A background behind Ubuntsundu project
“Ubuntsundu”, which means being black is a project rooted for an audio visual rendition and series of photographs
and poems inspired by incidents experienced by Africans at home and abroad, incidents that had affected Africans
before colonialism, during and after.
Taking this project to the stage, Ubuntsundu becomes collaboration of poetry, universal music and fine art and it
features musicians from Reunion Islands, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. When Themba Maphalala
composed this suite for jazz musicians, poets and fine artists, he was influenced by previous successful attempts of
Lefifi Tladi, Johnny Dyani, Louis Moholo, photographer Muntu Vilakazi, graffiti artist Rasty Knyles, Percy Mabandu, Nduduzo Makhathini, Thuto Motsemme, Mlungisi Mhlongo, Lesego Rampolokeng, Mak Manaka and Naked City, to combine these seemingly unfriendly aesthetics.
Themba, born in 1990 and already an accomplished artist on the Johannesburg scene, studied Psychology at the
University of Johannesburg where he became friends with writers, performers, musicians and fine artist whom
inspired him to follow his artistry calling.
Ubuntsundu is Themba second commercialized project after a theatrical suite titled The Funeral, which was a
collaboration of poets, writers and musicians, namely Simo Mpapa, Modise Sekgothe, Obakeng Makhutle and
The mission of this project is to unify art platforms, catalyze a message of unity, remind of the cultures and
traditions as well connecting us to the primordial source of life in way that the presentation should not be confined
to any genres, religious beliefs and political alliances.