The Joubert Park Project (JPP)

The Joubert Park Project is an initiative located in the middle of the Joubert Park area of the inner city of Johannesburg. We develop and facilitate collaborative projects with artists and non-artists from a diversity of fields, driven by a shared spirit of curiosity about the peculiarities and specifics of the city. We seek to bring the strategies and instruments of the contemporary arts to bear on the complex and conflicted environment in a manner that asks questions both of arts practice and the complicated reality of this shifting urban context – in relation to the country South Africa and global linkages. Our role at the Drill Hall includes site-management – liasing between the tenants of the Drill Hall and the City of Johannesburg. // The Joubert Park Project est une initiative située en plein milieu du secteur de Joubert Parc dans le centre ville de Johannesburg. Nous développons et facilitons des projets en collaboration avec des artistes et non artistes venant de divers champs, conduits par un esprit commun de curiosité à propos des particularités et spécificités de la ville. Nous essayons d’amener les stratégies et instruments de l’art contemporain à prendre en compte un environnement complexe et conflictuel de manière à poser des questions à la fois sur les pratiques artistiques et sur la réalité de ce contexte urbain en constant changement – en relation avec le pays, l’Afrique du Sud et les liens globaux. Notre rôle au Drill Hall inclut la gestion du site – liasing entre les occupants du Drill Hall et la Ville de Johannesburg. 

A basic principle running through our projects is an emphasis on what may be called ‘complex collaborations’ – ‘field experts’ (eg artists, choreographers, architects, designers, social workers, film-makers, media specialists, sportspeople) and ‘local experts’ (eg. ordinary people living and working in the inner city) working together in the development of projects that take the urban context as a base material. // Un principe de base qui court à travers tous nos projets est un accent sur ce qui peut-être appelé « des collaborations complexes » – « experts d’une discipline » (artists, chorégraphes, architectes, designers, travailleurs sociaux, réalisateurs, spécialistes des médias, sportifs), et des « experts locaux » (ordinary people vivant et travaillant dans le centre ville) travaillant ensemble au développement de projets qui prennent le contexte urbain comme matériau de base. 

The JPP collective is made up of a group of individuals that initiate, conceptualise and drive a variety of projects and bring their different skills, interests and networks to the JPP. The organisation employs no staff, bringing in expertise as and when necessary in relation to the needs of individual interventions. Current active members of the entity include Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Lawrence Lemaoana, Joseph Gaylard, Bie Venter and Ra Hlasane. The organisation is registered as a non-profit trust and is governed by a Board consisting of a of contemporary arts practitioners and people involved in a variety of capacities in both the contemporary arts and the life of the inner city. // Le collectif JPP est constitué d’un groupe d’individus qui initient, conceptualisent et mènent des projets variés et amènent leurs différentes compétences, intérêts et réseaux au JPP. L’organisation n’emploie pas d’équipe permanente et sollicite des expertises quand cela est nécessaire, en relation avec les besoins d’interventions individuelles. Actuellement les membres actifs du collectifs sont Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Lawrence Lemaoana, Joseph Gaylard, Bie Venter and Ra Hlasane. L’organisation est enregistrée sous forme de trust non commercial et est dirigée par un bureau constitué de praticiens de l’art contemporain et de personnes impliquées dans différentes pratiques à la fois dans le champ de l’art contemporain et dans la ville du centre ville.


Selected projects 


_joburgjpp_54096_losprojectJPPWLAST ONE STANDING ­ Snowball Fight Tournament, August 08

Last One Standing premiered in Johannesburg in August and brought together a wide variety of people from different parts of the city to participate in a snowball fight tournament at the Drill Hall. With reference to the social dimensions of competitive sports, climate change and urban development, the event deployed snowballs as a medium through which a variety of people who have different stakes in the space of the inner city could engage in a managed combat with one another. The project was being realised through a partnership between the Joubert Park Project and the Official Snowball Fight

Association (OSFA), which initiated the project in Switzerland in 07. The OSFA is dedicated to the promotion of this unique sport and engaged in wide-ranging research on the ethical, environmental, scientific, political, theological and literary dimensions of the snowball.

The event also aimed at bringing to light the small but nevertheless potent place that the snowball has occupied in the shaping of Johannesburg as a city during the course of the last 130 odd years. South African writer Ivan Vladislavic and critic Anne Historical were commissioned to reflect on their

experience of snow in Johannesburg during this period and attendant scientific dimensions. The city¹s memory of the snowball was thus be brought to life in the context of the event, together with a visual archive of snow in Johannesburg. In the light of the violent attacks on foreign nationals in the city in May, Last One Standing¹s political and ironic undertones came to the fore inadvertently.

The centrepiece of the event ­ the snowball fight tournament ­ involved four teams of six players each competing on a 9 x 18 metre court, according to the rules established by the Official Snowball Fight Association.  The four teams were recruited from different neighbourhoods and professions, their

different nationalities a reflection of the city¹s cosmopolitan make-up. They included local taxi mechanics, soap-opera stars, trolley-pushers, hairdressers form Zimbabwe and Eritrea, city managers and boxers from local gyms.

The teams underwent rigorous training prior to the event (overseen by Anthea Moys) and competed in custom-made uniforms by the Berlin based designer Birgit Neppl. The evening was MCed by actor Robby Whitehead. Musician and actor Louw Venter opened the event with the inaugural Ballad of the Snowball

and acted as head referee. The Universal Gospel Choir will provide the soundscape for the tournament, co-produced with musicians/composers, Joao Orecchia and Andy Sherman. A technical team of snowball-makers was being assembled for the event to supply adequate ammunition for the teams. The

Director of the Swiss Snowball Association, Georges Pfruender, presided over the trophy hand-over.

Teams and participants: The Rockers: Lillian B.Mouaga, Mililike ŒTK¹ Fukile, Semeye Semane, Simenkosi Ngwenya and Sibosiso; The Heroes: Nhlanhla, Michelle Harris, Luthuli Dlamini, Esther Dipale, Alex Richards and Jo Ractcliffe; Jozi Tigers: Rita Mrwebi, Michael, Lindiwe Mdluli, Lerate Shadi and Craig Johnsten; Phoenix: Martin Galuza, Hansa Phakati, Esther Ernst, Charles Matsinhe and Abena Ayivor. REFEREES: Louw Venter, Anthea Moys, Lawrence Lemaoana, Tomas Ngulube and Ra Ngoato; THE SNOWBALL MAKERS AND ASSISTANTS: Renee Johannes, Ben Metcalfe, Bhavisha Panchia, Murray Kruger, Rodan Hart, Micheal Sephton Poultney and Sibosiso Khumalo, Nicol Pappas, Ansie Greyling, Aysha Waja, Anthea Buys; TOURNAMENT PHYSICIAN: CY Chan; LIGHTS: Michael Kaplan and Liroy Lourenco from IMPRESARIO; JUDGES Rita

Potenza and Lebo Mathsikiza; PICTURE RESEARCHER: Rita Potenza and Anne Historical; PICTURE EDITING: Joerg Laue and Esther Ernst: DESIGN: Lyle van Schalk and Jerome Lanon: EMCEES: Baker, Breeze Yoko, Flo, Quaz, 4matt and Rainbow:


Residency program

The JPP has been facilitating artists-in-residency since 2004. It developed out of exchanges and exhibitions with visiting artists as well as joint projects with organisations like Pro Helvetia Cape Town. So far the Drill Hall has hosted artists from Switzerland, Canada, Mozambique, South Africa, France, Zambia, the DRC, Zimbabwe, Germany and the Netherlands. Artists are usually accommodated at August House, in close proximity to the Drill Hall. Our interest lies in facilitating the interface between artistic productions, research and the complex dimensions of the inner city, with artists committing to an intense engagement with the context, showcasing their experience/work in form of a presentation/event at the Drill Hall.



Ten small pieces for violin by Marianne Halter and Mario Marchisella / 30 September 2008 ­ 6.00 for 6.30 pm / POINT BLANK GALLERY, DRILL HALL / Joubert Park, Plein Street

Artists-in-residence Marianne Halter and Mario Marchisella (Switzerland) presented a video-installation and live concert at the Drill Hall on Tuesday, 30 September 2008.

During their 3 month residency in Johannesburg, the artists observed and engaged with the everyday rituals and practices they encountered in the inner city. In their attempt to interpret and understand these, their own position as strangers or newcomers remained in the foreground – as point of departure, fault-line and mirror.

In their work ŒTHE CONDUCTOR¹S FEAR OF THE SOLOIST¹¹, Halter and Marchisella consciously staged the misinterpretation of an everyday situation: it comprised a performance piece at the taxi-rank opposite the Drill Hall, that effectively interfered and played with the given order, leading to absurd moments. The video-installation was based on the filmic documentation of the performance and framed by a live concert by Marchisella, who combined electronic and self-built electro-acoustic instruments. The concert operated between both the projected and the real life context of the Drill Hall and the tensions that these fields offered. The residency was made possible through the support of Pro Helvetia Cape Town.


Keleketla Library


Keleketla! developed out of a residency at the Drill Hall by critic/academic/curator Bettina Malcomess (resident in Cape Town), who was interested in setting up a library on site. Malcomess worked in collaboration with artists/designer Rangoato Hlasane, who has since January been managing the library space and related workshops.

Keleketla! is a Pedi word which is a response to the beginning of a story, something that you say back to the storyteller¹s Œonce upon a time¹. It has no direct English translation, but represents a form of acknowledgement and a consent that ŒI am here, willing to listen to your story with active

The Keleketla! initative is a collection of projects that share a concern with the creation of stories through a variety of modes and media, based on a dynamic and fluid interaction between audience and story-teller ­ through the spoken word, music, artmaking, film, performance, writing, reading and so on. Located at the Drill Hall, the projects involve the active participation of local people and a range of age groups.

The project originally developed out of the idea of a library that would serve as a home for a variety of creative activities. The project has now grown to include a variety of elements:

* The original library project
* Daily creative workshops for children and young people living in the Joubert Park area
* Monthly Art Days at the Drill Hall
* Weekly open-air film screenings
* Monthly workshops/seminars aimed at young creatives working in the inner city

The project was born out of a collaboration between Bettina Malcolmess, a Cape Town based writer, academic and artist, and artist Rangoato Hlasane, with the innacitycommunity collective. Facilitated by the Joubert Park Project, the genesis of the project was made possible through a grant from the National Arts Council. The project partners are now exploring ways for the project to be turned into an ongoing and sustainable initiative.

The projects have established a unique space in a part of the inner city that has achieved a certain notoriety in the public imagination ­ a fraught and complex environment that has one of the largest taxi ranks in the region and which has become the point of entry into Johannesburg (and South Africa)

for immigrants form the rest of Africa ­ as well as the influx of economic migrants from the rest of the country. Beset by a variety of problems ­ high levels of poverty, both organized and petty crime, building invasions and xenophobia ­ the area is also home to an amazing diversity of experience, culture and social life. The Keleketla projects have sought to harness and work with this extraordinary richness in seeking to make a contribution to turning the Joubert Park area into a liveable neighbourhood.²

See also:



You Deserve the Truth

March 2008. Collaboration between Bettina Malcomess and the Joubert Park Project (Gaylard and Kreutzfeldt)

Invited to produce a panel discussion during the first Art Fair in Johannesburg in March 08, the collaborators produced an event where participants were subjected to a polygraph test, and asked questions about art, truth and money. The event was held at the Drill Hall in the inner city of Johannesburg, a public venue that looks somewhat like a glass cage. The subjects included controversial curator, Simon Njami, critic and Art South Africa editor, Sean ŒO Toole, along with gallerists and artists. Polygraph testing is a veritable industry, with clients ranging from businesses to suspicious lovers, and freelance polygraphers. Questions were structured to illicit responses that indicated truths, deceptions, and uncertainties around the often uncomfortable relationship between art, truth and money. The subjects were placed in a sealed space, resembling both confession booth and interrogation room. The subject and the polygrapher were filmed, viewed in the gallery on two small tiered monitors while the polygraph result for each question was projected onto a central screen, with typed questions projected onto a smaller adjacent screen. Participants were asked five questions and were then able to ask themselves one final question, it was here that self- deception was most often indicated. Tests were then priced by the participants, and made available for sale in limited print editions. (text by Malcomess)