First Thursdays Self-Guided Programme

Braamfontein, Joburg - June 2017

First Thursdays has always been more of an unfacilitated experience, encouraging attendees to explore, discover new things, get lost. This is the first time we’ve published what one might call a “route”. We’ve mapped out a more focused programme, based on what we believe to be new exhibitions that are worth visiting. The objective of this is to encourage attendees to visit exhibitions that they might not have otherwise seen, and to facilitate more engagement with the cultural programme. What is important to note is that this is a choice. One may follow the programme strictly, or deviate from the map and discover other exhibitions and attractions along the way. This is there for those who wish to use it. 

Please note that you follow this programme at your own risk. We encourage all attendees to be vigilant, to walk in groups if possible, and never to put yourself in situations where you do not feel safe. Enjoy the programme, and if you have any feedback get in touch at

Start at point number 1 and make your way from there. Most galleries close at 9pm, so we encourage starting by around 6pm to give yourself enough time at each exhibition. Do not rush, be in one place at one time, and most importantly, look.

If you're on your phone, follow the programme below, or download the printable version here:

1. Centre for Indian Studies in Africa - Wits, 36 Jorissen Street

 Showing (5pm - 7pm): "INVISIBLE BORDERS: Cultural Time Zones in Johannesburg and New Delhi"

 The opening of this exhibition kicks off a seminar on spatial transformation in Johannesburg. The art exhibition consists of a theoretical visual essay and other photos of Cultural Time Zones (microspaces) in New Delhi and Joburg.  Spaces like “gentrified” Select Citywalk Mall and “local” Khirkee Village in Delhi and “hipster” Maboneng and “working-class” Jeppestown in Joburg are put into conversation to provoke discussion about what kinds of (uneven) development are defining our cities.

 2. Wits Art Museum (WAM) - Cnr Bertha & Jorissen

 Performance (6pm for 6.30pm): “Rebirth” by Oupa Sibeko

 Visit WAM for a performance by Oupa Sibeko. Central to his work is the body, which is the ultimate library he visits for inspiration, ideas and art. Rebirth is a meditation that draws from Butoh - a form of Japanese dance theatre - and dance film. The performance explores the body that is becoming while engaging the potential of fragmenting his own body. The artistic series consists of both a live performance and a short film. Rebirth is performed by Oupa Sibeko and videography is done by Nicola Pilkington, a freelance researcher, filmmaker and theatre-maker.

 *If you’re walking on to the next points, we recommend walking in a group one block down Bertha and then across to De Beer at De Korte.

 3. STEVENSON - 62 Juta Street

 Showing: “Ode to Black” by Serge Alain Nitegeka

 Artist’s statement:
Black is the colour of mourning and melancholy. Black epitomises stealth; it is central to clandestine ventures and cool lonesomeness. Black is the colour of executive cars, gadgets, accessories and clothing. Eternally beautiful, Black is the colour of the universe, the infinite deep dark unknown abyss. Black is a wormhole, mysterious and ever-receding, absorbing everything around it and revealing nothing. Black is all colours mixed together, perhaps the sum of the visible. Black is the only colour without light, though full and empty. Black is a colour reserved unto itself. It is comfortable in its own nature, unruffled and confident. It tries very hard to stay anonymous but inquiring eyes are drawn to it; spectators cannot resist it. It is not popular. It reveals little because it is neither warm nor cold. It is an enigmatic pigment. The colour black presents itself ambiguously in meaning, like the abstract forms in my practice. Ode to Black explores the multitude of meanings that the colour black invites in my work thus far, in paintings, sculptures and installations.

 4. Umuzi - 70 Juta Street

 Showing: "Traces of Culture"

 Born in the notorious township of Alexandra, Johannesburg based designer, illustrator and art director "Muthiboy" Sepeng draws on his heritage to influence a new kind of aesthetic in African Design. Negritude Republic, founded in 2012, has been challenging the status quo while celebrating African identities and ideologies. Curated by Odendaal Esterhuyse and Ramoloti Kganakga, 'Traces of Culture' explores shared black history and reflects on the transitional process of South Africa highlighting the need to create our own identity. Fusing heritage and design, 'Traces of Culture' reimagines an afro-positive identity that is informed by the past while simultaneously envisioning the future.

 *End off your evening with a drink at one of the bars in the area. We recommend The Immigrant or Kitchener’s. Or check out some live jazz at The Orbit.