HN: There is an image of you (on UCT steps) depicting the Zimbabwe Bird on the day the Rhodes statue fell. The photo made local and international headlines. Tell us about that performance and, what it meant to be there on that day?
SM: Since 2013 I have been engaged with addressing the hyper masculine presence of white colonial and apartheid statues that commemorate these figures through a singular narrative. It became imperative to challenge these histories through performance while addressing the absence of the black female body in memorialised public spaces. With regards to Chapungu- The Day Rhodes Fell (2015), I have my interpretations of the work which is layered in meaning. The work is partly informed by Zimbabwean and South African history, but more then anything I’ve enjoyed hearing how other people read it in relation to the event, the symbols and their own understanding. Performing that day, I realised that this work was more than my initial idea, it was an instrument of unconsciously beginning to re-imagine the black body in a city that prides itself in Eurocentric ideals that historically for me are a celebration of the pillaging of Africa. The question I am left with now, is how can we re-imagine these structures and spaces?
Find out more on Sethembile Msezane’s work at sethembile-msezane.com