Noni Shakur: A Time Without Hugs in South Africa

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Noni Shakur: A Time Without Hugs in South Africa

South Africa is not a place where keeping a distance from one another matches the traditions of how communities have survived and thrived for generations. But since March of this year, the nation has lived with restrictions, lockdowns, closures and limits of social activities familiar to many people around the world. Meanwhile, the ongoing struggle with gender based violence rages on, though it is not clear if this is a new chapter with real change on the horizon or just a continuation of injustice as usual.

My guest on today’s podcast is the wonderful Noni Shakur joining us from Cape Town to talk about South Africa during Corona, and reflections on what we’ve got, what we need, and what we may not get in the near future.
Follow her on instagram @nonishakur or follow her brand new lockdown project: @yobiggirlplanties – plants as metaphors for life.

Identity in South Africa: A Roundtable Discussion

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Identity in South Africa: A Roundtable Discussion
Morning group dance at the V4C.

Identity. Land. Displacement. Trauma. History. Struggle. Fear. Anger. Future. Environment. Income. Danger. Knowledge. Loss. Curiousity. Safety.

These are a few of the words that came to mind listening back to this very special round table discussion recorded in South Africa with 3 South African friends. The major topic was identity in this age of information. From the city to the rural areas. From the past to the present and beyond, we discuss what is happening for many people around the topic of identity. This was a spontaneous, beautiful conversation recorded a few weeks ago at the V4C gathering in Boschendaal. Furthermore, as our dear guests ask at the end of the program, it would really mean something to hear back from you about what you think, feel and experience around these issues.

Voices 4 Change: Indigenous Activists and Friends in Africa

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Voices 4 Change: Indigenous Activists and Friends in Africa

This month I had the great honor of being present at the Video 4 Change gathering in South Africa. This meeting brought together indigenous activists from different parts of the continent, as well as allies and friends from the rest of the world. The topic: the struggle for indigenous rights in a globalized world where in the name of profit and development, people who have long lived in harmony with their environment are being forced to discard their identity and physically pulled from their ancestral land. How is this happening in an era of sustainable development goals and human rights? What can be done to help communities defend themselves and be heard on a national and international scale?

No President is Sacred

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Last month there was a big to-do in South Africa over an art piece by Brett Murray, depicting president Jacob Zuma posing in a Lenin-style look to the future along with his penis being clearly visible.  Protesters have called it everything from disrespectful to racist, culminating in one enraged person attacking the artwork, damaging it, and closing the exhibition (or is it back already? I haven’t heard the latest)

Zuma has long been a contreversial figure, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality. He has had 6 wives and from them a grand total of 20 children. More infamously, he was acquitted of rape in 2005.  Throughout his political career in some way sex or sexuality has always been there, either in the background or the foreground. This would seem to be the grounds for which the artist chose to prominently include the president’s penis in the image.

Many disagree. They see these matters and personal and not subject to public criticism. They also feel the president of the nation deserves respect and not to be made a caricature of. But they don’t just disagree and write about it in the media and express their opinion in the many forums available to people today. They take it further and seek to have such images banned and follow that with all manner of accusation about the intentions of the artist.  Its a familiar theme in a world that has become very much about not just expressing an opinion, but stopping others from expressing their perhaps less popular opinion. Everyone is very busy being offended, and they demand someone else get in trouble for their alleged suffering.

Im neither South African nor a real artist, but I think there’s a global message in the events taking place around this work.  Therefore I’m making sure “The Spear” is available on this site… enjoy – or don’t.