INTERVIEW

1.Tell us something about Umaskhenkethe and how it was born, what it means for you.

Umaskhenkethe is a project that looks at the china bag as a symbol of migration. I’ve used my own story of growing up using the bag in my childhood journeys moving between the Eastern and Western Cape with my mother. The bag has so many names, which are often discriminating against its carriers.

This project means a lot, not because it is from my personal view, but because it addresses issues that are affecting everyone in the world. People are constantly moving looking for greener pastures, the bag is a symbol of migration and carries a lot of symbolism and weight because its carriers have a lot of stories to tell.

2. In what way you feel your project fits the Born The Same theme?

The world is now experiencing a refugee crisis, and some first world countries are doing all they can to deny access to their countries. There is a level of fear, anxiety and separation. This anxiety results in xenophobic attacks, where people are focusing more on how different we are, and how we should all belong to geographical locations which were made by other humans. We are all born the same and it doesn’t matter to which geographical marking, we are all humans and we should focus our energies to things that benefit all of us in a positive way and not create barriers around each other.

 
3.Do you think your project Umaskhenkethe can have a real impact on public opinion regarding important social, cultural and political matters, and in particular the delicate topic of migration? In what way?

It definitely has an impact especially on migration. This work is in some way raising awareness about a current global issue.
4.What are you working on next? I am currently extending the work that I did in 2016, where I used the blue working class overalls and grey blankets. Using them as objects of memory and symbolism. I am observing and taking note of workers lives in South Africa, particularly those who are from working class backgrounds and in Cape Town most notable coming from the Eastern Cape and other countries looking for jobs to feed their families. At this point I have not finalised anything, but I am using the time that I have to collect visual references which will in turn be used for a body of work.
 

Umaskhenkethe is part of the Born The Same global tour. Nobukho Nqaba is a South African artist using the self to unpack, and deconstruct notions that reflect identity and symbolism. The self functions as a surface to raise social commentary awareness about issues that are relevant to most young South Africans, and speak about the concept of home, comfort and foreignness.

UMASKHENKETHE – NOBUKHO NQABA

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