Peter Mayekiso and Samson Msemme Setona, residents of Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, were amongst the first political prisoners to be taken to Robben Island where they both served time for political activities associated with the Pan African Congress (PAC). Their story remains largely untold and undocumented, their sacrifice unappreciated and unacknowledged.
To honour these men, one of South Africa's best-known jazz artists Herbie Tsoaeli and his African Time Quartet will perform in Stellenbosch on 20 July 2018 from 18:00 until 20:00 in Fismer Hall, Conservatorium. These artists will contextualise honour, healing, hope and community through sound. Stellenbosch University will sponsor the event.
The story of Mayekiso and Setona remains lost in the crevices and faultiness that divide our towns and cities based on history, class, spatial planning and all things artificial, yet the irony is that their very imprisonment was for ideals of non-racialism, connection, unity, community and freedom. If we set out to map a town, how can we go about envisioning a connected space rather than a place divided by past and contemporary history?
How do we envision the 'right to the city' as per David Harvey's analysis that “the right of the city is more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city more after our heart's desires." If connectedness, inclusivity and a shared vision of Stellenbosch is what we are after, how do we foster trust across communities divided by history? Can we look towards subaltern untold history to examine contemporary society and build bridges?
This project is premised on using creative practice, and music in this case, as a tool to bring the diverse Stellenbosch community together to honour and pay tribute to two of its residents for their sacrifice in the fight for freedom in this country. “Where words fail, music speaks," says the poet Hans Christian Andersen. We can never understand or fully comprehend what Peter Mayekiso and Samson Msemme Setona went through during their incarceration on Robben Island but we can validate their sacrifice.
This is an initiative of Stellenbosch University in partnership with Stellenboschh Academy of Design and Photography.
For more information contact Mawethu Nyakatya at email@example.com
Photo: Bassist, composer and arranger, Herbie Tsoaeli – 2013 Best Jazz Album, South African Music Award winner (SAMA), for his debut album African Time