Not No Place is a volume that brings together a vast array of texts, essays, poetry, illustrations and photographs, which vividly portray the depth and identity of the city of Johannesburg.
However, the lived experience of Johannesburg enters Not No Place not only as something textual but as something present and irreducible. The subjective relationship of the contributors to the city over time forms the main fabric of the work and thus is interwoven with selected excerpts, citations, and reflective pieces. The themes vary between the poetic and the concrete, associative and descriptive. Many contain spatial designations, or references to movement: Much of the personal narrative of the city takes the form of a conversation, in letters, recollections and emails. Thus, the book offers a series of personal thick descriptions and a survey of historical and contemporary representations of the city collected over the course of its making.
Bettina Malcomess works across disciplines as a writer, curator and artist. She lives between the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, teaching at several institutions and across the disciplines of art, design and architecture. She also teaches at the Michaelis Schools of Fine Art and UCT School of Architecture in Cape Town. She has worked on several collaborative, curatorial and developmental projects with the Joubert Park Project, based at the Drill Hall in inner-city Johannesburg, setting up the Keleketla! Library with Ra Hlasane. Malcomess has written for several artist catalogues, as well as South African art publications, including Sue Williamson’s South African Art Now. In 2010 she was awarded a joint fellowship with performance artist Peter Van Heerden at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (Cape Town). Malcomess works in performance under the name Anne Historical.
Written and illustrated in 1973 by one of South Africa’s most famous artists, Gerard Sekoto, Shorty and Billy Boy is a book for children as well as art lovers and collectors:
The manuscript of Shorty and Billy Boy formed part of a private collection of South African artist Gerard Sekoto’s sketches, artworks, letters and memoirs repatriated to South Africa from France. The story was clearly written and illustrated as a personal exercise and possibly a sentimental souvenir of his own childhood memories, but has not been published until now. Sekoto may well have composed it as a gift for children of friends, as he was often engaged in making greeting cards with accompanying illustrations. There are other unfinished stories and musical compositions in the estate collection, but Shorty and Billy Boy is the most complete.
Shorty and Billy Boy tells the tale of two troublesome dogs whose thieving ways take them to the far-away town of Porcupine Hills. Here they meet all sorts of interesting characters, but continue their mischief until Billy Boy is caught red-handed and sent to jail. Here he dreams about the kindness of others, and comes to realize that good deeds are the true measure of freedom.
The Gerard Sekoto Foundation has approved a number of editorial changes made to Sekoto’s original text, where the aim has been to preserve the integrity and flavour of the unpublished story, while making it more accessible to present-day readers. The South African context of the tale has been accentuated, and obsolete language and minor inconsistencies have been removed. The result is a timeless and engaging story that retains Sekoto’s unique spirit and imagination.
About the author
Gerard Sekoto (1913–1993) is acknowledged as an iconic and inspirational figure. Sekoto came from a leading academic missionary family, and had a good education compared with many of his peers. Art was not formally offered to black students, even in missionary schools of the 1920s, so Sekoto was forced to teach himself his craft. Sekoto left South Africa in 1947 for France, where he lived in exile for nearly 45 years. While there, Sekoto continued, through his art, to reflect the intrinsic humanism with which his art is associated. The French Government awarded him the Chevalier des Artset des Lettres shortly before his death in 1993. He lies buried at Nogent-sur-Marne, outside Paris.
Their talk, titled “Managing access: spatial challenges and the regulation of culture”, will look at the challenges that Cape Town will face in trying to fulfil its bid for the World Design Capital 2014.
Anton Kannemeyer’s work, alongside that of several other artists, will be featured in an exhibit he has curated for Johannesburg’s Stevenson gallery.
The exhibit, titled “The Loom of the Land”, is on until March 1 and features works by other notable artists such as Brett Murray, Peter Clarke, David Goldblatt, Deborah Poynton, Zanele Muholi and Johan Louw.
According to Percy Mabandu of City Press, the exhibit’s aim is to address landscapes of political turmoil and denial – each artist chooses a region or place and says something pertinent to current South African discourse about the area.
The comically infamous Anton Kannemeyer of Bitterkomix is extending his reach to curate.
He has put together an exhibition at Joburg’s Stevenson gallery exploring the landscape in contemporary South African art. It is titled Loom of the Land. Included in the spread of selected works are artists such as Brett Murray, Peter Clarke, David Goldblatt, Deborah Poynton, Zanele Muholi and Johan Louw.
There’s a catch though. Kannemeyer is not approaching his chosen theme in the regular polemical way
On 24th January 2013 Constitution Hill invites the media and the public to the launch of “The Forgotten People: Banishment under Apartheid – A text and photographic exhibition,” based on the book by Dr Saleem Badat of Rhodes University.
The exhibition looks at political banishment in the apartheid era. Banishment has been used as form of punishment in South Africa from early colonial period. Both the Dutch and British colonial administrations banished people who challenged their authority. When the apartheid government seized power in 1948, it continued to use banishment as a way of silencing its opponents. This feature focuses on the history of banishment in South Africa. People were banished under the Native Administration Act (1927).
The exhibition will be opened by Dr Nieftagodien, a Senior Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Witwatersrand, who serves as the Deputy Chair of the History Workshop, is a member of the University Senate and serves on the board of the South African History Archives.
“The Forgotten People: Banishment under Apartheid” exhibition will run from 24 January to 11 February 2013 and on the 31st of January a walkabout through the exhibition will be arranged for history students from in and around Johannesburg to give them an opportunity to engage with some of the material they study in school and also to ask question and get clarity.
über(W)unden: Art in Troubled Times is a wide-ranging and illustration-rich investigation into how writers, visual artists, theatre practitioners, musicians, filmmakers, choreographers and photographers from various sub-Saharan countries, including Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe, as well as their counterparts in Germany, have creatively engaged with social traumas.
How does social trauma impact on the making of works by artists? What role do artists play during times of crisis and social change? What aesthetic vocabularies do artists develop to engage with social traumas? And, in societies recovering from war, mass killings, xenophobia or racism, can the arts play a healing role? This volume presents a range of responses that intellectually and imaginatively engage these pressing issues.
The title of this book, über(W)unden, has a double meaning in German. As a noun, über Wunden means “about wounds”, whereas, as a verb, überwunden translates as “to overcome” or “to heal”. Artistic work dealing with traumatic experiences may produce both these effects: they may directly engage with the wounds of conflict and trauma, but they may also underline societal changes and upheavals as catalysts for new beginnings.
Although largely historical in nature, the line of enquiry in this book is particularly relevant to the turbulent times of the present. über(W)unden: Art in Troubled Times immerses the reader in an urgent dialogue around culture and conflict.
Aboudia, Diane Awerbuck, Sammy Baloji, Vincenzo Cavallo, Center for Historical Reenactments, Kudzanai Chiurai, Jens Dietrich, Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, Stacy Hardy, Sam Hopkins, Malte Jaguttis, Emmanuel Jal, Rumbi Katedza, William Kentridge, Antjie Krog, Faustin Linyekula, Kathleen MacQueen, Zanele Muholi, Djo Tunda wa Munga, Hans Narva, Warren Nebe, Théogène Niwenshuti, Marcel Odenbach, João Orecchia, Sello Pesa, Jo Ractliffe, Dierk Schmidt, Véronique Tadjo, Marcel van Heerden.
About the editors and designer
Lien Heidenreich-Seleme is head of cultural programmes sub-Saharan Africa at the Goethe-Institut South Africa. She studied Languages and International Law at the Freie Universität in Berlin and joined the Goethe-Institut in 2004. She was the director of the Goethe-Institut in Afghanistan before coming to Johannesburg in 2008 to support the opening of new institutes and offices of the Goethe-Institut in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, she organised the regional project über(W)unden: Art in Troubled Times as part of the Goethe-Institut’s focus theme “culture and conflict”.
Gabrielle Guy is a graphic designer based in Cape Town. She has designed numerous monographs and photobooks, notably for Guy Tillim, Claudette Schreuders, Steven Cohen, Youssef Nabil, Anton Kannemeyer, Jo Ractliffe and Zanele Muholi – the latter two receiving Photobook Award 2011 nominations. She has also collaborated on projects with photographer Stan Engelbrecht, designing Das is(s)t Deutschland (2008) and Bicycle Portraits (2012). She is a former art director of Art South Africa magazine.
Dear Edward: Family Footprints is a personal journey into the family archives of photographer Paul Weinberg. As a child his sorties into an old black trunk that the family had at home where he encountered stamps, letters, photographs and most importantly postcards, excited his imagination to a world far beyond the borders of South Africa and the African continent. They became a collection of connections to his grandparents, to their ‘roots’ in eastern Europe and his own.
The book explores his past as he retraces his family footprints in South Africa. It takes him to far-ﬂung small towns in the interior of South Africa where the family eventually found a niche for themselves in the hotel trade. In the form of postcards to his great grandfather, Edward, it is on one hand a visual narrative of this journey and on another a multi-layered travel book as he pieces the jigsaw of his family’s footprints together. A sub-theme of the book is a story of the ‘old hotel’ which was at one point so central and dynamic in the lives of many of these small towns. Weinberg revisits these hotels and explores their whereabouts, and their evolution.
Weaving history, historiographies, memoir and archive into a personal pilgrimage, this book oﬀers fresh insights and perspectives on a family who made this country their ‘adopted home’. Through the metaphor of the postcard this book sets up a dialogue between the author, his great grandfather, the past and the present, and asks important questions about who writes history, and who is left out.
About the author
Paul Weinberg is a South African born photographer with a strong commitment to the land, environment and its people.
Cara Snyman, who co-edited Shoe Shop along with Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, spoke to The Citizen‘s Leigh-Anne Hunter about the notions of belonging, boundaries and migration that formed the idea for the book.
Snyman and Gutberlet noticed that when people spoke about movement and space they tended to use general terms and overarching narratives. The book offers an alternative space for people to tell their personal stories and explore the subtleties of these issues.
“Step, tread, pace, stride, stroll, saunter, strut, stalk, prance…” begins the book, Shoe Shop, a Goethe- Institut initiative.
Walking is something we do every day, yet we seldom slow down to appreciate what this means for us as individuals and in a broader social context.
“It would be close to impossible to find a single individual in South Africa whose history and self-de-finition is not related to some form of migration,” write Marie-Hélène Gutberlet and Cara Snyman in Shoe Shop.
Tymon Smith, Books Editor of the Sunday Times, recently talked to artist Anton Kannemeyer at his latest exhibition, Paintings and Prints for Doctors and Dentists. Kannemeyer spoke about how the current exhibition marks a move away from the kind of politically-charged works collected in Alphabet of Democracy. Paintings and Prints for Doctors and Dentists shows at the Stevenson in Johannesburg until 29 June.
If you Google Anton Kannemeyer, the third suggestion offered by the search engine is “Anton Kannemeyer racist”.
The founder of Bitterkomix, creator of the persona of Joe Dog and of the art series Papa in Afrika and the Alphabet of Democracy, has often produced work that makes people uncomfortable about race, politics and white identity in post-apartheid South Africa. Despite this, no one has hauled him in front of the Film and Publication Board and slapped an age restriction on any of his exhibitions.