I’ve often asked myself why can't artist Kudzanai Chiurai be free to just paint flowers or some shit. Can he ever become the president of his own State of Reason? Does he have to carry the history of his people until the end of his life? These are some of the rhetorical questions asked by the film’s director, Mpumelelo Mcata, who is also the guitarist in BLK JKS, an alternative rock band in Johannesburg. Mcata abandons his familiar territory of music in order to make a fascinating portrait of one of Africa’s most interesting artists. Originally from Zimbabwe, Kudzunai Chiurai was the first black graduate from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria. He had to leave his native country because he made an unflattering portrait of Robert Mugabe. His art plays on stereotypes and prejudices: he is always unerring in pointing out hidden complexes, shameful behavior, and uncomfortable memories. He has faced ostracism. Kudzunai’s criticism of postcolonial reality cannot appeal to both white and black audiences.
He is one of South Africa’s leading artists and cultural activists. Mpumi is perhaps best known as one part of internationally acclaimed South African SAMA award winning band the BLK JKS – although he plays the guitar, self-taught at that, he is quick to remind anyone who will listen that he is not a guitarist. Mpumi, considers himself a conduit and artist who is as passionate and (un)learned about film or art in general as he is about music. His work, whatever the medium, is always about honesty and the stretching and testing of boundaries.
2015 Czarny prezydent / Black President