This artwork by Ros Koch has been selected to be part of the Woordfees festival Visual Arts programme. The exhibition's title is "bly", an Afrikaans word that has various meanings - as a verb ("live" / "stay") and as an adjective ("happy").
Title of artwork: “It matters not”
“Vuya Endaweni Environmental Education Centre” is a local NGO located in an informal settlement on the edge of Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. The Centre was created “to educate young people about the environment in which they live, and to encourage and empower them to protect and positively transform it”.
However, as a volunteer, I feel I have learnt far more from these young people than they could ever learn from me. They live in poverty and face serious daily challenges. Many of them will stay living there, trapped in poverty, trapped by circumstances into which they were born.
The name "Vuya Endaweni" means in Xhosa "be happy in that place". I’ve always been intrigued as to who chose this name and why. Is it a hope? A challenge? An order? The name challenges not only those who live “in the place”, but also those who don’t. Is it possible? Does one dare hope for happiness “in that place”? Should one actually “be happy” there, as things are? Is happiness alone enough to make one stay and “protect and positively transform it”? Or, is the grass greener elsewhere?