AfriKera banner: Conceived in Korea. Made in America. 100% Zimbabwean.
AfriKera banner: Conceived in Korea. Made in America. 100% Zimbabwean. Tichakunda Mafundikwa

September 2017- On a wet rooftop in Seoul. Victor Peturo launches himself skyward, arms and legs thrown back forming a perfect crescent. A symbolic image of his solo-show ‘CHANGE “change changed me” ’. Little did he know that three months later, his impressive jump would be immortalized on the AfriKera Arts Trust Banner.

Between July and November 2017, professional dancers from all over the world were invited for the Cultural Partnership Initiative in South Korea. Selected by Director Soukaina Edom to represent AfriKera and Zimbabwe, Victor knew that he had to impress. The added pressure of being the only African and at 25, the youngest, would have inhibited some, but Victor used the opportunity to debut his choreography skills in “CHANGE”.

“It’s a story that evolves and everyone can have their own views of their own change, how they tackle being a boy to becoming a man, or girl to a woman,” says Victor. “It was derived from the feeling of fear, ‘now that I’m grown up, where do I start?’ ”

Transitions are very important in this Afro-Fusion contemporary piece and the jump which contorts the body into a “C” as Victor explains, is a major marker. “In the original choreography it came in twice, the last one shows that ‘now Iv’e really changed.’ ”

Victor toured the show at three international festivals culminating in an achievement award received from the Seoul International Dance Festival.

Back in Harare, Soukaina was impressed by her former students progress, staying in regular contact with him. Towards the end of the program she contacted him about a picture.

“She wanted to know if it was possible to use the picture of my jump on the AfriKera banner,” said Victor. “I told her it would be an honour and gave the go-ahead. Two weeks prior to my departure from Korea that’s when they started working on it. When I got here it was also new, so it was a good way to be received back home!”

Simba Mafundikwa is a Seattle-based architect and trained graphic designer. When he was contacted by his mother to create a visual identity for her dance school. Simba who enjoys photography and has freelanced on similar projects accepted the challenge.

“I worked with images and a brief from Soukaina. As well as an understanding of what the banner represents and where it will be used,” said Simba. I used Adobe Photoshop to edit the original image, then brought it into illustrator where I vectorized it and created the silhouette. The colors (red, yellow, green & black) are taken from AfriKera’s main colors. I wanted them to create/add movement to the silhouette.

To add a local identity to the banner, Soukaina suggested replacing the Seoul skyline with Harare’s, a change Simba warmed up to after including it.

“The skyline adds another dimension to the banner and gives a sense of triumph. The banner as a whole represents vibrancy, identity, creativity.”  

Two years on, Victor is a proud father of a little girl and teaches the current crop of students Afro-Fusion Contemporary. “CHANGE” was most recently on tour in Tanzania and has changed into a duet co-performed with fellow alumni and Yoga teacher, Tinashe Jeri. At the Hub’s entrance, Victors silhouette sits proudly on a pull-up and roll-up banner, but do people recognize that it’s him?

“The staff and graduates of 2018 yes, because it was created for them,” he says. “They were aware of the process and the banner made its debut at a festival they were performing at.The current crop … actually it was last month when one of them asked me about the figure and I told them it was me, so now they are all aware.”

Immortalized in the story of AfriKera, Victor hasn’t really thought of the banner’s significance, but has seen its effect on others.

“Working with students and telling new people that’s me and we are going to work together, there is that respect and inspiration that comes up,” he says. 

“So he is the one whose there (photo) and now he is in front of me. They get to that higher level of inspiration, like me they want to be part of the AfriKera furniture.

“Everytime I come in here I feel that I’ve made it. When I come from home feeling down, I see it and tell myself ‘I can do it!’ I can be on a wall and part of the arts furniture."

    

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