Monthly Archives: June 2013




Rea ganya (we light up)

On our third day of Artrising a different energy took hold of the space we located ourselves in. The space recognised that we had to let go and let the space speak.

In the morning we set up the Indigo Mahala  Market that had neighbours coming to ask about the vintage clothing on sale, the t-shirts on display and what all this meant.  On discovering that Artrising was about raising funds for the Primary school that was a block away from their houses, we told to make this event every week!

The Indigo Mahala Market

On the last of its days, the market had vintage clothing , Beading Dancer merchandise, T-shirts and vegan muffins on sale.  The market ran till the night…it became a night market. The evening air, whispers of a magical forest and flickers of candle light were something wonderful it itself.

The Aerosol Movement

The aerosol movement also took on a chilled back easy energy. We had two new artists in wall close to the venue.  Today really was about the art of spraying than anything else.

We watched as the community interacted with the piece, cause it is close to a walk way into different houses.

Sound Experience

The sound experience was also laid back with some artists coming out to support who haven’t been seen in a while.  We listened around Imbawula as mcees voiced their thoughts. The circle of fire made of lit candle lights set a stage that seemed more like the makings of a holy ground. The candles marked where mcees could step into a lyrical realm.

We then listened to the sounds of the dj as he kept us warm around blazing fires on a cold Johannesburg night.


Kgantsa ho ganye can be found mostly on weekends at the Thabisang Primary school on orlando west, soweto working on the lig\brary.

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Amongst the mish-mash of cultural activities, we flower…Artrising! Our second day of Artrising, in Orlando West at Spanish Inn we soldier on with activism as our guide.  Indigo Mahala market, Aerosol movement and the Sound Experience take shape. The Indigo market showcased some vintage fashion, handmade accesories, T-shirt prints, Coffee and tea cafe and Home-cooked meals. The Aerosol movement showcased some of Soweto’s long running names, while the sound experience had a mix of great dj’s and mcees.

Catch us out in Nkoe street by the park. We soldier on today from noon till 6pm.

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the struggle against apartheid in south africa is divided by the 16th june 1976.  under the wing of the black consciousness movement, the soweto student’s representative council insisted that they should have control over the education they receive.  what began as a protest march became an uprising that resonated with youth across the country.  under the rally call of “liberation now, education later!” activists were prepared to sacrifice everything in their quest for freedom.

this weekend we pick up the spear that has especially been left for us. in soweto, kgansta ho ganye sound a social fire alarm evoking the memory of how powerful the people of this country, the azainians, are.  we recall how at our command whole communities were rendered ungovernable and entire economies crashed.  we remember that until we have the power to govern all aspects of our lives – we are not free.

the programme is for the 15, 16 & 17 june 2013.  on all three days we will painting on walls, playing beats and hosting the indigo market and popup shops.  on the 16 june we will be facilitating the annual memory circle at spanish inn, soweto @ 10:30 – corner of moema and kudu street.  this year we ask ourselves:  what education did you want in 1976 and how is this how is this relevant today?      


heads at wqork

heads at work

Circle of fire report back  

2 June 2013


I am told that after you have prepared for it your whole life, change comes suddenly.  The unexpected twist for Kgantsa was a visit from Nick Mirzoeff of the occupy Wall Street movement (O.W.S).  He was in South Africa for public presentations on his recent book, the Right to look: A counterhistory of visuality.  On this particular Sunday he was travelling to a circle of fire in Thabisang primary school in Soweto.  His travel companion was Detlev Krige a member of the human economy programme at the University of Pretoria.

Nick shares knowledge

During the circle he spoke of their occupation in Zucotti Park in New York.  Here they opened the conversation on the most private of topics – debt.  When they asked people why they had come the answer was simple – people are in debt.  They had borrowed money to study but are now unable to repay these loans as there are no jobs.  In the park they held debt assemblies and debt burns.  People shared and burned symbols of their debt.  This cathartic process allowed individuals shed the identity of debtor as they came to realise that they are not alone and are being made to be in debt because of an exploitative social system.

The surfacing of debt is part of the O.W.S’s movement strategy of “leap” and “pivot” – go where they won’t expect you and when you are there make a political point out of the issue.  Through their occupation, activist used their bodies as sites of resistance as they claimed the right to be there.  It’s a tide that is spreading all over the world as dissent surfaces through the occupation of centres such as Taksim Square in Istanbul or on Johannesburg’s highways that are set for e-tolling.  Because we remember that streets traditionally belong to us – they remain sites of popular resistance and protest.

After their violent eviction from Zucotti Park, they began reconstituting themselves.  One of their new initiatives is to create living, learning and organising centres in Detroit, Palestine and New York.  Detroit is the birth place of Motown and the ford motor car.  After 2008 financial crisis this African American city’s economy has imploded.  Here people are engaging with real solutions of how they are going to live after the crisis.  The answer from the Detroit community was to go back to the basics – to use the centres to develop skills in urban agriculture, sufficiency and media.


Education– a process of unlearning and re-membering – also took centre stage when Imbawula reconstituted itself in 2010 in Soweto.  Kgantsa ho ganye is the name given to the project that celebrates learning as sharing.  At the media centre we have also have begun the conversation on what the purpose of education should be.  From the circle, the consensus is to create what Antonio Gramsci’s called “organic intellectuals.”  Neville Alexander defines this as “people who understand how the system functions and decides to fight for or against it.”  Paulo Freire argues that education should create the full human being – one that is liberated – neither oppressed nor oppressor.  Education should teach us how build and create as opposed to fix and work.



Kgantsa too must returns back to the community of Soweto for its mandate on the media centre’s vision.  This question will be posed to the community in our annual memory circle that takes place every year on the 16 June.  The intention is to remember and reflect as we ask ourselves:  what education did you want in 1976 and how is this relevant today?   If you are interested, the memory circle will take place at Spanish inn, Soweto – corner of Moema and Kudu street beginning @ 10:30. Please contact Bonolo if you would like to attend or help with the planning on 082 818 9558.

Kara MacKay