To book a tour contact: +27 (0)72 377 8014
Monuments & Memories: Race & Art in USA & SA, Thurs 6 Aug 2020, 1-2pm SA time

Monuments & Memories: Race & Art in USA & SA, Thurs 6 Aug 2020, 1-2pm SA time

Police brutality, protests and vandalising statues continue both in the United States and South Africa. Exclusively for Culture Connect SA Dr LaNitra Berger, Senior Director of Fellowships at George Mason University in Virginia, will be in conversation on Zoom with Melanie Burke, societal change practitioner, based in St James, Cape Town.

Monuments were the target of international protests against racial inequality after George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May. As recently as 14 July, Rhodes head was sawn off at Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town, and found nearby in the bushes. #rhodesmustfall and #feesmustfall, 2015 – 2016, were the largest student protests in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

What is happening now in both countries, how do they differ, what are the parallels and how can we address positive change with a broader perspective and #BlackLivesMatter?

Recently LaNitra has been involved many similar online conversations. She is an art historian and her book is just about to be published by Bloomsbury Academic, called Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color. She is the author of Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants, by AFSA Association of International Educators who is also publishing her forthcoming book, Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, Perspectives. In 2018 LaNitra led a tour to South Africa for George Mason students as part of their Monuments course (Culture Connect facilitated a public art tour for this). She works in the faculty for African and African American Studies.

Melanie is hugely respected for her cross-sectoral work. Kate Crane Briggs of Culture Connect, first met Melanie in 2011 when Melanie was a director of MoDILA – Museum of Design, Innovation, Leadership and the Arts. Subsequently Kate did the Common Purpose leadership course led by Melanie who leads social entrepreneurship and innovation programmes in Cape Town for students at Maryland University, less than a hour’s drive from George Mason University, the other side of Washington DC.

Please do join us for this lively and timely discussion. The conversation will be chaired by Kate Crane Briggs and moderated by Sanet Tattersall.

Free but please donate to StreetSmart South Africa, helping streets kids in and around Cape Town (Melanie Chairs this charity).

Booking essential: or WhatsApp/phone/SMS +27 (0)72 377 8014 at least one hour beforehand. You will then be sent the Zoom login.

Questions very welcome in advance.

This event is a first and will be recorded, then posted on Culture Connect’s YouTube Channel.

Brutalist Architecture: Near & Far, July 2020 on YouTube

Brutalist Architecture: Near & Far, July 2020 on YouTube

Loved or loathed, Brutalism is back in fashion, well for some!

The first in the series, Brutalism 101, by Culture Connect’s Kate Crane Briggs is on YourTube, was on Thurs 9 July, 1-2pm, (South African time). Then on the following two Thursdays, 16 and 23 July also at 1-2pm architect, urbanist and artist, Martin Kruger, who is based in Cape Town was joined by Catherine Croft, director of London based 20th Century Society and author of Concrete ArchitectureUsing UK comparators, they focused on buildings in Cape Town – UCT’s Sports Centre, the Werdmuller Centre, Good Hope Centre and Artscape. Martin was taught by Roelof Uytenbogaardt, the architect of Werdmuller and UCT Sports Centres. Roelof studied at Pennsylvania University under Louis Kahn (“one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century” Wiki). For the third one, Catherine and Martin were joined by Prof Gabriel Nevi who is co-authoring a book on Nervi, due out early 2021, and Annie Wingate who lives in the iconic, thriving Barbican, UK.

For the fourth in Culture Connect Brutalist architecture series, architect and academic, Albert van Jaarsveld, showed how the Apartheid government embraced modernity to show its sophistication, internationalism and de-colonisation. Buildings include Konservatorium/music department (1978), Stellenbosch Univerisity, designed by the architect Gilbert Colyn, and Baxter Theatre (1977) by Jack Judah Barnett, as well as once again Artscape, formerly known as the Nico Malan Skouburg,1971 by Hannes van der Merwe (in conjunction with Kent, Miszewski, Hockley & Partners) and Good Hope Centre (1977) by the Italian engineer/architect Luigi Nervi, his family/studio.

All can be watched on Culture Connect’s YouTube channel.

Huge thanks to art historian, Sanet Tattersall, for her research and moderating for this series.

Architectural tours in Cape Town, Pretoria and Stellenbosch will be organised post pandemic.


Senryū: a selection by Tony Ullyatt in lockdown

Senryū: a selection by Tony Ullyatt in lockdown

Michèle Betty and I are planning a poetry evening later this year in Cape Town where she is based. Michèle is the founder of Dryad Press and editor of New Contrast: South African Literary Journal.

Tony won the 2019 South African Award for Poetry for An Unobtrusive Vice. Dryad Press published this in 2018 so the above three senryū are not part of it. But it is a good time to buy this collection as Dryad are running a special online promotion: three books for the price of two. It is the sort of book that is good to have in your bedroom or bathroom – his use of words is quite beautiful, evocative yet minimal.

identical days
trail one after the other:
each unlike the rest


after brusque jostling
in shops with payday people:
the refuge of home


May arrived today
walking jogging biking in:
life remains fragile


Image: book cover from Dryad Press.

Irma Stern Museum – Future Plans, Thurs 17 Sept 2020, 1-2pm

Irma Stern Museum – Future Plans, Thurs 17 Sept 2020, 1-2pm

Discussion exclusively for Culture Connect led by the Irma Stern Museum‘s new director, Nadja Daehnke. Last year she took over from Christopher Peter, who said “Nadja has been working for nearly two years on the transformation portfolio of the university’s artwork collection. Transformation touched [the Irma Stern Museum] very positively because we got Nadja on board to help us with the art collection on campus. She is particularly gifted in this direction”. The museum is closely linked to the Works of Art Committee and the pursuit of engagement with students. “It’s not only for the public. We are also supposed to make students aware of [the museum], and use it for that purpose, and I think Nadja is definitely going to be going in for that. Her brief, and her gift, will be in bringing the contemporary art debate into the sphere of the museum.” UCT News

Free but please donate to Butterfly Art Project’s and Philip Miller’s musician pandemic funds.

“Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism” 13 Aug, 9:30am

“Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism” 13 Aug, 9:30am

Join the three editors talking about this timely, thoughtful new book they edited, Troubling Images: Visual Culture and the Politics of Afrikaner Nationalism, exclusively for Culture Connect:

Federico Freschi is Head of the College of Art, Design and Architecture at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Brenda Schmahmann is a Professor and SARCHI Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Johannesburg.

 Lize van Robbroeck is Professor in Visual Studies at the University of Stellenbosch

Nine other distinguished academics contributed to the book – mainly professors, based in South Africa. After the introduction and historical overview, there are four sections:

  1. “Assent and Dissent through fine art and architecture”
  2. University monuments
  3. Photography (Voortrekker Monument’s inauguration and a reframing of David Goldblatt’s Some Afrikaners)
  4. Popular culture

Stanford University’s Associate Professor, Grant Parker, says this collection of essays “eloquently answer the question that pervades our own times: Why are visual symbols so politically explosive? The volume is a history of the past century but also, implicitly, a map of future possibilities.”

Reading the book in advance is recommended – retail price R495 ($50), Wits University Press. Order from your local bookstore; in Cape Town Book Lounge and Clarkes and Exclusive Books.deliver for free and you can order from their websites, or online eg Amazon, Barnes & NobleLoot and Takealot.

Booking essential: WhatsApp/phone +27 (0)72 377 8014 – no later than two hours before each talkabout.

Free but please donate to Butterfly Art Project’s and Philip Miller’s musician pandemic funds.

Image: Preparation of the C.R. Swart sculpture by Cigdem Aydemir for Plastic Histories, 2014. The work has been covered with plastic and is in the process of being sprayed pink. Photograph by Paul Mills. (It is the cover image of Troubling Images.)