District in Johannesburg named after REMOTEWORDS message 8
The district around Main and Berea Streets in the Johannesburg district “Doornfountain” was given a new name after a message by REMOTEWORDS and Niq Mhlongo. In February 2009, REMOTESWORDS—in collaboration with the South African writer Niq Mhlongo and Jozi art:lab (Johannesburg)—wrote on the roof of “Arts on Main”, then under construction, the message: Maboneng. “Arts on Main” meanwhile, along with galleries, offers known artists such as William Kentridge a studio and for several weeks has provided an off-space for Goethe Institute: GoetheonMain.
Maboneng means “place of light” and is a quotation from Niq Mhlongo’s novel “Aftertears”. Mhlongo, who grew up in Soweto during the apartheid era, has made a name for himself with his descriptions of present-day life in the former ghetto. Thus Maboneng not only thematizes an aspiring district in Johannesburg that is to be given a shot in the arm by a colony of art, but is above all a reminder of those who for a very long time were prevented from standing tall in the light.