Multimedia exhibition to capture voices and experiences of African migrants

7 Oct 2015 - 15:00

The Centre for African Studies (CAS) in partnership with UCT’s Sociology Department have been working on a significant research project called The Third African Diaspora which looks at how migration has changed in South Africa, in Southern Africa, in Africa and around the world; its consequences and the pressures that it places on people. The aim is to understand these, as well as the ways in which they contribute to forming our society. HOMING is a multi-media exhibition aiming to popularize and honour the stories and testimonies that emerged from the research, a series of 400 interviews conducted in 5 African countries – with members of various immigrant communities in these regions.

Prof Ari Sitas and research coordinator Aisha Lorgat describe this ambitious research project’s intentions as follows:

It is necessary to understand the evolving pattern of migration and its consequences. Globalisation has resulted in increasing flows goods, services and knowledge across borders aided by technological advancements and, importantly, the adoption of national policies that promote relatively free trade. However, the supposed freedom of movement, that ignores the existence of national boundaries is not shared by the majority of people. National boundaries and fences still define the geographic limits of most people's lives and the crossing of these boundaries, while seen as necessary to attain security from vulnerability (political, economic, physical or any combination of these) results in new vulnerabilities and realities that have to be negotiated by all parties concerned. This research began a process of understanding these instances of Globalisation from below as fundamental drivers of social change and the ways in which they contribute to the evolution of modern society. 

Arts project manager – performance poet Malika Ndlovu and animation filmmaker-musician Lodi Paul Ingha have conceptualized and curated a richly layered 5-day exhibition of existing artworks resonant with interweaving themes of migration, belonging, identity, citizenship, xenophobia and memory. The visual art, sound and video installations, animation, poetry and story (performed and interview transcript extracts) by Cape Town-based contributing artists feature:

writer –storyteller Philippa Kabali-Kagwa from Uganda
poet Epiphanie Mukasano from Rwanda
musician Simba Morri from Kenya
musician Mike Chikowore from Zimbabwe
poet Mwila Mambwe, poet–novelist Jamala Safari, acclaimed visual artist Maurice Mbikayi’s MFA related pieces Fashionable Addiction and animation filmmaker –musician Lodi Paul Ingha’s I am not Your Enemy and Between Here and There – all from DRC and two theme-related works by Cape Town’s own award-winning visual artist and fine arts lecturer, Berni Searle - entitled Seeking Refuge and On Both Sides as well as Permit/ed, a text and object installation by Malika Ndlovu and Lodi Paul Ingha.

This diverse and evocative body of work will be accompanied by voices from all the countries previously mentioned as well as a selection from Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi and Mozambique in the form of interview transcript extracts also presented in the space as Navigation Narratives via “listening portals” i.e. headsets and laptop screens. Somali poet Warsan Shire’s haunting piece Home which recently resurfaced to make global waves via social media in the wake of the European immigration crisis, will also be featured.

HOMING will be launched on Tuesday 20th October at the Centre for African Studies Gallery, on UCT’s Upper Campus. The exhibition is open to the public and immediate campus community from Wed 21st to Saturday 24th October between 10am and 3pm each day.

During the exhibition week the Centre for African Studies (CAS) represented by Prof Lungisile Ntsebeza and Dept of Sociology represented by worker-theatre stalwart and poet Prof Ari Sitas, as co-producers of the HOMING exhibition, will also host 2 events of public engagement with the artists’ work and the academic research – as well as a few campus community encounters. These events will take place at the CAS gallery.

On Thursday 22nd October between 1.30pm and 3pm an artists’ walk about and panel discussion will take place and on the closing afternoon Saturday 24th October from 2pm to 4pm an immigrant community dialogue will be facilitated in collaboration with the African Arts Institute (AFAI).

For further information and more detail on specific artworks, artist profile and portraits or to arrange artist interviews, please contact Malika Ndlovu on 074 186 7931 or via email