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Exploring the talent of the townships through ‘Leihlo la Sechaba’

By Mahlomola Maroba

Leihlo la Sechaba (Eye of The People) is an expressive group exhibition intended to showcase the talent that South African townships have in the form of artists and creatives. The participating artists are Andile Bhala, Sebastian Legoete and Rooney Saaed.

  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala
  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala
  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala
  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala
  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala
  • NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Andile Bhala

The exhibition has a simultaneous and even greater responsibility of expressing the heartbeat and lifestyle of the township – a shadow of South Africa’s recognised reality beyond the marred narratives usually pontificated.

Leihlo la Sechaba is also an expression of sexuality – one of the basis of expression for humanity in the 21st century. The exhibition is an expression of how South African townships function and survive in this day and age, how evolving cultures are stifled by lack of language and therefore expression. In the same breath we note how South African townships are incubation centres for fashion, culture, tradition, lifestyle, music, entertainment, general creativity, and expression – finding its way in global trends today regardless of the clear lack of language to express oneself freely due to the constraints in the environment.

NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Ronney Saaed
Ronney Saaed
NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022 Ronney Saaed
Ronney Saaed

A flower cultivated in the darkness. The exhibition explores various themes including survival and expression of sexuality – particularly traditional sexualities – as well as focusing on the very misunderstood LGBTQI+ community, food, fashion, expressive culture and tradition, religion and the ordinary day-to-day lives of people in the space.

NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022
Sebastian Legoete
NWU Gallery Eye of the People art exhibition July 2022
Sebastian Legoete

The exhibition begins by understanding what the township entails and then looks into the different expressions found in the townships. Leihlo la Sechaba further explores the shadows by showcasing how expression is found in sexuality – investigating how the themes mentioned above are rooted in binaries and how marginal communities within the space survive and find expression in a space that has no language to understand them.

The exhibition expresses how evolution happens in the darkness, in a space that is not understood but continues to produce material that is not only vital to itself but also to the country – because it is the townships of South Africa that keep this nation alive. In the darkness we find this light.

Leihlo la Sechaba (Eye of The People) is curated by Mahlomola Maroba and is on at North West University (NWU) Gallery’s Botanical Garden Gallery from 1 July to 1 August 2022. Find out more.

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