Tell me, is there anything about me that reminds you of my father?
This is the question Siyah Ndawela Mgoduka asks his mother, Doreen, in a conversation titled, That Particular Morning which interrogates thirty years of avoiding the topic of ‘father’ in the family home.
Mgoduka was a small child when his father, policeman Mbambalala Glen Mgoduka – one of the ‘Motherwell Four’ – was blown up by a car bomb initiated by the apartheid government in December 1989, leaving his wife to bring up their family of four alone. Still working as a teacher, Mgoduka’s mother studied at night to become a lawyer to both protect and support her family, but at a cost.
“Dysfunctionality becomes normal, you know”, says Siyah.
In this revealing and intimate conversation – in front of the cameras – Mogpduka finally asks his mother questions he has carried in his head for many years. He talks about his communication with his dead father, and learns details about him that feed his thirst for knowledge. He also hears a surprising fact about someone he has hated all his life.
Forgiveness, loneliness, respect, and the differing attitudes of two generations towards the processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings all come under discussion.
The installation of this work replaces the screen takeover featured in the exhibition, The Main Complaint. This eventual intergenerational conversation between Siyah Mgoduka and his mother, Doreen provides historical context to root the exhibition’s institutional concerns within the reality of South African experiences that Zeitz MOCAA exists and operates in. This work was recently screened for the first time at the Recognition Reparation and Reconciliation Conference in Stellenbosch in December 2018 organised by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.
That Particular Morning is a work made in collaboration with Sue Williamson and Siyah Ndawela Mgoduka.
About Sue Williamson
Sue Williamson is a Cape Town based artist whose work engages with themes related to trauma, memory and identity formation. Trained as a printmaker, Williamson has also worked in photography, video, and mixed media installations. Work such as Mementoes of District Six (1993) and Truth Games (1998) convey her investment in the recuperation and interrogation of South African history.
Her work is included in many international public collections, such as MoMA, New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. She is currently exhibiting on the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, and her work will also be seen at the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC on the exhibition, I Am: Contemporary Women Artists from Africa, and on United by AIDS at the Migros Museum in Zurich later this year.
Williamson is also known for her writing on contemporary art, and her achievements were recognised with an Ellen Kuzwayo Award in 2018. Her own work is documented in the SKIRA publication, Sue Williamson: Life and Work. The artist is represented by the Goodman Gallery.
About Siyah Ndawela Mgoduka
Siyah Ndawela Mgoduka was part of Zeitz MOCAA’s inaugural team working as Assistant Preparator until December 2018. Prior to that, Mgoduka was part of a training and residency at Savvy Contemporary (Berlin) in collaboration with poet, Makhafula Vilakazi, focusing on Portraits and Audio Works, (2017). Mgoduka previously worked for Gallery MOMO as a Gallery Assistant (2016) and was an intern at Goodman Gallery. Mgoduka featured in Sue Williamson’s video work, titled, Can’t Remember, Can’t Forget, which was shown as part of her solo exhibition at the Johannes Stegman Gallery at UFS (2016).