NJE Collective Feature: Masiyaleti Mbewe

Masiyaleti Mbewe (Born January 23rd 1991 ) is a Zambian born afrofuturist writer, photographer, activist and curator based in Namibia. Her work explores the complex themes of race, sexuality, ableism and gender within their various intersections in the afrofuture.

  Asteria,  Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

Asteria, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

  Tove Jeomba Kangotue Represnting for all Forms of Blackness,  Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

Tove Jeomba Kangotue Represnting for all Forms of Blackness, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

 

Her debut solo exhibition, ‘The Afrofuturist Village’ was first showcased at the Goethe-Institut in Namibia under the FAVT (Future African Visions In Time) travelling exhibition in February 2018 and focused on queering and redirecting stereotypical views in the afrofuture in an effort to advocate for more inclusivity.

Mbewe, (from analytical view) critics the various respectability politics in afrofuturism that promote a very distinct heteronormative and intergalactical representation of black bodies. Instead of focusing on black people in space, the Afrofuturist Village aimed to showcase diverse African future-cultures within a space on earth that was inclusive of marginalized people i.e. the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled individuals as well as hearing and visually impaired people. 

Through the use of braille instillations, photography, video and sign-language interpretation, the Afrofuturist Village was a starting point for more inclusivity in afrofuturism. Drawing from a traditional African healing cleansing, the exhibition encouraged dialogue centered around healing, reconciling with our pasts and expanding the often monolithic ideas around blackness and spirituality in the afrofuture. 

Mbewe obtained her BA (Hons) in Journalism and English at the University of Namibia in 2016.  She has worked as a copywriter, journalist and photographer in Namibia for a number of years and aims to expand her future exhibitions around the same concepts in an effort to capture blackness in the afrofuture as diverse and equal.

  Ericke: The Guardian , Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017.  

Ericke: The Guardian, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017.