Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Noble Existence a solo exhibition of 32 life-size oil-on-canvas paintings on the life and times of Sol T Plaatje by local artist Giorgie Bhunu opens at Stadt 1 Methodist Church on 9 October 2014. Plaatje was undoubtedly the most acclaimed African of his time as writer, journalist and fervent campaigner against the ills of colonialism. 

He was influenced in his political career amongst others, which saw him later being elected first Secretary General of what came to be eventually known as the African National Congress and delegated twice to petition the British government in England on the disastrous consequences of the 1913 Land Act, by his experiences as interpreter in interactions between colonial authorities and Batswana Kingdoms and chronicler of the effects of the Anglo-Boer War on Africans especially during the Mafeking Siege years. Plaatje lived in Mahikeng, misspelled Mafeking by colonial authorities, between 1898 and 1910, years that saw the whole country evolve into a Union and the foundation of the Apartheid years firmly laid. His first articles as a journalist were published in the Mafeking Mail and he went on to become editor in one of the first black newspapers, Koranta ea Becuana owned by Silas Molema. He also wrote his first book Mafeking Diary at that time. Sol Plaatje went on to write more books, tour the world and meet some of the most influential leaders in black history including Marcus Garvey and W E B Dubois.

Noble Existence is a memorialisation of the story of Sol T Plaatje in images, celebrating the concept of leadership exemplified by his life, captured in Modiri Molema’s definition of him – morata wabo, lover of his people. The images are largely taken from old photographs, a process which at times called for creative interpretation and improvisation on the part of the artists.  Stadt 1 Methodist Church was opened by Kgosi Montshiwa in 1885 and located in the original capital of Barolong boorra Tshidi is in Bhunu’s view the perfect setting for reincarnating the spirit of the time. 

Sol Plaatje stayed for some time in the house of the Molema’s known as Maratiwa, but finally moved to live with his family at Seweding.  Bhunu believes in community-centred art that sees his work as part of the history of Barolong, dictating it be located and contextualized within their midst. He is a graduate of the former University of Bophuthatswana where he specialized in visual art influenced by the works of the pioneers of black art like George Pemba and Gerald Sekoto.  The exhibition, the first of its kind, is part of a greater three-themed project involving Walls that Teach – a series of murals – and Veneration of Images, a celebration in sculptures of the history of local Magosi. Bhunu is advocating for the adoption of Stadt as a Cultural Precinct envisioned as a special creative economic zone.

The exhibition will run until the 7th of November 2014 and is produced by LG Creative Artists in collaboration with the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).  Among those expected to benefit most from the event are scholers, cultural tourists and general public – entrance will be free. For further information contact Publicists Lerato 0712748983 and Keaoboka 0726700711

Thursday, 17 July 2014



This signature project has been well received by the Barolong community, in its third phase #wallsthatteach has focused on a theme relating to literacy and the role that it has played in empowering the well educated Batswana old folk from the era of the first black man to fly in a hot air balloon Kgosi Montshioa (late 1800) as well as the legendary Sol Plaatje, and the Molema lineage. Amongst the first published newspapers in the Southern hemisphere “Koranta ya Becoana” is featured along with some of the most revered Setswana literature books that have shaped the preservation of the language in the Tswana region.

There will be specially organized tours come heritage month(September) and in counting down to the solo exhibition of Giorgie Bhunu called Noble Existence which is a body of work relating a narrative about the Life of Sol Plaatje and the Barolong Monarch. Famous for his memoirs relating a black man’s account of the “Siege of Mahikeng” that lasted several months with women and children massacred in concentration camps and thousands of Barolong who perished from the war famine. His book ‘ Mhudi’ amongst many other authors has been captured on the walls-that-teach Murals.

PAYT Trust has followed this project’s progression with close interest as it sparks an exciting era in Mahikeng’s historical background that is yet to be fully explored. As we spotted the wall murals under construction we also took a sneak peak at the state of affairs inside Lotlamoreng Dam. Needless to say that what was once a haven for cultural artists has diminished into a lost kingdom and Arts in wellness space that served a higher purpose through its originator Credo Mutwa during its time, now under threat of being wiped out of our memory and sight! 

PAYT Trust is part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with LG Creative Artist, the Barolong Tribal Authority as well as the Department of Arts and Culture and various stakeholders, in creating a task team and cooperation between industry, government and civil society to develop this urban renewal project further. The essential characteristic of PPP models is the co-existence and governing through a shared economy versus an ownership model that benefits a minority instead of the majority. PPP is not an objective in itself, but an instrument for carrying out important projects that require capitalization and enabling a supportive environment.  
PAYT Trust invites you to visit the Old Town Mahikeng, a true cultural destination and a historical Batswana capital. In the summertime, it becomes a stage for open air concerts, shows of theater troupes and a gallery for painters.  Romantic lanes going down to Modimola and Disaneng Dam, while witnessing the breath taking sun sets, a perfect setting for moments of relation and after hours spent at #Walls-that-teach (drive by public art exhibition)
Mahikeng is also a paradise for sacral art lovers, a tour inside Lotlamoreng Dam will bring your spirit closer to the ingenuity of public art spaces designed to inspire and heighten your creative existence.
For more information regarding the Educational Tours and the #Walls-that-teach project email wallsthatteach@gmail.com or lerato.mosimane@paytlive.org