By Nomali Cele
Wondering what to do this Africa Day Weekend in Johannesburg? We have a few suggestions!
Africa Day is a chance to celebrate and fully immerse yourself in Africanness. Of course, this is a little sad. We are in Africa, we shouldn’t need one month in a year to feel like we have access to the best of Africa, let alone a single day. But if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start your Africa Day celebrations this weekend, we’ve put together a short list of things you definitely should do.
Ntsako Wa Xibelani by Phillemon Hlungwani
At the opening night of Phillemon Hlungwani’s latest exhibition at Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, the works on the wall weren’t the centre of attention. The invitation had said “wear something traditional” and a cluster of Vhatsonga women filled the space with their unbridled joy. They took selfies with each other and the works hanging on the walls, their joy effervescent. When the artist finally spoke, he introduced his mother, sister, wife and friends from that joyous knot.
Explaining the inspiration behind the work and exhibition, Hlungwani said that once when he was a child his mother was mocked by other children for being unsophisticated just because she wore xibelani. From that day, he vowed to show the traditional dress in its full glory and sophistication one day.
The exhibition is open until 15 June 2019
Ijadu Le Afrika
Mbuso Khoza is an Afropolitan we’ve had in our sights for a few years now. In January, he presented the critically acclaimed show, “Isandlwana Lecture,” which recounted the historic battle between Zulu warriors and the British on its 100th anniversary. On 25 May, Africa Day, Mbuso Khoza and the Afrikan Heritage Ensemble return to the Jo’burg Theatre stage to celebrate the 56th anniversary of the day.
Get your tickets for Ijadu Le Afrika here.
“And Counting” Walkabout with Curators at JAG
Curators Tšhegofatso Mabaso (South Africa) and Julia Taonga Kaseka (Zambia) have put together a show that looks beyond just celebrating Africa Day of 25 years of freedom (in South Africa). With “And Counting” the curators want to create a conversation on collective history and memory.
The exhibition “seeks to engage archives as a means through which to confront the issue of collective history/ies while also looking at works that exist outside institutional archives and collections. The title of the exhibition also seeks to question the very nature of archives as ongoing sites of accumulation and history, while also questioning these ideas around collective and shared history in two very different contexts, when it comes to the notion of institutional archives.”
— Kaya 959 95.9 (@kayafm95dot9) May 23, 2019
“And Counting” features the works of 13 artists from South Africa and Zambia. See the exhibition this Africa Day weekend through the lens of a walkabout with the curators.
The public walkabout with the curators will be on 26 May, 1 – 3 PM at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The Exhibition is open until 14 July 2019.
Yes, it’s important to celebrate Africa daily, but May, and indeed the days around Africa day, make culture and celebrations easier to access. Let’s take advantage!