• 13 May 2022 - 12 June 2022
  • Media Gallery, Park Gallery

Curator: Mandisa Buthelezi

Exhibition Statement by Russel Hlongwane

 

Ingabe kuqala kugcine kephi ukuba ngumZulu esikathini sanamhlanje? Ekuguqukeni kwezimo nezikhathi, inqubo siko silithola libugejezi. Esikhathini samanje esikhungethwe ezomnotho namazwe, yinqubo kahulumeni wentando yeningi, ezenkolo kanye nemfundo yeScience; zonke lezizihloko ezokufika kepha sizithola siphila ngaphansi kwazo; kunezwi elibuzayo lithi, konke esikwaziyo ngomlando wethu kuhlalisana kanjani nalezizihloko? Siphuma sibhekephi thina bengabade?

Kepha siphila ngaphansi kwayo, kunezwi elibuzayo lithi konke esikwaziyo ngomlando wethu kuhlalisene kanjani nalezi zinguquko? Abanye basadla ngoludala kepha iso liphinde licoshe ukunyathela kwesimanje manje. UZulu womkana akamncanyane, muningi, uyasabeka futhi akaqedeki. Ngoba ukukhula kuhamba nokufunda, kumele siwabike amaphutha kaZulu khona sizodlondlobala nathi sibe neqhubo. Kepha lokho kwenziwe ngesineke kanye nothando. Lombukiso uyigalelo kuleyo nhloso.

Singaphinde sisho futhi sithi uZulu uhlalelwe yinselelo yokuthi azibone engubuntu bunye nabanye bengabade ahlobene nabo. Ngoba phela naye uyinzalo yalabo abaqala inyathuko enyakatho nezwelikazi lase-Afrika. Umlando wethu uyilungu lomgogodla obanzi wabantu abansundu.
Njengoba umlando wethu siwufumbethe futhi waziwa izizwe zonke, kumele sibheke nhlangothi zonke futhi sizibuze ukuthi sizifisela ikusasa elinjani? Singenza njani ukuze umlando wethu ungabi ngumthwalo kepha ube isibani sakusasa. Ngoba siyazi ukuthi umlando ungumfunzana wezigameko zayizolo futhi awuhlali lapho kuphela, umlando uphinde usifice kwelesimanje futhi ube nomthelela kwelakusasa. Nanku umsebenzi owumbukiso osinika indlela yokuhlaziya umlando uphinde futhi usinike inhloso nethemba lakusasa nephakade elifumbethwe yilo.

Uma ngabe ububanzi bomlando wethu njengesintu uphuma kulaba abazibiza ngamabhinca budlulele nakulaba abazalelwa ngaphesheya kwezilwandle abazimpande zabo zimila kulengabadekazi yase Afrika, buphinde buchithekele kulabo abazinhlanga zimbili (uZulu nolunye uhlanga). Umsebenzi wamaZulu siwumisa kanjani ukuze sihlalisane futhi sisebenzisane simunye ngezinhloso/ nezibopho zePan Afrikanism? Siphakelana ngandlelani nezinye izifunda kwibalazwe lapho kunabanye abantu abansundu emhlabeni jikelele? Yikuphi okubaluleke kakhulu phakathi kokuba ngumZulu, nokuba ngumAfrika noma nje ukuba ngonsundu? Lemibuzo indlalelwe phezu kwezikhalazo ezinxusa abansundu ukuthi bahlanganyele ndawonye ukuze sizitakule emizamweni nobunzima esithwelene nabo umhlaba jikelele. Futhi njengoba sazi kahle kamhlophe ukuthi abokufika baphazamisa inqubo siko yethu. Basihlukanisa kaningana - kunemibuzo esihlalele ethi, iziphi izenzo namasiko aguqulwa ngabamhlophe esisaquba phansi kwawo namhlanje? Kuwumsebenzi kabani ukuqaphela ukubuyekeza nokucabanga kabusha amasiko ethu? Ubani ozosilethela iso elisha elizosibheka kucace?
Ekujuleni kwakhe uZulu ungubani, futhi, uziguqula kanjani?

 

Nina besizwe sikaPhunga noMageba.

 

Bayede!

 

For better or for worse, the parameters for the Zulu archetype are well prescribed. The Zulu person is often associated with a fixed set of images, attitudes and sartorial positions. The Zulu identity has been exploited to a point of near-mythology. The hyper visibility of this identity is an advantage in many ways; yet also a stricture in more ways. This hyper-visibility has locked the character in a staid and static frame therefore producing a parochial figure.

The work, for artists and thinkers of this region is to erase and extend these well- defined parameters. The work is to put pressure on the stereotypes and subvert the tropes in attempt to arrive at some productive tension between that which we have projected to the world and that which has been projected onto us. What else is available to us when we erase and refuse the barrage of stereotypical images that have come to characterise the people native to kwaZulu? Simultaneously, how; and through which modes do we accept the shortcomings of our tradition? At which point does this tradition build cultural fluidity? And exactly what is being claimed when a person calls themselves umZulu? How is the identity and tradition of being Zulu prescribe and determine faith? How are the people from this category supposed to negotiate the matter of political governance against a traditional leadership structure?

At the crossroads of this identity is the hierarchy or perhaps the quagmire of being black, Afrikan, human, baNtu, South African and still claim to be umZulu. What complexities lay at the interstices of these labels?

How does one’s pride in their Zulu heritage rub against the ideals of Pan-Afrikanism? How does a hyper-localised tradition meet the globalised discourse on black existence?

This exhibition convenes an orchestra of voices to imagine, erase, accept and contend with the contemporary question of being umZulu particularly in one’s own cultural milieu; and in the world at large. If the camera was the primary weapon to bring the native to the world, herewith the camera is used to introspect upon ourselves for our own sense-making.

 

Participating Photographers:

1. Sethembiso Zulu
2. Simanga Zondo
3. Minenhle Ntuli
4. Lindokuhle Ndlovu
5. Thembi Mthembu
6. Thanda Kunene
7. Thalente Khomo
8. Mluleki Dlamini
9. Archival Images by Campbell Collections

 

Project funded by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture


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