The Raak Wys Collective Makes Art in the Midst of Cape Flats Gang Violence

Raak Wys is a Cape Town artist collective creating public murals for educational, recreational or social purposes, at no cost to the spaces they adorn with their art.

They aim to “stimulate a culture of collecting art in homes; the hosting of arts and expression based events related to specific social issues; capturing local narratives related to aspirational community development and hosting exhibitions in homes throughout Cape Town to make the arts more accessible to all. Each member of our team is well-known in their respective fields.”

Lawrence house, a child and youth Care centre based in Woodstock, was the birthplace of the @raak_wysmovement.

The collective recently launched at the Drawing Room in Observatory. On launching the project, they hosted live art battles and competitions, live graffiti painting outside the immediate venue, hosted conversations around the collective’s intentions, and presented imagery of the spaces they have, and will be painting in future. They will also be launching their crowd-sourcing campaign in order to generate funds for paint materials for further projects.

Raak Wys Science Mural as part of Science and Paint fun Day at the Lawrence House.

With the goal of having painted twenty murals by the end of 2019, the collective has so far completed five such projects, but this all depends on materials and funds.

Pool 4 Change is NGO based in Seawinds that keeps kids off the street and competing in Western Province championships instead. Halfway through our first day of painting, we had to down tools because gang violence exploded in the area

One space they’ve already done is the Pool 4 Change mural in Seawinds and it was painted while gun violence was happening in the area close to the space.

Nabeel from the collective shares the story:

“The fifth mural we did was in SeaWinds park immediately after we painted Pool 4 Change. We completed the Pool 4 Change Mural in two days because of violence and gun fights that happened around us while we painted. We were forced to hang out in the Pool 4 Change premises until the director Yusuf Attwood said “Ouens, It’s a wrap. It’s too dangerous.“.

Part of the club is littered with bullet holes because of the cross fire, in which many kids were shot. 

The fifth mural across the way from the Pool 4 Change mural.

Once they completed the Pool 4 Change mural passersby urged the collective to paint the destitute park in the neighbourhood, which has this year seen two deaths.

Painting the fifth mural in the destitute park with a memorial in the foreground.

“Community members helped us clear the wall and clean up the areas around the wall so that we could paint. All the while keeping us company and entertaining us while we completed the job.”

The Fifth Mural
Kids enjoying the park while the Raak Wys team paint the 5th mural.

Between 10 and 5