ProJekt Ubuntu

Africa Burn, April 2012

Thousands of South Africans and people from all over the world gathered together to create a unique symbol of Ubuntu through music, carnival and the collective embrace of Nelson Mandela’s legacy. The image was released as part of the 18th anniversary celebration of his inauguration to encourage people to commit to their 67 minutes of service as part of Mandela Day. The ultimate purpose of the ‘Projekt Ubuntu’ campaign is to remind people that it’s up to each of us to create the South Africa we want.

The event was co-produced by Spectral Q, Candy Horgan of Ubuntu Community Project & eMzantsi Carnival. The image was taken on the 28th of April 2012 as part of the Afrika Burn festival that happens in the Tankwa Karoo Desert and was captured by Simon Hazell.

Artist Sidney Ryan who was inspired by Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration speech created the sketch of the image. According to Ryan, he saw in Mandela’s face a sense of faith and stoic resolve that rose above the celebratory hysteria and also collective fear that gripped the country at the time. Ryan spent many years trying to find the right medium to spread the inspiration he had received from Madiba. The vehicle came in the form of mass human art installations pioneered by John Quigley, a world renowned aerial artist and founder of Spectral Q.

The production team of the Ubuntu image, lead by Jeremy Behrmann, a key facilitator in the Afrika Burn festival, were relying on the unique culture of the event, the power of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, together with the participative power of carnival to bring people together to make this image a reality.

At 2pm a group of 40 facilitators from the eMzantsi Carnival, a community building project from the southern peninsula were lead by master musical facilitator Mark Dodsworth, co-founder of global facilitation company, Red Zebra, in creating a 1500 strong carnival that lead participants to the photo site. They were met by John Quigley and Magalie Bonneau-Marcil the Founder of Dancing without Borders who would make a ritual of the process to further embody the Ubuntu experience. At approximately 3pm a Boksbok Aircraft (an ex South African Defence Force reconnaissance plane) piloted by Richard Southall and carrying photographer Simon Hazell.

It was an honor for Magalie Bonneau of Dancing without Borders to be part of the facilitation team who made this possible in the spirit of collective creation!