Interview with Tamu Nkiwane, New Creative

We talk to Tamu Nkiwane about his surreal, conceptual film Apocrypha. 

Interview with Tamu Nkiwane, New Creative

Could you introduce yourselves and the film?

Hi, my name is Tamu Nkiwane and the film is called Apocrypha.

What were some of the inspirations behind Apocrypha?

Well I was reading the book Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany who is a famous black Sci-fi writer from the states. I thought the book was genius and have been trying to read it for a couple of years due to the book functioning as a mobius strip. The Last Angel of History by John Akomfrah and Watchmen (both the graphic Novel and Tv show) have been affecting my visuals and observations on society.

Why did you decide to make this film and focus on themes of heritage and spirituality? 

I had been travelling in South Africa and have a strong echo from those days…biggest culture shock of my life. It really opened my eyes to political and social realities outside of the West. I was hanging out with Sangomas and people on the streets. We had to spill alcohol for the ancestors, or Gogo and Umkhulu. They would sometimes give me a whack, haha!

What inspired the decision to make this piece a combination of poetry, film and scanned art?

Well I wanted it to feel like a computer game/simulation and that this film was a gathering of information (data) or a loading screen of sorts. To be honest with you...the film should be 5 mins longer as I had other scenes in my head outside of the barber shop. 

The poem is my uncle’s, who was an activist/poet/spiritualist. He’s passed sadly so his daughter is reading it, in the mother tongue. I think black art history is remixed so i wanted to remix the video game, music video, podcast feel….if that makes sense. 

Who are your biggest creative inspirations and whose work did you take inspiration from for this film?

Martin Scorsese and late 1970’s cinema is a must for me. Gus Van Sant, Harmony Korine, The Safdie Brothers as well. 

Most black people try to pretend they aren’t influenced by Jean-Michel Basquiat but they all are haha. David Hammons, anime, music records like Mdou Moctar, Desert Rock and stuff. My head is full of stuff.

What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps? Was there something you wish you’d been told when you were starting out?

Stay true to you! Art isn’t about this hyper pop world. It’s about you and finding out how you tick and if you get some relief from that it doesn’t matter. Have a network who understands you and can pick you up….yeah that’s key!

Where can people find you online?

I will make a website soon, but I’m on instagram.


We also reviewed Apocrypha, and you can read our thoughts on it here

New Creatives is a talent development scheme supported by Arts Council England and BBC Arts Check out our New Creatives coverage in the New Creatives Voicebox.

Header Image Credit: Provided

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