Schipbreukeling – Mathieu Charles
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Buhlebezwe Siwani

Mnguni and Ibutho

Buhlebezwe Siwani’s Mnguni and Ibutho evoke respectively the question of forced or voluntary displacement of human beings and the expropriation of lands endured in former colonies. They look at methods of healing injuries from rootedness and their psychological and spiritual effects on those who migrate or are forced to do so. How do you redefine the concept of home in a new land? 

Mnguni is the first photograph in a series of three taken by Siwani after settling in the Netherlands having come from South Africa. While performing a ritual, Siwani calls on the ancestors to help her in this transition to reunite in the new land. Ibutho is named after the isiZulu term for an army regiment, the strongest segment. The colours are used differently and in various combinations within Southern African Zion and Apostle churches where belts are worn by women and priests who draw on ancestral spirits. The warriors are women who birth nations.

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