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Collaborative Curation with the International Library of African Music

October 23, 2018



Having personally spent more than a decade collaborating with artists, friends and colleagues at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) and related community organisations, this summer’s curatorial residency based at ILAM proved to be a significant step forward in the building of deeper relationships. Thanks to the African Urbanism Humanities Lab, Cliff Maxwell and the Shared Research and Involvement Lab, Global Grounds and David Edmunds in Global Development Studies, two undergraduate students, Lindsey Shavers and Carlin Smith were able to visit the Eastern Cape with myself for three weeks in July - August 2018 in order to meet a range of our collaborators and to begin building projects and collaborations of their own. During a hectic tour, throughout which the three of us were all hosted by ILAM and Rhodes University, we worked together to expand long-standing relationships with locally-driven and owned community arts and heritage projects, including: Around Hip Hop Live Café and the emerging arts space The Black Power Station, Intlantsi art therapy programme, Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda Development Centre, Sakhuluntu Cultural Group, and the Access Music Project.


Xolile Madinda, Carlin Smith and Lindsey Shavers in the Black Power Station, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa (August 2018)


Lindsey Shavers, Carlin Smith and Bliss considering designs for the Black Power Station, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa (August 2018)



The long-term aim of these collaborations is to build sustainable and equitable partnerships and exchanges between groups in the Eastern Cape and UVa/ Charlottesville. Together we are all working to develop ways to increase the flow of people, knowledge and resources between South Africa and the US, with the focus being on how we might develop and teach future shared curricula and civic engagement models aimed at universities, schools and communities in both countries.


Artist Sikhumbuzo Makandula, Lindsey Shavers and Carlin Smith @ ILAM,  Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa (August 2018)



On 15th August 2018, in collaboration with Xolile Madinda’s Around Hip Hip Hop organization, we co-hosted an event ‘Graham’s Legacy, Makhanda’s Future’ at the Black Power Station. Lindsey, Carlin, and myself spent much time with Xolile and Andiswa ‘Bliss’ Rabeshu–resident artist at the Black Power Station – helping with the design of the space and the programming and promotion of the event. The afternoon event itself was packed with local artists, school children and other community members from the townships. Honouring Xhosa heritage, Grahamstown has recently been officially named re-named Makhanda, and this event was designed to explore the competing histories of colonial oppression and Xhosa ownership, through public history performance, poetry, pantsula dance, hip hop, sound art, debate and live painting. Lindsey and Carlin both performed alongside local artists including Bhodlingqaka and Masixole Heshu.


As we continue the exchanges, the AUHL enabled Mazibuko K. Jara and Mthwakazi of Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda to visit UVa on October 15th-16th, where we hosted at Global Grounds a live performance and discussion of the work of an exceptional grassroots rural development movement.


And on November 5th-11th AUHL will host a week long residency for hip hop artist and community activist Xolile Madinda, including workshops, class visits and live performances.

Reports to follow for both shortly.


Painting by Bliss, @ The Black Power Station, Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa (2018)


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