ICGC Visiting Scholar and the CHR’s Convener of the Factory of the Arts, Itumuleng Wa Lehulere, will be giving a lecture at the ICGC Colloquium Series, on 8 September 2023, as part of his residency at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change.
My artistic journey started as far back as I can remember, but it was in the late 70’s where my journey became a comrade’s marathon. It was at the beginning of the turbulent 1980s that the anti-apartheid movement was infected with the concept that artists can play a profound role in the struggle against the apartheid regime and bring about a non-racist and non-sexist democratic South Africa: Art as a weapon of struggle; Art as a weapon of resistance. My comrades marathon became a journey of brutality, grief, and healing; breaking and mending, searching and searching… and observing. My work as a progressive actor and director gave me other names like cultural worker or cultural activist. I consciously ended my professional acting career and went to work with worker unions, the United Democratic Front’s One Million Signature Campaign, and lots of alternative educational organisations.
With democracy on our side and oppression and detention without trial behind us, hope and trust was given to those we have been with in the trenches. With me on top of the mountain thinking the comrade’s marathon is over but no… the steepness of the decline was overwhelming – the comrade’s marathon was not over. Artists are silent… what happened to the notion of Art as a weapon of resistance… Art as a weapon of struggle? My work as a theatre maker and director is to collaborate with many artists, scholars and academics on and off stage to create a world we want to live in… that is an aesthetic arts education….