Friday, July 15, 2011


This publication, called "The White Elephant" forms part of the Cardboard Monument  project, carried out in Soweto, Johannesburg from January until March 2011. It reflects on the significance and impact of community driven activist public art, using the Cardboard Monument project as a case study.

Texts by Lauren Alexander, Clare Butcher, with extracts from David Blom (Oom Bolo) and Charles Nkosi. 
To read an extract from "The White Elephant" click here.
Book concept and design by Foundland. (for more image click here)
Original cover illustrations by Victor Mofokeng. (Available in 3 silkscreened variations)
Copies of the White Elephant are available on request by email.
Publications funded by the Dutch Art Institute and Mediafonds, Amsterdam

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Click on the articles to enlarge
Pimville Urban news, Friday 4th March 2011
Sowetan Newspaper, Wednesday 9th March 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Closing day programme

Today is the last day of the Cardboard Monument on Walter Sisulu Square!
If you are in the Joburg area - come and join at Walter Sisulu square, Soweto
12:00 - Kliptown children's gathering,
14:30 - Discussion "Future art collaborations in Kliptown?"
15:30 - 16:00 Mnmina Tshipi performance, Marimba drums and Tswana dance
16:30  until 18:00 certificates to artists and closing with performance by Empress Tallowa

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Promoting our project in Kliptown

Joseph, Teboho and Mzie went out in Kliptown to hand out invitations for our opening, tomorrow. People were generally excited- because they had seen the project on the front page of the local Pimville Urban news newspaper. A local free newspaper distributed to homes in the Kliptown area. Thanks to Lebo at urban news for the great article.

Monday, February 28, 2011

...and building begins

We are building up our Cardboard Monument structure at Funda Centre, and then transporting it in pieces to the Walter Sisulu Square. From Tuesday, 1 March on we will be based at Walter Sisulu square if you would like to come by and help build.

Friday, February 11, 2011

From research to production!

At the beginning of February Erik Hopmans and Alex O'Donoghue arrived to join the Cardboard Monument team. Erik will be working on construction of the monument. He is an experienced theatre designer. Alex is our valuable planner and co-ordinator of logistics for the 4 day event in March, we are very happy to welcome them. The second week of February marks the stage of the project in which research ideas are consolidated and converted into artistic interventions. Soon we will post the artistic direction of each participant of the project on our "artists" page.

Each artist has chosen a specific direction of investigation, and curated his/ her own investigation to support ideas. So far we have an exciting combination: including a "fake market seller" selling linocut prints of unseen Kliptown. A giant sculpture coin designed to commemorate Kliptown's  heroine, Charlotte Maxete, and a market place variation of the Freedom Charter. There will also be documentation of our process as well as a video installation piece to see inside our outdoor exhibition. We are now working in preparation for the events programme in March- a more detailed update will follow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stakeholder meeting

On 9 February we held a stakeholder meeting at the Soweto Hotel, as an update for all involved parties in the project. Present were: TK, from Sky Youth group, Mxolisi and Pops from Kliptown artist collective post77, Oom Bolo Kliptown elder, Charles, Tumelo, and Ezekiel from Funda and Masentle from the Soweto Hotel. We also have the opportunity to be interviewed by Lebo from Urban news newspaper, a weekly Soweto newspaper- hopefully we will feature this week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Between 1 January and 3 February 2011, we explored the streets of Kliptown, gathering useful information to inform our project in development. Mzi, Teboho and Mzie G. took on the role of interviewers for these personal inquiries, which we made inside the homes of Kliptown residents, or using the space of Oom Bolo's museum. We realised that there are many diverse groups of people living in the area, who all relate to the idea of the Walter Sisulu square monument and Kliptown as their home in many different ways.

Beacon Road area- former San Souci surrounds

In this area Mzie took the lead for most interviews we conducted,  with residents currently living in the surrounds of the previously very popular Sans Souci movie theatre. The movie theatre was the most vibrant social hang-out in the area between the 1960s and early 1990's. It was wonderful to see the happy memories which Sans Souci brought, as well as the stories of gangs who existed during Sans Souci's prime. Their image was influenced by the American movies seen at Sans Souci.

Kliptown squatter camp (across the railway track- opposite Walter Sisulu square)

Kliptown squatter camp, the oldest part of Kliptown, was established in 1904, we heard stories about the conditions in which the people are currently living here. The serious lack of sanitation and facilities makes it very diffiucult to live normally here. Many young people feel that there is not much hope- and feel frustrated about their area being turned into a tourist attraction. Orpheus, a Kliptown elder, told us that he feels frustrated when he eats his breakfast, and tourists are taking photos from the highway to document a typical slum.

The Market Place on Walter Sisulu square

The market place on Walter Sisulu square has its origins in the early 1900's when this part of town was established as a market hub, for the non- white community in Soweto. Up until before the monument was built, the area was available for everybody to use- anybody could bring his wares and try and tell to the community. Today the market is regulated. Hawkers need to pay rent or otherwise sell illegally. There are also strict rules related to where selling may happen, and when these are not obeyed, the Metro regional police often are seen confiscating the market sellers goods. Some market sellers, selling cabbages, toys and second hand clothes have been there since the early 1950's.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


On Day 4, Thursday 28th January, we focussed our attention on the structure of our Cardboard Monument. We also discussed the individual research trajectory of all involved in the project. Some very interesting research directions have been chosen. We look forward to sharing more next week. For now- a sneak preview of structural sketches.


On Wednesday Bolo gave a very impressive lecture in his self made museum. He encouraged us to work together as artists within the community. He gave an overview of interesting insider events from the past 10 years in Kliptown, from before the monument square was built until today.

Bolo set up a presentation inside his museum

Old images from the early 90's in Kliptown. Left: the only white person living in Kliptown at the time when it was a black only area. Right: The main road to Johannesburg, which now runs exactly down the middle of the Walter Sisulu square monument.
The previous informal market, was a business hub of Soweto- renowned for offering the cheapest of wares since the 1950's. Anybody was allowed to trade. 
Children draw with chalk on the pavements of Kliptown. Right: you can see the mixed cultural groups living Kliptown- quite unique for Soweto area. Here you can see muslim, black and coloured children.


On Tuesday 25th January we made a framework to structure our project- we divided our team into "Communicators", "Entertainers" and "Builders" according to the interests of the artists. We brainstormed all the functions each group is responsible for- lots of work ahead!
Thuli, Joseph, Victor, Mzi and Charles Nkosi

"Bank of ideas" for each group

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today we shared examples of political images related to South African history and it's influence on contemporary artists working today. We discussed different examples of public images found in SA, Senegal and N. Korea- and the unexpected connections which can be found between them. We also looked at examples of artistic interventions in public space, and finally we watched a video lecture by Thomas Hirschhorn about his Spinoza project in the Bijlmer in Amsterdam. We found his words related to the manner in which he asked the Bijlmer community for help for his project, useful for our approach in the days to come.

Left: Archival poster used to promote the 1955 Freedom Charter gathering Kliptown.Right: Brett Murray, South African artist's interpretation, as part of his show called: Hail to the thief, at Goodman Gallery in Cape Town.
The African Renaissance monument in Dakar, Senegal cost 27 million dollars to build in 2010, and was solely built with laborers from North Korea.

An example of a statue found in communist N. Korea- with a curious similarity to the Senegalese one above.

Left: Statue of Louis Botha in Cape Town. Right: Artist Beezy Bailey transformed the statue as part of the Public Eye festival, which took place in 1998. A proud statesman is transformed into a Xhosa boy on his way to an initiation ritual (Abakhwetha).
At Funda Community Arts College

Funda graduates in the Sowetan newspaper!

Since the graduation exhibition show at Funda Community College in December 2010, two students, Mzi Nyathi and Thomas Moremi from Funda have been featured in the Sowetan newspaper. Their works deal with social issues such as nepotism and abuse in schools. We are proud to have them on the Cardboard Monument team!

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