I have spent three weeks now at Gallery MOMO and it has been an interesting three weeks. last week on Tuesday, I went with my boss and the gentlemen from the Dionysus Foundry, owned by artist Angus Taylor, to the Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto (Johannesburg, South Africa) for the erection of the Tsietsi Mashinini sculpture commissioned by the Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Joburg.
Today is the 16th of June and a public holiday in South Africa that commemorates the Soweto Youth uprising of June 16th, 1976, when students from high schools around Soweto rose in protest against the imposition of Afrikaans by the apartheid government as the official language to be used for teaching.
Tsietsi Mashinini was teh younster that started the protest and he was a student at Morris Isaacsons High School. A foundation has been instituted in his name, he was forced into exile after the uprising and died in exile. The statue sculpted by Johannes Phokela a prominent South African artist of immense talent, and cast in bronze by the Dionysus Foundry.
It was a really interesting experience for me to be at Morris Isaacson, to be in Soweto with all the excitement of the World Cup, Soweto was abuzz with even more energy than usual. I was even interviewed by a foreign news team from Israel. These are really interesting times for the arts and culture sector in South Africa, in Johannesburg in particular. There is so much happening at this time.
Last night I went to see two performances in the cultural precinct of Newtown, at the Market Theater known for its experimental theater and social commentary. The House of Holy Afro, the second performance I saw was really quite risque for the South African audience, I could see people were shocked. But I found it very entertaining and fresh.
I hope after the World Cup the arts and culture sector will not again take a back seat until the next time when it is dusted and brought out to be put on show again.