Durban - A KwaMashu artist is hosting an exhibition that talks about his healing from depression brought on by a traumatic experience during the July 2021 riots.
Siyabonga Gumede’s first solo exhibition, called Ukupholisa-Amanxeba (Healing The Wounds), is at Menzi Mchunu Gallery at the Bat Centre in Durban until October 30.
Gumede was a survivor of the Phoenix massacre, in which 36 people were killed.
He found himself in the horrifying situation when he went to the area looking for a fuel station to put petrol in his car. He said he was assaulted by people who believed he was one of the looters, and his car was set alight.
Speaking to the Independent on Saturday, Gumede said the art on exhibition was created to help him transform his trauma into healing.
“My pieces are themed around the transition from sadness to happiness and from disconnection to reconnecting. I just lost direction after the incident, and I kept questioning myself but was unable to get answers after being assaulted by Phoenix residents. I was very upset, because I did not understand why I was beaten for something I was not involved in. My only intention was to fill up petrol and then head back home,” he said.
“It took some time to heal, but I am thankful to God that I made it out alive. I never thought I would survive the trauma, and I am happy to have been able to move on with my life. Coordinating the Ukupholisa-Amanxeba exhibition really contributed to the healing process,” said Gumede.
Entry to the Menzi Mchunu Gallery is free. People interested in visiting can check the Bat Centre website www.batcentre.co.za or contact the front desk at 031 332 0451.
The Independent on Saturday