Alexandra township popularly known as Gomora is not just a hub for entrepreneurship but also as a creative hotspot. Musician, Hugh Masekela; poet, Wally Serote; rapper, Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi and, broadcaster, Lerato Kganyago, have all called it home at one point in their lives.
Artist, Boipelo Rakau comes from the same Gomora streets that birthed all these trailblazers in their respective fields. She started painting at a young age using mud on the street, but she has since used canvas as a painting surface.
Rakau is telling stories of poverty and crime in her area through her acrylic art paintings. One of her paintings that captured the hearts of South Africans in 2019 shows a woman who is carrying a broken calabash on her head with children falling off it.
She told Alex News: “In most families, children go to bed on empty stomachs. They end up being involved in criminal acts, because of the circumstances at home.
“In the picture, the woman depicts Mother Nature as she is the one who suffers the most when she can’t provide for her children. In Alexandra township you see a lot of youth in street corners, smoking nyaope (street drug) which results in them committing crimes.”
While doing matric last year, Rakau realized the inability of brilliant learners from poor backgrounds to source financial assistance to study at tertiary institutions.
She said at the time: “The struggles of other bright learners who did their matric before me and couldn’t go to university served as a learning curve for me.
“Next year, I would like to go to university to do a degree in art and I don’t want to be a burden to my parents when it comes to registration fees and other stuff. I am producing more artworks to sell so that I can raise funds for next year when I go to tertiary.”
She added that her love for art overcame the voice of doubt that was planted by those who advised her to choose other subjects because art had no future.
“The problem of the society we live in is that it doesn’t understand art. There is no such thing that because you did art at school you will not have a job in the future. That is why I would like to own my art gallery one day so that I teach the young ones about art.”
A product of the Gomora streets, this young lady is the epitome of the creative spirit of Gomora. No matter the circumstances the people of Gomora are the product of “Vuka Uzenzele”.