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Stories from our Programme

Multiple moments of suspension with the Zagaza Collective

– Written by Nkgopoleng Moloi

“The ‘party’ is about a moment of suspension. Feeling a rigorous sensation in the body, a pulsating tip-to-tip… Like pins and needles all prickly across the skin’s surface and a slow numb that calls attention to each beat of the heart, harder and harder. And the Sensation, conjured by this dance, is void of history, geographic location and pain.” — Ecstatic Resilience, Sable Elyse Smith

In her genre-bending essayistic poem, perhaps poetic essay, “Ecstatic Resilience”, Sable Elyse Smith writes about nightclubs as sanctuaries for queer liberation, where sensation is conjured by dance, that is to say, a void of history. Smith offers us, through Audre Lorde, a lyric of movement;

“for those of us who live at the shoreline,

standing upon the constant edges of decision…

for those of us who cannot indulge the passing dreams of choice…”

…Because to be free and to feel safe requires the creation of sanctuaries, what Sandra (Brutus) of the Zagaza Collective reflects on as the “urge to not be extinguished, to seek freedom in movement.”

Zagaza is a creative laboratory whose practice melds performance art with alternative mediums to explore co-existence and co-creation. Comprised of members Shalanda, Tanya, Hirma and Sandra, the Swiss-based collective celebrates diasporic histories and connections through djing, storytelling and performance, steeped in the foundations of what they term, “Black collective art consciousness” — said in another way; artistic expression as acts of resistance and the acknowledgement of our bodies as political.

Read the rest of Nkgopoleng’s interview with Zagaza on Bubblegum Club, produced in the context of an editorial residency connected to our programme.