“The African timecapsule in holographic and spoken word form was created to express and record what is going on in the continent and in the diaspora from a millennial’s perspective. In particular, the four spoken word poems look at issues of African identity and pride, African innovation, political activism and technology and finally migration and displacement. The time capsule is traditionally to give a snapshot of a period of time or age for the purpose of posterity and communicate with people in the future. In this project, it is to help people to examine what is happening on the continent and in the diaspora for African millennials and how that is shaping them for the future. “
Work & Process
I was able to collaborate with fellow participants, Andrew Munuwa from Tanzania and Hakeem Adam from Ghana, to shoot the videos that were the basis of the time capsule. Further, I also collaborated with Nemesto, a Mozambican architect and creative who had created his own time capsule a year earlier and had exhibited the work in Maputo. His talent and support on this project was invaluable as he guided us practically on how to create the holographic effect from the video work. In addition, I worked closely with Helio, a talented creative and facilitator who introduced us to Nemesto and the idea of the hologram for the time capsule as a way of presenting the poems digitally. In addition, he assisted us greatly in sourcing local materials and other practical help for the project. Many thanks to all involved!
The Four spoken word poems:
Our innovation is another world. Rooted in our ubuntu. Oneness.
We are tribes and tongues. Connecting to generations before us as we gather by night, to seek solutions in unexpected places.
Ever heard of electricity coaxed out of cassava or waste?
This is our African innovation
Unbound imagination leaping up in waves of unbridled passion in real time refreshing our real lives
The world may scoff yet we rise, to do life, business, on mobiles with no cash. Apps that alert to the earth’s acidity, so cash crops become ripened dreams bursting forth in harvest for our children’s children.
We turn trash to treasured windmills. Empowering our own communities, piercing night with our burning.
Not just book smart We self-start. We fire builders. We land tillers. Sooth sayers singing, until the dryness of this earth is no more.
She weeps with joy, surrendering, to our beautiful, beautiful genius.
A chorus (of skylarks) _
We are piercing melody Symphonic as the fire shut up in our skin
We die and resurrect die and resurrect die and resurrect An unending chorus
To the sound Of slave ships on rhythmic seas Our memories forever seared
We are skylarks. Singing in the darkness. Migrating always on a lyric of home.
The ancestors chanted, prayed, screamed out the dark through the longest nights; This is the rebellion.
Our minds unshackled. We declare the dangerous beauty our black skin, the colour of black gold in a pale pale world. Now we dance.
Liberation as the rhythm To our bold African life, our own light.
The Rules of Engagement: A Millennial’s guide to revolution _
Catch the fire but don’t let it burn in your chest, exhale online.
A hashtag is an open palm rolled into a fist. Use precisely and on purpose.
Unravel political lies with a touch of the keys, till truth bleeds out.
You are the struggle. You are your grandmother and grandfather united. Never underestimate yourself even behind a screen.
WhatsApp is a sharp blade against corruption. Use often with memes.
Tag everyone you know about protests, sit-ins and meetings. Unity is resistance.
Ignore threats of government shutdowns. Secure Wi-fi and do not retreat.
Create a new world with your words. Speak up and speak out.
Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. Take up your weapons- twitter, facebook, Instagram, youtube and every social platform you can. Fight for your future.
The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be live – click, click.
About the Artist
Tanyaradzwa Chitunhu is a Zimbabwean born performance poet based in the UK. She recently released a debut collection of spoken word poetry – a book titled “On Praise & Protest” which celebrates unheard African stories and confronts their marginalisation. Her work is influenced by African storytelling, Christian preaching, hip hop & spoken word. She aims to celebrate African identities through her poetry with passionate words and a powerful delivery. She has been on various stages including, as a selected guest poet, at the Bloom Arts Festival London. She has also been featured on British radio stations Newstyle radio & Brum radio. Tanyaradzwa headlined and led the poetry show and workshop for a summer festival called Catalyst.