Matabeleland to Staffordshire
‘One of my goals in my practice is to build a bridge between the Black British diaspora and Black Africans so they can exchange ideas on Blackness. To have a dialogue on how we express our identity through our cultures and add to the images that help us to continue to reimagine Blackness.’
- Nompumelelo (Nom)
Tribes: Matabeleland to Staffordshire is an art exchange of photographers, film makers and visual artist exploring cultural heritage. Local image makers from Matabeleland, Zimbabwe exchanged with image makers from Staffordshire, West Midlands. The exhibition has been produced by Gabriella Gay, chair of Kwanzaa Collective UK with assistance from Ntjengeti Sibanda (Khue), Nompumelelo Ncube (Nom) and Appetite. The exchange is part of Africa 54 programme co-designed by Kwanzaa Collective Artists. The work occupied space in Newcastle Common in Staffordshire and the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo.
Ingubhamazwi by Ntjengeti Sibanda
KubuKalanga Ndiko Kanyikwedu
- Willmore Dube
In this short documentary Willmore Dube shines a light on the Kalanga tribe. Known for their Dihonsana rain dance they have a rich dance culture. Mainly inhibiting Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, the tribe have a long history which dates back to the Bakalanga who were the builders of the first uniform kingdom in Southern Africa.
Willmore Mgaza, also known as Willmore Dube, is a Content Creator, YouTuber, Graphics Designer, Events Management, DJ and Videographer. He is committed to creating platforms and telling stories that matter the most in our daily lives through the use of digital media. He is Co-founder of the Sparrows. Sparrows is an organized movement of young men who are curators of art, music, dance, lifestyle, business, and culture collectively. He is involved in a lot of Community Outreach programs and also runs a masterclass that teaches young boys and girls how they can be influential in the use of Social Media.
To commission or contact Willmore Dube visit:
Children of the Diaspora
- Derrick Egblewogbe
Matt, Mich, Sola, Su, Nor and Te
Children of the Diaspora explores the reimagination of African and Afro Caribbean culture in the UK. So many raw forms of culture brought to the shores of the UK by parents, and then later abandoned to settle in have been transformed to something more relatable whilst still holding onto core values. From food to music, African and Afro Caribbean culture continues to thrive in the UK.
Derrick Egblewogbe is a Creative strategist, Graphic designer, Film maker and Photographer, based in Staffordshire. He enjoys mixing different forms of media to deliver a message to audiences. Originally from Ghana, West Africa. He moved to the UK when he was 13 and has since been using his experience living in multiple cultures to influence his work. He enjoys mixing elements of design such us typography with film and photography to clearly communicate his ideas to audiences.
To commission or contact Derrick Egblewogbe visit:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/dezzerr
Concept for film
Anderson J West
Going Home is a film about a man’s desire to return to his impoverished home country and rebuild it. Only to realise that whilst he may have the will to start a revolution, he needs help from the people to make it a reality.
When not telling his client’s stories, he writes and makes his own films. He has made several short films and is currently developing several others. He is working on his first feature film.
To commission or contact Anderson J West visit:
In this coming-of-age film, a teenage Kenyan boy moves to the UK with high hopes, only to be welcomed by bad weather, ignorant pupils and touchy-feely girls. As he struggles to fit in at school in the Northern English town he has moved to, one unlikely friendship with a curious classmate changes everything. Please click on the poster to view the film.
Anderson J West is a freelance filmmaker based in Stoke-on-Trent. He is a cinematographer, shooting director, camera operator, editor and writer. He spent two years working for and eight years managing the Film Production team as the head of Film at Fuzzy Duck Creative, a multimedia production studio in Media City, Manchester. Whilst managing, he also directs documentaries, commercials, narrative and heritage/museum films for different brands.
Ulwaluko - Transition to Manhood
Photographer Mthokozisi Gwebu focuses on the Xhosa people in these series of images observing the Ulwaluko manhood ritual. The Xhosa people are the second largest group in South Africa. Mthokozisi travelled to the southern region of Zimbabwe, where some of the tribe have migrated, built, and settled. In modern times the Xhosa people still uphold and respect the ritual of Ulwaluko. All boys aged between the ages of fifteen to seventeen year old undergo this transition ritual to prove they are ready to be men.
Read ‘The story behind the photographs’ by Mthokozisi Gwebu to learn more about his journey to be with the Xhosa people.
Mthokozisi Gwebu is a 33-year-old Photographer & Graphic Designer. He is the founder of Legends Artworks, a professional Media Company which specialises in content creation in various fields and events. It also specialised in wedding photography, portraiture and capturing cultural events.
To commission or contact Mthokozisi Gwebu visit:
Facebook – Legends Artwork.
Taking Up Space
Commissioned by Gabriella Gay as part of an Urban Wilderness CIC project.
Taking Up Space grew from conversations around walking during lockdown. While some people see walking as an act of self-care or claiming space. Some people feel hesitant to walk for pleasure, especially alone, especially in these times. Where people are more vocal about their racial views. How do black people in Stoke-on-Trent experience walking, knowing that we have voted in political leaders keen for us to be less visible, to take up less space?
The film showcases 3 Black dancers expressing emotions, routine, and the repetition of daily life during lockdown. The dance choreography is inspired by African movements, set in various spaces you’ll find in an English park, from natural to concrete. It’s a calming film, meant to be observed and listened to. Tune into the poem by Gabriella Gay that underlines the dance or even just the music. Question why you don’t walk for pleasure or what you can do to take up space wherever you go.
Culture can be hard to define when you’re an African living in England. As you're using what you know and what you're taught to guide you through life. Unfortunately, being Black isn’t best preserved, and from this we learn to either mask or forget the connection we have to our true identity, or we can’t express it. Ever since I was a teenager, I have been fascinated by the way people can express so much through movement and the body. I encourage audiences to make their own understanding from my films, to make their own story and to question themselves, society and other people. Taking up space unapologetically, appreciates the mixtures and contrast of culture.
Dancers – Shanice Harris, Shona Muraldo-Parks, Caroline Muraldo.
Cynthia Coady is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking and photography. She enjoys experimenting with genres, art forms and storytelling techniques. She is the founder of Mystery Moon Media, a member of The Movie Mavericks and a self-employed videographer who has worked closely on a variety of commissions and projects with arts organisations such as Urban Wilderness CIC, and B Arts. Cynthia will be creating a short new film as part of this exhibition.
To commission or contact Cynthia Coady visit:
Mystery Moon Media Instagram https://www.instagram.com/MysteryMoonMedia
Piercings and Practices of
Eric Tshuma’s work explores one of the slowly disappearing ethnic groups of Africa. In this series of images, he travelled four hours out of Bulawayo city, to the Binga rural areas of Zimbabwe where the BaTonga people have lived for many years. The BaTonga is an ethnic group that up to this day still cling to its own cultural beliefs, customs, and survival.
Eric Tshuma said:
The journey took about 4 hours on the road, but the trucks were filled with locals who were connected to the culture; the stories some of them told sounded like myths, they sounded good to the ear and added to the little that I knew about the BaTonga people. What has been clear to see throughout the project for me was how culture sticks societies together. Sometimes people accuse the BaTonga people of being backwards. I believe they are just maintaining their culture and practicing what has been passed on from generations to generation BaTonga people carry their cultural customs in their hearts and on their bodies, by the painting of tribal markings on their faces, being barefoot, leg/arm bands and heavily tattooed, smoking of tobacco in calabashes and by having reeds piercing their nostrils. I want to continue to contribute to the growth and raising awareness on our unique ethnic groups here in Matabeleland.
Eric Tshuma is the head lensman at Imagery Re ected, a pictorial representation company in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He regards picture taking as a reliable tool to conjure the beauty and harshness of life. Besides doing indoor and outdoor photoshoots for both public and private functions like corporate events, weddings, fashion shows, and lifestyle shoots, he is very interested in documentary photography. He has worked in collaboration with make-up artist Shades of Sensation, has the honour of shooting for the PiChani, a pan – African and Lifestyle platform by creative director and founder of Per Bag Africa, Gilmore Tree. He is part of Emoyeni, a digital storytelling project. https://www.pressreader.com/zimbabwe/the-standard-zimbabwe/20210725/281968905714396
To commission or contact Eric Tshuma visit:
- Daby Obiechefu
Often culture becomes part of one's life from an early age, passed down from the previous generation, becoming an ongoing cycle. However, what happens when the location of its origin shifts, and one is faced with multiple cultures at once?
These pieces explore how growing in various environments has affected Obiechefu's absorption of cultures and the forming of a balance within this juxtaposition.
Daby Obiechefu is a multidisciplinary artist, experienced in realism and digital painting, performance to camera, installation and sculpture. Artworks inspired by her emotions, thoughts and experiences. These are often used as her stimulus, aiming to engage her audience whilst creating an immersive and intriguing environment through her imagery.
To commission or contact Daby Obiechefu visit:
Ingubhamazwi - The Envied Gown Worn By Queens
In this short documentary film photographer and filmmaker Njengeti Sibanda tells the story of the Ndebele woman’s traditional gown and its evolution to what it is today.
Shooting on location in Matapo National Park in Matabeleland, the film starts with a poem, and the image of a woman wearing the ingubhamazwi, the envied gown worn by queens. The shapes, colours and textures of the dress go beyond simple aesthetics, they portray deeper meanings, values and connotations about the women wearing them.
The film features an award-winning fashion designer taking inspiration from the traditional ingubhamazwi, re-imagining designs, blending traditional with modern elements and finishes that are characterised by boldness, strength, and an unapologetic confidence.
Ntjengeti Sibanda (Khue) is a photographer, filmmaker and the founder of Nikkor Lane Photo and Cinema, a media productions company specialising in a filming and photography for events, companies and products. Njengeti is passionate about the physical and virtual visibility of the many tribes and ethnic groups in Matabeleland. Tribes was initiated, grown, and developed from his thinking.
To commission or contact Njengeti Sibanda visit:
Umkhwenyana Wa Phetsheya
(Ndebele Groom Abroad)
Nompumelelo Ncube (Nom)
Photojournalist, Nompumelelo Ncube (Nom) was inspired to produce a body of work that echoes the roots of marital rituals from different tribes to understand cultural heritage in the context of marriage.
In African societies bride wealth is customary even for the diaspora. Lobola is the name given to the bride wealth in Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, and Swazi cultures across Southern Africa. Though Matabeleland is associated with Ndebele people there are different identities living in the north and south provinces such as Tonga people, Bakalanga, Venda, Nambya, Khosian, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and Tsonga. This series explores the groom and marital rituals from different tribes across Southern Africa beginning with Ndebele traditions in Matabeleland from a diasporic lens.
The Ndebele wedding ceremony is celebrated in three stages and can take several years, the first stage is Lobola. This is also done in different steps; the groom must first ask for the bride’s hand in marriage through his representative team of uncles and aunties. A meeting is organised for both parties, where the bride will also have a representative team present in the negotiations for Lobola.
Upon visiting the bride’s family home before the groom’s team can start negotiations they must pay 'isivulamlomlo’ to start the conversation. During this time the groom and his team will be tested, the bride's family will assess the groom's character and if he can provide financial stability for their daughter. They then set a date for Lobola. It is worth noting Lobola is used to take care of the children that will be conceived in the marriage, whether it is money or livestock, it equates to generational wealth. Additionally, the groom will gift both the mother and father of the bride with gifts to thank them for raising their daughter. For the mother, cow, blankets, broom, and clothes are gifted and she wears the blue blanket around her like a shawl.
The images denote the process in which the groom would take to secure the bride’s hand in marriage. Colour is used as means of symbolism while paying homage to how Ndebele people traditionally used coloured beads to communicate. For example, love is red and white, marriage is black and white, wealth is yellow and white, faithfulness and request are blue and white.
There is debate about whether Lobola is dated, commodifies women and contributes to gender-based violence. What was once a gift and an occasion to unite both families may have become muddy.