Schlagwort-Archive: reality

Miss Lira in interview

„Aaaah Germany! I could live in Germany“

(Autorin/ Editor: Nadja Krupke)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Die Top-Musikerin Lira gab ihre Karriere als Wirtschaftsprüferin auf, um die südafrikanische Gesellschaft mit ihren eigenen künstlerischen Interpretationen zu bereichern und Gefühle greifbar zu gestalten. Lira sieht die Musik als Zufluchtsort, den der Mensch braucht, um Erfahrungen und Realitäten zu verarbeiten. Inspiriert wird sie zum Beispiel von Ikonen wie Nelson Mandela und Oprah Winfrey, die ein enormes soziales Engagement bewiesen haben. Ihr neues Album soll Hoffnung, Geborgenheit und Glück versprühen, sagt sie. Negative Eigenschaften, die den Alltag prägen, will sie mit ihrer Musik bekämpfen und den Seelen der Menschen eine Pause gönnen. Lira wurde in Deutschland schon mehrfach vom Publikum herzlich empfangen – ob in Stuttgart, Berlin, Würzburg, Frankfurt oder Konstanz. Die Sängerin schätzt Deutschland sehr und könnte hier sogar leben, sagt sie. Ihr großes Ziel für die Zukunft ist es aber in den USA ihren Durchbruch als Musikstar zu schaffen und anderen südafrikanischen Künstlern Hoffnung auf internationalen Erfolg zu ermöglichen.

© Miss Lira, one of the most famous singer from South Africa. She is counting to the handful of really successful musicians. A superstar, who ist using her voice to create a positive change in South African society and to be an example of possibility for all citizens.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome the singer Miss Lira on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“, the German gateway to South Africa . You started your career towards the business world. Why did you choose to study Internal Auditing and Financial Accounting?

Answer: It came about because Accounting was my favourite subject at school. I was not allowed to study music as my parents felt that it would be wiser to have something more “solid” to fall back on. A career in finance seemed logical because I enjoyed accounting and Business studies as subjects.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff:  When first did you realize that you were born to sing and not sit behind a desk and what was the essential reason for you to give up everything you knew and to go in a completely different direction?

Answer: Growing up I saw the power of music at work among my family members and within my South African community. The elders would play music night and day and I observed what it could do to a people, but did not understand how. There were songs of struggle that seemed to give words to what people were feeling but could not articulate. It seemed to comfort those who could not express their pain. It seemed to give people an escape from their undesired reality. I was intrigued by this and wanted to be able to do the same – – make people feel that they could express their emotions when my music played.

When I was an undergraduate student, studying accounting I used my skills to exchange for recording time at a local studio. I had my first demo at the age of 18. When I graduated, I continued in accounting for a couple years. But soon turned in my letter of resignation and created a five-year plan for my music career. My mother made it kind of easy for me because she said “well since you have something to fall back on I’d rather have you happy”. So in those initial days, my mother was the motivation I needed. It helps when a parent is open to the idea of you pursuing your dreams.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Since you have devoted your life to music, you have been extremely successful, where do you get your inspiration?

Answer: I’m inspired by so much – Nelson Mandela and Oprah are at the top of my list. I am inspired by the fact that these two individuals have done so much with their lives and impacted so many. I recently was moved by Steve Jobs achievements in a similar way. I’m also inspired by observing people going about their lives and by my own life experiences.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What are your messages you wish to utter through your music?

Answer: The music upbeat, it’s a real feel good album. I want listeners to feel great when listening to it. I know life is tough and the global economy places people is an uneasy space… my music brings messages of hope, comfort, celebration. It’s meant to make you feel good through all of life’s trials and tribulations. I think there’s enough negativity out there in the world and I have no desire to add to it. People seek solace in music and I want mine to be an uplifting experience. We’ve all gone through hardships and we have had to overcome a lot. My music stand’s out because it focuses on the possibilities of life.

Lira in concert during World Cup 2010: Pata Pata composed by Miriam Makeba

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Do your songs capture a certain reality that is found in South Africa ?

Answer: I’ve noticed that some of my perceptions are influenced by my South Africa upbringing, which is the experience of apartheid, the transition into a democratic government and then having to figure out what to do with our new found freedom. I was determined if nothing else to use my voice and gift to create a positive change and to be an example of possibility for South Africans. There are only a handful of really successful musicians in South Africa and there’s only so much we can do in our small territory but I’ve been fortunate to break many barriers.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How much would it mean to you, to seize the international music industrie and what do you think this would mean for South Africa?

Answer: It means that anything is truly possible for anyone who focuses on achieving a goal. South Africans know my journey and they have seen me turn my failures into a success. I have positively influenced many people by merely following my dreams – Having a successful international career I believe would boost the confidence of many South Africans. In as far as what is possible for us out there.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Have you been already in Germany and which impressions do you have from Germans?

Answer: Aaaah Germany! I could live in Germany. I have had amazing experiences over there. The people are so appreciative of African Music, they are so warm. I have been to Stuttgart, Berlin, Würzburg, Frankfurt and Konstanz. I have an appreciation for Germany!

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2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What are your ambitions, hopes and dreams for the future?

Answer: I have a very specific vision for myself because – I’m at a stage where I want to explore new markets, to see how far I can go with my career. I have the rare opportunity to enter the world’s largest music market (U.S.) and see if I can transform my appeal to a global offering. It’s a dream I’ve always had. My focus is reaching and growing my American fan base.

I would also love to do an African Tour… I have my heart set on it in 2013.

You can get up to date information on what I’m doing at my website www.misslira.com.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Miss Lira, South Africas top musician, thank you very much for this interview!

Review of „Gangster Project“

Pure violence as basis of interaction between people in Bonteheuwel

(Editor: Ghassan Abid, Translator German-English: Serge Aka)

Violence, drugs, unemployment, jail and shot holes in walls, such is how one imagines the daily life of a community dominated by gangsters. With the documentation „Gangster Project“, the director Teboho Edkins introduces the audience to Bonteheuwel, one of the poorest and most criminal suburbs of Cape Town.

© Outtake from documentary „Gangster Project“

In January 2010, Edkins went with a cameraman to a world, where life in prison seemed nicer than that in this dreary place. Bonteheuwel, like many places in South Africa is in the hands of several gangs. Entire streets are under the control of a certain gang. In Bonteheuwel, gangs like Wonder Kids, Stupaboys, youngsters or Junior Night Pigs reign over the territories and their residents. From childhood, the inhabitants of these suburbs realized that pure violence is the only remaining option for them to survive. With bestial film sequences, like the fight of dogs, Edkins brings the viewers in an atmosphere of another South Africa beyond TV glamor.

The production was not without risk, and despite the skepticism of his own parents, the director went forward with the film production. Edkins succeeded immensely into this underworld by means of an insider, called Thurston, who made the contacts to the different collectives of the criminal milieu possible. With Macho behaviors and verbal claims to power like “We have to fight ” (to German: Wir müssen kämpfen) or “We try to protect the area” (Wir versuchen das Gebiet zu schützen), it is clear to the outsider that the social situation in Bonteheuwel can completely overturn any time and especially unexpected.

Edkins deliberately confronts the gangster with gangster-stereotypical perceptions of western life culture, according to which a gangster is for example, someone who comes with a lot of charisma in appearance. “Gangster Project” brings the audience within these 55 minutes to a total realization, that death is omnipresent.

Edkins makes clear with its documentation that the gangster existence is connected primarily with the lack of perspectives of young people, who basically have nothing to lose. The gangsters do not look – like us – in the future, but only in the present. No one wants to be a gangster, if not has to, in order to finally survive. With drug consumption such as TIK these young people try to escape their hopeless reality – even if it’s only for few hours.

Each of these protagonists ultimately illustrates the failure of the South African government, to have this problem under control. The effects of gangs remain open of course on the role of the women, who are after reports of several NGOs in many cases victims of sexual assaults by gangs. It also remains uncertain how the relationship of the gangsters to their own relatives is; and what the parents think of the criminal careers of their offspring.

„SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ recommends “Gangster Project” as impressing, thoughtfully making and frightening film about the true life of millions of South Africans, who know nothing else other than blood, violence and the fear of death.

Absolutely worth seeing!

The German review to „Gangster Project:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/bonteheuwel-toten-oder-getotet-werden/

Reflection on the psyche – Roger Ballen in interview

„For me the dark side has always been a source of light and energy.“

(Editor: Anne Schroeter)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Roger Ballen zählt zu den bekanntesten Fotografen Südafrikas.  In New York geboren und in Johannesburg nun lebend,  begann Ballen mit dem dreizehnten Lebensjahr mit der Kunst der Fotografie. Seine Mutter arbeitete für die renommierte Fotoagentur Magnum Photos. Ballen fotografiert jene Begebenheiten, die bei den meisten Betrachtern ein beklemmendes Gefühl auslösen dürften – eine Reflektion in die dunkle Seite der eigenen Psyche. Roger Ballen ist ein Künstler, der sehr viel Anspruch an sich selbst stellt. So ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass dieser Mensch für seine Fotokollektionen meist über fünf Jahre braucht, bis diese in Form eines Bildbandes veröffentlicht werden. „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ ist überaus erfreut, diesen interessanten Top-Fotografen interviewen und darüberhinaus exklusiv einige seiner eindrucksvollen Kunstwerke im Portal abbilden zu dürfen.

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2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ – the German gateway to South Africa – the in New York City born and in Johannesburg living photographer Roger Ballen. You are known for your impressive arts in South Africa and abroad. Why did you start to photograph and what does it mean for you to catch the reality in pictures?

Answer: I bought my first camera when I was thirteen. By that stage, in the early sixties, my mother had been working for Magnum for some years. Through her conversation, and particularly her collecting, I was exposed to the work of many photographers – some of them now considered historically important. In this milieu there was a complete belief in the value of photography; and particularly in its ability to capture and convey meaning in a socio-documentary context.

© Photographer Roger Ballen from Jo´burg

© Photographer Roger Ballen from Jo´burg

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you choose your themes? Do you even choose them or do they come “naturally”?

Answer: My themes are multiple and ultimately very difficult to describe in words. Most of my projects take approximately five years to complete and are then published as a book. The projects evolve over time and it is next to impossible to predict the course the images will take.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Would you approve, if I say, that your photographs are scary? And if you do, why do you still take them, rather than happy and content photographs?

Answer: I believe that if a person find my images scary then that individual has been affected in a very positive way. The images have penetrated into the ’shadow side‘ the place of the psyche that we are scared to confront, to come to grips with. Most people call it the dark side. For me the dark side has always been a source of light and energy. I often mention to people that one cannot find light without knowing the dark.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which reaction do you expect from people that look at your photographs, especially when they usually have nothing to do with arts or photography, from ordinary working class people?

Answer: It is very difficult to know exactly what anybody else feels. My intentions in taking these images are to better understand myself. I do not take photographs to mimic what other people might experience or to predict how they might react. It is just not possible  for me to understand how others will relate to my images.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which messages are you promoting in your photographs?

Answer: As I get older, the meaning of the human condition is rooted in the realization that ‚knowing more is knowing less.‘ We are doomed to leave this world without any clue as to why we were here, where we came from, and where we are going. This is a fate of utter marginalization.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You have often been accused of exploiting people for your photographs. What would you answer to people who say that?

Answer: I believe that my photographs are more psychological in meaning. The images represent a psychological culture. At the same time they emanate from my own psyche. I have never considered myself  a photo journalist or a politically orientated photographer. Many of my images represent a universal sense of marginalization, alienation and the inability to cope with the chaos around us. The reason that these images still have meaning to people who know nothing about South African history is that my viewers feel that an aspect of themselves is being reflected in the image.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In 2010, you have been in Berlin. Which impressions do you have collected from Germany and Germans?

Answer: It is always difficult to generalize about a culture. Nevertheless, I have been very impressed with the cultural dynamics of Berlin.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Roger Ballen, photographer from Johannesburg, thank you very much for this interview and for  providing of your arts!

2010sdafrika-interview with photographer Zanele Muholi:

https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/exklusive-interview-with-zanele-muholi/

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.