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Community Punching Bag Project

info4africa was asked by Bren Brophy, Curator of the KwaZulu-Natal Society for the Arts (KZNSA) Gallery to collaborate with artist, Johann van der Schijff from University of Cape Town Michaelis School of the Arts, on a community punching bag project. Johann was, at that time, showcasing the Cape Town Punching Bag Exhibition at the KZNSA. The Cape Town exhibition of punching bags drew heavily on the theme of gender based violence, working with schools in the Cape Flats and surrounding areas. The first phase of the KwaZulu-Natal project, which included both teacher workshops and student workshops, rolled out in mid to late 2012 with six schools – four of which are located in urban KwaZulu-Natal and 2 of which drew learners from two rural schools in Mzimela Tribal Authority, Zululand, where info4africa and Ubunye Co-operative have a long standing relationship with Nkosi Mzimela, the tribal chief of the area. The overarching theme of violence, hardship and loss were poignantly evident in the designs created by the Grade 9 and 10 learners from rural Zululand.  We were incredibly proud of these learners, most of whom had never experienced a formal art lesson, when over half of the punching bag drawings selected came from 10 learners at Mashanandana and S’Bhakuza High School in Mzimela.  Phase 2 commenced in late 2012, with info4africa and Johann working on site over a period of two weeks, during the December 2012 holidays with these learners to hone their designs and create collages as templates for the final leather punching bags. A final phase of the workshop will be rolled out in mid-2013, which will include construction of the punching bags and planning of an exhibition with KZNSA. The funder for this project was the National Lottery Fund (LOTTO), in collaboration with KZNSA Gallery.