Slave Lodge addresses gender freedom this April!

  • Posted: Mar 29, 2018

Iziko Museums of South Africa, in collaboration with 1000 Women’s Trust, SWEAT (Sex Workers Education &  Advocacy Taskforce), Antonia Porter and Giovanna del Santo are bringing you a joint exhibition opening this April. These insightful exhibitions are geared towards creating awareness on issues such as gender based and sexual violence; challenging stigmas related to sex work; and confronting hegemonic ideals of masculinity. It is particularly appropriate that the exhibitions are opening in April – Freedom Month – when we explore what freedom means to all individuals.

Enough is Enough!, Still Figuring Out What it Means to be a Man, and I Am What I Amare being exhibited at the Iziko Slave Lodge. Museum The traumatic history of the infamous Slave Lodge has haunted this building for centuries. As a museum, the Slave Lodge can be viewed as a beacon of hope, as it demonstrates how people who were once stripped bare of their freedom now use their voices to speak up against inequality and fight for their freedom.

In an effort to address the injustices of the past, and issues that infringe on the rights of people, Iziko welcomes exhibitions such as these as they help transport the ‘Lodge’ from a space of human wrongs to one of human rights – where everyone is equal and free.

I Am What I Amis an exhibition entirely curated by sex workers, about sex workers. Photographer Irene Grobbler-Lenoble and writer Amy Kaye shared with participants the skills to document their own realities. They were given cameras to go into their communities and document their lives, as they saw fit, in the intimacy of their every day. Through the photographs they have taken, the captions they have written, and the thoughts they have penned – this exhibition serves as a bold challenge to put power back into the hands of sex workers who have lived the stories themselves.

The second exhibition in the trio is titled, Still Figuring Out What it Means to be a Man. It explores aspects around masculinity with six middle-class metropolitan male South Africans from varied racial and cultural backgrounds. The exhibition contains documentary-style photographic images of the men in contexts in which they chose to represent themselves, audio narratives, and audience interactivity. The men reflect on their masculinities, contemplating various influences on their sense of manhood, and what they learned about becoming men from those who raised them. They explore issues such as love, sexuality and sexual conditioning, impacts of apartheid and colonialism, success, fatherhood, spirituality, gender-based violence, and visions of ideal masculinities for a future South Africa.

Since 2004, the 1000 Women Trust has been mobilizing “1000 Women to Unite against Domestic Violence” across South Africa. In many cases, women do not feel they have the freedom to speak up, and thus the cycle of violence continues. Enough is Enough! culminates from two projects – the first, a writing project where stories were captured and shared amongst the women and with others, and also captured on video. The second is the photographs seen at the exhibition and across various platforms to raise awareness of gender-based violence. These projects aim to assist the survivors with the healing process. Though this exhibition has been on display since December, it now forms part of a greater context.

The exhibitions open to the public on 5 April 2018. In addition, Antonia Porter is hosting a one-hour session of an experiential methodology on transforming gender relations. The event takes place at the Slave Lodge on 5 April at 12h00, and all are welcome. A three-day experiential workshop on transforming gender relations will also be held between 27–29 April, titled “Gender Equity and Reconciliation”. For further details please contact a.m.porter.01@cantab.net.    

Freedom Day is commemorated on 27 April, and celebrates the dawn of a democratic South Africa. Throughout the month of April, issues relating to freedom are addressed at various events and locations. On Freedom Day, Iziko offers *FREE ENTRY to the public (excl. Castle of Good Hope, Groot Constantia and Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome). See you there!


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