J.16FLYER-FINALE-FRONT-This June 16, like the four before it, Orlando West presents itself as the rallying point for those committed to the work of rhyming into being, an honest world; a world where we look each other in the eyes. Where we reject the privilege offered to make us forget; to rip us apart; to sign us up as co-conspirators in this brutal, unjust system of divide and rule.

The ArtRising runs from Friday 13 – Monday 16 June, 2014. Across these four days we will be screening films, hosting a memory circle and enjoying the best of African conscious art. See:





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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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


I recently found out that Imbawula Trust is celebrating 10 years of its existence this year.  first thing I thought was: “wow! Its been that long?” and : “How long have I been with this?”.

The journey has been wonderful.  The journey has been fulfilling. It has been a once in a lifetime journey that I have been privileged to share with the activists that have shared their light with Imbawula.  I joined Imbawula when I went to Fire on the Mountain 3…or as it was known…F.O.M3.

I went down to Cape Town in a bus after waiting for a day in Newtown for it to arrive. We built friendships. We built partnerships.  We built future plans sitting waiting for Faya.  It was here that I met half the people who are in my life, the people I go out with, the people I hold close and the people I usually hang with.

My whole life…actually, about 10 years was written while we waited for the bus. As much as everyone was hungry, tired and exhausted; we kept hope alive because we believed in the new and the promise that is Faya.  I was a little artist hoping to sell something at the festival. I sold nothing. I went in alone, scared…not knowing who I would meet or the experience I would have. The only sure person I knew was T-mac (known each other since Primary school and down the street in the hood). With hope and youth I had no idea where I was going and what I would be doing.

The bus took its time…and whilst we sat waiting: more people came. More people asked what was happening, ran home and packed their bags.  More people went to buy “liks”.  We sat on the platform of the old train station in Newtown behind Kippies and the Market Theater, some slept and some took regular walks.

When the bus arrived: people were anxious, wanted to get passed the list, people shoved for a piece of the faya.  The youths were hungry for a revolution of a different kind.

We were children of the revolution and we took a step towards revolution…

After many stops at garages and breaks to stretch our legs out…it was daybreak and the festival had begun.  We were just wiping the sleep from our eyes into the Cape.  Friendships were forged, crews met crews, artists met artists…bonds bigger than word were created.

As we came around the mountain…There was a fire on the mountain.  Everyone looked at each other and the mountain: We knew this was the beginning of a chapter of our lives that fate had orchestrated.

Fire on the mountain gave us a reason to keep forging, writing, filming, graffing, skating, painting, creating, spitting…we were the generation of Faya.

looking at park jams for new talent

looking at park jams for new talent



waiting for the busswaziland

heading to swaziland for some cultural interventions

heading to swaziland for some cultural interventions

long time activistson the ground workwe meet the peoplefacilatation       keleketlakeleketla

10h00 – 12h00:                   youth club t-shirt printing workshop in the park

12h00 – 14h00:                  memory circle in lebo’s backpackers 

14h00 – 15h00:                  jahm session in the park

16h00 – 20h00:                  movie screenings in lebo’s backpackers

16h00 – 20h00:                   sound expe­­­­­rience in the park

 all day activities

indigo market in the park

aerosoul movement in the park (bring your own paint, walls are plentiful)

bmx’ing & skatin’ in the street