August 2015

Johannesburg 89plus Workshop


Meet the fifteen creators who presented their work at the 89plus Workshop at Keleketla! Library in Johannesburg.


Neo Mahlasela
Megan Mace
Wang' Thola Collective
Nonkululeko Sharon Mthunzi
Skye Quadling & Karin Tan
Mbali Khoza
Lindokuhle Sobekwa
Thando Sangqu
Mitchell Gilbert Messina
Nyakallo Maleke
Andile Brian Pewa
Mika Conradie
Sibahle ‘Steve’ Nkumbi
Lebogang Mashifane
Mbali Dhlamini

Neo Mahlasela
(b. Soweto, South Africa, 1993) Neo created ‘Hlasko‘, his pseudonym for his electronic music, during his last year of high school. The work he has created is a layered audible feast, skilfully using electronic production to develop an eerie and haunting musical practice.

“The EP [Kaang] was basically an exploration of Sotho poetry and music. I am Sotho, and am from Lesotho. We were drawing a lot of comparisons from Lesotho and Reunion—Lesotho being an island surrounded by land, and Reunion Island, an island surrounded by water—and a lot of the mystical aspects and cultural practices like 'servis kabaré' which is quite similar to the sangoma practices that we have here.”

Neo Mahlasela aka Hlasko, composer and sound artist

Megan Mace
(b. Johannesburg, South Africa, 1991) Megan's practice explores performance art within art institutions and its order. Her works are subtle and interactive; exploring the function and role of the public and audience in scenarios that she creates through her practice.

“My interest is in exhibitions in museums and the cultures surrounding that, i.e. the practices of opening events, receptions. ”

Megan Mace, visual artist

Wang' Thola Collective
Wang' Thola is an artist-run initiative comprised of nine artists from various cultures and backgrounds. The weekly group discussions they hold relate to generating and curating the history of the present.

“What we [Wang’ Thola] are about, is basically instigating conversation and documenting that conversation as a history of the present.”

Wang’ Thola Collective, artist-run initiative

Nonkululeko Sharon Mthunzi aka 'Sicka Star-ban Jones'
(b. Boksburg, South Africa, 1994) Nonkululeko Mthunzi aka ‘Sicka Star-ban Jones’ is an LGBTI activist, artist and musician. She is also a hip hop events organiser and writes articles about her journey and personal life through ‘Inkanyiso', an online platform for positive LGBTI storytelling initiated by visual activist Zanele Muholi. Through the use of different artistic platforms, Mthunzi’s collective works delves into the concept of sexuality, gender and her personal journey.

“The next time someone google’s the word lesbian, they will find ‘Sicka’, or Sharon there and not the hate crimes, so the positive side of the LGBTI.”

Nonkululeko Sharon Mthunzi aka 'Sicka Star-ban Jones', musician, sangoma, LGBTI activist

Skye Quadling & Karin Tan
(b. Johannesburg, South Africa, 1992) Quadling and Tan’s practice relies on narrative, often science-fiction inspired, process-based projects. Their works have taken form as catalogues, detailing the extensive unfolding of one idea manifesting into many different, connecting works.
Mbali Khoza
(b. Johannesburg, South Africa, 1989) Mbali Khoza uses solo and collaborative works to investigate the use of authorship in language and literature, and the voice of the author. Her work is minimal with volatile content, and challenges the power the English language holds against indigenous languages in southern Africa.

“I was really interested in this idea of translating a language. I met a man who spoke a language that was never written, only spoken. I used phonetics from Zulu (I speak Zulu) to try and create this language.”

Mbali Khoza, visual and performance artist

Lindokuhle Sobekwa
(b. Katlehong, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1995) As a documentary photographer, Lindokuhle Sobekwa’s work focuses mainly on socially engaged projects—the issues affecting township communities. Intimately capturing poverty and addiction, Sobekwa has developed a practice revealing the effect of destitution in communities.

“I did this project to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of [the South African street drug] ‘nyaope’, what it can do to a person, how it destroys lives, destroys families and the life of [the] user…so I was also focusing on the things that nyaope guys were destroying; things that they were taking, or stealing.”

Lindokuhle Sobekwa, visual artist

Thando Sangqu
Sangqu is an African Literature Major at Wits University. He is keenly interested in the notion of ‘present future’, particularly for post-apartheid era, post-rainbow-nation  young South Africans. He writes about and experiments in storytelling of  ‘the personal’ when disconnected from the lens of social media.

African Youth Collective

“Being a kid of privilege, you’re given so much in terms of money, so much more access and yet you are given so little … what’s my position? What do I have to say about the world?”

Thando Sangqu, writer

Mitchell Gilbert Messina
(b. Nababeep, South Africa, 1991) Mitchell’s art involves installation and performance, creating spaces and objects involving humour and absurdism to create engaging and critical works.

“Most of my body of works relies on coming up with ideas for works rather than actually making works.”

Mitchell Gilbert Messina, visual artist

Nyakallo Maleke
(b. Randfontein, South Africa, 1993) Nyakallo’s practice involves an observational and intuitive process to explore social, political and personal narratives of the everyday. She is a multidisciplinary artist who works with installation, video, printmaking and sound. Viewing the installation and de-installation as performative qualities to each individual work, her works are critical and quirky responses to current social issues in South Africa.

“I am interested in everyday issues.”

Nyakallo Maleke, visual artist

Andile Brian Pewa
(b. Ballitoville, South Africa, 1990) Andile Brian Phewa documents his community and environs of Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal. His images intimately capture the lives of his subjects, and his complicity as an image-maker to build trust with his participants. At times shot in low light, the images evidence the general electricity shortages commonly known as load shedding—a reality of life in contemporary South Africa.

"I am trying to show different living spaces by taking portraits of family members and neighbours.”

Andile Brian Pewa, visual artist

Mika Conradie
(b. Johannesburg, South Africa, 1989) Mika Conradie is a researcher and curator preoccupied with plant-thinking, rhythmanalysis, decolonial spatial practice and collective social infrastructures in Johannesburg.

“For a very long time my recent applications have been with space, and how space is produced and unfolded by relations that individuals, and collectives have with structures and space.”

Mika Conradie, researcher and curator

Sibahle ‘Siba’ Nkumbi
(b. Cradock, Lingelihle, South Africa, 1989) Sibahle Nkumbi studied filmmaking at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, Cape Town. She is a filmmaker, writer and a vernacular poet. Nkumbi has worked closely with LGBTI visual activist Zanele Muholi, as a contributing voice and writer for online platform Inkanyiso.
Lebogang Mashifane
(b. Springs, South Africa, 1989) As a videographer, Lebogang has predominantly been documenting art events in Cape Town and Gauteng since 2013. She exposes and celebrates the myriad of talented artists around her, and curates artists as collaborators between the two provinces. She is also a writer and spoken word poet and performance artist. She is a regular contributor for the LGBTI online platform, Inkanyiso.

Why 6 is Afraid of 7?, a short poem and Lebogang Mashifane's contribution to the Protest against the Disappearance of Handwriting project by Hans Ulrich Obrist on Instagram.

Mbali Dhlamini
(b. Soweto, South Africa, 1990) Mbali is a multidisciplinary artist and coordinator. She performs visual, tactile and discursive investigations into current indigenous cultural practices. With a view towards decolonized practices in contemporary culture, her work is in constant conversation with her past and present visual landscapes.

“In my work, I look at the inherent power of the church.“

—Mbali Dhlamini, visual artist

Keleketla! Media Library
The interdisciplinary, independent library and media arts project hosted the 89plus Johannesburg workshop held in August 2015. 
89plus, Another Africa
Credits: Story

The 89plus Johannesburg workshop was initiated by 89plus co-curators Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist, in collaboration with publishing platform Another Africa, and its founder, Missla Libsekal. They were joined by 89plus art residency participant and South African emerging artist, Bogosi Sekhukhuni.

More info:

This project was made possible with the support of Google Cultural Institute.

With thanks to the following individuals and institutions for their support:

Joost Bosland, Liza Esser, STEVENSON Gallery, Goodman Gallery, Rangoato Hlasane, Keleketla! Library, Malose Malahlela, Kabelo Malatsie, Molemo Moiloa, VANSA, Zanele Muholi, Gabi Ngcobo, Mikhael Subotzky and more.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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