A female president’s Sona

2013-02-14 09:28

What would the state of the nation address sound like if it was delivered by a female president?

In the middle of the latest outrage over South Africa’s ongoing rape crisis, that’s the question Kudzanai Chiurai is asking. The Zimbabwean-born, Johannesburg-based artist today launched the latest phase of his State of the Nation body of work.

Linking from his Facebook page, he has released videos and photos of young South African women reading from a speech written by rising R&B star Zaki Ibrahim – and inspired by notes and speeches from slain Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba.

Putting out a call to his friends, yesterday several responded and joined the artist in studio to record the speech. Today, as President Jacob Zuma delivered his state of the nation address, Chiurai released those recordings.

He is also making the speech available and inviting South Africans to use their cellphones to film themselves reading their favourite section of the speech and submit it to the campaign.


“Zaki delivered this speech at the opening of my State of the Nation exhibition last year and I thought why should we just imagine it? Why not do it? Why should we only have a state of the nation address written by a man to other men in power? What Lumumba was talking about was the power of the imagination to envision a better Africa. I think part of what we lack is imagination when it comes to solving our problems. We have a new dawn. What are we going to do with it?”

Chiurai is also releasing a new set of street posters this week, all bearing the words “Men in Charge.”

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