Painting by Azuri Muhuli of trader Amina Rugondera, who was kicked out of her stall and threatened with violence in Durban this year. (Photo: Nokulunga Majola)
Azuri Muhuli has seen and suffered intense violence from officials and the South African public.
First published by GroundUp.
Congolese refugee Azuri Muhuli uses painting to tell the stories of immigrants who have suffered xenophobic violence.
Muhuli, 24, has lived in South Africa for 16 years and has been both victim and witness of attacks on immigrants in Durban.
At October 16, 2020 he and his cousin David Bushambela Yakobo were stopped by a police vehicle and searched. “Then we were asked to show our asylum application documents, which we presented to the officers. When they realized that our documents had expired – because the Durban refugee center had been closed since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020 – and we were foreign nationals, they forced us into their vehicle where they started beating and hitting us. us with a glass bottle, ”Muhuli said.
He said the two were assaulted again at a police station with their heads slammed against the wall and tires around their necks.
They lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Investigations Directorate. Spokesman Ndileka Cola said IPID was still investigating the case and that an update would be provided “at an appropriate stage”. But Muhuli said GroundUp that he and his cousin had not yet been interviewed by IPID
He was in school when he realized that he could communicate with other learners through drawing even if he did not speak their languages. “It was then that I realized that art is a universal language that can be understood by anyone and everyone. My friends loved all of my drawings and paid me to draw their favorite wrestling superstars.
During his matriculation year, Muhuli received a one-year scholarship from the Loeries Creative Future Scholarship to study Creative Business Communication at Vega School of Brand Leadership and Communication and Design School South Africa. This was followed by a three-year scholarship to the Center for Fine Arts, Animation and Design, headed by famous designer Nanda Soobben.
He said his drawings told stories of the working class. “I challenge social issues such as gender-based violence, racism, corruption, especially in Africa, slavery, racism, human trafficking and xenophobia,” he said.
His latest designs were inspired by the attacks on traders in Durban in February, specifically a trader called Amina Rugondera.
“I was inspired by one of our Congolese women who sells avocados. Her story was so horrific, she says the same day she was kicked out of her outlet and said she was going to be burned alive and had to return to her country. They accused her of giving birth to too many children and of stealing people’s money through the child grants.
“A lot of people have suffered and as an artist the best I can do is tell their stories in the best way that I know,” Muhuli said.
Although the Durban Home Affairs Center for refugees is still closed, Muhuli said he was successful in applying for his permit online. DM
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This notice was published: 2021-06-01 13:18:38