This is a story of migratory proportions and the travels take place in the timeless, surreal space of dreams. The Traveler and her other selves (The Afropolitan, The Afrosettler and The Mapmaker) forge new paths, re-visit engrained routes and imagine a world where contradiction, uncertainty and complexity are the norm. It is an invitation to visit an in-between realm of existence where dreaming, waking, memory and imagination overlap. The heightened text and stylized movement speak of travel, ritual, always belonging and never belonging. The traveller’s journey into a fantastical world of ‘places’ to encounter characters who are from history and from next door, with stopovers in The Black Place of Fables, The Red Place of Conjuring and The Green Place of Letters. Afrocartography is an autobiographical choreopoem. Its first written iteration was produced in Cape Town, South Africa in 2007 in response to the complexities of living and working in the city as a non-South African migrant of Zambian and Zimbabwean extraction. The production itself, as itinerant as its title suggests, has had showings at the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town in 2007; the UNESCO World Festival of Theatre Schools in Barcelona in 2008; at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) symposium on Knowledge and Transformation in Stellenbosch in 2008; at the opening of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) in Cape Town, 2009; and as part of the live performance programme of GIPCA’s Exuberance Project in Cape Town in 2012. It has also been performed at the Wits Theatre in Johannesburg and at the Afrovibes Festival in The Netherlands in 2013.
In order to participate in this, the latest iteration of the production, you, the audience, viewer and participant are invited to select one character video at a time in order to experience the production from that particular perspective.
Mapping a journey is like working on relationships in process. Like the woman who takes a plane from Accra to Johannesburg, travels by car from Cape Town to Xai Xai, walks from river to mountain, by boat across the Indian ocean, “by diaries from childhood to old age, by monuments from antiquity to the present, by lightning bolts when in love,” she will encounter “… dilemmas in the mode of travelling, the reasons for the trip, the point of departure and the destination, in the places through which (she) will pass; the speed, the means, the vehicle, the obstacles to be overcome, …”(Serres, cited in Thinking Space. 2000. Crang and Thrift (ed.) pg. 21-22). Maps are constellations of effects and intensities that fill space, constantly being redirected and displaced, in the process of becoming. Create your own postcard below by choosing an image and answering the questions. We don’t need to know who you are and there are no points for correct answers. Make more than one. Print it, save it, share it.
Music Terra del Sol: Sea Goddess, 2009. Abdullah Ibrahim: Calypso Minor Remixed, 2005. Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, B. 178 “From the New World:” III. Molto vivace, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra & Herbert von Karajan, 1959 Video Camilla Pontiggia.
Photography Shogan Naidoo Eugene Arries With thanks to the cast and crew of Afrocartography at the Wits Theatre, 2013. Editor Jenni-lee CreweDirector/Scriptwriter Mwenya B. Kabwe.
Further reading: ‘Mobility, Migration and ‘Migritude’ in Afrocartography: Traces of Places and all Points in Between’ by Mwenya B. Kabwe found in ‘Performing Migrancy and Mobility in Africa. Cape of Flows’. (2014) Edited’ by Mark Fleishman. Palgrave Macmillian.