Experience Alexandra Township with The Maboneng Township Arts Experience
Townships are a rare diamond of the earth, a place where poverty has masked a great excellence unseen. Take a tour with us to the second oldest township in South Africa, Alexandra Township. It has been a home to Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. It has also been a home to Samora Mitchell, former president of Mozambique. Diamonds like the great singers and jazz artists, Hugh Masikela and Caphius Semenya have also made it a home. Alexandra Township, so vibrant from its beginning days to today, was called Dark City. As the years went along the government put in electricity in the community and the residents renamed Alexandra, their Dark City, to Alexandra Maboneng; a seSotho word for a place of lights. Now you wonder not where the name of our organisation comes from.
The founder, Siphiwe Ngwenya, was born in Alexandra Maboneng and his talent was matured here. The challenges of exhibiting his works in bigger galleries outside of Alexandra Township were upon him. No one would take works from this young man. In his anger and desire to change what was to him a problem for many other artists, he looked to his neighbors for help; a help that has changed his life forever. It was the neighbors that welcomed the artworks in the homes but it was the visitors to the exhibition who were even more excited to step into another space they had never stepped in before. This was the alternative to the white wall galleries that one tip toed through. This was home, filled with its challenges and imperfections. This was to become the new space for the arts. You are now the guest to this Township’s new wonder. A wonder that digs the gems right out from the ground and holds them out for the entire world to see. Gems like Tommy Machaba, Ndabuko Ntuli, Patrick Mutloua and many more visual artists who are based in Alexandra Township. But first meet our creative arts guide. They will unravel this history in these words live in front of your eyes with Alexandra Township as your mirror and the Gallery Homes as your cinema.
Our creative arts guide then leads you to see where Nelson Mandela used to stay during revolutionary years. A small humble home next to a cultural centre that has been built for artist from Alexandra Township. Our creative arts guide is always with you. With him you can purchase any of the artworks that you have seen from each of the gallery homes and your ticket fee to do this colorful tour. He carries with him a mobile card machine to ease the trouble of carrying cash with you. He is also a good packer of art and will help you wrap the work together with the gallery home hosts. Take pictures with him and tag @maboneng_arts whenever you can for your social media. Keep his email so we can continue a lovely journey with you on your return or when you tell your friends and family about us.
An option of a Full Day package is everything listed above including an interactive arts and music workshop that is great for the individual or family or group. These workshops range from drumming workshops and working closely with a local visual artist to create artwork. This is a 2 Hour experience.