For Tshepo, I will not move to the outskirts of the city

An ode to the fictitious village of Tiragalong, the cities of Jozi and the D

A review

Coal Train ya Bra Hugh taking turns with Coltrane, Lateef & Donuts
Coal Train ya Bra Hugh taking turns with Coltrane, Lateef & Donuts

Work-Detroit Gallery, Detroit, MI

24 October – 08 November 2008

I had a very fulfilling show at the Work-Detroit gallery at the corner of Woordward avenue and Martin Luther Ling Jr road. Fulfilling because as an ambitious show that forged similarities between the rural village of Ga-Molepo, where I grew up, Jozi, where I live and my very temporal Detroit residence, engaging conversations around the issue of place emerged. And I am happy to have had my first solo show in the homeground of Dilla dog!

"these cats on a ship talkin bout..."
"these cats on a ship talkin bout..."

My body of work was inspired in part by the late Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow. In terms of structure, Mpe set his characters in three places, Oxford, Johannesburg and Tiragalong [fictionized village in ga-Molepo, Polokwane]. I borrowed some of the issues raised in the book, such as xenophobia, witch-hunting HIV and death of youth. My show further went on to deal with landscapes of pain and trauma, and the youth’s inheritance of these spaces that we find ourselves in. For Tshepo celebrates those who reshape these post-colonial landscapes and architecture.

The LandLords...
The LandLords...

Tshepo is a character in Welcome to Our Hillbrow, whose death sparks a series of tragic events. Tshepo is also a deeply troubled soul in K. Sello Duiker’s The Quiet Violence of Dreams. Tshepo is a Sotho name for Hope. My body of work is trying to be romantic, nostalgic and hopeful about our otherwise troubled neighbourhoods under threat of capitalism, global warming and diminishing resources.

Rebirth-piano solo
Rebirth-piano solo

My show was also inspired by music, hip hop and jazz. Rhythm and improvisation, rhyme and freestyle in jazz and hip hop respectively. The motif of order and disorder, pattern and chaos, is a constant thread that speaks of the stark contrasts of our spaces and reminds us that it is that malleable ‘space’ in-between that offers an opportunity for rebirth, for true retribution.

Rebirth-sax solo
Rebirth-sax solo

I Hope to bring this show to Jozi and Polokwane.


love, peace and guidance



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s