Harare: Mannenberg Club Screening

I made a trip to Harare, after the Apartheid Archives Conference in Johannesburg. Going 'back' to Zimbabwe is a bit of an emotional roller-coaster - i lived and worked in Harare for much of the 1980s during that post-independence period of idealism.  Penny Yon, who runs the cultural oasis called the Book Cafe, had arranged a screening of Sathima's Windsong at the Mannenburg Jazz Club, a part of the Book Cafe complex.

Mannenburg is also at famous Cape Town township which was immortalized in the now classic piece 'Mannenberg'  by Abdullah Ibrahim. Abdullah was flown in some years ago to open this club, so there was something poignant about a screening there and Penny made the evening into something of a 'home-coming' for myself. My grandmother's (the one of the cricket trophy) brother emigrated to then Rhodesia (via the port of Beira, where he first worked as a shipping clerk) in the early part of the last century.

Mary Yon (Penny's mother), who married George Yon (son of my grandmother's brother), was at the screening. It was very special to honour her when  introducing the film. The next day Aunty Mary showed me a document dated 1910 -the contract that her father, James Haddon Peters, signed before leaving St Helena that year to work on citrus plantations around the town then called Gwelo, now Greru, in Zimbabwe's Midlands province.

I mused about these diasporic moorings thinking about Sathima's grandmother leaving St Helena likely around this early part of the twentieth century.

Sadly, at 86, Aunty Mary passed on shortly after my return to Toronto.

I received news on my return to Toronto that Sathima's Windsong is going to be screened in the ZImbabwe International Film Festival -another ZIFF.


. . at Mannenberg Club
Aunty Mary