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The Latitudes Podcast featuring Milisuthando Bongela

Ubuntu and Isintu, Milisuthando Bongela on how not to forget


"This film was really about me trying to heal my broken heart. It is very much about us as South Africans and what we've gone through, where we are, how we feel about ourselves. But it's also about this incredible knowledge and inheritance that we have within the idea of Ubuntu and Isintu, and how it is incumbent on us to study what that is so that we don't forget it, so that we don't lose it." - Milisuthando Bongela

In this episode, Refiloe Mpakanyane speaks to award-winning writer Milisuthando Bongela. While her career began in fashion, her creative spirit has carried her into music, art, media and now film. Bongela has written and directed her first film: the self-titled: Milisuthando. The artfully edited and scored documentary is a personal essay spanning 30 years and was eight years in the making. Written as a portrait of the filmmaker and her country, South Africa, both growing up (as it were) in parallel and in the aftermath of apartheid. Told in a non-linear fashion: Milisuthando calls the film an invitation to viewers to excavate forgotten parts of themselves, their history their family. The film takes a feminist lens to questions about power, fear, intimacy and love as it relates to race. The conversation traverses on Bongela's decades-long path to writing and directing her debut film, as well as what finding her voice and perspective means to her and how she imagines it will ground her work going forward.

Milisuthando Bongela (b.1985, South Africa) is an award-winning writer, editor, cultural worker and artist. Her career began in the fashion industry but the last 15 years has seen her traverse the worlds of music, art, media and film - continually turning towards indigenous knowledge. For 3 years she was Arts Editor for the Mail & Guardian's Friday section and was host and co-producer of the podcast Umoya: On African Spirituality with Athambile Masola. After 8 years, she has recently completed her first film, a personal essay documentary titled MILISUTHANDO which will have its world premier at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. She is an inaugural fellow of the 2020 Adobe Women at Sundance Fellowship.

About the Latitudes Podcast

Hosted by dynamic broadcast journalist and penchant for the arts Refiloe Mpakanyane, The Latitudes Podcast, which is the only podcast dedicated to contemporary African art, is an immersive and engaging platform that builds a new layer of access to the contemporary visual arts from Africa.

Latitudes is now a pan-African platform with a global audience, and this podcast is an additional discoverability tool for global audiences to uncover African art and learn about the featured topics and speakers.

Season one of the Latitudes Podcast explores new ways of accessing and thinking about the contemporary visual arts from Africa, while building a robust archive of thought leadership.

About Refiloe Mpakanyane

Refiloe Mpakanyane is a broadcast journalist, with a penchant for the arts. Known for her love and support of local African literature, art and artists, Mpakanyane has an Honours Degree from the Wits School of Journalism and majored in International Relations, Media Studies and English Literature for her undergrad. Her firm grounding in the critical, analytical and creative thinking of the humanities discipline has underpinned her passion for broadcasting, leading her to delve into working not only behind the scenes in radio and television production, but in front of the camera and hosting her own radio shows as well.

About Latitudes Online

Latitudes Online is the world's leading online marketplace for art from Africa. Discover and buy artworks from over 1,700 artists and enjoy editorial from leading voices on the continent. When you buy from Latitudes Online you have peace of mind that your artwork will be safely delivered to you in perfect condition. Click here to start your collecting journey.

About iTOO Artinsure

iTOO is a collective of industry leading experts across a range of special risk insurance offerings. Art and collectables are a fast growing asset class around the world. Representing years of value that could diminish in a matter of seconds, it’s critical to take the time to insure with an expert who understands the length and breadth of the industry. Damage, an increasing rise in cultural crime and forgery can translate to serious loss in terms of your appreciating works and collectables.

Further Reading In Articles

African Artist Directory

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