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New Year’s Old Racists

  The beach has always revealed South Africa in its most naked state. During apartheid, under “Whites Only” signs, it pettily, but overtly, dictated first and second-class citizenry: Where natural beauty and access to calm waters abounded, Blacks were not allowed. In contemporary South Africa, it is used by racists like Penny Sparrow and her [...]

The Art of Public Space

  The Art of Public Space: Curating and Re-imagining the Ephemeral City by Kim Gurney (Palgrave Macmillan)     “Someone once described writing about performance art as ‘trying to catch lightening in a bottle,’” says Kim Gurney, a research associate at the UCT African Centre for Cities and author of the recently published The Art [...]

Politics of Payment

  Whether you’re talking million-rand projects, monthly stipends or receipts for transport and airtime, participatory public art practice is loaded with tricky questions about the politics of payment. The top-down relationship between funder, artist and community creates all kinds of power imbalances, which are exacerbated when rubbing up against the issues of access to capital. [...]

A Dignified Space in Phakamisa

  “There is a snake that lives in Phakamisa,” says Awonke Yali (27) who goes by the nickname MacGyver. His friends, a group of mostly teenagers with a handful of twentysomethings, laugh at his quip. “A three-headed snake,” adds one with a grin. “You laugh, but at night when you are sleeping in your bed, [...]