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.

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