Galeshewe township, Kimberley
Did you know?
In 1952 the young people of Galeshewe rose against the apartheid system. The police opened fire on the crowd, killing 13 people and injuring many more.
'Galeshewe township, Kimberley, is my home and I want to encourage people to understand that a culture without artists is a culture without consciousness,' explains South African artist Rochester Mafafo as he leads the way round his home gallery, Phutane Art Gallery & Studio, in Phutane Street, Galeshewe.
Mafafo has been capturing township life in water colours throughout South Africa for many years. Galeshewe or the ‘diamond rush township’ in Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape province, is one of South Africa’s oldest, and has featured in his paintings many times.
Working from an easel at the actual scene, he says: 'I try to capture the colours of the actual township life. The colours of the faces, of rust on the corrugated iron, the red of the bricks, all seem to merge.'
A cultural tour of Galeshewe called 'Poetry on 'de Bus' offers an exciting route filled with a rich oral history that incorporates poetry and live music performances on the bus and at tourist sites along the way. Sites include the oldest houses and churches in the township, made from mud and corrugated iron, dating back to its early years when it was known as ‘Number 2 location’.
One of the first ‘melting pots’ in South Africa, Number 2 location attracted people from all over South Africa, Africa and beyond, who came here to find work on the diamond mines. Tswana people, people from Angola and Zimbabwe, Afrikaans people … all found themselves living here side by side.
Galeshewe was officially named in 1952 after Kgosi Galeshewe Mothibi, a paramount chief of the Batlhaping people who fought for the Batlhaping’s rights here and who was sentenced and detained in Number 2.
Tours of Galeshewe include the Sol Plaatje House (Sol Plaatje, a celebrated writer, was one of the founders of the African National Congress), the home of Robert Sobukwe (founding president of the Pan African Congress), a drink at a local shebeen (township tavern) and, if you so choose, a night at a township guesthouse.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Northern Cape Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0) 53 833 1434
Diamond Fields Tourism Information
Tel: +27 (0) 53 832 7298
Email: email@example.com (Guides are available for township tours)
Poetry on 'da Bus
Guide: Vuyo Mayeza
Tel: +27 (0) 53 832 0037
Mobile: +27 (0) 78 122 6862
Ekhaya Restaurant and B&B in Galeshewe
Tel: +27 (0)53 874 3795/6