Exhibition Opening on Sat, 6.9.14, 10:30am,

at the “Sophiatown Heritage & Cultural Centre”, Sophiatown/ Johannesburg.


Welcome home.

William ‘Bloke’ Modisane, author and journalist of the DRUM decade, mostly celebrated for his work “Blame Me On History”, was born in Sophiatown on the 28th of August in 1923. The violent conditions of his time made him leave his place of birth to go to England, afterwards to Germany, where he died in 1986. Mostly read and measured by “Blame Me On History” – his ‘autobiography’ shaped by the meanderings between documentary and fiction – and his sharp journalistic pieces for DRUM and Golden City Post, Modisane never stopped writing. In Dortmund and London, as examples, he produced radio plays, articles and up to now unpublished works; investigating not only the conditions of ‘his’ South Africa but also those of colonial history. Modisane travelled the world, acted in movie productions and theatre plays, and connected with authors such as Langston Hughes. The questions and the violence he carried with him were at the same time global and specifically South African.

Today, a grave stone close to Dortmund reminds of the routes of an important writer of the 20th century. In 2014, finally, the literary estate of Bloke Modisane will be made accessible for public and academic investigation; for artistic celebration and critique alike. We celebrate Modisane’s symbolic ‘homecoming’ while questioning the notion of ‘home’.

Our exhibition, starting September 2014, presents works which will be on show for the first time, accompanied by a cultural programme in honour of the writers and artists of Sophiatown, past and present, asking for the relevance of their work today. Both exhibition and cultural programme will serve as starting points for a thorough investigation of and interventions around the legacy of one of South Africa’s most important authors and journalists of the 20th century.

Your comments are welcome. This is a collective process.

The exhibition is curated by Kabelo Tselapedi, Tshepo Letsoalo and Sipho Ndlovu of the SoFireTown Crew, who work on the artistic, political and philosophical legacy of Sophiatowners in the present; together with Katharina Fink.


Get in touch: blokeishome@gmail.com.


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