During apartheid, money was secretly transferred from various civil initiatives in Europe to South Africa to support the anti-apartheid resistance movement. From the 1970s to the early 1990s, thousands of letters were sent between private homes in South Africa and Europe as a cover for this money transfer operation. Apart from being a vessel of financial aid, the letters testify to the impact of political history on personal experiences through telling the stories of everyday life.
The letters exchanged relay evidence of anti-apartheid struggles from the perspective of domestic life and include narratives from a group that has been largely neglected by historians, from individuals who, though not necessarily publicly recognized in the fights for democracy in South Africa, nevertheless left behind significant records of the reach and effect of apartheid on their lives and communities.
Mangolo—live readings and presentations from a collaboration between Title in Transgression (Johannesburg, ZA) and TransAction Study Group (Stockholm, SE)—takes these letters as a point of departure, not only in order to address issues of political resistance, history writing, and transnational aid but also to look at the possibilities, contradictions, and limitations of the concept of solidarity.
Mangolo is made as part of a collaboration between and with support from: Tensta konsthall, initiator of the project, and as part of the series The Eros Effect: Art, Solidarity Movements and the Quest for Social Justice; the Royal Institute of Art, Artistic research and development funding, Stockholm (RIA) and Iaspis - the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.