A group of Cape Town creatives have come together to form an event known as the LunarFest which according to one of its founders, Vusi Nkomo, “is conceived as a safe space for Black creatives to work together, be together, think together in ethical ways […] in an otherwise extremely alienating Cape Town.” We sat down with Vusi to talk about the significance of the event in Cape Town’s creative work scene
1. What is the Lunar Fest?
Over the past year I and two colleagues have been preoccupied with this idea of creating a creatives’ gathering, and we gave it a name- the LunarFest. Birthed in April of 2018, the event was conceived as a safe space for Black creatives to work together, be together, think together in ethical ways; that is to say, find ways to network, connect, share ideas, and generally, get to know each other, in an otherwise extremely alienating Cape Town. The December break allowed us time to ‘breathe’ despite the City’s colonial arrangement meant to suffocate us. More importantly, the brief recess afforded us time to rethink LunarFest; the nature of our relation with artists and cultural workers in CA, the social role of such creatives’ gatherings, our position on the political climate of the country, our artists’ role in transforming not only the art/cultural fields but society in general, etc. The LunarFest has thus become a space where young creative Black people (re)imagine creative yet radical ways to marry art and/with politics.
2. Who are the organizers behind the Fest?
The Fest is organised by the ArtGang Collective composed of Vusumzi Nkomo, a art & cultural worker & writer, Nkosi X, who is a vocalist-rapper-producer, as well as PJ Rocc who is a producer-vocalist, songwriter, DJ, Visual Artist and photographer.
3. Who can attend your events?
Anyone can attend the event; all progressive and self-respecting people who are future-orientated and interested in the role young people are to play in shaping the future of this country.
4. How do you plan on sustaining the Fest?
Last year we depended on ticket sales. And after a lengthy discussion we decided to scrap the fee, at least for the next few months. The reason to scrap the admission fee was/is informed by a political imperative to make the space as easily accessible as possible. The nature of the conversation/dialogue (i.e the possibilit(ies) of collective social organising among Black artists, State involvement in establishing a social security system for precarious art workers, cultural workers as well as (de)privatisation of private art institutions of higher learning) we seek to initiate demands that will eliminate any barriers that might prevent anyone from attending what promises to be a historic day for Black artists and cultural workers in South Africa, and by extension, Cape Town. So going forward, we have appealed to people who attend the Fest to kindly make any form of donations (be they monetary or otherwise) in order to keep the dream alive.