Mawande Ka Zenzile's monograph encompasses over five years of work, up to and including his 2020 exhibition Udludlilali. Edited by Sinazo Chiya, the volume features essays by Nkule Mabaso, Nomusa Makhubu and Kabelo Malatsie. In her introduction, Chiya writes:
Provided the same catalogue of paintings, sculptures, performances, videos and commentary, Nkule Mabaso, Nomusa Makhubu and Kabelo Malatsie undertook different voyages and arrived at different destinations. Mabaso's 'Of Refusal, Creation and Assertion' approaches the artist's oeuvre as a project beyond decoloniality. Her emphasis is not on the consequences of the encounter with the colonial other but Ka Zenzile's affirmation of Africanist epistemes – the ways in which he asserts 'enduring, localised ways of being'. Makhubu's 'Akukho Muzi Ungathunqi Ntuthu – Local Knowledge as Creative Rebellion' observes Ka Zenzile’s relationship with institutions and bureaucratised knowledge practices. Using the motif of the inverted house, probing the dividing line recurrent in Ka Zenzile’s figurative and non-figurative creations, she observes the role his work plays in the battle between incommensurability and compatibility. For Malatsie, Ka Zenzile’s process is as yielding as the final object. She makes a comparison to fellow Eastern Cape native, jazz musician Johnny Dyani. She concentrates on how both artists 'go latela muṱhala', following traces and fragments rooted in indigenous practices to form constellations that motivate them to push beyond the temptation to be legible to an other. In both artists she identifies a commitment to helping others upend myopic paradigms 'even if that means that we become uncertain and are a people in perpetual pursuit'.
In a 2018 conversation with Lois Anguria, Ka Zenzile stated, 'For me it was just to throw clues in my art and in my writing, and whoever is sensitive enough to perceive these clues, and willing to let go of what they know, can begin to engage with my work.' Uhambo luyazilawula is a collation of such visual and textual clues. In these divergent journeys the thoughts and stances expressed operate in tandem and individually. Ideas contest, overlap and distort one other, and the artworks presented amplify, fragment and cohere these discernible lines of thinking. We are not far from cacophony, but perhaps, in a climate where knowledge is considered an agent of power, a boisterous offering might be looked at as an elaborate device of kindness.
Stevenson | 2020
Softcover, 256 pages | ISBN 978-0-620-83290-8 | Price: R850