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WePresent | “DZATA” is the Film Reimagining Africa’s Technological History                                        

A trio of South African artists have created a film that seeks to reimagine Africa’s place in the history of technology. Inspired by the African transcendalists of yore who traversed the continent amassing knowledge, the filmmakers use elaborate costumes, gorgeous settings, and AI imagery to depict the work of fictional scientists associated with the “DZATA” Institute, supposedly established in 1553. The project is inspired by Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga’s idea of a mobile laboratory, embodying the age-old tradition of African transcendentalists (isanusi in isiZulu) who roamed from kingdom to kingdom, amassing different methods and knowledge. The name “DZATA” is taken from the mysterious ruins of an ancient Venda kingdom, located in the north of South Africa. These ruins, renowned for their unusual dark-blue stone construction that echoes the architectural brilliance of the Great Zimbabwe ruins, are a testament to indigenous innovation. The artists see this complex stone construction as an early form of technology, a visual language of resilience and persistence that reverberates through the ages.