The Basotho people were always known for their innovative and creative range of indigenous crafts. Traditionally the women produced various forms of clay pottery, while the men cleverly plaited grass baskets and hats. These objects were marketed to foreign visitors in Maseru and elsewhere across the border in South Africa.
As the legend goes – Ex Africa semper a liquid novi – out of Africa there is always something new. In cynical times, the Latin saying can be deemed a cliché, especially when nay-sayers insist on reminding us of misfortune, corruption, barbarism, beggary, of the toxic, prejudicial, yet persistent view of Africa’s failure to mirror the West. But as Steve Bantu Biko famously reminded us, in I write what I like, Africa’s contribution to the world lies not in industrial innovation, or military might – the core ingredients of every colonizing force – but in something far more precious – humanity. Africa’s power lies in its spirit of Ubuntu, in relationality, in returning to the world its ‘human face’.
Extract from the Keynote Address delivered by Dr M Mushonga* at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, 4 October 2022.
The Man/Woman in the Mirror
So, this evening I am going to try and talk about what I think are some of the key lessons we learn from Pitika Ntuli’s Azibuyele Emasisweni (Return to the Source) art which scored a first at the Global Fine Arts Awards. Yet in order to speak to the art, it is important to know the person behind the art. Yet, what do I know about he who has been described by many as an exceptional artist. From where I stand, Pitika is not an exceptional artist because exceptional artists do not exist. There has never been an exceptional artist anywhere, anytime.
Learning through art: The Museum as classroom aims to serve as a platform for school learners, educators and art enthusiasts to appreciate and absorb artworks and important genres discussed in the Visual Arts Curriculum. Artworks were sourced from William Humphreys Art Gallery, ArtbankSA Contemporary Collection and Oliewenhuis Art Museum’s Permanent Collection, and artworks that are discussed in the textbooks.
This photographic exhibition is curated from Oliewenhuis Art Museum and ArtbankSA’s collections. The exhibition features historical and contemporary moments as seen through the lens of some of South Africa’s most esteemed photographers. The artworks for this exhibition were selected specifically to commemorate a pivotal moment in South Africa’s history: the first non-racial democratic elections of 1994.