Rosalind Morris

The Zama Zama Project,
USA, South Africa, Canada 2020

Video installation, 19 min. Zulu, Ndebele, English, Tongan, Sesotho.

The Zama Zama Project is an experimental documentation of ruinous postindustrial mining life in southern Africa. It is also an act of witnessing. The men and women of The Zama Zama Project are the forgotten, the ghosts in the machine of modern extractivism, the scavengers of its extravagant waste. They are also the authors of the stories told to Rosalind Morris, and form the core of this expressive and probing assemblage. Based on long term collaborative research, Morris’s project, branching off from her feature length-documentary, We are Zama Zama, comprises a number of short works of various formats in which the sensuous experience of mortally dangerous labor is pursued alongside the political and economic forces that drive people to risk everything in radical speculations on life and value. From mythopoetic encounters with the underground sublime to reflections on the politics and techniques of filmmaking in tunnels and shafts many kilometers below the earth’s surface and vociferous debates on the nature of democracy after wage-labor, The Zama Zama Project is an aesthetically compelling, open-ended address from the necropolitical world.

Rosalind Morris, born in Canada in 1963, is an anthropologist, cultural critic and media practitioner, who is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. Morris has worked for more than two decades to document the transforming life-worlds around the gold mines of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She is the author of seven books, over 70 essays, and has been honored with numerous awards. Morris has collaborated extensively with South African artists, including William Kentridge, with whom she has written three books, Clive van den Berg, and Ebrahim Hajee. She has also collaborated on two operas with the South African poet and novelist, Yvette Christiansë and Syrian-born composer, Zaid Jabri.

Production Rosalind Morris. Production company ROCAM Productions, LLC (New York, USA). Director Rosalind Morris. Cinematography Ebrahim Hajee. Editing Pascal Troemel. Executive producer Rosalind Morris. With Rogers 'Bhekani' Mumpande, Prosper Ncube, Darren Munenge, Sarah Muchimba, Fanie Magwaza.


2013: Brewsie and Willie (82 Min.). 2020: The Zama Zama Project.

Photo: © Rosalind Morris