The Community Experiences of Cultural and Creative Workers

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The Creative Workers from Johannesburg organise themselves to remake the world through art. They use art to raise awareness, bring life to ordinary people’s lives and tell stories. While their work is important, many creatives have been ignored by the Department of Arts and Culture. They receive little to no funding, support or space to showcase their art.

Okuhle Matomane from Page to Stage said “Art speaks louder than anything in this country and louder than the politicians selling people false dreams in parliaments.” She also believes that art can positively influence society. The creative workers spread awareness through educational theatre pieces that they showcase in communities, for example, the Shaft Six Campaign portrays the experience of Marikana Worker’s experiences and economic and political crises, which many workers can relate to.

While it is clear that the Creative Workers are doing a good job, the support they get from communities is not consistent. Tebogo Seretse, from Blah Blah Brothers, in the Vaal, organised youth programmes and assisted them with the support of the Department of Art and Culture. He was badly injured in the church and the community did not give him any support, but when he was going to Vietnam to represent South Africa, the community donated money for them.

The community is constantly at the core of the hearts of cultural workers. They do this work for the community. Nkululeko Dabula from Habitat61, and his group discovered the abandoned land and cleaned it up so they could use the space for their artworks. They have carried out campaigns, such as Bedroom to Boardroom, that illustrate environmental problems and how communities may deal with them. Unfortunately, they are presently being evicted, but with the support of the community, they may be able to overturn it. They developed several movement-building strategies during winter school at Khanya College.

More organisations like the ones mentioned above are vital because they are working to change the world for young people and artists who want to improve their crafts so they may give back to their communities.

 This article was submitted as part of the Imbila Yesu publication produced daily for the duration of the Winter School in 2022 (17-22 July 2022). It appeared in Edition No. 1, released on 21 July 2022.

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