n South African Journal of Cultural History - Urban black living and working conditions in Johannesburg, depicted by township art (1940s to 1970s)

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



The aim of this article is to form a better understanding of life in black urban areas, using art that was created by black artists who lived and worked in Soweto and surrounding areas from the early 1940s up to the mid 1970s. These artists included Gerard Sekoto, Durant Sihlali and John Mohl. Works created by these black artists will be analysed in order to formulate an idea of what life was like in the townships, especially the living and working conditions of the black inhabitants. An analysis of these works, which form part of Township Art, ought to introduce the reader to an experience of township life and serve as a doorway for further investigation. It can also provide the reader and the viewer of the art with some understanding of the sociology of urbanisation in the townships. This article will clearly emphasise the cultural-historical value of Township Art.

Die doel van hierdie artikel is om beter begrip vir die lewe in swart stedelike gebiede te bewerkstellig deur gebruik te maak van kunswerke deur swart kunstenaars wat van die vroeë 1940's tot die middel van die 1970's in Soweto en die omliggende gebiede gewoon en gewerk het. Hierdie kunstenaars het die volgende ingesluit: Gerard Sekoto, Durant Sihlali en John Mohl. Werke deur hierdie kunstenaars sal ontleed word ten einde die lewe in die woonbuurtes uit te beeld, veral die lewens- en werksomstandighede van die swart inwoners. 'n Ontleding van hierdie werke, wat deel van -kuns uitmaak, behoort die leser aan 'n belewenis van die lewe in die woonbuurtes bekend te stel en kan as 'n beginpunt vir verdere ondersoek dien. Dit kan die leser en aanskouer van die kuns voorts ook tot beter begrip vir die sosiologie van verstedeliking in die woonbuurtes lei. Dié artikel sal die kultuurhistoriese waarde van -kuns onomwonde beklemtoon.

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