Media Monitoring Africa presents:
In 2013, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) undertook a project that sought to come to a greater understanding of the practice of ukuthwala, and specifically how it is portrayed in the media. MMA observed how stories have appeared in South African media of the perversion of cultural practice, some highlighting the view that the practice should be criminalised and viewing it as a relic of a patriarchal past, while others highlight traditionally oriented communities seemingly digging their heals in order to protect their culture from outside interference. The aim of the project was to gain greater insight into the practice, to understand the clash between a rights discourse and traditional practice’s, to hear the views and voices of those involved, including children and how the different sides are portrayed in the media; to contribute to a meaningful dialogue that would ultimately lead to collective solutions.
By conducting interviews with individuals across different spheres of communities, the project has heard stories and varying perceptions of the practice, some perceptions having been altered by what was see/heard/read in media. Additionally the project has sought to engage with children, both rural and urban to hear their voices on matters that relate to them in their real or perceived roles as girls and boys, and the futures that lie ahead of them, in a society that has, and is, changing and developing in many different ways across culture, class and race.
The Silence Beyond the River is a collection of photographs, taken from the time spent in these communities, hearing individual stories of those who have experienced ukuthwala and seeing into their lives. They tell of real South African’s living in their rural reality, a reality that can be said to be on the other side of a cultural ‘rift’. By seeing them, we hope that a greater understanding will be shaped, of the diversity of South Africa’s collective citizenry and how opposed they can sometimes be. This is the first step to figuring out how to build a better country for all citizens. Man, woman and child.
We invite you to visit the exhibition and engage for yourself
Open to the public from 8pm on Friday November 1st
For more information please contact Joanne: