Nyanga art’s road to revival

2016-11-17 06:00
 Toto Gxabela facilitates a recent workshop with yopungsters.

Toto Gxabela facilitates a recent workshop with yopungsters.

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Ask anyone who knows anything about Arts in the ‘Mother city’ and you are bound to hear a story-or-two about Nyanga artists and their creative exploits.

During the dark days of apartheid (especially in the late 70s to mid 80s), Nyanga was the melting-pot of various arts disciplines.

Artists like the late Brenda Fassie or Ringo Madlingozi would pay a visit to Nyanga East on a quest to sharpern up on their skills through collaborating with Nyanga Artists.

It was the height of the Nyanga Arts scene, with the area buzzing with cultural activities of all sorts.

However, things took a turn for the worst after 1994, the Nyanga Community Arts Centre taking a major knock, leading to the decline of both arts and social activism in general.

The result is that even the sounds of the pianos fell silent, with no melodies wafting through the windows of the Arts Centre, situated just a walk away from Linge Primary School.

Even the drum rolls and the pounding of the feet of Amabutho Dancers ceased to stomp.

Sadly, these have come to be replaced by the deadly sounds of firearms, which as the older generations would say, ‘have become the new soundtracks to life as we used to know it’.

But now a number of local artists have decided to bring back that vibe, by calling on fellow artists from that era to deliberate on what can be done to re-ignite the artistic spark emaNyangana.

Ward 37 Councillor Alderman Mgxekeni roped in some of these artists to participate in the revival festival on Heritage Day 2016.

The outcome was a successfully event, which was held at Zolani Multi-purpose Centre and was attended by an audience of more than 200 people, including city of Cape Town officials, including guests of honour.

This group of Artists has been meeting regularly on Tuesday evenings at 18:00, at Zolani Centre. A call is made to all other Artists and crafters from Nyanga to attend these meetings so they can also play an active role in the establishment of the forum. The time is ripe for artists to reclaim their role.


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