Cape Town - Here are four artists against xenophobia.
1. Boom Shaka’s Kwere Kwere
Some people think that kwaito was about celebrating freedom and partying as democracy dawned. It was, in fact, more political and geared to social justice than that. Just think of Arthur’s defiant hit K*ff*r (1995). In fact, one of the earliest kwaito hits was Boom Shaka’s Kwere Kwere, released in 1993. To a thumpy, slowed-down beat, the ragga protest chant calls out the insulting name given to foreigners, kwerekwere, who are hated but are, in fact, “building the economy.”
2. Sindiso Nyoni’s posters
Genius graphic designer and illustrator Sindiso Nyoni perfectly ties together the spirit of kwaito with his potent poster, Kwere Kwere – The New K*ff*r. Since the Zimbabwe-born artist’s powerful anti-xenophobia posters of 2015, which addressed the xenophobic attacks of 2008, our country still struggles with this issue. “I am Ndebele from Bulawayo. The xenophobia I have experienced has been more indirect, although I still don’t fully understand the notion of being referred to as a foreigner anywhere on the continent,” he told #Trending this week.
3 Akin Omotoso’s Man on Ground
Film maker Akin Omotoso knows that African love stories are rare and need to be shown, as he did in Tell Me Sweet Something (2015), but he is best known for his political films such as Vaya (2016), about homelessness. His film Man on Ground (2011) is a seminal piece on xenophobia that reconstructs the hardships of life for a foreign national in South Africa. The film explodes into violence, raising countless questions about us.
4 Kudzanai Chiurai’s Conflict Resolution
Artist Kudzanai Chiurai left his home in Zimbabwe labelled an undesirable because of his anti-Robert Mugabe work. He found little solace in South Africa, where he studied art and practised as a world-famous artist. Living downtown he witnessed a brutal xenophobic attack. In his poster series, ironically named Conflict Resolution, he depicts his passport in flames and himself as a victim of a necklacing. – Charl Blignaut