Presenting 'Ndizak'bonisa' by Banzii and Zamashenge

The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg
22 Aug 2019 - 22 Aug 2019




Celebrating Women’s month in August, The Melrose Gallery would like to invite female


performance artists to present works that take inspiration from an artwork by Sfiso Ka-

Mkame titled “In Remembrance of the Dahomey Amazons – N’Nonmiton – Our Mothers”.



The word ‘Amazons’ refers to a group of powerful female warriors who fought

vociferously for the rights of their families and people and comes from the Greek meaning

‘without a breast’. This work by Ka-Mkame presents a powerful empowering symbol of

women who were not afraid of presenting the ownership of the agency, and the

cultivation of their power. They seek no desire to beg for respect or ask for protection.

They took it. Thus, this work is of particular significance as it presents a significant period

in African History that is not spoken about or praised.


Ka-Mkame acknowledges the following Africa heroines in the work:


Yaa Asantewaa the queen mother of Edweso (Ejisu) in the Ashanti Empire known as

modern day Ghana. Asantewaa is internationally celebrated as an epitome of African

womanhood and resistance to European colonialism within Ghana for protecting them

and one of their most precious possessions being the Golden Stool, which was the heart

of their existence.


Queen Ana Nzinga, also known as Njinga Mbande or Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande,

was a 17th-century queen of the Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms of the Mbundu people

in Angola. Nzinga is best remembered for her resistance against the Portuguese, and

setting her people free from slavery.


Yennenga was a legendary princess, considered the mother of the Mossi people of

Burkina Faso. She became known for her skills in battle, becoming a feared

warrior. Today many statues of her can be found in the capital city of Burkina Faso about



The Warrior Queen Gudit- Conqueror of Ethiopia Gudit exists as a controversial figure in

the history of Ethiopia. She is however remembered as a warrior, military strategist and

powerful ruler. In Amharic she is remembered only as "Isat" which

fittingly translates as "fire".


Amanirenas was a courageous one-eyed queen of Kush who ruled from approximately

40 BC to 10 BC. She is one of the most famous Kandakes, because of her leading role

taking the army of Kushite to fight against the Romans in a war that lasted five years, from

27 BCE to 22 BCE.


By introducing the program as The Warmth of Other Suns, taken from the 2010 book by

Isabel Wilkerson that speaks to the Migrations of African American from 1960 – 1970.

We open this call to look at other forms of representations of woman whom under the

poetic expression of being under The Warmth Of Another Sun, are able to share with us

their journey, history and power. As we remember a particular point where the Dahomey

women who were well known for singing songs just before they went into battle, sang on

several topics that evoked the essence of whom and what they were. Thus we invite you

to reinterpret this work on women, African history and power within and more and how

today we may envision or pay homage to women who not only protected a kingdom but

saw themselves through the lens of their own power and inspired communities.


Exhibition views

Some views of the exhibition