PLLR is the name of this year’s annual Creative Womxn series, which highlights phenomenal womxn doing important and timeously work within our creative landscape. The series takes place during August – Women’s Month – and features a weeklong eventing and editorial calendar created by womxn for womxn, and dedicated to spotlighting the work of creative womxn. In its third year running, the Creative Womxn Week – filled with dine-arounds, an auction and more – culminates in a one-day conference, and features a list of speakers, performers and panelists across diverse creative disciplines. Continuing on from the previous year’s powerful line-up, here’s a look at some of the womxn participating in Creative Womxn 2017 editorial series and/or speaking at the conference.
Using the art of hairstyling and fashion to tell her story, Kwena Baloyi relays the history of a people and present in an aesthetically rich and punctuated way. Having worked on editorials for major publications like True Love and Drum, Kwena recently made headlines and featured on street-style blogs (including Vogue Italy) while attended men’s fashion showcase Pitti Immagine Uomo in Italy, where her braided and bejeweled beaded crown and androgynous and minimalist suits caught the eye of photographers. “Each experience in my life fuels what I do, who I am, and, more importantly, who I see myself evolving into tomorrow’s dawns,” says the creative womxn, who studied at the University of South Africa and extended her art to the runway, as she collaborated with men’s shirt brand Presidential to create a collection shown at SA Fashion Week in April. Kwena shares her hairstory with 10and5 for Creative Womxn Week.
Born Maya Wegerif in Shirley Village in Limpopo, Sho Madjozi is a rapper who first garnered recognition as a spoken word artist under the name Maya the Poet. In recent months, she has begun blazing a new trail with her music, rapping in XiTshonga and collaborating with artists such as DJ Maphorisa and Khuli Chana. While her energetic raps that overlay beats celebrating cultural heritage infused with qgom and hip hop sounds, playful lyrical content and signature style (cornrows, xibelani skirt and Airmaxes) have garnered her nationwide attention. Having lived across the world, from Tanzania to the US, Sho Madjozi’s finger is steadily on the pulse of South African music and youth culture, easily exuding power and confidence.
True Blood, The Book of Negroes and the brand new TV movie Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland are just some of the Hollywood features actor Nondumiso Tembe has appeared in. Born in Durban, raised in New York and Los Angeles now being home, the singer-songwriter and onscreen and theatre actor is back in the country taking on the iconic role of jazz singing, shebeen owner Joyce (played originally by Miriam Makeba in the late 1950s) in the reimagining of the legendary South African musical King Kong, which recently opened at the Fugard Theatre. Boasting a masters degree in Fine Arts in Acting from Yale School of Drama and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and Political Science with a focus on Africa from New York’s New School University, Nondumiso will talk to us about her coveted career and preparing for her part in the magnificent King Kong production, plus more.
Founded by multi-disciplinary artist Nkuli Mlangeni, The Ninevites is a collaborative platform and social enterprise that uses textiles, design and imagery to explore and celebrate under-told narratives about life in Southern Africa. Aimed at celebrating “black aesthetics”, The Ninevites is famed for its arresting rugs, which are rich in history and tradition, and created from Karakul and Mohair wool by artisans in Peru, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. Following The Ninevites Sankara Rug winning Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa, Nkuli talks to us about the collaborative process of creating the signature rug with a collective of women.
Illustrator, designer, actress and YouTube sensation Julia Anastasopoulos is a multifaceted creative wonder womxn. In 2014 she caught mainstream attention after launching her and webseries, Suzelle DIY. Suzelle’s bold online personality quickly captured the hearts of thousands of viewers with her bright, colourful and humourous “because anybody can” approach to life, and is currently broadcast weekdays on Comedy Central. Before Suzelle, Julia used her multiple talents as an actress and artist. She’s designed numerous stage productions, such as Master Harold and the Boys at the Fugard Theatre in 2013 and Magnet Theatre’s Every Year, Every Day, I Am Walking (2010), to name a few, as well as the commissioned murals seen at the Civic Centre and Thibault Square’s MYCiTi bus stations. Her next venture is a ShowMax original and a mockumentary series called Tali’s Wedding Diary, due for release in December. She plays Tali, a self-centred woman, who’s moved to Cape Town from Johannesburg, and has hired a crew to document her wedding, reality TV style.
Ayana V Jackson
Based between New York, Paris and Johannesburg, Ayana V Jackson is renowned and award-winning photographer. Ayana’s oeuvre is known to evoke the archives, and filled with indelible self-portraits depicting different characters that explore the politics of representation, perspective and gender. African by Legacy, Mexican by Birth, Leapfrog (a bit of the Other) Grand Matron Army, and Archival Impulse are among her most famous works. Her current exhibition, Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment, currently on at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg, “seeks to view Black womanhood as delicate – as temporal and intimate – as weightless”, and deliberately uses classic tropes to highlight the injustice while also providing glimpses of women in bondage claiming freedom by stealing moment of pleasure and tenderness, according to the gallery. In 2014, Ayana was awarded the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for photography. She’s also received grants from the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the the French Institute, which aided her participation in the Bamako African Photography Journal in 2009.
Cape Town born and bred Kim Windvogel is a poet, an activist, feminist and educator. And is one of the directors of organisation Freedom of Education Motivates Empowerment (FEMME) and an “intersectional feminist living in hetero-patriarchal world”. FEMME deals with educating and empowering the people of South Africa to reach their highest potential, according to the NPO. To date, FEMME has facilitated nearly 4000 young womxn through their “taboo-free” workshops and has provided each young womxn attendee with menstrual cups and sanitation resources. Kim’s personal blog Blazing Non-Binary, formerly known as Blazing Empress, shares her personal stories, experiences and thoughts on issues pertaining to womxn in the hopes that her vocality will encourage others to speak out. This year she released a self-published poetry book called, Resist: The Paradox of Love and Other Societal Disorders, which lyrically explores themes of sexuality, gender and identity.
Speaking back to disposable consumer culture and expressing universal issues through her work, Cape Town-based Jana ‘Babez’ Terblanche is a performance artist and graduate of the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis art school, whose performance art is interested in feminism, womxnhood and celebrity culture. Creating art that traverse the notions of high and low art, Jana is a self-proclaimed ‘babez’ and Britney Spears fanatic, and says: “I use my body to expose complex power structures that restrain and strip the female body of agency. Although right now I’m waiting for my nails to dry.”
Mandi ‘Poefficient’ Vundla is a an award-winning slam poet, writer and spoken word ambassador. She began performing poetry in 2006 and six years later was crowned Supreme Queen of the Word n Sound Mic in 2012, one of Johannesburg’s highly acclaimed slam poetry competitions. She’s also the co-editor of Home is Where The Mic Is, a collection of contemporary youth poetry, and the co-owner of the Word N Sound Lie and Literature Company, which serves as a platform for the expression of spoken word. Currently, she’s involved in The Next Generation Speaks project, an international network promoting social and cultural diversity in arts and media, which will see selected South African poets compete at the Brave New Voices in slam in Washington DC in October.
Ash Heeger is the head chef and owner of the Cape Town restaurant, ASH, set up in collaboration between Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and Publik Wine in 2016. After working under Luke Dale Roberts, the head chef and owner of The Test Kitchen, and winning The Sunday Times Young Chef of the Year in 2011, she moved to London to work at Michelin 3-star restaurants, The Ledbury and Dinner by Heston. Food at ASH “focuses on flavour without all the other necessary frills” and specialises in charcoal cooking using a josper, a special indoor barbecue grill made in Spain that permits high temperatures and adds an intense charcoal flavour to her dishes connecting her cuisine to South Africa’s braai culture. Ash’s meticulously planned winter menu includes dry aged beef tataki, parsley and nettle porridge, roasted quail, and fyre islands.
Read more about PLLR and purchase tickets to Creative Womxn Week 2017