoughts, other modes. In the choice between There in No Alternative (Tina) and There Must Be an Alternative (Themba), and I root for the music that stands for hope….


What can art tell us about Marikana? What can art do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

Marikana highlight the struggle of There Must Be An Alternative against the gods and demons of There is No Alternative. It’s the people beginning to rise against hierarchies, orthodoxies, dogmas and canons in a big way. It also shows the extent of the collusion between the gatekeepers in the union movement and other movements and the captains of capital and the state. But it points to the possibility of building a borderless movements that links the struggles of all the damned of the world and their allies. But it tells us of the violence and brutality of the ideology of the establishment and how language and culture are part of the key instruments. Art can show the ideology, culture and language at play behind Marikana. I think art can give eternal life to the victims of Marikana. Art can make the ghosts of Marikana haunt the oppressors and exploiters of every ilk. Art can ask\make\move people to refuse to forget. ART CAN \IS\MUST BE LIFE \HOPE\STRUGGLE

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niklas zimmer on art and politics in south africa after marikana

Filed under: art,niklas zimmer,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 9:28 am


1. Do you think art can be didactic in a good way?

Yes, I do. In fact, my own – possibly rather outdated – notion of what art is and does includes a kind of didactic role that it always plays.
Works of art that arouse and sustain my interest always confront me with things that I have not yet grasped to my satisfaction.
I state this in reference to your qualifier ‘in a good way’: I am not really that interested in critiquing didacticism per se,
since there are enough ways in which we can easily close ourselves off from lessons we do not want to learn anyway.
Our judgements about what we believe to be lacking or needing form effective enough barriers from indoctrinations on any scale of subtlety or crassness.
The (good) didacticism of (good) art is of such a nature that it makes me wonder, that it hurts me with a truth I recognise as profoundly unbearable on my own,
because now, suddenly, I am directly being spoken to by an author, directly moved by a dancer, because a sculptor has placed something into my space, making it into a temporary home for my lost soul …
here, now, a communication takes place that seeks no other, higher value than itself. It is never pure or uncomplicated, but it strikes at my roots and enlivens my spirit to sing out above my daily settling for less.


2. What is this “need to document”? Of what use is it?

As with each of your questions, an attempt to answer it might best be through writing an entire book with several open chapters, a body of texts that span a range of possible approaches from the most lyrical to the most stringently academic (historical, logical, critical, comparative). The reason for my delayed reply to you in fact lies here, how to create a productive silence about the absence of all those already existing and not-yet existing texts, the myriad of possible footnotes and their web of interference patters, so horrifyingly beautiful in their futility to provide a new way forward. A way along which it would not be necessary to document, or rather where there are no longer any documents of anything, because their would be a continuity of experience that has no need for redress, for storing up hopes and shoring up losses. I guess I am talking about heaven, or an after-life of some kind. We document out of hubris, out of indignation at our ignorance, and the failure of the world to complete us. Its use is to soothe the anxiety and the hopelessness that arises in the face of every moment that is a learning. Every learning moment is a confrontation with inevitable death. The act of documenting is an active denial of the deeper possibilities invested in this learning – it translates insight into empowering and disempowering products and procedures, it commodifies wisdom, and it makes idols and icons out of the mundane terror of existence. With respect to visual-technological documentation (imaging), the fairly recent conflagration of documentary photography and fine art photography into ‘documentary fine art photography,’ with all its incumbent unbearable rhetoric, it has become clear that the neurosis of the ‘artist’ in trying to short-cut any learning and feeling (snap! the cord is snapped. Snap! again) has been married through clever dealer-consortiums with an equally pernicious neurosis on behalf of the collector, who is unfortunately often not merely an individual tragically disconnected from society by unethical amounts of disposable income, but also a public institution with a didactic role, such as museums. The exhibition of such spuriously generated ‘documents’ turn these places into temples of indoctrination, a role which they may have at some point escaped, had the impossible task of providing aesthetic proof of divine design that the arts have carried all their own since the enlightenment been augmented with a radical enough philosophy to structure society fairly, with enough common future to bind us to purposes beyond our lifetime in good faith. Documentary needs are born in bad faith, their best use would lie in declaring this, and in such declarations to be heard and taken up with effect.


3. Can art be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?

Art has always been used in that way, but the best works have always outdone and outlived this purpose. The contemporary constructions of truth in art always find extra-contemporaneous (mis)understandings and constructions of new truths. There is, of course no historical present in any art, not even in the scream of the saxophonist squirming on the stage of his political oppression, witnessed by his fellow travellers on the unforgettable summer night of revolution. The truth of art is never the truth of history. Art is an experience that has no apparatus. There are aesthetic guidelines of form and conceptual guidelines of context, but the life of a work lies within its experience. This inverts history: the reader hears the authors heart beat before the author has finished writing the book with his own blood. The mythology of ‘the artists intention’ may deepen or obscure connections made with the work of art, but the work that each viewer, each listener, each reader does every time they allow themselves to acknowledge their connectedness to the one who sounded out so deeply the necessity and the potential of a meaning (one singular, another singular, yet another singular, …) that they brought forth, birthed, shat out, vomited, whispered, lied, … not least: completed a work that transcends merely reasonable behaviour, leaves behind historical time and the necessity for truth. In art, truth is found and lost, but never kept.


4. Is South Africa a productive field for art today? In what way? How would you describe the art scene here?

I don’t know. I am disappointed and intimidated by the art scene here. I am more and more tired of it, because I have come to realise the large role that class actually plays in it, and that is an stiflingly boring situation to say the very least.
There are a few very good South African artists, I admire how very hard they work at their shit. I vacillate between the phantasies of becoming a librarian and abandoning making art altogether on the one had, and on the other just sequestering myself in an open-ended hermitage of ceaseless creative work until the moment I collapse dead. The ecstasy of two painful isolations: Art in South Africa, nothing altogether special or unique. Art cannot save this place from the fire that is coming, it can prefigure it, and commodify it, but it cannot change it. The strange thing is that ‘relevance’ still has so much relevance here.


5. What is the role of music in film?

The right music – and this should be understood to include a film-long absence of music, too – makes a good film come alive. It is the breath of the film. When a director allows the music enough space to play an equi-valent role to the visual (text), the film is transformed into an experience: the viewer also becomes a listener. To be a listener of a story, of a progression of events or disconnected moments, repetitions, silences is to be a very different kind of witness. I remember seeing – and in this case one should rather say ‘hearing’ – Derek Jarman’s ‘Blue’ as a teenager when it came out in the early nineties, and it was transformative. As with all your questions here, also the question of the sound-track has been theorised to death in the course of the 20th century, I seem to remember reading Barbara Flückiger for instance years ago, but still the mainstream audience seems to want to privilege the role of the visual in conscious perception, and leave the audio to manipulate from below, in supportive obscurity. This is odd, though, because the greatest films also have exceptional music, music by composers that have shaped music history outside of the womb of the theatre, for instance Ennio Morricone (and I know he is not the greatest, blah blah), whose music was reinterpreted so grandly by John Zorn. I have forgotten all the big words of film theory by now, and without them it is easy to say that music, beyond at base lending film as entertainment a life-like liveliness, it can make a film into a work of art that transcends social and historical context.

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6. What can art tell us about Marikana? What can art do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

I don’t know. I still don’t know what I can think about Adorno, poetry and Auschwitz. I haven’t arrived at Marikana, I am not sure I ever want to. Who wants to? I can’t really say anything about it. I listen, I look, but what can I say? We can try to be part of building something and of tearing something else down, of exposing something, and of veiling something else. Death stares us in the face through every truthful effort fuelled by unshielded desire, this is always in a sense a tasteless point. We don’t need to trample anybody’s dignity with programmatic works that add nothing to the project of social and political reformation. I am certain that in one way or another there are a number of art works being made right now with no conscious intentions of referencing the massacre of South African protesters by the South African police upon orders by the South African political-industrial complex, and that by some twist of fate they may suddenly become emblematic of a discussion of that very event. Can art illustrate and comment, indict and reimagine? Yes. Does it have to do any of those things in order to be a vital part of “democracy” after Marikana? No.


tokolos stencils on art and politics in south africa today

Filed under: art,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 12:24 am


1. Do you think art can be didactic in a good way?

It can be though it usually is not. It can be didactic if it is part of a revolutionary culture of resistance. Anti-apartheid resistance art, with its pitfalls, was still didactic in a good way.


2. What is this “need to document”? Of what use is it?

Documenting forms of struggle is important because the documentation can be a tool of popular pedagogy. For us, the key question is how can the documentation be used to further the struggle? Your documentary on the battle for hangberg was wonderful – we loved it. But how can it be used to connect and strengthen struggles of blacks taking back the land?

THE UPRISING OF HANGBERG from Stephanus Muller on Vimeo.

directed by dylan valley and aryan kaganof, 2010

3. Can art be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?

What is “the” truth? Maybe not but maybe it can help build “a” truth. History is always a competition of various subjectivities and who has the power to tell or enforce these truths. We are looking to construct a specific kind of truth that is more fair and just.


4. Is South Africa a productive field for art today? In what way? How would you describe the art scene here?

We have no fucking clue! We’re not artists and we don’t know the art scene.


6. What can art tell us about Marikana? What can art do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

There is no democracy. We don’t live in a democracy. 1994 changed fokol. Art is only as good as the movement or movements to overthrow this mirage. Our main stencil, “Remember Marikana” is used as a catalyst for the recovery of historical memory of the recent past because in this age we live, all memory is ephemeral and people forget struggles around crucial events.

What can art tell us about Marikana? It can tell us what happened, by asking us to remember, but it can also tell us who and what are using the memory of Marikana to fight, like Mambush, to get rid of this white supremacist capitalist society we live in. Art can use Marikana to champion movements that aspire to rid our country of colonialism and white privilege once and for all.


more about the tokolos stencils collective is here: http://africasacountry.com/we-send-our-tokoloshe-to-battle-with-those-trying-to-make-us-forget-the-atrocities-of-marikana/

November 27, 2014

mama i’m crying – betty wolpert

Filed under: politics,south african cinema — ABRAXAS @ 10:05 pm

November 14, 2014

khwezi gule, chief curator: soweto museums on art and politics in south africa today

Filed under: art,politics,six questions — ABRAXAS @ 3:18 pm

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1. Do you think art can be didactic in a good way?

I think art in the broadest sense exists in two worlds one is what I might call “art for life” which is everywhere and then there is “art for reflection” which is maybe more about contemplation. I think the former does the task of education and consciousness-raising a lot more effectively than latter. But we need both.


2. What is this “need to document”? Of what use is it?

I personally do not see the need to constantly document. There is nothing that a photographic image tells us these days that we don’t already know. More than that it has become extremely dangerous because (a) I believe rather than merely observe conflict, it fuels it and (b) it creates amongst the consumers of images (who are often located far away from the events being depicted) a false sense of knowing as well as the false assurance that whatever intervention they propose will be the appropriate one.


3. Can art be a means of historical elucidation, an apparatus for constructing truth?

4. Is South Africa a productive field for art today? In what way? How would you describe the art scene here?

It is moribund like the rest of South African culture. It is incapable of producing anything that lives. In short it is mostly just entertainment and titilation for the senses and occasionally for the mind.


5. What is the role of music in film?

I think it determines the pace of the viewing, not just the “mood”. If a scene is silent, or has a a dramatic orchestral score or a driving hip-hop beat the music can make a long scene longer, it can make a short scene longer.


6. What can art tell us about Marikana? What can art do with Marikana? With “democracy” after Marikana?

Art can no longer tell us anything. Its privileged space in public discourse is extremely overrated. What it can tell us in most cases is where the money is going. The kind of art I spoke about earlier “art for life” does not need to be hyped. It just is. The other kind of art is just a pretender to the title. But ultimately I really don’t think Marikana can be told. It is too soon. The ones that feel it are the ones that know it (isn’t it??) and they don’t need to be told anything.

khwezi gule
10 november 2014


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