Closing Event and Panel Discussion Koples boek(e)

Old books in Arabic ©Ryno Stols

Sat, 26.03.2022

11:00 AM


In November last year, the Goethe-Institut launched a debut solo exhibition by Kamyar Bineshtarigh titled koples boek(e), curated by Amogelang Maledu. In response to the exhibition’s finissage, we will be hosting a panel discussion, a one-hour live DJ set by Future Nostalgia's El Corazon (Atiyyah Khan) and a Cape Malay cuisine-inspired food experience by Lady Day. This public programme aims to reflect on Bineshtarigh’s practice as it intersects with the poetics and politics of Arabic-Afrikaans through multisensorial experiences. From the visual arts, to the sonic and music as well as the act of eating: deliberating the fact of Afrikaans’ historical formation as a kombuistaal. The programme moves with and through the discursive and ocular-centricity of the visual arts to engage other senses of taste, smell, and hearing. The finissage will be held on Saturday, 26 March 2022 at the Goethe-Institut from 11:00.

Apart from the artist, the panelists include reflections of Arabic-Afrikaans from performance poet and writer, Lesego Rampolokeng to art journalist, Atiyyah Khan and UCT humanities student and Arabic-Afrikaans researcher, Abdud-Daiyaan Petersen. They will unpack the intersections of artistic practice as it coalesces with memory and archives as catalysts for critical and creative thinking about language production, dissemination and appropriation in a country as diverse as South Africa. The idea of the panel discussion is to have an intergenerational and intersectional discussion on the history of Arabic-Afrikaans that speaks to new ways of historiography, language-making and interpreting historical archives through creative and artistic practices.

Finnisage Programme

Saturday, 26 March 2022

11h00: Audience/Public Arrives
11h30: koples boek(e) presentation in the Gallery
Introduction by Samantha Modisenyane and Dr. Asma Diakité
Curatorial remarks by Amogelang Maledu
Short presentation on actual koples boeke by Kamyar Bineshtarigh and Abdud- Daiyaan Petersen
11h50: Audience transitions to the auditorium
12h00: Panel discussion commences
12h45: Q&A with audience members
13h00: End of panel discussion
13h05: DJ set commences
13h05: Food and refreshments by Lady Day is served
14h30: Programme ends

Programme experiences:

Future Nostalgia's El Corazon (Atiyyah Khan) will play an hour long DJ set with records that show and map out how the Arabic language has travelled throughout Africa in different ways – with music from South Africa all the way to North Africa. 

Lady Day examines the koples boek(e) exhibition as a way to experiment with history through food – a way of re-tasting creolization and playing with her own journey of place, food and spices from a city like Cape Town. A palimpsest of histories, a constant jostling of flavour where the meal contends with a right to a place. As such, the food produced for the exhibition finissage takes from the Cape Malay ‘tamatie bredie’, a stew of mixed origin but perfected in Cape Town as part of a learnt tradition of enslaved communities sent to the Cape in the 18th century. For Lady Day the ‘tamatie bredie’ represents the things we learn and adopt in a new place of home. Lady Day looks at the flavour in a ‘tamatie bredie’, it’s sweet and spicy flavours as performances of time with aromas reminiscent to Malaysian, Indonesian, Dutch, Spanish, Khoi and Xhosa food ingredients that are stewed to ‘fall off the bone’. According to Lady Day, the ‘tamatiebredie’ is one of those dishes that are served as a significant and familiar meal when everything around you is strange, foreign, and unusual. It demands time, usually spent with loved ones, while it bubbles and boils its way to absolute perfection. So what happens when ingredients are stewed together for hours at a time, to blend and merge and reconstitute their flavours?
Lady Day experiments with contemporary ways of tasting and imagining South African creole food culture with its complex histories.

About the Panelists and Cater:

Working in a variety of media, notably painting and video, Kamyar Bineshtarigh’s conceptual concerns range from language, (mis)communication, and the practice of writing and transliteration. He is also interested in geopolitical concerns of movement, migration and the (in)voluntary displacement of human beings. Bineshtarigh was born in Semnan, Iran. He lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa but his work implicitly reflects on the shared textual aesthetic of these seemingly “unlike” / unconnected parts of the world.

Bineshtarigh is represented by Suburbia Contemporary, an art gallery based in Barcelona, Spain.

Lesego Rampolokeng is a poet, novelist, filmmaker, writing teacher and playwright. His poetry and genre-defying collections include A Half Century Thing (2015), Head on Fire: Rants / Notes / Poems 2001–2011 (2012), The Bavino Sermons (1999), Talking Rain (1993), and Horns for Hondo (1990). He is also the author of the novels Bird-Monk Seding (2017), Blackheart: Epilogue to Insanity (2004), Whiteheart: Prologue to Hysteria (2005). He has written plays including Fanon’s Children, Bantu Ghost and has made several documentary films including Word Down the Line (2014). Rampolokeng notes:
“I’ve never celebrated nor embraced negativity in my life.
Every single thing I have tried to do or written has come
out of a need to actually eradicate or wipe out whatever it is
that seeks to destroy the soul of other people respect the WORD.
People talk about word play, I don’t play with it. It’s one of the
most powerful weapons in the world.”

Atiyyah Khan is an arts journalist, writer, archivist, DJ, record collector and events-curator
from Johannesburg, based in Cape Town. Since 2007, she has documented arts and culture
and been published in major newspapers across South Africa. In 2010, she was awarded the Pulitzer Fellowship earning her an MA in Arts Journalism from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, based at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). Atiyyah is also the co-founder of music and art collective Future Nostalgia, which has been running since 2013 and hosts listening sessions and gigs around Cape Town. As DJ El Corazon, her sets explore music beyond boundaries forming connections that link South
Africa to the rest of the world. Currently, she is the Arts and Culture Journalist for online publication, The New Frame and hosts a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM.

Twitter: @atzushka
Instagram: @atiyyahkhan
Instagram: @futurenostalgia_

Abdud-Daiyaan Petersen is a UCT humanities student majoring in Environmental Sciences and Arabic. He is the custodian of many Arabic-Afrikaans documents of his family and friends. Petersen is currently working on a collaborative project with African Studies scholar, Dr Halim Gençoğlu, on the early Turkish Ottomans in South Africa – specifically the Cape Muslims and their connection to the Ottoman Empire.

Food researcher, music selector & social entrepreneur Langelihle "Lady Day" Mthembu is currently on a personal journey to learn the different oral histories of ingredients, recipes and food.  Lady Day believes that food tells a history of the meeting and sharing of people but also of the intimate memories of a home. She believes that the phrase ‘a home cooked meal’ references food with soul and hints at our ability to heal ourselves. Through a gastrostomy-centered approach and practice, Lady Day attempts to create an accessible and shared common ground that engages and experiments with food, sound and the visual. Lady Day is currently investigating how, when displaced, we use food for comfort: to create and reimagine home recipes and share them with our communities. In her reimagining of lives, she recreates the memories of home and the possibilities of what was gained and lost along the way.

About the exhibition – koples boek(e):

The title of the exhibition – koples boek(e) – refers to student notebooks usually from a 19th century context of the Cape Muslim’s educational system of rote learning that were written in Arabic-Afrikaans.

Arabic-Afrikaans is a form of Afrikaans written in Arabic script. This was a result of the intermingling of exiles and enslaved communities mainly from the Indian Ocean region – mostly Muslims who used the Arabic alphabet for written religious text. From 1795, the Cape Muslim community-initiated madrassahs in Cape Town to teach Arabic reading and writing. Afrikaans at this time was considered a vernacular language that was frequently spoken and heard but never written or read. Thus, even though the first madrassah students understood Afrikaans, they could only read and write Arabic. Consequently, ajami scripts (Arabic scripts used to write non-Arabic languages) specific to South Africa developed. Scholars explain that when Arabic-Afrikaans declined due to the dominance of the Roman alphabet, its texts were destroyed or lost. As these texts were rediscovered, an awareness of this form of writing is gradually reemerging, albeit only among the fringes of Cape Muslim communities.

Bineshtarigh reflects on this complex history. He explores the nuanced origins of Arabic-Afrikaans with the medium of ink, sound, and his larger practices’ interest in language, (mis)communication as well as the practice of writing and transliteration.

About the Curator:

Amogelang Maledu is an art practitioner working between independent curating, research and sessional lecturing. Her research interests include Black (sonic) popular cultures and time-based media curatorial practices. She is a committee member of UCT’s Works of Art Committee, responsible for the institution’s art acquisitions and curation. She also co-founded a curatorial collective, Re-curators, with Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose and Thembakazi Matroshe. Maledu is currently an MA candidate with the Archives and Public Culture research initiative at the University of Cape Town.

About the Goethe-Insitut:

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. Its mandate is to promote the study of German abroad and to encourage international cultural exchange. Today it is represented in 98 countries and has some 3,300 employees. It contributes widely to the promotion of artists, ideas and works. Supporting the local cultural scenes and strengthening pan-African dialogue through the arts are part of its mission on the African continent, where it operates 20 institutes in Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Cairo, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kigali, Lagos, Lomé, Luanda, Nairobi, Ouagadougou, Rabat, Tunis, Windhoek and Yaoundé, as well as 2 liaison offices in Algiers and Kinshasa.