Schlagwort-Archive: black

Viva Mandela, viva!

Thank you Tata Madiba – for what you did for our country – we will never forget. Aluta continua

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski)

– MANDELA-Spezial –

It is with a very sore heart that I say goodbye to Tata Madiba or let’s use his official title, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. For us South Africans – he was truly a Tata, a wise elder who showed us the way forward to a new democracy, a life with freedom – for all.

© Nelson Mandela showed the South Africans the way forward to democracy. The people of South Africa said thank you, Tata Madiba, for this important effort for a new country with liberty for all citizens. (Source: flickr/ crystalndavis)

© Nelson Mandela showed the South Africans the way forward to democracy. The people of South Africa said thank you, Tata Madiba, for this important effort for a new country with liberty for all citizens. (Source: flickr/ crystalndavis)



Ubuntu in Germany Column

Whites only as South Africa exhibits at Anuga in Cologne

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

It was like a throwback to Apartheid days. Visitors to the South African pavilion of the Anuga trade show, held in Cologne recently saw a sea of white faces. What has happened in South Africa since ’94 and with black empowerment? One single black person among the 40 exhibitors – that is shameful.

© Alex Smit-Stachowski with Doris Lily Mallaun of Great Heart of Africa behind her, at the Anuga Trade Show in Cologne.

© Alex Smit-Stachowski with Doris Lily Mallaun of Great Heart of Africa behind her, at the Anuga Trade Show in Cologne.


Ubuntu in Germany Column

Some Whites fear Genocide if Madiba Passes, so the thesis by a group of Conservatives

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

It seems like a joke – a throwback to the early 90’s where whites packed tins in anticipation of civil war as negotiations between politicians got testy. It is deadly serious – there is a sector of the white population who fear if former President Nelson Mandela dies, there will be a bloodbath and they will be the victims.

© A group of conservative whites fear that when Madiba passes and the initial mourning period in South Africa has been observed, it will be a free-for-all for angry blacks to massacre them. Ubuntu-Columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski is checking this thesis.

© A group of conservative whites fear that when Madiba passes and the initial mourning period in South Africa has been observed, it will be a free-for-all for angry blacks to massacre them. Ubuntu-Columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski is checking this thesis.


Multimedia projects by Louis Vorster

Interview about multimedia design, South African photography and arts

(Editor/ Autor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

© Louis Vorster, Südafrikas bekanntester Werbefotograf

Vodacom, Nike oder The South African Airways – die südafrikanischen und ausländischen Konzerne haben bei der Beauftragung von Werbekampagnen einen Ansprechpartner: Louis Vorster. Vorster zählt zu den bekanntesten und erfolgreichsten Fotografen Südafrikas. Einst unterrichtete er Studenten im Studiengang  Multimedia Design, nun liebt er es, den Menschen in Bilder einzufangen. Seine Inspiration erhält er aus Deutschland, von den Fotografen Wolfgang Tillmans und Jürgen Telle. Vorster hält fest, dass sich in Südafrika keine homogene Fotografieszene entwickelt hat, sondern vielmehr verschiedene Stile entstanden sind. Umso trauriger ist es, dass die gegenwärtige Regierung des Landes keine Förderung der Fotografen für wichtig erachtet, obwohl diese – nachgewiesen in den USA – als eigene Wirtschaftsbranche zum BIP beisteuern kann. Die kontrovers diskutierte künstlerische Arbeit seiner schwarz-lesbischen Kollegin Zanele Muholi, die die Intimität von Frauen abbildet, verteidigt er.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German gateway to South Africa – the South African commercial portrait photographer Louis Vorster. You studied Industrial Design in Johannesburg and Cape Town. One day you switched to photography, for which reason and why photography?

Answer: In the late 90’s after I graduated in Industrial design I drifted into multimedia design and for 2 years taught multimedia design. At the university where I taught, our department shared a building with the photography department, I found myself spending more time at the photography department creating content for multimedia projects than designing the actual projects. After my two years teaching, I decided I wanted to be a professional photographer and assisted other photographers for a couple of years.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known for your expressive portraits. What does it mean for you from artistic viewpoint to photograph people?

Answer: I find it easier to express myself as a photographer when I photograph people as opposed to when I shoot landscapes or still lives, not only because people can be directed but because people move me more than other subjects, I like people.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: South Africa is becoming more and more an global player in arts. However, the United States are the leading nation in photography. Is the South African government supporting their photographers by funding or connecting?

Answer: No, I think generally our goverment and individuals representing the goverment don’t understand the role or importance of photographers. Fine art, commercial  or press photographers. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You still haven´t in Germany yet. What do you think about Germany as a country and about German arts. Which impressions do you have from this nation and Germans?

Answer: This is an interesting question because my documentary work is influenced by two German photographers more than anything else, Wolfgang Tillmans and Juergen Teller. Both of them are very well known, I have looked at their work since 2001. 

Diese Diashow benötigt JavaScript.

Please note: All arts are property and under copyright licence of Louis Vorster.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You worked already for several big enterprises, like Vodacom, Nike or The South African Airways. On the one hand, you are producing portraits. On the other hand, you are capturing pictures from landscapes, music events and polaroids. Your collection „Portraits #1“ is really interesting – what is your message to the public?

Answer: Smile!

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, we have interviewed Zanele Muholi, a lesbian black photographer from Durban. She told us, that photographer will be in social trouble, if they are focussing on intimacy. Does the South African society being ready for ´spunky´ arts?

Answer: South Africa is such a diverse society. Communities not only range from liberal to conservative but we also have different cultural backgrounds. Topics that may be everyday conversation in one community could be a big taboo in others. Unfortunately some people will always be blinded by the subject matter of a photograph to such an extent that they will never be able to appreciate any other value that the work may have. Artists like Zanele Muholi face challenges not always understood by us who express and present our work to more liberal (and tolerant) audiences.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which upcoming projects are you preparing?

Answer: I started shooting a documentary on violence under farm workers in the Cape winelands about a year ago, I would like to push this project a bit harder and maybe realize it in the next few months.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you like to realize?

Answer: I would like to shoot a big documentary, something I can sink my teeth into. Something important that will keep me occupied for 6 months to a year. Also. I would like to get paid for it. 

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Louis Vorster, portrait photographer from Cape Town in South Africa, thank you very much for this interview!

2010sdafrika-article to photographer Roger Ballen:

Pieter-Dirk Uys – Comedian in interview

„Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions“

(Editor/ Autor: Serge Aka)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Als Frauen verkleidete Comedians, wie Hape Kerkeling in Deutschland, sind in fast allen westlich-orientierten Staaten vorzufinden; auch in Südafrika. Pieter-Dirk Uys ist am Kap dafür bekannt, dass er sich in die Rolle von impulsiven Damen begibt und mit Zynismus, Ironie und Provokation auf sein Gegenüber einwirkt. Insbesondere um seine Rolle als Evita Bezuidenhout/ Tannie Evita lieben ihn die Südafrikaner.  So stellte er einmal die These auf, dass Frauen zurück in die Küche müssten (siehe das unten abgebildete Video). Der in Kapstadt geborene Comedian kritisierte auf einer literarisch-künstlerischen Ebene das Apartheidregime und machte sich somit zum Gegner der weißen Minderheitsregierung.  Mit Mut und Ehrgeiz engagierte er sich als Evita immer wieder gegen die Apartheid, sodass er eines Tages sogar den  persönlichen Lob von Nelson Mandela erhielt. Mit Berlin verbindet Pieter-Dirk Uys viel Zuneigung, da ein Teil seiner Familie aus der Bundeshauptstadt stammt. Das Erlernen der deutschen Sprache, so verriet uns der Comedian während seines Berlin-Aufenthaltes exklusiv, wird angestrebt, um dessen Shows eines Tages auch in Deutsch anbieten zu können. Wir freuen uns, dass auch diese Person des öffentlichen Lebens den Fragen des Portals „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ zur Verfügung stand.

© Pieter-Dirk Uys - South African comedian with German ties

© Pieter-Dirk Uys – South African comedian with German ties

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ the South African comedian Pieter-Dirk Uys. Mr. Uys, how did you get in comedy? Was it a dream of your childhood or the result of a challenge?

Answer: It was more a challenge to try and fight the fear of authorities and politics, apartheid. There were various ways to fight it and I just thought to fight it with humor might involve many people because a lot of politics was very stupid and needed to be pointed out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known as a satirist, who has the gift of gab. You love to play female Characters. Your performance is inspired by desperate first ladies. How do you choose them and what message do you want to communicate?

Answer: Well there are so many interesting women in politics, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel,…I mean there is a sort of really they offer themselves as theatrical characters. I think in this case it is very interesting to look at women in politics, their strength in a world of men, how they use their body language, make-up, hair to get away I think they are very successful in politics and it is very theatrical, I think the audience finds it funny and interesting to see a man suddenly become a female character.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: With your character Evita Bezuidenhout you have criticized during Apartheid the racial segregation between white, black, colored and asiatic. How have the reactions of the government and the white public to your shows been?

Answer: You know the old days I was censored and there was a lot of police harassment to trouble which was expected. In the democracy we have freedom of speech, so within the framework of that I had a very successful career. There are some of the politicians that are uncomfortable with what I say, but that is ok I don´t mind, I don´t particularly want them to be a fan, I mean they give my material and in case they do like what I say they can resign.

Evita Bezuidenhout: „Women should be go back to the citchen“

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Don´t you fear for your life?

Answer: No no no, you know I keep on saying if you fear for anything, you can´t tell the truth. If I don´t tell the truth I am going to be fearful because a lie is serious, the truth is serious enough, you don´t have actually to lie more to make it entertain.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, you interviewed the most famous hero of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. He told to you following phrase: „You are one of my heroes“. Which feelings did you have at that time?

Answer: I mean first of all I am sitting in a character as Evita, and there is Nelson Mandela talking to Evita but saying to me you are one of my heroes, I think it was wonderful, it was such a great. The man´s humanity and its humor is extraordinary and I have been blessed with my friendship with him and it is something that changed my life.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: About this friendship, can we say that it is something you have been expecting before?

Answer: Well, for most of his life he was in jail and he was away, but he used to see my videos in prison, there used to show videos on robben island and so, I used to get messages from Winnie Mandela, from Nelson through Winnie. So I was looking forward to meeting him when he came out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Uys, you know the public figure Desmond Tutu too. He is still condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine as „Apartheid“. What is your opinion in this matter?

Answer: Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions and I think he was right to talk about that aspect, he was very verbal during Apartheid about cultural boycott. I personally was not very convinced about cultural boycott during apartheid, because the culture that was not sent to South Africa was in fact the culture that would have destroyed Apartheid. I was glad that he brought it up, so that the companies of which ninety per cent were young black people had to think about that. How do they feel about going into a place where Palestinians are not allowed to go? But Desmond Tutu always leads in its criticisms and his prayers; he is a very special human being.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What do you feel when you come to Berlin knowing that your mother is originating from this place? Do you have ties to Germany and German comedians or even a German part-identity?

Answer: I do not have ties to people here other than friends, but I feel very familiar here in Berlin. Having been here many times and doing show here makes me feel well, that is why I want to come and live here for a year and really learn the language, so that I can also perform in German language.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you still realize in your private and professional career?

Answer: One of my dreams is to establish my German language to the extent that I can also do a performance here. You know also the year use to have 365 days whereas my year has only two days, today and tomorrow. Today is the most important day and I do not want to look across tomorrow and ignore what today has to offer.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Does it mean you do not plan the future?

Answer: Of course I do plan years in advance but in pencil so that you can rub it out and write again. It is very important to plan but also very important to listen and to see how quickly things go. Look at Egypt, in a week has completely changed from one thing to another. It is very exciting.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: So you live the present?

Answer: Of course.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Pieter-Dirk Uys, South African Comedian, thank you very much for this interview!

History Documentary from South Africa

The real face of Apartheid

(Editor: Annalisa Wellhäuser)

The largest film festival in Germany, the „Berlinale„, has been attended by „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German Gateway to South Africa. With thanks to the Berlinale section Generation, we have observed selected events and made a report. „History Uncut: Manenberg“ and „History Uncut: Crossroads“ – a documentary collection –  are focussing on South Africa during the apartheid.

Afravision (Brian Tilley, Laurence Dworkin): History Uncut

Co-curated by Darryl Els and Claus Löser

Sunday, 2/13/2010, Cinema Arsenal at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin

Episode 1: Crossroads

Switch off the lights, the movie starts, open your eyes: as if I had used a time-machine for a journey back into the past ,out of a sudden I find myself in May/June 1986 of the former Apartheid-State of South Africa. Place of the setting: „Crossroads„, an informal settlement for „ black„ South Africans ,important centre for movements of resistance; actually it was given the status of an „emergency camp„ and therefore being immune to the mass clearance of townships by the state. Of course the government was not pleased about this immunity…..So here I am….in the middle of a brutal battle between-well, one does not even know who belongs to which group, it is a chaos…People ,especially boys who are only teenagers are running from one site to the other…they are chasing each other….shooting….screams…wherever I look I see destroyed and burning houses of corrugated iron sheet…It is this group with the strips of white cloth, they are attacking us…it is the „Witdoeks„, our vigilance committee. Why are they doing that? It`s our own people! Where did they get the weapons from? We have to fight back…self-made arms out of wood, stones, gunpowder in plastic bottles, which are being thrown…on the street: two men on the floor…covered by blood all over… they are dead…. I see women sitting on the street corner with their babies and the things which they still managed to rescue from their homes…they are waiting for help….

© Scene from „Histroy Uncut: Manenberg“ (Source: Berlinale)

© Logo of film festival „Berlinale“ (Source: Wikimedia)

Cut- change of scene

Women standing with their babies at the entrance of the parliament of Cape Town. They are hopeless and are looking for help. „ We don`t know what you are talking about, we cannot do anything for you„, they get told in Afrikaans by a politician. As a symbol of protest the women start to feign crying and lay down their crying babies in front of the parliament.

According to the TRC, the Truth Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, South African police contributed weapons to and supported groups of „black„ South Africans like the ,,Witdoeks„, a vigilance committee in Crossroads, and thereby „used „ them in order to suppress movements of resistance during the time of Apartheid. Thus the government seeked their aim without being blamed for anything. In total 60.000 people became homeless and 60 people died.

Episode 2: Manenberg

It is September 1989, the election day of the tricameral parliament of South Africa. „white„ and limitedly „coloured„ and „indian´` South Africans are allowed to vote.

The „black„ population is excluded from the right to vote. In „Manenberg„ , a township for „coloured„ South Africans there are protests taking place. And me- I see, no, I experience closely what happens on that day in the streets of Manenberg: I am in a house and I am looking out of a window. The police pitches up out of nowhere and starts shooting randomly with rubber munition at the residents of the place. Yes, it even seems like they do so because they enjoy seeing other people suffering. The police men throw stones at the people, use tear gas and chase them into their houses with whips. The inhabitants ,especially young people, react by throwing stones as well and by building street barriers out of car wheels, litter, pieces of furniture and stones to which they set fire. It is a seesaw. The police arrives frequently and it results in a conflict: Shooting, screams….I`m afraid that they will discover me, but I`m lucky-they don`t.

Cut- Change of scene:

A boy is lieing half covered in a bed, his entire body is full bullet wounds caused by the rubber munition of the police. Another boy`s head is bandaged up and his nose is covered by plasters…A women expresses a direct appeal to the South African government, she claims a democratic, NON- racial discriminatorial electoral system.

These scenes were never shown on South African television; they are part of the archive`s material of the video collective Afravision, which contains the biggest documentation of video of the history of resistance. Afravision was founded by Brian Tilley, Laurence Dworkin und Mokoenyana Moletse in order to keep records of the numerous battles in South Africa in the 1980s .

An extraordinary and fascinating contribution to the Berlinale of 2010. Uncut and pure- this film shows simply the reality and truth-the tragic reality of the past South Africa. Such a close experience of history; it feels as if having been present at that time. It is unbelievable, because suddenly it is not a „story„ anymore that one happened to read in a „history book„ and that seems unreal and far away from oneself. Out of a sudden it is my own reality too. I`m part of it. After watching the film, I`m only left with one single thought dominating my mind: While I can return into my secure reality of the present Germany, this „ film„ did continue for the people in South Africa at that time. Those people, who I met just now, could not flee in contrary to me who just switches off the movie. For them it was a nightmare and they did not know if it would ever end. This is horrible.

The 2010sdafrika-editorial staff would like to thank to the team of Berlinale section Panorama for supporting our service.

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