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5 black spaces in Stellenbosch you might not know about

by: Misa Narrates - 25 November 2016

White people make up less than 20% of the people in Stellenbosch, but the minute you get to Stellenbosch University it feels like black people are the minority. Actually, students of colour at SU are only 37.8% of the varsity. But where do young black people in Stellenbosch hang out? Below are five black spaces that are worth a visit in the area:

Open Forum

Image: Lincoln Jacobs

Greer Valley and Rabia Abba Omar, two Stellenbosch University students, came together at the beginning of 2016. They aimed to curate a post-reflective art space about the South African student protests of 2015 and 2016.

The duo wanted to change the ideas behind protest through art. On top of that they hoped to create an archive of the student protests. Open Forum was curated through art installations, exhibitions and live performances. They also took over Gus Gallery in Stellenbosch as a creative space to allow for art creation for the general public.

Greer and Rabia wanted to expand on the idea of art being enjoyed, which is why there were so many exhibits that were on the streets of Stellenbosch.  Next year the duo hopes to expand to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Black Sunday

Image: Dambakuombera Photography

Image: Dambakuombera Photography

Black Sunday social events create space for black expression through live performances and art exhibits, as well as black entrepreneurship, through trading stalls set up at each event. Every social has a different venue, theme, and group dialogue discussion on the topic. When they aren’t hosting events or catering for them, Black Sunday actively engages with their following on social media.

This is usually done through sharing the work of black creatives, or facilitating conversation on blackness through Twitter questionnaires. Black Sunday is a non-profit organisation started by Sihle Trolly and Ntabiso Sojane. Both are Stellenbosch students who actively participated in the 2015 Fees Must Fall movement which led them to try and do whatever they could to alleviate the burden of fees for black students. On top of raising money to send matriculants to school, the organisation aims to celebrate and promote black creatives at the same time.

Tonys Houz

Image: Dambakuombera Photography

Tony Maake started Tonys Houz in 2012 with the goal of telling stories. Tony studies Molecular Biology at Stellenbosch University, but his passion is capturing moments and sharing stories through photography. When he started his degree in 2011, there weren’t many art spaces, much less black ones. This led to him hosting his first exhibition. “When I hosted my first art exhibition, I was the first non-art student doing a 280 piece exhibit,” he says.

He hopes to create dialogue in Stellenbosch’s black community through his art. With the launch of the Tonys Houz Children’s Foundation, that is funded partially by his work as a photographer, Tony wishes to leave a legacy of black art creation and a future for black children in Stellenbosch.


Image: Tonys Houz

Image: Tonys Houz

1042 is a thrift clothing store that started in December 2014. Dimpho Mashile and Ntabiso Sojane, its owners, believe that fashion can promote conversation in Stellenbosch. Dimpho says 1042 should be a “platform for creatives to collaborate.” Their first fashion show was last year at one of the university’s residences where they also sold their stock. 

Since then they have hosted four shows. Their most recent was themed after African Futurism, and was the most talked about on campus. One especially remarkable feature of 1042, outside of its unapologetically black attitude in Stellenbosch, is their commitment to fair representation, working with models of different ethnicities, backgrounds, sexualities, genders, and sizes.

The Tailored Market

Image: Sir Pitjo Photography

Image: Sir Pitjo Photography

The Tailored Market is a fashion, food, art and music market started by three Stellenbosch University students Khinong Molemo Matjiu, Frank Kgwathla, and Sibongisipho Dlova. For the trio, The Tailored Market is intended to be a space where creativity, art, and business can all meet in one space.

Khinong believes that the space should be “in our backyard. It wasn’t about being fancy, it was meant to be a collaborative space.”

Creatives and business people of all disciplines are welcome to showcase their crafts. Khinong says that “the driving hope behind The Tailored Market is that we have no boundaries regarding art to create a safe space for the black child to create.” Growing up in Pretoria, Khinong understood the importance of creative spaces for black people and realised how much it could benefit the people of Stellenbosch.

Do you know of any other black spaces worth checking out in Stellies? Please let us know in the comments section, below.