Aluminum cans, wood, and paint

African Art
Isn't it awesome what can be done with a piece of chipboard, old aluminum cans, and a little bit of paint? If I understand it correctly, these pieces are mostly made by Zimbabwean immigrants and refugees who struggle to make a living in our country while paperwork takes it's course through our government's systems.

Even when the paperwork is completed, and even though many are highly educated, they struggle to find full-time work and are forced to continue making a living by selling artworks like these, watching over parked cars for tips, and by doing other menial jobs ill-fit for their education.

If you'd like to purchase one of these items, I always see the guys selling them at the turnoff to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the M3. They're not expensive, so unless you don't have the money, rather pay full price and smile. :)

12 thoughts on “Aluminum cans, wood, and paint

  1. Andy Gladwish

    We purchased a piece of this artwork at the Hout Bay Sunday market during our recent holiday – It now takes pride of place on our ‘Africa’ wall and has received many good comments from visitors – we only paid R25 and the quality of the work and attention to detail is fantastic.

  2. Paul

    Post author

    Thanks Andy – people often give these guys a hard time, and only if roles were reversed would they realise what a difficult position many find themselves in. Thanks for the link – Africa Cartel looks like a great site.

    Andy, wow – that was extremely cheap. I think I paid around R50 or R60 for one similar to those in the photo – and I thought that was pretty reasonable. :)

  3. mjw

    R25? Wow. As Paul says, even R60 is cheap. I’ve never seen these types of artworks for sale at turnoffs, only in art galleries. I must look out for them next time I’m near Kirstenbosch.

  4. Xenia

    Thanks Paul for the great post and to Anton for mentioning African Cartel. African Cartel is the site we started up earlier this year to try and provide a platform to market and sell art from Africa. One of the groups we list on there are the guys who sell these wonderful township paintings at the Robots – We have termed them ‘Robot Artists’ and have put together a short 8 minute documentary on the site to try tell their stories. Check out –

  5. Xenia

    Thanks for the feedback Ali, glad you like it! Unfortunately trading at intersections is a very volatile and risky business for the artists (especially going into winter), we really hope this offers an opportunity for people to support these guys by getting a top quality painting through the site!

  6. Paul

    Post author

    Hi Xenia, it’s a pleasure, and compliments on your initiative. I have to agree with Ali – that’s a great video, well done!

    I’ll see what we can do about raising awareness about African Cartel.

  7. Xenia

    Thanks alot – any support to promote us and help encourage people to buy art through the site would be awesome! Let me know if you need anything from us. Keep well :)

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