Adrianne Finelli
Isithunzi »

Isithunzi, documentary project, 2007


During July 2007, I served as the director and editor of the documentary project that followed Professor Julie Ellison’s work Isithunzi: Writing with Artists in Diverse and Divided Cities.  The project’s focus was designing a writing program with young Johannesburg printmakers at Artist Proof Studio in partnership with the Wits Writing Centre, to develop writing skills and artist statements.  Despite their close geographic proximity, this was the first collaboration between these two Jo’burg organizations.


In the words of Pam Nichols, Director of the Wits Writing Centre, the Zulu word ‘isithunzi’, “means presence, shadow, or taint. When you talk...your words rub off and change the people listening to you.”


Over 15 hours of footage became a 10 minute glance at the dynamic week-long workshop.  The video spoke of culture, creativity, diversity and language.


Isithuzi has been shown throughout the US and South Africa.  The workshop has become an annual collaboration and Dr. Ellison’s research continues to grow.