Vabvakura / People From Far Away

The short film is the centrepiece of an installation that features photographs and the costumes from the film. While the film is shot in recognisably South African locations, Machona seeks to make the themes more universal. He does this by invoking a relatively new genre in South African artmaking: AFROFUTURISM.

Drawing from other art forms, including music (in particular, visionary African-American musicians such as SUN RA) Afrofuturism proposes an alternative, UTOPIAN understanding of multiple African cultural, historical and social experiences, and rejects the depredations of colonialism and post-colonial cultural imperialism. Afrofuturism presents an alternative reality in which Africa is not the zone of misery and underdevelopment put forward by global media, but instead looks forward to a future informed by the rich histories of ancient African civilisations. 

Machona’s ‘AFRONAUT’, the central character of his film, is an innocent abroad, recontextualising South African national symbols like the metallic protea he takes care of in order to establish a viable life in the unpromising landscape of the film’s opening. The optimism of his ALLEGORY is clear.

Artwork courtesy of Artist and Goodman Gallery.

Artwork Info

Gerald Machona

Vabvakura / People From Far Away


Animated video installation

0h 9m 19s