The cover of the postcard packet (23 X 9cm) A shack is usually made of corrugated iron covering a wooden structure.
R= Rand, 1 Rand=10p
Postcards of South Africa, A collaborative work by Madoda Fly Msibi South Africa and Cecilia Parsberg Sweden 2000.
Included in the packets of postcards are six photographs taken in the townships of Soweto, Alexandra and Tokoza in the Province of Gauteng, South Africa. Each of the six colours of the South African flag is represented in this collection. In May, 2000, I, Cecilia Parsberg, visited Soweto. The following month Madoda Msibi, who lives in Soweto, guided me through different townships surrounding Johannesburg. The photographs were taken during these guided visits. We decided to display and sell the selected images at souvenir stalls in the townships where they were photographed.
For the majority of Johannesburg’s inhabitants home is in one of the black townships, surrounding the city. Most white South Africans are completely ignorant of life in the townships, very few have ever been inside one. The situation is slowly changing, more and more visitors from all over the world come to the townships. They want to see the historical places and some of them also stay over night with a local family. Today there is a growing number of “whities” living in Soweto, many of them has recently immigrated.
The townships have played a crucial role in the struggle against apartheid. The White House (as it is commonly called), located in Orlando West, Soweto, has served past and present as a meeting place for people involved in the struggle against apartheid. The blue house and black and red shacks are located in Alexandra, and the green and yellow shacks are located in Thokoza, completing the colours of the South African flag.
From January, 2001, the packets of postcards can be bought at the souvenir stall of Madoda Fly Msibi at Hector Petersen Square in Soweto. 3000 packets=18.000 postcards have been printed. In January 2001 we also went back to every house and shack pictured on the postcards and handed over packets, this was documented on video.
“THE WHITE HOUSE”
The photographs of the blue house, the black and red schacks are taken in Alexandra. It’s a huge very poor township and a part of Sandton City, a wealthy predominantly white ghetto outside Johannesburg. There are still no guided tours to Alexandra.
The green and yellow schacks are from Thokoza. This township is still divided in areas for coloured indian and black people. It started as a township for black people, in the 70:s the government built houses for the coloureds and in the 90:s houses were built for indians.
Although South Africa has rejected racism, it still collects population statistics on the basis of race. Of the population of about 38 million, some 28 million are black, 5.6 million are white, 3.4 are coloured (ie.mixed race) and 1 million of Indian descent. South Africa’s economy is a mixture of First and Third World with a marked disparity in incomes, standards of living, lifestyles, education and work opportunities.
This piece has been made possible through the SIDA project “Cultures in Dialogue,” initiated and organized by Bild Museet, Umea, Sweden. I teach as Guest Professor at Umea Academy of Fine Arts, and in this project I taught as Exchange Lecturer in the Fine Arts Department at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa, for two months (17 April through 1 June).
This piece is exhibited at BildMuseet, Umea, Sweden. February 25 – May 1, 2001