“Understanding that stereotypes often lead to people being stripped of their dignity and rights, Lebo is about provoking sustainable change in the society about stereotypes. ”
There was once a very talented film maker who travelled from Africa to America to pursue his dream of making the perfect film. After a dull flight and to him, what felt like an eternity, he arrived at the airport in The United States of America! What a rush he felt. In a hurry to finalize with the customs checking and get onto his film, he hurried to the clearance gate and presented his credentials. After a brief moment, the customs official asked him if he would move into a separate room for further assistance. His mind started racing, thinking, is this the wrong date of my arrival? Has my equipment been damaged? In a hurry to clear up everything, he went into the room shown to him. That is when it dawned on him what was really happening.
Born in Ethiopia, he was named Shafic (Name changed for anonymity purposes) and here in the ‘land of the free, he had fallen victim to a stereotype that his appearance and name fell into. After 4 hours of waiting, Shafic was finally interrogated. He was subjected to questions about his religion, whether he knew any Somali person and worse still if he was allied to any terrorist group. Shafic has since learnt that he will always be targeted for racial prejudice because of his name and where he is from.
We note that the world is driven by Consumerism. As such, everything is labeled, from clothes to shoes and sadly, even people. We hear people referring to others as a Mnati, sponsor and worse still, tribal slurs are still in use. Stereotypes and social prejudice seem to be a daily occurrence in our lives. We watch the news daily and read uncensored social commentary from publicly-curated-rarely-researched content on social media that fuels uncontrollable emotion that could propel the society to negative delusions.
This is an multimedia art installation that we put together in 2016. These were some of the videos, audio recordings and images we put up.