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TThe Maboneng Township Arts Experience is a non-profit destination development initiative with community sustainability and development at its core. Its founder, Siphiwe Ngwenya, is one of many artists in South Africa who has faced numerous challenges in exhibiting his work and getting a foot into South Africa’s art industry. It’s Siphiwe’s own challenges that would eventually lead him towards looking at a creative way of transforming South Africa’s contemporary art scene, and also empowering women and youth in some of South Africa’s biggest and most impoverished townships.
The organisation transforms township homes into attractions and communities into creative districts. Communities and residents are provided with training on how to design and manage a creative space and transform it into an environment where they can showcase contemporary artwork to global visitors.
SSiphiwe’s vision for inclusive and responsible tourism in South Africa meant looking for answers outside of the box on what could be done differently to create employment and improve the quality of life for township residents and artists. Community skills development is at the heart of the organisation and community members are trained on anything from painting their houses in bright colours, to showcasing a full exhibition of contemporary African art in their living room.
The income generated from tours are pumped back into the community and creates jobs and careers within south Africa’s art and tourism industries.
TThe company runs its tours within townships in Cape Town and Johannesburg, but little international tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant looking at more creative ways of saving jobs and maintaining incomes. Virtual experiences were swiftly added to the organisation’s offering; this meant that travellers didn’t have to physically be in South Africa to visit a few of the projects, but could explore the projects virtually from the comfort of their own homes while still making a difference to the lives of many South African townships residents.
Both private and shared tours are offered and the Maboneng Township Arts Experience website also has an Art & Gift shop which further raises and supports local communities.
To find out more about this initiative, visit the Maboneng Township Arts Experience website by clicking here