Johannesburg: Third Apartheid Archives Conference

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What an incredibly important conference and how very grateful I am for the invitation. The papers were consistently scholarly, thoughtful, engaged. I appreciated the intense and sometimes challenging conversations both in the formal and formal discussions that ensued. Because the sessions ran over time Sathima's Windsong was not screened at the sceduled time. It was, instead, screened in the Great Hall the following day where, sadly, technical difficulties with the sound rather detracted from the quality and impact of the screening. Nevertheless, I appreciated the keen interest and the expressions of thanks for bringing the story of Sathima's life to the public attention.

My paper was centred around the film (and other works) in an effort to reflect upon art and apartheid, and in particular on the the issue of aesthetics and the archives. What does it mean to engage simultaneously  both the beauty of the work and the horror it embodes?   Sathima's Windsong is a film about Apartheid, among other things, and Sathima's own history and 'pattern of brokenness' from which she hails. Her compositoin, Windsong, is her own reflection upon her sadness and the  'brokenness.' and yet the song itself is hauntingly beautiful which is why it is the culmination of the film.

I listen to Windsong very often.