Montag, 29. August 2016

#showyouarenotafraid - Ntokozo travels Europe


When the German art-magazin.de  was calling out a major art project of the artist Mikael Mikael, called "Show You Are Not Afraid", I was immediately trying to get involved. 
The project wants people to stand up against the fears of our time: terrorism, crime, violence or more "personal" ones like body shaming, etc. 
Since April I was trying to find a way to express my ideas for this campaign. However, after a lack of creativity I never really knew how to do so and decided to put it aside. When my friend Ntokozo, an architect from South Africa, decided to travel to Europe at a very rough and tense time, I finally knew what to do...
Let me tell you first, what the "SYANA" campaign is supposed to be:
In a society where everyone of us has fears, Mikael Mikael encourages us to stand up against them. People would get an amount of stickers, all of the words seperated. The task: play around with the words, letters, word orders and stick them in a creative way. Make people aware that fear is poisonous - turn the message into art. 

I know Ntokozo Majozi since the end of 2015. We met on a train to Stellenbosch, South Africa. The clique that we were in met again this summer. Ntokozo flew over to Germany and we all reunited in Heidelberg. We had an idea to make the "SYANA" campaign go on a journey with Ntokozo - his very first trip overseas full of expectations and imaginations. 

After visiting Düsseldorf and Heidelberg, Ntokozo went to Berlin. After being spotted to become the new South African embassador of an app called "yeay" he left Berlin and travelled on to Warsaw, Poland, where he worked as an English teacher for two weeks - showing he was not afraid.

For me, it was a great way to see my own country (and continent) in another perspective. Especially in a time when Europe is constantly assumed to suffer from another terror attack, it's great to hear opinions from Non-Europeans about this issue.

Keep reading if you don't want to miss our little "interview".





 SYANA in Berlin

What was your main reason to travel to Europe? Germany and Poland of all countries?

I've always wanted to travel to Europe, especially because of the architecture and to enrich my creativity. Europe has some very interesting historic buildings and I really felt like I have to see that. Travelling to Germany was basically because of the friends that I have there. Poland was actually a matter of being at the right place at the right time. I also did a lot of research about the European fashion scene and everyone told me to visit Berlin. It was exactly how I imagined a big European city to be. It gave me a lot of creative inspo.


Before starting your trip, you told me that you feel a bit insecure and anxious about it. What were the reasons?

At the point of getting my visa there have been a lot of news about terrorism and attacks happening in Germany. Literally the day after I got my visa, the attack in Munich happened. I won't lie, I was really terrified and I thought "Is this trip even worth it?". But then again, my friends living there told me that I shouldn't worry and that the media is blowing it out of proportion. Still, my excitement about this trip outweighed my fears completely. I tend to have a lot of positivity in life. 
 

 SYANA in Warsaw

Did you feel safe during the trip?

To be honest, I did not feel safe during the travelling, especially at the airport in Dubai and Düsseldorf. Obviously, I was very aware and conscious about what was going on. While I was at the airport I though "I need to get my a** out of here asap, you never know". I lived in Kreuzberg and I really recognised the refugee problems as well as the drug scene. It was funny that a lot of African black males assumed I could be a potential client for drugs or even a dealer. I don't like the stereotype that black people have in Berlin. They are too often assumed to do drugs. But in general, my awareness was there but it never affected my mood and I had such a great time that I never let my fear become too real.

 What were the highlights of your trip? What impressed you the most?

Until this day, I cannot really answer this question. Literally EVERYDAY I had epic events. One of the highlights in terms of fun was definitely the weekend with you and the squad in Heidelberg . This city is incredibly beautiful, vibey, the weather was great and the places were just - alive. The attitude of the people was very uplifting. In terms of inspiration the biggest eyeopener was Berlin. The people there are so effortlessly expressive and so stylish. The inspiration was EVERYWHERE.


 SYANA in Cape Town

So what are your thoughts about the "Show you are not afraid" campaign?

I consider myself as a brave person and when you showed me the "Show you are not afraid" concept, I thought "this is exactly me, I need to get involved". The message is exactly what I live by. You should never let your fear stand in the way of achieving whatever you want. It really resonated with my outlook on life. It also gave me a bit of confidence about myself. Life is meant to be lived.  

Which attitude and thoughts did to take home to SA and how did "SYANA" affect you?
 
In terms of crime Germany is a very safe country to live in. So you shouldn't believe everything you hear or read until you've seen it yourself. Research about something and experience it yourself. Regarding the "Show you are not afraid" campaign, it encouraged me to travel more. The travel bug has bitten me and I'm aiming to see a lot more places now.


 Ntokozo in Sea Point, Cape Town. He doesn't even have to show it anymore - He is NOT AFRAID.

I really thank Ntokozo for "completing" my idea of the SYANA campaign and I'm glad I found such an ispirational and positive person like him to spread the message all over. Not only did he rock Europe, but thanks to Ntokozo, Berlin, Warsaw and Cape Town already share the message with all of their people. Now it's up to all of us, to keep sharing and show that we are not afraid!
Make sure to follow Ntokozo's Instagram alt-jozi  and keep yourself updated.

Btw, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the positive feedback on my last post. I was overwhelmed by how many people were interested in this post!♥

xx
Helena

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