The Hustle 2016 (in collaboration with Oliver Barnett)
In 2003 Eskom, South Africa’s electricity supplier launched an advertising campaign branding cable thieves “izinyoka” (the isiXhosa/isiZulu word for snake). The highly emotive TV adverts appear to be racist and seem to appeal to the superstitious nature of some Africans. Although I do not agree with some of his with his views, Gareth van Onselen writes about the campaign here: http://www.moneyweb.co.za/archive/eskom-and-the-izinyoka/
Interestingly the following year, Kwaito music star Mzekezeke released a hit song called Izinyoka, which re-appropriated the word, giving it an edgy energy. It made the izinyoka look cool and gave Mzekezeke a dangerous edge.
Some time later I stumbled across the work of Stefan Schoeman. I realised that he had a real gift for working with the plastic-flex covering that is discarded by the “izinyoka” once they have retrieved the metal from inside the cables. Stefan makes doll sculptures as well as antelope and bull heads and Rhinos out of this material. As a functioning heroin addict, Stefan is a prolific artist whose work sells well.
In this short video we weave together these different stories that all share this strange common theme.