Centre for the Studies of Humanities in Africa, University of Western Cape

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I've given a number of papers at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), both in the History Department and at the Centre for the Study of the Humanities in Africa,  over the years.  I've also screened One Hundred Men there. The great thing about giving presentations and screenings with graduate students and faculty at this institution is a guaranteed engaged and lively audience.  The screening of Sathima's Windsong, as part of a one-day symposium, was no exception to what has become the rule. I enjoyed the questions about Sathima and some of the theoretical ideas that I'm trying to work with in the film.  And I appreciated the insights people brought to the conversation.

But I particularly enjoyed the talk about the music itself and its place in South Africa's history of jazz.  It was in this context that I especially appreciated the 'local knowledge' and I learnt a lot.

One of the question, that remained with me after this event, had to do with the apparent disjunction between the text, what was being spoken, and the images that accompanied the speaking in the film. This happens in many places throughout the film. The question allowed me to explain how I wanted to avoid images being used only as illustration and elaboration; that the images in their own right contained their own stories and that these stories make relationships to Sathima's story -so it was about relationships and not simply elaborations and illustrations.  But the key idea is that  I wanted to convey a sense of the images serving as its own kind of commentary upon what is being said. Shots of Cape Town, for example, become commentary on Sathima's 'sense of freedom' in New York; shots of crossing ships on/and the sea become commentary on her sense of displacement. These images also stand in as metaphors for thinking about the diasporic condition she represents and all the conflictual senses of belonging and longing that are central to this 'condition'. . . . .



seminar at uwc
guranteed engaged audience