Up on a neck of a sacred hill known as Njelele is a shrine comprising a level open ground, more or less the size of a basketball pitch, and, by its side, a cave with two chambers . With only two small paths approaching the shrine from opposite directions, the space around is covered by trees and large rocks, making it into an ideal natural sanctuary. It is here at the shrine that on special days during the year, usually in the darkness of night, the people that call to Mwali for rain and fertility gather for that purpose. Having slaughtered an offering bull, they roast the meat and eat it unsalted. Opaque home-brewed beer is shared and some of it is poured
to the ancestors on a rock. The drinking and eating is followed by the beating of drums, singing and dancing, activities that continue to the early hours of the morning.
Tumi Mogorosi’s installation presents an aesthetic response to research material provided by Kupakwashe Mtata. Zooming into rain-making celebrations at the Njelele Shrine in Matobo, Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, his jazz composition enters into a conversation with the rough and shaky visual notes recorded during research trips. Experienced as patterns of images and sound they evoke an atmosphere of anticipation but also of presence, of the “future” being already there. Different spiritual registers are in action such as Metatron, a mythical angel of mediation, and Njelele-based rituals of rain-making which are calling a future into being. The rain asked for here is not necessarily water drops from a cloudy sky but invokes other showers of blessings, too.
“If the theory is correct that feeling is not located in the head, that we sentiently experience a window, a cloud, a tree not in our brains but rather in the place where we see it, then we are, in looking at our beloved, too, outside ourselves.”
Walter Benjamin, Einbahnstraße, 1928
Zohra Opoku’s and Emeka Alams’ first collaborative installation presents a figure resembling a fragmented angel. The work is assembled from remnant textiles gathered in Lagos, Nigeria and combined with objects and a black banner carrying abstract symbols. The installation poses questions that run like threads through the exhibition as a whole: Is “future” necessarily a fragment, a new combination of existing material, rather than a solid vision or a linear story? Looking at the installation, Walter Benjamin’s famous “Angel of History” comes to mind: staring at
the past, unable to interact, heal or alter it, the angel is pushed towards the future. There are many other possible perspectives on futures as the fragmented angel here suggests, looking to all directions, simultaneously.
Kupakwashe Mtata is a doctoral researcher in Religious Studies working within the “Visions of Nature” sub-project under the auspices of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. His research focuses on religion and nature by exploring on-going encounters between European colonial and African autochthonous ontological designs of human-environment relations in contemporary Africa, with Matobo National Park of Zimbabwe and its environs as a case study.
Aged 28, SAMA award nominee, Tumi Mogorosi is increasingly building a reputation in the South African jazz scene among the new crop of young jazz musicians. Besides his intermittent formal studies at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) which he completed in 2012, the young drummer has refined his brush strokes alongside prominent South African jazz musicians who count – among trumpeter Feya Faku, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli as well as Andile Yenana.
Tumi Mogorosi was also part of the Gauteng Jazz Orchestra which opened the stage for world- renowned American Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis during his 2011 premier of the Joy of Jazz. More remarkable is Tumi’s fresh and bold offering as a composer and leader on his debut CD, Project Elo, which was re-released in London by Jazzman Records 31 June 2014. Project Elo has also toured France in Dec 2014 and performed at the Trans Musicales Festival in Renne.
Within the project of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies Mogorosi works together with Kupakwashe Mtata.
Ingrid LaFleur uses multiple forms of media to investigate possible avenues for psychosocial healing. With a special interest in the idea of transcendence, LaFleur researches ancient practices of ritual and alter making, mythologies, alternative healing modalities and spirit science. Ultimately LaFleur creates receptive spaces for engaging “blackness” and dismantling the fear associated with the black body.
In 2012, LaFleur founded AFROTOPIA, an evolving creative research project that uses Afrofuturism as a social engagement practice. The project website is afrotopiaisnow.com
Based in Detroit, LaFleur has presented her work on Afrofuturism at Centre Pompidou (Paris), University of Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany), Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, College for Creative Studies (Detroit) among others.