Trail-blazing contemporary African culture converges in Cape Town

Press Release

So who is Brenda Fassie?

So who is Brenda Fassie?

A multimedia celebration of pop legend Brenda Fassie, an after-dark street procession, artworks on wheels, a transient botanical garden, nearly a thousand 1-minute videos, an exhibition of sex scenes from pan-African literature, an impromptu banquet: these are just some of the projects to see and experience at the CAPE 09 biennale exhibition of contemporary African culture.

The biennale opens in unusual venues and outdoor sites throughout Cape Town on May 2, 2009. For its two-month long duration, public spaces and outdoor sites include the Cape Town Station, the city centre, Langa and Khayelitsha, which will host the visions and voices of some of South Africa, Africa and the world’s most exciting artists. From the comic to the controversial, from the quirky to the extreme, CAPE 09 will challenge conventional forms and staid ideas of contemporary art.

With the theme, Convergence the exhibition celebrates life today: the people, the connections and networks they make up. It seeks to explore networks that accentuate the contemporary characteristics of Africa and highlight the way we create, consume, learn, share resources and interact with each other.

In keeping with this, CAPE 09 shakes up the traditional biennale model, rejecting a single curatorial vision in favour of a series of diverse but interlinked projects by a range of different curators from around the world.

Amongst these are the young hotshots from CAPE’s Young Curators Programme. Nonkululeko Mlangeni, Loyiso Qanya, Lerato Bereng and Bongani Mkhonza might be relative newcomers to the art scene, but instead of perceiving this as a disadvantage they use it to rethink old models and offer new perspectives.

Designed by Neo Rakgajane

Designed by Neo Rakgajane

For her exhibition, Thank You Driver Bereng converts 6 taxi busses into “artworks on wheels” that integrate art directly into the urban environment; Qanya’s exhibition, Umahluko is a  multimedia celebration of difference at Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha and Mlangeni’s So who is Brenda Fassie, staged in Langa, is site and context-specific, oral history, “pop” art exhibition that explores Fassies’ legacy.

CAPE 09 also features a 1 hour-long procession including an inventive shadow play, music and storytelling curated by Claire Tancons (New Orleans/USA), Anthea Buys’ (South Africa) Temporary Fynbos Museum. In addition, TV appliance vendor stalls are converted into galleries to screen the One Minute World Exhibition, Chimurenga take over the public library where they host exhibitions, music, poetry and screenings, and performances, interventions and artworks crop up in unexpected places through the city.

CAPE 09 opens Saturday, May 2 with a packed programme of performances, talks and parties celebrating trail-blazing contemporary art and runs until Saturday, June 21, 2009. With fresh voices, inventive projects and unconventional venues, it is truly a new world of art, here, now.


CAPE Africa Platform

CAPE Africa Platform

See where all our exhibitions are happening on your mobile by joining CAPE 09 on the Grid. SMS CAPE to 33313 to register for the Grid (sms charged at 50c). For more details about the exhibitions, venues, artists and events watch (relaunched on 15 January 2009) and the local press.

Cape Town Community TV (channel 38 UHF) will be broadcasting random showings of the World One Minutes, one of the interventions as part of Cape 09, for the month of May.

MEDIA: Media updates and information are available from the website or from the CAPE Africa Platform offices.

Media enquiries:
CAPE Africa Platform
8 Spin Street, Cape Town 8001
tel: 021-4612325/ fax: 021-4616873

So, who is Brenda Fassie? For those who don’t know, or can’t be there this weekend, here is a little something that’ll show you who she is. Many thanks to Genevieve Fisher for sending through this info.


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