Rest is a human right, says Mel Mwevi

Mel Mwevi_TEDxCapeTown

In 2016, Mel Mwevi, a creative storyteller who shares her stories through music, theatre and poetry, took to the TEDxCapeTown stage with her performance “Hear To Listen” which addressed the privileges and racial inequality that still exist in society. When the opportunity arose again for Mel to be part of TEDxCapeTown’s third virtual event, Creativity Inspires Hope, she was happy to take part not only because it was a platform to share her most recent work but also to hear other artists’ experiences during this time. 

“I've always enjoyed and respected TED/TEDx events and when invited to take part in 2016 I felt seen and heard as an artist. Sure I might not enjoy every talk or topic but I have so much gratitude for the listening platform TEDxCapeTown provides for artists and speakers. TEDx's approach is in line with my own which is that exposure to each other and our ideas allows more potential for understanding, co-existence and collective rising.” 

Mel was on a personal journey with rest (a self-imposed lockdown to balance the responsibility of self care with a sense of obligation to others) before lockdown officially began. The National Theatre Of Namibia called on artists to respond to human rights during this pandemic. It is that call that sparked Mel to do her most recent work, a visual poem called ‘Rest.. A Human Right’, a collaboration with photographer and cinematographer, Martin Amushendje. 

Mel explained that the powerful poem was a diary entry while under lockdown due to the pandemic, reflecting on mental health, her position in the world, mother earth, harmful societal patterns and the need for rest. The visual poem invited the audience into her home with her husband and goddaughter during lockdown. It resonated with many of the audience as she expressed her thoughts on how the global pandemic has given us an opportunity to rest, to reflect, to find deeper truths and come out feeling more present, clear, calm and capable. 

“Corona doesn't discriminate...”  “But it does because we do.”

Finding deeper truths also means having a good look at yourself, recognising your blind spots and shadows that when removed will serve not only your highest good but humanity as a whole. Denying the existence of social economic inequality as a means to avoid any personal responsibility is detrimental to us all. 

“Tea - reminds me I don’t have to go anywhere right now. Because if I did, I wouldn't be drinking something that needs to cool down first.”

Mel feels that creative bursts come in waves and if you don’t catch them when they come, they often disappear and that is the heartbreaking part of being an artist - when you can’t capture them because you are distracted by the events of the day. She finds that tea helps her feel “at home” and often that is what provides the space to create. She is currently finalising a play script and working on a film. 


Watch Mel's conversation on our virtual stage via our YouTube channel below: