Archive: Issue No. 85, September 2004

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.
EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB    |    5 Years of Artthrob    |    About    |    Contact    |    Archive    |    Subscribe    |    SEARCH   


17.09.04 Anton Karstel at Franchise
17.09.04 Bob Gosani Bob Gosani at Franchise
17.09.04 Karl Gietl at Alliance Francaise
17.09.04 Henry Symonds at Zuva Gallery
17.09.04 Velaphi Mzimba at Everard Read
17.09.04 Nicole Thomas and Oupa Nkosi at JAG
17.09.04 Santu Mofokeng at Momo
03.09.04 Ryan Arenson at The Premises
03.09.04 Negotiate at JAG
03.09.04 Break the Silence at RAU
03.09.04 Warm Red Cavern at MojaModern
03.09.04 Israeli art and culture at Beyachad
03.09.04 Jürgen Schadeberg at Gallery @ 157
03.09.04 Happy cloths at Gallery @ 157
03.09.04 Men of Ardmore at Gallery on the Square
03.09.04 Robert Hodgins at the Goodman Gallery
03.09.04 Wilsenach, Erasmus, Eksteen at Gordart
03.09.04 Lomography at
03.09.04 Price, Jooste, Fenn and Loubser at Artspace
03.09.04 Pierneef at ABSA Gallery
03.09.04 Konrad Welz at Warren Siebrits
01.08.04 Terry Kurgan and Jo Ractliffe at JAG
01.08.04 Rorke's Drift at JAG
01.08.04 Diana Kortbeek at Momo


17.09.04 Doll Project at Unisa
03.09.04 Norman Catherine at PAM
01.08.04 Ariana van Heerden at PAM
01.05.04 Group Portrait: SA Family Stories at National Cultural History Museum

17.09.04 Ten Years of Democracy: Limpopo


Anton Karstel

Anton Karstel

Anton Karstel at Franchise

In his current solo exhibition, entitled 'Wild Thing', Pretoria-born and -educated Anton Karstel presents two installations, exploring topography and demarcated territory.

The first, Nyala refers to both antelope and armoured South African Police trucks. In this work, Karstel treats the armoured vehicle like a flayed animal. An assemblage of photographs on the floor is evocative of a massive piece of skin. The surface of the vehicle is recorded in 20x20cm sections with slight angle shifts in each picture. Karstel's intention is to allow the camera to skim the surface and transfer a sense of its physical presence to a photographic. This focus conveys Karstel's interest in the delicate relationship between the life of the referent and the life of its visual recreation.

Karstel's second work involves direct architectural intervention. He considers gallery walls 'as a refractory substance beneath their white finish'.

Karstel has shown his works consistently over the last decade, in venues ranging from the Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, to the KKNK Festival in Oudtshoorn and the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, UK.

Opens: September 1
Closes: September 17

Bob Gosani at Franchise

September is not only Heritage month, but also occasion to celebrate the legendary and remarkable photographic vision of 1950s lens-man Bob Gosani, with the launch of the book Tauza: Bob Gosani's people, and an exhibition of the images included in the book. The title stems from the famous prison image of the old Fort Number 4, called 'Tauza'.

Bailey's African History (BAHA) archivist Jacqui Masiza curated the images for the book. She comments: 'The pictures chosen are an apt description of Bob as being very articulate, adventurous and artistic. For me it has been a journey well travelled. And it feels good to be a part of this historic journey, and I hope people will be able to celebrate and honour this great person'.

Tauza: Bob Gosani's people, complied and edited by Mothobi Mutloatse and Jacqui Masiza with a foreword by Doc Bikitsha and interviews conducted by Z.B. Molefe, is published by Mutloatse Art Heritage Trust, and is available at R165. It launches at franchise, accompanied by the auction of six of Gosani's best known portraits, including the image of a young Nelson Mandela in boxing pose with sparring mate Jerry Maloi.

Opens: September 17
Closes: December 11

Karl Gietl

Karl Gietl

Karl Gietl at Alliance Francaise

Karl Gietl was born in Worcester in the Western Cape, in 1970. He was schooled in Benoni and Johannesburg and first began exhibiting in 1994. Since then he has shown extensively, both locally and internationally. In 1998, he won the ABSA Atelier Award which gave him the opportunity to live and work in Paris. Between 1999 and 2002 Gietl lived, traveled and exhibited in France, Holland and Belgium. After a short stay in Spain, he returned to South Africa at the beginning of 2003. He now lives and works in Troyeville, Johannesburg. His current exhibition of new paintings is entitled 'City, People, Mythologies'.

Opens: September 3
Closes: September 16

Henry Symonds

Henry Symonds

Henry Symonds at Zuva

South African-born, New Zealand-resident artist Henry Symonds is Dean of Instruction at the Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. His current show 'Interlocutions' was recently shown in Auckland, and will travel to Zuva's Gallery in Arizona.

Opens: September 9
Closes: September 26

Velaphi Mzimba at Everard Read

'Giant faces with every subtle nuance examined confront one. The artist invites the viewer to draw comparison with the American Chuck Close. Huge fruit and everyday objects painted close up and dominating space with their very scale recall the giant objects from Oldenburg's consumer society. Squashed cans and found objects litter Mzimba's abstracted recollections of his childhood.

'His portraits, if indeed they are just portraits, stare back at the viewer with a self confidence that comes from a rock solid cultural base - be that Samburu, Zulu, Xhosa or Ndebele ...', says gallery director Mark Read of Mzimba's work.

Opens: September 16
Closes: October 7

Nicole Thomas and Oupa Nkosi at JAG

Collections of images and stories by 12 photographers who are all affiliated with the Market Photography Workshop, and who all live in and around Johannesburg, are currently being shown at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Nicole Thomas shows a series entitled Beyers Naude Drive, and Oupa Nkosi presents Kliptown.

Opens: September 19
Closes: October 14

Santu Mofokeng at Gallery Momo

Santu Mofokeng was born in 1956 in Johannesburg. He began his photographic career informally as a street photographer in Soweto, and in the early 1980s set out to pursue photography in earnest, mostly through documentary coverage of political activity.

'As a photographer, I am aware of the nature of my enterprise, its possibilities, limitations and tendency unwittingly to reproduce some of the hierarchies that it is in theory setting out to attack. A successful portrait is a negotiation between the person depicted and the photographer�. this negotiation is not one that occurs between equals (the dice is always loaded in favour of the photographer). Most of the time the subject has an idea of how they would like to be represented. I frame the image. I choose the viewpoint. I notice the light. I choose the depth focus, what to accent, what to leave out', Mofokeng commented in 2001.

Having won several awards, and staged numerous exhibitions, Mofokeng re-situates the role of photography in SA's history. Engaging with subjects as diverse as religious ritual, black middle-class identities and the signifying potential of landscape, he upsets the comfort zones of cultural memory, always foregrounding the ideological role of representation.

This exhibition features a selection of his black and white series of Township Billboards, which he started in 1989. 'Billboards have been the medium of communication between the rulers and the citizens of townships since the beginning. The billboard... is a relic from the times when Africans were subjects of power and the township was a restricted area, subject to laws... by-laws and ordinances regulating people's movements... . It is without irony when I say that billboards can be... reference points when plotting the... development of the township. Billboards capture and encapsulate ideology, the social, economic and political climate at any given time. They retain their appeal for social engineering...', he said in 2003.

Mofokeng won the Ernest Cole Scholarship in 1992 and studied at the International Centre for Photography in New York. For 10 years, he worked as researcher and documentary photographer for the Institute for Advanced Social Research at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has won many awards and fellowships in Africa, the US and Germany, and has shared his vision and ideas at a number of seminars, symposiums and panel discussions worldwide.

Opens: September 22
Closes: October 18

Ryan Arenson

Ryan Arenson
White Tree, 2004
Oil on canvas

Ryan Arenson at The Premises

'Pierneef, Black White and Coloured', an exhibition of paintings and lino cuts by Ryan Arenson is a comprehensive body of new work, resulting from the artist's extended residency in Paris, which began in 1999, when he won the ABSA Atelier award. While in Europe, Arenson conducted considerable research into 19th century western printmaking and engraving techniques.

In considering the work of apartheid art master Johannes Hendrik Pierneef, Arenson interrogates the compositional values of his linocuts, and meticulously translates them into oil and enamel paintings.

Says Arenson, 'Without dispelling the obvious political content and associations made with South Africa's grand apartheid art Master, Pierneef, I am concerned with a deliberate pursuit of visualising techniques that question the construction of beauty and aesthetics. This process does not preclude the political. In this work I am interested in the visual weight implied in the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate visual sources...'.

Opens: August 1
Closes: September 10



Negotiate at JAG

JAG's Ten Years of Democracy project 'Negotiate' focuses on work by younger artists countrywide. It offers four self-contained exhibitions: 'Intercession', 'Intervention', 'Arbitration' and 'Conciliation', and comprises mixed media and performed artworks and installations throughout the gallery space.

The project as a whole investigates notions of 'negotiation' within the framework of the democracy celebrations. It foregrounds a new generation of artists speaking from a position informed by the experience of ten years of democracy, and not as influenced by the living memories of apartheid.

The first part of this exhibition uses 'intercession' as 'acting on behalf of another', and many of the artists concentrate on its connotations of prayer. In this, the first show in the project, the curators have encouraged a relatively quiet and subtle approach.

Artists participating in this show include Strangelove, Hannes Olivier, Ed Young, Nicholas Hlobo and Simon Gush, and represents a sensitive exploration of the gallery's space within a socio-historical and contemporary framework.

'Intercession' opens: August 7
Closes: August 29
'Intervention opens: September 4
Closes: September 27


Break the Silence at RAU

A print portfolio entitled 'Break the Silence' consisting of 31 prints and featuring the work of 21 South African artists, including Gabisile Nkosi and Trevor Makhoba, and 10 international artists, including Alex Flett (Scotland), Carmen Perrin (Switzerland) is on show.

The artworks assembled in this portfolio form the basis for Art for Humanity's (AfH) HIV/AIDS billboard art and advocacy campaign, which aims to instil, in society, a sense of 'moral ownership' of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. AfH designed the project as a means to contribute to a social and cultural context aimed at promoting sustainable social actions against the pandemic.

The limited edition (25 sets) of prints, each of archival quality and suitable for framing is sold in a handmade (440 x 615 cm) gold embossed portfolio folder. There is also a catalogue of the prints available for purchase. Proceeds from sales will be used to support this advocacy programme.

The initiative has been endorsed by a number of leading HIV/Aids organisations and personalities active in this area, including Peter Piot (Head of United Nations Aids). The exhibition will be opened by Mark Heywood, Head of the AIDS Law Project (Wits) and National Treasurer of the Treatment Action Campaign.

Opens: September 1
Closes: September 22

Warm Red Cavern at MojaModern

MojaModern, a trendy new gallery has opened in what is fast becoming Johannesburg's urban art, design and antiques belt. Positioned in Parktown North, it bills itself as a New York, Chelsea-styled gallery, offering contemporary art by established and upcoming SA artists, at affordable prices.

MojaModern combines the New York chic of clean white walls, cement and glass with knowledgeable staff, good music and a warm, friendly vibe. There's art to suit all tastes at prices to match all budgets. 'We also want to encourage first-time art buyers,' says Delaney, 'We have so much wonderful local art, and we want to make it accessible to everyone.'

The opening show is entitled 'Warm Red Cavern', comprising works that explore the meaning and symbolism of the colour red. Artists including Bronwyn Miller, Luan Nel, Kevin Collins, Trasi Henen and Maja Maljevic take part.

Opens: August 19
Closes: September 17


Israeli art Beyachad

An initiative to reflect on the cultural identity of Israel beyond the conflict she is currently experiencing, is being mounted in the form of a major exhibition of Israeli fine art and ritual objects, organised by the South African Zionist Federation.

Opens: September 4
Closes: September 7

Jürgen Schadeberg

Jürgen Schadeberg
Brushing Up - Getting ready for a photo session, 1954

Jürgen Schadeberg at Gallery@157

Veteran South African photographer Jürgen Schadeberg shows 'On the Beach', a series of new colour work. Although better known for his black and white photos, Schadeberg has been working with colour for more than 50 years. Beach scenes in black and white which he took in the 1950s are also on show here.

Born in Berlin in 1931, Schadeberg emigrated to South Africa in 1950, where he became Chief Photographer, Picture Editor and Art Director for Drum Magazine. During the 1950s, he captured moments in the lives of South Africans - not only ordinary people, but those with the power to influence the country's history. His visual interests also include 1950s jazz in South Africa and he has captured many well-known faces and figures in the jazz community.

Schadeberg is wary of being typecast - 'Photographers progress and develop constantly', he comments. His 1950s images are classics in their own right, but 'On the Beach' is something completely different. Without a political agenda, it's about the joys of being in holiday mode.

These works brings together Schadeberg's diverse talents: the serious focus necessary in putting together a great composition is married with his fascination for jazz, but the music is translated into colour, which is loud, brassy and brash, but not harsh.

Opens: July 24
Closes: September 4

Happy Cloths at Gallery@157

Traditions surrounding women's empowerment through embroidery are growing in South Africa. A number of collectives surround the genre, offering skills to illiterate women, many of whom had never embroidered before. Gallery @ 157 hosts an exhibition of embroidered work by the Richmond Farm Township Embroidery Group, demonstrating simple embroidery and appliqué techniques.

First, this group of nine embroiderers made 'Memory Cloths', which recorded their personal experiences under apartheid. For many of them it was the first time they had shared their experience with anyone. This project is called Amazwi Abesifazane or Voices of Women.

This network of stitchers became a catalyst for much needed industry at times of change in South Africa, and yielded a new project called Okungijabulisayo or What Makes Me Happy. Participants who had created 'Memory Cloths' together now meet to talk about happier subjects. They reflect on tradition and ritual, family life, nature and special events, using embroidery, appliqu� and beadwork in thread 'paintings' on cloth.

All of the stitchers have taken a Crafter's Business Course and are practicing leadership skills they learned as they form a working constitution and a business plan. Proceeds benefit the RFG, allowing them to support their families and to purchase supplies for their craft enterprise.

The exhibition also features Lindiwe Angels, Zulu angels in their traditional leather skirts (isidwaba) and bright beadwork. They were created by Eunice Gambushe and are made by women in Umlazi Township. Both this project, and the RFG project are sponsored by SIZA (a small product development and marketing company).

Opens: August 28
Closes: October 9

Men of Ardmore

Men of Ardmore

Men of Ardmore at Gallery on the Square

The Ardmore Studios in KwaZulu Natal, established by artist F�e Halsted-Berning in the mid 1980s, has developed a sound reputation for magnificent ceramics made primarily by women. In this exhibition, the men involved in the studio will enjoy focus.

The women at Ardmore coil their vases, teapots and dishes, whereas the men sculpt, model and throw the clay. Male creative practitioners in the studio have heralded the emergence of a new creative energy, which has taken Ardmore into another phase and dimension. Crocodiles, snakes, chameleons, frogs, lizards, and fish seem to dominate the male iconography.

Opens: September 1
Closes: September 26

Robert Hodgins

Robert Hodgins
England's green and pleasant, 2003
Oil on canvas

Robert Hodgins at the Goodman Gallery

Robert Hodgins, a self-proclaimed 'old man remembering the darker side of life', has been painting, manically working on 10 paintings simultaneously, for most of his life. At 84, he still has the same vigour and sparkle in his eye he had at 30, which allows him to produce his celebrated paintings about the brighter, playful side of life.

Hodgins lived through a great deal of the 20th century and while he has experienced its worst changes, he maintained in an interview with Elizabeth Donaldson, 'for the most part I see humour in my work because, despite everything, life still manages to enchant and startle me. I love life. It's not a terribly fashionable philosophy, but it's me'. This exhibition explores both the darker and lighter sides of Robert Hodgins.

Opens: September 11
Closes: October 2

Wilsenach, Erasmus and Eksteen at Gordart

Intended as a space where objects are shown as layered composites, 'Reverb' presents work by three artists who employ different approaches to draw attention to the relationship between topography and understanding.

Pretoria University graduate, Retha Erasmus presents an unusual take on her armature-like structural designs. Thousands of glowing strands of fluorescent fishing line, painstakingly threaded through Perspex disks, create a three-dimensional, cocoon-like artwork that is simultaneously a line drawing and a sculpture. Both fragile and ethereal, the artist insists the piece does not command a fixed interpretation from the viewer.

Sculptor and installation artist Berco Wilsenach exploits the socio-cultural meanings of materials in his work. In his sandblasted and stacked glass sculpture, what is known about the medium is implicitly transferred onto the life-sized figure that appears to be cryogenically suspended within its confines. Working in glass, he explains that characteristics of transparency and fragility become covert meanings that attach to the viewer's understanding of the body.

Unisa lecturer Frikkie Eksteen shows a combination of paintings and drawings overgrown by fungi. Conceived as a conservator's nightmare come to life, the collection offers a double-edged take on the consumption of images. The installation freeze-frames the layering of two conflicting cultures by interrupting a process where mushrooms are meant to feed off the works. As much a comment on the impermanence of memory as it is about the embellishment of the past, the artwork spawns surprising meanings from unlikely substrates.

Opens: August 28
Closes: September 23


Lomography at

'The Lomo Story' at comprises the work of selected photographers, working with a Russian-developed Lomo camera, which is currently enjoying trend status in contemporary fashion.

The photographers selected are Kathryn Smith, Stephen Hobbs, Hannelie Coetzee, Nontsikelelo Veleko, dcmnt, Ruth Seopedi Motau and Abrie Fourie.

Each photographer was given either the LCA (35 mm Lomo camera) or the Holga (120 mm Lomo Camera) and encouraged to shoot themes that currently interest them.

Opens: August 7
Closes: September 11


Price, Jooste, Fenn and Loubser at Artspace

Four contemporary women artist-jewellers, comprising Verna Jooste, Geraldine Fenn and Beverley Price the Contemporary Artist Jewellers Of South Africa (CAJOSA), joined by Liz Loubser, engage with materials as diverse as tinfoil, glass, paper and gold.

Using jewellery as their medium, they fuse the divide between fine art and craft, and their work antagonises conventional notions of adornment. They all work expressively - Jooste in large- and small scale art jewellery fine objects, Fenn incorporating hand-made glass beads, Loubser exploring the limits and composition of combined jewellery materials, and Price, juxtaposing maximum labour with non-precious materials.

They will be showing work at IJL 2004(the International Jewellery show Earl's Court, London) in September.

Opens: September 5
Closes: September 25

Pierneef at ABSA Gallery

Absa's permanent collection of about 100 works by South Africa's legendary landscape artist, Jakob Hendrik Pierneef, will be shown.

Opens: September 8
Closes: September 29

Konrad Welz at Warren Siebrits

Konrad Welz's exhibition of a selection of eight videos marks the second anniversary of Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art.

Welz was born in Pretoria in 1967 and is the grandson of the South African artist Jean Welz (1900-1975). He is one of the pioneers of video art in South Africa, having created his first work in 1986. To date, he has produced close to 60 video works, many of which have been shown locally and abroad.

In this exhibition, February: A Quartet of Four Videos will debut. A comprehensive catalogue on the artist's work accompanies the exhibition.

Opens: August 19
Closes: September 11

Johannesburg Circa Now

'Johannesburg Circa Now'
Invitation image

Terry Kurgan and Jo Ractliffe at JAG

Johannesburg-based artists Terry Kurgan and Jo Ractliffe have, for a number of years, been fascinated with how photographs mediate our experience of ourselves in the world. They have teamed up for a three-month-long exhibition and interactive project in collaboration with the Market Theatre Workshop, the Joubert Park Photographers Association and the Wits School of the Arts/Curriculum Development Project Partnership.

'Johannesburg Circa Now' focuses on Jo'burg's transforming inner city environment as seen, interpreted, mediated and constructed through photography.

Opens: July 15

Closes: October 11

Dan Rakgoathe

Dan Rakgoathe
Portrait Profile of a Prophet, 1967
300 x 195mm

Rorke's Drift at JAG

'Rorke's Drift: Empowering Prints 1962-1982' is a retrospective exhibition curated by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs, which has been touring the country since February 2003.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre at Rorke's Drift has long been recognised as a highly influential source of training for black artists in South Africa at a time when tertiary institutions were closed to black students. This is the first major exhibition showcasing Rorke's Drift's most intense creative period.

The timeous project is accompanied by a beautiful publication, (published by Double Storey Books) copiously illustrated with work produced from the time of the centre's establishment at Ceza in 1962, until the closure of the Fine Art School in 1982.

Many works on this exhibition are by Johannesburg artists, including Pat Mautloa, Bongi Dhlomo, Sam Nhlengethwa, Vincent Baloyi and Charles Nkosi.

Opens: July 14
Closes: September 27

Diana Kortbeek at Momo

Dutch artist Diana Kortbeek shows paintings and sculptures at Gallery Momo. She studied at the Art Academy St. Joost in Breda and works within the figurative tradition, focusing primarily on the human condition.

The artist always works from living models. Simplifying the form to key gestural nuances, she reflects on dance and movement in her sculptures. In the last five years Kortbeek has been working in oils. This has added a new dimension to her work, through the use of colour.

Opens: August 26
Closes: September 26


Doll Project at Unisa Gallery

'The Doll Project (Bonolo Botshelo - Fragile Life)' Exhibition features a number of doll presentations, two-dimensional artworks and an angel installation.

This collaborative art exhibition has been organised to increase public awareness of and sound a protest against child rape and child abuse. Mary Jane Hooper and Anne-Marie Moore have led a group of female artists to reflect on this crime by creating dolls.

The exhibition is curated by Gordon Froud and features work by Chris Diedericks, Toni-Ann Ballenden and Judith Mason.

Opens: September 15
Closes: October 29

Norman Catherine at PAM

'Now and then', a retrospective exhibition by Norman Catherine, comprises mixed media, lithography, silkscreen, etching, pastel on paper, oil on canvas, sculpture, installation and more. The exhibition spans his long and prolific career, from his early Surrealist-inspired graphic works, through his 'Fook Island' series to the sculptures and images of strange hybrid beasts for which he's best known.

Opens: August 4
Closes: October 3


Ariana van Heerden at PAM

'The Dynamical: Surf', an exhibition of paintings by Ariana van Heerden, Head of the Department of Textile Design and Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, comments on the constant state of flux of consciousness and nature.

Dynamic systems have transition areas, points at which the system moves from simplicity to complexity; from bright, stable order (or symmetry) to the black, impenetrable movement of chaos. It seems that no system changes in isolation from its environment, so paradoxically, the study of chaos is also the study of wholeness.

Opens: August 11
Closes: October 3

The Plaatje Family

David Goldblatt
The Plaatje Family, 2002
Popo Molefe, Tsholo Molefe, Bo�tumelo 'Tumi' Plaatje
Color photograph

The Manuel Family

David Goldblatt
The Manuel Family, 2002
Zubeida Mauritz, Gavin Mauritz, Kobera 'Koebie' Manuel, Sharifa Adams, Ebrahiem Manuel
Color photograph

The Juggernath Family

David Goldblatt
The Juggernath Family, 2002
Ishwar Ramkissoon, Jayanthie 'Janey' Juggernath, Yuri Ramkissoon, Nikita Ramkissoon
Color photograph

The Galada Family

David Goldblatt
The Galada Family, 2001
Elliot Gcinumzi Galada, Cynthia Nontobeko Galada, Nonzima 'Elsie' Ncinana, Sisonke Galada, Nomakaya Galada, Bongile Galada, Nosisa Galada
Color photograph

Group Portrait: SA Family Stories at National Cultural History Museum

On March 31, Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica and Netherlands Ambassador for Cultural Cooperation Jan Hoekema opened Group Portrait,South African Family Stories Exhibition, giving some indication of how important the event is. The exhibition describes contemporary South Africa through the lifestories of nine South African families. It was curated by Faber the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and drew huge audiences in Holland last year.

South African Family Stories deals with the history of the South African society in the last century. It does so in a special, unusual way. Instead of providing an overview of a complex history of a complex society, the exhibition takes the micro-approach. It tells the story of the country through the lives of nine real families, with different social, cultural, economical and geographical backgrounds. Their stories will be followed, from the end of the 19th century, up until present day.

The exhibition follows each family through successive generations. One or two members in each generation will lead the public through the ups and downs of their families, related to South African history. A teenager, who also expresses ideas about the future, will represent the last generation. So in each family a string of main characters is formed, drawing nine twisted lines through history.

It is a big challenge to transfer this human, personal way of history writing, into an authentic and exciting three-dimensional exhibition. This task has been undertaken by a large group of South African professionals. Around each family a separate team has been formed, consisting of a writer/researcher, an artist, a photographer and a designer. In some cases a filmmaker has been added.

This multi-disciplinary approach should establish an intense, emotional interaction between the people whose lives are portrayed and the visitors to the exhibition. Nine photographers and 11 artists produced work on commission, based on the nine family stories, in co-operation with the family members themselves, and the other team members. The photographers and artists together form an interesting representation of the South African art world, with several renowned names, but also relatively young and promising artists.

The researchers were involved in collecting personal artefacts, historical photographs and documents.

The theme of the exhibition is especially attractive because of the many educational possibilities for a wide variety of people. Imbali has developed educational material to be used for secondary school children at different levels. The material can be used in relation to different subjects as Social Skills, Art and Culture, History. Educational value lies in the understanding of historical processes, the importance of family relations, insight into issues of identity, living in a multi-cultural society, the value of art and culture in understanding and coping with life. The nine families have such different backgrounds that identification is always possible.

Together with the exhibition, Kwela Books in Cape Town and KIT Publishing Amsterdam published a book: "Group Portrait". It is richly illustrated with more than 200 images of the photographs and art works from the exhibition, as well as historical material. The book is available at all major bookstores.

The families that are featured in the exhibition include:

Central figure is Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1875-1932), author, interpreter, journalist, and politician closely linked to the founding of the ANC.

Sol Plaatje was born in a Christian Tswana-speaking family, near the mission post in Pniel, on the banks of the Vaal River. Later in life he reconstructed his ancestry, based on oral knowledge. The list goes back to the 14th century.

Solomon was an extremely bright student at the mission school. He learned to speak fluent English, German, later Afrikaans and more. In 1894 he went to Kimberley, obtaining the Cape civil service certificate in seven months. Proceeding to Mafeking he became a court interpreter and magistrate's clerk. In 1889 he married Elizabeth M'belle, an Mfengu schoolmistress. During the Anglo-Boer war he stayed in Mafeking during a long siege by Boer-troops. He kept a diary during the siege, a unique document by any standard.

In 1904 he became the editor of the first Tswana-English weekly, Koranta ea Bechuana, eight years later he went to Kimberley and established the newspaper Tsala ea Batho. In 1912 he became politically active, as general correspondence secretary of the ANC. Strongly opposing the Native Land Bill, he travelled with a delegation to England, in later years also to Canada and the USA to get support for their activities. Apart from his political work he was a remarkable man in many ways. He wrote several books, translated Shakespeare into Tswana and wrote the first black South African novel. He apparently was also a good singer. There is a recording of Sol Plaatje singing Nkosi Sikelele iAfrica in 1928!

A prominent descendant is Tumi Plaatje-Molefe; she is the great-granddaughter of Sol's brother Simon (in the Tswana sense of family, a direct descendant) and is married to Popo Molefe, prime minister of the Northwest Province. Her father Johannes Plaatje died in March 2001 and was buried in the western cemetery in Kimberley where Sol is buried too. Her daughter Tsholo is ten years old and the last in line. The family lives in Mafeking again.


Coloured family of mixed European-Zulu descent. The central figure is Cedric Nunn, a photographer. He has one daughter of 16, Kathy, who is also interested in photography.

One of Cedric's great grandfathers was John Dunn, a legendary and colourful 19th century tradesman of English descent, living on the east coast, a one-time friend of Zulu King Cetswayo, but who later fought against him. He wrote a diary, which was published in the 1880s. As a recognised and important Zulu-chief, he owned substantial land. Many Dunn descendants are involved now in land-ownership disputes.

Two other great grandfathers were English military men, Nunn and Nicholson, who were likewise involved in the Anglo-Zulu wars. The fourth was Piet Louw, an Afrikaner Boer. All of them married several Zulu wives, John Dunn the impressive number of 48!

One of Cedric's grandmothers (the daughter of Nicholson) is 100 years old and lives isolated on a small old farm in Kwazulu Natal. There is a marriage picture of her from 1916. Cedric remembers one Zulu grandmother who died when he was 5 years old.

Cedric's father passed away two years ago; his mother is still alive, also living in a little village in KwaZulu natal. She owns a suitcase full of pictures, which is opened occasionally, a source of an endless number of stories.

Cedric went through the colour classification of the Apartheid Regime when he was young. He was as the only child of the family classified as 'Cape coloured' (although he was never near the Cape) the rest of the family was classified as 'other coloured'. When he met a friend who was a photographer he had found his great passion. He became an activist-photographer and went to Johannesburg where he still lives. He has been photographing his family in KwaZulu Natal since the early eighties. The mother of his daughter Kathy was white, which means he could not claim fatherhood when she was born: it would prove an illegal act! Kathy went always to mixed schools in Johannesburg, has a black boyfriend (of whom her coloured family in Kwazulu Natal does not approve!) and likes the black American music and lifestyle.


Central figure is Dolly Rathebe (b. 1928). Her paternal grandparents lived on a farm in Rustenburg; the parents of her mother lived on a farm in Randfontein. They had 12 children; one of them was Dolly's mother. Dolly does not remember much about her grandparents, but visits their graves every year at Easter, and talks to them, as the ancestors are important to her.

Dolly was born on the farm in Randfontein but moved to Sophiatown with her parents when she was a small girl. She was an only child. Her mother used to sing, also in small groups. Dolly grew up to become a well-known singer and actress and sex symbol. She performed in films as African Jim and The magic garden and was the first cover girl of DrumMagazine and Zonk. Drum photographers as J�rgen Schadeberg and Bob Gosani made series about her. She worked many years in the revue African Jazz & Variety. She had a child in 1954, and married in 1956. She then moved to Port Elizabeth with her husband, who was a Xhosa, and had two more children. As she felt very restricted in her possibilities, she divorced and went back to Johannesburg where she came to live in Meadowlands, in Soweto, as Sophiatown had been razed to the ground by that time.

Her career halted and she moved to Cape Town. She changed her name to Smith, so that she could live in a coloured designated area. It was there that she became acquainted with the shebeen business. She bought a piece of land in Mabupane, a township near Pretoria in 1970. Ten years later her house was ready. For a long time she ran a shebeen there, but within the last few years she stopped the hectic life connected to it. Today she still performs, as a singer but also in film and on television.

She has three children, two daughters and a son, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her eldest daughter Zola, is married and has two children. She lives in Eldorado, a formerly coloured township in Johannesburg. The daughter of her son Smilo, Matanki, now eleven years old, is Dolly's favourite grandchild, and the only one who has inherited the singing talent of her grandmother.


The Dutch roots of the family go back to Douwe Gerbens (Gerbrand) who probably arrived in the Cape in 1669 from Leeuwarden. He is better known as Douwe Gerbrandts Steyn, was a mason, and died in 1700. He married in 1685 to Maria Lozee van de Caap, a slave woman of unknown origin. They had a daughter.

Maria had already a son called Jacobus. Maybe Douwe Gerbens was the father, maybe not. But Jacob took the name Steyn, and became the forefather of many present Steyns in South Africa. Maria Lozee was the ancestor of two South African presidents, Martinus Steyn and Paul Kruger. A part of the Steyn family moved to Swellendam in the 1750s. Martinus's grandfather, who was a wheelwright, moved to Orange Free State.

Martinus Steyn was born in 1857, the fourth of 11 children. He grew up at the farm Zuurfontein at the Modder River, 13 miles north of Bloemfontein. He went to school at Grey College in Bloemfontein, and farmed, thereafter. In 1877 he departed for the Netherlands, where he enrolled at the Gymnasium in Deventer. In 1879 he left for London to study law. After being admitted as an advocate in Cape Town, he left for Bloemfontein, built up a practice and married Rachel Isabella (Tibbie) Fraser, a clergyman's daughter from Philippolos.

Martinus Theunis ran for president in 1895 and was elected in 1896 as State President of the Orange Free State. Directly he started to cement ties with the ZAR (Kruger), and tried to mediate between Kruger and Milner, Cape Governor and High Commissioner in South Africa since 1897, but to no avail. In 1899 war broke out: the second Anglo Boer War. Steyn fought until the end for independence, but became seriously ill. After the peace treaty was signed, the Steyns left for Europe for treatment, stayed in many places, returned to South Africa in 1905, and settled on the farm. Martinus was not very active after that time, but played a role as adviser. His sympathies lay with Herzog and De Wet who left the SA Party in 1913 and founded the National Party in 1914.

Partly as result of the internal clashes in Afrikaner ranks he collapsed and died in 1916 and was buried at the foot of the Woman's Monument in Bloemfontein. His wife Tibbie lived until 1955. Two plays were produced about her life and the letters she exchanged with Emily Hobson.

The family farm 'Onze Rust' near Bloemfontein since 1897 is still in the hands of members of the Steyn family. Mrs. Yvonne Steyn lives there, the widow of Martinus Theunis, "judge Steyn", grandson of the President, together with one daughter and the family of her youngest son, called Colin Steyn.

Her second daughter and her eldest son Martinus Theunis Steyn live in Cape Town. Martinus Theunis is married, has two daughters and a son. One daughter, Martine, is 17 years old and reflects occasionally on the question whether her future will be in South Africa or elsewhere.


In September 1999 Ebrahiem Manuel, born in Simon's Town, now living in Grassy Park, was welcomed by members of his family in a small village, Pemangong, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia. He is a seventh generation grandson of Deo Koasa, a leader from that community, who was captured by the Dutch in 1788 and brought to the Cape as a slave. His son Ismail Dea Malela became the first imam of Simon's Town.

Ebrahiem is a sailor. He started his historical quest by spiritual guidance, he claims. He used his father's documents, the old Muslim graveyard at Seaforth, documents in archives and museums and an old kitaab (religious book), which is handed down in the family.

Ebrahiem's father worked in fish factories, as many people in Simon's Town worked in relation to the harbour and fishing industries. Ebrahiem's mother was an Irish nurse, who lived in Plettenburg Bay before her marriage. For her marriage she had to convert to the Islam faith.

Ebrahiem's parents are no longer alive, but there is still a sister of his father, Hadji Koebra, who is 82 and lives in Oceanview, the township where the non-white population of Simonstown was resettled. She is very bright and lively and loves to tell stories. One of the stories in the family is about her father (Ebrahiem's grandfather) Hadji Bakaar Manuel who went on a pilgrimage to Mecca with his wife in 1903. The trip took seven months. They first went to London, and then through the Suez Canal to Mecca. He kept a diary, which still is in the possession of the family.

Ebrahiem is not married and has no children, but has three brothers and three sisters. Two brothers have two children each, and one brother has four wives and 20 children. The sisters have 12 children between them. One of Ebrahiem's nephews is Gavin Mauritz, who lives in Grassy Park with his parents and siblings. He plans to study Information Technology, earns money at Pick and Pay, and plays pool with his friends.

Le Fleur

In the late 18th century a community of people with (partly) Khoisan background, developed around a mission post of the London Missionary Society. The people were named Griqua; on the instigation of a missionary the settlement was renamed Griquastad. The first leader or chief was Adam Kok I (1710-1795) who lived on lower Orange River and Namaqualand. A part of the group moved out later and founded a city named Philippolis. Later still there was another massive migration of the Griquas to the east; they founded Eastern Griqua-land, the capital was named after the first leader, Kokstad.

After the first leader Adam Kok I, the chieftaincy was taken over by his son Cornelis Kok II (died in 1820s) and then his grandson (Adam Kok II, first Kaptyn of Philippolos, d. 1835) and Adam III, Kaptyn of Philippolos and Kokstad, but there the line stopped. Through a complicated relation Andrew Abraham Stockenstrom Le Fleur, aka the old prophet followed up the line. He was involved in the Griqualand East Rebellion of 1897, sentenced to gaol, spent five years in prison, and was released. He spent several years in and around Cape Town, and a short time in Johannesburg during which time he founded the Griqua Independent Church and ran a newspaper, The Griqua and Coloured People's Opinion. During World War I he returned to Kokstad, and persuaded a considerable number of Griquas from there to trek with him to the Western Cape, to found a new community. This failed, but eventually he arrived at Kranshoek, near Plettenbrug Bay. The majority of his followers were rural people of Khoi descent, very many from Namaqualand.

Andrew Abraham Stockenstrom Le Fleur died in 1941, and was succeeded by his son Abraham Andrew Le Fleur, until 1951. For two years there was a caretaker for the position, then the new leader was installed, Andrew Abraham Stockenstrom Le Fleur the Second, who is still in function but old and sick.

In 1969 a split occurred in the family and the Griqua movement. A younger brother of the Chief broke away and formed his own Griqua National Congress. They still exist side by side. The factual leader and spokesman of the original group is Cecil Le Fleur.

For many years the Griquas of Kranshoek were a fairly exclusive group, stressing their partial whiteness. In the last ten years, in contrast, they have come to stress their Khoisanness and have become leading figures in the Khoisan revival movement currently on the go, and are causing great headaches for the government which does not know how to deal with them, as they claim to be traditional rulers. Cecil Le Fleur is also involved in the international Indigenous People's Movement, and is in that capacity often spokesperson for Africa.

Andrew Le Fleur is the brother of the leader of the other group. He is a magistrate, and lives with his wife and three children in Worcester. His youngest daughter Audrey is 12, very bright, and interested in politics.


Cynthia Galada lives with her husband and four children in the township of Lwandle, in the Cape flats near Cape Town. Her husband Elliot was injured in a bus-accident and has no work at the moment. Cynthia works at the local childcare, which she founded.

The story of Cynthia's family is basically the story of migrant labourers, travelling from impoverished rural areas in the Eastern Cape to the city, looking for work and prospects, still keeping contact with family back home, building up a life in the township.

Cynthia ran away from home when she was 17 (ca. 1983) to avoid the marriage that her parents had arranged for her. She jumped in a river, nearly drowned, but survived and escaped to Cape Town. She first burned the letters she received from her parents, but later made peace with them. She found work as a waitress, had a child. She married her husband in 1987 and had three more children.

Every year in December, for the Christmas holiday, the family travels back to the place of birth, Barkley East. Cynthia's parents still live there, together with her grandmother. Cynthia did well for herself within the limited possibilities and could buy a small house for her parents, in the formerly all-white town, where they are the only black people now. In the countryside there is the plaas of the white Boer, where Cynthia grew up, a small hut between the mountains. The trip to Barkley East is a trip back into time, back to the memories of childhood, the stories of the family that stayed behind, the stories connected to it, some good, some bad.

This is not a family with a wealth of written documents or photographs, but what there is very meaningful: like the Dompas of Cynthia's father, a document that comprises his working career during apartheid. And there are surprisingly quite a lot of objects, kept in trunks, beautiful old beadwork, and farm equipment. And the real history is told and lived, and relived, especially through the yearly visit.

In the presentation, the annual December visit will play an important role. We have recorded this trip back home, back to childhood, back to parents and grandparents, by a photographer and a videographer.

On the other side, there is present day township life, with the living conditions, the bareness of the location, but also the social life (church, youth), the music (Cynthia sings in a choir), and Xhosa customs in an urban setting. Xhosa tradition is strong in the family as well: Cynthia's grandmother is an amagqirha, a spiritual healer, and Cynthia has inherited the power. She uses her spiritual side especially in the Methodist church, of which she is an important member. Her eldest daughter is Nomakaya, fourteen years old. She is at the moment at the Hottentot Holland High school, a formerly white school. She finds it hard to cope with her role in the shifting society.


Family of Indian descent. Dhani Jiawon (1864-1928) from Faizabad in North India came in 1889 to Durban to work on the sugar cane plantation of William Campbell. After a year he married Sundari, a widow and devoted Hindu, who had come to South Africa from a place near Poona. After the five year indentured period, they settled in Verulam where they lived until 1911 as farmers. Their six children were born there, the eldest was Juggernath. In 1911 the family moved to settle on Acutt's Estate in Inanda, near Gandhi's settlement. Juggernath married Surjee in 1910 and continued to live with his parents. Two children were born to them, Balbadur and Sookrani. Later nine more followed.

In 1914, the extended family moved once again, to Merebank, and in 1923, to a piece of land in (nowadays) Duranta Road. Juggernath was a deeply religious man, and also involved in promoting educational possibilities of the Indian community.

The joint family system came to an end with the marriage of Balbhadur (1913-1989) to Harbasi (1919-1989), in 1936.

Balbhadur and Harbasi had nine children, all of them ended up in education. The youngest ones were Spider and Janey. They were both activists, involved in several operations in the struggle. Spider is the only one who stayed in politics, running for election as a local councillor for the ANC in 2000. Janey is disappointed in what the change brought.

Janey married Ishwar and has two daughters, Nikita (16) and Yuri (21). Her older brother Sundjit still lives in the old family house. Janey is a teacher in a primary school and active member of SATU, the South African Teachers' Union. She teaches Grade 2 has a class of ca. 50 kids, half of them black, half of them of Indian background.

The Juggernath family is a closely-knit. They all see each other regularly; have special days in the year for family outings, meet in the summer every Friday at Bay of Plenty, a place at the beach.

There is a special but different relation of the family members to India and South Africa and aspects of Indian religion and culture, from an outward condemnation of backward traditions to respectful embracement. Balbhadur and Harbasi visited India in 1972-73. In contrast Janey visited only Cuba, in 2000, a trip that made a deep impression. Nickie and Yuri are much more sympathetic to Indian traditions and culture again.

Many details of the family have already been described; the family published a brochure on the family history with much information and photographs. There are some heirlooms too with beautiful stories.


Zonkezizwe Mthethwa, better known by his nickname khekhekhe, born in 1919, is a well-known traditional healer or sangoma living in the area of Ngudwini. He receives his patients and trains some of his children but also others in the profession of sangoma.

Khekhekhe stems of a long line of Mthethwas, a prominent Zulu family, and claims to be a descendant of Dingiswayo, Shaka's mentor. It was in this region that Shaka was trained as a young man. The area is close to the Tugela River, which forms the boundary between Natal and Zulu-land.

Quite central among the houses of his compound is the burial ground where a few of Khekhekhe's forefathers are buried. He himself is also the official history keeper of the Mthethewas and the presence of the ancestors is very important in that respect. Every year on 23 February there is a special ritual where Khekhekhe pays respect to the ancestors and recites their names.

Khekhekhe claims to have had 14 wives, of whom seven are still alive. Among these seven wives are three pairs of sisters. He also claims to have close to a hundred children, which says a lot about his status and income as a widely known healer. Most children and grandchildren are living close by, in houses on the compound.

The family participates also in other worlds. The family owns a driving school and a bus company. Some of the family members left for the city.

One of them is Mfanawezulu, his eldest son, born in 1951, who works as a bus driver in Durban. Mfanawezulu married two wives, but divorced one of them. The remaining wife lives in Ngudwini, which Khekhekhe considers his home, with most of his 27 children. Mfanawezulu bought a house in Inanda, a township near Durban, because he needed to be closer to his job. He lives there with six of his sons. His third son, Qondokuhle, is a gifted guitar-player. He is doing grade 11 in an ex-Indian school in Phoenix, a former Indian settlement founded by Gandhi. He is keen to be educated but also values strongly the traditions that are kept up high by his grandfather.

Opens: March 31
Closes: December 2004


10 Years of Democracy in Limpopo

The Limpopo Arts and Culture Association, in collaboration with the Visual Arts Network of South Africa and the Performing Arts Network of South Africa, launch an annual Spring Festival for and by the Limpopo arts community.

This year's festival is in celebration of 10 years of democracy, and opportunities still exist for artists and craftspeople to apply to exhibit their artworks. Opens: September 27
Closes: October 16