Sifiso Seleme

As a child in Soweto Sifiso Seleme loved to help his granny to sew, to do crafts with his brothers and to dance in the streets with other children. The late choreographer George Khumalo noticed him and taught him contemporary dance, which he drew on as a member of the Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre and its international workshop programme. In 2008 Seleme was selected for an intensive workshop at the ImpulsTanz Festival in Austria and later as a participant in the Goethe-Institut’s Moving Africa programme, through which he visited the Danse Meets Dance festival in Nigeria. A creative spirit by nature, Seleme is an experienced photographer, sculptor, puppeteer and costume designer and has presented Pantsula workshops in Vienna and, for two consecutive years, at Tanzafabrik in Berlin. He has his own clothing range, called Africanism13, a “vintage, old-school” style that caters for both young and old. Currently he is intrigued by site-specific work. His latest project, “Politics of this Country are like Fish & Chips”, has moved his creativity from centre stage into public spaces such as taxi ranks, where he can express himself to people who are affected by the topical issues he raises — xenophobia, the hospital crisis, the e-tolling system. During his last public intervention about the Gauteng hospital crisis he walked 75km from Chris Hani Baragwanath via the Coronation and Helen Joseph hospitals to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, collecting 500 signatures for a memorandum. Although his work has attracted threats, he remains resolute and is currently working on interventions about HIV and Aids and domestic workers. His talents may have taken him from Mozambique to Morocco, but his work remains rooted in local issues and public discourse. “I am not sure if I really love it. It is more that I can’t help myself. I have to do it,” he admits. — Fatima Asmal