Sophiatown (also known as Sof'town or Kofifi), is a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Sophiatown was a legendary black cultural hub that was destroyed under apartheid, rebuilt under the name of Triomf, and in 2006 officially returned to its original name. Sophiatown was one of the oldest black areas in Johannesburg and its destruction represents some of the excesses of South Africa under apartheid. Despite the violence and poverty, it was an epicentre of politics, jazz and blues during the 1940s and 1950s, and produced some of South Africa's most famous writers, musicians, politicians and artists.
August House - a striking art deco building - is an artists’ residency in Doornfontein, Johannesburg and is filled to the brim with creativity including established artists such as Dianne Victor, Nelson Makamo, Mary Sibanda, Lawrence Lemaoana amongst others. This is what I so much love about our city – it is still possible to find gems in totally unexpected places and spaces!
On the outskirts of Ulundi in KwaZulu-Natal, we turn off onto a dirt road leading to the Maqiyana Primary School. This is an area where there is no running water, and water needs to be carried to homesteads. As we drive up to the school we see that a tent has been erected, and the children are lined up outside their classrooms. Many of the children’s uniforms are threadbare, but they are all spotless. The children are ready to take their shoes off and leave them outside the classrooms – I notice that many of the socks have no heels, no toes, and some almost no feet… But excitement is heavy in the air.