AtWork Maputo Chapter 17


AtWork Maputo Chapter 17

Maputo, Mozambique
November 11 - 15, 2019


Pfwura Ndzilo, Anima estúdio creativo


"Where is South?"


Simon Njami

” “South” is more than just a regurgitated secondhand definition from a revisionist history book, and it is certainly more than what appears at a surface level. “South” is the spark that ignites our flame of curiosity.”

Jay Zacarias, Editor In Chief, AtWork Maputo catalogue

AtWork Maputo Chapter 17 has been implemented by Moleskine Foundation in partnership with Museu Nacional da Arte (MUSART), Pfwura Ndzilo, Anima estúdio creativo. The project was made possible thanks to the contribution of individuals and sponsors, including Southern Sun Maputo, Dana Tours, Grupo Elite S.A., 2M-Mac Mahon.

It was the fourth leg of the Tour AtWork 2019 “Where is South?”.

Simon Njami comments on the topic: “The word ‘South’ may seem to designate a precise point, but upon reflection, we realize that this is totally inaccurate. Let us try to liberate the four points of the compass from any ideology and reconsider them for what they are: directions. If we succeed in doing so, we will rediscover that South and North do not exist as such; rather, their meanings become activated through our way of thinking. No matter where we are, there is always a ‘South.’ Therefore, we hold the power to define its meaning: ‘South’ begins with us.”


The workshop took place in Maputo, Mozambique on November 11th-15th 2019 and was conducted by AtWork advisor Simon Njami. Under his leadership, 21 young creative talents from Mozambique, Germany, Réunion Island, Portugal got together under the guidance of the leaders to debate, critique and exchange about what “South” really meant to them. Designers, photographers, students, journalist, architects, film director, trainers and an aeroplane pilot, met for the first time to enjoy an opportunity for discussion and mutual exchange. The creative outcomes of these reflections were spilled out on a notebook by each participant and these 21 artworks, inspired by their personal “South”, will be exhibited as part of the final international exhibition of “Where is South?” Tour in 2020.

THE LEADER: Simon Njami

Simon Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and writer. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Revue Noire.” Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial 2000-2010, and co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has curated a number of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004-2007) and the first African art fair in Johannesburg in 2008. In 2014, The Divine Comedy exhibition, created and curated by him, started a world tour at the MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, moving on to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, a project created in partnership with the Goethe Institute; artistic director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); advisor to the Sindika Dokolo Collection (Luanda, Angola); secretary of the special jury of the World Press Photography Awards; artistic director of the first edition of Off Biennale (Cairo, 2015) and the 2016 and 2018 Dak’Art.

“My south is Tuning. This Orange box has me flying like a bee tuning into the pollen for balance (the honey), the life experiences that then translate and record on the book.”

RICARDO JORGE “A bee on a flower”


The workshop took place at the Museu Nacional da Arte (MUSART) in Maputo, where the participants had a collective discussion about what “South” meant to them. The workshop theme was the starting point for critical debate. Starting from the question “Where is South?” and with the help of mentor Simon Njami, the participants began to wonder what this question actually represented: “Is it a location on a map? Is it a political category used to establish division? Is it the brand of a chain of hotels or your favourite clothing store?” Jay Zacarias, wrote in his intro text that:

“The truth might be that it corresponds to all of these definitions and none of them simultaneously […] this is the type of question that requires serious discussion and constant self-reflection.”

“We understood that the “South” […] is more than just a regurgitated secondhand definition from a revisionist history book, and it is certainly more than what appears at a surface level. “South” is the spark that ignites our flame of curiosity. It invites us and challenges us to constantly see what tools we have at our disposal. Part of this process of self-discovery was realizing we were ourselves victims of self-delusion. We were spoonfed lies disguised as the absolute truth. Now we begin to spit the pieces back up because we have the tools to do so….There is more to be discovered and the only way to move forward is to have a sense of direction and continuously ask ourselves where we stand. […]. Now, brothers and sisters, let’s ask ourselves: with the proper tools at our disposal in time shall we be able to answer this question properly: “WHERE- IS-SOUTH?”

The experience of the workshop was enriched by the conversation between the Moleskine Foundation CEO Adama Sanneh and Simon Njami at the Casa de Pancho. Starting from the theme “Where is South?”, they dealt with the issues of personal responsibility, decolonization of knowledge, the role of future generations in producing social change, the importance of critical thinking, always and everywhere



“Each piece reflects a different interpretation of this quest: who we are, where we are and where we are going to. There are no definitive answers, but rather points in time that raise more questions as we head South.”

The AtWork Maputo curatorial team, Sara Carneiro, Tina Krüger, Ventura Mulalene.


The AtWork Maputo exhibition “Where is South?” is the result of a journey of self-reflection through which everyone has found their “south”. Co-curated by the participants themselves and under the supervision of Simon Njami, the Museu Nacional da Arte (MUSART) in Maputo hosted the 21 notebooks, acting as a vibrant stage for this exhibition in the heart of Mozambique. The works are the result of an intense physical and mental effort of the whole week.

The exhibition was launched on the 18th of November and will be on display until the 19th of January 2020. A special catalogue featuring the personal “Souths” and the related notebooks of all the participants has been produced by the participants themselves.

Participants list

  • Ana Raquel Machava

    Ancha Marieta Mondlane

    Azarias Junior Hele

    Boaventura Manuel Filho

    Cleine Sérgio Marrurele

    Chloë Julienne

    Édipo Covele

    EmÍlio Nhanombe

    Helder Sambo

    Imelda Chivale

  • Janine Soeiro

    Jay Zacarias Jr.

    Marilú Námoda

    Miguel Adriano

    Ricardo Jorge

    Sara Carneiro

    Serenella Sanuel

    Sheila Santiago

    Tina Krüger

    Ventura Mulalene

    Wilford Machili


  • Partners: Pfwura Ndzilo, Anima estúdio creativo

    With the support of: Southern Sun Maputo, Dana Tours, Grupo Elite S.A., 2M-Mac Mahon.

    Workshop coordinators: Hugo Chichava, Laure Petit, Wacy Zacarias


  • Communication: João Roxo, Diana Luiz

    Photo and video shooting: Klick Estúdio

    Observer: Sansão Zwane