#FeelGoodFriday: Bringing magic to Gugs

Along Klipfontein Road in Gugulethu lies a magical street filled with art, music and fun.

A dance group performs their routine during the Maboneng Township Arts Experience. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Across the railway line along Klipfontein Road lies a set of streets, with a confusing set of names.

NY 117, NY 147, NY 132, NY NY NY… but if you make the right turn once a year, you will find yourself along a street filled with artistic magic.

A street filled with art. A street filled with music. A street filled with fun.

In the past, there were few, if any galleries, in townships around the country.

Come 2001, and one of Johannesburg's oldest and largest townships, Alexandra, began what is fast becoming a new culture in township living - the street art experience.

In 2013, Gugulethu decided to follow suit and designed the Maboneng Arts Experience.

It's focus, rather than bringing township art to the people, is to bring people to the township to see art.

The experience invites people to celebrate township culture, music, art, and the people.

To do this, one must come and see the art in its place of creation.

And Gugs is one such place.


In every doorway of every house there is someone sitting or standing, selling or advertising an artwork, an initiative or an idea.

'Turning Homes into Innovation Labs' is a project which encourages sustainable and affordable living through advances in green energy, science and technology.

Solar panels, water efficient toilets and composting are some of the few initiatives being explored in homes in Gugulethu.

Video: Transforming townships into galleries.

Home craft using recycled goods for art and creative products is another innovation.

People make hats out of recycled materials such as plastic, wire containers with beer bottle caps for decoration, home brewed mqombothi (traditional beer) and photographs.

Some exhibitions involve painting, some of which are graffiti murals along the street's walls.

There are performances too, with singing, dancing, acting and breakdancing at various intervals during the course of the afternoon.

And there are people from all over. Tourist groups and locals mingle as they are guided through the activities by staff.

Feel free to ask questions because everyone is ready and willing to share. If you like, you can even get up and dance with the performers.

So next time you are craving a little art and culture, take a drive and explore a different scene.