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STATEMENT BY ARTISTS FOR AFRICA
ON THE VIOLENCE AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONALS

If art were to mirror our society right now, it would reflect the rainbow as a tattered
farce, the African Renaissance as a bad stand-up comedy routine, the notion of ubuntu
as a horror movie, and our much-admired constitution as a satire on what we have
become.

Given where we have come from, with Madiba's inaugural "never again" speech still
ringing in our ears, and with the dream that we would be a beacon of humanity, dignity
and tolerance, there can be little excuse for the sheer brutality in the violence wreaked
against foreign nationals in the last few weeks.

At the same time, we recognise the desperate conditions in which many of our fellow
citizens continue to live. The horrific statistics of AIDS-related deaths, of victims of
violent crime and of infant mortality bear testimony to a people brutalised by the
genocide of neglect and dehumanised by the third force of poverty.

We call upon the many ordinary citizens who have rallied in response to the current
humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale to translate these efforts into concerted
action that will revive the non-racial project, hold accountable those responsible for
delivery and help to build a truly better society for all.

We call upon our colleagues in the arts community to employ their creativity in the
service of all our people, not only those who can buy our art, to speak truth to power
and to continue to remind us of our dreams. It is time for us as citizens to reassert our
central role in our democracy, to reclaim ownership of our ideals and to practice our
common humanity.

About Artists for Africa

Artists for Africa was launched as an informal network of artists, cultural organisations
and institutions on Monday 26 May 2008 to help coordinate action by the arts and
culture sector in response to the violence against foreign nationals as it reflects itself in
Cape Town.

Like other citizens and organisations, numerous individual artists and arts
organisations have given of their time and resources in the last few weeks.
Artists for Africa will provide a mechanism for greater collective action, to encourage
the arts community to utilise its unique creativity at this time and to plan and embark on
further action beyond this particular crisis.

For more information or to become part of AFA, contact any member of the committee:
Andrew Lamprecht (UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art) 0724965032;
Karen Jeynes (Performing Arts Network of South Africa): 0839468526;
Mandla Mbothwe (Magnet Theatre and UCT Drama School): 0828268586;
Kathy Coates (Iziko Museum): 0822004622; Mike van Graan (Africa Centre): 0829003349;
Robert Weinek (Public Eye): 724205193 and
Dathini Mzayiya (Gugulective and Arts South Africa Initiative): dathinimzayiya@yahoo.co.uk
Administrative support is provided by Farzanah Badsha: (Africa Centre): 0824234381.
 
 

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