Women on Aeroplanes touched down in virtual ways from 19 to 28 June—out of and towards Johannesburg. Readings, film streamings, visits, mixtapes, archival material became a web that reflects and addresses issues of law, rights, legislation, and legality..... .
Friday 19 June
18:55 Welcome: Asma Diakité, Regional Head of Cultural Programmes, Goethe Institute Johannesburg.
19:00 Film Streaming: Sisters in Law, Florence Ayisi & Kim Longinotto, 2005, 104 min. (expired)
"I'm afraid the accused has missed a century. This is the century where women's rights are respected," observes Judge Hortense Bam. The court of law in Kumba, Cameroon provides a powerful case study of a society in transition.
Saturday June 20
12:00 Release: Inflight Magazine # 5 — Lines of consent
……………. a moving layover becomes a line out of dots, not only line-shaped clouds, it could even transform into a score with a set of different notations for women informed afterlives of the revolutions to come.
With texts, images, drawings by: Marwa Arsanios. Jihan El-Tahri, Kodwo Eshun, Natasha Ginwala, Stacy Hardy, Sehr Jalil, Ayesha Jatoi, Katia Kameli, Antonia Majaca, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Afrah Shafiq.
Keynote address for the "Breaking Barriers: What It Will Take To Achieve Security, Justice and Peace" conference hosted by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. Audio from the speech, slightly edited, taken from the University of San Diego Television website.
Asma Jilani Jahangir (Urdu: عاصمہ جہانگیر, romanized: ʿĀṣimah Jahāṉgīr; 27 January 1952 – 11 February 2018) was a Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Jahangir was known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and as a trustee at the International Crisis Group.
13:45 Between justice and judiciary
Auto/biographical excerpts on Asma Jahangir and Benazir Bhutto selected and read by Sehr Jalil.
Reflections from Al-Murtaza: "My first taste of democracy", chapter 3, page 48 -49.
Reflections from Al-Murtaza: "The judicial murder of my father", chapter 6, page 154 - 157.
15:00 Recirculate, Refocus
Navanethem Pillay, who used to be one the first judges at the ICC, was, before, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), part of the chamber which made rape recognised as a crime against humanity, and not just a collateral damage, and as an element for a genocidal policy.
Franc Leibovici contributes by selecting §731 from the judgement made during the Rwanda Trials on 2 September 1998.
... a series of short voice notes about books that are missing, in one way or another.
In conversation: Sue Rabkin and Jihan El-Tahri
...touching upon the process of making the constitution, how women rights were drafted, about the Women's League, every day issues in the underground, about Winnie, Ruth First and many other things.
“You talked about how you build your films by identifying critical turning points. In Behind the Rainbow, one of those is the moment in which the ANC make the decision to leave the structures of apartheid in place for at least five years through the so-called ‘sunset clauses’ with the result that, as you say, the people come to understand that the judiciary that threatened democracy will stay in place—they realise that they cannot necessarily expect justice. In other words: the continuity of apartheid beneath the promise to change apartheid creates a contradiction that in turn creates a profound disillusionment.” (Kodwo Eshun in conversation with Jihan El-Tahri, see Inflight Magazine No 5)
21:00 Film Streaming: WINNIE, Pascale Lamche, SA 2017, 98 min. (expired)
Supremely controversial, Winnie Mandela has been labeled a woman condemned for her radical role in the liberation of her South African people under apartheid. While her husband, Nelson Mandela, remained securely jailed for 27 years, Winnie brushed the patriarchy aside to fight on the front line and take uncompromising steps to inspire an uprising. While Nelson was remembered as a hero, Winnie was demonized in the global media.
Filmmaker Pascale Lamche paints a complex portrait of Winnie Mandela: the woman, the paradox, both exalted and villainized in the eyes of history. Using rich, unseen archival footage and interviews with intimate comrades, Lamche unravels the tale of cause and effect by which Winnie was taken down. (Sundance film festival)
Sunday June 21
A special from Inflight Magazine # 5 will be released with a Mixtape, a short history of Protest Songs selected by Neo Muyanga and a drawing series by Afrah Shafiq, Walking is more.
“These songs of protest are not, in actual fact, music. That is to say, we certainly do not regard them in the way we would describe, say, a hymn or a pop song performed in its usual context. You won’t hear these protest songs played on your favorite radio station in the same way — certainly not in South Africa — since no one listens to this material; everyone (potentially) does this material when the circumstances call for it to be enacted.” (Neo Muyanga answering Brad Evans’ questions)
The first state of emergency in South Africa was in 1960, shortly after the Sharpeville massacre which was a demonstration against the carrying of pass books which was actually part of the colonial british system of regulating black people in South Africa - where they could stay, where they could move. That state of emergency during which the ANC and the PAC were banned, so the Anti-Apartheid resistance went underground, was also the beginning of the mobilisation of the armed struggle. (...) But we also want to look at the idea of what state of emergency means, and this is in terms of my own practice, photographically to look at the idea of non-disclosure, the idea of secrecy or covertness, in terms of photography which is usually associated and particularly in South Africa with social democracy and the sort of documentary photography which is about the complete opposite.
U P R I Z E ! is a cultural voyage and homage into what shaped what we know today as the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Using the protests as a backdrop for creative and cultural influences of the late 60s and early 70. Cultural workers who were artists / writers / musicians / thinkers / teachers / policy makers / journalists and participants of the protests, as well as the youth themselves, speak about the world that shaped the youth of 1976. We look at access to culture at the time, the state of broadcast media, state propaganda and censorship. We explore their everyday world, and the spark that led to the historic uprising.
Monday June 22
10:00 Working on the working conditions with Naadira Patel. Variations Part I.
Working on the working conditions aims to think through the idea of interruption and the relentlessness of living in a constant state of surveillance capitalism. It will be presented over three days, in three video pieces, beginning with some ideas from 2019, moving through current trends and movements to the present, with possibility for speculation on the future.
14:00 Recirculate, Refocus: Songs of War, Part II
A special from Inflight Magazine # 5 will be released with additional material around the photograph "Les poseuses de bombes", made by Ali la Pointe, in Algiers in 1956.
... a series of short voice notes about books that are missing, in one way or another
Book Murdering narrated by Mapule Mohulatsi
17:00 Visit: Odun Orimolade
The Circle Space (2020) with a reading from from Judy Chicago, Finding my Way (1975).
As an introduction, standing on a stony path, director Marwa Arsanios faces the camera and wonders: “What does it mean to belong to a place? What does it mean to “be here”? What does the word “nature” encompass? What does it imply when we say “we”? These political questions arise from experiments conducted by women in three war-torn places. First, in the mountains of Kurdistan, in early 2017, the guerrilla led by the Kurdish women’s autonomist movement invites us to experience and consider space, plants, survival, ecology and economic battles in a different way. The process, so we are told, ensues from practical concerns: how do you set up an organic food production cycle? When does a tree need to be cut down? Then in Jinwar, literally the “place of women”, a village in Rojava, Northern Syria, built by women for the exclusive use of women. And finally, in a cooperative in the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border, which has become a sanctuary-like community for refugees. In these communities, the issue of the reappropriation of the land and means of production and subsistence is paramount, and it creates a different landscape. These three eco-feminist strategies at work bring about self-governance, and the creation and transmission of knowledge. These fragile yet so precious experiments are like pages in an herbarium, featuring carefully collected and hand-drawn plants, arranged in the film like silent, up-front manifestos. (N.F. fid Marseille)
Tuesday June 23
Maman is a widow, and a police officer. She has many children, some of her own and some adopted. She is the head of a police unit established to protect women and children from war crimes, abuse and rape in Bukavu – the province of South-Kivu, close to the Rwandan border – and is later transferred to Kisangani, province of Tshopo, DRC. Kisangani was an inferno in the war between Rwanda and DRC – drowned in atrocities, then isolation, silence, and invisibility. Violence continues. It is somehow a miracle that the Unité de la Police Spéciale chargée de la Protection de la Femme et de l’Enfant (PSPFE) has been brought into existence with a personality like Honorine Munyole (another Sister in Law) in charge of it, that the film has been accomplished, and been brought to cinema. (MH Gutberlet, You will come to like this job in Inflight Magazine #1)
Wednesday June 24
10:00 Working on the working conditions with Naadira Patel. Variations Part II.
Conversations with poets who have tired of speaking
Thursday June 25
14:00 Recirculate, Refocus: Rosa Luxemburg, Letters from Prison to Sophie Liebknecht
18:00 Exhibition opening: Fatima Meer, Prison Drawings
Displayed with excerpts from Prison Diary read by Yasmin Shehnaz Meer
"The South African writer, academic, and activist Fatima Meer was a busy woman. While still in high school, in the nineteen-forties, she established the Student Passive Resistance Committee, in response to apartheid laws restricting Indian land rights, and gave speeches at anti-apartheid rallies. She went on to be involved in the founding of several more activist organizations: the Durban and District Women’s League, the Federation of South African Women, the Institute for Black Research, and the Black Women’s Federation. […]
Fatima Meer’s drawings from her time at the Johannesburg’s Women’s Jail, at Constitution Hill, where, in 1976, she was held for six months, without trial, under the apartheid government’s Terrorism Act. She was detained with other female activists, including Winnie Mandela, who, with the help of her lawyer, ultimately smuggled Meer’s drawings out of the prison; the works remain the only visual record of life in the jail from that period.” (Anakwa Dwamena, The New Yorker, October 2019)
“I am one of those modern women who try to combine work and family life, and, just as it is for all the others, this is a problem for me. […] I try to prepare and edit my films in Paris during the long summer vacation when the children are free and can come along. I make films about liberation movements. But the money for such film production is to be found not in Africa, but in Europe. […] I have to live where the money is to be raised, and then do my work in Africa. “ (Sarah Maldoror, Inflight Magazine No 05)
Film Streaming: Monangambee, Sarah Maldoror, Algeria 1968, 18min
Monangambée is a song meaning "White Death", a war cry against colonial abuses in Angola. This film depicts abuses by Portuguese slave traders in Angola through the torture of one prisoner resulting from the colonizer's incomprehension and cultural ignorance. The free jazz soundtrack by the Art Ensemble of Chicago is one of the highlights of the film, as the documentary images of life in prison and the final photographs of the Angolan guerrilla by Augusta Conchiglia.
Film Streaming: Sarah Maldoror ou La Nostalgie de l’Utopie, Anne Laure Folly, 1998.
Friday, June 26
Intro: in the beginning was the festival... day 8
10:00 Working on the working conditions with Naadira Patel. Variations Part III.
15:00 Visit: Lungiswa Gqunta
21:00 Mixtape: family and the basis of the Black avant garde
angel bat dawid and asher gamedze are both musicians and cultural workers in their own rights. while angel has been tirelessly performing and organising gigs in the chicago scene, it was largely her 2019 album the oracle that has put this important artist and her work in the international arena with her anthems of resistance and freedom. asher works mainly as a musician, a writer, an organiser and as a student of history, his debut album dialectic soul is out on the corner in july 2020. the two met in 2018 and spontaneously played music together on that first meeting. the sonic record of the encounter made its way onto the oracle and is titled 'capetown.' since meeting, the two have become close friends, touring together, laughing together, eating together, dancing and playing together, thinking together, and becoming family.
22:00 Film Streaming: I Love You Jet Li, Stacy Hardy, 2005, SA, 13 min.
Saturday, June 27
14:00 Recirculate, Refocus: Premesh Lalu, The Trojan Horse
15:00 Amplifier: Speaking of SPEAK
Shamim Meer and other members of the collective on histories of SPEAK magazine (1982-1994)
Speak, published by Speak Collective, is a publication focussing on issues of interest mainly to women. Violence against women, including wife battery and rape, health issues such as pregnancy, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, better work conditions as well as representation by trade unions, including domestic workers, resistance to the apartheid legislation and the campaign for equitable human rights are among the issues discussed.
18:00 Mixtape with Memory Biwa and Rob Machiri: Air-Waves, Wasserbändiger, and Afro-Phonics: Time-Space Bending and its Sonic Overflows
19:00 Related, Unrelated: The Archive of Migrant Memories
The Archive of Migrant Memories is both a real and virtual space for stories, self-narratives and dialogues between people wishing to share their experience of migration with others interested in learning about what they went through and their feelings and reflections. AMM is a “community of practice” composed of people pursuing common goals from a variety of perspectives. Their activities range from the collection of testimonies to the production of personal narratives and life histories, from participatory audio and video production to the development of teaching materials aimed at bringing the migrants’ real life experience into schools and making them available to anyone interested.
Sunday, June 28
16:00 Voicenotes: Thulile Gamedze
17:00 The Presence of Absent Books
... a series of short voice notes about books that are missing, in one way or another.
Social media, flaming words and the burning of books narrated by Connie Joseph.
An act of trespass narrated by Tinashe Mushakavanhu
18:00 Visit: The Remaindering, Ruth Sacks
I design my books as sculptural objects, at the same time as writing their content. In the past, these have focussed on writing works of fiction, which I will briefly demonstrate by introducing the book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under Sease (2013). I will then focus on a book in progress called The Remaindering.
20:00 Reading: Kodwo Eshun reads from Ruth First, The Barrel of a Gun.
Outro/Credits: In the end the festival becomes a refuge....