Festivities lift Hillbrow’s spirits

The Hey Hillbrow! Let’s Dlala! public parade was held on Saturday

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A young member of the Windybrow choir preparing for the start of the parade after having his face painted.

Hillbrow came alive with music and colour on Saturday as artists, young and old, made their way through the streets as part of the Hey Hillbrow! Let’s Dlala! public parade.

The annual parade, brainchild of the late public art activist Lesley Perkes, aims to bring art closer to the public.

This year, the theme, under the direction of Tamzyn Botha, was “Imaginary Lines - None are free until all are free”.

Young performers who made costumes out of newspapers wait to entertain the crowds in the streets of Hillbrow.

Starting at the Windybrow Arts Centre the artists proceeded to make their way around the suburb. Most of the participants were young and from community-based organisations.

Rozanne Myburgh, from Lefika La Phodiso, which uses art for therapy, said, “The kids are very excited. This is just a really special way to give a different view to the children and the people of Hillbrow, to show the possibilities of joy and magic and fun.”

Performers entertained the crowds as various intersections with performances.

Hillbrow has long been a notorious symbol for Johannesburg’s urban decay. People watched from balconies of dilapidated apartments and rubbish littered the streets because of the strike by Pikitup workers. Young people could be seen openly using drugs.

But the parade was testament to the resourcefulness and enduring creative spirit of the artists and the resilience of Johannesburg’s inner city residents. Artists performing on various street corners were met with cheers.

“People hear that you are going to Hillbrow and they think you are crazy, but people are just here trying to live their lives and make the best of their situation,” said Myburgh.

A family watches the parade from a dilapidated building in Hillbrow.

The parade moved past uncollected rubbish due to the contract workers strike at PIKITUP.

All manner of colourful and innovative props were used as costumes which took months to prepare.

Lumka Dumezweni participated as part of the Kwasha! Theatre Company.

The Ezase-Vaal Brass band from Evaton, south of Johannesburg provide the music to accompany the parade.

Members of the African Reclaimers Organisation were also present lending their support to the parade.

A group of young performers from Shade Youth Art Program dressed up for the parade.

A performer on stilts leads the parade at the start outside the Windybrow Arts Centre.

Correction on 2024-05-27 11:41

Hillbrow was spelt with l instead of two l's in the headline of the story when it was published. It has been fixed.

TOPICS:  Arts and culture

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