AFIAfrican Feminist Initiative

Dialogue with Sharlene Khan on love and extreme familial violence drawing from a series of her short films

Dialogue with Sharlene Khan on love and extreme familial violence drawing from a series of her short films

Original Date: June 5, 2024

In this dialogue , moderated by Zinhle ka’Nobuhlaluse, Sharlene Khan reflected on growing up under apartheid South Africa, where the Immorality Act prevented intimate relationships between people of different races and the Group Areas Act which prevented different race groups from living in the same spaces (with people-of-colour finding ways to subvert such). She shared from her continued belief in (radical) love(s) from a black-African feminist perspective. The dialogue drew from her short film, When the moon wanes (2021-) which follows Khan’s own story of unrequited love as a young woman-of-colour coming of age in a democratic post-apartheid society in 1995. Struggling with her own demons of racial epidermalisation, class and gender, the narrative tells the story of the Tara, Daughter of the Night who falls in love with the Sun King, who woos her, but then leaves her for the Daughter of the Dawn. Tara appeals to her mother, the Moon for help, but, receiving none from the eternals, Tara sews a set of wings to fly up to the Sun. She burns and falls into the ocean, realising that some loves are unattainable, even as they become a lasting part of you. The full video of When the moon wanes can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/771180178

A still from the video: "When the moon wanes"

About Sharlene Khan

Sharlene Khan

Sharlene Khan is a South African visual artist and creative scholar whose multi-media works focus on the socio-political realities of a post-apartheid society and the intersectionality of race-gender-class. She holds a PhD (Arts) from Goldsmiths and is Associate Professor at the Department of Fine Arts, Wits School of the Arts, Wits University, Johannesburg.