Following Variety’s announcement of the ambitious feature film written and directed by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, Byron Eksteen joined him in his garden to speak about life, cinema and everything in between.
Sibs’s second feature film is a co-production project between his own company LAIKA1991, alongside South African stalwarts Sereti Films, Stage 5, and Storyscope, with international blue chip partners SKGlobal and Ivan Hoe. What emerged between the two is a surrealist anti-interview that coincides with Sibs’s reality that is often exhilarating and bizarre, an exploration of understanding the multi-disciplinary artist.
In isiXhosa belief the process of twasa is the journey in which one takes in order to become a sangoma. It is a process that chooses you and you do not choose it; naively put it’s a calling. With reference and insight provided to me by the poet/prophet by the name of DAT, based in Gugulethu, there are three main elements in which the ancestors speak and exist in: the land, the mountains and most importantly, to this story, the water. The manner in which twasa, connected to water, would conduct itself would be that the ancestors take the chosen individual into the ocean. They would forcefully grab and pull the person while blissfully swimming into the ocean showing no consent or remorse. Done so only to serve out the drive to complete the process in an unforgiving manner. According to DAT, and the rest that have insight to this process via the water, it is not an easy one: The process is ruthless, unpredictable, unforeseen, raw and it is beyond one’s wildest expectations. It is a process that many may not survive.
Once the elevator hit the ground floor and opened, it provided an opportunity for them to get their headline. It started off with one word, then another, then a full stop. The reality of going through the ocean of success came very suddenly after the last full stop of Necktie Youth. It became a reality of awakening in an ocean of media frenzy that literally aim to put him on a plinth as a museum piece; as the death of the director will increase sales. Awakening to a world where they cash in on an artists desperation to be “validated by the system”. “No, no, no; I write about the shit that’s gonna burn us alive, the shit that if we don’t fix it and if we don’t solve it we will perish, I have no option”. “I do it for the fans and not for no one else” “Fuck the openings, the red carpet and yacht parties and fuck all of that shit and selling out: While that is going on you can catch me in a downtown tavern in the darkest night of the village and we’ll experience some shit, tell stories, live and go skate after”.
PHOTOGRAPHER : SHARDAY SWANEPOEL
STYLIST & CREATIVE DIRECTION : CATHARINA VAN WYK
ARTIST/FILM DIRECTOR/MUSICIAN : SIBS SHONGWE-LA MER
WRITTEN BY : BYRON EKSTEEN WWW.BYRONEKSTEEN.COM
ORIGINAL CONCEPT : JENNA HISCOCK
COPY EDITOR : JENNA HISCOCK
HEADPEACES : CATHARINA VAN WYK
FASHION : AFROGRUNGE & ARMAND DICKER & HOUSE OF LAIDLAW