Rangoato Hlasane

Rangoato Hlasane is a visual artist, illustrator, DJ and organiser based in Johannesburg. He recently completed a master’s degree in visual arts (cum laude) at the University of Johannesburg. His dissertation was an investigation into the role of the arts in mobilising communities, theory he has put into practice for the past five years. He has done creative work for publications such as Chimurenga, as well as facilitated and coordinated collaborative community-based arts and development projects around South Africa.

Rangoato’s latest collaborative project, titled Made in Musina, is the formation of a community-led functional arts network in the small South African town of Musina, on the border with Zimbabwe.

In 2008, recognising a gap between the educational needs of young people and what infrastructure was being provided, Rangoato, together with collaborators Malose Malahlela and Bettina Malcomess, formed the Keleketla! Library, an interdisciplinary library and media arts project based at the Drill Hall in Johannesburg. He says: “Access to quality education is the greatest of obstacles.

It’s a problem when a large number of schools in the country do not have adequate facilities and the human resources. It’s a betrayal of the most basic of human rights.”

Keleketla! implements arts, culture and heritage programmes in partnership with inner-city youth, educator and artists. Keleketla!’s flagship project, the After School Programme, is a youth learning space that relates history to the lived experience. Rangoato emphasises the role of education and the arts in empowering young people from all backgrounds: “The education sector is a rich opportunity, a fertile ground for new perspectives and imagination from youth. Most importantly, we need an education for humanity rather than for industry. We don’t need xenophobia. Africa has enough for every child, woman and man. We get that right, we have a bright continent.”

— Lisa van Wyk