Wednesday, November 30, 2011

World AIDS Day: Break the Silence

by Njabulo Ngobese

We are facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the history of mankind, climate change. With COP 17 well underway in Durban South Africa, AFH proudly supports this initiative with hopes that solutions can be reached for the em-betterment of our lively hood. Another issue of concern that has been a highly destructive force in the global community is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. December 1st marks World AIDS day in its calender as the fight against this disease continues.

AFH (Art for Humanity) initiated the Break the Silence HIV/AIDS portfolio in 2000 with the purpose of instilling a greater sense of social responsibility towards the pandemic and to those who are infected and affected by the disease. Jan Jordaan (AFH Director) in collaboration with Vedant Nanackchand and Dr. Nigel Rollins were responsible for designing the project which has had contributions from 31 artists across the globe (21 from South Africa & 10 internationally). These artists have contributed original fine art prints to the HIV/AIDS initiative.

Art for Humanity encourages the global community to participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For more information on the AFH Break the Silence portfolio please follow the link

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enough to Eat Exhibition

AFH will proudly give a report back on this exciting event taking place tomorrow. For more information please visit the following link:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Art & Social Justice School Workshops: Sthokozile High

By Njabulo Ngobese

The last and final stop for the Art and Social Justice Workshops was the Clermont based high school Sthokozile which came highly prepared and excited about the AFH initiative packing an overwhelming 50 students. With the absence of Art for Humanity’s director Jan Jordaan and Human Rights Commission representative Eugene Raphalane, Lungile Dlamini was the head lady in charge as she wasted no time introducing her colleagues to the eager young minds of Sthokozile High. An additional introduction by the school principal as well as his warm welcome gave us the go ahead to proceed with the day’s activities.

A trip to the AFH banner which was located at the school’s wall outdoors, presented the first task for the students. Topaz asked the kids to analyse the art and read the poem on the banner simultaneously. After the completion of the task, the pupils headed back to the classroom where they began engaging in their creative process. Drawing a picture accompanied by a poem that represents the image, Sthokozile’s highly dedicated pupils wasted no time in living out their passion. Wendy Mthembu, Siyanda Ngcobo, Sanele Vezi were one of the students that displayed great talent in their work as their poetry and drawing skills caught the eye of the AFH staff.

Sthokozile students all appeared to be excited about the workshop as they shared a common message of having AFH return again in the near future. Maneli Ndlovu who occupies the Arts and Culture post at the school spoke of some of the challenges they face when it comes to the arts. Lack of resources and facilities to house any art related activities has to some degree demotivated students from participating in art programs. It was however unfortunate that the workshop could only house 50 students with a few more that couldn’t be granted access because of space issues. The presentations of the work done by the Sthokozile group proved to be quite a treat as it combined love, pain & hope both in drawings and in poetry. The experience was quite memorable.

Refreshments were then served and the highlight of the workshop took centre stage. Topaz doing what he does best, delivered one of his best performances yet. His piece received a warm standing ovation from Sthokozile. It was a perfect closing to what has proved to be a series of highly insightful workshops.

Artist: Este Macleod (Boy)
Poet: Zandra Bezuidenhout (A Child Dreaming)
(Dialogue Amongst Civilization Catalogue)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Art and Social Justice Workshop at Ziphathele Secondary

by Njabulo Ngobese

The Ziphathele group proved to be quite a reserved bunch at first. Overwhelmed with the anxiety of finding out what the initiative was about, AFH director Jan Jordaan eased them into the picture as he swiftly introduced the Art for Humanity team and went on to explain their visit to the school. In his brief introductory presentation, Mr Jordaan encouraged the concept of ‘imagination’ and ‘dreams’ amongst the attendants of the Art and Social Justice Workshop. He explained how the two can be merged together to produce artistry both in writing and drawing. Eugene Raphalane of the Human Rights Commission took over after Jan Jordaan as he addressed the full class of art aspirants on the relationship between rights and responsibilities. “With every right presented comes a responsibility with it”. Those were the noted sentiments of Eugene Raphalane who encouraged pupils not to abuse their rights and learn to take responsibility for themselves.

Topaz then took the students outside to the school wall where the AFH banner featuring the works of artist Joseph Madisia and poet Luness Mpunwa was located. The Sound of the African Drum was the art work and poem being analysed by the students. Simultaneously reciting the poem, the pupils grabbed the attention of passing students as they momentarily became the centre of attention at Ziphathele. Each participant of the school workshop gave their personal analysis of the poem with Topaz giving his last thoughts on the piece before everyone headed back to the classroom.

After being presented with tools to unleash their creativity, the Ziphathele group went to work. 14 year old Nonhlanhla Xaba was knee deep in her poetry piece about a man who broke her mother’s heart. She expressed her joy on the presence of the school workshop at Ziphathele.

“The workshop is an opportunity for us to voice our talents. I’m not an artist in drawings but I am in my writings”, says Pamela Sibiya who was also enthused by the presence of AFH and their initiative.

When it came to drawings, Luyanda Mnika caught the eye of our experts with his piece simply titled iKhaya Lakho (Your Home). According to the 17 year old Luyanda, inner guidance is what has propelled him to produce the work he’s done. He went on to express the importance of the school workshop and how much it adds to the upliftment of their passion for art.

The presentations were breathtakingly beautiful. Pamela Sibiya led the pact with her poem I Am A Women followed by Marareni Busisiwe’s piece titled Pollution. Bonginkosi Goba showcased his offering titled Poverty and gave room to Atlang Maletsane who presented her work titled Washa Muntu Omusha. But the highlight of possibly the entire journey of school workshops we had been through was the bravery of Grade 8 pupil Monde Mabizela who disclosed her HIV status with a poem titled Ngiphila Kabuhlungu Emhlabeni (I Live in Hardship in this World). It was an emotional moment that caught everyone off guard as the poem became too much for Monde to read out to everyone. Thanks to the assistance and motherly care of AFH staff member Lungile Gumede, Monde’s heartfelt piece was read out by Lungile.

After all the presentations were completed, refreshments were served to the Ziphathele pupils and were given a dose of that Topaz magic as he delivered a highly charged piece that left the attendants of the workshop yearning for more. We also managed to speak to Ms. Majola who had been supervising the workshop on behalf of Ziphathele. She shared her thoughts on the importance of the AFH initiative and how much it can enhance art amongst the students. “Learners are creative but they need workshops like this to allow their creativity to be set free” as she further elaborated.

Banner: Artwork: Joseph Madisia (The Sound of the African Drum)

Poet: Luness Mpunwa (The Sound of the African Drum)

From the Dialogue Amongst Civilization Catalogue

To view more information on the artwork/poetry presented on the banner, please follow the link here

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art and Social Justice Workshop Chesterville Extension

By Njabulo Ngobese

A warm reception from Chesterville Extension staff members and pupils promised a fruitful outcome on the day’s events as far as the Art and Social Justice Workshop was concerned. AFH was once again excited to engage lovers of art and poetry in an experience that was giving them a chance to express themselves freely without any boundaries or limitations. 23 students at Grade 9 level were going to be the centre of attention during the course of the workshop as Miss Mgadi initiated the day’s program by addressing the participants on this AFH initiative. Jan Jordaan the director of AFH (Art for Humanity) was then given a chance to introduce himself and his team as well as the work they were there to carry out. In his introductory speech, he spoke of freedom and how it can influence one’s thought process when creating their art and poetry. Eugene Raphalane from the Human Rights Commission then took over from Jan as he addressed the Chesterville Extension pupils on the importance of Children’s Rights. Bearing emphasis on Chapter 2 – 28 Section 28 on the constitution, he elaborated on children’s rights to living under a safe and protected environment. He also touched on children’s rights to attaining an adequate education regardless of race or gender. Most importantly, Raphalane noted in his address that with rights comes responsibility.

The Chesterville Extension workshop participants were then led by the AFH team to the banner chosen by the school pupils themselves with artwork from Guto Nobrega titled Yes No & a poetry piece titled The Measure of Things by Sergio Rivero. After analysing the work presented on the banner, a question was then posed to the pupils to give their own personal interpretation of the pieces. Silungile Mqadi viewed the work to be a representation of choice and responsibility. “The use of different colours represents different races and the two dogs are the alter egos of one person and their ‘yes, no’ dilemma. Phelele Gwala also passed thought provoking commentary on the artwork as he made mention of the fact that animals live through the ‘survival of the fittest’ tactic, where as humans have a ‘maybe’ option.

It was back in the classroom where Lethu Langa passed out instructions to the pupils on their required tasks for the workshop. Shortly after, work was in session as the Grade 9 Chesterville Extension pupils took to their drawing boards displaying a full array of creativity in their art and poetry. During the creative session we managed to speak to Ms. N.H Mngazi who informed us about the relevance and importance of AFH’s initiave and how much it means to the workshop’s participants. She also made mention of the importance of art and poetry and the freedom it grants an individual to express themselves.

The presentations of the art work and poetry were kick started by Sthembile Mkhize who delivered a poem titled African Women that was according to him inspired by his mother. “She feeds me with good advice. When I was young, it was my mother that shaped me into what I am today” as Sthembile further elaborated on his heart warming piece. Nothando Ngubo was next in line with an artistic piece that addressed a serious humanitarian crisis on our hands, Climate Change. Nothando explained how pollution has contributed to the social decay in society as one of her family members suffered an asthma attack as a result of cooking on wood. She also made quite an impression with her awareness of the COP 17 summit that will be gracing Durban shores soon. Other students who displayed their work included Sibusiso Bohlela with a piece titled iBhasi, Zwelakhe Mbambo with Facing Problems in Life, Philani Mngadi with My Mind Battle with Earth, Sibahle Shozi – You’re Born Freely, Zama Makono – Future & many more.

After a hard day’s work, the pupils were then served with refreshments as Jan Jordaan gave his note of thanks to Chesterville Extension for their participation in the program.

Banner: Artwork: Guto Nobrega (Yes No)

Poem: Sergio Rivero (The Measure of Things)

(Dialogue Amongst Civilization Catalogue)

For more information on the artwork & poetry presented on the banner please click on the link here

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chesterville Secondary School Workshop

By Thireshni Sanasy

The first Art and Social Justice workshop hosted by Art for Humanity at the Chesterville Secondary school on the 12 October 2011 proved to be a great success.

The Workshops which are an annual event, was funded by the eThekwini Municipality for Celebrate Durban which is a festival hosted by the Municipality for Heritage month. The Art and Social Justice workshops which were previously called the School Banner workshop, consists of a large banner being posted on the schools building. At Chestervill Secondary the banner consisted of the artwork by Joseph Madisia and poem by Luness Mpunwa both entitled ‘The Sound of the African Drum.’

The workshop began with AFH Director Jan Jordaan giving a brief introduction to the 36 learners who participated in the workshop. The learners ages varied from 13 to 17 all belonged to Grade 9. Malethu Langa, a facilitator at the workshop and 4th year fine art student at the Durban University of Technology addressed the learners on the power of art and poetry and how through the medium of art, human rights can be advocated. Eugene Raphalane from the South African Human Rights Commission then took the floor, informing the learners in their home language (Zulu) about their rights and how they have a responsibility to not only know their right but also respect them. The interested learners had many questions for Raphalane and were keen to learn more about their rights.

Learners were taken outside to where the banner was placed, where workshop participant, Nosipho Khomo (16) recited the poem to the audience followed by Poet Topaz who began interacting with the students to hear their views on the message portrayed through the ‘The Sound of the African Drum.’ Learners were not afraid to voice their opinions; one learner pointing out that the sun in the image could be used as a metaphor for ‘The light at the end of the tunnel’ as the artwork symbolizes the unity of Africa.

The students were then taken back to the classroom and split into two groups of 18 where one group did drawing whilst the other wrote poetry, after 15 minutes, the groups’ swapped activities. During the workshop AFH Journalists, Thireshni Sanasy and Njabulo Ngobese interviewed, photographed and filmed the learners. The workshop allowed the learners to freely express themselves and their work varied from the portrayal of their own emotions to social injustices that worry them. Arts and Culture educator at Chesterville Secondary Mrs Thipe, said, “I think this kind of workshop will allow the learners to express themselves in art and poetry. Learners need to be skilled in poetry and art, it is vital. They have to design whatever elements there are in poetry and art so that their own feelings can be expressed through the different mediums.”

During the workshop learners seemed eager to express themselves, and many enjoyed the activities given to them. 15 year old Smangale Shezi wrote a poem entitled ‘The motivation’ expressing her own values and writing about the effects of motivation on an individual and the necessity of it in a person’s life. Shezi said, “I like motivating those around me because I am very motive and I know its power.”

Other learners focused on the negative aspects that effect human society such as HIV/AIDS. 14 year old Sbusiso Zungu wrote his poem on how it is vital for people to be aware of the epidemic. “I want everyone to be informed about HIV Aids. People have a choice.” Zungu added that he thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and had learnt about how important freedom is from the banner placed on the school building.

During the workshops students also took the drawing aspect seriously, and many drew images that had a deeper meaning or metaphor. was about the fact that South Africa is being “sold” to other countries and that injustice is rife among us. Shinga said, “I chose to draw about the African Nation because we just experienced Heritage Day and money deals with the African Nation being sold to other countries which isn’t something any African person would feel good about.” Mondli Magaqo (16) also decided to draw about South Africa. Entitled “Vuka Afrika Shaya Izanla” was an image of the sun, a hut, a river and the mountains. Magoqo said that it was a metaphor for the fact that when the sun rises, light comes in and people need to wake and go to work, Magaqo said, “I drew the sun because lots of people need to go to work, and it is the sun that brings in a new day, so a new day of work.” He added that he got his inspiration of the picture from “The Sound of the African Drum” by Jospeh Madisia on the school banner. “Just like the sun brings in light on the banner picture, the sun in my picture also brings light and a new day.”

The learners then presented their work to the class. 8 of the learners individually took to the stage and presented their art to the class, whilst reciting their poem. The depth of which the learners wrote was indescribable. 17 year old Snethemba Lukshozi presented her poem, instilling the belief in her fellow class mates, that ‘love has no shame’. Nonjabulo Zondi (15) was passionate in her presentation of the importance of a person’s name, and how she is and always will be proud of her own name.

The workshop concluded with Topaz reciting more poetry to an audience of awed learners.

To view more information on the artwork/poetry presented on the banner, please follow the link here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mowart Park School Workshop

By Njabulo Ngobese

Freedom defined through art and poetry were the shared sentiments of AFH (Art for Humanity) director Jan Jordaan, whose introductory speech to the 32 Mowart Park Girls that attended the Art and Social Justice Workshop kick started the day’s activities on a high note. Accompanied by the Human Rights Commission representative Eugene Raphalane, the message of freedom was further elaborated with a brief talk on responsibilities. The thin line between one’s right to express themselves and that expression being offensive to the next person was highlighted in Raphalane’s speech with a bold example he made of the Julius Malema situation with the “Kill the Boer” song.

AFH poet Topaz then took over as the 32 attendants of the Art and Social Justice Workshop were led to the banner displayed on the school wall where he engaged them in the analysis of the art and poetry of Louise Almon (artist) and Myesha Jenkins (poet). After reading the displayed poem simultaneously, words of encouragement from Topaz graced the Mowart Park participants as they geared up to display their artistry through their imagination whilst having fun at the same time.

It was all systems go when the workshop participants engaged in their given tasks of drawing a piece of art and writing a poem that represents it (vice versa). Zizipho Gwilika, a grade 8 learner was the first to have her work on display. With a subject matter she claims keeps her motivated, Love, Life & Legacy was the name of her piece. Linking creativity and reality, Zizipho describes her offering as a balance between seriousness and fun whilst the two are embedded together to represent a message of enlightenment. Grade 11 student Nombulelo Myeni was next on the list as she allowed the stretch of her imagination to paint a picture perfect tomorrow with her ideal husband. “I’m constantly thinking about the future”, says the 17 year old future star who further elaborated on the school workshop as a “source of great inspiration”.

The third piece of art and poetry came from Fikile Mthembu titled None Sense. “I’m free to make a total idiot of myself through art and not be judged”, the noted sentiments in Fikile’s thought provoking piece. Her complex word play made for an interesting read as the audience was left astounded by the 16 year old’s mature pen sliding skills. Nosipho Gcina closed off the presentations with a piece about a broken heart of a young African girl. She simple stated “It was just a thought” when a question was posed about her work. Nosipho further elaborated by commanding the workshop for helping them in their levels of improvisation as far as combining art and poetry.

Most of the participants in the workshop were enthused by the banner displayed on the school wall as it showed them the relationship between art and poetry and how the two relate to one another. All presentations lived up to excellence as the words of encouragement from AFH clearly played their hand in motivating the girls to outdo themselves. English and Art teacher Mrs D Reddy had positive things to say about the involvement of her students in the Art and Social Justice Workshop as she commanded the girls on their enthusiasm and ability to give out their best in any given task.

Topaz then delivered a poem that sparked up levels of excitement amongst the students as they requested for another one. Not known for falling short of excellence, he effortlessly breezed through his second poem as a huge standing ovation from the Mowart Park workshop participants followed.

Jan Jordaan concluded the workshop as he shared his joy and excitement on the success of the day’s events. 16 year old Nosipho Gcina gracefully gave thanks to AFH for their contribution to the school’s calendar.

For more information on the artwork & poetry presented on the banner please click on the link here

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The African Art Centre, Shop & Gallery

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

The rich historic background of the African Art Centre currently located on Florida Road in Morningside Durban, has over the past 50 years provided countless artists and craftspeople with opportunities of self employment and realization of their talents and skill. Under the leadership of the late Jo Thorpe in its first three decades of existense, the art centre has since operated as an autonomous non-profit organisation. The legacy of Thorpe and his contribution to the African Art Centre comes highly noted as he was responsible for single handedly putting Durban on the global map for running an art centre that was noted for its importance in black artistic development.

Through various marketing initiatives with assistance from sponsors as well as supporters, the African Art Centre makes it a priority to help artists and craft-workers tap into domestic, provincial, national and international markets with their work. The organisation basically operates on the idealism of encouraging artists to become self empowered entities. The art centre plays its part in providing a professional enviroment where the works of these artists and craftspeople can be showcased.

Boasting an impressive list of artists who have recieved international acclaim, the likes Azaria Mbatha, Tito Zungu, Gabisile Nkosi, William Zulu, Trevor Makhoba and Rueben Ndwandwe, have had the quality of their lives dramatically improved through the recognition of their talents.
The centre's doors are open to the most economically disadvantaged to the fustrated artists craving recognition for their work.

With an undisputed reputation for producing and supplying specialized high quality products as well as being recognised as one of the longest surviving South African organisations involved in the development and promotion of the work of artists and craft-workers, every purchase made at the African Art Centre provides income & employement for more than 600 artists and crafters currently supported by the organisation.

Living by a motto that reads “An organisation of excellence which changes the lives of artists and crafters by empowering them through innovative skills training, development and promotion”, the future certainly looks promising for artists and craft-workers looking to build a successful future in the arts.

Giving Back To Somalia Benefit Concert

by Njabulo Ngobese

On Friday the 21st of October 2011, AFH (Art for Humanity) launched the Giving Back to Somalia initiative through a free benefit concert that took place at DUT City Campus.

Lending a hand in assisting the millions of Somalians who are currently battling through the drought and famine, AFH has taken it upon themselves to encourage DUT students to assist in this humanitarian crisis. Seeking donations of 1 tin of canned food from each learner, the Giving Back to Somalia initiative will run from 21 October till December 17. All food donations can be dropped off at the Art for Humanity office, room 107 next to the cashiers on the first floor at DUT City Campus.

AFH is also proud to announce that Friday's benefit concert has recieved positive reviews from newspaper publications such as Isolezwe who ran the story on Monday's edition on page 14. Hopefully if we can get potential sponsors to come on board, we can expand the initiative into a campus tour that will go as far as Pietermaritzburg. The objective behind this, is not just about involving DUT only but reaching out to other institutions of learning as well to join in the fight against poverty in Somalia.

The Gift of the Givers organisation will be responsible for the transportation of all collected food to Somalia. For additional information on the project please contact the Art for Humanity office at 031 373 6610.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shailja Patel Invades DUT

by Njabulo Ngobese

Dialogue Amongst Civilisations participant Shailja Patel paid a visit to DUT City Campus last week Wednesday as part of the 15th Annual Poetry Africa Workshops. Accompanied by Sandile Dikeni (South Africa) & Dikson (Zimbabwe), the workshop quickly showed signs of good things to come.

In her current visit to South Africa, Patel highlighted her brief tour around Cator Manor a township located on the outskirts of Durban and how much it intrigued her with its rich history and potential to produce good significant stories for international audiences. She also spoke of the Cop 17 conference taking place in Durban later this year as she encouraged local journalists to start producing their own stories on their background environment before someone from outside snatches the opportunity.

In true Patel style, she went out of the norm and initiated a poem amongst the audience that beared relevance to the upcoming Cop 17 summit. A piece that had the audience actively involved chanting "what are we brewing?", "who's gonna drink it?", who's gonna love it?" the purpose of the poem was to give students an idea of dazzling the rest of the world with the rich stories Durban and South Africa had to offer.

She closed off the workshop with a poem that was inspired by her colleague promoting a message of unity amongst society.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

AFH School Workshop at Chesterville Secondary

15 year old scholar, artist and poet Sne delivers a heart warming motivational piece at the Art for Humanity School Workshop at Chesterville Secondary.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Live or Let Die

by Njabulo Ngobese

A tour around Durban's art centres and galleries proved to be quite a fruitful experience when the last stop we made surprisingly gave purpose to the whole trip. It was an awakening to an issue that has never been openly brought up for discussion in the arts community,...divisions.

The thin line drawn between what is considered commercial art and that those of purists who practice solely for personal fulfilment, has widened a gap of differences between the two. Commercial art galleries have apparently been disregarded by most art purists, claiming that they do not cater for their specifications but focus primarily on the business aspect of the trade. Observing both arguments respectively, there is probable justification behind the manner in which commercial art galleries run their operations. According to an independent art gallery owner, the term 'commercial' shouldn't even be associated with their business or the work they do.

Along with the community of art purists who have expressed their discontent for the 'commercialisation' of art for profit gain, the independent gallery owner validated her argument stating that divisions are pointless if we are all working towards the same goal.

At the end of the day like anything under the sun, continuation and progress relies on sustainability. Unfortunately for most art purists who have rebelled against the concept of commercialising their work, their art has landed in places where it will never receive the appropriate accreditation both economically and socially. The money factor for 'commercial' art galleries defines their initial vision of how artists and their work should be represented to the general public.

It is however sad to learn that most commercial art galleries do not accommodate up and coming artists due to the demands of their clients who warm up mostly to established names in the field. But the show must go on and common ground has to be established for the eradication of the gap between commercial and non-commercial art. The purpose of any form of artistry is to reach an audience and make an impact in their lives. This can only be accomplished if the work receives the appropriate platform to generate its accreditation and revenue.
Dear AFH Friends and Associates.

AFH sends warm greetings and hopes that you are having a pleasant year thus far.  Please receive our newsletter of the month of September. All comments and letters are welcome.

 Art for Humanity: what is art?

AFH defines art as that which is created to inspire all of humanity with freedom of expression, the quest for excellence, pride, dignity, and respect for individual rights, reflection and heritage.

In this month’s issue:


-          Dalai Lama Denied a Visa

Dialogue among Civilizations

-   Dialogue Among Civilizations Publication Available
-   Dialogue Among Civilizations Review
-   Interview with Tunisian Artist, Nicene Kossentini

Women for Children

-   Under Control - Q & A with Angela Buckland
-   A look back at Women’s Month
-   ‘Precious Cargo’ by Ernestine White and ‘Her Elements of Life’ by Chantel   Erfort

Break the Silence

-    Real Stories Gallery
-   "Yehoshua Comforting an Aids Victim" by Mduduzi Xakaza

General News

-  Themba Shibase Finalist for 2011 Sovereign Africa Art Prize
-  Njabulo Ngobese – Media Intern 2011
-  ASJ Conference
-  5th International Entertainment Education Conference - New Delhi November 17-20, 2011
      -   FNB Art Festival 2011

Contemporary News

-    The Power of a poem

Click HERE the link to view our September/October 2011 Newsletter

Warm Regards,

Thireshni Sanasy & Njabulo Ngobese

AFH Media Team

Art for Humanity

(Formerly Artists for Human Rights)

C/o Fine Art

Durban University of Technology

City Campus

Box 953

Durban 4000

South Africa

Tel: +27 (31) 373 6610


Art for Humanity...'the art of human rights'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

War for Righteousness

by Njabulo Ngobese
Image by Zapiro

It’s been an ongoing battle between the South African media and government about the proposed legislation of the Protection of Information Bill which hasn’t reached its decisive ruling. Contradictory to its grassroots policy of protecting and fighting for human rights, the ANC has apparently lost the plot in its ongoing journey of rectifying the injustices of the past government. Previous policies are now coming into play as the media has been put on a chokehold to censor any information that might prove to be detrimental to the reputation of the state. At what cost though as the question has been posed to the government’s rulings on the matter. Could it be that we are now entering the realm of a system of social injustice that is designed to protect and preserve the criminal minded figures in blue collar corruption? The ones who hold the answers to those questions are currently waging war at each other with the audience being the recipients and barriers of the final verdict.

It’s no surprise at all, that the South African government found it convenient to suppress its first threat to its agendas, the media. Known for its influential power on the general public, it was only a matter of time before civilians exercised their democratic right of rebelling against a corrupt government that has earned a reputation for squandering state funds. The proposed legislation of the Protection of Information Bill was initiated on the false basis of protecting and serving the interest of South Africans. However, the rejection of the bill by members of the media and general public, made it evident that the state was acting in its own interest.

The biggest victims should the final decision swing in the government’s favour, will be those blinded by the lack of information of what the state does with money that is suppose to serve its people. The slogan that won the ruling party a position of power back in 1994 “A better life for all” has now become a myth. It’s every South African’s responsibility to reject the Protection of Information Bill in the name of civil justice.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Heritage Day

by Njabulo Ngobese

Excitement looms in the air as Heritage month reaches its pinnacle with the long awaited celebrations of tomorrow's holiday. Although September 24 was meant to be a commemoration of the late great King Shaka Zulu and his tribal following, Heritage Day has since been diversified to accommodate all cultures in different spheres of life across the country.

Durbanites can brace themselves for an array of activities taking place tomorrow across the city. The 14th Annual Is'cathamiya Competition will be gracing the Playhouse Theatre with a live musical showcase of home grown dance moves from the province's finest. Also Unit 11 an indie night club located on Stamford Hill will play host to the all black Johannesburg based rock band, Blk Jks. Celebrate Durban will present the Miss eThekwini Competition that will hold its reign at the Durban City Hall from 6:30pm till late with a showcase of twenty beauties who hold hopes of being crowned Miss eThekwini 2011.

With an exciting list of options to pick from, it seems like Durban is spoilt for choice on how they can engage in the celebrations of Heritage Day. AFH (Art for Humanity) wishes all South Africans a joyous holiday with the encouragement of unity, peace & love amongst all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arranged Marriages

by Njabulo Ngobese

As the celebrations continue for heritage month, we look at the long standing history of arranged marriages in the Indian community.

The practice of arranged marriages is now something of the past in most Indian communities around South Africa. Nowadays, the choice one makes with whom they choose to spend the rest of their lives with depends on how much they love that person. The whole idealism behind arranged marriages in the first place is based on the conservative nature of the Indian culture. Parents found it appropriate to choose a life long partner for the children because there were certain rules and regulations they had to follow when initiating the process.

Status and class were the key elements of note when couples were in the process of being brought together. One could not marry outside of their class. The girl's family would look at the boy's status to see if he is worthy of marrying their daughter. . Unlike the Zulu culture with lobola, in the Indian community it is the girl that pays for the boy (Dowry), which in India is still practiced.

Although arranged marriages may seem ideal on a cultural level, socially they can backfire severely leaving room for promiscuity which can result to the contraction of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. The dissatisfaction of one of the parties in the relationship can easily compel them to seek gratification else where. Studies have shown that there is a higher chance of committing adultery if you are in a committed relationship with someone you don't love reason being there is very little loyalty built between the two people.

With the above as an added form to the AIDS epidemic, it is important for people to realise that as humans each individual has the right to make his/her own choices.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

South African Heritage

by Njabulo Ngobese

The westernisation of black society has over the years resulted in several cultural rituals being sidelined for practice. The use of traditional healing methods has been subjected to be demonic practice according to Christianity, a faith that has seized its dominance in black society since it's first arrival in Africa. Today's generation of black youths, stands as a reflection of what has been considered by elders as the lost generation. They destitute any knowledge of self.

The most hypocritical act according to a philosophy student I recently interviewed, lies in certain races embracing and celebrating heritage month without any knowledge of their cultural background. "Nowadays it's become a trend to follow the wave and scream 'heritage month' just because it's noted in our calender. If the day was not publicized as much, very few people would actually get into the spirit of celebrating the occasion" says Khondlo Mtshali who has strong views about today's black society lacking knowledge of their culture. One might argue though that Khondlo's argument is one sided and only points out to one specific race group. A coloured girl once brought something to my attention that I found to be quite interesting. She stated that the coloured race in South Africa has no historic origin that they can identify with. Being a "mixed breed" has made it extremely hard for them to find some form of grounding and cultural background.

So the question arises, what is the purpose of celebrating heritage day if today's generation being the future leaders of this country have very little or no knowledge at all of their grassroots? Perhaps the month should be used to it's fullest capacity to educate and cultivate the youth of their origins.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tribute to Biko

by Njabulo Ngobese

Heritage months pays homage and respect to a fallen soldier who fought for the liberation of our country during the apartheid regime, Steven Bantu Biko.

"Black is beautiful", the famous slogan the late anti-apartheid activist Stephen Bantu Biko was known for still bears relevance in today's times where the loss of cultural identity remains a threat in the current generation of black youths.

Born in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape, South Africa in 1946, Steve Biko showed early signs of political activism through his expulsion from Lovedale High School. Although still in his youth, Biko was already motivated to challenge a system of social injustice he felt had a negative connotation on black society. NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) was a multiracial politically moderate organisation that Steve Biko first joined while in Medical School. Firm on his beliefs to give people of colour a voice of their own, Biko went on to form SASO (South African Student Organisation) which eventually revolved to become BCM (Black Conscience Movement). Steve Biko was elected as the organisation's first president.

It wasn't long before Steve Biko's name became the centre of attention in the South African government books. Posing a threat to a system he was adamant on destroying, Biko was ruled out as a terrorist by the government. Numerous efforts were made to shut down his political activities as countless arrests & detentions by the police became a norm for Biko. His calling as an anti-apartheid activist however came to a tragic end. On September 12 1977, Stephen Bantu Biko was killed while in the custody of police after being interrogated, starved and brutally beaten. An autopsy conducted after his death confirmed that he died of brain lesions. His funeral was attended by thousands and thousands of masses who bided farewell to a soldier who fought for a now liberated South Africa.

We salute you Stephen Bantu Biko.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hip Hop Geba (The Purpose)

by Njabulo Ngobese

According to ancient history, the sound of poetry, the drum and rhythm, earned its origions in the continent of Africa. With the enslavement of African civilians to serve under their respectful masters as slaves, the spirit of music & poetry transcended to foreign lands where it found a new language that would have universal appeal and break barriers to reach a broader audience.

iGeba, is a Zulu term for isiZulu the language. It represents a culture that has seized its dominance in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Existing in the borders of Inanda, is a rich history of fallen kings who were known as 'Izimbongi' which translates to 'poets' in English. Their visions and dreams were usually interprited through their poetry and song. That particular chapter in history is now represented by a new breed of artists who have carried that torch left behind by their predecessors. 'Hip Hop Geba' is the evolution of Zulu poetry layered over 'break-beats' influenced by a variety of genres from jazz to soul music. Pioneering the movement for future generations to follow is Merel, a born & breded native of Inanda, who has been pushing an agenda of note that has encouraged lovers of art and music to take note of the distinguished genre, 'Hip Hop Geba'.

The release of his 2008 self titled debut underground EP sparked a lot of talk around the 23 year old music phenomenon. Reaching an audience that ranged from the youth to adults, Merel's style of song writing displayed a great sense of maturity. It encouraged the youth to value, appreciate and celebrate black heritage with efforts to preserve the Zulu language from extinction. According to a video interview where Merel was asked to break down the meaning behind 'Hip Hop Geba', he simply stated that "the genre represents fallen kings & poets who spoke for their people. Shaka is a highly commercialised concept of someone that was regarded as the greatest king in the Zulu nation. But history does not speak of greater kings who fought the same fight Shaka did. Those are the kings I speak for and represent in my music".

With concerns looming over the loss of cultural identity amongst the current generation of black youths, 'Hip Hop Geba' seems like an ideal medium for encouraging youngsters to revisit their history and learn about their heritage.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A School Of Historic Wealth

by Njabulo Ngobese

A location that houses some of Durban's richest heritage, Inanda is a township located on the outskirts of the city's metropolis. The home of late revolutionary figures such as Mahatma Gandhi & John Langalibalele Dube, Durban is well recognised for its diversified cultural blend that has played a vital role in shaping South Africa's rich history.

Inanda Seminary, an all girls school with a 141 years of academic excellence, is a living testament of Inanda's rich historic background. Having produced some of South Africa's well respected figures both in the cooperate and political spheres, Inanda Seminary has prided itself at living up to its motto of ''Shine wherever you are''. With an impressive 100% pass rate in 2010, Inanda Seminary remains firm on maintaining its academic excellence that was established when the school was first launched in 1869 by American Missionaries. Mary Kelly Edwards, an American Missionary, was the school's first appointed principal. Her impressive leadership skills helped set a high standard of academic achievements that have put the school in the noted eye of global icons such as Nelson Mandela and South Africa's current president Jacob Zuma. Mr Mandela was responsible for assisting in finding Inanda Seminary sponsorship from Sappi to keep the school going after it was on the verge of closing down due to the lack of funds. Madiba's historic visit to the school took place on August 13th 1999.

Since then, Inanda Seminary has carried its traditional standards of high excellence both academically and morally. With funding from sponsors, the school has been able to run a bursary program that is aimed at disadvantaged pupils. The bursary covers both boarding & tuition costs. With Heritage month now in full effect, AFH gives praise to Inanda Seminary for their long standing monumental contribution to the history pages of Durban & South Africa.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spring Break

by Njabulo Ngobese

Providing escapism from the bone chilling winter season, today marks the official start to everyone's favourite time of the year, spring. Excitement looms in the air as Durbanites can brace themselves for an array of festivities that will be gracing our shores. September being Heritage month, will see various celebrations across the country paying homage to South Africa's diverse and rich cultures.

"Celebrate Durban Halala 2011" is a yearly festival that combines music, art, dance, sport & various other activities that celebrate the spirit of humanity as well as embrace the various cultures that co-exist within Durban and South Africa as a whole. Art for Humanity (AFH) an NGO operating at the Durban University of Technology's City Campus under the directorship of Jan Jordaan, will be adding its contributions to the Celebrate Durban festivities by conducting workshops at 5 different schools around the Durban area. The idea behind the workshops is to encourage the youth to express themselves through their art. Whether it be poetry or sketches of drawings or paintings, the workshops give school children a voice that challenges any form of human injustice.

The celebrations of Heritage month kick started yesterday at the Green Hub as Celebrate Durban was officially launched. Durban's mayor James Nxumalo and eThekwini Spokesperson Loganathan Logie Naidoo were some of the guests present at the launch. Judging from the success of the launch, September promises endless excitement for Durbanites, local & international guests who will be gracing our shores during this month.

For more festivities taking place during the Celebrate Durban Halala 2011, visit:
For updates on the AFH school workshops you can visit our blog page:

An Angel of Mercy/For Our Children

An Angel of Mercy
Judy Woodborne

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

"Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door" - Emily Dickinson, Poet.

Judy Woodborne was born in 1966 in Cape Town. She obtained her BA in Fine Arts from Michaelis School of Fine Art in 1988 and an advanced Diploma in Printmaking with distinction in 1989. She was awarded her Master’s of Fine Arts degree with distinction from the University of Cape Town in 1993 with a dissertation entitled Moria, a Eulogy of Folly. She lives and works in Cape Town, and is a resident artist at Spencer Street Studios.


For our children
Makhosazana Xaba

Write the wrongs
on our girls and boys
for everyone to know
about every single one,
then there’ll be
no excuse not to
right the wrongs
on our girls and boys
who in their own right
deserve a national rite
for all to declare:
Respect, Protect and Fulfill
the Rights of Girls and Boys.
Right the wrongs
on our girls and boys
who rightly await
the nation’s loud voices:
Respect, Protect and Fulfill
the Rights of Girls and Boys.
Right at birth our children expect
every right-minded person
to know without being told
that normalcy demands that we
Respect, Protect and Fulfill
the Rights of Girls and Boys.

Mo ntlheng ya bana ba rona
Setswana translation coordinated by Dr Maria Letsie

Siamisa diphoso
mo basetsaneng le mo basimaneng ba rona
bao ka tshiamo ba letetseng
mantswe a kwa godimo a setshaba:
Tlotla, Sireletsa le go Diragatsa
Ditshiamelo tsa Basetsana le Basimane.

A Brief Biography of Makhosazana Xaba

Makhosazana (Khosi) Xaba was born on 10 July 1957 in Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal to Glenrose Nomvula Mbatha and Rueben Bejanmin Xaba. She grew up in Ndaleni as the second of five children and currently lives in Jozi. these hands is her debut collection of poetry. She is one of the 12 poets ISIS-X, a women-only anthology of poetry and photography (Botsotso).

Before turning to writing, Khosi worked as a women’s health specialist for both local and international NGOs. She wrote and published extensively on health systems management, gender and health, and women’s health policies. She is currently a Writing Fellow at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) working on a nonfiction biography project for a year.

She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is the winner of the Deon Hofmeyr Award for Creative Writing (2005) for her unpublished short story called Running. Khosi’s poems have also appeared in: Timbila, Sister Namibia, poetsagainstthewar website, Women in Writing, Botsotso, South African Writing, Green Dragon and Echoes.

Precious Cargo/Her Elements of Life

Precious Cargo
Ernestine White

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion" - Martha Graham, American Choreographer.

Ernestine White received a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Cape Town in 2004. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions and also received a Master Printer Certificate from the Tamarind Institute, Alberquerque, New Mexico.

Ernestine is currently the exhibition coordinator-curator for the Parliamentary Millennium Project at the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.


Her elements of life
Chantel Erfort

Face full and bright like the moon
Her dreams fly across the sky
Before bad dreams gather like clouds.
And yesterday she was just 8 years old
Now face full and bright like fire
Her eyes dart across the room
Before tears well like water
And yesterday she was just 8 years old
Now face full but not
Dulls into anger as she cries.

Ekuqakatheke ePilwenakhe
IsiNdebele translation: F Mahlangu

Ubuso obumomothekako ebuphazima njengenyezi
Amabhudango wakhe aphapha hlangana nesibhakabhaka
Ngaphambi kobana amabhudango amambi angahlangana njengamafu
Izolo lokhu ubeneminyaka ebu-8
Gadesi ubuso obumomomothekako buphazima njengomlilo
Amehlwakhe agijima kilo loke ikamero
Ngaphambi kobana iinyembezi ziwe njengamanzi
Izolo lokhu ubeneminyaka ebu-8
Gadesi ubuso buyamamatheka kodwana
Bukhombisa ilaka nakalilako

A Brief Biography of Chantel Erfort

Chantel Erfort is a writer, assistant editor at Cape Community Newspapers, co-foudner of a community arts projct the COLOUR: Spirit of the Flats, and co-owner of the community-based record label, DALA FLAT MUSIC. She oversees the DALA FLAT MUSIC’s 38 Special Words and Music project and is in the process of completing her first book The Meditation and Maths of Leaving, a compilation of short stories, poetry and letters to a long-lost friend.

At all times through her writing, Chantel strives to maintain and uphold the ethos of social upliftment through the arts as expressed by the DALA FLAT MUSIC and the COLOUR: Spirit of the Flats. Her work has been published in Women Flashing, a compilation of Flash Fiction by South African women writers (2005).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weighing And Wanting/The Private Eucharist

Diane Victor
Weighing and Wanting

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

"Is it too much to ask that women be spared the daily struggle for superhuman beauty in order to offer it to the caresses of a sub-humanly ugly mate?" - Germaine Greer, Academician

Diane Victor has worked in art making since graduating in printmaking in 1986 from Wits University. She has worked as an artist and lecturer at various institutions since 1992; teaching drawing and etching mainly at Pretoria University, but also at Wits Technikon (now University of Johannesburg), Pretoria Technikon (now Tshwane University of Technology), UNISA, Wits University, Vaal Technikon and recently at Rhodes University.

Diane’s determination to remain unbound to any one institution in a preference for flexible teaching, ties to her belief in cross-pollination between departments being more effective for her than administrative bondage to any one. This has allowed Diane the freedom to continue almost full time with her own personal art making processes and commissioned work.

She received the ABSA Atelier Award in 1988 granting ten months’ work and stay in Paris. Other residencies include a UNESCO residency in Vienna in 1999, a residency from Ampersand Foundation to New York City in 1998 and Vermont studio in the USA in 2002. Diane has had four solo shows at the Goodman Gallery since 1992 and exhibits consistently in South Africa and internationally.


The Private Eucharist
Michelle McGrane

The old woman behind the pharmacy counter
passes forward a brown paper packet, her
shrivelled hands mottled, liver-spotted;
the accusatory, tight-lipped mien pronounces,
You young women destroy your health.
Listen Ouma, you're tempted to explain,
you don't know the half of it.
Instead, you smile, fade to nothing,
concentrate on crackling paper, your fingers
fidgety, thin-skinned animals.
Consecrated capsule on outstretched tongue,
squatting in a darkened room, you receive
the Holy Sacrament for Hungry Girls;
a private Eucharist to appease
your bare boned God of Reduction.
Give me this day my daily resolve,
the grace not to let a single morsel
pass through these lips,
After mass, spiritual ebullience: dry mouth
dizziness jaw-clenching palpitations…
Clutching the rosary of your martyrdom,
speedy strong in occult absolution,
you shrug with the insouciance
of the pardoned penitent;
every true believer pays a price.

Afrikaans translation: Marí Peté

Gehurk in ‘n skemer kamer,
kapsule geheilig op die tong, ontvang jy
die Sakrament vir Honger Dogters;
‘n Privaatnagmaal om jou benerige
God van Vermindering
te bevredig.
Gee my vandag my daaglikse wilskrag,
die genade om nie ‘n enkele krummel
oor my lippe te laat nie,

A Brief Biography of Michelle McGrane

Born in 1974 in Zimbabwe, Michelle McGrane spent her childhood in Malawi, and moved to South Africa with her family when she was fourteen. She has lived in Pietermaritzburg since 1988. Michelle has published two collections of poetry, Fireflies & Blazing Stars (2002) and Hybrid (2003). She was the recipient of the South African Writers' Circle Hilde Slinger Poetry Award in 2003 and the Quill Award in 2004.

Her poems have been published in local literary journals such as Fidelities, Botsotso, Kotaz, LitNet and Timbila as well as internationally in the United Kingdom, America and Canada. Michelle is dedicated to promoting South African writing and has a strong commitment to developing her work and the work of other writers.

She was involved as a mentor in the Agenda Feminist Media Project Creative Writing Programme in 2004 and was a participant in the Centre for the Book's Turning the Page festival of emerging South African writers held in 2004.

Acting Together (Join the Conversation)

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

A collaborative effort between Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders has resulted in a project that has been in the running for the past six years working towards peacebuilding and performance in art whilst creating venues for artistic and scholarly exchange. This project is called "Acting Together (Join the Conversation)".

"Acting Together On The World Stage" is a feature-length documentary that will be launched this fall by "Acting Together". The documentary will comprise of a toolkit of videos and printed guides to aid educators, practitioners and policy makers. There will also be the first of two volumes of an anthology entitled Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict. The screening of the documentary will be on a global scale.

Film and print resources produced by Acting Together are a result of focused conversations and case studies that include highlight artists, peacebuilders and community leaders from every continent. The global outreach of the project streches as far as the aborigional community of Australia to artists holding their governments accountable for crimes in Uganda and the former Yogoslavia.

The art serves as a common factor between global communities that have all undergone similar trials and tribulations when it comes to social injustice. A project of Acting Together's calibre, bridges the gaps between all the cultures of the world and provides them with a platform to speak a common language of peace and righteousness.

Mother-Daughter/My Imagination & Daughter

Elizabeth Vels

Compiled by Njabulo Ngobese

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn" - Harriet Beecher Stowe (writer)

Elizabeth Vels works in mixed media where she layers fragile and cast papers, etching, thread, stitching, paint, ink and text to make artists books and small sequantial works, or larger composite pieces on streched canvas. Her work mines the archaeology of her life of which according to her "reveals the miraculous in the every day".

She has work in Major Public Collections that include the S.A National Gallery Cape Town, Pretoria Art Gallery, Durban Art Gallery, Johannesburg Art Museum, South African Council of Churches, Sasol Collection, University of Stellenbosch to name a few.


Teilharde Fregona

My mother gets ready to go out
I inhale her perfume so rich and so deep
The smell entangles my senses like the vines of a tree
She quickly leaves and I fall off to sleep
Colours explode, fireworks of my imagination
My mind is filled with hope, memories and dreams
All the information and knowledge is kept there
Like a bag overflowing ripped at the seams
I open my eyes but my room is shrouded in darkness
I am scared of the dark, a beast of the night
I shut my eyes tightly and hear the front door
It’s my mother she’s back, things will be alright.

Charl Fregona

There are things you should know about
My silent heart,
My dumb tongue.
I know that you breathe the echo of perfume on my pillow
That you clothe yourself in my gown,
Black silk, twist your hair round,
Try to wear my frown
That you sing to keep me in
And stagger across the floor of your life
Wearing my ridiculous stilettos
Because you think you are alone.
I push back mute longing.
We see exactly who we are in our mirrors.
Because you are patterned in my cells,
I carry you across the great divide
Along that steep edge between death and forever,
Lead us through the struggle of birth into love of living.
My divine burden, my heart speaks.
I have been before.
You are not home alone
I am here with strong round walls to enclose you.

Umcabango wami
Siswati translation of poem extract coordinated by Dr Maria Letsie

Ngihogela emakha akhe ladulile nalanukelelako
Leliphunga livakala emiveni yami njengensimu yetihlahla
Imibala iyadubuka, imililo lekhona emicabangweni yami
Ingcondvo yami igcwele ngelitsemba, tinkhumbulo kanye nemaphupho
Ngivule emehlo ami kodvwa likamelo lami likhungatfwe bumnyama

Siswati translation of poem extract coordinated by Dr Maria Letsie

Ngiyati kutsi uphefumlela emakha lamnandzi emcamelweni wakho
Utigcokisa I-gawuni yami,
Isilika lemnyama,ushwile tinwele takho,
Uzama kuswaca njengami
Kutsi uyahlabela kute ungigcine
Kungumtfwalo wami, inhlitiyo yami iyakhuluma
Ngikwentile kucala.
Awusiwedvwa laph’ ekhaya
Ngikhona netindvonga leticinile ngikukakile.

A Brief Biography of Teilharde & Charl Fregona

Tei Fregona was born in 1992 in Durban and is a student in Kloof High School.She has had three books published by Umsinsi Press. Tei sings, plays the guitar and loves reading. She is currently planning on becoming a pop star, but cannot make up her mind if she would rather train dolphins or be a trapeze artist instead. Tei has been writing poetry since she started reading and writing.

Charl Fregona was born in Prieska, in the Northern Cape, but grew up in Zimbabwe. Charl is an instructional designer at the Centre for Higher Education Development at the Durban University of Technology, and is currently studying for a PhD in web-based learning and teaching.

She has three children, loves to read and travel. Her first poem was published at the age of nine and she has subsequently been published in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States as a short story writer, a poet and a novelist. She has edited a number of poetry anthologies, one of which is Liz Vels’s collection, Handspun.