By: Tšhegofatso Mabutla
9 Phupu 2017
Labohlano le le fetilego baithuti balego sehlopheng sa Umhlangano ba beakantse kopano ya bona ya pele mo ngwageng, go thoma dipolelo tša go utolla bokoloniale Yunibesithing ya Motse Kapa (UCT). Umhlangano e beakantšwe ka baithuti ba terama le peakanyo ya art khempaseng ye e tsebjago e le Hiddingh.
Hlolo ya Umhlangano e tlišitšwe ke mogwanto wo o tswetšego ka 2016. Diyunibesithi tsa Afrika Borwa di felleditše di tswalelwa mabapi le go gwanta ga baithuti bao ba be ba nyaka go tšwetša dithuto tša bona pele ntle le go kgokaganywa ke dikolota tša sekolo, ba be ba nyaka go tsena mahala.
Sa bobedi, dipolelo tša bokoloniale, di be di sa fiwa tsebe. Khempaseng ya Hiddingh, dilo dibe di tšwela pele ntle le pelaelo. Mola Rhodes Must Fall, Shackville TRC le Fees Must Fall ba iphile maatla khempasengkgolo ya UCT. Baithuti ba Hiddingh ba bona go hlokega go tlhoma ya bona thero ka potlako , go fetola maemo a khempase ya bona.
‘Mhlangano o bone go le bohlokwa go fetleka lebitšo la khempase ya bona, le mafelo ao ba ithutago gona. O rile a botšišwa gore: ke ka lebaka la eng lekgotla le, le le bohlokwa bjale? Mongwe wa baithuti ba leng mo Umhlangano, a araba ka gore: ““sithesakujonga ubukho bethu singabantu abantsundu kule kamphasi, sazibuza ukuba, siphi? Sisekhona na? Sayaphi? Sakhe sabakhona? Lombuzo uphendulwe kwasithi safumanisa ukuba asikho, azange sa akho, because the spaces on this campus negate the lived experiences of the blood shed by our ancestors”.
Kopano ya bona e re hlwešetše, e thomile mosegare ya fela thapama ka iri ya senyane. Ba be ba laleditse diboledi tsa go tsebjwa kudu Motse Kapa, go swana le: Moruti Xola Skosana, Ukhona Mlandu, Numusa Makhubu le Shose kessi. Ba tla ba feteletsa moo, ka go mema Mandla Mbothwa yo a tlišitšwego papadi ya gagwe ya Ndabamnye no SS Mendi. Go be go na le ditiragatso tsa Mathakane Tlali, Mphumzi Nontsinga le Thapelo Tharaga. Babini ba Indoni le bona ba iponagaditše. Ruri ‘Mhlangano e beakantse kopano ya mabonwa!
Baboledi bohle, ba be ba botšišiša bohlokwa bja maina. Mlandu le Makhubu ba gatelletše butšo bja go theiwa ge ole motho moso. Ba tšwela pele ka go anega gore, bathobaso bana le direto tšeo di rorišang bagolgolo, badimo ba malapa. Makhubu o file mohlala wa gore, bonneteng, motho ge a itsibiša o tshwanetse go lotsha le badimo ba gagwe, ka gore ba phela ka yena. Ke ka fao sereto sele bohlokwa gakaaka.
Ka gorealo, potšišo ke gore, na Khempase ya Hidding etla theiwa ka mokgwa ofeng? Maina a tla le botsebji le bokgoni. Na maina a a gona a tla kgona go thusa go lwantšha bokoloniale bja Yunibesithi? Mohlomong keletšo ye kgolo ye ke humanego, kopanong ya Umhlagano ke ye e boletšwego pele le subela ka labohlano.
Mongwe wa baboledi o rile, baithuti ba Umhlangano ba tlile ka peakanyo ya bohlokwa le bohlale. Go tswela pele, nke ba farologantše maina a khempase ya bona go ya ka lefa leo le thomilego ke megwanto ya 2015, histori keya bona bjale nke ba ikgethele bokamoso. Badimo ba kgetha baswa go kuka merwalo ya phetogo,re bone ka baswa ba 1976, bjale, naga e emi ka maoto, re nyaka go bona gore baswa ba sebaka se, be tla phetha mabake a goreng. Kodumela moepathutse, ga go lehumo le le tšwago kgauswi.
Friday the 9th of June Umhlangano hosted their very first formal, decolonial project. This was a symposium pertaining to the Naming and/or Renaming of their campus formerly known as Hiddingh. Which is the Fine Art and Drama campus at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Umhlangano organised an event that is meant to kick start a continuous process of naming and renaming their campus, and the spaces within it. When asked why this was so important to the members of the movement, Vuyolwethu Gaju responded, “sithesakujonga ubukho bethu singabantu abantsundu kule kamphasi, sazibuza ukuba, siphi? Sisekhona na? Sayaphi? Sakhe sabakhona? Lombuzo uphendulwe kwasithi safumanisa ukuba asikho, azange sa akho, because the spaces on this campus negate the lived experiences of the blood shed by our ancestors”.
The eight hour symposium was organised by a collective of drama, fine art and curatorship students of colour. Who succeeding the Rhodes Must Fall, Shackville TRC and later on the Fees Must Fall movement at UCT, saw fit to intervene on their isolated campus during the 2016 country wide University’s shutdown.
Their mobilisation was strongly driven by the apathetic silence on their campus says Bulumko Mbete, who decided that they could no longer participate on the university’s main campus shut down while the decolonial project was completely ignored on theirs.
It is under these conditions that Umhlangano was conceived as a caucus of artists with the spirit to deconstruct, decolonise, and disassemble the ‘arts’ campus as we know it.
The event was graced by the presence of phenomenal academics and artists who themselves are engaging in various ways in the decolonial legacy: Pastor Xola Skosana, Ukhona Mlandu, Nomusa Makhubu and Shose Kessi to name a few. Considering the nature of the campus it only made sense that they also had performances like Mandla Mbothwe’s breath taking Ndabamnye no SS Mendi, the enchanding Indoni, and performance art pieces by Mathakane Tlali, Mphumzi Nontshinga and Thapelo Tharaga.
Throughout the symposium the invited speakers highlighted a number of intriguing thoughts and norms for interrogation when it comes to naming. Ukhona Mlandu and Nomusa Makhubu spoke to ‘what’s in a name’? Parents do not simply name their children, but they give them meaningful, representative and often collective names, that not only speak of the child, but of their ancestors, community or lineages and experiences.
Makhubu elaborated how, when she introduces herself she is also introducing her mother and her mother’s mother, as well as her matriarchal family tree. Another point raised was, how do you begin to give names to a campus with a history so rich with violence and exclusion, does one even consider the perpetuated colonialism instilled in the very fabric of the space when looking to renaming or naming.
What will happen to the nature of the space and the campus if it is renamed or named, what associations will come with the names, will it even change anything at all considering the institutional culture? What resonated with me the most was a suggestion put forth by one of the speakers; perhaps since Umhlangano has taken charge of this moment, that will for sure go down in the history books, they can consider names that are representative and ideal.
Names that encapsulate the evolution of the campus from 2015 when rhodes fell and fees were not raised. All the way to the future of what they hope for their campus and the legacy they leave behind in this regard.
My verdict is that decolonisation is and will always be a painful and violent process. These students have proven that history continues to repeat itself. The burden of change has always been on the shoulders of youth, they can’t escape their generational inheritance to continue what the youth of 1976 initiated.