Interlocutor/halfie: Dr George Mahashe on being a Molobedu, an artist and an academic

In this dialogue, Prof Christo Doherty of ARA speaks to Dr George Mahashe, a lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town, who was recently based at the Geneva Observatory as part of the Swiss Artists-in-Labs programme. George talks about his work at the Observatory and his perspective on the experience as a black African who has a acute awareness of his “distributed sensibilities” as a member of a specific African sociality, the Balobedu, and as an academic and an artist.
George was born and raised in Bolobedu in the rural north eastern part of Limpopo Province in South Africa. He first practiced photography as an assistant to a local itinerant photographer before going on to study for a BTech degree in photography. After working as a lecturer and practitioner in commercial photography his awareness of the implications of photography as a colonial representational practice led him into studying the intersections between anthropology, photography and fine arts practice culminating in a PhD in Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town. George used the space offered by PhD research to imagine the concept of khelobedu, from his own point of view, as a member of an African community whose knowledge practices have been studied and marginalised by the colonial academy. Using a combination of unorthodox methods, notably travel and the practice of "ill-discipline", within more established methods such as fine arts play and the participant observation techniques of anthropology, his PhD research challenges the western representational emphasis in photography while employing the film essay and developments of the camera obscure to recognise the dream as a Balodedu technology that can foreground Balobedu subjectivity.
Useful links:
The text of George's UCT PhD, MaBareBare, a rumour of a dream:
http://hdl.handle.net/11427/30544
AiL mini-documentary on George at Geneva Observatory: https://vimeo.com/56660581
Omenka interview:
https://www.omenkaonline.com/