Simon Zukas

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Family, Freedom Fighters, History, Mpapa Gallery, Zambia10 Comments

Simon Zukas, a kind and principled freedom fighter There are people in one’s life who are so important and yet so much woven into the fabric of that life that you take them for granted. This is true even of the people in our families, parents, siblings and also spouses. There comes a sudden moment when you realise that you […]

White Woman, Black Nationalists – Diana Mitchell’s Memoir

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Politics, Racism, Zambia2 Comments

Diana Mitchell – an important Zimbabwean journalist and archivist I was delighted to be told of Diana Mitchell’s memoir and bought it immediately. Its 300 pages are densely packed with Diana’s personal and political life over the period when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. It isn’t a quick read for me – every page contains so much that relates to my life […]

BLACK LIVES MATTER and Zambian art history

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Power, Printmaking, Race, Racism, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Black lives have always mattered – not just since the crisis of George Floyd’s murder. Everyone I worked with in Zambia had always felt the same about the fight against racism and it was fundamental to my own art and my work with Zambian artists. Black lives have mattered for centuries Mpapa Gallery and the best art possible In 1984 […]

The Shaping of Water

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Books, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Freedom Fighters, identity, Politics, Power, Reviews, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water2 Comments

Returning to the past to build the future This year I time-travelled back more than 30 years. I returned to the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka to the place where golden weaver birds build their nests above small sun-worshipping crocodiles. Here, there once was the excellent Zintu craft shop, a regular Zambian ladies lunch, an Independence Day National Art Exhibition and […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]