It was a weirdly long process …. Everything about it. The compiling of this issue #6, but also sorting out what precisely it was about. It has already been two years since we arrived in Cape Town and Johannes- burg with some broad questions around and about notions of law: how did the Constitution lay the legal foundation for and shape the transition process to- wards the “new South Africa”? And how would its initial promise be assessed from today’s perspective, especially with regard to women’s rights? What happened? What went wrong, and how? What’s gone right? These were questions that we used like a toolbox to enter into conversations, looking for answers to other questions we didn’t know how to ask.
At the same time we introduced another set of considerations: an understanding of law, derived from twelve-tone music. To treat every tone, every element as equally important, which also fosters a shift in hierarchies of attention and narrative: anecdotes, asides, and incidental observations can become as relevant as the machinations of power politics. A discordant methodology, the better to create new parameters and premises of storytelling.
We had planned for a Public Hearings Festival in Johannesburg, with a polyphony of voices reading excerpts from an array of texts—stories, transcripts, poems, songs—old and new, addressing “law” in various ways and tonalities. Then COVID-19 arrived, torpedoing all our lives, and occasioning new legal regimes. Against all odds, we were able to realise an online festival, which is almost entirely accessible via http://woa.kein.org/virtual. Thanks to all the many involved for making this event possible…
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