(I recently found a document I worked on in 2017 planning the art centre when I still lived in Johannesburg, this was like my final edit from the one I did in 2014)
Bavulele Ntsikhwe Mbokazi Art centre
My mother’s land in Mount Frere -emabobo
My mother Wendy Priscilla known as Lolo, nomloks OR Mangwanya was a strong women, a woman who was feared even by men as she never took any bull from any man. Yes she was a bull indeed her star sign being Taurus . When she put her mind to something, she did it. She later took on the calling of becoming a sangoma. She was then given the name Bavulele meaning (open for them), she was a woman who never let any opportunities pass her by. She was different and meant differently to people around her. To me she was my mother.
My grandmother maMbokazi was an artist she made and sold izicamba, iingobozo nenqayi to make ends meet at home. She planted maize, amabele, sugar beans in the outer field. Closer to the house we had potatoes, spring onions, tomatoes, cabbage and spinach. She was our mother as our parents had to be in the big cities like Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg working. For eleven months she was our mother and our father, she never took a break even when our mothers, uncles and aunts returned.
My grandfather Ntsikhwe was a man of many talents he tamed vicious dogs, herded cattle and had super powers. My grandfather lived with his second wife, so we hardly saw him. When he did visit he never sat down, he would take his dogs and go collect clay for my grandmother, drop it off and then he would go and get the grass she use to make izicamba with.
They would then sit, have tea together and we would eat together and he would take his dogs and his sticks and go. That’s my recollection of him. He requested to be laid to rest where ever he would be, so it was at my mother’s resident as he was the first to leave us.
My nephew, my angel, my son, my light who died soon after his birth. I call him my angel because if he did not pass I would have not met my dad. The second reason is that my daughter was born exactly 10 years later from his birth on the exact day and exact month.
They all lie in these grounds
To open an art school / Xhosa experience guest house
(There’s a primary school close by the house)
After school care / homework assistance /reading and writing
Art classes drawing /painting/ photography /pottery /crafts /beading/sewing/ music/ drama/ Agriculture
Children would learn how to plant and look after the garden themselves.
This is the garden that would i feed them when they come from school, food would be ready before any activities take place.
Artwork to be shown at the Grahamstown art festival
Writings to be published
Writers and artists to collaborate in putting the book together
To sell locally the grass Mats and beer pots to assist paying school fees
Garden to eat from
Show and tell every Friday
Invite the parents to come and see the artworks /theatre pieces/poetry /story telling
Once a month have a feast optional
Where the whole community would come and see what their children do at the art centre and a sheep would be slaughtered and abogogo and abomkhulu will come and share stories with us.
How it would work
Create a website where people could sign up and pay for it from all over the world to come for a period of 1-3 months to come and volunteer whatever skill they may have and international \national volunteers they get accommodation and meals nothing special but a Xhosa experience eat what we eat fetch water from the river or tap do washing with hands. Cook with us.
Guest house /retreat
Writers or anybody could sign up to be at the guest house in one of the huts to get away from the city buzz and just be alone to think ,write a book or find inner peace . They would choose to have electricity or not
To take part in the day to day running or not
Be served 3 Meals per day traditional
Would include watching the boys coming from the mountain feasts
Trip into town
Trip to fetch wood in the forest
Trips to fetch water
Learning about the Xhosa people