●Xenophobia & Art? Artists For Africa – fight back with creative passion!

30May08


STATEMENT
BY ARTISTS FOR AFRICA ON THE VIOLENCE AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONALS

If art were to mirror our society right now, it would reflect the rainbow as a tattered farce, the African Renaissance as a bad stand-up comedy routine, the notion of ubuntu as a horror movie, and our much-admired constitution as a satire on what we have become.

Given where we have come from, with Madiba’s inaugural “never again” speech still ringing in our ears, and with the dream that we would be a beacon of humanity, dignity and tolerance, there can be little excuse for the sheer brutality in the violence wreaked against foreign nationals in the last few weeks.

At the same time, we recognise the desperate conditions in which many of our fellow citizens continue to live. The horrific statistics of AIDS-related deaths, of victims of violent crime and of infant mortality bear testimony to a people brutalised by the genocide of neglect and dehumanised by the third force of poverty.

We call upon the many ordinary citizens who have rallied in response to the current humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale to translate these efforts into concerted action that will revive the non-racial project, hold accountable those responsible for delivery and help to build a truly better society for all.

We call upon our colleagues in the arts community to employ their creativity in the service of all our people, not only those who can buy our art, to speak truth to power and to continue to remind us of our dreams.

It is time for us as citizens to reassert our central role in our democracy, to reclaim ownership of our ideals and to practice our common humanity.

About Artists for Africa

Artists for Africa was launched as an informal network of artists, cultural organisations and institutions on Monday 26 May 2008 to help coordinate action by the arts and culture sector in response to the violence against foreign nationals as it reflects itself in Cape Town.

Like other citizens and organisations, numerous individual artists and arts organisations have given of their time and resources in the last few weeks. Artists for Africa will provide a mechanism for greater collective action, to encourage the arts community to utilise its unique creativity at this time and to plan and embark on further action
beyond this particular crisis.

For more information or to become part of AFA,
contact any member of the committee:

Andrew Lamprecht (UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art) 0724965032;
Karen Jeynes (Performing Arts Network of South Africa): 0839468526;
Mandla Mbothwe (Magnet Theatre and UCT Drama School): 0828268586;
Kathy Coates (Iziko Museum): 0822004622;
Mike van Graan (Africa Centre): 0829003349;
Robert Weinek (Public Eye): 0724205193

Dathini Mzayiya (Gugulective and Arts South Africa Initiative):
dathinimzayiya@yahoo.co.uk

Administrative support is provided by
Farzanah Badsha: (Africa Centre): 0824234381.

End.

●AFA! No web site?
get yr selves a blog – it’s free & yr in control – U R the Queen/King of yr domain!
[wordpress’ = domain = free. 2 change it costs U!]

[many thanx KN 4 sending this to me – hoh]
.



4 Responses to “●Xenophobia & Art? Artists For Africa – fight back with creative passion!”

  1. 1 Ilené Jacobs

    I am a young artists living in Stellenbosch and I have never really been interested in doing any politically motivated art, but the recent violence has me sitting in front of the computer doing research on the recent attacks and thinking of ways to address this problem. As artists we need to react to this and show our disgust with what is happening in our country. I already have a series of works that I have started making developing in my head and if someone(with more connections than I have)can arrange an exhibition for works that comment on the recent events, I would love to participate.

    The insane violence has filled me with disgust and for the first time in my quite isolated Afrikaner upbringing I was moved by something other than my own immediate needs. I realised how self-involved I have been and thus I had some serious discussions with my students, trying to create awareness under school kids. I even managed to collect clothes from my closet to donate and I NEVER through anything out.

    Please contact me if there is anything that i can do in my area and of any developments in terms of artists discussions or whatever. I would really like to do something good for a change.

    Ilené Jacobs

  2. 2 hoh

    Hi there Ilene
    i am moved by your passion for justice and change
    may i suggest if you haven’t already, give anyone of these people a call and give them yr email so they will keep you posted with any info they have.

    Andrew Lamprecht (UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art) 0724965032;
    Karen Jeynes (Performing Arts Network of South Africa): 0839468526;
    Mandla Mbothwe (Magnet Theatre and UCT Drama School): 0828268586;
    Kathy Coates (Iziko Museum): 0822004622;
    Mike van Graan (Africa Centre): 0829003349;
    Robert Weinek (Public Eye): 0724205193
    Dathini Mzayiya (Gugulective and Arts South Africa Initiative):
    dathinimzayiya@yahoo.co.uk
    Administrative support is provided by
    Farzanah Badsha: (Africa Centre): 0824234381.

    in the mean time you could go to
    http://www.tac.com
    to see what help is needed
    I’ve got a post of all the organisations involved in the refugee crisis here in the cape
    there is bound to be lots going on in your neck of the woods
    or did you not have any incidents?
    all the best
    hoh

  3. An update from Durban (albeit it disjointed and amidst exhaustion):

    There have been a number of organisations that have been working around the clock over the past few weeks in response, no… retaliation… no resistance… to the xenocide that has unfolded across the southern-most tip of this our continent. They have been church-based, social movement-based, activist organisations that have tried to address the immediate humanitarian crisis that has emerged. People are exhausted while waiting for a municipal response. In Durban, food aid will run out on Wednesday and still there has been little city-initiated action in sunny Durban-by-the-sea (where the fun never sets…)

    The violence seems to have abated but with bus loads of people leaving for Mozambique daily from the Cato Manor police station, one shudders to think of the numerous people sitting back in satisfaction seeing the ‘success’ of this violent expulsion. In Durban ‘foreigners’ have not waited for the logical conclusion of the ongoing xenophobia (that has been present for so many years) – police stations and churches flooded before large-scale massacre could ripple through a province with a history fraught with so-called ethnic tension.

    Grandparents cringe at the memory of the 1949 race riots. An activist student at UKZN despaired while announcing relief efforts at the computer lan:
    “this one guy told me in the lan today “f*** off! you indians are next” when i made the announcement. by the time rms (UKZN security services) arrived, the dude had left. is anyone else hitting brick walls? AAARRRRGGGG!!!!!”

    On Thursday (29 May) the Industrial Organisational and Labour Studies Research unit (in collaboration with UKZN) organised a public forum entitled ‘Why Now?’ Three key action points were identified by one of the speakers:
    1. stop the violence (it seems to have quieted… for now)
    2. humanitarian aid (an ongoing struggle)
    3. addressing the condition of xenophobia

    It is this third point I am interested in when starting a dialogue with other creative practitioners. Art is so often confined to institutional spaces in the interest of careers and self-aggrandisement (a debate I am sure everyone is aware and bored of within activist art circles). South Africa has not had sufficient institutional support of art that falls without these parameters (a debate many I am sure are equally as bored and frustrated by). Yet we still persevere.

    Due to a myriad of financial, conceptual and spatial reasons we often persevere in somewhat isolation nationally. Especially coming from the ass-end of the universe as some label it – Durban – national and continental dialogue is even more sidelined at times. The conversation I deem necessary (and that this site has provided a platform for) is about the role and responsibility of people working in a variety of creative fields, and revolves around how we start collaborating along inter-disciplinary lines in order to contribute to a new form of socio-economic and political activism through participatory creative practice (art / architecture / design / and so on). We all agree that we need to act (and we are in many senses) but what now?

    This particular crisis is but one of the many issues that plague artists (at least those who have moved beyond finding their inner dolphin), and this could I guess be a starting point for a greater collective imagination.

    If you have any ideas or would like to know more about what is happening in Durban, please let me know.

  4. 4 hoh

    Rike Sitas – don’t despair!
    so sorry for long delay
    been a tad preocupied with things

    I’ve just looked at yr website
    it took a long time to upload but it was worth the wait!
    love love love your clock
    it’s spectacular!
    i’ve got loads of questions
    did you sit at the hi tech table and chairs watching the workers build it and take the pics which are are brilliant 222222222222222!
    have you got in touch with the AFAOVAFN!?
    the artist4africa etc
    i gave them my email and i wait for info
    what are they waiting for
    i’m chomping at the bit
    will be interesting to see how things will pan out

    wouldn’t it be swell if we had a conference call?
    to throw ideas about?
    there is so much amazing talent in south Africa
    what the bleep are we going to do to use our skills to help others discover their own creativity?

    what sort of projects do you have in mind
    there are the 10 south African artist in America too
    a world thing?

    planting trees would be good in the mean time!
    getting children to put a tree seed in a cup and growing it – then planting it?
    there’s something about growing things that is mesmerising
    the vitality of plants they zing and boy do some of them grow fast!
    enough

    by for now


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