Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dakawa Art centre

Dakawa Art Center as it looks today.

The centre started in Tanzania in 1986 as part of the African National Congress’s (ANC) initiative to create opportunities for vocational skills. It was called Dakawa project and it was at the base camp which was 60 kilometres north of Mazimbu where the famous Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College was based.

With the help of the Swedish International Development Agency, it was relocated in Grahamstown in 1992 at Froude Street in coloured area where it still stands today. The relocation occurred after the suspension of hostilities between the liberation movements (MK, APLA etc.) and the South African Government. The ANC withdrew its role at the centre to ensure the centre would be self-sustaining and a minimum involvement from the government. The centre was at a late stage given to the community to function as a community centre, assisting the Grahamstown community. People like Vusi Khumalo and Siphiwo Lubambo were the ones who started the Dakawa project back in Tanzania.
These are some of the things you can find at the center, the studios
that host these activities needs immediate attention as they are in bad condition

Presently the Dakawa art centre is under the department of Sport, Recreation Arts and Culture (DSRAC). In means of sustaining the centre, one of the studios was converted into a hall. This hall host performances, conferences and exhibitions among other things. Recently there was a black rugby exhibition about the history of black rugby in Grahamstown.

A mural on the front wall of Dakawa Art center, painted by local artists. 

Every year during the Grahamstown National Arts Festival the Art centre host some of the festival’s performances and exhibitions. One of Grahamstown’s artist held a solo exhibitions during the 2012’s Arts Festival edition.

For Dakawa Art Centre function in a solid and productive way it needs funding and proper management of the centre. At the moment renovation and equipments are the main priorities for the centre. These equipments will help in both developing the community in Arts and sustaining the center. 

By: Jongikhaya Mene       

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