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Talks and lectures

Reframing Colonial Legacies: a sonic journey from Johannesburg to London

Join us for a unique sound performance at 66 Portland Place, London by Johannesburg-based cultural practitioners Sibonelo Gumede and Nombuso Mathibela

About the project

Commissioned in response to our latest exhibition Raise the Roof: Building for Change this experience will explore themes such imperialism, race, gender, and architecture through sound and discussion.  

As part of this specially curated sonic experience, you’ll hear them use music, vinyl, and voice recordings to respond to the exhibition’s four commissions by Thandi Loewenson, Giles Tettey Nartey, Arinjoy Sen, and Esi Eshun, Sibonelo, and Nombuso.  

Following the performance, Sibonelo and Nombuso will be joined by the Raise the Roof artists to discuss current architectural aesthetic practice and education.  

You’ll be invited to take part in the discussion and explore the complex histories of colonial architecture including those found within 66 Portland Place, London.

Read more about the British Empire in our building and collections.

Sibonelo Gumede   

Sibonelo Gumede is an urbanist and cultural worker based in Johannesburg, South Africa. In urban environments, Gumede is interested in the intersection of city-making processes and explorations of colonial afterlives, in a bid to make connections between aspects of spatiality and relationality through which connective memory and reparative practices can be built.

Gumede previously held the position of Vice President at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Society of Arts, where he was involved in curatorial and educational activities. He also served as a 2021 Research Fellow at the Centre for Arts, Design and Social Research (CAD+SR) and is a member of the Black Planetary Futures collective.

Currently, Gumede is participating in the Ways of Repair online residency program, which explores Loss and Damage in the environmental ecosphere.  

Nombuso Mathibela   

Nombuso Mathibela is a cultural worker, educator, writer, and vinyl selector based in Johannesburg, South Africa working through sound, focusing on anti-colonial liberation histories, and cultural ecological behaviours in Africa.

She is the founder of Jewel Scents and Song, a Pan-African research space thinking through metal and jewellery production. And an archivist at the Centre for the Study of Race, Class, and Gender at the University of Johannesburg. Mathibela works with - and responds to - sound archives; including music, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, field recordings, audio interviews, voices, noise, and silence as cultural texts.