The Conformists are a group of four bloggers, poets, activists, teenagers and friends who have started a movement to liberate and educate young South Africans through art, music, poetry, writing, history, thought and all that falls under the definition of ‘creative’.
They recently took to the streets of Cape Town to film a documentary about June 16 1976. In just under 25 minutes the documentary features people of all ages, races and nationalities exposing their thoughts (or lack thereof) and sharing their insights on the fateful day. The piece juxtaposes the short present day interviews with old 70s news footage, courtesy of the SABC. Miriam Makeba’s ‘Piece of Ground’ and Tumi and the Volume’s ’76’ provide the soundtrack.
The founders of the Conformist movement are Dain Sisam (19), Zipho Gum (17), Diana Musoni (18) and Oboitshepo Tladi (17), who are all in their final year of high school. We asked about the unusual name for a movement promoting being ‘consciously different’. They replied:
We call ourselves the Conformists, but the point is not to conform. We’re removing the negative connotation that the term ‘conformist’ has and turning it into something somewhat beautiful and inspiring. Conforming is eliminating yourself by embracing everything other than who you are said to be and it’s a lack of imagination.
Therefore our movement is aiming to attack every act of conforming by liberating the mind by creating a forum for ourselves and for peers to express themselves. This is a constant journey to discover yourself because the only possible way forward to self-discovery is through conforming TO YOURSELF.
Here are a few lines of their manifesto, read it in full over at conformists.blogspot.com.
We believe in educating ourselves as the youth of the world but primarily the youth of South Africa about thinking out of the box and being aware of who we are, our talents and our thoughts by embracing a movement away from being the person society tells us to be.
We believe the youth have a voice that should definitely be heard. Therefore through our right of free speech, we need to liberate our creativity because by doing this we grab hold of our art, our roots and become aware of the power we have to change the world.
As the youth we want to make a stand of recognition that now is the time to make a difference in the way we think and interact with the world around us. We are seeking to inspire a group of thinkers and thought provokers who are not afraid to express their opinions but to also be aware of the responsibility they have as the youth to be the future innovators, philosophers, poets, artists, photographers, bloggers and singers who have a vision of truth and transparency.
Conformists: Oboitshepo Tladi, Diana Musoni, Dain Sisam and Zipho Gum (remember these names!) –
Read more of our Young South Africa series here.