Texts and photos by Lebo Mashifane
It’s the end of May 2016 and I’m reflecting on the month. The 30th of May makes me 27 years and 27 days old. It’s also Zama Phakathi’s birthday. If I get to witness 2017, May 30th will mean I am 28 years and 28 days.
The 3rd of May was my birthday, which I spent in bed sleeping as I was not feeling well. In fact, it was not flu alone, but the day before I had spent the night crying. Reflecting on my years, I felt that I have under achieved in my life. However light, life and love keep me keeping on. I give t’anks for light from within that keeps shining, life of a healthy body and ability to continue producing, love from self and family.
The month starts in MAYhem and tears to gradual celebrations and laughter. On my birthday I got a text from Nompumelelo Rakabe. Then I received a call, a visit, a cake and snacks from Zandile Mabaso and Nhlanhla Snowi Mbonani (who also had sent a text). Mom also joined us and the energy peeled off the burden of heavy-heartedness and melancholy. A few days later I made pizza that I shared with Shamrock, Gift, Nkuli, Tuka and Sika – artists I was shooting a movie with. Positive energy flowed further and more light flooded.
On the 8th I wished mom a happy mother’s day. On the same day I started Kwa-Thema Photo XP with Boitumelo Nkopane, Khanyi Mtungwa, Lerato Dumse, Lerato Rafedile and Luyanda Mthembu – facilitated by Zanele Muholi and Lindeka Qampi. Fane Mncwabe, who is Muholi’s nephew also joined us on some of the shoots. Engagements, excitement, enlightenment and entertainment was an everyday experience. I was connecting the camera, environment and people – taking photographs!
Friday the 13th is when Jozi City Life started calling massively. I attended an art workshop at Constitutional Hill called Not Yet Free. The following day I was “in di front line, in di Bassline” (Jamaican Patwah accent). I experienced a show of a revelation, it was an aesthetic-ecstatic weekend. The magic was unleashed in my life.
TAURUS – GEMINI
The following weekend we celebrated Masello’s birthday at Samson Mnisi’s studio in August House. Masello had a theme that people are to dress up like her – well my tomboy appearance needed no alterations, I was her sweet-16 reflection. It was interesting to have men rock up in dresses and women in overalls and other interesting outfits.
Saturday, May 28th was Zinziswa Voyiya’s birthday, she is in Cape Town – she is like a sister to me. I sent her a text message and she replied “Ndiyabulela Mashifs wam, yours is the first message I received. I love you massively xx.”
On the tip of texts…
Writing about reading
I got a text message from Thabo Sekwaile. He had read an article I wrote on the Not Yet Free Concert at Bassline, and he was impressed.
To me, Thabo is family through art. He is a curator at Springs Art Gallery, we were introduced to each other by Blaque Inq artist, Kamogelo Masemola. Thabo and Kamo are part of and together with Bambo Sibiya.
Suddenly I find out that he reads these things we right. When I wrote the article on the above-mentioned concert, I was still trapped in the realm of what I experienced at that concert. I wasn’t even sure if my article would make sense, even to those who were at Bassline that night. Here was Thabo, sending me a text message on my phone that reads ‘Just read “Not yet free concert” wrap article – very deep. You are really a talented writer. Loved it so much. Keep on….’ Beautiful surprise indeed. After a long late night, waking up to this message made my day. I met up with Thabo later on in the evening at the opening of August House and he was still talking about the article. He said, “as I was reading, it was like watching a movie.”
Those words made me realise that Thabo could really feel what happened at Baseline on the mysterious night.
The 28th was also the opening at August House studios on End street, Jo’burg CBD. All studios inside August House were opened for public viewing. The artists that own studios in the premises had exhibitions all day. I got to see family, family through art – Thulani Nhlapo, Bambo Sibiya and Sibusiso Masondo who have studio spaces in August
House. I also found Masello Motana, Hazel Thobo, Makgotso Nkosi, Zama Phakathi and Nathi Hadebe – they were in Samson’s studio where Nathi designs shoes. We were there just last Saturday to celebrate Masello’s birthday.
Samson Mnisi is the person I just don’t get to see in his studio, funny enough. Perhaps I had missed him, given that I arrived in the evening. The open exhibition, according to the event, was from 10am to 9pm. I arrived around 6pm as I was at The Bioscope from 4pm, watching short films. I got an email with a poster of the Durban Film Festival 2015 that will be showing at Maboneng, in Jozi. So I thought I’d check it out, looking forward to see the crew/cast as the names appear on the poster. I wanted to network and connect with the other artists. It was R120 for a ticket+pizza+1 drink COMBO. Unfortunately, after
getting my ticket and got into the cinema, a guy from The Bioscope (who wouldn’t tell me his name when I asked him) told me that I will be watching the sequence alone and the crew won’t be coming in. I was a bit down but decided to be live in the moment. He told me that my combo can’t be reversed, my pizza was on its way but he was willing to
reschedule the ticket only for the late session. I was attending the 4pm session and there was also going to be a 7:30 session. So I had an entire pizza to myself – I felt like crying. The I thought why cry when I have art to embrace, devour and appreciate!
Being at August House made it all up to me, just to be surrounded by art, artists, happy people, love and joyous memories. To top it off, The Africa Day Concert, in Newtown.. Ghaddam!!! (claps once). I left August House with Thabo and his friend, Kgotso to the concert. Even though we got there late – we had missed most performances. What mattered most was the experience of it all in my month of mystical mystery – MAY. The only month with only 3 letters, as for being born on the 3rd of this year month…
I mean this month.
This month has been a beautiful collection of:
Laughter with friends and family
Tears to cleanse my eyes to see afresh
Color of paints and sunsets,
Music by great musicians from RSA-USA,
Art as our life and our lifestyle
Love as us
Joy in us
Lights on stages and clubs
Sound all around us
Representations of self and selves.
Revelations of African family, food and home and family through art with Kamogelo Masemola, Thabo Sekoaila, Sibusiso Masondo, Jane Khozani, Masello Motanaphitsi, Thulani Nhlapho, Bambo Sibiya, Ayanda Ogqoyi, Hazel Thobo, Makgotso Nkosi, Lindeka
Qampi, Zanele Muholi, and it won’t hurt to count myself too.
PHOTOGRAPHS CAPTURED ON CAMERA MEMORY CARDS AND MENTAL MEMORY PARTS!!!
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