By Tshegofatso Seoka
Reminiscent of an archaic African tradition of sweeping the ground every morning, it was believed that to sweep one’s yard every morning, was a spiritual practice of removing the negative energy and patterns that may have been drawn, or to remove spells that may be cast on one’s land. This archaic tradition was one performed in a monitored pattern, contrasting the left and right side respectively.
Reminiscent of this tradition is the work of Molefe Thwala, evoking metaphysical landscapes in his work, Thwala centres the eyes in a repetitive pattern that often takes one to specific spaces on the African landscape. With nuances of the continents textiles the works also tends to mimic the stick method of tallying.
Thwala’s use of monochromatic colour locks the viewer in the visual scape where one tries to read through the lines, expecting a coding of sorts, a language, a method of communication, a message from the land, from those who have inhabited and left the land, a song by the elements. His contrasts of light and dark in tell a story of movement, migration, war and peace, dances and masquerades, shamans and spiritual leaders, rituals and performances, stories that used to be told under the tree from the elders to the young,
Although abstract, the work serves as relative renditions of a life lived and still being lived, a quest, a questioning and the achievement of a better understanding of oneself and the true meaning of life.
.Tshegofatso Seoka is a curator and a PHD candidate