My Aza­nian odyssey

Mazwai takes au­di­ences on mu­si­cal trip

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - AMANDA MALIBA amanda.maliba@inl.co.za A Let­ter To Aza­nia, SI­BONELO NG­COBO African News Agency (ANA)

MU­SI­CIAN and so­cial ac­tivist Than­diswa Mazwai has some­thing in store for the­atre lovers – tak­ing them on a jour­ney to Aza­nia. The live show,

will be staged at the Lyric The­atre in Joburg on Novem­ber 24.

Mazwai is set to use her mu­sic to weave the threads that il­lus­trate her early politi­ci­sa­tion and vi­sions of Aza­nia. Defin­ing this “imag­ined place”, she says it is an as­pi­ra­tion of the op­pressed, which she dubs the “black as­pi­ra­tion”.

“I think that for the suf­fer­ing black masses, Aza­nia has al­ways rep­re­sented a kind of par­adise. It was the kind of holy land, promised land, and you know that was a very promi­nent idea when I was grow­ing up. And so I de­cided to do a show about some of these ideas,” she says, un­pack­ing the vi­sion.

Some of these fan­tasies touch on the idea of free­dom, which for her is de­fined as the to­tal au­ton­omy of the mind, body and spirit.

“And be­cause we still don’t have au­ton­omy, ev­ery­thing about where we live, our daily ex­pe­ri­ence, is owned by some­one else. Be­cause we don’t have au­ton­omy, we can­not move freely on the African con­ti­nent be­cause dif­fer­ent parts are owned, and now there are these borders that don’t al­low me to move freely on what is ac­tu­ally sup­posed to be my home – from Cape to Cairo.

“We don’t have au­ton­omy be­cause we can­not de­cide for our­selves what hap­pens in our own world. Some­one else al­ways de­cides what will hap­pen in a black per­son’s life, in a black per­son’s body, in a woman’s life. So we have no free­dom be­cause there is no free­dom with­out land,” says Mazwai.

“I think the name of the show is very ‘trig­ger­ing’, it makes peo­ple think, it makes peo­ple won­der: if they had to write that let­ter, what would they say?

“Just from there it starts some­thing. It’s kinda po­lit­i­cal be­cause Aza­nia is a re­bel­lious, rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea. A place where black peo­ple can truly be free. So it’s a rad­i­cal idea and that’s po­lit­i­cal. It’s po­lit­i­cal for black peo­ple to de­cide to be happy or to dream.”

Mazwai will stage the show as an “in­ti­mate fel­low­ship” of just 1 000 peo­ple, where they “share through feed­ing off each other’s en­er­gies to chart a way for­ward for Africans”.

A Let­ter To Aza­nia is at Gold Reef City on Novem­ber 24 at 8pm, book­ings through Com­puticket.

CATCH mu­si­cian and so­cial ac­tivist Than­diswa Mazwai per­form­ing at the Lyric The­atre in Joburg later this month. |

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