Launch of The Fire This Time at UCT Upper Campus

WOAC launches live art collection with outdoor films on Upper Campus

Four new live artworks,  installed in the Sarah Baartman precinct at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Upper Campus earlier this year – and documented on film for the project, ‘The Fire This Time‘ – will be shared with a broader public at an outdoor screening on Upper Campus on Thursday, 15 September 2022. The artists featured are Qondiswa James, Grant Jurius, Lukhanyiso Skosana and the collaboration of Lesiba Mabitsela and Lorin Sookool.


This premiére screening will be preceded by umsebenzi, a programme of music, reading, presentation and conversation around themes relating to the project, conceptualised by Thiyane Duda and Ukhona Ntsali Mlandu. Duda is a reader of isiXhosa literature, founder of Indyebo kaNtu and a researcher at the Land and Accountability Research Centre at UCT and Mlandu, director of Greatmore Studios and founder of makwande republic.

“Umsebenzi yi installation e multi-layered enjongo ikukuphosa ilitye kwisivivana senguqu kwiYunivesithi yaseKapa kunye noMzantsi Afrika at large,” says Duda and co-facilitator, Mlandu. “Lo msebenzi ubeka emehlweni deliberately yaye u acknowledg(a) igalelo lendidi-ngendidi zengqondi zesintu in knowledge production eMzantsi Afrika, kwakunye neendlela ezininzi zokwazi nolwazi. Ngokwenza njalo ususa lomkhuba wosoloko kujongwe kubumhlophe yaye uphakamisa imibuzo ngendawo yelwimi nengqondi zesintu eMzantsi Afrika and in institutions of higher learning njenge Yunivesithi yaseKapa.”

Dr Uhuru Phalafala from Stellenbosch University will deliver a keynote address. Dr Phalafala, a 2021/2022 Department of Higher Education and Technology’s Future Professors Program fellow, has research interests in critical race studies, black radical traditions, translation, and decoloniality. She is further known for her work on South African culture in exile and a forthcoming monograph on former national poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile.

“SB precinct”

The Sarah Baartman precinct, where all four works were anchored, is potentially the heart and soul of UCT and the site of protest for decades. While The Fire This Time is a prompt towards placemaking and being responsive to the affective resonance and shared experiences in the precinct, it also reflects on sparks in the University’s ongoing aspiration for transformation.

‘The “precinct” roughly constitutes the area from the steps of Sarah Baartman Hall across Jameson Plaza and the residency’s parking lot, to the World War memorial and across Madiba Circle to the plinth where Rhodes fell. It is a site where many narratives and paths converge and intersect,” says WOAC Chair Dr Nomusa Makhubu. “The often hidden histories and events that have taken place here have had a far-reaching impact on the university and how the site is experienced today.”


The programme will commence at 4:30 pm, at the CJR plinth and Monument on Madiba Circle, with a musical offering by acclaimed African instrumentalists and UCT alumni, Sky Dladla and Odwa Bongo, followed by introductory remarks by Dr Makhubu and Ukhona Ntsali Mlandu. The keynote address will follow at 5 pm.

Enter umsebenzi, from 6 pm, with Thiyane Duda reading from Witness Tamsanqa’s 1979 work, Ithemba liyaphilisa. An avid live reader of isiXhosa literature and curator of live reading events, Duda has recently completed Ithemba Liyaphilisa in a popular weekly series of live reads on Instagram.

Mlandu will moderate a panel discussion following the trajectory of colonised education, from its presentation in Tamsanqa’s novel – set in the 1800s after the introduction of Western education to amaXhosa – to the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall movement and subsequent narrative around the decolonisation of education.

Alongside Duda, panellists are Dr Xolisa Guzula, lecturer in Applied Language and Literacy Studies at UCT, and famed artist Athi-Patra Ruga, currently based in the Eastern Cape.

Multilingualism and multiliteracies education are Dr Guzula’s fields of expertise; she is a member of Bua-lit Language and Literary Collective that works on social justice in language and literacy education. As one of few South African artists whose work has adopted the trope of myth as a contemporary response to the post-apartheid era, Ruga will offer a somewhat different approach, viewing the traumas of colonial history from a place of detachment.

Live art films

The film screening will start at 7:15 pm, the four short films showcase a diverse offering: Mabitsela and Sookool’s 24 hours of House House, a durational work; Qondiswa James’s travelling work, a pilgrimage from Rhodes Memorial to the plinth where Rhodes fell; a visual and sonic exploration by muralist Grant Jurius; and a ritualistic performance by Lukhanyiso Skosana, in which she paid homage to Sarah Baartman, Zainunnisa’ Cissie’ Gool, Simon Tseko Nkoli, Kewpie, Eudy Simelane and other prolific womxn, femme, black, queer bodies throughout our history.

Read more and view the film trailers on The Fire This Time page. The four works were videographed and the films edited by Daniel Rutland Manners and photographic documentation by Lerato Maduna.

Find the full programme booklet here.

Media enquiries: Marí Stimie, M: 076 4800 643, E: [email protected].


The UCT Works of Art Collection (WOAC) serves to build a collection of art in line with the University’s vision and mission; to promote the display of the collection through engaged curation; ensure that the collection is safeguarded; and to contribute to an inclusive heritage expression for the University. The collection is curated by a Works of Art Committee that recognises and promotes the value of the collection as being an inspiring and transformative intellectual repository for cultural, educational, scientific, and artistic research scholarship shared by academics, students, staff and cultural communities in and around the University.