Stay Open with Chaze Matakala

LITERARY ARTS MANAGER /
CULTURAL WORKER /
ARTS WRITER

Lecturer Chaze

Chaze Matekala is a multidisciplinary artist, academic and Open Window Zambia’s Manager for the School of Literary Arts. Chaze plays a key role in developing, shaping and lecturing our curricula, including courses in stage and screenwriting, literary theory, and new media and journalism. With a strong Afrocentric focus, Chaze is also a freelance writer and cultural observer, compelled to document art from her unique African perspective.

GIVE US A QUICK BIO.
I specialise in the intersection of creative practices and African studies, which is essentially the home where contemporary African storytelling, both written and visual, is birthed. I attended the University of Cape Town for the entirety of my tertiary studies, between 2012 and 2019. I completed my undergraduate degree in Film and Media studies and my BA Honours degree specialising in heritage and public culture. I then obtained my MPhil specialising in African Studies. 

WHAT ARE SOME CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS OR HIGHLIGHTS?
As a freelance writer, I have written for several international publications and this work has taken me around the world, which has been a blessed and rewarding experience. 

In 2017 I was selected for an artist residency in Brazil, called Casa na Ilha. That was an incredible experience, travelling solo to a new continent and writing a three part travel diary for Mail & Guardian about my journey expanding my artistic and academic practice. I also travelled to Ghana in 2019 and wrote an article for the Paris-based publication Something We Africans Got, on the opening of The Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art. My first major personal achievement was my self-produced solo exhibition titled “Decolonial Daydreams | One | re-encounter”, which showcased my photography at Wolff Architects in Cape Town. 

SHARE YOUR CREATIVE INSPIRATION WITH US!
I am inspired by the communities that surround me, of which I am a familiar stranger. I am also inspired by nature and the natural order of things. I am driven to refigure the archive of the African past, especially through a gendered lens. I am wholly inspired by contemporary artists and I feel compelled to write about their work so that it is documented from an African perspective through my unique voice.

DO YOU INTEND TO FURTHER YOUR STUDIES?
I would love the opportunity to pursue a PhD at some point in the future. I am yet to settle on which field to go into, however it would definitely be something that I already have experience in so that I would build on my niche foundation. 

WHAT IS YOUR LECTURING PHILOSOPHY?
My teaching philosophy draws inspiration and theory from bell hooks who writes in her book Teaching to Transgress (1994) that, “To educate is the practice of freedom”. I attempt to bring this attitude to each of my classes by teaching from and within a multicultural perspective. The strongest influence on my teaching philosophy is my Dad, who instilled in me that obtaining an educational certificate or degree is simply your ticket into the club — some people buy bootleg tickets, some pay full price, others sneak in the back or hustle their way through at the front… What matters most are the moves you demonstrate on the dance floor.

WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE OF LANGUAGE STEM FROM?
I have always loved the art of performance, ever since I was about six years old. Once I learned how to write, I enjoyed expressing my wild imagination through words on paper. I journal regularly and I have explored many forms of writing including poetry, prose, academic and journalistic. I am lucky enough to have been born into a family that supported my creativity and nurtured me to pursue it at the highest level. I am fascinated by storytelling in all its infinite forms, because languages and the stories they tell about humanity are the window into the kaleidoscope of our cultures.

SHARE A QUOTE THAT RESONATES WITH YOU.
“All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change.”
Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

DO YOU HAVE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
To the aspiring creative writers, keep your mind stimulated with the right kind of material and take time to figure out what that means for you. Build healthy habits around your writing practice and don’t be shy to put yourself out there seeing as your portfolio needs to be built. Always write from an authentic place so that if you are challenged you can stand by your ideas. Become best friends with your intuition and learn to live with that voice of self-doubt, shrinking it when necessary but never shrinking your unique voice because your thoughts and words matter.

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?
Get a full taste of my work and self on my website Decolonial Daydreams. LinkedIn here. You can follow me on Instagram @ivoryandliquorice

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