Blame it on the man in the brandy barrel – Admiral Nelson

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Colonialism, Family, Hamera and Hartley, Identity, Migration, Politics, Power, Racism, South Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, When I Was Bad, When We Were Wicked11 Comments

Art and storytelling 200 years later by a distant descendant. Born into the British Empire during the Second World War in a colonial country that no longer exists, I’ve been flung around in a turbulent vortex of political and personal change. My art and my writing are the ways I hang on to the world spinning around me. I have […]

Cancelling people, erasing history, burning libraries, & killing souls

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Colonialism, Family, Feminism, Human rights, Installations, Racism, Slavery2 Comments

Burying a living soul and the death I was responsible for When Mike walked back into my flat that day back in 1968, he was dead. His face was rigid. His eyes stared blindly. “My father buried me.” Mike spoke as if every word was a stone placed on his own grave. “Dad held a funeral service in the synagogue […]

The purpose and power of poetry

Ruth HartleyBook Launch, Book Publishing, Poetry, Politics, Songs, The Spiral-Bound Notebooks, Zambia4 Comments

At school, we learnt to declaim poetry. It was mostly heroic stuff designed to inspire patriotism and action like Felicia Dorothea Heman’s Casabianca about filial duty and Thomas Macaulay’s incredibly lengthy poem Horatius at the Bridge about courage. We weren’t taught to make poetry, and poetry was never going to be about us and our lives. Even though this kind […]

From 1966 District Six in Cape Town to Zambia and back – the start of this writer’s journey

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Family, History, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Racism, Religion, South Africa, Southern Africa, When I Was Bad, Zambia14 Comments

Beyond reconciliation – a virtual walk through different faiths At the start of this week, I was invited to participate in this online event by Nic Paton, grandson of Alan Paton, author of Cry The Beloved Country. Thank you, Nic! The event was organised by the District Six Reconciliation Day Interfaith Walk. It was a healing and uplifting hour and […]

Displaced people, refugees, immigrants, colonisation and war

Ruth HartleyDisplacement, History, Southern Africa, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, War, Zambia2 Comments

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (Quote from George Santayana  but many other people re-quote or dispute this saying) The Nuremberg Trial and the Nuremberg Laws I write this post 75 years after the start of the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war crimes, antisemitism and genocide. It’s a day that grows more significant every year […]