For the people

2013-10-24 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) is hoping that its film and arts festival will encourage participants to reclaim the power to shape their world.

The festival — which runs from tomorrow to Sunday, and includes films, art, poetry, music and conversations — will be launched at the City Royal Hotel in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg, at 7 pm tomorrow night.

Richard Pithouse, who teaches politics at Rhodes University and holds a master’s degree in philosophy, will be in conversation on the festival theme: Reclaiming our power … imagining possibilities.

There will also be music by Thobeka and Afrocentric, a children’s corner with a childminder and light refreshments will be served.

Film fans can look forward to the screening of a series of documentary films over the weekend. They include:

• Guerilla Grannies, made by Ike Bertels, who was intrigued by three young women who appeared in a BBC documentary about the Mozambique Liberation Front in the seventies.

After searching for them for more than a decade, Bertels travelled to Mozambique to meet the women who were fighting for the liberation of a nation.

He returned to see them in 1994 after the war ended, and again in 2011. Guerilla Grannies tells the story of that last visit.

As mothers and grandmothers, the women now have to confront the meaning of freedom for their children in an increasingly globalised world.

• The Take is a Canadian documentary by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis, which tells the story of workers in Buenos Airies, Argentina, who reclaim control of a closed Forja auto plant where they once worked, and turn it into a worker co-operative.

• Rainmakers, an investigative documentary about the decline of China’s environment. It is told from the perspective of four civil activists who refuse to accept the ongoing ecological destruction of their homeland.

• Phakathi: Soweto Middling Class follows Mosa Phadi, a researcher from the University of Johannesburg, who is trying to find out why two-thirds of adult Sowetans describe themselves as middle class, when less than a third of those living in the township have regular employment and the proportion of professionals and business owners is tiny.

• Black Beulahs is a revealing documentary about being black and gay in Soweto, seen through the eyes of three friends.

The final offering is The Revolution Will Not be Televised, a 2002 documentary about the Venezuelan coup attempt which briefly deposed the then president, Hugo Chavez.

In addition to the film screenings, there will be a film-making workshop hosted by Pacsa, in partnership with The Jetty.

Participants will get the chance to learn three basic shots and the golden rule of framing those shots; interview techniques and how to shoot an interview; how to plot a video story; how to create storyboards; capturing footage and working with light and sound; and basic editing tecniques.

The festival also has a visual-arts component. Titled Arts of Possibilities, it will see Pacsa working with schools at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum as part of the museum’s Freedom Exhibition: A local history of the struggle for racial equality and freedom in South Africa.

More than 40 pupils are expected to take part in the workshops on Saturday. After viewing the exhibition, they will have a conversation about what they have seen, facilitated by Hilary Kromberg, before doing paintings to express the theme of this year’s festival: Reclaiming our power … imagining possibilities.

The session will be facilitated by Pietermaritzburg artist Siyabonga Sikosana and Tatham Art Gallery education officer Kobie Venter.

Sikosana’s exhibition, No Place Like Home, which is in the Schreiner Gallery at the Tatham, will be open throughout the weekend.

Some of Sikosana’s paintings have deliberately not been completed so that prospective buyers can specify what Sikosana should paint into them to make them complete.

On Sunday, there will be a number of poetry performances at the City Royal Hotel.

Participants include:

• Ladysmith-born Durban-based spoken word artist Xoliswa Dlamini, who believes in freedom in its true essence and seeks to express it through her work;

• Minenhle Mthembu, from Eshowe, who believes indigenous language, self-determination and respect are important attributes which people should use to improve their lives and their communities; and

• Mxolisi, who was born in KwaNongoma, but is now based in Durban. He is well-known for his hit single Zulu Love Letter, which is featured on an album released by Kwaito group Skomplaas.

He has also written songs which have appeared on albums by Zakes Bantwini, DJ Nzwiri, DJ 15 and DJ Nko.

Mxolisi is currently working on his own album, which he says will include a song with The Soil.

Other poets on the bill include Horus, Andile Sikhakhane and Ndumiso Zondi.

For those who enjoy music, the festival will have performances by Afro-jazz duo Isiqhaza, made up Mbongeni Mavuso and Khanyisa Mbuthu, who were finalists in the 2012 edition of SA’s Got Talent, jazz vocalist Thobeka, Derrick Zuma and Afrocentric, Soulful Sound, and the inimitable Zazi Mncube, who has shared the stage with the likes of Jimmy Dludlu, Judith Sephuma and Oliver Mtukudzi.

For more information about the festival, visit www.pacsa, or the Facebook page PACSAPMB


• Tomorrow: launch of the festival at the City Royal Hotel in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg, at 7 pm.

• Saturday: film screenings at the Synodale Auditorium at the Sinodale Centre in Burger Street starting at 10 am with The Take; followed by The Revolution Will Not be Televised at 12.30 pm; Guerilla Grannies at 2.30 pm; and Rainmakers at 5 pm.

Schools’ workshop at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum in Jabu Ndlovu Street, and Pacsa exhibition.

Film workshop at the City Royal Hotel from 9 am to 1 pm and screenings of two films: Black Beulahs at 2 pm and Phakathi — Soweto Middling Class.

At 6 pm, there will be a jazz festival featuring Zazi, Iziqhaza and Soulful Sound.

• Sunday: poetry session at the City Royal Hotel at 1 pm, which will be hosted by Izwi Youth Movement. Poets include: Mxolisi, Horus, Ndu Zondi, Minenhle Mthembu, Xoliswa Dlamini and Andile.

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