Nthabeleng Vilakazi

Mthubi the Hub is a non-profit organisation based in Arcadia street, Hatfield. It seeks to empower and inspire young, local artists. The hub is for creatives who celebrate Afro-centric music, literature, film, visual arts and fashion. With their African literature event coming on 27 April, Perdeby sat down with one of the founders of the Hub, Thabeng Rabotapi, to find out more about what the hub offers for young, local artists and who they are as an organisation.


Where did the idea of an arthouse/hub come from?This house was abandoned, there were drug addicts living in the house. The seven of us (myself and six co-founders) would usually pass by this house and we saw how messed up the place was. We started talking about the house and our future plans, we told ourselves that we will go into the yard and occupy it. We painted it, came up with a name and fixed it.


Why the name “Mthubi”?
I don’t know if you’ve seen a cow give birth, but after it gives birth, there’s yellowish milk that comes from the cow and that yellow is Mthubi. Now, linking that to the building, which is yellow as well, hence “Mthubi”. The building goes hand in hand with that colour.


What does your non-profit organisation aim to do for the community and local artists?
Basically, this organisation is for the disadvantaged black artists. Artists who are looking for a work space, working studio or who are in need of equipment can come through and utilise the space and create art as well as create business opportunities for themselves.


How can artists be a part of this organisation?
So basically, we focus on getting those type of artists from places like TUT art campus, that’s who we’re working with. But actually, any kind of artist as well because we’ve been trying to seek out these artists, we believe we’re the only black space here in Hatfield. So were trying to get through to those disadvantaged, black artists and give them a platform to showcase their art.


What events can art lovers, who are not necessarily artists, look forward to?
For art lovers, we have monthly exhibitions, solo exhibitions [and] group exhibitions. Basically, for these local artists around Pretoria, we host exhibitions for them every month. We have other monthly events like #OneWord, it’s a main event that helped us establish the mini library in the house. We collect books, an entry is a book or R20, so if you don’t have a book, come through and donate R20. We also have Funk The Movement, a jazz, neo-soul live music session, that happens every month. We’re also trying to start up weekly poetry sessions.


You have an African Book Exchange coming up on 27 April, what is it about?
It will be an African Literature book exchange aimed at black writers, especially local writers and African Literature lovers, it’s a platform to exchange or trade African literature. We’ll be establishing a book reading session and a lecture.


What are the ultimate goals of the Mthubi the Hub?
We have nine rooms in our house and the goal is to equip the rooms as working studios. We want to be able to give artists equipment, a space and a platform so they can have business opportunities. It’s all about developing the artist.


Image: blackopinion.co.za

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