Neo Muyanga

Musician and composer

South Africa

Foto: Ana Freitas

Which are the major issues and problems with respect to the Global South?

The key questions we face together as the Global South is how indeed do we begin to recognize the power of our own indigenous knowledge – the praxis of the rural and urban poor concerning matters of science, health, the arts (among others) as indicative of the best practice in building and sustaining networks of and for mutual assistance, liberation and education?

The socio-economic system at play in the entire world is iniquitous by design – this is a fact theorists have acknowledged across the globe, where the Global North has for too long held too much power to dictate and direct resources and to confer dignity. How do we in the global south act to reset this unhealthy state of widely enforced dependence? How do we in the global south liberate ourselves and, by so doing, also liberate the north from its unfair and unwarranted hegemony that dehumanizes and marginalizes us all?

Where are the gaps in the dialogue between South-South?

One of our major gaps lies in the fact that we speak, research, write and perform in different languages as a result, mainly, of our colonial inheritances. This fact makes it difficult to understand each other’s struggles and triumphs, thus often making it difficult to act in solidarity. We need to learn each other’s languages!

In the context of the Episode “Revolting Mass”, what is the relationship between the episode itself and those gaps and problems?

Via the project Revolting Mass we have sought to bridge the divide created between Brazil and South Africa by our colonial experiences and languages by making art together and also by deconstructing the politics which inform the making of that very art. By so doing, we are in the process of not only building bridges across the Global South, but also inventing a new language of exchange and redress.

Neo Muyanga works as a conductor and tours with various companies and producers, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Handspring Puppet Company, Paco Pena’s Flamenco, and William Kentridge. In addition to being “resident composer” at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and at the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) at the University of California, his research focuses on black aesthetics in the genre of opera.