Love is a Revolutionary Act
Breeze Yoko + Saki Mafundikwa

Breeze Yoko and Mwalimu Saki Mafundikwa speak on love and revolution through the prism of education, social and political movements. In this episode, recorded whilst Yoko was in Harare on residency at Njelele Art Station in November 2019, the complexity of love and struggle, manifest through notions of selfhood, country and career over time in Zimbabwe and the United States. Journeying with Mwalimu, we travel through different forms of learning; knowledge of self, indigenous knowledge systems, the book ‘Afrikan Alphabets’ and the founding of ZIVA Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts; revealed as radical acts (of love).

Breeze Yoko is a South African based multidisciplinary artist and curator specialising in video/film and graffiti/street art. Yoko has participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus, and in urban art projects in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Senegal, Germany, France, Sweden and many more places, where his whimsical yet powerful murals unfurl a kind of humanity and beauty that re-imagine their environments. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, Yoko uses a visual vocabulary that addresses a myriad of social and political issues.
     His films have won awards at the Tricontinental Film Festival, South Africa; Special mention in the Sienna Film Festival, Italy; and Dak’Art, Senegal. He has curated a number of urban culture events and exhibitions including ‘Street Talk’ (2014), Hazard Gallery, Johannesburg featuring some of South Africa’s prominent street artists; and Deep Memory’ (2017), Kalmar Art Museum, Sweden featuring contemporary artists from around the globe. Yoko is founding director of Ubuhle Bendalo urban contemporary art residency programme.

Saki Mafundikwa is founder and director of ZIVA Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts, a design and new media training college in Harare. He has an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University. He returned home in 1998 to found ZIVA after working in New York City as a graphic designer, art director and design educator. Mafundikwa authored Afrikan Alphabets: the Story of Writing in Africa published in 2004, a book of historical importance and the first book on Afrikan typography, currently out of print. He has been published widely on design and cultural issues and is currently working on a revised edition of Afrikan Alphabets which he hopes will be published in 2021.
     As a filmmaker, his first film, the award-winning Shungu: The Resilience of a People premiered at the 2009 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Active on the international lecture circuit, he was a speaker at TED2013 in California, at TED/PMI event Dar-es-Salaam in 2019, and he keynoted the first Pan African Design Institute (PADI) conference in Ghana in 2019. Mafundikwa has also run workshops for design students in Europe, North, South and Central America, and Afrika.
     He lives, works and farms in Harare.

Nguni love symbols. p.40. Mafundikwa, Saki. Afrikan Alphabets: The story of writing in Afrika. West New York, N.J. : Mark Batty, ©2004 (Photo: Saki Mafundikwa)