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Biko and Vice Biko aka Deputy Biko

By Andile Mngxitama

Greetings people of Steve Biko. Sgho Chiloane had created a beautiful piece but he included a self confessed anti Black Consciousness (BC) fellow on the right hand side of Biko. The artist has artistic freedom but we too have a duty to insist on authentic representation.

So someone was kind enough to reconstitute the piece. I’m pleased with the amendment.

Did you know that Comrade Stalin removed Trotsky from the iconic picture with Lenin after the latter had defected from the revolutionary path. I agree with the purging of reactionaries from the annals of revolutionary history and representations. Artistic impressions are war…

In the final analysis, the intention of the artist or creator doesn’t matter. It’s how we the public read the art that matters most.

In any event, any artistic creation is open to multiple interpretations depending on ones ideological framework and interests. The key question is: is the piece of art unlocking deliberative possibilities?

Here’s an interesting reading by Mrembole Tebza Mogoera on the original piece by Chiloane in which yours truly , Biko and Juju feature,

“Leader Andile Mngxi this is how I interpret the full drawing:

I like the fact that Biko’s “right hand man” is Mngxitama and he has a “memo” or “a letter” on the same hand with  Mngxitama. It’s like a father passing the jewels to his son – very symbolic. I don’t know if this was the intended message or not, but whatever it is, history writes itself. The message is very clear and loud. The paper/manuscript/will/legacy is like a baton handed over to Andile Mngxi.”

Naturally I’m of course chuffed by Tebza’s interpretation whilst I remain open to more unflattering readings too. It’s art after all and we all come as equals before the creation.

Hope your Sunday is pleasant in this coronavirus times.

And yes I find the piece interesting. I give thanks and due credit to the artist.

Pssst: the artist has advised it’s still work in progress. It will be finished soon. Will also share the final product for your viewing pleasure and reading.

Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.

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