Music, visual art, performance art, literature—for many, the best are aesthetically pleasing as they help us think differently, and think in upheaval, if you will. My talk will focus on how lockdown allowed artists and consumers of art to see beyond the limited space they are normally exposed to and create solidarities in campaigns such as #BlackLivesMatter, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, and #EndSars, among others. Equally, it will look at collaborations that may have otherwise gone unmade in film, music, visual art, and literature across linguistic and “national” borders and what that means for our past, how that’s working in the present, and possible implications for the future.
The 2020 Goethe Medalist Zukiswa Wanner is an author, editor, publisher, and curator currently residing in Kenya but born in Zambia to two political exiles (a South African father and a Zimbabwean mother). Zukiswa has written four novels, three children’s books, two works of nonfiction and has been a columnist for True Love (South Africa), The Star (Kenya), The Nation (Kenya), Mail & Guardian (South Africa), and the pan-African monthly New African. She has also written for Süddeutsche Zeitung, The New York Times, and The Guardian. The authors she has published include Yara Nakahanda Monteiro (Angola), Maimouna Jallow (Gambia), Mukoma wa Ngugi (Kenya), and Nokuthula Mazibuko Msimang (South Africa). She is the founder and curator of Afrolit Sans Frontières, the pandemic’s first virtual literary festival which later morphed into Virtually Yours; Artistic Encounters, which has been on stages in Nairobi and Johannesburg and is currently exhibiting in Zurich; and Displacement & Refuge, a series of dialogues for the Goethe Institute in Nairobi.