ha ho cha festival
The ‘ha ho cha festival’ presented by About00Time during the month of August 2021, on its digital platforms, explores the actualisation of digital cultural work through various mediums of cultural expression. This is set in the decentralised yet local context of Southern Africa as well as the broader geopolitical currents which affect cultural workers and artists alike. The name of the festival alludes to the theme that will be explored, through other ways of archiving, through the mediums of film, music, discourse as well panel discussions which will bring esteemed and diverse cultural workers into public conversations and reflections on their work. The meaning of, ‘Ha ho cha’, or, ‘when it burns’, is itself, a further abridged form of a modern Sesotho idiom, captured in the phrase that guides the work of the About00time digital cultural platform, ‘ha ho cha, ke eng e salang?’ (when things burn, what remains?). Therefore, ha ho cha, infers the creative and cultural continuities sustained by cultural workers and artists themselves in the context of the destructive forces of hegemonic modernity and cultural erasure which are reproduced through local and global logics of oppression and hierarchy.
Throughout the month of August during our festival and in-between the film-screenings, conversations and live performance we will be producing and releasing digital content around the festival and digital cultural work in general. Our festival will be multi-platform driven, owing to the need to overcome the restrictions that bind the archives of cultural workers and artists from public accessibility in addition to the highly experimental nature of About00Time’s conception of the ‘archive’. The platforms for the airing of the ha ho cha digital cultural work festival will be Instagram, Instagram Live and Instagram TV as well as the Youtube and Youtube Live digital platforms. With this festival we intend to set a precedent in local archival practice within the 21st century, within the framework of liberatory cultural and artistic production. The idea itself is drawn from About00time project’s emergence from the Mayibuye archives and the CAPs initiative which was summarily dismantled by the enemies of cultural work and the African -
imagination. Today, social media has become the ‘intimate enemy’ of cultural workers serving as both a means to make their material widely available, but also placing it at the mercy of globalised capital dictated by an algorithm that denies cultural workers organic growth within the wider public. Our aim with this festival is to reject these oppressive processes and open the space and platform to cultural workers and artists themselves to broaden the discussion about the archive in the decontextualized and globalised setting of digital media platforms. This festival then brings together artists, thinkers and visionaries who all challenge the pre-defined and existing notions of ‘archive’ and ‘cultural work’.
From the 9th to the 27th of the month, the About00Time digital cultural platform will run a series of cultural workshops, film screenings, live music and conversations by, for and about cultural work, as contemporary forms of archival production. We have the honour to host various esteemed cultural workers who will showcase and co-create a new way of interacting with the *archives and the redefining of ‘the archive’ in the context of the African continent and its archives. With award winning film-makers such as Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese and Sara de Gouveia, whose film and reflections on their enigmatic and historically prescient films explores the very idea of the archive and cultural work in divergent ways, through film, and will be screened live throughout our platforms. Our platform will also engage in a conversation with the important cultural work done by the ‘Sunshine Cinema’ with Zakithi Buthelezi, who seeks to broaden accessibility to cinema through sustainable means in Southern Africa. From film we diverge into the sonic archive, bringing together musicians of distinct backgrounds, disciplines and genres whose musical production speaks to certain realities faced by these musicians. We are thus honoured to be graced with the live DJ performance by Keith Virgo and Nandele Maguni, which returns us to the adaptation of the record turntable to produce different musical divergences on the imprint of the musical archive. The ‘ha ho cha festival’ will also be hosting the live performances and conversations of the exceptionally talented multi-instrumental artists, cultural workers and researchers in Khalid Shamis, Tiago Correia-Paulo, Nandele Maguni and Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, respectively. We will finally end our programme for the month with a renowned poet and spoken-word artist, which will further broaden and expand our idea of the archive, through the evocative power of words.
- Editor In Chief Harry Kapatika