It was a very moving experience reading Michelle Constants column in the April 2017 issue Creative Feel.
I was first enchanted by the Stompie Selibe artwork featured as the cover, I had not really gotten to the story yet, but the issues that Constant, who is the CEO of Business Arts SA, raised. She essentially wrote about the same kind of social challenges that Nduduzo Makhathini and I were speaking about lastnight.
Makhathini had called me late last-night as he could not contain himself after reading my spontaneous reviews of his latest musical offering, Reflections.
We basically spoke about the Healing and social responsibility of Artists such as himself. He mentioned the designer of Thandi Ntuli and Salim Washington’s albums. I mentioned the primary functions of literary works such as Paolo Coelo’s The Alchemist, Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Healers, KMT and also Baba Mazisi Kunene’s work.
I raised the point that The Alchemist reminds us of the importance of Intention. While there are many books, New Age and otherwise, that speak on this subject, it is the simplicity and rather traditional storytelling style of Coelo that captures the essence of this phenomenon.
So what is our collective intention? In broad terms, we intend to change our society for the better. We believe strongly in the intrinsic goodness and natural progressiveness of our people, the Afrikan people in particular. We know that our political and economic systems and conditions are inherited from an era of ignorance and desperation.
We were desperate for freedom and independence but many leaders and communities had not spend enough time meditating about what the quality of our desired society would be. For an example, how did we imagine crime-free communities where the scourge of violence against women and children is no more? How did we imagine a society free of vulgar patriarchy, sexism and intolerance?
Michelle Constant writes about the Goethe Institute and the newly established Henrike Grohs Prize for African Artists. Grohs died last year in March in vicious terrorist attack in the Ivory Coast. She mentions Mluleki Sam and Ncedile Daki among some other Artists who recently died under conditions of extreme violence too.
Constant also insists that despite the violence and cruelty in our society, we should never allow ourselves to neglect of forget the Artists, their role as connectors and healers in our society.
Firstly there is Nature, and the way all the elements of Nature are felt and are treated by we the human race.
Water, Food, Shelter and all the resources that we use to continue our explorative and exploitative lives; these are all almost wholly given freely by what some may call providence, but for some it is hard work and the wilful exploitation of Nature. How does Nature, Arts and Humanity interlink to find a harmonious and symbiotic relationship?
We may write about politics and the intrigues therein, we may have sincere opinions about what policies are correct and deal with matters of justice and injustices that we commit, we may try to correct others behaviour through many dialogues and theorize and set up various social and innovative business programs and projects, but if We do not write about our varied yet essentially dependent relationship to Nature/ Our Environment we are neglecting a really essential element in all our lives.
The spaces we inhabit in our various occupations, lifestyles, our psychological, political/social and private and even dream-lives are all secondary. They are all the stuff of our minds, our passions and ambitions as sophisticated animals. While our preoccupations or works may tend to divine who we are eventually, our initial or primary Well-being is all centred on our relationship with Nature, what it provides and what we make of it and how.
So then, when we write; it may be works of Art, Criticism, Opinion Pieces, Essays, Poems, Music, Stories of different kinds, we are telling just a fragment of the story. While each fragment or each facet of our human stories is relevant to a particular context, it is the collective reception, or the impact each story has on the individual that matters most.
Today I wish to write about the Collective Cohabitation of Arts – Spaces, places and the Ground beneath our feet, The Air we breathe and the quality of the lives we lead – My opinion is that every conceivable space is a platform for the expression of Artistry. Akukho sikhala noma shashalazi lapho ubungcweti nobuciko beSintu bungevezwe khona.Kepha umbuzo uthi siyihlonipha kangakanani imvelo, leyondawo esisebenzela kuyo siyazisa kangakanani, futhi siyayinakekela ngokufanele na?
And so we write a lot about everything else, but we hardly ever seriously write about Nature. We are caught up in our human affairs, much of it is really petty and insignificant and spurious and we neglect to write and talk and do works that help us to draw closer to Knowledge Of Nature.
As I have already stated, Nature is everything, Land is everything, Good unpolluted and undiluted Water is everything. The Air we breathe is everything. All else is trivial and honestly, a waste of precious time. But the so called intelligent animal, the human being, is pre-occupied with entertainment, and not attainment of a mutually beneficial relationship with the Natural world. We forget so easily that we are Water beings, Spiritual beings, Earthen vessels whether we acknowledge it or not.
Green Ankh Works in collaboration with the BAT Centre and a Community of people all over the Continent and the Diaspora will Screen the Documentary : Sembene! Across Africa.
Ousmane Sembene is known as The Father of African Cinema, the film will reveal to the viewers that he was indeed so much more. The Screening is Free of Charge. It will be followed by a Discussion/Conversation regarding the subject.
The BAT Centre Screening Time is :
10 June 2017
In The Mission Control Room/ BAT Centre 45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour, Durban.
Rock ‘n Rule: The Essays, Stories and Poetry of Menzi Maseko is an elaborate work of word-art.With themes ranging from jazz, Black Consciousness philosophy, Reflections on Socio-Economic conditions and solutions for Southern Africa and Spiritual development. The work is suitable for people of all races, age groups and even institutions interested in understanding the dynamic of modern African development, the role of cultural institutions such as jazz, Afrikology and Ma’at. Although it also touches on universal themes, this book is the first in a series of works focused on finding communal solutions to some of the challenges plaguing Southern Africa and South Africa in particular.