Amidst crime stricken and poverty riddled circumstances, artists in Mitchells Plain use street art and graffiti as inspiration and motivation for a better way of life.
Street art in Cape Town
While Cape Town has gained fame for its creative graffiti and street art on abandoned buildings and businesses in Woodstock and Cape Town CBD, Mitchells Plain is less known area which uses the beauty of art to convey a message of hope and inspiration for the future. And while art is just another way to express oneself, the imagery painted on the buildings depicts a need for beauty and hope in a community constantly battling against drug abuse, crime and poverty.
Created for the Group Areas Act
Mitchells Plain is a large community, previously a township, created by the Apartheid regime to house people displaced from their houses during the Apartheid era’s Group Areas Act. This act assigned different residential areas to the population based on racial groups and ethnicity. The most well know of these instances include District Six, where people’s houses were razed in order to move them to racially segregated living areas.
Estimated population of up to 305 000
With an estimated population of 290 000 to 305 000 people Mitchells Plain is located on the Cape Flats between Muizenberg and Khayelitsha. Despite the area improving and expanding over time, it is still crippled by poverty and socio-economic constraints such as drug abuse and crime. Drug abuse is a particularly big threat to the youth in Mitchell’s Plain with many falling prey to addiction and gangsterism as a way to escape their circumstances. Gangsterism is seen as a lifestyle to many in the surrounding areas, increasing the frequency of gang wars and adding additional pressure on the already burdened community.
Mitchells Plain is not so plain at all
While circumstances might be dire and the way out not so clear to many in the community, Mitchells Plain’s artists use their gift as a way to communicate their wish for a better life and to make the area more colourful – giving residents hope that the future can bring change for them all.
Ra’eesa Pather of The Daily Vox along with Grant Jurius, artist and founder of The Streets is the Gallery, gave us a unique view into the street art scene in Mitchells Plain with amazing images of graffiti and artistry in the area. The Street is the Gallery is a street art tourism project that seeks to promote street art around Cape Town. Grant Jurius conducts tours in Woodstock and Mitchell’s Plain, showcasing Woodstock’s large body of international street works, and Mitchell’s Plain’s local street art. Visit The Street is the Gallery’s Facebook page.
Images: The Daily Vox