About the writing

We understand the world we find ourselves in through stories. They carve the unknown out for us so we don’t feel like we’re reaching into the dark - even when we are. They show us our past - and then show us again and again. And they tendril towards all the futures we may live and sometimes push us towards rethinking our priorities. Crucially though, they also speak to each other. Resonate with each other in ways we can’t predict. Surprise us into rabbit holes rooting for what they remind us of…

 

It’s this ‘speaking to each other’ that we’ve found while working on Nature is Louder. One piece slides towards another in ways that have further enriched our reading experience. 

 

Couple Pieter Odendaal’s ‘The crowded hills of Makhanda’, a dirge for ecocide and mass extermination, with Lesego Rampolokeng’s feverish ‘Mabrak Wadada, Black Lightning Strike’. Wander among emoji-decorated gravestones at the Waainek Cemetery with Robyn Perros’ ‘Where plastic flowers grow’

 

Reach towards possibilities of healing the anguish of displacement through vangile gantsho’s beautiful hybrid essay, ‘won't the wind blow us to Embo’; Sibongakonke Mama’s ‘When I was about to die’ and Lethukuhle Msimang’s ‘Women, Alone, Creating’.

 

Mxolisi Nyezwa shares a preview of his memoir, taking us into darkly surreal moments on his home streets of New Brighton, while Wame Molefhe’s ‘Blind Faith’ speculates on the predatory relationships between drought, desperation and religion.

 

Megan Ross’s entanglements between plants, family, roots and lurking shadows can be paired with Nathan Trantraal’s account of relocating to Makhanda, where becoming an outsider among outsiders in the curious margins of an artistic community can be both humorous and sobering.

 

For a longer, contemplative read, Neil Rusch takes us into deep geological time with his exploration of lithophones as sonorous stones.

 

The heart of this project is The Power Station. Over time it’s been an electricity generation plant, a venue for site-specific theatre, premises for handcraft industries, and a neglected industrial space on the margins of Makhanda. The premises are now under the custodianship of the National Arts Festival, re-imagined and restored as a space for artists and ecological projects. It is as if the land is speaking back, giving new prompts about energy, production and generation. Roddy Fox’s photographs capture moments in this process.

 

This journal is the start of a journey that is crucial and which needs to be ongoing. We hope after enjoying the pieces, you in turn take the conversation further.

About the Writing

About the Project

About the Project

The Nature is Louder magazine is a home for writing that contemplates the relationships between land and memory, spirituality and soil, belonging and displacement. Growing out of the Nature is Louder street art initiative of 2021, the journal is a project of the National Arts Festival’s Power Station. 

The Nature is Louder magazine is a home for writing that contemplates the relationships between land and memory, spirituality and soil, belonging and displacement. Growing out of the Nature is Louder street art initiative of 2021, the journal is a project of the National Arts Festival’s Power Station. 

In 2021, the National Arts Festival invited four street artists to create work responding to the provocation ‘Nature is always louder’. Core to the project was to consider the environment, both living and non-living. With that as a starting point, each artist created work that remains on the walls of Makhanda. This project in turn planted a seed – to create a platform allowing the entanglement between the environment and people to be further explored through creative work. Nature is Louder – the journal – is that platform. Writers of poetry, prose, and creative non-fiction were invited to submit pieces that engage with Makhanda and surrounds. The pieces are at once deeply personal and resonant. They speak to where we are now, where we have been and where it is possible to go.

In 2021, the National Arts Festival invited four street artists to create work responding to the provocation ‘Nature is always louder’. Core to the project was to consider the environment, both living and non-living. With that as a starting point, each artist created work that remains on the walls of Makhanda. This project in turn planted a seed – to create a platform allowing the entanglement between the environment and people to be further explored through creative work. Nature is Louder – the journal – is that platform. Writers of poetry, prose, and creative non-fiction were invited to submit pieces that engage with Makhanda and surrounds. The pieces are at once deeply personal and resonant. They speak to where we are now, where we have been and where it is possible to go.

About the Writing

About the Writing

About the writing