Imagine a nation untouched by oppression and colonialism. Imagine a unified, independent and self-sufficient nation whose women are empowered and respected. No I am not imagining Wakanda the fictional nation in the much anticipated Black Panther movie to be released this year where all Wakandans are free people but rather I am imagining the world that AFROPUNK created on Constitution Hill on 30 and 31 December 2017.
A world free from sexism, racism, ableism, agesim, homophobia, fatphobia and hatred. For a brief time none of us, 10 000 strong, were thinking about work and all its politics, about relationships and all their dramas nor were we thinking of our everyday challenges that have chipped away at who we are meant to be. In one unified moment we were love personified. We were art personified. The thought and effort that went into how we adorned ourselves was an act of love towards one another- an act of generosity and sharing of our creativity with each other. We blessed each other with our pure spirits and high energy.
We all let go of an old and bruising year and embraced the hope of a new year. We danced through a storm, and summoned the sun with our rhythm. We hugged strangers, we looked at one another- really looked and saw one another in all our glory. For a moment we were brave enough to be who we were intended to be. It was beautiful and transformative experience. On a site known for its history of oppression we continued its creative transformation that began when the Constitutional Court was built on its grounds by unleashing a freedom that our ancestors died for. Unburdened by history, we were propelled by a promising future we believe we have the power of creating.
A symbolic moment was the sound of Nelson Mandela’s voice commanding the crowd with a simple message- let freedom reign, let freedom reign, let freedom reign and with our fists raised high we started a new page on Constitution Hill and created a movement. Let’s sustain this movement beyond the festival and take courage in ourselves as a collective.
On that night we were all the Black Panther! And today we will fight as one! For our Wakanda.
Article Contributed by Lwanda Xaso
Lwando Xaso obtained her law degree from, the University of Johannesburg. She started her articles and practised at Norton Rose Fulbright until 2009. She then pursued a Masters in constitutional and administrative law at the University of Cape Town where she also worked as a researcher. In 2011 she had the privilege of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron. In 2012 she was awarded the Franklin Thomas Fellowship by the Constitutional Court Trust to study at the University of Notre Dame where, in 2013 she received an LLM in international law.
She contributed to the book One Law One Nation and frequently writes on topics of constitutional and international law for the Sunday Independent and various other publications. In 2013 she worked as a senior researcher for the Public Service Remuneration Review Commission tasked with the transformation of the public service and was also a researcher to former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo. Currently she is a senior associate at ENS and also works for the Constitution Hill Trust as projector implementer focusing primarily on projects such as the Museum of the Constitution which is under development.
You can join Lwando on her Art and Justice tour here