Today’s adventure began with a mural tour in Parow Precinct called Station ARTcade that was sponsored by Art in Action and the Greater Tygerberg Partnership. The murals were part of a local effort to beautify, not gentrify, Parow and encourage residents and outsiders alike to be excited about and proud of the space. The murals were all created with Parow’s diversity in mind, and they were all absolutely beautiful. There were so many different styles and color palettes, but they all fit well with the theme and certainly added to the area. We were driven into Parow in informal taxis and then we walked as a group from mural to mural. The organizers also gave us canvas bags filled with snacks (biltong, caramel popcorn, honey pops that we had previously thought was orange chicken,and Appletizers), maps of the area and the tour, postcards with each of the murals on them,
and colored pencils. About halfway through the tour, we were given a short break to explore a local market where we were each given a coloring book. A bunch of us also bought “cooked sisters,” a kind of fried donut with some coconut sprinkled on top. Even as someone who passionately hates coconut, I absolutely loved them and I think about them every now and then. We concluded our tour with a mini-meal at Lydia’s, a local Congolese restaurant. I’ll be curious to see how the tour proceeds and changes, but all of us students agreed that this was one of the favorite things we had done so far in thus program.
After the mural tour, we continued onto the Mayibuye Archives on the UCT campus. We took a quick walkthrough of an exhibit on the apartheid struggle put together with items
from their collections before heading over to the actual archive. There, we met up with one of the archivists, Hamilton, who showed us a number of their artworks and toured us through their storage. It was fascinating to see how many items they have and the variety of materials contained within the archive, and hopefully more people make use of the resource.
We ended our day with a visit to Philani in the township of Khayelitsha. The project aims to address children’s health and nutrition problems in the settlements by training mentor mothers to help identify health issues affecting their communities, especially regarding children, and intervene in the situation in order to guide the families to better health. They are especially trained to identify instances of malnutrition and continue to follow up with the families to ensure positive results. Philani also provides a space, training, and materials for local women to come and create woven artworks to sell in the shop, thus providing them with a stable place to earn an income. It was great to see a number of women working at Philani and to see how proud they were of their pieces.