Literature in the time of decolonization.
My attempt to make sense of the coincidence of MAN Booker International and the Rhodes Must Fall movement at the University of Cape Town. Including one amazing fact you never knew (or needed to know) about the Rhodes statue…
The Essay: Life and Arts. Financial Times, 3 April 2015.
See also: The Atlantic, 25 April 2015.
Just uphill from Rhodes, toward Table Mountain, I spotted a second, smaller plinth. On top of the pedestal stood a striking black woman, with her back to the statue and her face, obscured by a traditional beaded veil, angled down as if she was meditating. She wore a black leotard and had a quite untraditional pair of shiny stilettos on her feet.
The woman was Sethembile Msezane, an MFA candidate at the university and a Zulu-speaking performance artist from Soweto, outside Johannesburg. She’d made it her trademark on public holidays to juxtapose her young, black, female body with monuments of old, white, male colonial and Apartheid-era figures, and to turn up in silent vigil at sites of resistance to oppression.