Praise singing and movement is the celebration of presence. Dwala Lam’ is a praise song that reminds one of the groundedness that is inscribed in their ancestry. These inscriptions, may come by way of being christened by a name that charts out your destiny, creates relief, a warm smile in a quiet moment or even conveys a message to the world.
The names that are often given in African cultures are the hopes and wishes of families that raise the bearer of the name. These names may be passed down through generations, they may be whispered to an expecting mother in her sleep. The names become the accession of ancestry but they are also a reminder to the bearer of the name of their significance, to remember this in good as well as challenging times.
The whispers of the praise songs from one’s ancestors are the protective spells that affirm us in the ebb and flow of life.
Sethembile Msezane was born in 1991 in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. She has an MFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art. Through performance, photography, film, sculpture and drawing, Msezane creates work heavy with spiritual and political symbolism, exploring issues around spirituality, commemoration, dreams, ancestry, and African knowledge systems. Her work also examines the mythmaking used to construct history, calling attention to the absence of the black female body in both the narratives and physical spaces of historical commemoration.
Dr. Portia Malatjie is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. She is Adjunct Curator of Africa and African Diaspora at Tate Modern, London and Adjunct Curator at Norval Foundation, Cape Town. She holds a PhD in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths University of London. Her research investigates African conceptions of Blackness through Black Feminism, as well as African sonic and spiritual praxes. Malatjie has lectured at Goldsmiths University of London, Rhodes University and Stellenbosch University.