Monday, September 12, 2011

{ black is beautiful }

For his work as a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), Bantu Stephen Biko is a definitive icon of the struggle against Apartheid. Emerging internationally in the 1960s, the Black Consciousness Movement essentially emphasises the link between the individual and society; that only if individuals believe they are worthy of change, or capable of change, will that societal change happen. In other words, ‘black consciousness’ rejected the white monopoly on truth entrenched over years of colonial oppression (especially regarding race and class), an idea which became a unifying platform for the many ‘black’ activist and social groups of the time.

For those who missed out on POL101, the term ‘Black Consciousness’ was dubbed by W. E. B. Du Bois who argued that Black Americans had a ‘double consciousness’ – because they were conditioned by colonial oppressors, to believe they were inferior beings as a result of their race. Biko’s writings echo this sentiment in his concern for the existential struggle of the ‘black’ person as a dignified and proud human being. The core of black consciousness was psychological, not purely political and that’s why it was such a powerful movement.

34 years ago Steve Biko was murdered in police custody on 12 September 1977. Noting the political problems South Africa finds itself in today (like corruption, patronage), had he lived, would we be a more ‘conscious’ nation? Would we be better equipped to deal with problems of pollution and climate change? Biko is still relevant and will be until we all take responsibility for the impact we have on the planet  and the people we share it with. Be conscious.

The 12th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture entitled “Evil Under The Sun: The Death of Steve Biko” will be presented by Sir Sydney Kentridge (lead lawyer in the Biko Inquest) and held tonight at Jameson Hall, Upper Campus UCT, see the invitation here.

Images: 1, 2, 3

Friday, September 9, 2011

{ fear the box }

Begun as a legacy event of the 2014 World Design Capital Bid, Creative Week Cape Town embodies the zesty art scene of the Mother City. Running from 9-18 Sept 2011, this event  aims to showcase "creativity in design, music, film, theatre, business, innovation, digital media, fine arts and crafts in Cape Town" (so basically everything!), and does just that as it spans across the city from Khayelitsha to Kloof Street, presenting anything from art installations and gigs to opendoors with your favourite creatives. A fitting aspect of the format of this event is that you can create events - which means the week really is a current, relevant reflection of trends and ideas in the city!

There's a smorgasbord of events to choose from (click on the image links below for some of my picks). A must do on my list is the District Six Walking Tour on  Wedneday 14 September starting at 14h30 - a perfect way to celebrate Heritage Month and experience of the powerful impact this area has had and continues to have on Cape Town's creative culture. "The tour focuses on the parts of District Six which overlap with The Fringe: Cape Town’s newly developing Design and Innovation District.  Find out more about this fascinating area – the politically charged Stakesbury Lewis Hostel, the nightlife area of Castle Bridge, the Peninsula Maternity Hospital and the famous Bloemhof Flats will all be covered in this unique walk." Talk about living history! For more info and booking details click here. The Creative Week programme really has something for everyone, so whip out those diaries and start planning here.

Wherever you are, fear the box and do something extraordinary - here's to a creative weekend!

Follow Creative week Cape Town on Twitter using the hashtag #cw2011

Images: All Creative Week Cape Town - 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{ heritage month }

September is Heritage Month, and this year the National Department of Arts and Culture have chosen the theme of "Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa" as this year's collective reflection point. 'Heritage' has a host of meanings, be it your geneology, culture, or affiliations to specific places or things, and because of the way history has been recorded and experienced, 'heritage' is understood differently across the spectrum of South African 'culture' - making 'heritage celebrations' an important platform for communication, and a time to reflect on the past. This year's theme is perfectly apt, especially in the wake of the Julius Malema trial and they way that groups, like the ANC Youth League, are appropriating certain aspects and attitudes of South Africa's recent history to politicise comtemporary issues.

What does Heritage mean to you? Tell somebody and keep the lessons of the past alive.

Images: 1 - Tutu and Madiba ZA News Puppets, 2 - Members of the Black Sash Movement