The 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival in pictures

This year was my second time attending the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. I attended as part of the festival’s photojournalism programme, which trains photographers on how to take pictures in a jazz/concert setting. I spent most of my time at the Rosies stage, where I took pictures of artists like Buddy Wells, Tune Recreation Committee (TRC), Thandiswa Mazwai, SkyJack, Siya Makuzeni, etc. I went into the festival with a knowledge of the kinds of images I wanted to come out with – hence I stuck to the Rosies stage. I wanted intimate, classic, moody pictures. But, when in a festival like this, one with a line-up so diverse and legendary, I took to other stages where greats like Jonas Gwangwa performed.


#FeesMustFall: An interview

I was interviewed by Sophie Schasiepen for the Austrian feminist magazine an.schlage in 2016. The interview covered issues surrounding #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall and feminism within the movement. It was originally published in German here. This is the English translation of the interview. The translated piece is longer than the German version.

In April 2015, the #RhodesMustFall (RMF) movement achieved the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes* from the campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT). Debates leading to this event soon included demands for much more radical and extensive changes than just the removal of a statue: the protests were aiming for the decolonization of South African universities – and the country as a whole. Out of these discussions, many more initiatives were founded on different campuses throughout the country, amplifying the momentum of RMF. In October last year, a new climax was reached when students, parents and staff protested against an increase of tuition fees in, forming the #FeesMustFall (FMF) movement. All major campuses in South Africa were temporarily shut down. Jacob Zuma´s promptly following promise for a 0% increase of tuition fees has not put an end to the struggle – on the contrary, this year, at the beginning of the new term, protesters have been interrupting the registration processes and are continuing to take their demands to the streets.

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History Begins With A Garden – An exhibition by Khaya Witbooi

“Sometimes we ask flowers to speak for us, to tell our love, jealousy or gratitude; but flowers can reveal other truths if we let them. They can tell about the love and hate of our past and the controversies of our present, unlocking the political history of their beauty and poetics. The same inquiry would unveil the sinless space of the garden itself as a place of symbolic and material production. It is here where the sublime beauty, accessible to few, emerges as the surplus value of the dirty hand labor of the many.

History Begins With A Garden is an exhibition by Khaya Witbooi curated by Mariella Franzoni, that explores the colonial genealogy (or counter-history) of gardens and gardening in South Africa, bringing to light its relation with slavery, land dispossession and nationalist propaganda. Questions like, “how the beauty of South Africa’s nature is produced, protected and celebrated? For whom? At whose expense?” motivate the exploration of the notion of garden as an ambiguous space of beauty and violence.”

History Begins With A Garden is showing at Gallery MOMO from 16 March to 16 April 2017.


Music and Career Live Performance: Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Annually, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, hosts a career development workshop for high school students who wish to make music their career. The Music and Career Live Performance is “aimed at high school students with an interest in event production and performing.”

Throughout the process, the learners are imparted with basic stage production, arrangements and stage etiquette.

Schools that participated in the performance were Livingstone High School, Worcester High School, Wynberg Senior Secondary School, Alexander Sinton High School, Heathfield High School, Groote Schuur High School, Cedar High Scool and Settlers High School.

The live performance happened at the Artscape on 26 March.

The short lifespan of the black mannequin

ON Tuesday, a picture of a black mannequin hanging by a noose from a tree at the Wits Library Lawns, made rounds on social media. The image was retweeted more than 600 times with Twitter users expressing outrage at the image which they said resembled the lynchings of black men in America.

The mannequin was hung late Monday night with clothes and placards but was discovered the following morning undressed.

Arriving on the scene almost an hour after the picture went viral, Wits Vuvuzela was told by SRC general secretary, Fasiha Hassan that the exhibition was part of #IsraelApartheidWeek activities and represented Israel’s disregard for black lives.

The message was clearly not well received, with some students not understanding its meaning.

Around 15 minutes later, Wits PSC members came and wrapped a Palestinian keffiyeh around the neck of the mannequin along with a t-shirt with the words, “Resistance is not Terrorism.”

A little while after that the mannequin was taken down, allegedly by students who felt insulted by the exhibition.

The mannequin was left on the ground of the library lawns, in two halves. When one of the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee students was asked what happened to the exhibition, he replied: “It wasn’t received as we had wished.”

On Wednesday night, the Wits PSC released a statement apologising for the exhibition.