The Rebirth of Iqhawe: The Awakening of A New Man

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The film is a direct response to 'Reeds of Iqhawe', Oupa Sibeko’s performance art and photographic series. (Nicola Pilkington)
The film is a direct response to 'Reeds of Iqhawe', Oupa Sibeko’s performance art and photographic series. (Nicola Pilkington)
Nicola Pilkington

The sacred act of creation is repeated through a person’s lifetime. We are born. And, this act becomes a preoccupation of our rites and myths. Jesus, Buddha, uNomkhumbulwane, Modimo le Badimo sit or stand as figures that remind us of the cycles of creation. Creation itself becomes our biggest spiritual lesson. We learn that the capacity to create and recreate is sacred, as we mark different points of our lives. This we do whether we ascribe to any religion, spiritual belief, or not. Rebirthing ourselves is what we do when we learn and grow.

Oupa Sibeko shape-shifts in slow time, through the short meditation of The Rebirth of Iqhawe. A hero, reborn. The work asks us to sit with the thought of recreation and the work of becoming a hero; not as a simple act of birth into knowing, but as a constant repetition of the process of self-creation. It is a meditation on man. The Butoh aesthetic of the clay-painted body, resonates strongly with the South African image of male initiation rituals. Painted in full body colours of white or red, male initiation rituals rebirth the body of a child into man. But, of course here, it is the rebirth of a hero that we ruminate on.

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