Langa, a township in Cape Town, South Africa, has a thriving arts scene that has been given a new lease of life with the opening of 16 on Lerotholi, the first art gallery in the area. The founders, four young people from Langa, have created a space that aims to express thoughts and feelings, celebrate local heroes, and showcase the rich artistic talent that has always been synonymous with the township.
Langa’s Rich Artistic History
According to Thulani Fesi, one of the gallery’s founders, Langa has a long history of arts and culture, which made the need for a dedicated gallery imperative. “In every genre of arts, Langa has had someone. Whether it’s theatre, television, radio, music, journalism, there’s been someone to shine,” he says. The founders own the gallery and reinvest part of the money for each artwork sold into the project, with the rest going to the artist.
Abantu Bethu: Current Exhibition
The current exhibition at 16 on Lerotholi, entitled Abantu Bethu (our people), features artists from different parts of South Africa and other African countries, exploring daily life at different points in time through a variety of lenses. Although the gallery currently focuses on visual art, the owners plan to move into music, with live performances at the gallery.
A Space for Community Engagement
The founders envision a space for people of different backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures to come together and celebrate their shared humanity. They plan to host live performances in the open space behind the gallery and offer an outdoor eatery serving healthy foods, such as freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, breakfast bowls, and salads. The food for the eatery would come from the vegetable garden, which is one of several launched across Langa through The Masakhe Foundation.
For the founders of 16 on Lerotholi, the gallery is not just about displaying art but cultivating community. “The richness of Langa is not in the infrastructure, it’s in the people,” says Fesi. They want the gallery to be a place where people from different backgrounds can come together, share their stories, and celebrate the local talent and culture.
More Than an Art Gallery
In conclusion, 16 on Lerotholi is an exciting addition to the Langa arts scene, created by a group of young people who are passionate about their community and the arts. The gallery is a celebration of the people who have made a difference in Langa in the past 100 years, and it’s a place that embodies the spirit of the township. With its focus on local talent, sustainability, and community engagement, 16 on Lerotholi is more than just an art gallery; it’s a space for people to come together, connect, and celebrate their shared humanity.