UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts Condemns the Recent Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa

The Durban International Film Festival, under the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, strongly condemns the wave of renewed xenophobic attacks that have taken place across the country over the last several days. There is no justification for the level of violence that has been meted out on fellow Africans and as a festival, as a Center of Creative Arts and as the University of Zulu-Natal, our stance is that this is unacceptable!

Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased and our sympathies for those whose livelihoods have been affected, physically, emotionally and psychologically by these acts of violence. These acts discredit everything that the collective fight against racism and a violent history of settler colonialism about in South Africa. As we are saddened by the resurgence of xenophobia and in particular these recent events, we are also ever hopeful that we will imagine a peaceful South Africa, with all who dwell in it, and use this to create works that promote harmony, healing and reconciliation. South Africa is a part of this continent and the DIFF stands with Africa in calling for a paradigm shift from violence and trauma towards restorative understanding.

DIFF has an ongoing relationship with AFRIFF in Nigeria as well as backing from the Namibian and Kenyan Film Commissions. DIFF has enjoyed the support and close collaborations with numerous countries on the continent, with over 20 countries represented in the various programmes this year. DIFF, and the work of the CCA has specifically been designed to develop and nurture emerging African talent and we would like to iterate that it is our duty to use our craft as a unifying tool. Film, as proven by history, has the power to create social, political and cultural change and it is urgent now more than ever to utilize this power.

Ms. Chipo Zhou

DIFF Manager: Centre For Creative Arts

The Centre for Creative Arts, housed in the University of KwaZulu-Natal College of Humanities and within the School of Arts, is by definition, a space that understands the power of artistic expression to express a common humanity and a shared sense of struggles. Our work is  – and continues to be – about fostering a climate that supports critical artists and to allow for the meeting and dialogue between artists, filmmakers, dancers, poets and writers. Racism and the on-going volatile xenophobia that besets South Africa at this time is part of what we actively fight against in the curations, imaginations and designing of our festivals. One of our main mandates as a Centre for Creative Arts, is to promote continental dialogue and space for fellow Africans to offer artistic encounters with individual and shared histories and to promote re-remembering that sits against a climate of political and social forgetting.  We use our work as an activist creative space to engage and shift meaning and behaviour and continued to believe that arts is a space for transformation. We thus strongly condemn not just the xenophobia that has once again reared it violent head, but we stand against any gender, race and class violence and any act that ‘others’ and excludes. Our weapon against forgetting is to continue to be a space that wields the cultural weapon of memory.

Dr. Lliane Loots

Acting Director: Centre for Creative Arts

University of KwaZulu-Natal


(DIFF) 18-28 July 2019

South Africa’s longest-running film festival, the Durban International Film Festival generally runs across 12 days towards the end of July, presenting over 180 screenings of current films from around the world, with strong focus on South African and African cinema. Screenings take place throughout Durban including township areas where cinemas are non-existent. The festival also runs extensive seminar and workshop programmes to stimulate industry capacity. This includes the participation of 20 filmmakers from all over Africa in Talents Durban, in partnership with the Berlin Film Festival, and the Durban FilmMart, a film financing and co-production initiative organized in partnership with Durban Film Office.


The Durban International Film Festival is the largest film festival on the African continent and in 2018, winners of Best International Documentary and Best SA Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival will now automatically qualify for Oscar consideration. The festival has been notified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of this inclusion, which effectively means that the winning documentaries will be up for consideration for the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. DIFF joins other prestigious festivals around the globe including the Cannes International Film Festival, Berlinale International Film Festival, Sydney International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, and IDFA – the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, in being an Oscar-qualifying film festival.


The Durban International Film Festival offers screenings, workshops, discussions and industry support through the city of Durban with a key focus on bridging the gap in the lack of cinema spaces in communities like, Groutville, KwaMashu, Lamontville and Inanda.




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