Walking tour of Kliptown Soweto

Laurice Taitz is Jozi’s queen of mavens (aka founder and editor of the amazing publication Johannesburg In Your Pocket). She has an extraordinary knowledge of Joburg and always manages to find relatively unknown hidden gems.  Ntokoza Dube or TK is one of these.  He runs walks through Kliptown and when, in late 2015, Laurice asked if I wanted to join one of his tours, I leapt at the opportunity.  Walking tours are my thing.  In 2013 I wrote a blog about the different kind of perspective and experience one gets when walking a district rather than driving through it.  http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/walking-in-the-city-explore-joburg-on-foot.

Born in Kliptown TK matriculated in 2005 after which he started doing work for an amazing man called Bob Nameng (who TK said kept him off the streets).  In 1987 Bob started an organization called SKY (Soweto Kliptown Youth) which does a range of community upliftment programmes one of which is running tours of Kliptown.  In 2008 TK showed a group around the neighbourhood and through this met an Australian woman who was so impressed with him that she funded a trip to Australia and gave him a financial leg-up. In 2009 TK worked at Origins Centre at Wits and in 2010 at the Soweto Hotel in a guiding capacity. He has now branched out on his own as TKD Tours.

Foyer of the Soweto Hotel

Foyer of the Soweto Hotel

Contextual displays dealing with repressive Apartheid laws

Contextual displays dealing with repressive Apartheid laws

We met at the Soweto Hotel and after a welcome cup of coffee went to the small museum right opposite the hotel  – a little jewel which focuses on the  1955 Congress of the People  with photographs, newspaper clippings and contextual installations.  It was the Congress of the People that led a year later to 156 of the Congress leaders being arrested in the early hours of 5th  December and the infamous treason trial  The imprisonment in communal cells in Johannesburg Prison (at Constitution Hill) resulted in what Mandela described as “the largest and longest unbanned meeting of the Congress Alliance in years”!

 

Stacks of Impepho

Stacks of Impepho

Gogo Sylvia's Muthi Shop

Gogo Sylvia’s Muthi Shop

 

Wandering off towards the trading hub of Union St  we passed Gogo Sylvia’s muthi shop. Outside were stacks of Impepho for  burning at the birth of a child and brooms to sweep away bad spirits.

 

 

 

 

 

25 Hair dressing

24 hawkers

Union Street was buzzing with street life, informal trading, hawkers plying their wares and fresh produce,  women having their hair done. It was crowded and bustling – kinda chaotic but full of energy.  We were struck by how parts of Kliptown have relatively good infrastructure while others have clearly been badly neglected.

 

As-Salaam Alykum

As-Salaam Alykum

Fresh Halaal trotters and tripe

Fresh Halaal trotters and tripe

The evidence of the multiracial living and working that is so much part of Kliptown’s historical fabric is everywhere to be seen. It is this along with the houses which are individually designed that gives Kliptown its particular feel which is so different from the parts of Soweto where programmatic housing was undertaken.

 

48 historical kitchen

Oom Bolo

Oom Bolo

The highlight of the tour was a stop at Oom Bolo’s idiosyncratic museum. Oom Bolo is a photographer and collector and has developed this self-made museum which highlights everyday life in historic Kliptown.   We enjoyed a colddrink sitting round one of the tables (it’s possible to get a meal) while Oom Bolo had many personal stories to tell about living in Kliptown and what it was like living under the stringent laws of the Apartheid regime.

 

33 House & toilet

71 dirt roadThere is a clear lack of basic facilities and infrastructure  in much
of Kliptown, with communal taps for water, portaloos, no tarred streets, total lack of any drainage, minimal electrical connections etc.

 

 

A community vegetable garden

A community vegetable garden

70 white house & gardenHowever despite this obvious dire poverty and lack of access to basic resources and infrastructure there is a vibrant sense of community and there are so many examples of private individuals making the very best to transform public spaces with urban gardens, attention to pavements, and newly painted houses.

 

Falko and Rasty's work Oct 2015

Photographing the photographer (Laurice Taitz): TK posing against Falko and Rasty’s work Oct 2015

Falko, Martha Cooper and Rasty April 2104. Courtesy Rowan Pybus

(L toR) Rasty, Martha Cooper and Falko April 2014. Courtesy Rowan Pybus

There is some wonderful graffiti in Kliptown too.  Redbull’s Amphiko Academy visited Kliptown during their 10 day event in April 2014 with well-known graffiti artists including Falko and Rasty and the famous American street art photographer Martha Cooper (who had previously visited Kliptown in 2012 with some Brazilian graffiti artists.)

 

By Falko

By Falko

 

By Falko

By Falko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za will be recommending this tour to guests as it gives very different insights into Soweto as compared to the drive through in a van or car.  It’s well worth it.  Call Ntokoza (TK) Dube +27 73 133 5234 or email tktours.dube13@gmail.com  to book.  See also: https://www.inyourpocket.com/johannesburg/tkd-tours_140721v

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The sky’s the limit – humbling encounters in Kliptown

I’m no politician and have no sense of how long it takes to address infrastructural issues and inequalities in access to education, health and basic services.   Apart from the homeless living in parks, in culverts and under bridges, we only have to see conditions in places like Alex, Diepsloot, Zandspruit, Kliptown … the list is long and daunting .. to begin to comprehend the challenges that any new municipal government has ahead of it in terms of redressing inequities and providing acceptable living conditions.   Last year I was privileged to join a walking tour of Kliptown led by Ntokoza Dube aka TK (more of TK and his tours in a further blog) as well as more on Kliptown, one of the oldest parts of Soweto and also one of its most neglected areas.

Bob Nameng outside the SKY Foundation

Bob Nameng outside the SKY Foundation

SKY Foundation started in 1987

SKY Foundation started in 1987

One of the places TK took us to was SKY Foundation, the acronym  for  Soweto Kliptown Youth, founded in 1987 by another extraordinary man – Bob Nameng.   Bob, himself a neglected street child, was adopted by the legendary Mama Eva Makoko, who ran a clinic in Kliptown.  As he says, he was given a second chance. Deeply steeped in Christian principles and biblical teachings, SKY runs a number  of initiatives to uplift the surrounding community. These include a learning centre, a youth club, feeding schemes, Sunday school, sports activities,  care for the aged,  etc.

So when a friend who was moving house wanted to pass on a wonderful collection of children’s books as well as some toys and craft activities, I knew just whom to approach.

 

 

Candice Madondo outside Mighty Evolution Kids Nursery Preschool

Candice Madondo outside Mighty Evolution Kids Nursery Preschool

 

Last week I met TK outside the Soweto Hotel and we crossed the railway line (on foot) and met Bob at Sky Foundation.  After hearing some of Bob’s initiatives undertaken to uplift the surrounding area as well as further plans for the future, we set off for a very short drive to Mighty Evolution Kids Nursery Preschool run by a dynamic passionate young woman, Candice Madondo.

 

 

Entering through a tiny yard with a row of small potties on one side and  Pottiesshoes Shoes Mighty Evolution Kids Nursery Preschoolcarefully lined up on the wall the other side, we were shown into the small 2-room space which is where Candice and her 2 carers look after 28 under 6 year olds.   Thirteen younger ones, ranging from 8 months to 2 and half, were in the first small room while the 15 older ones (from 2 and a half to 6) were sitting 4 to a table in the second room.

 

Bob asking the children how old they are

Learning materials on the wall

Learning materials on the wall

 

Apart from one of the littlies taking fright at Bob’s dreads and a strange umlungu, everybody else was cheerful, engaged and fully ready to count to 20,  rattle of the alphabet and sing some songs.

 

 

 

Daily routineCandice arrived slightly later as, being a Thursday, she was involved in the weekly soup kitchen at the Church. Candice is one of those energetic passionate and committed young women that will always make a difference to the community around her, wherever she is and whatever she does.  She started teaching at Sunday school when she was 14 and is clearly deeply religious.  She told me how  3 years ago God spoke to her in church and prophesied that she would work with children.   At the beginning of 2016, the woman who ran Mighty evolution Kids Nursery Preschool  asked Candice to take it over and Candice knew that God’s prophecy had come true. Now she runs the school with 2 helpers starting at 6.30 in the morning until the last child is collected around 4.30 pm. Parents pay R300 a month for the younger children and R250 for the older children.  Candice said that although the school is registered with the education authorities, because it does not comply with some of the Education Department’s requirements for outside toilets and an outside kitchen, they receive no government funding.

The ultimate Catch 22 situation – you don’t have the funds to become compliant in order to receive the funds you require to become compliant.

Candice plans to transform some of the bleak surrounding area into a playground and even more 'classroom' space

Candice plans to transform some of the bleak surrounding area into a playground and even more ‘classroom’ space

Like Bob, Candice has plans for the future – to extend the school (all with private funds and materials) to include an outside kitchen, outside toilets and an outside play area. The provision of water-borne sewerage disposal is sparse in Kliptown hence the ubiquitous presence of portaloos and Candice will need to take pipes to the nearest disposal point for the new toilets.

Candice was over the moon when I passed on the several bags of children’s books as well as a few items of clothing and some toys.  I now know where any toys, books, activities and baby, toddler and children’s clothes are greatly needed and will be much appreciated. And Candice stressed that anything like paint or any building materials would be used to expand the facilities. And with all the other initiatives at the SKY foundation, all donations – craft materials, clothes, second hand furniture, wall paint, kitchen equipment, the list is endless – will be welcomed by Bob.  As with all communities where resources are scarce, nothing will go unused.

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Exhibitions galore – catch them before they close at end of August

Inna Joburg Photo Courtesy FADA

Inna Joburg. Photo: Courtesy FADA

There are several exciting exhibitions showing until the end of August. At the University of Johannesburg Bunting Road Campus is the VIAD FADA centre – a real mouthful when spelt out in full: Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, part of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.  And at the FADA gallery are two interesting installations which can be seen until 26th August.  In ‘The Front Room Inna Joburg’  British-born writer-artist-curator Michael McMillan, who is of Caribbean migrant heritage, recreates an African-Caribbean family front room which looks at ways in which tradition, modernity, and creolised culture intersect.   Apart from speaking about how Black British identity is established in the 1970s, the installation also deals with public and private space, status and aspiration in what McMillan calls ‘impression management’.  For more see http://www.viad.co.za/the-front-room-inna-joburg-by-michael-mcmillan/

Boat carrying first major wave of Caribbeans to England Photo Courtesy Huffington Post

Boat carrying first major wave of Caribbeans to England.  Photo: Courtesy Huffington Post

Running alongside Mcmillan’s installation is The Arrivants in which UK-based artist-designer-academic Christine Checinska investigates the relationship between culture, race and dress. The conceptual departure point for the work is the 1948 arrival of the Empire Windrush at London’s Tilbury Docks carrying some 500 Jamaican migrants –“colonial subjects invited by the government to assist in rebuilding post-war Britain – hoping to make a better life in the ‘Mother Country’.” The Empire Windrush’s arrival marked the first arrival in England  of large numbers of African-Caribbeans.  For more see http://www.viad.co.za/the-arrivants-by-christine-checinska/

There is an upcoming  public programme with a public walkabout of The Front Room Inna Joburg and The Arrivants with Michael McMillan on 17 August at  17h30 for 18h00. On the 18 August at 18h00 is the screening of the BBC4 documentary video, Tales from the Front Room, followed by discussion with Michael McMillan. Both events take place at the FADA gallery on the Bunting Rd Campus in Auckland Park

You can also make a trip to several galleries along #ROAM #RosebankArtMile which  have exhibitions closing at the end of August. 

Andrew Tshabangu from the Bridge Series 1998

Andrew Tshabangu from the Bridge Series 1998

Showing at Gallery MOMO until 29/08 is a group exhibition including works by Ayana V Jackosn, Mary Sibande and Andre Thsabangu one of whose works is seen on the left.

Keith Dietrich’s one-man exhibition Fragile Histories, Fugitive Lizamore Lives [Justice and Injustice at the Cape 1700-1800] as well as a group print exhibition both show at Lizamore and Associates until 27/08.  For some time now, Dietrich has been working with folded paper, texts and photographs. Drawing on information from some 1,220 trials that took place between 1692 and 1802 in the Cape, Dietrich’s artist’s book and four photomontage triptychs comment on the harsh sentences meted out by the Dutch East India Company.

Artists participating in the group exhibition include: Grace Mmabatho Mokalapa, Bevan de Wet, Titia Ballot, Pebofatso Mokoena, Philip Mabote, Lekau Matsena and Michael Selekane.

Gawie Joubert's 'Wondrously'

Gawie Joubert’s ‘Wondrously’

Showing at In Toto until  29/08 is Gawie Joubert in a one-man exhibition entitled Biophilia.  Authentic Thinkers is a group show of contemporary artists which runs at Priest Espresso Bar until 26 August.

Showing at the Goodman Gallery from 20/08 until 14/09 is Shirin

'Untitled' from 'The Roja' series

‘Untitled’ from ‘The Roja’ series

Neshat’s  Dreamers. Neshat is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. She has held major solo exhibitions in renowned international museums – such as the Tate, Serpentine, Guggenheim Bilbao & Whitney Museum of American Art. In this first solo exhibition on the African continent, she shows 2 new video installations Roja (2016) and Sarah (2016), including new photographs from the Roja series. As the title Dreamers suggests, the exhibition is based on aspects of the artist’s own dreams-  “I have been haunted by the power of dreams for years” says Neshat, “I am fascinated by how in a state of dream, the boundaries in between madness and sanity, reality and fiction, conscious and subconscious are blurred and broken” (2016).  For more see:  http://www.goodman-gallery.com/exhibitions/624

Matisse walkabouts

Matisse walkabouts

And of course don’t forget about those 2 most joyful of exhibitions : Matisse at the Standard Bank Gallery until 17th September.  There are regular walkabouts.  See http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/too-much-to-do-and-too-little-time  and Battiss at Wits Art Museum until 9th October.

We have guests staying at http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za who are particularly interested in contemporary Southern African art so they are delighted with all that is on offer.

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