These innovative young South African performance artists request your attention
The names Manthe, Kokona and Tebogo Ribane might not sound too familiar. For the celebrity savvy, that surname might offer a hint at their lineage – their aunt is model, actress, and now advocate Nakedi Ribane – but the penny only drops when you mention their collective stage name: Dear Ribane.
It’s a stage name that has its origins in how the trio interact with one another. When they pour their souls into a project, they see it as a letter to themselves and their parents who unexpectedly passed away when the siblings were younger.
What they do
It takes a moment to describe what they do too. “Conceptual performance artists slash production company” would be the best descriptor of a collective that fuses graphic design, dance, music, photography and art to communicate various messages.
With their eclectic looks and performances, they’re unlike anything out there. Psychedelic art, visuals and bright colours from the entire spectrum are fused to do one thing: disrupt. They actively go out of their way to live author Cesar A Cruz’s phrase: “Art is there to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”
Dear Ribane describe themselves as being out to change the narrative of African stories and give young minds the right to be who they are. They advocate that creatives express their art without the limits that society tends to dictate, dipping in and out of various disciplines to let the world know there is a new Africa, and it is creative and artistic.
It is an innovate and interactive approach that has won them fans both locally and abroad, with recent performances and exhibitions in Amsterdam, the Norient Musikfilm Festival in Switzerland and the #DreamDareCreate event in London. There have been collaborations on international campaigns with Kenzo, CHANEL #TheFifthSense No.4, ID magazine, Apple, Nike, Carhartt UK, EDUN, and Red Bull. And they were also recently nominated for the Most Beautiful Object award in South Africa (for their Humanoids Transcending Cosmic Frequency piece, which debuted at this year’s South African Style Awards).
WHO DOES WHAT
Manthe Ribane Is the voice and set designer
Tebogo Ribane Is the go-to inspiration for design-related ideas
Kokona Ribane Ensures their musical needs are never left wanting
For a snippet of what Dear Ribane is about, listen to Manthe Ribane and UK-based producer DJ Okzharp’s album Closer Apart.
WORDS Sbu Mkwanazi