The Hands That Feed You: Ubucwebe
Kwa Ndonga ziyaduma
thirdspace is interested in mapping global dependency systems and the implications for Africa. The roving exhibition titled, The Hands That Feed You, situates iGoli (Johannesburg) as a place of imagination, contestation and escape – from old forms to new forms of trade and community making.
The city of Johannesburg is amongst the important economic hubs on the African continent, characterised by a multi-layered economy and an extremely sophisticated non-formal sector. Upon deeper investigation, the fault lines of the so-called formal and non-formal trade reveal a series of tensions between these two forms of trade.
Johannesburg, since its inception, is built on extractive capitalism and a close reading of the city today which reveals familiar and emergent flows of goods, services and capital. It is these emergent flows that are of particular interest to thirdspace as they disrupt an imposed economic framework that works to isolate, if not exoticise, non-formal trade.
This digital exhibition places a community of thinkers, economists, cultural workers and theorists in conversation with these themes. The work featured will occupy the Goethe-Institut website and social media platforms. The digital iteration will shortly be followed by an outdoor installation on the Goethe-Institut premises in Johannesburg, in February 2021.
The title, The Hands That Feed You - Ubucwebe, makes use of a vocabulary that defines Johannesburg as the place of gold or a place of dreams. This is also, however, a place of illusion as the popular phrase warns, not all that glitters is gold.
The exhibition was conceived by thirdspace, a collaborative effort consisting of Joao Roxo (Maputo) and Russel Hlongwane (Durban), in consultation with Mohau Memeza of Fanakalo Tours.