We Call it ‘Madiba Magic’, Miami 2018

Siopis' installation 'We Call it Madiba Magic' exhibited in 2018 at Pérez Art Museum in Miami (PAMM), for a show titled 'The World's Game: Fútbol and Contemporary Art'. With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming up, the exhibition explored how the sport has stimulated artists to reflect upon its implications on society.

The first international match after apartheid. Half-time, a goalless draw. A helicopter appears and Nelson Mandela emerges onto the pitch. He has just been inaugurated president, ‘nation building’ his decree. Two goals come within two minutes! ‘Madiba Magic!’ Everyone invokes the president’s clan name. The Africa Cup of Nations is next! Then the bid win for the first World Cup on African soil. ‘Makarapa’ marks the magic moment – a miner’s hard hat transformed by hand into a fantastic fan helmet. Makarapa originally meant ‘scrapers’ – migrant workers forced to ‘scrape’ a living on the mines. Makarapa turned into fanwear long ago, after Kaizer Chiefs supporter Alfred Baloyi wore a hard hat as protection against flying objects at a game and decided to paint it. Everyone eyed his creation. Trading started. He added horns. Then, with a box knife, he cut out insignia, flags, soccer stars and Madiba. Makarapa makers appear everywhere. The World Cup promises new markets. Then brand protection befalls the nation. Unlicensed local traders are barred from selling near the stadium – ‘You can’t work here.’ ‘Yes we can’ emblazons a makarapa, the slogan of another president, an African American who wields a wand of stars and stripes.