"At its core, Pan-Africanism is a belief that African people, both on the continent and in the Diaspora share not merely a common history, but a common destiny" (Wikipedia)
Over the last week I have been privileged to have been part of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE) on-line platform. The common destiny was connectivity, sharing and creative exchange. The common history of PACE Entangled 2020 is openness of spirit, kindness and generosity. The coming together of artists, poets, musicians, cultural strategists, thought leaders, funding bodies and the like all connected through the commonality of the African continent is quite difficult to convey. Words fail. Growth has been noted. Connectivity has happened. Intersections have been created. Souls have met and been embedded.
PACEing also allowed me to pitch two works with over 400 registered delegates on-line which really indicates the vastness that the platform extended to. The one work is please forgive me which is a collaboration between composer Franco Prinsloo and myself. It speaks to land issues and inter-generational trauma framed within early colonisation and seen from a white perspective. It remains emotional for me to speak about the 8 minute video piece. One of the questions posed during the pitching Q&A's was what the title meant? Taken off guard by what I had thought to be quite obvious, I shared that the given title was a plea for forgiveness: "forgive me, forgive us, forgive us for the inter-generational trauma directly caused by white people on this continent, for colonisation ..." Spilling over emotionally, these word felt so small and insignificant within the still-standing structures of post-colonialism and racism. My hope is that please forgive me will be able to be taken forward in the form of a residency which is proposed in the document here.
I was selected as one of five artists on the continent to perform a creative intervention. Going on-line to do an intervention was completely new to me, turning out to be a participation enjoyed by many, many delegates and proving that creativity can bridge where water cannot flow. Asking participants to draw their portraits whilst on ZOOM and partnering spontaneously with Franco Prinsloo, the mark-making was transformed into a sonic piece. Some of the interventions included performances , but it was especially a live poetry intervention by Sitawa Namwalie & Aleya Kass (Kenya) that spoke deeply to my spirit. Exploring the layered meaning of names this intervention honoured place of origin, birth, cultural heritage and identity. Together, on ZOOM, we became co-curators of naming ourselves and our place on this incredible continent.
PACEing... I will miss this.
still image from video please forgive me (2020) videographer: Kleoniki Vanos