R12 for the oThongathi toll
A broken coconut shell dotted with ash and kumkum
How do you measure a grain of sugar?
Johannesburg-based and Verulam-born – Youlendree Appasamy is a multi-faceted writer who recently created and released two zines (short booklets in magazine format with original and appropriated text) to share the South African Indian experience and frame it within concepts of identity and struggle.
“Zines are sometimes serious, sometimes playful, and as a writer I’m thinking about the different ways to express the research and lived experiences of [post]indentureship in South Africa, using sugar towns on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast as a starting point. Although I’ve been involved in the zine-making process [both digital and physical] from Ja. Magazine to No Sweetness Here Collective, and I collect them, I’ve never seen ones made specifically about indentureship and its afterlives in South Africa. I decided to make the zines I desperately wanted to engage with,” says Appasamy.
Her family is from Verulam and therefore the landscapes of the canefields, temples and the market are basic material for her art. These zines are scattered vignettes of her collage work, archival research, photographs and her writing, based on the muted 160 years celebration/commemoration of indentured labourers coming to South Africa.
To that she adds thoughts on the sugarcane industry, Kavady and how life, community intimacies and kinship connections formed in the face of, and despite, overarching colonial and apartheid realities.
‘Happy Indian Arrival Day’ and ‘A process of separation’ were both released publicly and for sale recently, but through different channels.’Happy Indian Arrival Day’ is part of the proto- x Kutti Collective collaboration, called Kutti Bazaar and is available to purchase here: https://a4arts.org/kutti-bazaar. The product description lays out more of the thinking on the making of the zine. on the making of this zine: https://proto.a4arts.org/collections/kutti-bazaar/products/023c72a6-e9c3-11eb-e2fd-567dd579dca3
‘A process of separation’ was made for the Post-Digital 2019/2020 special edition group exhibition that is currently up at TMRW gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg, and is published by a restless gathering [formerly Ja. Magazine]. This zine can be purchased through the gallery, contact author here.