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Media, literature and art

Jane Alexander: The Masiphumelele Michaelis Art Project funded by UCT, has taken place annually since 2008. It is a curriculum art exhibition and workshop project produced for the library and a group of learners from Masiphumelele. Michaelis students organise and run the workshop for a group of learners and teachers from Masiphumelele High School at Michaelis, and students create artworks for the a temporary exhibition installed in and around the library building in Masiphumelele for ± 3 weeks, with an opening reception. As art is accessible to a very small number of learners at the Masiphumelele High School with limited resources, the exhibition gives learners and residents the opportunity of seeing a contemporary form of art production exhibited in their own environment, amplified through explanations in English and isiXhosa. Projects are often collaborative with residents. Viewers are introduced to a variety of media and ideas, as well as a possible vocation. The workshop provides learners from Masiphumelele with an introduction to Fine Art through the creation of an object to take home and a guided visit to the South African National Gallery, and enables students to share skills, gain workshop experience, and to have the opportunity to produce an exhibition for the public who would otherwise have limited or no access to art. The project is intended to provide a new experience for Michaelis students, Masiphumelele learners and educators that is explicitly concerned with South Africa, but considerate of contemporary art and the importance of creativity on a more general level. In the last few years, Michaelis student and Masiphumelele resident, Simphiwe Ndzube, has assisted with the project. He completed his degree in 2015 and was awarded the Michaelis Prize.

L Maasdorp: Stepping Stone community engagement video training was launched in 2012 to open University of Cape Town film and media facilities, equipment and knowledge to a wider audience, linking university and non-university communities and creating opportunities for creative collaboration and social interaction between diverse participants. Our goal is to include participants between 18 and 29 from diverse backgrounds, prioritising those from under-resourced areas with low household incomes. We select one third of each cohort from the UCT community (students and staff) and two thirds who would not otherwise be able to attend UCT courses due to financial or other constraints. A total of 33 participants from various walks of life participated in Stepping Stone courses during 2015. 17 participants successfully completed the multi-camera course in June/July and 16 the single-camera course during November/December. Both Stepping Stone courses are now registered as NQF level 5 UCT short courses. All participants who successfully complete the courses receive an official UCT certificate of completion.


K Benson: has completed the writing of Crossroads: I Live Where I Like is a graphic novel history series on women’s organized resistance to slum clearance in Crossroads South Africa, 1975-2015. Drawing on over sixty life narratives, these comic books tells the story of women who built and defended Crossroads, the only African informal settlement that successfully resisted the Apartheid bulldozers in Cape Town. The series story follows women’s organized resistance through from the peak of apartheid to ongoing struggles for decent shelter today and was developed through discussions with activists reflecting on the role of this history in the present. The books were drawn by the Trantraal Brothers, political cartoonists best known for their comic book Coloureds and their weekly strips in the Cape Times and the Rapport. The first book and more information about the project is available at: Key historical questions raised in these books can be found in her article “A ‘Political War of Words and Bullets:’ Defying and Defining Sides of Struggle for Housing in Crossroads,” recently published in the Journal of Southern African Studies (41.2,2015).