‘Ownership’ of the Community Arts Project (CAP), 1976-1997

POSTED ON: February 18, 2011 IN Arts centres & networks, Jacqueline Nolte, Word View

by Jacqueline Nolte, 18 February 2011

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This essay was written in 1997 for a publication that was planned to commemorate 21 years of the Community Arts Project. Since none of the publishers approached thought that there was a market for a book on CAP, this essay is published here for the first time.

“CAP became a big umbrella body of artists. CAP was the only body like that. I think most of the artists that I can think of went through CAP. We artists who have been through CAP feel empowered …” (Bester, 1997)

“CAP was a kind of family for artists … you had people from different disciplines … and you had organisations coming to use CAP as a resource so … you would be well connected by being in touch with so many groups … but that community extended beyond the art community – it encompassed other communities like political organisations. …” (Voyiya, 1997)

“Where else in Cape Town could you meet so many different and interesting people? It was a kind of a home to me: it was an island, in the middle of an abnormal world, and we made history!” (Zylla, 1997)

“CAP integrated different communities … Many, many artists came out of CAP – it created capacity with regard to artists because once they had been at CAP they formed networks … It opened my eyes because I was able to meet different people. … CAP was my family, the founders have remained my friends. CAP also made me aware of the importance of art, of the importance of creativity.” (Kota, 1997)

“CAP has managed to train different artists from all walks of life. For me, it was great to come all the way from Natal to come and share the skills I had acquired in Natal, because at that time it was difficult for a black artist to work or to develop their skills – there were no art schools.” (Gocini, 1997)

“CAP was the only place where most of us could go [to study art]. … Its achievement is what it has produced … some of the guys now are well known artists … if CAP was not there then maybe that creativity could have died” (Budaza, 1997)

“CAP … played a crucial role in the development of culture in the Western Cape … CAP ex-students are now people whom you can reckon with – they are doing things in the communities. … CAP had a very good effect on communities who were denied access to knowledge, art and art facilities – it was the only facility available to them … it was vibrant, there were people all over the place.” (Masha, 1997)

“It has been a most accessible place for everyone, especially black artists in the Western Cape. … At CAP I saw myself developing, meeting other people and being informed about what is going on. [CAP has enabled me] to educate people that art is important for the economy, health, environment, therapy, to develop life skills and for human resources.”(Hlati, 1997)

“At its best moments it provided a wonderful community centre and sense of belonging amongst staff and students” (Kurgan, 1997)

“CAP became a light in showing the rest of the South African community that black and white people can work together without any problem. CAP has managed to survive strong winds and storms. It boasts of twenty years which for an artistic organisation is an achievement” (Pemhenayi, 1997)


The concept of a ‘community arts project’ implies a place of access for all people who wish to exercise creativity, bound neither by academic nor economic strictures. It assumes, as well, a cross-flow of ideas between people engaged in all manner of creative activity. The attempt to manifest this concept in Cape Town, in the early 1970s, occurred within a myriad of challenges. Foremost among these was the legislated and exercised exclusions and separations within apartheid South Africa (SA). Artists who dared to dream of such a space had to realize the dream in a situation where the creativity of black peoples was purposefully denied by the prevailing government; they had also to work against their own traditions of training as ‘fine artists’ schooled in beliefs of individualism, solitude and nonconformist or erratic behaviours. Such values, originating within Euro and Anglo-capitalism, posed enormous challenges to artists’ realizations of a community arts project in South Africa. The strictures of race and privilege were written into the very origins of the project due to who had received art training and who had easier access to resources and the skills to negotiate the legal formation of a project. This emphasis upon the ‘legal’ was of crucial importance given that, at the time of the project’s formation, a white supremacist government was in its third decade of rule in apartheid South Africa, entrenched with its network of insidious laws and controls. Establishing a space of free access to all peoples to discover and manifest their creativity was a contradiction to the master plan of separate development and to exist as a body which might legally raise funds from foreign donors was already to place the initiators of the project in a political camp opposed to government controls. Who was the most able to work within ‘the system’ so as to constitute the project became largely a matter of who was most privileged and best positioned within the system. The identification of this pattern of privilege and power in the project was to occur frequently throughout its history and was to pose another challenge to artists who presumed creative production might be possible without concern for interpersonal, political and organisational issues.

Who the users of the project were was defined by the politics of apartheid. Initial workshops were aimed at black youths protesting against a segregated and inferior system of ‘Bantu education’. This was to define these youths as the primary users from the outset of the Community Arts Project’s (CAP’s) existence. However, on entering this alternative educational space such youths were to encounter a number of teachers and organisers who continued to represent white privilege. Unlearning patterns of behaviour on the part of users and teachers and organisers has been part of the legacy of CAP, its crises and resistances a microcosm of the country at large. CAP nevertheless persisted in trying to exist as a space ‘outside’ of the practice of apartheid, and it attracted all manner of artists and people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs – from white artists of liberal to radical profile to black artists, both politicized and not. It was a training ground for understanding the meaning of artistic production in relation to struggles for political freedom and basic human rights. It was an attempt to understand the meaning that art has for building community in a country that had made it its task to intentionally destroy black community life and to prevent humane and creative exchange between communities of different cultures and designations of race. Ex-student and teacher Sebastian Brown recalls, “It was an art-making community, although from the different communities there was different art being brought out … the guys from Gugs [Gugulethu] made struggle art, and the guys from Green Point and Newlands … wanted to make nice little ceramic mugs … you came there and did your thing. … I could just talk to people … without being intimidated. … I suppose the guys who came to CAP were liberals … that was personally a reason I stuck to CAP so long … I had doctors … nurses … in my classes, but when we were there we were all the same.” (Brown, 1997) According to ex-teacher Terry Kurgan, “CAP enabled me to have contact with and relationships with people with whom my life would not usually have overlapped because of apartheid policies.” (Kurgan 1997) Ex-visual arts teacher at CAP, Tembinkosi Goniwe states, “For me as a person CAP has done a lot. It has given me the opportunity to meet people who are working in my field and it has given me contacts with people who live outside my community who happen to be pale-skinned. Even though we come from the apartheid system it has enabled me to look at people in a new light – there are whites who are committed and dedicated to work.” (Goniwe, 1997)

Together with teachers and organisers, it was the users who constituted the community of CAP, and it was the negotiations and structuring of these relations which in effect formed the backbone of CAP. CAP itself has taken several conceptual forms; also, it has comprised different structures and activities formed by the energies of numbers of committed individuals. It has been a unique physical place with programmes and particular relationships with groups in associated and outlying areas. Ex-Child Art coordinator Shirley de Kok recalls, “In the mornings … these guys came to CAP, they wanted a diploma at the end of the day – it was purely educational – [But] when the evening students came … they came to develop … to express whatever they wanted to … it was vibrant … from all points of view it was a community centre.” (de Kok, 1997) All this has been in a courageous attempt to create a space for community art in its various definitions. People came together at CAP in an effort to change the circumstances of their lives and to share skills with those who’d been denied such access. People came to change themselves through creative encounters fuelled by a belief that the creative process is a transformative process, and thus linked to the process of transformation and liberation. What was evident in the 1970s was a belief in the inherent power of individual creativity, associated with recognition of both intuition and political awareness. At CAP this was expressed in a variety of forms in support of the youth in rebellion against apartheid education. In the 80s CAP developed a more consciously articulated political theory, informed largely by the formation of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983. According to ex-student and teacher Lungile Bam, “There was a balance in the 80s because you would get everybody buzzing in … (from) all over the place … the doors of CAP were open to all, so in the evening classes we would get people from all races … but full-time students were mostly black. What was common [was their] coming from various organisations like UDF, trade unions and development organisations … the language was one of oppression. … Whatever theme we were given, we would link it with the struggle … the cultural struggle. …” (Bam, 1997)

As civil war and military resistance intensified in South Africa, so the government’s need for vigilant control increased in relation to those working against the apartheid system. A clear recognition of these political divisions often determined ones literal survival. What was lost in the process, was space for the unpredictability of intuitive expression and subjective choice. An ex-student recalls, “There were always debates we [artists at CAP] got caught up in … [we] were doing our own work but we also wanted to place ourselves somewhere in the cultural landscape in terms of the struggle … We all had to deal with those issues in our communities where people would knock on your door at five in the morning and you had to do twenty pamphlets or placards, or something like that – that was what the role of the artist [was seen to be] … [But] for us it was beyond that – we saw the work we were doing as being a statement in itself. There were always debates about ‘can you paint a harbour scene? ; Is it relevant?’… If one looks at it now you can say that some people took it too far … where they actually lost their artistic identities. … It was no longer the individual seeing a need in the community and fulfilling the need … It was join a youth group, join an organisation, and within that group there’s a little group pursuing the cultural side of things … culture was the last item on the agenda … The only time that people seemed to realize culture was when they [were] having some mass rally, and then someone would have to recite a poem or they [would] need some media around that function … A lot of artists got frustrated with that – it was kind of undermining.” (Anonymous, 1997) The challenge of surviving these times was how not to be dehumanized by either the experience of living within apartheid South Africa or fighting against it, whether aligned to, or actively involved in, the military struggle against such tyranny. Ex-Coordinator Lucy Alexander recalls, “[CAP] is also a microcosm of political changes … it has always been complicated by that and the different pressures – whether art was worth supporting at all was a major debate while I was there or whether everything should be devoted towards media and political consciousness raising. It was quite difficult for anyone to flourish.” (Alexander, 1996)

Of the transition years from military resistance to the era of negotiation, ex-Administrator Janis Merand recalls, “It was sheer hell … a lot of work and we were struggling to re-find our direction … Should we be cultural politicians? Should we be agitating to get arts on the agenda of the government? Should we be solely an art institution? … At the same time we were trying to get money, we were arguing for our very existence … It mirrored the transition in the country in a way … it was symbolic of all organisations involved in the arts, especially in developing countries like South Africa. You have to fight for your very existence, because housing, employment, food and clean water are far more important … You have to struggle on a day to day basis, you are incredibly depleted … then you still have so much work to do. And CAP didn’t look after its members. … CAP was a force to be reckoned with, it was a powerful place …” (Merand, 1997) Throughout the years of entrenched apartheid, the government declared States of Emergency, and mass resistance, what triumphed in CAP was a form of creative sharing between artists of different cultures, constituencies and privileges. Written into these exchanges, however, were the inevitable power dynamics of South African society and internalized notions of privilege and inferiority. It is the extent to which these were counteracted, as well as the extent to which people’s creativity was nurtured, that is a measure of CAP’s successes and failures. Some people were disappointed, hurt, and exhausted by their experiences at CAP, some suffered the effects of the organisation’s weak governance structures and some evinced a simple lack of consciousness, or even concern, for others’ needs. Equally, there were individuals who emerged from CAP as creative, skilled and confident practitioners.

As an organisation, CAP faced an arduous struggle to develop a collective vision or mission and to ensure a structured and mutual participation in its delivery. Far more celebratory are its outcomes and creative production. However, it is the organisational and inter-personal challenges that comprise the first chapter in this history of CAP’s development. What has informed much of this history of structuring interests is the shift from the idea of individual production to that of collective endeavour, and to the recognition of their dialectical relationship. It is also the tensions resulting from artists untrained in administrative and organisational issues, yet having to understand the organisational workings of a project and the necessity of accountability to social processes, which forms an interesting, and often troublesome account of its development. The difficult learning’s of CAP members, of staff and of students is an integral part of its history, as is the inherent power of their individual and collective creativity, courage and determination.

This written history of CAP focuses firstly on the conceptual and organisational frameworks and progresses, in later chapters, toward the tangible delivery of programmes within and issuing from this space. Tracing the origins and evolution of CAP necessarily involves reliance upon oral and written sources, some of which are corroborated, others of which are contradictory and yet others of which speak primarily of individuals’ subjective rewards and suffering in the process of this ‘enactment’ of CAP.


In one of the organisation’s documents, the origins of CAP are explained as follows, ‘During 1976 and early 1977 it became clear to a number of those associated with the founding of the project that there was an urgent need in Cape Town for accommodation and facilities for use by artists and potential artists, writers, actors, musicians etc. many of whom live in conditions of overcrowding in inadequate houses on the Cape Flats and in areas where community facilities are minimal. Several of the organisations and groups with which the founders of the Project were associated were faced with the same problem when they attempted to run workshops and provide opportunities for creative expression – a total lack of suitable accommodation and facilities. At the same time there appeared to be a spontaneous growth of the arts, much of it related to the burning social and political issues of our time. There was a demand from many individuals and groups for suitable accommodation.’ (Community Arts Project, 1978) This ‘official’ narrative of CAP’s origins points to the informing context of the 1976-1977 uprisings, the recognized need to provide oppressed communities with space and skills denied to them by apartheid legislation, and a cooperation between diverse groupings and individuals in Cape Town in relation to the construction and use of this space. The above mentioned document goes on to state, ‘However, the Project is also intended to encourage individual members and groups to take their newly acquired skills and establish their own workshops in their own neighbourhoods’. This recognition of the limitations of a central venue, given the massive need for cultural facilities in a range of apartheid created ‘group areas’, informed CAP’s emphasis upon ‘outreach’ and teacher training from the outset of its inception.

Initiating interests

Behind this ‘official’ version of CAP’s origins lie other stories of informing interests and individual efforts. CAP 10th anniversary calendar provides an account of the partial origins of CAP and points to an initiative of progressive intellectuals operating within white academia, i.e. the cultural wing of National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) named Aquarius.[1] This Marxist-based discussion group, which focused on the role of culture in the liberation struggle, evolved into “The Organisation of South African Artists” (Berndt, 1997 & Younge, 1996).[2] It met throughout 1975 in an attempt to set up a national arts formation. As a result of this initiative in, December 1975, Gavin Younge approached Murray and Roberts for use of the old Starke Ayres building (nursery warehouses) on Main Road in Mowbray. The request was to use it rent-free for three months for the operation of what was called “The Workshop”. Here arts events were run but in order to continue they needed funding. It appears that this initiative was merged with the initiative to form CAP and that some of these players were to assume a part in the formation of a more broadly-defined arts centre which arose in response to growing political resistance of black youth on the streets of Cape Town.

Another component of the origins of CAP points to art workshops held in October 1976 by the University of Cape Town’s extra-mural department. Peggy Delport mentions liaising with Robert Tobias, a good friend of hers, who worked in this department. Tobias was to facilitate enrolment and transport to the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town (UCT,) for black youth otherwise denied the opportunity to practice art in segregated schools and institutions in apartheid South Africa (Delport, 1996). Delport states, “… the first painting workshops, 1976, were in the middle of the burning and the chaos, those kids came, that bus went in, God-knows how and God-knows how it went back, but there was such a need to come and work and create things. So that was the beginning.” (Delport, 1996) Joyce Tshangele, a student at that time remembers, “Yes, there was a bus that was picking us up in Langa and Nyanga, which took us to Michaelis in the evenings 7-9 pm. It was in 1976, the school boycotts. I think it was for a few months, evenings and Sundays. … There was a woman who was going around in Langa asking people if they were interested in joining art classes. I didn’t even know the thing of art then … so I joined the classes. I was around 13, 14 years old. So when we finished there (Michaelis) we went to CAP in Mowbray in 1977.” (Tshangele, 1996) These workshops were a direct response to the 1976 unrest, some of which spilled over onto the Michaelis campus when riot police chased demonstrating black school students across campus with teargas. The demonstration comprised Black school students who were protesting the introduction of compulsory Afrikaans into the already hated “Bantu education” system and, by default, ended up seeking protection in the buildings of Michaelis.[3] The arts workshops, orchestrated with the Department of Extramural studies at UCT were part of a subsequent liberal response to this grassroots radical protest and student boycott. Peggy Delport worked with Cecil Skotnes to provide painting instruction to black youth, while Gavin Younge taught sculpture. Participants were keen to continue with the programme so the workshop then moved to the Institute of Race Relations where the premises proved too small (Wilson, 1977). In an effort to keep this initiative alive, as well as to find space for other arts initiatives, a concerned group of individuals liaised with well over a hundred people, the youth programme of the IRR as well as SACHED and assorted community groups. The process of community liaison occurred over approximately a year and resulted in a decision to secure the premises of what was originally “The Workshop”. In August 1977, these workshops were again advertised under the auspices of the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies but now in cooperation with the Community Arts Project and held at 17 Main Rd., Mowbray. It was at the beginning of August 1977 that the Community Arts Project first opened its doors and these workshops marked part of CAP’s initial activities. (Community Arts Project, Background, 1977)

The involvement of white academics in these originating circumstances has been described as both liberal and as well as radical.[4] According to Emile Maurice, “The problem that they (the white academics) faced was that the agenda was to develop a community organisation but the extent to which they were locked into community life is obviously questionable”.[5] (Maurice, 1997) Progressive institutions, namely the South College of Higher Education (SACHED) and the South African Institute of Race relations (SAIRR), and progressive individuals from the liberal terrain of UCT, were in fact responding to an initiative that lay outside of their making i.e. the spontaneous uprising amongst black urban youth to protest the system of inferior Bantu education.[6] Linked to this was a growth of interest in the arts as a means of expressing this rising black consciousness. Privileged arts graduates and students (many of whom were classified as white) were eager to lend their skills to this end. Delport notes “In these painting workshops … people really gave images describing what life was like where they were living, and of course images were of burning, looting, and police shootings and of violence. In the middle of that all Tiny Matole painted a tiny little township skyline and up above it a huge bird flying and her sitting on the back of the bird. To me it was like the symbol of creativity …” (Delport, 1996)

In an internal CAP document written in 1988, Mike Van Graan writes “The attitude of BC [Black Consciousness] organisations was to use whatever space and resources were made available by white liberals where necessary but not to actively participate in the leadership of liberal organisations providing such space and resources. So it was very possible for many from BC backgrounds to use CAP and ‘milk’ it without much of a commitment to shaping its direction. The direction then remained a broadly liberal one of providing space and resources for ‘disadvantaged’ people particularly to acquire skills in the arts.” (CAP: Where From? Where To? p 12)

The process of liaison between concerned white academics, artists and black representatives of the church and Institute of Race Relations occurred over a period of a year and led to the formation of an interim board of trustees in March 1977. A notarial deed of trust was drawn up in April 1977. Original trustees were Peggy Delport (UCT), Linda Gobodo (student at S.A. College of Higher Education and part-time employee of the Christian Institute and the Extra-Mural Studies Department, UCT), Rev. Mongesi Guma (Anglican Minister of Holy Cross Church, Nyanga), Themba Nolutshungu (Director of Youth Programmes of the Institute of Race Relations), Lindy Wilson (Co-ordinator of the S.A. Committee for Higher Education, Cape Town, Gavin Younge (lecturer at Michaelis School of Art, UCT)

Establishing the space

Recalling the originating impulse behind CAP, Peggy Delport (1996) remembered, “We met one Sunday, Romel Roberts, Robert Tobias, myself and Gavin (Younge). … Lindy Wilson … came in later as the working committee when we started CAP. Then there … was Chris Wildman who was also part of the original group and he was running music groups…I remember that Sunday, Romel, … made the most marvellous food, the wonderful mushroom soup …” In February 1977, the working committee began to discuss the possible shape of ‘CAP’ (still to be so-named). At the first minuted meeting, one of the founders, Lindy Wilson, proposed a six month extra-mural programme of activities to include drama, writing and music, with the intention of producing a yearly publication and performance. Participants of such programme were to prepare and clean a space in which to work (CAP Trust Minutes, 23 February 1977). Delport recalled, “The next step then was that we found a building, the old Stark Ayers building, which is where Grand Bazaars is now in Mowbray, opposite the police station. It was just an empty warehouse, and this is where people came in. Lindy certainly came in then and a lot of others, and we cleaned it. We got our hands and knees and scrubbed it clean. I took two presses there I think, and we paid quite a small rental and we just started running things” (Delport, 1996) In a draft letter to Misereor for funding, dated 13 April 1977 and written by Lindy Wilson, the working committee made clear that they had already leased two floors of a building, 100 meters from the main bus terminus at 17 Main Road, Mowbray. This was important as such terminus, and the nearby train station, fed the Cape Flats and greater Cape Town, and was easily accessed by all racially classified ‘designated’ groups in a city divided by apartheid ‘group areas’ legislation. The letter read ‘It is near the already existing Race Relations Youth Programme and SACHED and is easily accessible to the universities and town.’ This motivation for a facility related to the needs of other organisations forms a vital part of CAP’s history as a physical resource for persons denied such communal and creative facilities in apartheid South Africa. CAP’s relations with SACHED were of particular importance given that three of its trustees were members of SACHED (Lindy Wilson, Themba Nolutshungu and Linda Goboda) as well as one of its earliest tutors (Chris Wildman). The organisational experience of persons such as Robert Tobias from the extra mural programme at UCT and Lindy Wilson at SACHED was an important anchor for artists with little history in administering and managing organisations.

It was, however, money generated by an artists’ gallery which helped to start the project. Delport recalls, “There was an artists’ cooperative – it was the best gallery in the whole of Cape Town, it was in Adderley Street. There were about 20 of us. It was a wonderful gallery space and we ran it ourselves. All of us were sick of dealers. Kevin (Atkinson) was part of that, Bruce Arnot…and Stanley Pinker as well, and black artists from up country came and joined that as well. That ran for five years and then they tore the building down and it closed. Any rate, we were left with some money in the kitty…and I persuaded those that were still around to use this to start CAP and that’s what started CAP…This was the first bit of money we had.” (Delport, 1996) Gavin Younge recalled, “It was extremely difficult in those early days because you basically had to do everything yourself. There was no outside funding. The Church, through the Christian Institute, when it was around, had funded CAP.”[7] (Younge, 1996)

By April the first funding document was sent to funders explaining the purposes of the project as follows: ‘To provide opportunities for everyone interested to develop their creative abilities and skills in aspects of the arts in the broadest possible sense of the word; arts workshops and related programmes when the need arises; a place for contact between people and interaction between the arts; an arts forum where people can learn by doing.’ (Wilson, 1977) By May 1977, the working committee was ready to place a board up in the centre which would outline a three month programme (CAP Trust Minutes, 12 May 1977). The programme was open and the committee invited people to state what activities they offered and resources that were needed. CAP Trust Minutes of May reflect the rudimentary nature of facilities at this point: ‘Some locking up space was needed. Mongezi to look into this.’ By June, the committee were discussing insurance and drawing up directions to the first general meeting planned to take place at 17 Main Rd (CAP Trust Minutes, 16 June 1977). In July, a Director was hired and minutes record the filling in of details, namely the acquisition of cups, kettles and benches (CAP Trust Minutes, 19 July 1977). In August, the project advertised itself as the Community Arts Project by painting a large mural on the outside of the building and by advertising a residency for a black artist working in any medium (CAP Trust Minutes, 2 August 1977). Unfortunately the future of this mural was short lived and its forced removal was to deplete the rapidly diminishing funds of CAP.[8]

According to Delport: “Cliff (Bestall) and I organised a beautiful mural, for the outside of that monstrous ugly face-brick old building, and using images from the painting workshop, people drew, they came up with images, and we combined these … it was looking beautiful. We started painting it and we got complaints and we had to spend thousands of rands cleaning it. We begged the owners but, no, it was our expense and we must take the whole thing off! You weren’t allowed to put anything up; there was a whole political overtone. It would have transformed the building.” (Delport, 1996)

CAP’s budget for the first six months was covered by a R700 donation from the Artists Gallery, a R1 000 donation from the South African Council of Churches, proceeds of “Sounds Black ’77” concert totalling R225, and R400 membership and associate membership subscriptions (Community Arts Project, April 1978). By August, a large grant had also been received from the United Churches of Canada. By late August, the Director was coordinating fundraising events such as the drama performance of “Thulani Ma’Afrika”, regular film shows, an exhibition of Rorkes Drift prints and the facilitation of a range of activities (CAP Trust Minutes 30 August 1977; 13 September 1977, and “Notes From Mowbray” January 1978). Within the first year, physical resources were collected together in the form of whatever donations came CAP’s way. This included two printing presses brought to the centre by Delport, a stove donated by the Women’s Movement, (CAP Trust Minutes, 21 February 1978) regular supplies of waste building materials organised by Fanourakis, (CAP Trust Minutes, September 1977), a piano, projector, and a kombi by Rob Amato.

November 1977 minutes read, ‘Sue (Barry) and Chris (Wildman) had found a piano. Chris would buy it and bring it to the centre’ (CAP Trust/Management minutes, 29 November 1977). In March 1987, the following newspaper report appeared:  ‘Walk up the concrete stairs any day of the week and you’re bound to hear the strains of a not-so-new piano filling the air. Don’t worry. It’s just a black “cat” expressing himself in the way he knows best. You may even walk into a guy having a “conversation” with himself. Again, don’t worry. He’s probably just rehearsing his lines for the next play, something that happens at the centre in a big way.’ (Sunday Times, 1978) 1977 saw the running of workshops for painting, printmaking, weaving, sculpture, woodcarving, creative writing, dance, music, drama, photography, mural painting and silk screening (CAP Trust Minutes 20 September 1977; 4 October 1977; 8 November 1977). By March 1978, the following workshops were added to those which ran in 1977, namely beginners drawing, teenage and adult drama and movement, creative movement, video, super 8, animation, jazz piano, a youth music workshop, the Women’s Movement sewing classes, Race relations Karate Club, the Race Relations Youth jazz group, beginners guitar, saxophone, basic theory and reading of music plus jazz harmony and arranging. From its first year of existence CAP instituted a holiday programme and Saturday morning classes for children, subsequently part of CAP’s ‘tradition’. (CAP Trust Minutes, 22 November 1977 and 3 December 1977) According to Derek Joubert, “… The problem was that there was very little structure to things. I think Dimitri’s attitude was ‘We’ve got an open space for you people out there, my doors always open, and so if you’ve got any ideas of what you would like to do, you can come in.’ Christine of course inherited the situation, so that was the one problem. There was no structure.” (Joubert, 1996) Under CAP Organiser, Dimitri Fanourakis, a theatre was built at the project and two other plays were performed that first year. These were directed by Fanourakis, namely First South African written by Fats Dike and No Good Friday written by Athol Fugard. The latter was performed by the theatre group Sechaba. Khotso Bada and Leonard Koza used the premises to develop scripts and the Domestic Workers Association, who used CAP premises temporarily, were also drawn into developing a theatre piece. (CAP Trust Minutes October 1977; November 1977).

The demand was so great that as early as five months into its existence CAP was faced with having to develop one of its first policies i.e. a policy on the use of its theatre facilities by outside groups (CAP Trust Minutes, November 1977). A permanent music space was designated, as was an exhibition space, a space for sculpture, a darkroom (for photographic group started 1978), space for the super 8 group, and the graphics group. The debate about the use of space centred on needs for ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’ space, security, numbers and necessary resources (CAP Trust Minutes, October 1977). By early 1978, the policy on space was conceived in terms of whether or not the space was to be used by community-oriented groups without profit motives, by community-oriented groups with money as a secondary priority or by community groups without commercial interests. The prices per ‘period’ were R5, R3 and R2 respectively.

A Cape Times Report, dated 17 August 1978, reads, ‘If a group approaches Christine to ask if it can use the venue as a meeting place for an activity such as karate, she tries to fit it in, although priority is given to fine arts. All the space is flexible and the rooms are used for a variety of classes. Christine has an activity board in the office so she knows what is on at any one time!’ The report quoted the CAP Organiser as follows: ‘The whole idea is that there is a relaxed atmosphere and no rules. Although the classes are structured we are not a school or institution but a place where people can come and develop their creativity. The backbone of the project is co-operation and ingenuity. If the art classes need easels, a core of committed members makes them out of discarded wood; the recently completed darkroom is a converted toilet; murals painted by members brighten the bare walls; and mobiles made in the children’s art classes also have a cheering effect. Members are expected to pay for the materials they use, but if they cannot afford to (many are unemployed) they can apply for a bursary, or their classmates can help them. All the teachers – they’re called co-ordinators – are volunteers.’

CAP’s initial constituency

In an early draft letter appealing for funds a trustee wrote: ‘We call it a community arts project because it has arisen out of the needs of a community where few facilities exist for the expression of itself in a creative way. Because of the Group Areas Act[9] any place set up outside of a central area like Mowbray would inevitably be confined to those living in that particular area. Its situation in Mowbray should allow for natural interaction between skilled and unskilled, ready access to the general public for performances and the sharing of ideas and a convenient place where people can meet and enjoy one another’s company without restriction. It would be of considerable value to organisations already involved in community and educational programmes and would provide a place where children could meet outside of the segregated school system.’ (Wilson, 1977) What is evident here is that CAP originates in opposition to apartheid society in an attempt to provide resources and to facilitate exchanges otherwise prohibited by the SA state. Peggy Delport, speaking of the shift from the early art workshops to the Community Arts Project, states, “These were multi-racial groups, and (there was) the need to have a multi-racial centre, where all these things could happen together, an art centre.” (Delport, 1996) Lionel Davis, whose years at CAP span 1977-1997, describes CAP’s strengths as follows: “At a traumatic period in our history, when our society was under great siege from the state in the mid 70’s, when our whole community was polarized, CAP did a wonderful job by allowing artists and people interested in creativity to meet with one another from the white, black, coloured communities, allowing people to express themselves. Not everyone became an artist but it opened so many doors for people. It touched on many people’s lives and was a healing force. In the same way that my life was touched by getting involved with CAP, countless numbers of others had similar experiences.” (Davis, 1996)

In 1977 the purpose of the project is described as providing: ‘opportunities for anyone interested to develop their creative abilities and skills in aspects of the arts in the broadest possible sense of the word; arts workshops and related programmes; a place for contact between people and interaction between the arts and an art forum where people can learn by doing’ (Ngcuka, 1992) Lionel Davis also notes that: “It was a place for making contact with other artists, in a situation of deep alienation. It was a place where young and experienced artists from marginalized communities came together with artists from other communities. It was a training resource for those to whom little or no training was available in the visual arts, jazz, writing, photography, dance and drama”. (Davis, 1996) Resident artist at CAP in 1978, Mpathi Gocini remembers, “… we were there during the period of apartheid, where the government … was trying to discourage different people from different walks of life from coming together … we were trying to close the gap. … The government would actually come in and ask questions and say “What are you doing here at CAP?” There were a lot of people who would come to CAP and share problems that were facing our country at the time, and CAP was the place where people could really meet and share.” (Gocini, 1997) This emphasis upon exchange within a context designed to counter state-orchestrated “separate development” recurs as a theme amongst many of the users of CAP in the 70s. One interviewee notes “I don’t think I’ve left CAP ever, CAP will always be a part of me…The ‘77 phase was very successful … (CAP) was one of the few institutions in Cape Town that was offering a venue and platform for artists to meet, to work together, to exhibit together, to train together. … At the time for me personally it was everything! It was home away from home. … I spent my whole youth … at CAP. If I wasn’t at CAP I’d be teaching somewhere which was part of a CAP outreach programme … you always had people coming in and out of there … escaping police. The ironic thing was we were right opposite the Mowbray police station” (Heidi Bolton interviewing an ex-member of CAP who wished to remain anonymous 29/5/97 and 21/6/97)

Zoe Kota recalls “We were doing this just after 1976 – using art – reconciliation themes were used to link communities across racial lines. … We were politicians who saw art at an angle. … I was there with James Matthews, Lionel Davis, Boyskin Sipoka (the Director of Arts and Culture in the Eastern Cape). … The angle we were coming from was community involvement. I was still at school … CAP was meant to coordinate the different communities … CAP integrated different communities.” (Kota, 1997)

The early drive for membership

An early appeal for members describes the Community Arts Project as “a resource centre where people may develop their abilities and skills in painting and printmaking, sculpture, creative writing, dance, music, drama etc., and where people interested in the arts may work together, meet informally for discussion and join workshops in the arts. The Project will be run by its members and the nature of the activities will depend largely on members’ interests and degree of commitment”. (Preface to Membership Form, 1977) A 1978 document describes the Project as a non-racial organisation administered by a Board of Trustees which will be elected annually by the members of the project. Membership was open to anyone interested, with three categories of membership: 1) active membership with an annual subscription of R1; 2) associate membership with minimum subscriptions of R10; and 3) corporate membership with special group membership subscriptions. The document states, ‘It is fundamental that the Project should be governed by its members, that its members should have as large a stake in and commitment towards the Project as possible, that the nature of the activities should depend largely on members’ interests and degree of commitment, and that membership should be broadly based in the community. Hence the low minimum membership fee which entitles members to the use of all the facilities available, in return for which members are expected to contribute of their time and talents. All major policy decisions and problems are considered at monthly general meetings of members. In addition a monthly meeting between representatives of each workshop and the Board of Trustees is held to iron out problems and to discuss plans and priorities.’ (Community Arts Project, 1987).

The membership launch began on 30 August 1977 when a fundraising concert was performed by Harlem Street Jazz, bringing in hundreds of new members. A report in The Argus dated 2 December 1977 reported 600 paid up members and between 150 and 200 active members. In March 1978 an issue of “Notes from Mowbray” reminds members of the need to renew membership and states that renewals have been slow. By August 1978, the Cape Times reported that CAP now had about 800 members and that these members were “a diverse bunch, some from the southern suburbs, others from Sea Point and many from the Cape Flats and townships”. From the outset there were problems with registration and regular payment of membership fees, especially with the youngsters whose attendance at the children’s classes was erratic and with little involvement of parental supervision. To keep members involved in the running of the project and to press home the need for active membership, members were called to monthly general meetings at which refreshments and often films were provided. The agenda of a general meeting held 11 December 1977 included a report back from all workshop leaders, a report on funding and finance, a discussion of new Bills before parliament which might have affected the Project and general discussion and queries. Of note here is that not only were members called to report back and to discuss workshop developments but also the place of cultural production and free cultural exchange in the context of ongoing political oppression in South Africa.

Participation and management in the Seventies

The Notarial Trust Deed dated 25 April 1977 listed only six trustees yet documents dated February 1977 note the activity of eight interim-trustees active in the founding of the project.[10] Amendments to the deed were to be approved by no less than 3/4 of the trustees. Legally the control of this organisation lay in the hands of the trustees despite documents which outlined the desire that the project be governed by the users of the facilities (Wilson, 1977). The lack of specificity regarding procedures for nominating trustees, the operations of accountability to the broader membership, the lengths of service on the board as well as the absence of a defined relationship between trust and envisaged management and staff was to lead to a history of tensions regarding the ‘control’ of trustees exercised at CAP. At the outset the project was, in concept and structure, informal. It was steeped in idealistic notions of democracy with little foresight regarding the future play of power relations and the real problems posed by ensuring a participatory management structure. Delport describes this absence of long-term planning as follows: “I don’t think anything could be long term planning. Things were quite tense at that time, even being opposite the police station (in Mowbray). There was a real sense that everyone was being watched … it wasn’t a vision, an idea, it moved with what was happening, needs that were expressed and so on…” (CAP video 1997, interviewed by Pissarra)

Members of this early Trust included three founders classified as black and three founders classified as white as well as an equal representation of women and men.[11] The reality was that, by July 1977, black involvement at a Trust level was beginning to wane and Gavin Younge, in response to his call for greater ‘drive and efficiency’, accepted the position of chair. At this time, the Trust met bi-monthly, at times weekly. The need for a full time organiser became apparent and the first discussions regarding future management ensued. In a letter to Robert Tobias dated 1/3/77 Jo Dunstan, from St Georges Cathedral, warned of the associated problems of projects initiated by white liberals.

Dunstan also warned against assuming that a project could be run by a committee. She wrote, ‘I think you need a key person with vision and great efficiency to head the whole thing’.[12] It is clear that certain members of the trust were against the idea of hiring a director and preferred the notion of an organiser. The term ‘organisational secretary’ was decided upon as a compromise between secretary and director and was to signal a tension which persisted for the ensuing twenty years in the project i.e. a confusion regarding how to relate to the question of leadership and individual initiative. The initial job description envisaged a person on a one year contract ‘committed to the idea of a Community Arts Project, with secretarial skills and organisational abilities, with contacts in the town of Cape Town and the Cape Flats, with energy to motivate people, [and] without bias toward one area of the arts and with an ability to develop the building.’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 2 August 1977)

The emphasis was upon those aspects of the project outlined in the deed i.e. developing the physical centre, promoting art activities and developing an outreach component of the project. On 30 August 1977, Dimitri Nicolas-Fanourakis was appointed as ‘organiser’; his brief was to implement the committee’s decisions, liaise with various workshops, establish community links, fulfil general coordination duties and assist with fundraising. In addition, he was responsible for a photography group, two dramatic productions a year, documentation of the project and management of the building (CAP Trust Minutes, 30 August 1977). In doing this, he was to be assisted by Donald Parenzee as ‘assistant organiser’.[13] In hiring these two, the trustees, in effect, upgraded the notion of a secretary in Parenzee’s case, placed Fanourakis in a position of directorship, and ensured control by ‘white’ administrators. It is interesting that when Parenzee resigned and a woman of colour, Christine Walters, was employed it was in the position of ‘secretary’ to Fanourakis. After Fanourakis’ fulfilment of a six month project, Walters acted in the capacity as ‘assistant organiser’ but without the power of an organiser. It could be argued that this was to become a pattern in the project, particularly when women came up in the ranks to fulfil leadership roles, enjoying neither the formality nor rewards of such position.

Confusion regarding the management committee as ‘board’

By November 1977, the trustees realized the limits of their capacity with regard to  administration and management and suggested a change of structure that would include workshop heads who would meet with organisers and trustees three times a month, and hold an extended general membership monthly meeting (CAP Trust Minutes, Undated November 1977). This still pointed to an extremely active board of trustees. It also pointed to future patterns of management activities undertaken by trustees, more intense at certain periods than others, and especially to the all too recurrent ‘crises’ of CAP over the years. Trustee Linda Gobodo served as bookkeeper for a considerable period of time at the outset, while others also taught and coordinated workshops. Ex-resident artist Gocini recalls, “There was much utilization of the expertise of the trustee members at the time…Gavin would come on many occasions and see what was going on…and we’d discuss any problems we were facing …” However, he also noted, “We didn’t actually have a structure that was heavy on top…at that time it was structured in a way that most people participated” (Gocini, 1997)

According to Younge, “The trustees managed the trust but it was expected that you were involved, you couldn’t be a silent trustee … it was extremely difficult in those early days because you … had to do everything yourself … the concept was that the trustees would meet once a week and some of them (all were supposed to) convene programmes and the person there on a day to day basis would be the Co-ordinator. At this time other people were becoming involved.” (Younge, 1996)

From the outset, there was little continuity of staff and few incentives beyond a spirit of volunteerism. Attendance and decision making of the ‘board’-come-management committee was erratic and contingent on the shifting goodwill and interest of trustees and on those volunteering their time.[14] Although in January of 1978 it was decided to pay teachers on an experimental basis, much of this was in the form of honoraria; minutes that month reflected the need to draw in new active members (CAP Trust Minutes, 31 January 1978). By 21 November 1978 minutes noted ‘… the place is dead and … there is an unnecessary overlapping of workshops on a Saturday’. The question arose as to ‘… why has CAP not realized its goals?’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 21 November 1978), Fanourakis had left after his six month contract, Parenzee after his three month contract and Walters some time after mid-1978.[15] Trustees had become less active since the employment of the two organisers and a gap developed with respect to both leadership and management. The newsletter “Notes from Mowbray” seems to have ceased with Fanourakis’ departure. While Walters was still at the project, an advertisement went out for part-time help and Derek Joubert was employed.

Problems with of management and finance culminated approximately one year into the life of the project. There were no longer were there monthly general meetings, let alone well-functioning weekly meetings of trustees and workshop co-ordinators. With only a part-time helper, energies in the second half of 1978 seemed to be directed toward trying to hold the project together in the face of mounting dissatisfaction from members. This would have been more easily accomplished financially had there not been a decision, in January, to pay teachers ‘on an experimental basis’. What this did was to erode funds budgeted to see the project through to December 1978. In addition, the funds donated by The Urban Foundation to cover rent for a period of a year, had come to an end.

In September 1978, another approach was made to The Urban Foundation[16] and it was this money that kept the project open. By January 1979, there was a decision to call a general meeting.[17] Lionel Davis recalls, “There was the question of political principles – do we take money from the Urban Foundation which is an organisation supported by big business, corporate bodies and money that came out of the apartheid system. Their (The Urban Foundation’s) direction was to create a black middle class which would become the buffer between the working class and them. … It became an issue … CAP took a dive in 1979” (Davis, 1996) The purpose of the January meeting was to gauge members’ interest in the continuance of the project because the envisaged ‘ownership’ by members had not materialized. The once-active founding trustees were no longer around and the position of organiser was still effectively vacant with no individual employee having the power to act as such. By March 1979, at a general meeting, members began to discuss how to affect ‘ownership’ of the project and how co-ordinators could take this issue back into their workshops. The political ramifications of accepting Urban Foundation funding were also discussed. (CAP General Meeting Minutes, 17 March 1979) The following month, members voted against accepting such funds. (CAP extraordinary general meeting minutes, 24 November 1979) By now, general members meetings were reinstated and co-ordinators undertook to become part of an expanded committee. The idea of an executive committee was first mooted here with a group from this committee to be elected to hold various portfolios.[18] The founder trustees were obviously no longer fulfilling these roles but it was only in May 1979 that this situation was formally presented to membership.[19] At this same meeting a new committee was elected as a management committee, which saw itself as the new ‘trustees’.[20] The tasks of ‘organiser’ were now effectively distributed across this committee of volunteers and the chair of this was part-time worker Derek Joubert.[21] Joubert (1997) recalls, “There were no structures so we started to get a committee going, representative membership …”

The new committee was to have only a six month life, voted out on a no-confidence vote in November 1979. The reason for this shift in power amongst members seems to have hinged upon the issue of funding and the fact that Joubert, elected organiser in August 1979, began to act upon his belief in the necessity of Urban Foundation funding (CAP Committee Meeting Minutes, 14 August 1979).

This ‘third’ generation committee worked upon formalizing structures. By 11 December 1979, it was decided that four to eight of a maximum number of twelve ‘trustees’ were to be elected by membership, the rest by the management committee. This secured the power of those already in office but it also ensured continuity. Management committee minutes of 5 May 1980 indicate that of the twelve trustees, four were to come from the Annual General Meeting (AGM), four from a members’ Representative Committee (in the process of formation) and four from the Co-ordinator’s committee. The term of office was to be for a year with subsequent nomination possible. This marked the beginning of the committee’s work on a provisional constitution, the formalizing of which never occurred because of ‘crises’ pertaining to funding and location. According to ex-committee member Alain Bruyns, ‘… we started drafting a constitution … nobody was quite sure of what we were doing … we were floundering … we had to organise fundraising … we sort of muddled through and everyone was brave for the cause’ (CAP video 1997, Interviewed by Mario Pissarra).

The month of July was marked by a majority in the committee opposed to Urban Foundation funding but also by vociferous opposition of those in favour. By November this conflict had intensified[22] and on 24 November 1979 an extraordinary meeting was called to discuss the matter. The organiser argued the need to apply for these funds so long as there would be ‘no strings attached’. Members at this extraordinary meeting (the majority of whom represented the karate club) voted to accept the monies and carried a vote of no confidence against the old committee. The conflict was so intense at the time that individuals opposed to the funding on political grounds had received death threats prior to the meeting (Berndt, 1977). A new interim committee was voted in, representing those in support of the Urban Foundation funding.[23] The politics of the debate were extremely complex in that the support for Urban Foundation funds came from both a conservative and an underground African Nation Congress (ANC) command from Botswana. The latter was acted upon by member Ismael Moss, in his capacity as an underground ANC MK combatant. He formed an alliance with Lionel Davis to mobilize support so that people would come forward and vote on the issue. According to Moss “The ANC was in favour of CAP taking money from the Urban Foundation. The ANC did not have a principled position of non-collaboration with people who were prepared to help the struggle. … CAP was important in building the whole mass democratic, non-racial movement” (CAP video 1997, Moss interviewed by Pissarra). This political position was part of a broader ideological struggle in the Western Cape and involved African National Congress ANC combatants, such as Moss, assuming an active role in trying to break down the dominance of the Unity Movement. The issue of Urban Foundation funding was not to be resolved. The decision was reversed at a general meeting in February 1980, led by persons not willing to compromise their belief that CAP be led by a socialist ethic, which they believed to be in conflict with the UF promotion of a buffer black middle class within apartheid structures.[24]


The early eighties – funding tensions

Since the departure of the first organiser, the project had survived (apart from the Urban Foundation money toward rent) on money from irregular payment of class fees, benefit evenings, member-organised discos and donations from Friends of CAP.[25] In March 1980, it was noted that CAP was in a ‘serious financial situation’ (CAP Trust Minutes 25 March 1980). By August CAP was in a ‘critical financial state’ (CAP Trust Minutes 6 September 1980) and unable to pay rent or salaries. It appears that the new organiser and board did not have the knowledge of funding networks of previous trustees. The organiser was not ‘responsible’ for funding, this portfolio being the responsibility of Matt Essau, who appears to have left the committee in June. Nor was the organiser involved with bookkeeping, it having been suggested that an outside agency be employed to this end. Fundraising had not been pursued in a professional capacity and as a result the project was in dire straits. By August that year, there was no money for rent or for salaries. Joubert approached Raymond Ackerman who was unsympathetic as he had donated monies to UF (CAP Trust Minutes 9 September 1980); Joubert again argued to the committee the necessity of approaching UF.[26] CAP was subsisting on proceeds from rummage sales and film shows. In late September, Joubert approached Judge Steyn of the Urban Foundation. It appears that a final amount of R5000 was awarded to the project but this came through only early 1981. The monies which enabled the project to stay open in 1980 came from Donaldson Trust. By October, the project had submitted a number of proposals to international donors.

Management and membership 1980-85

The committee had little success fundraising in 1980 but was working upon tightening structures and controls.[27] By March 1980, the management committee was functioning well, a Co-ordinators’ committee had been established and a Members Representative Committee and Parents committee was in the process of formation. Written reports of portfolio holders on the management committee were requested and the organiser was expected to present progress reports on workshops and a six month plan of action – all signs of the beginning of project planning. (CAP Trust Minutes, 25 March 1980) The financial situation was abysmal but the committee pressed on with their attempt to draw up a constitution and by May this process was complete (CAP Trust Minutes, 20 May 1980).

As in much of CAP’s history, action was not taken because of voluntary/trust members being out of sync with permanent staff who were always more aware of the daily needs of the organisation. Against the advice of the organiser, the committee was not expanded as planned and the constitution was not brought into effect. This was ostensibly because the ‘crisis’ of the funding situation overruled the work that had been done on structure. The issue of the CAP constitution or rather the lack of it was never to be resolved, despite years of ongoing efforts by various staff to redress this situation.

Concerted attempts had been made in the course of the year to introduce a ‘non-hierarchical and flexible’ structure; the reality of this democratic participation was that, by June, neither the Co-ordinator’s Committee nor the Members Representative Committee had put forward representatives to the Management Committee and a decision to co-opt members to the Management Committee was taken (CAP General Meeting Minutes, February 1980). By September, attendance of the latter was so poor that the organiser had to co-opt a new group of eight members.[28] The AGM was delayed until October of the following year, by which stage; the organisation seemed to be back on the path toward a more hierarchical structure.

Most of 1981 was taken up by this changing Management Committee trying to stay afloat financially, looking for new premises because of being served notice on the Mowbray premises and considering a merger between CAP and the Open School, a cultural organisation for youth that began under the auspices of the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) Youth Project. The merger did not occur because funding came in at the ninth hour and the project was not keen to hand over control to the Johannesburg based Open School Project. The SAIRR and Open School believed they were the offended parties when the proposed merger was dropped, particularly because their funding leads had in part ‘saved’ CAP (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 4 April 1981; 11 April 1981; 25 May 1981; 27 July 1981; 24 August 1981).

In 1981 the organisation proposed the idea of a Board of Trustees ‘comprising people of to the Management Committee, that, to date, had been acting as a board. (CAP Management Council Meeting Minutes, 17 January 1981) The proposed trustees were seen as a board that would exist in addition to the Management Committee, meeting only once or twice a year. However, upon their election at the October 1981 AGM, they were requested to meet every fortnight.[29] Although a new Management Committee[30] was also elected at this AGM for the purposes of day-to-day management, the Trust in effect went on to replace the old committee as the effective decision-making body of the organisation. The organiser represented the project at trust level. Mavis Taylor (1997), ex-Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, recalled, “Derek was running it. We trusted him, listened to him in the meetings, gave our opinions, made decisions and that was that.” This period of management is described as follows by Van Graan: “Basically a lot of authority, leadership and the direction of CAP was vested in the full-time administrator (organiser) who was solely responsible for everything – fundraising, the development of new projects, the coordination of existing projects, etc. … there was little space or structure or time to allow for detailed analysis and planning. … As needs arose, so CAP responded” (Van Graan 1988, pp 13-14).  What occurred as a result of the direction exercised by the organiser was some tension due to community demands and members’ expectations. Joubert recalls, “There was always this tension: are we an activist organisation, or are we an educational institution? My feeling was that we were both … I didn’t have an easy time. Right from the beginning there was always a group of people who felt I was the wrong person for the job. … When the committee appointed me, the briefing was to find a Xhosa speaking director … there was always undermining going on … they were probably a Black Consciousness Group … not that we wouldn’t have been sympathetic … it had to be everybody’s home, providing you did believe in freedom. We tried to be as available as possible” (Joubert, 1997) Joubert was conscious of trying to steer the project in a moderate direction. In an earlier interview he stated, “… all eyes were on us- the security police as well as the very radical people. Everybody was watching us to put a foot wrong. So I suppose it was tricky for them to appoint a white person to be in charge. They did, but they had a few conditions which I couldn’t really accept. They just forgot about them eventually – things like the condition of your appointment is that you find a black person to replace you within a year. There was another idea about salary; the third one was that every Friday I would have to subject myself to public self- criticism which I thought sounded a bit scary.” (Joubert, 1996) Joubert had a firm belief in his authority despite criticism from more radical black users of the project. Such criticism was based upon his exercising his values and behaviour as a ‘white male’ as well as his having motivated the necessity of accepting Urban Foundation (UF) funding. In part the project suffered from a boycott call due to it approaching the UF for funds. However, with the growth of community organisations in the 1980s, the pressure to find usable community resources mounted and CAP proved available (Van Graan 1988). With this influx of more radical users, so the beginning of another critique of CAP’s management began. Already, at the 1981 AGM, Sharief Cullis had stated that CAP needed to strive for greater involvement in the community. The organiser replied that it was CAP’s practice to run workshops for people in the community, and those activities had occurred at many different places during that year (CAP AGM Minutes 19 September 1981).

The real pressure on CAP to define itself as a more politically-aligned organisation arose as a result of an invitation from Botswana. Gordon Metz, in his capacity as a member of the African National Congress, asked that CAP act as co-ordinator of the Western Cape contingent to the Culture and Resistance festival to be held in Botswana in July 1982. According to Jon Berndt (1997) “1982 was the ‘Culture and Resistance’ festival in Botswana. I was heavily involved in organizing people and work to go up. … We then started having meetings at CAP because it was convenient. … It was the departure point.” Lionel Davis recalls, “Then in 1982 with the Botswana Festival there was a strong directive coming from Botswana. Organised by ANC exiles, the directive was that people who have skills should come back into South Africa and start working with their community organisations and CAP was singled out as one of the organisations where we could actually make an input.” (Davis, 1996) CAP was also lent political legitimacy when its premises became a meeting place for grassroots organisations during this period of heightened repression and growing politicization (Alexander 1992). In response to the school boycotts of 1980, and in opposition to the apartheid states establishment of the tricameral parliament[31], student organisations such as COSAS (Congress of South African Students) had grown in strength, as had other community, youth and women’s organisations such as CAYCO (Cape Youth Congress), UWCO (United Women’s Congress)and local civics. Such organisations needed venues and also began to use CAP’s physical resources (Van Graan, 1988).

It was, however, to take a couple of years before this groundswell of activism toward democracy was to impact on CAP management. During 1982, trustees met quarterly and the Management Committee (or coordinating as it was sometimes called) met weekly with shifting attendance. Given the focus on settling in to new premises in Woodstock, and the organisation for the Botswana festival that year, there was little focus on democratizing structure. Nor did this occur in 1983. At a meeting in April 1983 reference was made to an election of a management committee at an AGM (presumably of 1982) which had “fallen apart” (CAP Co-ordinators Meeting Minutes 28 April 1983). It appears that, thereafter, the Management Committee met every two weeks, but with major decisions still exercised by the organiser who consulted with the trust every three months. Although the impact of the 1982 Botswana “Culture and Resistance” festival was not reflected in changes in CAP structure it was evident in CAP’s aims, which in a news clipping filed in the 1983 news clippings of CAP, reads, ‘[(CAP’s aim] is to promote critical and emancipatory art education’. This was in addition to its original aim of providing “opportunities for groups and individuals interested in developing their creative abilities” (Bolton, 1995). There is, however, no evidence of democratic participation in the form of Annual General Meetings in 1983 and 1984.[32]

CAP had become more conscious of its political profile as indicated in its increasing frustration with its location in Woodstock, its desire for premises more accessible to Cape Flats and township groupings, as well as trustees’ recognition that board profile was predominantly white and needed to include more representation from the black community (CAP Trust Minutes, 24 August 1983).[33] With the launch of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983 what had been a slow trickle of users of resources such as the poster workshop “became a flood and by late 1983, the workshop was in use day and night, stretching resources to the limit” (Undated second draft document in History of CAP file). In addition, to reach communities who had no access to the central venue, CAP began to formalize its response to community requests and developed an outreach programme at the Crossroads Development Centre. This was to open the way for more international funding, in particular the Swiss Council of Churches. In 1984 a post was even created for an art outreach educator (CAP Committee Minutes, 17 November 1984).[34]

The real pressure on CAP to democratize its structures and to deliver in accordance with the increased politicization of black and progressive communities in South Africa occurred in 1984. That the organiser was acutely aware of the effects of repression and resistance is also indicated in the tone of his letters to international funders. Simultaneously, members of the project began to question the authority of the organiser and there were increased signs of resistance to his control (CAP Minutes, 24 November 1984).[35] These protests included a call for the role of organiser to be rotated every five years and that organisers recognizably be “people who dedicate themselves to the struggle” with salaries in accordance with that of community workers (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 24 November 1984). The desire to see democratic decisions effected was a constant theme, as was the belief that direction should emerge from annual general meetings and that the constitution be reviewed annually (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 17 and 24 November 1984). During this period of intensified criticism other members continually reiterated the importance of “abiding” by democratic decisions and “preserving” CAP’s image. (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 24 November 1984; 15 December 1984) There were a number of criticisms informed by experiences of institutionalized and personal racism at CAP that others refuted.[36] Certain members of the committee began to call for more committee control, that decisions be quorate, that there be quarterly progress reports of workshops and that minutes of committee meetings be made available to members (CAP Management Committee Minutes 24 November and 1 December 1984). Van Graan notes, “… the struggle for a truly non-racial, democratic society was brought into sharp focus. The principle of democracy was a crucial one and it was inevitable that the external struggle for democracy would impinge on CAP as well. In the mid 80s, full- and part-time staff began to feel dissatisfied about CAP being run essentially by one person. They felt that it was important that CAP should be democratized if it really was a community-oriented organisation.” (Ibid, p15)

It was at the end of 1984, during this period of intense questioning of the organiser’s authority, that the question of the constitution was raised again.[37] This was indicative of the sense of disempowerment experienced by committee members who purposely had not been given copies of the constitution and assumed it to have been unavailable. In fact the only legal document was the original trust deed, it having not been updated as intended in 1980. The committee thus formed a sub committee to review this deed.

Early in 1985, CAP was approached by government to submit its audited finance statements along with accompanying AGM reports. The organisation had not been meeting the requirements under the Government Fundraising Act as a registered fundraising body. Again the AGM was postponed so as to have an audited statement to read at the AGM and it took place only on 7 November 1985. When it occurred, members were presented with months of work that had gone into the objectives and structure of the organisation, work that had been facilitated by an outside facilitator, Shirley Walters of the Centre for Adult and Continuing Education (CACE), University of the Western Cape. A special general meeting had been called at CAP on 30 March 1985 to explore the possibility of an alternative CAP constitution and to discuss problems experienced at CAP, problems linked to the hierarchical management and need for democratization (A Brief History of the Constitution Committee, n.d.). A notice was circulated at this meeting which read, ‘CAP must be run according to what its members want, not what is prescribed by an administrator’. The rumblings of discontent in 1984 were finally being addressed in a formalized manner. At this meeting, a group was mandated to work with Shirley Walters to examine the existing constitution with regard to lines of decision making and accountability. The group met regularly between April and November 1985. It looked at the organisation against the background of a changing South African society and in the context of other organisations experiencing similar problems. CAP’s problems pertaining to authority and accountability, discipline and racism were discussed. The group proceeded to try to define problematic concepts such as ‘community’, ‘membership’, ‘democracy’ and ‘culture’. It also attempted to define new policies and a democratically decided upon structure (Ibid.). Shirley Walters recalls, “I first became involved in about 1984, during the time that they (CAP) were going through one of their several stages of looking at their organisational structures, and the issues of democracy were very important. … We set up a series of processes with the leadership of the organisation and we went through various workshops … it was through that process that people … asked me if I would become a member of the board … I got involved at the changeover from Derek (Joubert) … at the time there was upheaval, people were wanting change. I think there was a collective (after that) rather than a director, because that was part of a whole debate about whether you could be democratic and have a director or not …” (Walters, 1997)

One of the earliest drafts for the revised constitution is notable for its inclusion of a policy direction which not only states that CAP will encourage creative expression and provide resources for this but also that CAP ‘[f]firmly commits itself to a cultural policy that is rooted in the struggle for a unified South Africa, democratically governed and free of all forms of oppression and exploitation’ (Working Draft 1985). The aims of the project were redefined so that the original notarial deed references to art workshops for all individuals were rephrased to emphasize the provision of ‘critical and emancipatory art education’ for groups and individuals, the former defined as ‘progressive community and worker organisation’. In addition, aims shifted from sole emphasis upon the centre to outreach, reading to ‘provide opportunities … both at CAP and in the broader community’. Emphasis also shifted from the project being a place for ‘doing’ to one where practical and theoretical skills would be taught and where people would not just make ‘contact’ with one another; instead, CAP would now actively pursue networking with ‘people involved in cultural activity’. Here was a vastly changed and more sharply focused political mandate than that set out in 1977, one that reflected the growth of mass democratic organisation in the mid 1980s as well as a changed understanding of art, or rather cultural production.

In September 1985 “A Working Document” was completed by the Constitution Working Group for consideration by the trustees in preparation for a general membership meeting. It included a background to the proposed amendments, recommended amendments and inclusions in the constitution as well as a proposed policy document (the first formalization of any policies in the organisation). The background outlined the shift that had occurred in open political organisation in the Western Cape and the associated calls for a democratization of the organisation. It also stated, ‘membership feels that it is time that CAP more actively facilitate and encourage debate around cultural issues and become a force in the practical realizations of these ideas. The membership also feels that CAP should be structured in such a way as to encourage the sharing of responsibility for CAP’s direction, administration and management by its membership. In short this means that it becomes a membership organisation’. The working group had consulted widely with members, as well as with trustees in drawing up the document and recommended that the constitution be reassessed annually by membership ‘so that CAP’s activities are developed in concert with other cultural and socio-political activities in the Western Cape’. The document called for the drafting of a policy document outlining political orientation, management and administration procedures of the organisation, as well as a code of conduct and disciplinary procedures to be circulated amongst all members. Maximum participation of membership was called for, in a structured manner that would require ‘the education of the membership in participatory and representative democracy’.

The essential elements of the proposals were described in the three points outlined below:
i. The general membership at the AGM should be the highest decision-making body of CAP in that they decide annually on the general policy direction for the organisation in the coming year; they elect the trustees and a Management Committee from their membership….
ii. A Management Committee is elected by the membership which comprises teachers, students, and the full-time organisers to manage the organisation. This committee should report to the Trustees at least four times a year, and to the Representative Committee, elected representatives of each workshop, once a month.
iii. The Trustees retain major responsibility for the financial control of the organisation, and whereas previously the organiser was the representative of CAP at trustee meetings, it is recommended that the Trustees meet with the Management Committee on a regular basis i.e. quarterly. Diagrammatic proposals of possible structures for the organisation indicated a decided shift away from authority being vested in the trust toward authority emanating from the AGM.[38]

Although trustees did not see the need for structural change and were wary of a prescribed political direction for CAP, they did acknowledge the need for a structured participation of membership. In general, however, they were worried about the proposed power shift to the AGM and away from ‘director’ to ‘committees’ (CAP Trust Minutes, September 1985).

The AGM that was held on the 7 November 1985 presented to the membership a synopsis of the working group’s proposals, prefaced by worksheets which explained the workings of participatory and representative democracy, the accountability of leaders and also the need for ‘leadership’. The consultations with trustees were explained as well as their go-ahead to implement the changes over a six month period. The coordinating committee explained that it had been functioning in the capacity of an interim Management Committee but that at this AGM members were to elect trustees and a new Management Committee (MC) (to comprise 7 elected representatives of teachers, students and the paid organisers). This MC would account to membership at a monthly general membership forum and to trustees at quarterly meetings.[39] Trustees were seen as persons with status in the community who could help with fundraising and other expertise when needed (Walters, November 1985).

The objective of the meeting was to create a space for membership participation and to renew members’ faith in the participatory process. What is notable here is that, by this time, the project was operating in an accelerated climate of resistance to legalized oppression. The student boycotts in the country had intensified in 1984/85 and by July 1985 the government had declared a countrywide State of Emergency. In 1985, incoming staff members began to theorize the relations of educational and political practice and began to define CAP as ‘not simply a place of study and contemplation but an instrument of consciousnesses.[40] Members identified problems related to the extent of the organiser’s authority, poor staff-student relationships, the need for more workshop representatives, the need to educate membership, the need to develop leadership and accountability, and the need to simplify English in meetings and proceedings for the benefit of the majority of non-English speakers.  While on the one hand, such issues were raised at the AGM, on the other hand it was a small group of staff who had worked, and would continue to work intensely, on the complex issues of structure and access. This group of paid employees became increasingly worried about the management processes being performed by an elected body with little knowledge of what the organisation required. The following year was to see an interesting shift away from the notion of a membership organisation.

Transition in structure 1986-87

In February 1986, Derek Joubert, resigned. He left the project at the end of June, thus ending a period of eight years during which CAP had been under his direction. During this period, the organisation had grown in numbers of staff employed and programmes run; funding had been secured and a board of trustees had been reinstated. However, the political climate of the country had resulted in demands that the project be more clearly aligned to the mass democratic struggle and that its leadership, structures and programmes reflect this. Joubert was not an organiser who had prioritized political decisions over his vision of a ‘creative arts’ project. Joubert recalls “It was the political struggle to overthrow the apartheid regime. It was very tricky in those days. Everybody was doing bloody linocuts and as long as you had a clenched fist or caspar it was fine. I can remember in discussions with everybody’s works up on the wall, talking about them, the worst thing you could say about anybody’s painting or whatever was that it was individualistic. That was a damning comment. The tension at CAP was always between the activist route and the educational route, and which way was CAP going to go. I was always trying to keep a balance. Eventually people headed more strongly in the activist side.” (Joubert, 1996) After Joubert’s departure, the post of organiser was advertised, outlining a need for experience in community organisation and in democratic structures as well as a need for the incoming organiser to be politically conscious, non-aligned, black, preferably a woman and with an interest in the arts (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 21 April 1987).

Ex-staff member Lynne Brown remembered Joubert’s time at CAP as follows: “I think the best example of CAP in its peak was in Derek Joubert’s time. However we all want to say Derek didn’t do this and he didn’t do that – the point is it was accessible to anybody.” (Brown 1996) The advertised the post of organiser received no applicants deemed suitable by staff and trustees. The organiser’s position was divided into the post of Co-ordinator, filled by Patricia de Villiers (from CAP Poster Workshop), that of Administrator and Public Relations filled by Liz Mckenzie, and, later that year, that of Finance and Fundraising, filled by Anne Schuster; all these positions were filled by ‘white’ women. The drafting of the new constitution was informed by these individuals as well as by another ‘white’ woman, Hildur Amato, and by Andrew Steyn, a ‘white’ male. There was only one active ‘black’ voice in the process, that of Lionel Davis. Some contributions by Ernest Cona (initially caretaker and subsequently music Co-ordinator) are also documented.[41] The voices of then secretary Dipuo Makheta and resident artist Hamilton Budaza are recorded in the mid-year evaluation processes, but not in the constitution processes. Despite the best intentions of the radical and progressive ‘white’ voices at the table, predictably, issues of racism were to plague the project in later years.

In preparation for the June 1986 AGM, at which the revised constitution would be presented, management and trust engaged in debate (CAP Trust Minutes, 17 February 1986; March 4, 1986). The Management Committee had proposed that trustees be elected at the AGM, that they serve for a definable period, be accountable to membership, and that CAP develop leadership rather than be run by leaders. The position in which the trustees found themselves was one imbued with the legal powers given them by the old Notarial Trust Deed and the historical power they had exercised in supporting Joubert and stabilizing the organisation. Now, however, they were in a changed organisation, which was demanding a long overdue reflection of this in its constitution. They were also out of touch with those changes expressed by membership and felt by staff. Trustees raised objections to the politicization of the constitution, to authority being vested in membership that might, at times, prove to be corrupt and inefficient, and to the cumbersome nature of running an organisation by committee decisions. In short, they preferred the liaison they had enjoyed between the organiser and the Board and saw little need for change (CAP Trust Minutes, 4 March 1986). Ex-trustee Esther Wides recalls “I would say the role of all trustees is to keep an organisation well-run and organised, and control the finances … (trustees) would meet not more than once a month … and then the staff would be sitting in on those meetings … (not students) unless they were of a calibre that they were actually more than students … (In 1985/6) it started to become much more politically orientated … when the political motives started to operate then … the trustees themselves weren’t pulling in the same direction … it’s also very difficult to get students to see a lot of common sense – they get carried away with their own enthusiasms. Initially (the using of culture in the struggle) wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was the teaching of art …” (Wides, 1997)

At a meeting early March 1986, trustees asked the Management Committee to explain members’ criticisms of CAP. Joubert replied that ‘CAP is … dominated by whites … that there has been this hierarchical structure, with the Organiser the only one having access to the trustees’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 9 March 1986). Ex-trustee, Mavis Taylor, recalled “It was a very political hard line as opposed to a softer … community-oriented view … liberal point of view … I think they (the political hardliners) were wanting what they called a ‘democratic process’ to happen. In other words … away with all the trustees. … We met once every couple of months, then they wanted us to take part in meetings and discussions for this changeover and I remember going to a few of those. … Derek left and I left at much the same time. … It became a very cumbersome meeting to run. … I didn’t feel I had the time or the energy to continue with it. … The big change was a difficult time … so they (the liberals) left … but it’s come out OK – it was time to move on, change is inevitable … CAP is OK now … it wasn’t destroyed. Its main purpose remains.” (Taylor, 1997)

After difficult negotiations and legal consultation, on 24 March 1986, the trustees agreed that the interim constitution committee should draw up a constitution to enable present trustees to terminate the then current trust while ensuring that ‘the limitations of the present trust be observed while it is still in operation’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 24 March 1986). What was presented to membership at the AGM (postponed to 25 July 1986) was a ‘Constitution in Principle’ for the proposed “new” CAP, guidelines of which had been run past lawyers (Correspondence with attorneys, 25 April 1986). It was a much watered-down version of what had been initiated at the AGM the previous year. The document outlined conditions for membership, the purpose of the Annual General Meeting for members, the composition of the Board of Trustees and its duties, the composition of the Management Committee (including co-ordinator and administrator) and its duties, as well as positions of secretary and treasurer to be appointed by the Management Committee. Given, the months of discussion on various forms of democratic structure and, in comparison with the September 1985 document compiled by the Constitution Working Group for consideration of the Trustees, the June 1986 document reads as a rather bland description of a structure that was little revised. Nor is there even mention of a representatives’ committee. What it did do, however, was to formalize the election of the Board of Trustees and Management Committee by the AGM thus securing answerability to members. Some students, however, felt so alienated from the processes which had gone into the formation of this ‘Constitution in Principle’, that they abstained from voting it in (CAP AGM Minutes, 25 July 1987).

By mid 1986, under the coordination of Patricia de Villiers, the project had begun to tighten up its job descriptions and to institute evaluations. This marked the beginning of a process of serious organisational review for future years. At an evaluation conducted by Tony Morphet of the University of Cape Town, the organisation recognized the need to define its notions of ‘art as a liberating process’, to evaluate the liberatory potential of workshops, to improve its outreach programme and links with community organisations and to create training programmes for teachers ‘which are politically and culturally appropriate’ (CAP Three Week Evaluation Session Minutes, May/June1986). Hildur Amato (teacher of the full-time arts students in 1985 and 1986) expressed a significant shift in her teaching objectives at a co-ordinators meeting in 1986. She explained that she had begun with wanting to develop student’s artistic skills but this had changed to a desire to develop the students themselves, to equip them to survive ‘beyond’ CAP (CAP Co-ordinators Committee Minutes, 7 October 1986).[42]

It is difficult to assess whether or not increased politicization of the direction of the organisation translated into an effective democratization of its structures and working methods. It is clear that it was articulated by staff with regard to educational objectives but ex-members have reported differently on whether or not leadership was developed through effective consultation. The emphasis upon the teaching and sharing of leadership skills is echoed in an interview with ex-student Vuyile Voyiya: “(CAP) had a director … one director who was running CAP. And when he left it was a bit chaotic because there were not enough people with the skills to run CAP. … Information was held by one person … but that was rectified when CAP was restructured. … [We had] co-ordinators coordinating various projects [who] would meet as a committee and the information [was] disseminated because they would then inform their groups. … You don’t have one leader. … It means that should one person not be available, or one person leave, then there is always a pool of people around who can still run CAP without having to be retrained. They would know how the institution works, what the policies of the institution are, and would be able to answer any questions coming from outside…which was not something which was the case before” (Voyiya, 1997)

In contrast, another ex-student recalls “…Post Derek…with new individuals pulling in…They didn’t have that clear an idea – the only clarity they had was that it [CAP] should become more democratized…I think that why there was a need for that was CAP was starting to get more funding and you had to have more people accountable …and this is part of the criticisms and this is where the sidelining comes in…people who’d been at CAP for years…they were unemployed….There were the guys running CAP who had all the money….To be quite honest the sidelining was also a black – white kind of issue…With that new group of people there were various issues – there were some Americans who wanted a venue where they could come and teach people (music)…the decision was taken [ this was Eurocentric], ‘we don’t think it’s necessary’…but from what I gathered from the people at CAP who were making music, they were never consulted….The first taste of bureaucracy was when…the piano had a lock on it, and the room that it stood in was locked and you had to go and sign out” (Anonymous, 1997) More pointed in his criticism, ex-student Billy Mandindi (1997) observed of the period 1985-1986, “…it was mostly white people that were…on top…so things were done with a white mentality”

The uneasiness that had begun to set in amongst persons outside of management structures is in part understandable when one reads the minutes documenting the constitution meetings in the latter part of 1986. Despite earlier efforts (particularly as reflected in the 1985 working documents) to return the organisation to a membership organisation, management began to refer to the users of the project as students rather than as members. A central question that began to be debated was ‘who best can manage CAP?’ (CAP Constitution Meeting Minutes, 1 October 1986). Ideas regarding leadership were focused on who had the given skills to lead the organisation in a particular direction rather than how to recognize existing skills (and to cultivate such) amongst membership/students. In effect, management began to doubt that members at the AGM could elect an effective Management Committee. Nevertheless, some staff did argue that the space needed to be kept open for effective participation of members. Discussions centred on the fact that CAP was becoming an educational body rather than an arts project and that the notion of ‘students’ as ‘members’ was problematic. It was argued that a distinction needed to be drawn between students, who might be represented by an SRC of sorts, and members, who would consist of persons with political and organisational experience, committed to CAP. According to this argument, it was recommended by some staff that membership be proposed by community organisations. These members would sit on a membership body and be elected at an AGM. Thus, the 1985 idea of an open representatives committee became ‘politically’ tuned to a more select grouping that would comprise a body that would liaise with a Co-ordinators’ Committee and a Management Committee (ibid.). Discussion focused on how to secure the power of paid employees but there was also concern regarding how to build in accountability; questions were raised as to who elected or appointed paid employees. Increasingly trustees were recognized as a necessary ‘highest decision-making’ body who employed staff and yet were in turn elected by the AGM. This was in direct contrast to the 1985 working document which read ‘The general membership at the AGM should be the highest decision-making body of CAP…’[43]

The unease amongst management regarding ‘expertise’ and political acumen corresponded in part with a growing unease amongst trustees. After direct contact between the trustees and the lawyers who’d been involved in the ‘new’ constitution and ‘new’ CAP plans, lawyers advised against dissolution of the old CAP. They argued that, given that trustees were not prepared to relinquish their position and that they required provision in the new constitution for a Board with appropriate powers to function, and, given the doubt regarding whether or not the ‘new’ CAP would fall within the scope of the Fund Raising Act, that the existing Trust Deed (clause 4.7) be acted upon i.e. that the trustees enter into contract with the new organisation to carry on activities as defined in such contract. (Correspondence from lawyers to trustees dated 17 November 1986) In effect, the trustees would retain ultimate authority, and the Management Committee would be mandated by the trustees to carry out the revised aims of CAP. There was one remaining concession to accountability to members, evident in a decision passed at a Management Committee meeting on 23 November 1986, which was that all minutes of management meetings were to be available to members.

It was to take another entire year of discussion, planning and negotiations before this contract was drawn up between trustees and staff. During such period there seem to have been neither general meetings nor an AGM. At a Management Committee meeting in March 1987, one staff member argued that the contract was the only viable option for CAP and that  ‘because we can’t change the constitution, the question of CAP being a member’s organisation falls away. Thus the AGM would be a meeting between the trustees and the full Management Committee. This is not to say that a general meeting can’t be held by the Management Committee to report back to members, and in fact they are duty-bound to do so in terms of the mandate they were given’ (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 10 March 1987) The AGM of 25 July 1987 was in effect an explanation of the terms of the contract between trustees and staff to members/students.

The issue of ‘member’ representation had been addressed in a document drawn up for trustees by staff in April 1987, entitled “Representation and Decision Making at CAP. Proposal from the Interim Management Committee.” In short, the document called for a general meeting of all CAP staff and students at least once a year, convened by the CAP Co-ordinator ‘for the purpose of informing the meeting of developments and decisions, and providing a forum for discussion and the expression of ideas’. It continues (p. 4), ‘The Management Committee will consider itself guided but not bound by opinions expressed in the meeting’. That the committee was acutely aware of the shifts in its thinking is evident in the preface of the document (p. 1), which reads, ‘…unevenness is reflected in the amount of time spent at CAP by different people, degree of involvement, degree of commitment etc. and we have tried to arrive at a structure which will give fair representation to all activities, the opportunity for any committed person to participate in decision making and the development of responsible representation at all levels.’

It is interesting that, in general, reference to members is replaced by reference to students and while it is the relations between students, staff and trustees that are addressed, there was a more authoritative tone that was exercised by staff in relation to the ‘user’ body. Mention was made of the possibility of ‘special’ general meetings, which could be called with the support of at least 20% support from students and/or staff and complaints and appeals were to be directed to the Management Committee (p. 4). At this point it is clear that in the thinking of staff that there remained some space for student representation, as expressed in the composition of an executive committee, elected by the Management Committee and comprising ‘ex-officio the CAP Co-ordinator and the Fundraiser [and] other staff-members and students, as the Management Committee sees fit’ (p. 4). However, in an attempt to ensure that representation on the Management Committee or Executive Committee was filled by people with ‘serious intent’, the following were proposed as requirements, ‘They must commit themselves to regular attendance at meetings for a period of at least one year; …they must keep themselves informed as to developments; … they must have held CAP membership for at least one year.’ (p. 3) This mention of ‘membership’ suggests reverting to the 24 March 1986 “Constitution in Principle”, a document which outlined conditions for membership and procedures for application for membership. In any event, these tentative remaining efforts to provide for membership/student representation in the legal structures of CAP were to be completely eliminated in the official contract of December 1987 (see below). It is difficult to assess the extent to which this reflected staff assumptions about who was best politically informed to strategize CAP’s profile, delivery and future, or the extent to which it reflected a carefully considered shift in emphasis toward CAP becoming a more formal educational institution. The latter seems to be distinctly identifiable only in 1988. The organisation was probably in need of a more formalized continuity of structure, continuity lamented throughout CAP’s history by many ex-staff and students.

There was some irony in this curtailed participation of CAP membership in that the organisation was, at the time, trying to define for itself a changed mission statement that would reflect its position as a cultural organisation firmly located within the mass democratic movement that was working for a democratized South Africa. At a strategic planning workshop organised for May 17/18, with outside evaluator Tony Morphet, the organisation formulated its mission statement thus, ‘CAP trains cultural workers by participating in building the growing cultural movement and developing and supporting grassroots cultural activities.’ That this workshop comprised full time staff only might explain why the students were later confused by the shift in emphasis from the training of individual artists to that of cultural workers aligned to organisations. The evaluation report stated, ‘Staff assume that the public see CAP as a “liberal” art teaching project essentially offering opportunities to disadvantaged or deprived individuals and groups, but “open to all” and therefore used by a significant number of privileged people…CAP is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain or develop its “liberal” character.’ (p.3) Morphet recognized a gap between the key tasks that the staff had outlined for themselves and the mission statement i.e. that the ideal of the mission statement was difficult to enact in the present circumstances or that the mission statement indicated a decision to ‘embark on a completely new direction and purpose and therefore requires that new realities … be constructed around CAP’ (p. 6) In relation to the staff’s identification of the weaknesses and supports in the environment, the facilitator noted, ‘… CAP is positioning itself in terms of the unfolding of political conflict – its obstructions arise from the action of the state and its support is found within the progressive movement. The purpose of the mission statement is to carry through the realignment’. (p. 8) Serious questions were raised in the report from the workshop; these pertained to the purpose of the organisation, particularly in relation to the staffs’ emphasis on organisational strengths for the survival and stability of the internal culture of the organisation, over and above the delivery and efficacy of programmes. This was an obvious reflection of where Management Committee energies had been directed over the past couple of years. The dilemma in which the organisation found itself in relation to the now phased-out membership participation was reflected in the facilitator’s comments in the report as follows: ‘… because CAP is accountable only to itself (finally) it does not have direct external demands as a source of discipline and pressure for effectiveness. … It does not have students (and parents) wanting to pass exams, nor does it have people insisting on their right to receive proper training and adequate attention. Equally, it is not an organisation which needs to make sufficient money from its services to survive. Survival is, in a sense, guaranteed by donors … whether the project produces its services in an effective and relevant way or not … The decision makers concerned with CAP policy are in fact CAP staff and they are not (de facto) accountable to anyone for the policies they adopt. The policy context is therefore very fluid and subject to wide and contradictory interpretation. … CAP would seem to require an explicit policy framework and a system of internal mutual accountability to ensure that the policy goals are being striven for and met.’ (p. 11) The conclusion drawn by Morphet with regard to where the organisation stood at the end of 1987 was that the organisation prioritized the views of individual members of the organisation over the mission as a whole i.e. that ‘CAP staff were prepared to grant higher value to the preservation of the internal culture of “democratic participation” than they were to a self-defined mission in this world’. (p.18) However, the workshop was looking for a way ‘to reconcile the validity of individual decisions and the accountability of each staff member to a greater goal’ (p. 18). Ascertaining problems with accountability in the organisation Morphet noted, ‘The concept of “democratic participation” can (at its weakest) be read as a justification for the permanently provisional nature of all decisions, i.e. that any decision can be reversed or at least challenged and refused by any individual for whatever reason that individual may think fit … thereby weakening the commitment of the organisation to a mission’ (p. 18). Artists in the project were not, on the whole, politically experienced nor were they equipped with managerial skills or skills in human relations. Yet here was a group of politically concerned individuals wishing to support the mass democratic movement and wishing to ensure that CAP’s structures reflected this. Enormous energies went into learning to function as a democratic organisation, requiring skills far different from those of the artistic training of most staff. Patricia De Villiers (1996) recalls,“…our ambition I suppose was that we wanted to be seen as relevant, we wanted to be doing relevant work, explicitly to do that you had to have the good word of the ‘organisations’, they were quite friendly but they saw us as a bit of a flea – ‘what is this cultural nonsense?’…‘What’s it got to do with the struggle?’ – and then it took a turn with cultural sanctions, when it came out as an area of focus…” According to Lionel Davis (1997),“CAP’s weaknesses then (and it was not the only organisation to fall prey to that weakness) was that in wanting to be too democratic, the wheels of progress grind very slowly. Democracy is fine, and it was wonderful to get every person involved in the decision-making process but often, to reconcile so many different voices, so many different interests and political agendas, was a mine field. Decisions that could have taken one hour took months, which led to a lot of acrimonious relationships with the organisation which, looking back now, was unnecessary”

The question regarding where to locate accountability was a confusing one for the organisation. While legally it lay in the hands of the trustees, historically, membership exercised a struggle for it and in practice it rested with paid staff. The organisation was also torn between its theoretical commitment to ‘democratic participation’ (at all levels) and its moving closer to the idea of following a political line as laid down by specific organs of the liberation struggle. As Morphet noted, if CAP was to assert its commitment to the former ‘it must remain outside of political alignments and therefore (be) vulnerable to the charge of irrelevance’. (Representation and Decision Making at CAP. Proposal From the Interim Management Committee, p. 20) What was noted here was not just the problem of answerability and follow- through within the organisation, but a shift toward locating the ‘correctness’ of decisions in accordance with a broader political movement outside of CAP; the precise terms of that relationship were also under dispute between staff members (see arguments on political alignment in chapter below).

CAP began to articulate a more acute political focus, one in line with the role envisaged for culture within the mass democratic movement; students accordingly responded with expectations of increased participation in policies and decisions.[44] This was to create some tension in that the structures for their representation were not carefully worked out (CAP Management Committee Minutes, 25 May 1987).[45] In the final contract, or “Memorandum of Agreement” between the board and the Management Committee, signed on the 17 December 1987 there remains no explicit provision for representation of students or members. According to this Memorandum, CAP Committee (a new term for the old Management Committee[46]) was to comprise ‘staff personnel employed by the Trust for not less than twenty hours per week unless otherwise determined by the CAP committee with the approval of the Board of Trustees’. (Memorandum of Agreement, p. 3) The attempt to democratize the organisation in accordance with notions of accountability to a grassroots/membership constituency seems long forgotten in this Memorandum. There is a possibility that students could have formed part of the Executive Committee by virtue of possible participation on the CAP Committee but this was highly improbable. The Memorandum (p. 5) specified the composition of the Executive Committee as ‘ex officio the Co-ordinator, the Finance Co-ordinator and such other members of the CAP Committee as may be decided by it from time to time.’ The attempt to include staff representation on the board was also excluded in this final Memorandum. All communication between trustees and staff was to occur through the Co-ordinator or Finance Co-ordinator, with, a built in agreement to make minutes of staff and trustee meetings available to all staff and trustees. Accountability was further curtailed in the Memorandum (p. 7) in that trustees were no longer to be elected at an AGM, but incoming trustees were to be appointed at a ‘special meeting…for the purpose of appointing a Trustee or Trustees in his or her or their place (upon resignations)’, such meeting to be attended by trustees, the Co-ordinator, the Finance Co-ordinator and the Chairperson of the CAP Committee.

Describing this period between 1984 and 1987 with staff negotiating with trustees, ex-Media Coordinator Jon Berndt recalls: “A big fight developed between the Management Committee who wanted to take a definite political stance, and the trust, who wanted a more liberal, open-ended position. … Arbitrators had to be brought in … It resulted in an addendum having to be written to the trust where the Management Committee was given certain authority to do things without the trust. … A lot of people then left the trust … and accused the people in CAP of being Trotskyists. … It was a time in the 80s when all organisations were taking definite political positions … [CAP] could’ve taken a non-aligned political position like the Black Sash … a definite stand against apartheid. … It couldn’t do that. … There was this whole liberal concept that if you take a strong political position you were going to scare off the white community. … The liberal camp within CAP argued that CAP was a meeting place, a bringing together of white and black people – (one problem that it created was that CAP was never able to identify constituencies … on a political basis. … There were always debates about ‘what was the community?’) – ‘the community is everybody out there’, whereas other people clearly had a concept of the community being the black, disadvantaged, disempowered, exploited community” (Berndt, 1997)

Tightened controls 1988-1990

Early in 1988 the signatory powers passed efficiently from the old Co-ordinator and Administrator (De Villiers and McKenzie) to a new Co-ordinator and Administrative Co-ordinator, (Davis and Brown), thus effecting a shift away from ‘white’ management. Although the 1987 Memorandum made provision for a CAP Committee and an Executive Committee, it appears as if the project continued to function with only once weekly meetings of the CAP Committee. Issues of accountability and problems with locations of ‘authority’ remained (as identified in the 1987 Morphet report). There appeared to be no one with clear authority to effectively implement the new decision making structure and to oversee the design of programmes in accordance with the 1987 mission statement. New trustees were proposed and seem to have been in place by March that year[47], but it was only from mid-year that trustees were to become involved in project direction, and then it was with some concern (expressed by old trustees) at CAP’s new mission and direction (CAP Trust Minutes, 20 July 1988). It had taken the old trustees a period of a year to begin to realize the implications of the new mission statement.[48] An important document was drafted in August that year by a staff member for presentation to the board with the purpose of bringing trustees up to date regarding the shift in direction of the organisation. The document, written by Mike van Graan, was entitled “Where From? Where To?”. It formed a crucial part of the evaluation of the organisation that year and serves as an important signal of the implementation of the mission statement that was to be effectively engineered by Van Graan, despite resistance from staff and employees who were still attached to the ‘old’ CAP functions and modes of delivery.[49] This was also a signal of the beginning of a process of tightening controls in the organisation, with a view to effective delivery of training in accordance with the mission.

The attempt to implement the new mission statement was particularly difficult given that 1988 was a year of increased repression on the part of the South African apartheid regime.[50] It was also a year of increased politicization of organisations aligned with one another in the struggle for a democratic South Africa.[51] This was reflected within CAP in the form of students asserting increasingly politicized demands of teachers and the organisation, of ongoing attempts at participatory democracy within CAP committee meetings, of the organisation’s response to requests from similarly politically placed groupings and of CAP staff embarking on an internal education process.[52] The 1988 CAP Newsletter reads, ‘CAP (is) like many other centres and organisations which are at a stage now where they are undergoing an intense re-evaluation period. While the struggle has intensified and repression worsened, we have seen the need to re-evaluate our strengths’. CAP organised a mid-year workshop at which it discussed the nature of the organisation, its work, programmes, structure, accountability and issues of political alignment. This led to a document drawn up by Van Graan outlining the role of the CAP Chairperson in chairing CAP Committee and Executive Committee meetings. It appears that this was done in an attempt to address some of the issues raised in the 1987 Morphet evaluation regarding the problem with the ‘provisional nature of all decisions’ and the problem with ‘follow through’.[53]

The new mission statement was first advertised to the broader CAP constituency in the 1988 newsletter: ‘CAP trains cultural workers by participating in and building the growing cultural workers movement and developing and supporting grassroots cultural activities.’ Much energy had gone into these activities in 1987, but neither focus was to win the hearts and minds of all staff. Toward the building of the united anti-apartheid ‘cultural movement’ in South Africa, the staff had embarked on defining notions of the cultural worker, the cultural boycott, political alignment and relations with state education institutions and parastatals.[54] In 1987, United Democratic Front (UDF) had established a cultural desk and this initiative was to culminate in July 1988 in the launch of The Cultural Workers’ Congress. The issue of CAP’s relationship with this body was to occupy much discussion amongst staff in ensuing years. The second component of the mission statement was to be addressed by the 1988 Co-ordinator, Lionel Davis, by concentrating the major part of his energies on encouraging and establishing outreach programmes in a number of the ‘group areas’ designated by the Nationalist Party government for separate black occupation. Davis noted, in the CAP newsletter “Caption”, September 1988 ‘In our formative years, one of the many problems was the lack of commitment from the countless individuals’ due in part to ‘the fact that as a so-called community arts organisation, we were ill-defined, insensitive to community needs and not serving their interests.’ Davis continued (p. 4-5), ‘CAP to its credit has never been self-satisfied with its image. Because of this we have over the years been able to remould our project to meet the challenges of the very volatile political climate in which we live…we have dedicated ourselves to serve the interests and the needs of the oppressed majority…we have been compelled to evolve a new management structure, to ensure greater participation in decision-making by CAP staff and students and a more efficient and effective organisation.’

This focus on partnerships was also to be reassessed toward the end of the year, another indication of the relative absence of power vested in the position of Co-ordinator. In effect, the role of Chairperson, as outlined in the Van Graan document became vested, by mid-year, with authority that traditionally was located in the role of Co-ordinator, even though such authority had not been effectively exercised in CAP since de Villiers’ acceptance of the position. The 1987 Memorandum had specified the need for a Chairperson of an executive committee but neither of these had been instituted. That Davis, as Co-ordinator, had not exercised authoritative leadership was part of the post-1985 style of the organisation, as well as, in part, a result of the mid-year evaluations which had passed on the task of overseeing the process of ‘transforming’ CAP to a steering committee.[55]

The steering committee failed to assume initiative in exercising their mandate until the end of the year when time was set aside to discuss plans with part-time and assistant teachers, and an afternoon session to inform CAP associates and students of the organisations plans.[56] As a result of this workshop, a decision was taken to organise CAP work according to departments or projects[57] in an attempt to integrate the full and part-time work, to assist in the representation of part-time staff and to make each ‘head of department’ responsible for the entire operation of that area of work. Subcommittees formed to draw up reports on the partner-centres and the part-time classes, and one-day workshops were organised to review these. An evaluation of the organisation was then contracted out.[58] The CAP Committee was aware that its processes and implementation procedures needed to be addressed (despite changes structured in the December 1987 Memorandum); Community Arts Project Committee (CAPCOM) Minutes, 4 October 1988, read, ‘we need to evaluate the whole structure of our meetings, the role of the chairperson, participation etc.’

A stalemate seemed to have existed with regard to initiative, leadership and responsibility, as was highlighted in an incident recorded in these same CAP Committee minutes. The dynamics surrounding this incident were to inform the outside evaluation as well as subsequent structural changes. A black male employee had allegedly slapped a white female employee, allegedly in response to her verbal abuse of him. The Committee elected a disciplinary committee to look into the incident but without supplying a precise outline of their mandate. The report of the disciplinary subcommittee was not endorsed by all members of CAP Committee and a stalemate occurred for a couple of weeks before only half the staff voted on a suggested outcome (the other half abstaining from or boycotting the vote). The issue was explosive and it divided staff along gender and race lines. Of the two persons involved, one was fired and the other resigned, but the handling of the incident was to lead to the resignation of two women, one white and one black. Numerous documents exist in relation to this incident,[59] which became a symbol of divisions in the project at that time. On 10 November 1988, the Co-ordinator requested that the trustees mediate the dispute and formulate a ruling on the disputed issues. Thirteen members of staff were interviewed and on the basis of these interviews, trustees decided not to reopen the investigation but to look at underlying tensions related to who had the power to hire and fire, what the procedures were for this, the need to allocate clear management responsibilities, the need for coherent leadership and the high level of insecurity regarding jobs in CAP.[60] They decided to develop an educational strategy to address the deep divisions amongst staff which reflect ‘the racist, sexist and class society in which CAP works’ (Ngcuka, 1988: p 2). The most notable outcome of this investigation was that the trustee ‘Tribunal’ advised a restructuring of CAP so as to ensure clear leadership for the organisation. Proposals were requested and, pending the finalization of a structure, the Tribunal proposed an Interim Management Committee (IMC) comprising itself and CAP Co-ordinators meeting on a fortnightly basis to receive reports of ‘departments’. The IMC was to hold its first meeting on 1 December 1988. Its task was to formulate staffing plans for 1988, to begin the process of restructuring, drawing up disciplinary codes, reviewing policies, searching out a ‘leader’ for CAP, and taking on managerial tasks – all this because, in interviews, the staff, themselves, had pointed to an absence of leadership and authority to ensure the execution of mandated decisions (Ngcuka, 1988: p 2). Despite three years of intense working on issues of structure, CAP was to have to go back to the drawing board.

While the incident was addressed in terms of structural adjustments, certain members of staff were unconvinced by the outcome. Anne Schuster, CAP’s Financial Co-ordinator from 1986 to 1988 recalls: “A (male) student hit a (female) teacher –it all ended up being X’s fault because she has a ‘provocative’ way. There was a big paper … on the difference between physical and verbal aggression. … We had tribunals and all sorts of things but in the end X was disciplined. And the thing that was quoted was that in his (male, black) culture, women do not shout at men nor wave their fingers, therefore he was justified. … First disappeared X’s job … they had a ‘restructuring’. … That (outside) evaluation … said that it was a race/cultural thing … [And] turned it away from a gender problem.” (Schuster, 1996) Ex-Child Art coordinator Hildur Amato remembers “I remember one incident which divided men and women distressingly. A female employee had been struck by a male student and no disciplinary action could be agreed on. … With the objectivity of hindsight, I can see that the incident precipitated a conflict of ideologies, and was part of, and contributed to, an atmosphere of distrust and anger within the organisation. It was inevitable in an organisation like CAP in the 1980s, which was a meeting place of so many political and cultural groupings – all subscribing to political ideologies, but with so many areas of difference”. (Amato, 1996)

The length and density of Van Graan’s submission to the investigating Tribunal played an important part in its findings and the evaluator’s “Final Report”. It is useful to draw out salient points from these two reports.

Van Graan identified the staff’s response to the findings of the disciplinary committee as reflective of general tensions and problems in the organisation, and that such had to be addressed urgently by the new trustees so as to counteract the malaise in the organisation. His analysis was that polarization had occurred along the lines of race despite the issue of gender having been the mobilizing cause. His submission asked trustees to recognize the inequity of race-based power relations in the project[61] and it pointed to the urgent need for a director, preferably ‘African’ (Van Graan, 1989: p. 20). Echoing Morphet’s 1987 evaluation, Van Graan pointed to the provisional nature of CAP Committee decisions because of the type of democracy that was practiced by the organisation where ‘endless cycles of frustrating debate’ were prioritized over delivery of effective programmes (p. 12). Van Graan’s recommendation was that a director be hired immediately so as to ensure that CAP become the envisaged education and training institution in the arts pursuing ‘new aesthetics and … the counter-hegemonic movement in the arts’ (as was agreed at the mid-1988 evaluation) (p. 10). His report concluded, ‘At this stage in CAP’s development, division of labour is to be as clear as possible, confusion of roles and everybody-must-do-everything kind of democracy only leads to confusion and obfuscation which CAP cannot afford. … It needs to rebuild its organisational structure and form before experimenting with new forms of operation.’ (pp 21; 22) This proposal differed from the 1987 Memorandum in that it argued for the need to invest a director and an executive with more authority, whilst ensuring democratic representation at the level of the CAP Committee. The proposed structure (as was taken up by the Tribunal) included two trustees in the executive, and representation on the once monthly forum of CAP Committee of full-time staff, part-time staff, project representation and student representation.

In his evaluation Morphet (like Van Graan) noted, ‘The fact, now obvious to all, is that the present form of management at CAP is able to deliver neither the policies and plans nor the managerial and administrative services which the planned operation for 1989 would require’ (Morphet, 1988: p. 4). His evaluation concluded (p. 18) with a recommendation that CAPCOM give up its ‘triple powers as policy maker (legislative), manager (executive) and high court (judicial) of the project.’ Morphet recommended that judicial functions be transferred to trustees, along with the setting of overall aims and long term objectives of the project, against which performance would be assessed; CAPCOM (with the addition of part-time staff and student representatives) would set management policy and strategize annually to work to the long term aims; a director (or manager), responsible to trustees and CAPCOM through annual reporting, would take this as his/her mandate to direct and manage the project, such mandate renewed at the end of the year. The director would oversee the departments which would set their own plans within the framework of the policy decisions of CAPCOM. Most importantly (in terms of this new organisation into departments or projects) the Administration would provide services and support to enable delivery by departments, under the guidance of the Director. This was an attempt to leave major decisions regarding policy in the hands of CAPCOM but to restrict this policy process to a once-a-year process i.e. one legislative session. For this session to be effective there had to be ‘clear procedures through which everyone has an equal chance to prepare their proposals and pilot them through to decision’ (rather than such proposals emerging out of lengthy discussion). (p. 21)

These conclusions were arrived at through an analysis of the power relations as played out over the disciplinary incident. It is useful to follow Morphet’s analysis of this event as it paraphrases what he saw as different versions of CAP, manifest in the conflicting interests of people who reacted to the incident in different ways. Whereas the core of Van Graan’s analysis was that this incident was informed by racial tension, which needed to be redressed in the structure and use of language, Morphet arrived at the same recommended shifts but shifted from the race thesis to one of power struggles that reflected interests differently served by different definitions of the organisation.[62] Morphet located these in the history of the organisation, which historically had been shaped according to the interests of different groups of people, such power struggles having intensified after Joubert’s departure. His analysis of this power struggle in 1988 was that it was located in a conflict between three versions of CAP; the first set of interests still saw CAP in terms of the early CAP, as an art school for disadvantaged students; the second, formed post-1985, saw CAP as a community organisation for organisation members; the third, introduced largely by Mike van Graan at the mid-1988 evaluation workshop, defined CAP as an educational organisation for cultural workers (p.11). This latter view had been successfully argued by Van Graan at the mid-year workshop and included the idea of learners coming to CAP from organisations and returning to their communities to build organisation and community through cultural work. Morphet argued that it was only after the workshop that staff began to feel the ramifications of the implementation of these plans with regard to a changed direction and pattern of working, changed organisational values and effect on people’s jobs (p. 15). He argued that the subsequent resistance to these changes played itself out in the staff disciplinary incident with two groups effectively ‘deadlocking’ the committee and employing negative power to prevent an alternative proposal to that formulated by Van Graan. Morphet wrote, ‘… the development of the two blocs was largely symbolic – i.e. the incident produced a situation where people felt the need to show where they stood at CAP. The pressure that produced that need has been generated by the attempt to reorganise the work at CAP’ (p. 16). Morphet’s analysis pointed to the need to resolve power issues so as to ensure effective implementation of plans for 1989. To do this required the stabilization of power in a structure in which ‘different bodies have different kinds of power and operate within fixed limits’ as well as the introduction of a set of procedural rules to lay down the route which must be followed before arriving at a binding decision (p. 18). On the 25 November, Morphet met with trustees to present his report, saying it was ‘wrong to describe people in leading positions as Co-ordinators – that what CAP needs is project leaders and a leader of leaders i.e. a Director’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 25 November 1988). He made specific proposals regarding the staff component but the trustees arrived at a far less generous staff composition and recommended cuts and a freezing of positions until the direction and funding for 1988 were clear.[63]

Although trustees had been called in to solve a disciplinary dispute, the analysis of the incident pointed to serious problems with leadership in the new (post-1987) ‘democratic’ structure of CAP. The trust increased their role (as was suggested by Van Graan) and, pending the hiring of a Director, they elected themselves and the department heads as part of an Interim Management Committee scheduled to meet every two weeks.[64] The Co-ordinator and Administrative Co-ordinator had effectively been dismissed. The Financial Co-ordinator resigned.

Gender relations

Notwithstanding Van Graan’s valid observations regarding racism in the project, it was women who felt aggrieved by this formal enquiry and the structural solutions to the power dynamics in the project cannot be denied, For CAP to have been truly democratic in its structures of representation would have necessitated sensitivity to discriminations suffered by all people who were deemed to be of lesser status in a society that legalized discrimination and that sanctioned reprehensible attitudes of superiority. This would have required unlearning oppressive behaviour as well as unlearning the internalized effects of discrimination such as racism and sexism. CAP had always attempted to address an internal culture that reflected race privileges perpetuated by society – at least on a theoretical level – but it had less to show with regard to practically developing a culture of non-sexism. According to Hildur Amato, “We spent a lot of time working on a mission statement which included our anti-sexist as well as our anti-racist and anti-classist stances. We had links with women’s organisations and women’s issues were themes of creative activities. In practice, I suppose, CAP was male dominated, in the sense that a lot of assumptions were made about who would make final decisions and women’s compliance was often tacitly taken for granted” (Amato, 1996)

As is evident in this history of CAP’s structures of representation, women were present at all junctures, though less visible in positions of status. Where women were in positions of power in the project it was women from more privileged sectors of society; at certain times, however, women felt united across cultural differences as reported by Lynne Brown (1996), “There were different women and different cultural beliefs and different backgrounds but I think that there was such a threat in that place that it united us.” Anne Schuster recalled: “Just to have a voice in meetings! You found yourself out-manoeuvred. You would bring up an issue and suddenly there would be something else. You would get somebody like Trish who had incredibly good things to say, but because she had been silenced for years and because she doesn’t speak forcefully nobody would wait for her to speak…” (Schuster, 1996) Trish de Villiers (1996) recalled these power dynamics in terms of the absence of structured forms of representation for women at CAP, unlike in larger organisations in the struggle that accommodated women’s forums, “The women at CAP … they were just fighting for themselves in an all male environment and I think they had quite a hard time. … I was probably as silenced as anybody was by the general political atmosphere (of the 80s)….”

When on occasion women did assert their views at CAP if such voices were those of privileged white women, there was predictably less sympathy from persons more oppressed than such women. There were few occasions in CAP’s history when a caucus of black women experienced sufficient power to claim a representative space. The formation of has obviously involved a history of women who struggled against and through discrimination though little has been done toward researching and acknowledging women’s experiences and struggles in the project, particularly with regard to alliances and gaps across the category of race.[65] The first documented ‘gender group’ appears to have been started by three ‘white’ women, namely Lucy Alexander, Bo Peterson and Patti Henderson. According to Alexander: “That Gender Group was quite interesting. … some men came initially … it became extremely complicated, people started recognizing that a whole lot of things that were going on were gender [related], sexual harassment, people’s past experiences of rapes were coming up … there was just too much coming up to be able to cope …. It [reporting on sexual harassment] then became a game and a weapon that you could use again on women because you could just make them feel foolish about it, so it was very complex.” (Alexander, 1996)

It was only in 1997 that CAP tried to address issues of sexual discrimination through the practical implementation of a policy against sexual harassment, drawn up by Antoinette Zanda, who was contracted to do this by then current Director Mario Pissarra. According to Desiree Kok (1996), “We reported an incident recently, that’s why they set up a sexual harassment policy, because I complained. From my reaction Mario [Pissarra] said ‘This can’t go on’ and he went to the Board and set up the policy. There is a lot of sexual harassment happening here. I just hope the policy helps.”

This history of sexual harassment at CAP and a general lack of consciousness about gender inequity has to have been a major contributing factor to the low numbers of women students and women staff. Remembering his time on the full-time visual arts course, Sipho Hlati (1996) commented, “There were eight of us, it was the ‘men’s club’, no women. That was really terrible, not even one woman.” Pissarra attributes the general lack of representation of women students at CAP to the past occurrence of part-time classes during the evenings, during which time women are expected to be domestic care givers, while men could venture out ‘safely’. Andrew Steyn, however, stated, “I think firstly there was an imbalance across the disciplines. One would find that there would be more women in the ceramic class and more men in the drawing class. One needs to ask questions around this issue. It would certainly be the case in painting (that students were predominantly male) but at the same time there were also part-time evening dance classes being run by Sharon Friedman and these were 95% women.” (Steyn, 1996)
Trish de Villiers (1996) observed, “On the art side there were very few black women coming in, if they were coming into the pottery or the dance classes, they weren’t coming in to the core activities of CAP which were like the full-time art course.” Ex-staff member Barbara Voss explained this as follows: “That’s right, but in the 80s the whole political motivation was there for people to do art because it was a way of uplifting the community and people would be seconded from their organisations and maybe that is also another reason why there are few black women (in the art courses) because they came through political and cultural organisations where it was men again who found it easier to leave their families and go out and be trained for two years than the women. And it was mostly the men who were supported by the organisations to go and do that because they had the leadership positions and so on. So it is the same old story.” (Voss, 1996) Ex-student Tshidi Sefako (1996) explained the absence of black women students as follows: “For myself, being a black [women] artist, it is very, very against black women doing art because the women don’t like art, they say art is for men.” According to Lionel Davis (1996), “Maybe if you had a black woman doing the recruiting, making contact with women in the township, maybe the reverse would happen [i.e. more women would enrol.]”

Jane Bennet (1996) of the Africa Gender Institute, evaluator of work done on women and media at CAP Media Project commented: “Before you are going to get women into classes that are about art you may have to think about demonstrating the economic viability of that skill. … I think most people who take classes, particularly at NGOs, are trying to get a skill to access job opportunities … What one would need to do if one was serious at CAP about setting up a class where you were going to recruit women artists, is interest certain companies in the shape of that class and the products of that class and the possibilities for trainee internships … Even if you don’t have the company connections, you would have to have people coming into the class who were artists saying `This is how I earn my living, this is how I do it, and this is how I use it …” (Bennet, 1996)

It was only in the 1990s that gender issues were taken up formally in courses that were developed in the Media Project, and these were oriented as much toward gender consciousness as toward skills empowerment . According to Gaby Cheminais (1997): “The first course was looking at the relationship between women, media and violence. … Out of that we realized that by getting women to look at and analyze the media was a powerful tool for getting them into discussions on gender issues … we then set up the Women’s Project and there were two sides to it. One was … a gender training course … and the other side was setting up a media watch, to monitor and respond to women’s representation in the media. For me one of the greatest strengths was the women’s courses. I think they had a lot of potential and they are continuing with that – there’s nothing else like them running in the whole of Africa.” (Cheminais, 1997) Bennet commented: “You are addressing both the fact that women don’t get the opportunity to think of themselves culturally, and the economic space. It’s very hard to hold these two things together but you have to, I think that’s the way it works. One has to say to CAP that within all its classes around skills there has to be a space for discussion of environmental issues and to do some, for lack of a better term, consciousness-raising.” (Bennet, 1996)

The low numbers of black women on staff and amongst students at CAP had, up until the time of writing this paper (1998) still not been addressed. For a brief period, Chapel Street formally supported the introduction of gender studies under the auspices of a cultural studies extra-mural programme at CAP. A white graduate ran the course and was to some extent ‘set up’ for failure due to her emphasis upon theory without having a support base of women within the project with whom to work. Carol Knowles recalls: “I had a cultural studies group at CAP that was part of my job to run. The way I ran that was quite theoretical but I was trying to use the theory to bring in a gender consciousness into the organisation at a number of levels … The Gender Theory Group was a cultural studies group on women’s representation in art. … Participation was sporadic. Mario Pissarra was always trying to work in that group. Others came and went. I think the interest was real in all of them but it didn’t really happen at a staff level which it was meant to. Staff often didn’t come. … But it got cut short – the funding.” (Knowles, 1996)

Although CAP jettisoned its courses on gender theory, it at least implemented the sexual harassment policy, and the then independent Media Works (CAP’s old Media Project) had an active Media Watch programme. However, the necessity for a combination of gender theory in CAP’s cultural history components persisted, so too in its skills training, as well as its practice in human relations. As long as there was an absence of black women teachers who would act as mentors, so black women would not be drawn into a culture which seemed to perpetuate their absence.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) in 1989

1988 had been preoccupied by sorting out procedures and policies as was to be repeated in 1989 by the IMC. Ex part-time teacher Lovell Friedman remembers, “1988/89 were more difficult times in the sense that … it felt like there were a lot of people organizing and there wasn’t money, and there was a lot of feeling of disillusionment – it was more top heavy. People were writing proposals, and doing things and suddenly the building didn’t have the same vibrancy.” (Friedman, 1997)

The IMC became responsible for overall CAP policy, employment-related issues, conditions of services, finances, discipline, inter-project co-ordination and co-operation and CAP administration. It was envisaged as an interim structure to last one or two months until the hiring of a Director (Interim Management Committee, 12 January 1989). However, eight months on, by August 1989, it was still in existence. IMC minutes of 16 August read ‘The IMC members are feeling the pressure of this responsibility over and above their jobs and the IMC has not really been able to ensure effective communication to projects’. Again, the post of Director had been advertised and not filled and so the IMC and Staff negotiated yet another CAP management structure taking into cognizance the need to streamline management of the new departments, the need for efficiency, leadership and effective participation (IMC Proposal: p. 2). The proposed new structure arose from a synthesis of discussions that had occurred since 1986, following on from the departure of Joubert. What it proposed was a quarterly meeting for trustees who would oversee, advise and act in a consultative capacity. A Chairperson with a one year mandate would sit on an Executive Committee and oversee discipline, execution of tasks, and management, with accountability to both board and the CAP Committee, CAPCOM. The Executive Committee would also comprise department co-ordinators, a staff representative and the chair of the students’ representative council. This was to meet fortnightly, to be accountable to both the board and CAPCOM and to make decisions regarding policy, programmes, structure, hiring and firing. CAPCOM was to meet twice a year and to comprise two trustees, all staff plus a student representative from each department as well as two part-time staff representatives. CAPCOM was to set broad guidelines of policy, to hold the Chairperson, Executive and co-ordinators of departments accountable, and to ratify executive decisions regarding policy, structure, programmes, hiring and firing (IMC Proposal August, 1989: p. 3). Daily management was to be conducted by the Chairperson and the Administrator, and departments were to meet weekly and to exercise relative autonomy within the overall policy of CAP. In addition, monthly staff meetings were to occur as a forum for discussion. These proposals were adopted by staff at a meeting in September 1989, with notable adjustments – notable in that staff insisted that CAPCOM be ‘the highest decision making body’ (CAP Workshop Minutes, 29 September 1989: p. 1) and that it, rather than the Executive Committee, set policy. The final Management Structure document of September 1989 read ‘CAPCOM is to act as a General Assembly of the School.’ Finally, it appeared as if the discussions of the past four years regarding structured representation at all levels had taken effect.

In the period of IMC management, a set of working principles were also drawn up for the organisation, to both govern the direction of the organisation and the code of conduct of staff and students. This document outlined the organisation’s commitment to processes of democracy, non-discrimination, its place in the broader democratic movement as a non-aligned organisation (see below) and as an organisation committed to the pursuit, development of and training for new art forms to reflect such democratic values (CAP Working Principles, April/May 1989). One other significant shift in the direction of the organisation at this time was its decision to do away with partner centres and to collapse these into the Children’s Art Department (see below).These structural changes were largely orchestrated by evaluations led by Mike Van Graan. Van Graan accepted the position of CAP Chairperson in October 1989 (CAP Trust Minutes October 1989) and as from November 1989 the IMC ceased meeting.

According to Lorelle Bell, “Mike had a very strong vision for CAP and he worked very hard and he produced the goods … He has an incredibly agile mind – he’s charismatic, he won people over … [CAP] worked through a working document for the structure of CAP at a weekend workshop and at the end of the weekend the group nominated Mike van Graan [as Director] …” (Bell, 1997)

A general assembly held at the end of 1989 reflected upon CAP’s direction for 1990 i.e. as a training and teaching institution to train cultural workers. The Chairperson reflected on CAP’s more efficient structures and more highly trained staff. Van Graan saw, as CAP’s challenges, the need to build trust between staff and between students and staff, and to shift ‘styles of operation’ away from the past. This was the first general meeting of the year and the content of student queries indicated that theirs was a participation still to take effect. Questions students asked pertained to who took decisions, what the role of trustees was and what CAP was – the building, the staff or the participants? (General Assembly Minutes, 1989). That there was still no effective SRC was a major problem. However, this assembly and the proposed new structure did seem to offer some incentive to the full-time Visual Art students (backed by full-time Theatre students) to give formal expression (directed at Trust level) to dissatisfactions that had been mounting since 1987.

Students’ problems in the late Eighties

By mid-1988 trustees had been called upon to evaluate the full-time art course because of staff having perceived problems experienced by the visual art students (CAP Trust Minutes, 20 July 1988). Since March 1987, general meetings had fallen away and, already in May 1987, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele was consulted and had spoken of the need for structured student representation. By late 1987 students began to question the objectives of the full-time visual arts course and by mid-1988 students expressed both specific and broad problems – problems pertaining to differential pricing of their works, to delays in delivery of materials of low quality and to confusion regarding staff recruitment and responsibilities. They also expressed problems with available transport to their classes and with feeling excluded from the re-definition of their training from that of ‘art’ training to being trained as ‘cultural workers’; this had occurred mid-course (CAP Special Meeting Minutes, 28 January 1989).[66] The response of CAPCOM was that  ‘CAPCOM recognizes that they have legitimate grievances and that the committee has not always worked in a progressive way … CAPCOM needs to work with the full-time students to overcome difficulties. CAPCOM made the following recommendations: that they and the students install and use a notice-board in the full-time workshop, that a student representative sits on the committee, that the full-time co-ordinator reports weekly to students, that the students, teachers and co-ordinators meet to plan the course for the rest of the year, that a stockroom be set up so that the students can requisition materials in advance, that students sign a register …’[67] Students reported that they felt patronized by the response and by the structural solutions posed to their specific requests. There was continued distrust of the CAP constitution which they had not been part of composing and, in April 1988, they stated that they would not partake in CAP Committee decisions.

The root of these tensions was summarized by Andrew Steyn in a submission to trustees. He described the launch of the full-time course in the context of the structural and directional changes that the organisation was in the midst of in 1987. Steyn explained that the course reflected the flux within the rest of CAP, between, firstly, the shift from being a service organisation with an educational component to an education organisation with a service component, and, secondly, from providing education and facilities to aspirant black artists to training committed cultural workers who were drawn predominantly from progressive organisations. Accordingly, there had been a struggle over which curriculum should rule and, early in 1988, Steyn provided a set of course aims and working principles for student discussion. Students demanded answers to specific questions before proceeding to these broad discussions.

By April 1989, a further issue had arisen pertaining to an educational tour which students argued had been suggested at the outset of their course and which had not materialized. The new broad representative grouping of CAPCOM had turned down a request by Steyn to travel to Johannesburg to research other art projects similar to CAP, with a view to comparing CAP’s art curriculum with these. Students proposed to go in Steyn’s place. An education subcommittee was elected to look into the students’ issues and requests but failed to do so. One student did in fact spend that mid-year break visiting institutions in Johannesburg on his own initiative (Hlati, November 1997).

By mid-1989, tensions had mounted to the point that students threatened to remove from the art store that work that they had contracted to give CAP but which they felt entitled to because of CAP not having respected certain of their demands. A specially formed disciplinary committee threatened students with expulsion and with withholding their certificates if they did remove their work and if ‘they continued to refuse to negotiate with the committee’ (Special Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, 20 November 1989). The students went ahead, removed their work and were subsequently expelled (CAP Executive Committee Minutes, 24 November 1989 and 27 November 1989). The expelled students appealed to the Legal Resources Centre for assistance and such centre advised CAP to investigate the conditions which had led to this course of action. CAP executive told students to lodge their appeal with trustees. As a result of trustees’ advice, students apologized for breaking into the store, returned their works and the expulsions were withdrawn (CAP Executive Meeting Minutes, 5 December 1989). In a letter to trustees, students stated, ‘… we would like to see a community organisation truly democratic in each and every aspect’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 6 December 1989). Students requested exposure to black contemporary art and other educational centres via an educational tour to Johannesburg and complained of the ‘Eurocentric’ nature of their course and director. The letter read, ‘our culture has been suppressed and it is necessary for us to perform our task with a positive affirmative understanding of what we are doing, having … explored different avenues and environments …’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 6 December 1989). Trustees requested that students submit a properly motivated and budgeted proposal by year end. Students were only able to submit the proposal in February the following year. Trustees were not impressed by the request or the delay and, in the New Year, first met as a Board only in May 1990. They dismissed the students’ request on grounds of lack of clarity.[68] This was to lead to enormous resentment amongst students who then represented the organisation in the broader community as one which was unresponsive to students’ needs, a conclusion which staff members have subsequently reinforced due to factors pertaining to issues both structural and cultural. Ex-staff member Gaby Cheminais recalls, “Internal problems were never really dealt with … there were always questions of class, race and gender that were never really addressed … In terms of the training courses, despite the good intentions … some people were in more of a position of power than others . … In terms of day-to-day running it was always to do with money and bursaries … and the feeling that CAP had used students as a means to get money, and then delivery didn’t take place as they thought it should. … But I think the situation was made completely clear – what responsibility and rights each party had, and how they could negotiate these. … The students weren’t integrated into the management structure of the organisation … they might have had one representative here and there but what kind of voice is that? … In the end the trustees were the ones that had all the power.” (Cheminais, 1997) Another ex-staff member Dipuo Maketha (1997) recalls, “(After Derek) there wasn’t much change – management was always dominated by liberals. … They claimed they were part of the struggle, but they weren’t really … there was black-white tension that never happened in the early years.” Ex-coordinator and staff member Trish de Villiers recalls, “The students of the full-time course were very intransigent and would only come in (to Management Committee) all at once. … We didn’t know enough about where people were coming from, we were conscious that we weren’t adequately aware of black culture … the whole reason we got funding was because we were servicing the anti-apartheid movement, we wanted to be there for those groups of people, sometimes they would be extremely demanding but essentially that is what we saw ourselves being there for.” (de Villiers, 1996)

Ex-administrator Lynne Brown (1996) analyzed the situation in terms of white guilt: There was an incredible guilt from staff, where the students could ride over anything….Years later I think it was an incredibly conservative organisation”. The need to promote the participation of students in both curriculum design and management was progressively theorized but the logistics and results thereof proved problematic.


Trustee minutes of April 1990 note the Chairperson declaring that 1990 will be a year of consolidation ‘to get all our policies and structures in place so that the organisation can run smoothly and not be hampered by constant little crises’. Early in March 1990, CAPCOM met to ratify documents regarding structure, management and policies. Prior to this meeting, documents had been circulated amongst projects, students and part-time teachers and amended accordingly. The management structure was adopted at the CAPCOM (CAPCOM minutes, 16 March 1990). CAPCOM adopted the Working Principles drawn up in 1989, a set of Rules and Regulations, Disciplinary Procedures, a number of policies pertaining to the use of the kombi, use of CAP space, use of CAP equipment, the CAP collection (of students’ works), maternity and paternity leave and staff enrichment. All these issues had consumed considerable discussion time in meetings in the past. Also adopted were conditions of employment, contracts and job descriptions for both permanent and for part-time staff. A reworked salary structure was approved as were tighter financial procedures for requisitions, orders and bookkeeping. The chair proposed that a new contract be drawn up with trustees so as to reflect this new management structure. A working document to this effect was discussed at the CAPCOM and the trustee representative present objected to the idea of trustees being made subject to the powers of CAPCOM. This position was representative of that of the ‘old’ trustees and her opposition reflected the view that such older trustees had obviously been left behind by those who’d served on the IMC and who had steered this new management structure through. The gist of the objection was that it compromised the board’s ‘objectivity and neutrality’ (CAPCOM minutes, 17 March 1990).

1990 began with a number of unsuccessful attempts on the part of the director to convene trustee meetings. As with the exclusion of the older trustees from restructuring processes in 1987, so too (apart from the trustees on the IMC) it is likely that trustees were ‘left behind’ in this second period of restructuring. A letter, written by Van Graan, dated 24 April 1990 and addressed to the trustees, reads ‘… as we continue to grow, our trustees need to take CAP a bit more seriously as they have quite an important role to play. We are not asking for anything more than four meetings per year. … CAP can no longer afford paper trustees …’ However, by the time of the mid-year CAPCOM the trustees had met and accepted the idea of the new contract, in principle. They mandated Van Graan, as Chairperson of the Executive, and Ngcuka, as Chairperson of the Board, to formalise the contract. CAPCOM submitted names of possible new trustees.[69] Following extensive but unsuccessful advertising, Mike Van Graan finally accepted the position of Director after a unanimous vote in his favour by CAPCOM.[70] The Board did not place immediate faith in Van Graan, as is evidenced in a letter by trustee Jack Barnett requesting of the new Director written plans, staffing requirements and budget for 1991, as well as expressing concern that Van Graan was planning to study for an MA the following year. Van Graan responded with information pointing to the existence of three year plans of the departments but for Children’s Art Project (CHAP), and that once projects courses for next year were complete so a budget would be drawn up in November. This request and Van Graan’s reply signalled complications with funding, which lay ahead. At this stage, Van Graan seemed confident about funding and, due to exhaustion, decided to postpone his fundraising trip which had been planned for late October. This trip was to occur only in May of 1991 and was to coincide with the proclamation of a financial crisis that had dire repercussions for CAP (see below).

By the time of the final CAPCOM of 1990 it appeared that the organisation was, finally, running smoothly. The contract with trustees had been formulated and awaited adoption early 1991.[71] This CAPCOM also adopted new policies for staff recruitment and advertising and for funding. Evaluations of staff and management and communication procedures were adopted as were aims and objectives for 1991. Most notable at this meeting was the presence of an SRC representative in the person of Beth Mayekiso. At last, student representation was formalised. Under the direction of Van Graan as chairperson of the Executive and then as Director of the organisation, CAP had undoubtedly achieved much in the way of becoming a streamlined institution equipped to deliver education and training as was sketched out in the 1987 mission statement. This was not achieved without resistance, as was already noted in the Morphet evaluation of 1989. Lorelle Bell recalls, “… It was during the period (1989 – mid-1991) that we set up policies to, for want of a better word, “professionalize” the organisation. … (CAP) had an organisational structure for the first time, with set guidelines with roles and responsibilities for staff and students. We developed policies about staffing issues and resources, and we documented them … there was some resistance from old staff – the staff that had been there before Mike was Director … there had been a blurring (then) with some of the staff – of lines between the staff and the community on behalf of which the money was raised. … It was difficult to sort out the ownership of CAP – who was entitled to what, and what their responsibilities were …” (Bell, 1997) Older members of staff harboured different memories. Sebastian Brown recalls, “Towards the end, when other people took over … like Mike Van Graan … CAP started getting more institutionalised. … There was always more talk of money … when money became an issue, the numbers began to dwindle, It was easier for people when there was lots of money and they didn’t have to pay for anything, but when it became more structured … people felt that it was becoming more like a school: you go to school and you go home, you don’t wanna go back to school. … Towards the end it became … a far cry from what it was. They can’t really use the word “community arts” because it’s not the same thing … it was difficult to get anything …” (Brown, 1997)

By the end of 1990 Van Graan’s strengths as well as weaknesses were clearly recognised by the staff. As much as he was admired for the relentless work he had put into the organisation he was also criticised for his ‘communication problems and staff relations’ (CAPCOM, November 1997). In an interview with Robyn Denny, Anne Schuster and Lynne Brown had the following to say: Anne: “And there were definitely those kind of intellectual papers going between Andrew and Mike. Question: How did they filter this down to the running of the Community Arts Project?” Anne and Lynne: “They didn’t.” (Brown, 1996) It appeared that Van Graan was intolerant of inefficiency and expected staff and students to match both his pace and ideas. Ex-staff member Dipuo Maketha recalls, “During Derek’s time everyone had a say – CAP was very nice. Derek used to encourage me … people to do so many things. Mike Van Graan created bureaucracy … the director and top staff got more money and decisions were made by certain people – they used to caucus and do what they (thought) right for us. We were very frustrated…” (Maketha, 1997) According to ex-student Matshabalala Mkonto, “If you are a director you must come down to a grassroots level and ask them `what is your problem?’, because CAP used to be built by grassroots. If there is no grassroots level at CAP there is no CAP. … Sometimes they didn’t involve us with what was happening at CAP, in decisions … when things went wrong they only come to us” (Mkonto, 1996) In support of Van Graan, John Walter recalls, “Mike Van Graan realised the only way to sell CAP was as an educational institution … rather than as a community-based or political organisation. … It did result in a bit of isolation – it wasn’t the community organisation that it had been – we were hoping to get (the courses) accredited by organisations like UCT. … Someone eventually has to make decisions and take actions. … One of the problems that had been perceived in the earlier days was that there hadn’t been clear leadership. … There was quite a resistance at the time I was there to the kinds of decisions that the executive – that Mike particularly – was making, because he was taking the lead and making decisions. … He had a vision he was prepared to put into place at any cost. …” (Walter, 1997) Mike Van Graan recalls his time at CAP as follows, “When I started you could do anything you wanted to do at CAP … it was a membership organisation, an activist or service organisation. Each of these required different management structures and different ways of students’ functioning … then different roles came into conflict with each other – students wouldn’t know what they were – members or students. There was conflict, there were different kinds of work. …CAP responded to requests rather than to internal structure. Andrew Steyn and I struggled to create a different internal structure. …The period from 1989-91 was difficult. There was nothing in writing for the staff – there were no contracts for students, teachers, staff – no conditions of service. By the time I left we had all these things. … among people employed at CAP there was lack of understanding on the role of CAP. CAP didn’t have a pro-active vision that achieved results. … In 1990 CAP began to function with a new management structure – and the quality of work improved.” (Van Graan, 1997)

1991 From efficiency and confidence to crisis and retrenchment

The bookkeeper’s report on the Origins of CAP’s Financial Crisis states, ‘Thus we started the new financial year with an actual deficit of c. R165 000 consisting of money for 91/92 spent before April 1991’. In November 1990, CAPCOM had approved the introduction of a full-time media course and Theatre Company, thus pushing CAP’s budget even higher, increasing monthly expenses from c.R75 000 to c.R100 000. Trustees evinced some concern regarding the realism of CAP’s plans, particularly given the proposed absence of Andrew Steyn and Mike Van Graan for some part of that year (Barnett, 1991). They were less concerned about the financial deficit[72], and shared confidence (with staff) that the Director would raise funds on his May fundraising trip. Not only did the year begin with this financial shortfall but staff was exhausted. In February, both the Director and the Administrator informed the organisation of their intentions to resign, the former by September and the latter by July. These key members of the Management Committee assumed that the organisation was now well established and capable of continued efficient delivery.

In May, in the absence of the Director who was on the planned fundraising trip, a cash flow crisis occurred. The acting chair of the Board was informed by administration of the shortfall of circa R1 000 000 for the year. It was in the absence of the Director that this anxiety was channelled directly to the Board. According to bookkeeper Voss  ‘The shortfall … should have prompted decisions to either curb expenses immediately or to make a concerted effort to get additional funding without delay or both. … the present crisis (was) the result of a combination of overspending during 90/91 together with soaring expenses during the first six months of 1991.’ (Voss, 1991: p. 2) An emergency trustee meeting was called on the 25 May, with another two trustees, to discuss the cash flow crisis precipitated by the late delivery of R132 000 by one funder. There were also no monies confirmed for July or September, thus the short term crisis was seen to be indicative of a long term crisis. The Executive proposed possible solutions to this i.e. that CAP close early for its mid-year break and that staff return on a part-time basis, that staff possibly be retrenched,[73] that CAP be restructured and a funding committee be formed. After ensuring an earlier release of promised “Interfund” money so as to cover student bursaries, part-salaries and urgent creditors, the Acting Chair consulted a lawyer and decided to retrench all staff (CAP Trust minutes, 6 June 1991), with a view to selective rehiring if funds permitted. At a quorate trustees meeting on the 27 May, the Board expressed dissatisfaction at being informed so late in the day. Although trustees should have been aware of an impending crisis from the November 1990 CAPCOM minutes, they had received no monthly financial statements from the executive. Reference was made to a ‘false optimism’ in the organisation (ibid.). Three major questions were asked, namely “Why, given the deficit, was the budget not revised? Did the Director have the relevant information? When new projects are implemented or projects expanded, e.g. the theatre company, on what security do they proceed?”

The Director returned on 13 June after an unsuccessful fundraising trip. Having been retrenched by telephone, he expressed dismay regarding the lack of consultation with him and the lack of confidence evinced in his possible handling of events. He felt that responsibility had been taken from him and from the Executive (whose responsibility it was to hire and fire). He was therefore unwilling to take on a re-negotiation of select staff contracts for the period of July. In his report on the funding crisis he wrote ‘In my opinion, while not negating the seriousness of the situation caused by the funders  money not arriving on time, the ‘crisis’ was one of the lack of creative leadership within difficult circumstances’ (Director Report to Trustees on “Funding Crisis”: p.9). In an open letter to trustees he stated ‘Some of us, who have an option to do so, have chosen not to return. … We would not have chosen to leave at this point; we would have been part of the process of restructuring and ensuring CAP’s longevity at least till the end of the year. Now however, after 3-6 years of struggling to realise an effective CAP and just about getting there, it gets wiped out. … the decision to retrench all staff of an organisation is a pretty major one; was the fullest possible board of trustees meeting called to discuss this and decide? Was the meeting quorate? Was the concern that the trustees may be sued for salaries really the uppermost item in the minds of trustees when deliberating; did the consequences for the organisation and the staff not feature very prominently in discussions?’[74] The acting chair of the Board continued to steer the process, meeting with the Executive to call for a revised budget according to circa one third of what monthly costs had been and in accordance with grants which had been confirmed to mid-year. This meant CAP operating with c. R30 000 monthly expenses. It was decided that CAP operate on a skeletal staff, that it would close early for mid-year, with full-time students returning to their areas of abode and that the part-time classes would continue on a self-sustaining basis. It was also decided that the Media Project and the Theatre Company would become independent and that the Theatre, Visual Arts, Children’s Art and part-time classes would be collapsed into one department (CAP Executive minutes, 13 June 1991). In the space of one month, CAP’s years of organisational work had been drastically reduced to the most bare and skeletal of operations.[75] Nineteen staff members were retrenched, seven of whom had been recently hired into the theatre company. Six full-time staff members were retained at CAP in the Chapel Street location plus two half-day posts, one three quarter post, one part-time post and occasional teachers for the part-time programme. The Media Project of CAP, based in Salt River, retained two staff (CAP trustee minutes, 14 August 1991).[76] There were no retrenchment packages offered at this stage. In a commissioned report on the crisis the outside evaluators noted ‘It was immediately apparent that the problems which the project encountered during the period had been experienced as a major trauma by all the people we spoke to.’ (Morphet, 1991: p.2) The Director wrote, ‘Even if some restructuring was necessary and even if some retrenchments were regarded as inevitable, the process of getting there was of major consideration to avoid the adverse medium and long-term repercussion (internally and externally) of a panic-stricken decision to retrench all staff. … ‘ (ibid.: pp 13-14)

In his letter to trustees the Director laid out his calculations regarding confirmed and probable grants, pointing to confirmed funds of R403 000 and probable amounts of R200 000. This totalled R603 000 indicating an approximate twenty percent shortfall which the project could have been restructured to accommodate.[77] The Director stated that he had assumed that monthly expenses of R100 000 were guaranteed to July and that if the funding trip was unsuccessful that monthly expenses might be cut to R70 000, with the Theatre Company going independent immediately and the Media Project becoming independent from January 1992. He had envisaged a possible freezing of vacant posts and the phasing out of full-time training, with all these changes being ratified at the November CAPCOM (Directors Report to Trustees on “Funding Crisis”: pp.7-8).

Staff and trust did not seem to be aware of the Director’s thinking on these matters. According to staff, fundraising documents had been sent out too late. These should have been sent out in October 1990 but projects did not submit budgets until December 1990. Proposals designed for internal funders were delayed because of staff delays in formulating a funding policy, and by April 1991, budgets for internal fundraising appeals were still being requested of departments (Executive minutes, 21 February 1991). The Director’s fundraising trip had also been postponed a number of times. Reasons included the internal crisis in CAP at the end of 1990, the political context which seemed to promise CAP an important role in discussions in Lusaka with CUSO and the ANC Department of Arts and Culture, and also the Gulf War. The Executive agreed to each postponement as the reasons appeared logical (Report to Trustees from Lorelle: p.1). Although the Executive had been aware of cash flow problems from the beginning of the year they expected the Director to be successful on his trip, particularly given the success of the 1990 fundraising trip (ibid.: p.2). Projects had been urged to raise 10-15% of the CAP budget through fundraising efforts but, unlike the early days of fundraising by staff and members, this did not happen in a project now accustomed to running on donor funds. Projects were expected to stay within budget limits, according to the bookkeeper’s monthly reports, however, some projects overspent. The Director had not briefed all administrative staff prior to his trip overseas and their access to funding information was restricted to the Director’s incomplete funding files (ibid.: p.2). It appeared that there had been little communication between the Director, administrative staff and the Executive, plus a lack of integrated financial planning and accounting (ibid.: pp.2-3). The Executive expected the bookkeeper to play a financial coordinating role but complications arose because of her job status. This was due to her only working part-time. This was not counter-balanced by ensuring that a full-time employee would fulfil the financial coordinating role.[78]

In August an external ‘Commission of Enquiry’ was decided upon (CAP Trust Minutes, 14 August 1991). This was conducted by Morphet and Schaffer and it set out to answer “What happened? How was it handled? What can be learned from it” (Morphet et al., 1991). Given the precipitating moments of the crisis, and when considered in relation to the adequate formal definitions of the Executive’s functions, the evaluators asked questions regarding when and how the financial information was made available and where authority lay in the project in acting on this information. The report identified a confusion of financial roles, of executive roles and a weakness in the financial information system. What it concluded was that the financial system was unable to make its information count in decision making (ibid.: p. 7). They observed that this downgrading or ignoring of financial information was linked to assumptions that all financial difficulties could be resolved through the expertise and skill of the Director.

The report’s most critical comment on structural causes pertained to CAP’s 1989 decision to make administration a department, or project, equivalent in status to the other four projects/departments. This meant that it was not seen as a management of resources for all the other projects which would have implied lines of accountability to administration. The Director was effectively left unsupported in that he was without an administrative or financial manager who could exercise authority across projects. It was due to the Director’s personal strengths, style and vision that staff allowed a centralising operational process to set in.[79] The effect of this centralisation was that effective authority lay in the Director’s office and the Executive, projects and students ceased to be decision-making loci. According to the report, ‘the Executive was unable to develop an effective strategy to deal with the crisis, leaving it to the administration and finally the Trustees to take the necessary steps to deal with the situation’ (Morphet et al., 1991: p.12).

That the trustees and administration failed to consult with the Director was clearly problematic. The evaluator’s report simply reads ‘the failure of the (Funding) tour to produce immediate results … took the strain to breaking point since it left the administration department thoroughly exposed. The consequence was deterioration in the communications with the Director, leading towards rupture and collapse.’ (Morphet et al., 1991: p.9). This gap in communication and sharing of responsibility was exacerbated by the assumptions of trustees that the administration department was in contact with the Director i.e. that the Director who had always been ‘in control’ was now evincing ‘no control’, and the person who had promised to ‘deliver’ CAP in effect ‘failed’ to deliver. That this attitude in effect set the Director up for failure was not acknowledged, nor was this expectation of delivery from an unsupported leader ever properly addressed.[80] The Director had long complained of pressure and exhaustion. He had submitted his resignation prior to the fundraising trip, and had taken leave as a result of stress. He was clearly overburdened by his duties as CAP director, the responsibility for funding, planning fundraising documents, the tour and building CAP’s theatre profile. The latter had entailed the formation of the new theatre company, the directing of the play “The Dogs Must be Crazy” and his assuming the position as Chair of the newly established Theatre Action Group (TAG). On departing on the fundraising trip, administration felt left ‘in the thick of a confused and pressing situation’ (Morphet et al., 1991: p.8). That there had been no formal handing over of authority meant that neither the Executive, nor administration, had authority to declare an emergency, thus, despite years of working on a structure directing authority away from an hierarchical apex, trustees were called upon to resolve the crisis.

The path chosen by trustees effectively pushed CAP back to a pre-1984 position, undermining the long-worked on Management Committee ( MANCOM) document, of the Director work as director, and the hard work of MANCOM to structure and effect policies. The report stated that CAP had allowed itself to grow too big too fast, assuming for itself too large a role in cultural politics. The report recommended that CAP operate as a small organisation with a budget of c.R500 000 on the edge of the educational field; this being because it was not large enough to draw funding from grants directed at operations in the centre of the ‘development’ field (ibid.: p.7). Recommendations were that the role of Director be maintained, that CAPCOM continue but that functional subcommittees be formed, including that of a monthly finance committee comprising trustees, director and staff. With regard to learnings pertinent to the financial system, it specified as problematic cross-project borrowings and external loans when such amounts were large and when only the transactions, but not the cash flow details, were reflected in the books. What it failed to address but what was pertinently stated in the bookkeepers report was the need to adjust the ‘ideal’ budget of projects according to monies received.[81]

In the second half of 1991, CAP staff began the process of restructuring, a process effectively steered by Lucy Alexander who initially acted as interim Co-ordinator. She was assisted by Janis Merand as Administrator and by Andrew Steyn until his departure. These developments were overseen by monthly Board meetings. CAPCOM and the Executive fell away and were replaced by staff meetings which occurred fortnightly (CAP Trust minutes, 25 July & 14 August). What remained in place in the organisation were working principles, rules and regulations, policies regarding use of physical resources, travel and overtime. What was suspended, apart from the management structure, were CAP’s conditions of employment, procedures for evaluation, terms of service, recruitment and interviewing procedures and disciplinary procedures. All these were to be reformulated according to a restructured CAP. Hiring and firing was to be undertaken by a subcommittee of trustees and ‘director’; and trustees were to decide on all proposals related to restructuring (CAP Trust minutes, 25 July 1991).

The Director stayed on until mid-August to attempt some carry-over regarding funding, management and to help restructure CAP. Trustee meetings were attended by the new administrator, Merand, by Alexander and by Nkohla (initially assistant to Alexander on the part-time and extra-mural programme). Severe problems were to manifest themselves due to educational and technical staff now having to assume increased managerial workloads. The immediate needs of the organisation included reworking job descriptions and salaries. The Board was slow to address these, thus contributing to the already escalating burn-out of educational staff acting in a managerial capacity. CAP entered an extended period of uncertainty, with no Director and with staff offered re-employment on six month contracts only (extended in November 1991 to March 1992). Trustees assumed that a new Director would draw up new job descriptions and confirm appointments of required staff. Advertisements for a new Director had been placed in August and September but it was only at the end of January 1992 that a Director was appointed, and then without such appointment actually materialising.

CAP survived 1991 on grants allowing for a monthly expenditure of approximately R50 000, namely R20 000 less than the Director’s worst scenario projection. The interim management’s projection of an anticipated surplus of R70 000 was countered by other demands, primarily that of the Media Project that it be ‘repaid’ monies spread across administration and other projects in CAP. This feud within CAP fuelled an already tense situation between insecure staff and equally insecure and overstretched persons acting as interim management. According to Merand, “The most dreadful thing was the collapse of CAP, because everybody was so demoralized. … I think people left feeling very bitter and angry ….” (Merand, 1997)

Effect of the funding crisis on students

The activities of part-time students continued but full-time students in the Media Project and in the Visual Arts and Crafts project experienced much insecurity. Faced with having to restructure CAP, both Van Graan and Steyn, (head of the Visual Arts and Crafts project), favoured closure of the full-time Visual Arts course. Trustees voted against this and proposed instead that the course be cut short by six months. Students submitted a proposal to the Board that the course run the full two years. By the 23 October, students had not received a response and they informed staff that they felt “bound” to working principles, rules and regulations of their original contract with CAP. Staff pointed out the possible invalidity of these due to CAP’s closure and the need for new contracts with all staff and students. Staff members were somewhat uncertain of the binding nature of the original contract. The acting Co-ordinator felt committed to the students and did much to accommodate their needs. When trustees finally voted against the full continuation of the course they pointed out CAP’s ‘responsibility regarding human support and continued contact’ (CAP Trust minutes, 30 October 1991). Students felt increasingly negative and demanded bursaries for the six month period of 1992 (MANCOM minutes, 1991). By year-end the visual art students were so disillusioned with CAP, that at the end of year exhibition, they publicly read a report voicing their complaints, thereby losing the support of some of the staff.[82] The issue of their receiving bursaries in 1992 was to be contingent upon CAP funding by year-end, which was not favourable. What Alexander did manage to secure for students was a two week evaluation workshop at CAP, enabling them to return to CAP during their six month course fieldwork carried out in their organisations. According to Alexander “We had to send everybody home but then I managed to raise money to bring them (the Visual Art students) back again and I think I regained their trust through that, for a consolidation and evaluation workshop.” (Alexander, 1996) An ex-media student, Bukelwa Voko, recalls “In 1991 CAP had a crisis with lack of funds – the students asked ‘what’s going on?’ I had to go back to the advice office (in De Aar) for six months … the students were all demotivated … they wanted to be back in Cape Town to learn and to finish the course.” (Voko, 1997)

1992 A holding operation

In December 1991, Lucy Alexander was formally asked to accept the position of Acting Director, a position she accepted on the understanding that the newly appointed director would assume the responsibility in 1992. The final decision regarding candidates for the post of director only occurred in January 1992, and the successful candidate, could only take up the position in June. However, at the end of April he informed the organisation of his decision to take up a research post at Yale instead and so mid-year found the organisation advertising for a director yet again.

Interviews for a Director occurred again in August. The job was offered to a successful candidate who, in October, declined the offer. Much energy of the Board and Acting Director had been focussed on the attempt to find someone to fill the position. CAP was however, now a small organisation with a small budget and, having lost the momentum of facilitator of cultural debate and experimentation with new forms of expression, was not as appealing an organisation as it had been. CAP’s income for April 1992 to January 93 was R806 697, and its expenses were R393 101 (this included expenses for Media but excluded any expenditure on Theatre). This amounted to the project surviving 1992 on a small budget of c.R39 310 per month (“Financial projection March to 1993”, 1992). Its budget was thus one third of what it had been in 1991,[83] and its staff component had been cut almost by half.

The Acting Director had, managed to keep alive a most active part-time programme, thus retaining the backbone of CAP’s activities despite the slashed budget. However, the project had curtailed its full time programmes and had lost its entire theatre component. The organisation was also riven by antagonism between the Media Project in Salt River and CAP administration in Chapel Street, an antagonism which was fuelled by the funding dispute mentioned above but which also centred on a history of ideological conflict between the projects in their separate geographic locations. When the second interview for Director was to take place, one trustee refused to sit on the interview panel before the dispute between Media and Chapel Street was resolved, especially their vacillation regarding whether or not to split into two separate organisations (CAP Trust Minutes, 1992).[84]

This intervention forced the projects into a formal ‘truce’ restating their commitment to operate under the umbrella of a single organisation. All this took its toll upon the Acting Director who was not invested with the powers of a full director.[85] This proved to be particularly difficult when it came to having to negotiate renewals of staff contracts for an insecure staff,[86] and when it came to having to deal with issues of staff discipline. In addition, uneven job descriptions and remunerations resulting from the restructuring resulted in added tension and massive workloads for the Acting Director and staff. In July, the Acting Director gave three months notice and at the end of October she left CAP after an exhausting period of service. An invaluable member of the educational staff had been ‘consumed’ by the relentless problems of CAP’s management and administration.[87] At a Board meeting on 30 July, trustee Ingrid Fiske requested that it be noted ‘that Lucy has done an excellent job of keeping CAP going in a very difficult time. It would be an enormous loss to CAP to see someone of Lucy’s outstanding combination of skills leave the organisation.’ Ex-student and teacher Mashabalala Mkonto commented, “Lucy is the mother of South Africa, even for the world. There were a lot of women the time Lucy was there, she organised a lot of things.” (Mkonto, 1996) Current staff member Sicelo Nkohla stated, “Lucy Alexander was Acting Co-ordinator. People were demoralised and Lucy had to do a lot of things. I worked closely with Lucy. Working with Lucy was one of my greatest experiences. Lucy, with her heart would show you how to do things, and at the same time support you when you needed it.” (Nkohla, 1997)

Before departing, Alexander had participated with staff in a three day workshop facilitated by CDRA. The purpose of this evaluation was to assess staff needs, to devise job descriptions, a management structure, and to address internal problems concerning power, history, purpose, debate and location (CDRA evaluation, 19-21 October 1992: p. 1). The obvious problems which the organisation had to address were the lack of leadership, the need for new job descriptions and a new management structure. Staff hoped the workshop would also iron out a host of other tensions. This pointed to the past year of strained relations between the Media Project and Chapel Street, (the balance of the programme) as well as CAP’s historical problems regarding where, and how, CAP was located in relation to the “community” (defined both physically and ideologically). In addition, an entire history of inequitable power relations between staff and users was implied in the brief.

Community Development Resource Association (CDRA) noted that approximately one year after the funding crisis as an organisation CAP was ‘still reeling from the traumatic experience’ (ibid.). The boom of late 1990/ early 1991 was followed by the collapse of the organisation in May/June 1991 leaving in its wake enormous despondency. It was also noted that much energy had been lost looking for a high profile leader as opposed to developing a leader from within. Members of the organisation were noted as exhausted (‘CAP demands of staff more than they can give’ and ‘CAP kills its leaders’), despondent (‘negative self image and organisational image’) and defensive (‘reversion to old ways’) in attempts to protect separate project ‘turf’ (ibid.: p. 14). At a time when CAP could have been proactively defining its role in a post-apartheid context it was caught up in turmoil without guaranteed future funds, or a clear vision of its future. Many community based organisations (CBOs) were similarly disorientated but CAP faced exacerbating circumstances. There were no longer guaranteed funds for CBOs working against apartheid in this transitional era. With the unbanning of resistance movements in 1990, major turmoil had ensued because the political incentive of projects from the seventies and eighties had fallen away. The discourse of politicised communities had lost momentum and CBOs (defined politically by alignments to the mass democratic movement) had to reconceive themselves as non-governmental organisations, trying to anticipate a new relationship to a prospective new state whose interests were yet to become apparent.[88] It was unclear how organisations like CAP were going to position themselves in relation to state, state institutions, para-statals and other projects. How to keep funding in this changed matrix of relationships was also unclear. The question recurrent on users’ lips was “Has CAP missed the boat?” This question was to be answered in the affirmative by an incoming Co-ordinator the following year.

Although in 1990 CAP had seemed to be laying the ground for reassessing cultural strategy in relation to the new government, it was, at that stage, still motivated by visions of a role forged at the height of the mass democratic struggle – CAP as facilitator of national cultural initiatives and networks and a vanguard community cultural education organisation. As noted in the Annual Funders’ Report April 1991-March 1992 ‘over ambitious planning arose from the positive funding climate prior to February 1990’ and ‘planned programmes were begun in a spirit of optimism before full funding for the year was secured’. By the time that the CDRA workshop took place in October 1992, the discourse of 1990/91 was no longer in evidence. There was neither mention of ‘cultural workers’ nor of a ‘national cultural initiative’, nor even of ‘new aesthetic form’, let alone ‘counter-hegemonic forms’. Instead, staff identified the simple need to provide a place where marginalised communities could come to be creative, to acquire skills for possible income generation, critical awareness and (in the case of the Media Project) for building other media projects. What had remained was the idea of media, arts and training ‘to promote community development for social change’. Nevertheless, the term ‘community’ was not clearly defined. What was clear, however, were the different target audiences of Chapel Street and Media, pointing to the root of their historical differences. Chapel Street defined the importance of education for ‘humanity/identity/equality which has been taken from us’ (CDRA evaluation, 19-21 October 1992: p. 19) and Media defined education to provide a voice to the target community and to improve the educational and service capacity of those Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) servicing their primary needs (i.e. rural communities, squatter communities and working class women) (ibid.). The most cohering commitment and evidence of historical continuity was that CAP build and maintain links with communities and strive for organisational democracy. What was still not addressed was how it might see itself as ‘part’ of the ‘community’. It could now assume its role as an organisation in civil society given the disappearance of the incentive to define itself primarily as political, but it had difficulty understanding its position in the current milieu and it was so busy simply ‘surviving’ that these were larger questions that went unanswered.

Following Alexander’s departure in October, the Board asked staff to make recommendations on CAP’s management and to discuss how the responsibilities of the Acting Director might now be shared until a Co-ordinator was appointed. Based on the lack of success in finding a high profile Director, staff and trustees began to accept the idea of a Co-ordinator/Organiser. At a meeting, on 28 October 1992 of staff and trustees, it was noted that ‘the building of the organisation and internal co-ordination within a framework of an understanding of educational and community issues is seen as a priority by staff, over and above the role of “cultural messiah”’. With some confusion regarding quite what this role of Co-ordinator/Organiser would be, a third set of interviews was conducted in November 1992. Zayd Minty was hired as ‘Organisational Co-ordinator’. At a trust meeting it was decided that Minty would be evaluated after three, six and twelve months and, depending on funds, would be reassessed in relation to his suitability as either Administrator or Director (CAP Trust minutes, 23 November 1992). No time frames were established for this suggested procedure and it was the lack of clarification of his job description and status that was to continually plague Minty and result in yet another ‘burned-out’ CAP leader.

Prior to Minty’s appointment in December, Gaby Cheminais had acted as interim Co-ordinator for the month of November. Cheminais, administrative staff and project co-ordinators drew up a job description and management restructuring proposal presented to trustees in November. Although there were observations by trustees that the job description was too large and that the ‘Organisational Co-ordinator’ should also act as chair of MANCOM to make more apparent his coordinating role, there were no major objections to the radical re-conceptualisation of this key managerial person who was now literally ‘secretary’ with no powers of policy making. He was to be completely accountable to Management Committee (MANCOM).[89] As if in reaction to Van Graan’s term of office, staff had tried to ensure the re-introduction of its old style of democracy – albeit of the type which Morphet had warned against in his 1989 evaluation. MANCOM (made up of the Organisational Coordinator, Financial Planner, Project Co-ordinators, Staff representative and student representative), was to take over the functions of the Executive, and tasks previously allocated to the Director would be allocated as portfolios to MANCOM. Finance and Education committees were to have no decision-making powers but would make recommendations to MANCOM.[90] Also in contradiction to Morphet’s analysis of the funding crisis, administration was again conceived of as ‘servicing’ MANCOM, without any executive powers of its own. Given the enormity of tasks and the lack of effective powers of leadership it appeared as if the organisation had not resolved the challenges of leadership and lessons about structure from its recent past. Of note was that CAPCOM was now to revert to the form of an annual open meeting, another indication of the attempt to re-capture the style of democracy of the mid-eighties.

The uneasy succession of, and burn-out, of Coordinators in CAP’s history has led to many current criticisms of the project. An ex-student commented on the lack of continuity in relation to all staff since the 80s as follows “… I feel a lot of people who pulled in there who had access to those corridors of power, they didn’t see things through. They came in and indicated that they had a vision of where to take the institution and then in fact [went off] to greener pastures.” (Anonymous, 1997) Ex-staff member Lungile Bam stated “I would say firstly that leadership was one of the problems, or is one of the problems. … What goes at CAP is that everyone who is in leadership comes and tries … to say that this is what I want CAP to look like and then at the end of the day … that person will disappear. Then the next person will come and change. …. The problem is that people don’t take from where other people have left. … They always see what other people have done wrong, and then, to change that, they say ‘This is how I want to see CAP … and I’m going to do this irrespective of how other people feel … especially people who’ve been at CAP for quite a long time’. And (the latter) are the only people feeling the pain because they always find that people are coming there to change systems all the time.” (Bam, 1997) Commenting on the impact of lack of continuity of staff on programmes current staff member Simba Pemenayi commented “CAP’s failures are that new staff comes into the organisation with separate packages and CAP doesn’t collectivise and make a common understanding around specific issues. This leads to a lack of continuity in the programmes” (Pemenayi, 1997)

1992-94: New coordinator Minty rebuilds the organisation

The first three months

Despite the restrictions of his job as Coordinator, Minty carefully assessed the state of CAP in early 1993 and made various cost-effective suggestions based upon CAP’s weak financial situation (Minty, March 1993: p. 6).[91] These recommendations attempted to build upon the idea of CAP as an educational institution but with its delivery being affected by a small highly trained full-time staff, supplemented by contract posts. By mid-April Minty had moved ahead on these proposals, retrenched two full-time staff and all part-time staff.[92] The part-time visual art classes and children’s art classes were put on hold, and research was conducted in relation to the delivery of these programmes. Space was to be sublet, systems computerised, administrative costs spread across projects, salary structures reviewed, monthly reports systematised and staff evaluations conducted. In addition, Minty introduced regular strategy-planning and goal-setting workshops so as to develop 3-5 year plans as well as short term goals (MANCOM minutes, 3 February 1993). He also set for himself the task of building pride in CAP[93] and beginning the long talked-about process of documentation in the form of a “History of CAP” project. What these objectives and actions reflected was his careful assimilation of CAP’s past objectives and learnings and a determination to model the financial base, the internal management and morale, and CAP’s external image so as to ensure delivery of certain of these objectives. Minty remembers “I spent a lot of time reading about CAP when I first came to CAP. I read most of the minutes. I spent hours reading. My whole life was CAP for at least two years, and then I took a bit of time off for myself. So I read a lot about CAP and I knew a lot of its experiences.” (Minty, 1997)

Minty’s vision of the project was informed by the radical changes occurring throughout South Africa in its preparations for the first democratic elections scheduled for April 1994. In an attempt to understand what of these functions would be taken over by government and where they might still perform critical tasks, community-based organisations were beginning to examine their roles in relation to government and the non-governmental sector. In addition, the arena of funding promised radical changes. CAP’s mid-year report (April – September 1993: p. 1) read: ‘The period April-September has been an extremely difficult time for CAP (and the whole of South Africa), but has also proved to be most exciting. Many new and exciting opportunities have arisen, and while certain doors have closed others have begun to open. On the external front: the political, social and economic changes (and promises of change) in the country and city, coupled with a shifting of priorities by many funders, a worldwide recession, widespread social inequalities due to apartheid and a massive crime and unemployment rate, have led to uncertainties for the continued support of donors and politicians towards arts education. On the more positive front, the coming of the first democratic non-racial elections, has given us all hope that at least the beginnings of real change are around the corner. Organisations and cultural workers within Cape Town and the country are beginning to organise themselves in preparation of assisting in the reconstruction of our country, and there is an apprehensive and charged atmosphere in most institutions working towards social change.’

Minty’s analysis of organisational and environmental factors, written into his March document “How Cap Can Change” pointed to the prospect of a forthcoming interim government having to direct resources to areas that would be perceived as far more pressing than art and culture and to the shrinking international funder base. The report stated, ‘It’s a free for all situation in a world of limited resources. … In a few years time, we will be forced by trends internationally to become very specialised, lean and mean’ (Minty, March 1993: p. 7). In this first document drawn up by Minty he sketched out what he regarded as CAP’s options if it committed itself to acting as an educational institution rather than a non-governmental organisation with a strong consultancy component. ‘Educational institutions cannot possibly be self-sufficient especially if they are, as CAP is, servicing deprived communities. Because overseas funders are no longer prioritising South Africa, non-formal educational institutions in a new South Africa would need to link themselves with formal educational institutions like universities and technikons, or get a state-subsidy, in order to cover their high running costs’ (ibid.: p.8). That these issues were not addressed by trustees at the time of the submission of this document to the Board meant that Minty and staff pushed ahead with important policy and strategic plans. This was to lead to considerable unhappiness on the part of certain trustees who, the following year, were to witness policy developments with which they could not identify.

In effect, this reflected a broader lack of involvement on the part of the Board in respect to Minty’s ‘inheriting’ of the project with its incumbent problems. In two successive reports to trustees early 1993, Minty declared the organisation to be in a state of crisis (Minty, 23 & 26 March 1993). The first report stated, ‘The environment has shifted and CAP has not changed or adapted to the shift’ (Minty, 23 March 1993). Already, Minty was beginning to feel the effects of the lack of morale and vision of the staff still lingering from the 1991 crisis as well as a manipulative ethos of staff relations. Minty noted, ‘The issue of power relations and race as issues of staff polarisation has arisen again … those who are more advantaged dominate’ (Self evaluation, 1993).

This was exacerbated by the tensions between the Chapel Street staff and the Salt River Media Project staff where, according to Minty, the sharing of a coordinator’s tasks by the two full-time staff was a ‘recipe for disaster’ (ibid.). Minty had inherited the task of mediating the ideological tensions between CAP Chapel St and the Media Project in Salt River but had little power to affect a resolution. In a March report to trustees Minty stated ‘I can make no decisions except through MANCOM and my job is thus very frustrating. If I do have decision making powers, what are these and how can I exercise them? If I do not have decision making powers I cannot be ultimately responsible for the organisation’. In effect,  Minty was experiencing precisely what staff had designed as the role for the co-ordinator i.e. serve the organisation rather than exercise leadership. In response, trustees stated ‘The Co-ordinator has the authority to co-ordinate CAP. The Co-ordinator can take the final decision if no consensus is reached in MANCOM’ (CAP Trust Minutes, 30 March 1993). When Walters resigned as Acting Chair of the Board, in July 1993, she declared ‘At this stage, I am optimistic that CAP has moved out of “crisis mode” and is once more becoming proactive in the sphere of art and culture’.[94] In relation to what Walters had seen CAP go through she was correct; the organisation had secured funding by mid-year (MANCOM minutes, 11 August 1993) but, with respect to managerial issues and in relation to the Media – Chapel Street conflict, the organisation was still in the throes of crisis. While the trustees saw the Co-ordinator as a decision maker, staff saw him as a facilitator. Less than a month later, Minty was to report to the trust, ‘Trustees ultimately to make a decision and lay down the lines of responsibility and accountability … making these lines clear and unambiguous’ (Minty, August 1993). Minty reported that he was ‘drained’, ‘exhausted’ and that the organisation was unable to move because of his feeling ‘ineffective’ as a leader, thus requesting resolution or his resignation (ibid.).[95]

Minty’s initial resolution to the crisis had been to bring the projects closer together under one Co-ordinator and Administrator, with the educational component of Media moving to Chapel St. and the Production department retaining its workshop area in Salt River. This was to pull the expenses of Media into line with the drive for cost effectiveness, and to circumvent the hiring of a Media Co-ordinator. Minty also wanted to reduce the number of people involved in decision-making so as to enable a more efficient decision-making structure (CAP Trust Minutes, 23 April 1993).[96] After extended debate involving the trust and staff, and in the light of the Media Project’s objection to this, the proposal was amended to that of a total administrative and financial split between the two projects, finally decided upon in November 1993 (MANCOM minutes, 26 & 29 October 1993).[97] It had taken the Co-ordinator eight months to reach the position where he could begin to implement the structure he had envisaged for the organisation at the beginning of the year. He was employed an Administrator to consolidate the administration department and education projects were consolidated into a single education department. The post of a Co-ordinator of the Resource Centre was created[98] and the way was cleared toward creating the post of an Educational Convenor to head the education department. According to Minty “The resource centre had a very weak set up. It had a selection of books and I tried very hard on the resource centre side. The filing was in a total mess, it still is in a mess but now a lot of the materials are fairly accessible” (Minty, 1997). It was, however, to take approximately a year before these positions were filled and activated. Carol Knowles, ex-CAP Resource Centre Coordinator recalls “Then I worked in the Resource Centre, building up the resources, doing all the necessary tasks – library work, building up data bases, cataloguing, and making information accessible – it was a huge task. It was quite difficult to do all in one year. There were volunteers working there but it was a specialised task and they weren’t always at a good literacy level.” (Knowles, 1996) The process of the separation of Chapel Street and Media Project, and the ambiguity of the position of ‘Co-ordinator’ as opposed to a clarity of decision making powers vested in a ‘director’ took its toll on Minty, as it had on Alexander. In Trust minutes of 30 November, ‘concern was raised at possible burn out of the present Co-ordinator and the history of burnout by people in leadership positions at CAP (Lucy’s exit being a case in point).’ Yet again, fear of leadership and a lack of dependable structures of accountability had threatened to disrupt the development of the organisation.

What was stabilised in the course of 1993 was the financial base of the project. Between April and December 1993, the project’s income amounted to R901 526, with another R201 429 anticipated in April 1994, thus suggesting a budget for the 92/93 financial year of R1 102 955 (CAP financial overview, 30 November 1993).

1994 – Focus on rebuilding

The beginning of 1994 saw the Co-ordinator now focussed on Chapel Street policy, management and programme development and the Media Project advertising for its own Co-ordinator. Although the two projects were operating under one trust they required distinguishing names and the battle over names dragged on from March until November that year when it was finally resolved that Chapel Street retain the name Community Arts Project and Media become known as CAP Media Project (CAP Trust Minutes, 24 March & 17 November 1994).[99] 1993/94 had seen CAP adopt a cautious financial approach but by mid-1994 activities increased, as did spending (CAP Mid-Year Report, April-September 1994).[100] Minty resumed his energetic plan to ‘rebuild’ this smaller ‘Community Arts Project’ and to streamline its management. Early 1994 saw the drafting of an annual plan and the introduction of regular organisational development sessions, time management systems, evaluations and staff development sessions. A management committee and educational committee met regularly but Minty’s plan was to move toward greater efficiency, delivery and a sharper public profile by employing a full-time Administrator, Educational Convenor, Resource Centre Co-ordinator and Centre Manager. All of these were employed in the course of 1994.[101] The “Interim Management Structure” proposal presented to trustees in July set out these roles plus weekly administrative meetings, educational committee meetings, bimonthly executive meetings (of Co-ordinator, Administrator and Educational Convenor) and quarterly staff meetings.[102] The Community Arts Project Report of 1994/95 (now excluding Media) stated ‘The new management structure endeavours to do the following 1. Streamline management channels 2. Ensure that an efficient and directed educational vision is developed and maintained and that the efforts of the three previous educational departments are rationalised and directed’ (CAP Annual Report, 1994/5: p.7) Minty’s (March 1993) notion of a cost effective programme for a ‘learning organisation’ with a ‘business practice orientation’ was to take full effect in Chapel Street in 1994,[103] formalised into a three year plan with staff at the organisational development session on 24-28 Oct 94.

With Chapel Street under the firm direction of Minty, the Media Project entered into a difficult period of self-management characterised by shaky funding, financial debts to Chapel Street, problems with its administration and the need to draw up new job descriptions, salary structures and interview procedures for a Co-ordinator. In addition, its history of service work saw it becoming increasingly involved in the design and production of pre-election material, especially for the African National Congress. This drew criticism from the Trust and a directive to ensure that the Media Project deliver from the basis of a non-sectarian position, keeping in mind its mission to service all those who had been disadvantaged by apartheid (CAP Trust Minutes, 6 February 1994). On the 24 June, the new Media Co-ordinator, Themba Rubushe, was welcomed by the Board. Rubushe was to stay with the Media Project only four months before taking up a position in Pretoria, at which stage the finances of the project were still precarious and a decision was made to ‘hold-off’ on the position of Co-ordinator until such time as funds were secured. The services of a part-time fund raiser were hired instead and it was ultimately this person who became a ‘change-manager’ to lead the project into total independence. Dorothy Ntone, nee Brislin, was hired in this capacity.

What CAP Chapel St and the Media Project had shared in the August 1993 organisational development session was a broad three to five year vision for CAP, worked out jointly in August 1993.[104] Both projects had subscribed to the overall aims of CAP defined in a July proposal as follows ‘CAP is an NGO which exists in order to educate, train and empower grassroots communities. CAP provides education and training in the field of media and arts, which promotes community development for social change’ (City Council Proposal, July 1993). Target communities were described as ‘largely Black and Coloured communities in townships and in the Western Cape’ (ibid.).[105] At a strategy planning workshop in August that year, both the Media Project and the Chapel Street staff identified with the Co-ordinators proposal of developing, over three to five years, replaceable, modularised and accredited courses, with accompanying handbooks. Such courses were to be offered to persons from community centres or projects, squatter communities, rural communities, homes and institutions and would offer basic skills in media, theatre and visual arts, linked to ‘popular social issues’.[106] However, the agreed upon emphasis was to shift away from the training of individual producers toward the training of facilitators to teach these basic skills, thus ensuring a ‘multiplier effect’.[107] These facilitator training courses were to include teaching methodology, organisational development and administration (run by other development organisations) and would include the training of social workers, childminders and teachers in NGOs and CBOs to use art as a developmental and educational tool.

What Chapel Street seemed to absorb from the Media Project at this point was the focus upon ‘community’ as opposed to the ‘individual’. This fitted in with Minty’s notion of cost-effectiveness and training for a multiplier effect. The 1994 mid-year report described CAP’s aims as ‘to build the capacity of communities to establish and control independent community based arts projects; to provide specialised training to community workers/facilitators to advance the arts as tools for development and as a means of effectively addressing social issues; to make art accessible to communities though services and educational programmes; to promote the arts as vehicles for human development and change through debates, seminars, festivals and publications; to research, experiment with and contribute to the development of models of education appropriate to our context; to contribute to and or participate in local and national networks of community based structures and educators …’[108] As CAP itself acknowledged in its issue of re-CAP, February 1994, the terms ‘community’ and ‘arts’ are subject to differing interpretations. ‘Community’ was redefined in the editorial of this newsletter as follows ‘As a result of this (CAP’s) research and reflection marginalised constituencies such as the disabled, emotionally abused, and unemployed have been fore grounded in addition to our “traditional” constituencies in squatter and sub-economic communities, community and non-governmental organisations’.[109] In this newsletter, CAP explained the historical definition of ‘Community Arts’ in South Africa according to its historical usage i.e. where it is equated with black art, different to ‘fine’ or ‘high’ art, the historical preserve of a white elite. CAP proposed that this definition would be shifting as S.A. moved away from a racially stratified society and that ‘community art needs to be understood as art/s which contributes to empowering communities (geographic as well as ‘communities of interest’) through its educational, therapeutic, recreational, income generating or aesthetic contribution. It is art which is produced by and/or for communities so as to contribute to improving the quality of lives of ordinary people. The involvement of communities at various levels is an important aspect of community arts which as a result reflects the communities’ aspirations and expectations.’[110] CAP’s stated objectives for 1994, as listed above, referred to art as a ‘tool for development and a means of effectively addressing social issues’, as well as a ‘vehicle for human development and change’. What is suggested here is that art becomes a means of addressing social issues to effect change for improved conditions of the community. The old seventies arguments for training individuals to express whatever their interests might be or arguments in the eighties of training individuals to service their organisations in the mass democratic movement is distinctly replaced here by the notion that individual and communal development are contingent upon one another. While the political terminology of the eighties is no longer evident in CAP documents of 1993-95, the notion of the ‘social collective’ still dominates over the earlier seventies notions of ‘art’ as individual expression. What entered the debate, however, was the idea of art as a means of ‘healing’ the traumatised or disabled individual, or of ‘enabling’ the unemployed to assert their needs, confidence and saleable skills more effectively. Such activities were justified on the basis of these persons constituting ‘marginalised’ communities who were likely to continue to be marginalised by formal education systems.

While the objectives of this revised ‘community’ focus were carefully worked out, what was of less concern for the organisation was a formal representation of these constituencies in its structures. If this was justified by the redefinition of the organisation as an educational institution since 1988/89 what was still absent was any formalised representation of the ‘learners’ from the communities outlined. The community was ‘catered’ for in the delivery of modularised courses, a resource centre, a community arts publication and the upgrading of CAP’s premises for use but its sole ‘formal’ representation was through a Community Field Worker (Sicelo Theo Nkohla) and whatever additional community consultation was undertaken by individual programme managers. CAP’s focus was directed toward regional and national networks, lobbies and government structures rather than toward the formalised representation of individual learners in its immediate vicinity and prior constituency.

The Introduction of the CAP Mid-Year report stated ‘NGOs like CAP, in the arts and the education sectors, have been hoping for relief from the state, expecting funding and support. This support has been sadly lacking. … On the macro level it appears that little has changed. The old apartheid structures continue to get the bulk of funding. … Nonetheless CAP has continued in its work: taking arts education to people who were denied access under apartheid, and lobbying for changes. The education system has yet to be overhauled and there are still massive imbalances, arts education is still lacking in most black schools and communities. Until the government successfully deals with the matter it is imperative that CAP’s work continues.’[111] CAP had placed itself in the adult education sector, hoping for government recognition of its historical role as a non-formal educational body. Given the developments in early 1994 in the educational sector to lobby the new government to bridge the divides between formal and non-formal education, CAP had developed a long-term plan for itself. The plan was that its modularised courses would be credited by the future national qualifications framework which would allow for multiple entry points into an educational system, thus accommodating the vast numbers who had been disadvantaged by apartheid education.[112] Its future vision of its relations with government was seen in conjunction with industry: ‘The relationship between our educational work and the works of departments of government, business and industry, existing institutions of learning and service delivery will be increased, thereby providing greater possibilities for our work to be interwoven into other sectors of society.’[113] CAP hoped not only for recognition of its educational role but also for financial aid from government. However in this same report mention is made of the prevailing ‘ineffective interaction and poor communication occurring within different layers of government (nationally, provincially and locally) and with civil society organs (especially para-statals and NGOs). Most confusion has been at local levels with delays in local elections adversely affecting the functioning of still unrepresentative transitional city/town councils’. The report continued ‘The arts, culture and education budgets are still geared largely towards existing institutions rather than to alternative structures, and so little effective movement has occurred in addressing the needs of marginalised communities. CAP together with other arts education NGOs received small grants (from government) from an emergency fund this financial year. However it is yet unclear how support will be offered to arts education NGOs in the next few years.[114]

Prior to the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994,  attempts had been made to establish an NGO Council to act as ‘watchdog’ of the incoming government; post-elections saw certain CBOs and NGOs moving closer to government in an effort to help in the delivery of the government-directed Reconstruction and Development Policy (RDP). In its desire to have courses accredited and to secure its funding base, staff at CAP pulled the organisation into the latter camp. Although the task of trustees was to set policy guidelines, planning policy was effected by the Co-ordinator and Executive who led organisational development sessions to which trustees were invited. This uncritical adoption of the RDP by staff, as reflected in CAP’s mid-year report and the July newsletter CAN, led to certain trustees querying the role of the Board in its primary support of day-to-day management of the projects as opposed to more active engagement in policy making.[115] Questions were also asked regarding CAP’s approach to local and national government for funding as this was thought to indicate CAP’s movement toward a para-statal status.[116] That CAP assumed a part in trying to effect RDP delivery was also evident in the participation of the Co-ordinator and Education Convenor in the newly established Arts and Culture Development Network (ACDN).[117] The Cultural Workers’ Congress (established in 1988 in the Western Cape) had in 1990, assessed the need to liaise with anti-apartheid cultural bodies country-wide and attempted to form a representative structure for the arts to lobby for changes to be effected by the new democratically elected government. The result was the formation of The Federation of South African Cultural Organisations (FOSACO). There were however other bodies that claimed to be representative national structures, e.g. the National Arts Coalition (NAC). According to an article in the July issue of CAN, ‘The lack of cooperation, and even hostility that has characterised the relationship between the NAC and FOSACO has not helped a sector which is all too aware that it has a major battle to fight in order to impress upon Government and the public at large that arts and culture can play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the RDP’.[118] The article continued ‘The situation is made more complex by the fact that arts and culture are among the powers given by central government to provinces. This means that in addition to the need for a legitimate voice at the national level, strong representative provincial structures need to be established.’[119] The result was that the Cultural Workers Congress (CWC) organised a forum at CAP at which the creation of a provincial arts forum was endorsed as the most ‘feasible mechanism for ensuring inclusivity of all major stakeholders, and as a necessary mechanism to ensure consultation with the Provincial Government around all matters of significance pertaining to arts and culture e.g. the budget, establishing a regional developmental framework which can ensure the implementation of the RDP, legislation etc.’[120] This initiative resulted in the establishing of an Interim Steering Committee to lobby local government and led on to the formation of the Arts and Culture Development Network (ACDN).  After elections, the ACDN made submissions to parliament regarding the need for a National Arts Council to ensure that state funding would not be channelled through state bureaucrats but through an elected body of cultural representatives. The ACDN argued that the Performing Arts Boards should be stripped of their ‘monopoly’ of state funding, that autonomous provincial arts committees should be formed and that government should introduce tax incentives to promote companies funding the arts and culture. These submissions were led by the ACDN general secretary, Mario Pissarra, at that time the Visual Arts Manager at CAP and soon-to-be Education Convenor of CAP. Pissarra’s and the Co-ordinator’s association with ACDN was seen, by certain members of the trust, to place CAP in a politically-aligned position with which they, as trustees, disagreed. The issue was further complicated by the fact that the chairperson of the Board had also attended ACDN meetings. Two trustees resigned in protest against the direction that they perceived CAP to be following i.e. prioritising political alliances (especially that with the African National Congress led government) over and above a non-sectarian production of artistic activity and cultural critique.

1995-6 Lobbying in the Transition Era for Funding, Accreditation, and Recognition of Non-Formal Arts Education

Between 1995 and 1996 CAP was busy lobbying and trying to position itself in the educational sector so as to benefit from new structures, alliances and channels of funding. This it continued to do, as a member of the ACDN, until early 1996 when membership was cancelled after the ACDN ‘fulfilled’ its brief.[121] As early as October 1994, CAP had attempted to draw up a three year plan which ‘would read the future as articulated by a range of national processes (e.g. the CEPD document on arts education)’.[122] The OD report from this session stated ‘In addition CAP will continue to lobby its positions. Other processes among them ACTAG and WESTAG will determine a final arts policy for the region. With a three year plan we can submit proposals to these processes and be clearer in negotiations with various other organisations. We believe that this is a conscious move from CAP’s previous reactive approach and a return to the strict educational focus the organisation was moving towards before its financial crisis.’[123]

The July 1995, edition of re-CAP stated in its editorial ‘CAP has played an important role in the lobbying process, as a member of the Arts and Culture Development network and as a participant in the WESTAG and ACTAG processes – the latter being government appointed task groups set up on the Provincial and National levels to draw up policies and strategies for a new arts dispensation. While these initiatives have not been without problems, they have been positive in bringing together the diverse views of artists and educationalists. Following over 6 months of research both groups have identified human resource training, access to material resources and supported networking as fundamental areas of concern – agreeing that an enabling environment is fundamental to community driven change.’[124] The mid-year report makes mention of the policy formulation processes having resulted in a WESTEG document and an ACTAG document and a delay in the writing of white papers.[125] The situation had not changed by the time of the production of the 1995/96 Annual Report which reads, ‘The main consequence of these delays is the proposed arts council (the mechanism to ideally distribute funds) has yet to be established. This delay meaning that a clearly defined avenue for receiving state funds distributed strategically has yet to be opened. CAP has been forced to continue lobbying for recognition of its work from all tiers of government and had held numerous meetings with the province, national and city council around funding. In this financial year, CAP managed to receive a government grant in recognition of CAP’s contribution to cultural development. This amount comes from a budget normally reserved only for projects of national importance.’[126] Those trustees who had criticised CAP’s relation with government would have been further dismayed by the fact that the 1995 end of year festival was opened by the Director-General of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (Roger Jardine) and attended by the Director of Arts (Carol Steinberg). The title of the festival “From the Margins to the Centre” stated explicitly where CAP was intending to move in terms of the recognition of non-formal arts education as well as its attempts to channel its learners into other educational and training opportunities via a nationally accredited system.

Explaining this shift, then Education Convenor at CAP, Mario Pissarra, wrote in 1995: ‘It should also be noted that psychologically the shift from the “margins” to the “mainstream” is highly significant. “Redress”, “access”, “learner centred” and other key concepts and buzzwords long associated with “alternative” (usually NGO provided) education are now part and parcel of the general educational discourse in the country. The government’s Reconstruction and Development Programme (in which the NQF is a significant mechanism designed to facilitate “Human Resource Development”, a cornerstone of RDP) is a major vehicle for social change, rather than having limited impact from a peripheral position. … In the present situation CAP has the possibility to contribute to social change as part of a broad national process in partnership with the government.’[127]

CAP’s lobbying initiatives and political positioning cannot be separated from this new educational vision it set for itself. This was mapped out in the 1994 O.D. session with a reworking of CAP’s aims, possible due to the split from Media. The mission set at this three year planning session was ‘to advance and promote the arts for community development and change’[128] and the primary aim outlined was ‘to make community arts accessible to marginalised people through the provision of educational programmes and services.’[129] Noticeable in this reworking of aims was an emphasis upon ‘community’ art and a redefinition of ‘communities’ as ‘marginalised people’. The training of trainers for a ‘multiplier’ effect was retained but the aim of promoting the development of independent community based projects was dropped. The focus was more tightly centred upon the development of models of education appropriate to the learner constituency.[130] In order to achieve this the OD session endorsed the introduction of the position of an Education Convenor whose job it was to coordinate the educational programmes and delivery of previous ‘programme managers’ – such ‘programme managers’ would retain responsibility for their own areas of work only thus becoming ‘educators’ whose managerial functions were passed on to the educational convenor. The task of the proposed Educational Convenor would be to oversee the development of the department and its educational methodologies in terms of CAP’s stated educational aims and educational philosophy.[131]

The Convenor was to be responsible for enacting the vision of CAP articulated in the 1994/95 report as follows ‘CAP plans to develop further its modularised part-time programme, adding a range of new modules each year, aiming in the long term for a comprehensive programme of courses in the visual and performing arts. Accreditation of courses and the development of diplomas for streams of study are fundamentally important medium term aims.’[132] This vision is further described in re-CAP July 1995 by stating the aims of CAP’s education department as ‘The introduction of student support services including careers and course counselling and a commitment to learner-centred training’.[133] In an effort to explain to its students the status of its certificates and the slow process toward accreditation of its courses CAP included, in RE-CAP July 1995, an article on accreditation. Explaining the prospective, but delayed, implementation of a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) the article states ‘Courses which are not “national” (such as CAP’s) need to be accredited by provincial accreditation bodies.’[134] The 1995 mid-year report states ‘With specific reference to “bridging” to other institutions and industries it should be noted that the recent development of a National Qualifications Framework  has for the first time made it possible for our educational work to be located within an emerging national framework, a significant shift from our historically oppositional role to the State. We are presently placing far greater emphasis on defining entry and exit levels, and developing methods of assessment.’[135] The 1995/96 Annual Report explained CAP’s role in the transitional era in respect to education as one of developing models of education, courses and course materials in line with the NQF, and as participating in the process of developing the emerging NQF. The report stated  ‘The NQF is a framework providing opportunities for access to lifelong learning by means of nationally recognised levels on which all learning standards and qualifications will be registered. The rationale for this framework has been the need for uniform standards in the provision of quality education and training. It is hoped that in the future an integrated approach to education and training aimed at human resource development will be in place.’[136] It continued ‘CAP is currently represented on the interim Provincial Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) Advisory Committee which consists of representatives of the Education Department, tertiary institutions, training colleges, night schools, NGOs and industry and part of this committee’s brief is to hold workshops to popularise and develop the NQF’[137]

In the 1995 mid-year report, CAP’s new educational direction was explained in terms of the adoption of outcomes based education as a model for curriculum development, in accordance with the requirements of the NQF. It stated ‘This means that all curricula is learner-centred and makes explicit the skills, knowledge and attitude that the learner is expected to have developed on completion of the course …. Learner assessment is being introduced to ensure that all learners have met the requirements of courses. Certificates of attendance will now become certificates of competency.’[138] In line with developing courses consistent with the interim guidelines of the NQF, CAP began to link its courses with stakeholder institutions to strengthen links with these, to help CAP assess the level of its courses in comparison with other institutions and to introduce external ‘examiners’ for learner assessments.[139] Then Education Convenor, Mario Pissarra, wrote ‘The future accreditation of courses enables CAP’s students (and those from similar constituencies) to have far greater access to developing their skills in other education and training contexts. The student who has consistently attended CAP because all other doors were closed will one day be able to knock on a range of doors.’[140] By the time of writing the 1995/96 Annual Report the NQF had been adopted as a result of an act of parliament. The report stated ‘The white paper on Education and Training (March 1995) paved the way for the passing of the SAQA Act (Act no. 59/95) which empowers the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to take developments further … Structures have not yet been set up to ensure the implementation of this concept strategy. In the Western Cape, the ministerial committee on Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) has been meeting regularly, as a think tank after having completed its report to the provincial ministry. … With CAP having adopted a strategy using outcomes based education in early 1995, in accordance with the requirements of the NQF, and having grappled with many of the intricacies of the issues, we are in a good position to potentially determine the direction of arts education strategies for those previously working the non-formal sector.’[141]

This restructuring of CAP and its tighter educational focus was carried out in an attempt to deliver to a constituency what was thought was necessary i.e. skills and confidence to move into other educational paths and/or into jobs requiring certain of the skills offered by the project-as-school. In November 1995, CAP specified as its mission ‘Advancing and promoting the Arts for Community Development and social change through: providing educational courses in visual and performing arts for development workers (which enable them to train their constituents); and the unemployed (to enable them to generate an income and/or bridge to other institutions or industries).’[142] It was also described as developing and providing facilities, resources and disseminating information for the promotion of Community Arts. This mission was clearly informed by CAP’s history, the changing political and educational context, and recent years of working with CAP’s constituency, but there seemed to be no evidence at the OD session of direct constituents’ interests, nor of specific research projects informing this direction. Staff outlined CAP’s constituency at the November workshop as follows ‘unemployed, regardless of colour, creed, sex, sexual orientation, level of education’ also as ‘groups – community based arts initiatives which are under-resourced, unskilled and are working together either to develop themselves and/or their communities (based in greater Cape Town) and as “development workers” working in the fields of Educare, disabled, abused, traumatised, neglected, impoverished, aged, youth, health impaired, and correctional services.’ This extremely broad constituency would enter CAP courses with varied skills, literacy and qualifications and thus required a careful assessment of entry and exit levels of courses. Although CAP still did not have formal representation of these constituencies on its structures, what it tried to provide in its course entry, design and follow-up was sensitivity to these differences. It’s now integrated education department introduced full-day orientation workshops for each course so that applicants would understand what was required of them, and so that CAP might assess the skills and motivation of entering learners. In its mid-year 1995 report the reduced dropout rate was linked to these orientations.[143] In addition, the introduction of mid-course reviews , learner assessments, assessment partners and full-day course assessments in accordance with set learning outcomes and assessment criteria were seen to be advantageous developments providing a higher service to learners and facilitating a greater ‘mobility’ of the constituency.[144] This concern for CAP constituent’s interests was of a very different nature to that in the mid to late-eighties, which focussed upon attempts to involve students in curriculum design as a reflection of its ideology of participatory democracy. The attempt to ‘develop leadership’ was also quite differently defined in its formalised delivery of learning components as opposed to assumptions (and theories) pertaining to learners’ capacities to inform the structures, direction and workshop content at CAP. CAP did, however, recognise that its relationship with learners needed to be closer, as is evidenced in the evaluation and strategic planning session in November 1995. Here priorities were identified with regard to consolidating and building the relationship with constituents, to being more learner-centred, and needing to improve support for students in training and afterwards. These it noted as lessons drawn from the past. There was more ambivalence regarding the present experience of students (i.e. late 1995). The report noted both that students were feeling ‘cared for’ but that they were ‘suspicious’ of management as well and that a greater level of ‘interaction’ with students was required.[145] Despite all the years of member/student dissent at CAP still CAP did not have a student representative forum and although delivery was ‘efficient’, focused and learner-orientated the issue of CAP as an organisation ‘representing’ learners’ or users’ interests was still contentious. As a non-formal arts education project it had become far more organised. What posed some tension was the split focus between a constituency of ‘unemployed’ and ‘development workers’, not only with regard to different entry levels and needs but also in the educational objectives. There remained a tension between education that focused on individual’s needs and training learners for the primary purpose of address a range of community problems.[146] However, the emphasis on the individual learner did seem to indicate a concern for the ‘whole’ person rather than a primary focus on skills acquisition. CAP’s relationship with its constituency was described in the evaluation as ‘respecting the uniqueness of every learner and being sensitive to their needs.’[147] Such thinking was a distinct shift away from the ‘collective’ and indicative of a different relationship between the individual and her/his community. The more holistic learner-centred approach also served as a pertinent balance to the ‘drive’ toward modularisation, systematisation and ‘national’ recognition often conducive to an excessively technical output. The continuing challenge to CAP, however, was to define ‘community’ not as that outside of itself, but as something of which it was a part.

In the November 1995 evaluation, more of a humane and individual orientated approach amongst the internal body of CAP became evident. Staff spoke of the ‘legacy’ of CAP tensions i.e. staff conflict, CAP’s objectives being too ambitious for staff capacity, staff being over-stretched and not having succeeded in developing a collective style of leadership. The importance of team building was workshopped along with a recognition of and respect for peoples’ differences and need for individual growth, personal space and creativity.[148] The evaluation report concluded with references to the complicated legacy of CAP’s internal culture and structural confusions, ‘I also found traces of “Democraziness” which was so prevalent in many NGOs in South Africa a few years ago. Although there is a strong awareness of the need for empowering and participatory leadership, at the same time it seems as if the group does not allow the leaders to lead! … This issue should be taken seriously …’[149] This combined with ‘wanting to be all things to all people’ and the challenge of turning ‘restraining values’ into ‘values that will become driving forces’ was a reminder of CAP’s organisational legacy.[150]

The culture of ‘restraining values’ and ‘wanting to be all things to all people’ were, and continued to be, integrally related, part of CAP’s historical challenge. In an attempt to make sense of the ongoing efforts of non-formal arts education bodies, which had been operating under the dire conditions of apartheid South Africa, and in an attempt to consolidate their learnings and increase capacity, CAP and fellow organisations began to explore the possibilities of setting up a ‘communal college.’[151] CAP’s education department set as its objective ‘To network with other arts educational providers, particularly non-governmental organisations, with a view to developing a coherent arts educational framework, characterised by articulation and resourcefulness rather than overlap or duplication, and to pursue the possibility of this network establishing a new arts educational institution.’[152] In fulfilment of this objective the mid-year report noted ‘Several meetings and workshops have been held with the Young Peoples Theatre Educational Trust, Action Workshop, New Africa Theatre Project, the National Literacy Coop Drama Unit and CAP to discuss ways of most effectively working together. The possibility of merging to form a community arts college is being discussed’.[153] This consolidation of resources occurred on various fronts in 1995. The 1995/96 Annual Report stated ‘CAP networks widely and believes that strategic development can only occur through the maximising of human and material resources through strategic networking’.

1996 – 1997 Measuring capacity and delivery

Minty had great plans for CAP with regard to consolidating its image in the non-formal educational sector. He also planned to position CAP as a well-equipped physical space/centre for greater Cape Town. Three months prior to his resignation he had submitted a proposal for R9 000 000 to City Council to realise the ‘centre concept’. The proposal was turned down; at that point it appeared that there would be a financial shortfall of R103 894 for 1997 and trustees recommended a cutback on human resources.[154] Funding indicated a need to match vision to resources. The Board had diminished in size due to its decision to split so ads to serve the Media Project. Minty felt sorely in need of Board support and in need of greater clarity regarding relations of staff and Board.[155] On 29 April 1996, Minty resigned, informing the Board of his intention to leave come the end of August 1996. Before leaving, he attended, along with staff, an Organisational Development Session, led by Dirk Marais of CDRA. The concerns outlined at this workshop and the language used in the report indicates a very different CAP to that which Minty had entered into in 1993.

At this workshop, what had become apparent was a commitment to ‘action learning’ and ‘team building’ in order for CAP to achieve its goals. The development of an ‘internal’ mission was linked to the development of an external mission. Regarding the latter, the project defined the importance of developing programmes informed by needs analyses, market and action research and pilot programmes, as well as a need to be more reflective and responsive to changes. Regarding the former, team building was referred to in terms of the need to recognise the importance of individual growth, space and creative activity as well as organisational activity. Much time was given over to reflecting on the ‘culture’ of CAP. The internal mission statement made reference not to a ‘community,’ but to a ‘team’ and to an ‘organisational culture’. The building of this ‘team’ was also seen to be contingent upon leadership, management, commitment to team work, resourcefulness, sensitivity to power relations and building leadership (the last of which was, and is, a recurrent complaint of ex-staff members. See below).

References to the importance of ‘individual growth and space’, and the ‘uniqueness of the learner’ were echoed in the educational vision in the definition of creativity and arts. Here reference was made to the ‘full capacity of the individual’, the importance of ‘self expression’ and the importance of a holistic relationship with the community contingent on the creative expression and resourcefulness of the individual. Although this learner-centred vision emphasised the importance of the individual, it also stressed the importance of sensitivity to the difference of other individuals and the importance not only of individual expression but also cooperative production as evidenced in, for example, collective art forms.

The external mission statement remained, as outlined the year before, in brief, ‘advancing and promoting the arts for community development and social change’ through the provision of educational courses for development workers and the unemployed and through developing and providing facilities, resources and information to promote Community Arts.  CAP planned to achieve this by focussing on its students, teachers and in its relations to governments, funders and policy makers. The learner constituency was described not only as development workers and unemployed peoples but also as ‘groups to be accommodated as individuals’ This constituency was to be offered access, skills and guidance in relation to art education and income generation. Career pathing and careful follow up were to be offered, both of which were new emphases for a student constituency which had long requested these services. Ex-resident artist Mpathi Gocini, bemoaned the absence of this in the past as follows, “CAP’s main failure (was) maybe we didn’t try to encourage the people, or actually try to have funding or to try to show them other institutions where they could progress further. We were training artists and then from there, that’s it.”[156] Ex-staff member Lungile Bam stated “Something that we always proposed that we need to have for our programmes [is that we need to] try and assist artists setting up, or give advice in terms of setting up programmes by the ex-students of CAP, so that at least we know if our training is effective.”[157] By 1996, learners were to be recipients of careful delivery and follow up; they were to receive appropriate curricula and methodologies in the form of properly assessed modularized courses. The ‘community’ focus of this methodology was sketchily pointed to in the mention of ‘topical’ issues in training, e.g. AIDS, democracy and environment.[158] Reference to community concern was also pointed to in the mention of art for ‘healing’ the community as taught to Educare and Development workers. Some of the challenges which would be inherited by an incoming Director and as outlined at this workshop, were to include refining the understanding of ‘community arts’, ‘integrated’ arts education and collective forms of production, to continue to develop adult education methodologies and to ensure the relevance of CAP’s educational relevance in the light of its relationship to the National Access Consortium and the NQF. Further challenges were to build student representation and to provide the long needed follow up of CAP students.

After Minty’s departure from the project, Mario Pissarra was appointed by the Board to act as Interim Co-ordinator for a period of three months during which time candidates for Director were interviewed. Pissarra was successful as such candidate and was appointed as Director on 1 November 1996.[159] By the time of the November Evaluation and Strategic Planning Workshop, Pissarra had effectively been directing the organisation for two months. At this workshop, CAP stated its continued commitment to redress, access, participatory learning, quality and excellence, creativity and an intra-dependence with stakeholders. It outlined primary areas on which to focus in the future, as the development of course materials, an analysis of its work with development workers, its work with the National Access Consortium, and the proposed Arts NGO merger. Goals and criteria were set not only for education and management but, for the first time, for student administration. Of note regarding the latter, were CAP’s commitment to broaden its base of learners, and to ensure the election of student representatives who would be properly oriented to systems and staff. This indicated an increased seriousness on the part of CAP to its learners, accompanied by a commitment to follow up on past learners so as to track their development. This was not a commitment to the full nature of ‘follow up’ requested by ex-students and members but at least it indicated a serious interest in output and CAP’s delivery as an organisation.

The second half of 1996 saw CAP improve its relation to management, team work, students and its direction as an adult education organisation. However, it was still confronted by the need to clarify job descriptions, to resolve remaining staff conflicts, to strengthen its Board and its relations with part-time staff. Mashabalala Mkonto recalled her work as a part-time teacher as follows  “What I experienced at CAP, they were dominating us for a long time, employing us part-time for a long time. What I noticed is that I was working a full-time job but I was not employed full-time.” (Mkonto, 1996) In relation to problems with the Board, Sicelo Nkohla stated “The way the trustees are recruited [is a weakness]. It is a certain pool of people with certain mindsets and not all of them pull their weight. CAP’s constituency is not represented on the Trust. Some Trustees have never undergone the hardships that our constituency has undergone.”[160]

In general, CAP became recognized as a more established educational organisation with good prospects for national recognition and articulation within a National Qualifications Framework.  But what the organisation had still not ‘created’ was ‘community’ in the sense of having built and sustained caring human relations with ex-students and its immediate geographic community. A number of recollections of CAP’s ‘community’ confirm this as an historical problem “The community (in Woodstock) around CAP didn’t realise what a goldmine they had in CAP. … It (CAP community) was quite broad … it was far away from CAP. It was everything else except Woodstock local community …” (Cupido, 1997) ‘CAP is in town and so it is divorced from the communities of the constituency who attend CAP’. (Goniwe, 1997)

CAP’s attempt to ‘build’ community was, slowly emerging in its plan to merge with other arts NGOs to form a community college, and in attempts to set up a forum with other CBOs and NGOs in the immediate Chapel Street vicinity. The 1996/97 Annual Report mentions the emerging joint curriculum framework for the Community Arts Network (CAP, New Africa Theatre Project (NATP), Young Peoples Theatre Education Trust, Action Workshop and the St Francis Drama Access course). It states ‘The possibility of merging to form a Community Arts College is being discussed and a proposal developed’,[161] and an example of cooperation is given in that CAP and NATP began to articulate levels of training with one another. The Community Arts Network also undertook joint lobbying for support for the College as well as joint programmes such as responding to the White Paper on Arts and Culture to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Arts and Culture.[162] This networking was particularly important given the limited capacity of arts NGOs and the low priority given by the National Directorate on Adult Education of ‘arts and culture’ in the process of restructuring education and training.[163]

In 1997, CAP focused its objectives such that these might be quantifiable in accordance with funder’s expectations as well as constituents’ interests. CAP was to press ahead with attempts to increase local, provincial and national government funding, to link in to the NAC and the NQF and to develop relationships with other adult education providers and non-governmental arts organisations. To achieve its educational objectives it needed to be increasingly realistic in its goals and planning, having to recognise its historical problem of limited staff capacity in the face of the enormity of needs it tried to fulfil. This meant that, by year end, CAP constituency was defined as people from the unemployed sector only, i.e. excluding Educare and Development workers. The latter fell away as a result of both low attendance at workshops (possibly linked to a low priority given to arts education by Educare agencies developing new curricula frameworks) and because of CAP’s limited capacity.

This issue of capacity has been a major one given the enormity of needs due to apartheid engineering. According to Shirley Walters, remembering earlier years “The financial situation made it extremely vulnerable … people were under enormous strain. … There was a lack of understanding – maybe it comes with youth – your plans are huge and you think you can take on the world. … That’s part of their strength and weakness … In a way, we were taking on the world, taking on the state, in our own little way. In a way it was trying to do too much without recognising the weaknesses of the situation … and it was a small organisation. …but we’re products of our time so … people were trying to create a new reality in the womb of the old world…” (Walters, 1997) Referring to more recent years Zayd Minty commented “And taking on too much is also difficult for the organisation’s capacity and I think that has been a serious issue for a long time. The vision is so big, the resources so small, and how people function with those resources is so unfocussed that it has been very difficult to reach any of those benchmarks that it wants to set for itself. … It’s been wanting to do everything which is understandable because there are a very few organisations and institutions doing a lot of that work.” (Minty, 1997)

In 1997 CAP’s focus has centred upon developing a team of skilled educators and trainers to offer learner-driven courses aimed at certification and skills for job creation. The 1996/7 Annual Report reads ‘Shifting from our historically “non-formal” status towards providing “accredited” qualifications depends on progress being made by the newly formed South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in establishing new structures (especially the National Standards Bodies and Standards Generating Bodies). When these structures are in place we will be able to register our courses as “unit standards”. Although technically our work still needs to be registered on the NQF[164] it appears safe to say that the most of the standard of training and quality of output currently at CAP compares with that of other programmes in the General and Further Education bands. However there are also strong signs that our ultimate exit point for a qualification will extend into the Higher Education band. …We are confident that once our courses are properly accredited that examples of bridging, particularly to and in the Further and Higher Education bands will become more numerous. Currently there appears to be an increase in the number of younger applicants who completed formal schooling, and with government introducing compulsory and free (for those who cannot pay) nine years of compulsory education, it is likely that most future applicants, especially the younger ones, will be in the Future Education band.’[165] The report also mentions that the CAP constituency was expanding with the inclusion of more female students and because of the ‘need to broaden our student base to include non Xhosa first language students.’[166]

The attempt to build up a cohesive community of CAP students who felt cared for and confident of their acquired skills was put in place with the development of learner-centred models of education assessed according to outcomes based education and, with plans to gather information about past students. This was also done with the creation of a post of Student Liaison Officer. In addition, the piloting of placements for CAP graduates took successful effect in 1997 as well as the development of an income generating Teacher Placement Programme coordinated by a former CAP student.[167] The offering of basic and advanced skills training as well as arts administration/ micro training was an attempt to ensure that students were carefully graded and equipped with self and group management skills. The 96/97 Annual Report states ‘When we introduced outcomes based education we blended it with humanistic and people-centred elements which have been a feature of CAP’s work for many years … Curriculum planning directly incorporates learners through evaluations which are held on completion of all courses. Course evaluations are attended by students, educational staff and stakeholder institutions. This process generates substantial information from the learners for the course developers to implement changes to the curriculum. It should also be noted that the development of student structures and the incorporation of these into organisational processes is also playing an important role in enabling students’ voices to be heard in CAP’s planning. This is the first year they are being directly represented on the monthly Education Committee meetings attended by education staff, and they will be invited to strategic planning workshops in future.’[168]

That the post of ‘community field worker’ was replaced by that of ‘student liaison officer’ indicated a shift away from ‘community’ consultation outside of CAP toward building a ‘community of learners’ within CAP. In addition, CAP abandoned its short-lived attempt to focus on community ‘rehabilitation’ through catering for particularly traumatised sectors of the community. Instead it justified its contribution to ‘healing’ by pointing to the benefits of its regular arts skills courses on students’ self esteem.[169] For the first time in the history of CAP, the organisation began to address the issue of dependence in a direct manner, informed in part by input from the student liaison officer, Theo Sicelo Nkhola. Nkhola stated in interview “At the time when funding was good for CAP it created a lot of dependency. Students used to be given bursaries. I was a full-time staff member but their bursaries were more than my salary. It created dependency. … Some students were not here for what they were learning but for ‘learning and earning’.” (Nkhola, 1997) Performing Arts Educator Simba Pemhenayi stated “CAP has in a way provided dependency because of not wanting to commit itself to a developmental ideology. The majority learn skills and within a short space of time they leave. We are failing to commit ourselves to the idea of developing these groups into small-scale independent enterprises” (Pemhenayi, 1997) Mario Pissarra, now Director of CAP, wrote at the time of his acting as Education Convenor ‘Contributing to “dependence” (rather than independence) was the low priority given to training artists to administer themselves so that they could function “professionally” in a capitalist dominated economy. … It can also be argued that the total reliance of CAP itself on donor funding served as a poor role model for its constituency. … This dependency was particularly evident in the late 1980s and early 1990s when some CAP trained “teachers” who on completion of courses, took on an almost parasitic relationship with CAP where some of them appeared to believe that CAP owed them employed. Bitterness on this issue exists to this day. However, rather than apportion total responsibility for this on personalities of students, CAP’s educational strategy should shoulder much of the responsibility.’[170] In 1996/97, for the first time, CAP introduced a programme of work in exchange for fees whilst nevertheless providing students with stipends for lunch and transport. CAP was able to claim that it had replaced a culture of dependency with a culture of learning. Its community was now that of a focussed student community of learners, drawn from the unemployed sector, and who, upon graduation, would be equipped to exercise either the choice to move into further education in the formal sector or to create income generating activities of their own.

CAP still faced major challenges in relation to integrating both present and ex-students into its community structures. Part of this challenge was articulated by Nkohla (1997) “CAP has never looked inwards for its leadership. CAP has always looked outside for the leader. CAP has not been able to groom a person within CAP.” This is related in part to the issue of following up on the potential of graduates as noted by Nomkitha Bavuma  “[CAP’s weaknesses have been] to let us people who’ve learnt skills here to just go and be somewhere else, instead of making it an ongoing thing … I do see that some people are still here … I feel great that they are still here at CAP …” (Bavuma, 1997) This view is however contradicted by Luthando Lupuwana “I was out of work [after] varsity … I thought as an artist I would be employed there … your folks at home expect you to be working and then if you keep saying you work two hours, then they do not know why you went to spend thousands at varsity … I had to understand what was happening there even if my people didn’t understand … Sometimes I used to feel sore about certain things … certain people get to be trained there … in the end they end up taking [the] jobs … I remember students went on strike because I wouldn’t be employed in a certain category … they wanted me to be teaching them instead of so and so…” (Lupuwana, 1997)

CAP was still faced with distinguishing the difference between encouraging ‘dependency’ and nurturing its own graduates. Careful assessment of graduates’ potential had to be distinguished from the practice of a ‘culture of entitlement’. Challenges also existed for CAP with regard to recruiting for key leadership positions from outside of the more privileged sectors of society and in redressing gender inequity. Ex-staff member Liz Brouckaert recalled CAP as “the ‘boys Club’ … I was told by a colleague once that if I wore a mini-skirt I was inviting trouble …. The major tragedy is that so many of the sexual relations and power issues and gender issues are unconscious.” (Brouckaert, 1997)

Referring to looking away from its own constituency, ex-resident artist Mphati Gocini observed “I would say the great weakness of CAP [was] the [lack of] utilisation of expertise of the people who were there before. If we could be encouraged to participate in what is happening at CAP, also in terms of decision-making [it would be better].” (Gocini, 1997)

With regard to broad tendencies in CAP’s past, but still a pertinent message one ex-student recalls “One of the points which I felt was a major weakness was when it went looking outside of its members to fill certain teaching positions … [while] there were people already committed to CAP sitting right there … That was when it turned into a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation. …. I think a lot of those people didn’t even know what people’s capabilities were that were right there. I don’t know how or what criteria they used to employ people there …They would employ someone who’s doing their Masters at UCT to teach. The problem is that these people cannot speak Xhosa … Is that decision only the committee’s … or is it the students’? I think that if those true democratic things had been followed there would have been a whole different staff at CAP.” (Anonymous, 1997)
The major challenge to CAP, no longer a member-based organisation but a student-based one was to arrive at a convincing inclusion of student representation within its structures as well as in terms of its assessment of course content and delivery. Student Liaison Officer, Sicelo Nkohla, described the situation in 1997 as follows “[CAP’s strengths are] the kind of education of CAP which is inter-active and participatory. The students’ experience is taken into cognisance. CAP has a very active Student Representatives Body. The way students are committed to what CAP is doing is very good.” (Nkohla, 1997) It is commendable that CAP, as a learning organisation, assimilated its long struggle for democracy into a new approach to education and student representation in the late nineties. CAP’s achievements will be contingent upon a convincing continuation of productive, interactive and creative exchange between current skilled teachers and incoming learners who are tomorrow’s teachers.

Concluding comments

At the time of CAP’s formation ‘community’ was taken to mean the inclusion of all interested parties in this creative space ‘outside’ of apartheid. However, being a microcosm of power relations in South Africa viz a viz the constructs of race, gender and class, it became a space in which privileged persons had greater control. The fact that the first director was a white male with particular artistic and cultural values was bound to set a precedent for future power struggles. The struggle to shift power away from another white male director (Joubert) intensified post 1982, given the impetus which resulted from the ‘Culture and Resistance’ festival in Botswana and the associated articulation of cultural liberation theory. The ‘community’ became more actively defined as a politicised community, conscious of the role of artistic production in the struggle for liberation. ‘Community’ during the years of the mass democratic movement meant a community politicised to the point of alignment with the MDM. At this point in CAP, the leadership which had assumed control was intent that this politicisation be reflected in structures and programmes. This particular struggle for control and definition of a politicised community lost impetus until Van Graan became Director, at which point different needs had become identified, notably educational needs, which were prioritised over political activism. It was at this time that a ‘community of educators’ began to emerge at CAP, educators concerned with the liberatory role of art less in terms of artists aligning themselves with political movements than in relation to a consciousness of global struggles against the powers of consumerist culture. It was at this juncture that CAP spoke of the need to produce ‘counter-hegemonic art’ and that it attempted to educate its learners as a ‘community’ of critically conscious students and artists aware of the inherent political power of culture as opposed to a politically-led form of cultural production. After the financial ‘crisis’ of the project a different notion of ‘community’ arose, one far less global in its vision, and intent upon preserving, at the very least, a humane local set of relationships and one which was focussed more upon economic self sufficiency than broadly focussed cultural critique. By the time of the hiring of Zayd Minty as Co-ordinator, little remained of a community built upon critiques of dominant ideologies. Instead, the early nineties saw instead a focus upon popular cultural production and a wooing of the new local, regional and national governments. The attempt to build a community of youth organised around popular interests failed, but what did succeed was the vision of a formalised and efficient delivery of services to a community of learners in need of cultural education that was still denied them by the formal sector. By the late nineties the community of CAP comprises those teachers and partner NGOs concerned with such delivery and a more narrowly defined community of learners, all drawn from the sector of the unemployed. Through studies at CAP such persons were able to move ‘from the margins to the centre’. Quite what of CAP’s past critiques of centralised control will translate into its structures, programmes and course content remained to be seen. In the late nineties it remained committed to the urgent struggles to ‘reconstruct’ community in South Africa and to assert a centrality for a constituency that had been historically marginalised for far too long. Explaining this shift, Pissarra wrote ‘Linking with dominant interests, especially those of the government is new for NGOs like CAP who have always existed in an oppositional role. It challenges the organisation (and its constituency) to shift from “critical thinking” (which under apartheid was directed to conscientization and resistance and which in the new dispensation could easily contribute to a culture of armchair critics) to “problem solving”, developing solutions and strategies for change.’[171] CAP’s challenge would seem to be to commit itself to producing a community of learners who move into the ‘centre’, not simply with technical skills, but also with a critical consciousness capable of evaluating what of the ‘centre’ is worthy of respect and what continues to impede the development of a culture of human rights and environmental respect. Central to this challenge is that CAP build up a culture of non-discrimination to match its historical theorising of equitable power relations. This pertains particularly to the representation of women’s experiences and voices.

Below are selected recollections of the community of CAP, in particular, those of trustees and staff directly affected by serving and building the organisation. According to ex-trustee, Mavis Taylor  “CAP was a place where people who were disenfranchised started to believe in their own strengths … Lots of people helped to make that happen – there were good people there. The work was well taught.” (Taylor, 1997)

Ex-trustee, Esther Wides, described CAP as “… like a community of thinks, the ‘Community Arts Project’ was appropriate at the time because it signalled particular kinds of political orientations or social concerns. …What it signals is that it was working with people who are working class or poor … in this instance they’re usually black because of apartheid … it signals an orientation that it’s grassroots orientated, rather than serving the needs of white middle classes. … At different times it had a stronger or weaker sense of community … in the 80s when people were in and out of there it was a political activist community … and then other times it’s been more concerned about people learning about the arts. … It has a community centre kind of feel of a particular kind but obviously not drawing on its immediate geographic community.” (Wides, 1997)

Past Organiser, Derek Joubert, stated “I think CAP did provide an opportunity for many people to develop their skills and talents who would otherwise not have had that chance … the achievement of the poster workshop, the drama workshop. … CAP pioneered drama in education and using drama to problematise a situation – community drama – it was at CAP that that sort of thing first started here. … [On a personal level] well, it transformed me as a person, completely!” (Joubert, 1997)

Ex-trustee, Shirley Walters, said “… whatever was happening in the general environment was happening in CAP like a magnifying glass. So you had all the struggles of the society … happening in this tiny fragile organisation – whether it was issues of race … of gender domination…over what the meaning of education was, the meaning of cultural activity. It attracted what I call ‘organic intellectuals’ – the people who were very critical, thinking people on the left who we engaging with issues of education and culture in a critical way. They weren’t towing any party line – I think that also added to the contestation within CAP. It was always a bit abrasive … because it was trying to be non-racial and, later on, more conscious of sexism …” (Walters, 1997)

Ex-staff member, Barbara Voss, said of CAP “A huge number of people benefitted from CAP. … If you look at the black artists in Cape Town that are active and who have achieved anything, they have all had some relationship with CAP. … A lot of people benefitted from part-time classes, and people who would never otherwise have met … [CAP] was effective as a tool of resistance – they were raided regularly, and the security police were worried about CAP’s role. … The Media Project trained a lot of people … to design and print their own posters and T-shirts. … Another achievement is if you look at the staff that have gone through CAP a lot of them are now in very influential positions. … So those of us who worked there probably learned more than any of the students. It was an incredible learning experience – it was very stressful, it was mostly unpleasant but one did learn a hell of a lot. Also, it [CAP] managed to change somehow and adapt to the huge change before and after the elections with the unbanning of organisation and all that …” (Voss, 1997)

Jacqueline Nolte, ex-trustee observed “CAP provided a space in which the concept of a community arts project could be developed; providing forums for cultural debate during apartheid years, as well as a space for cultural activists to work against apartheid … it offered the possibility of more inclusive definitions and practices of arts so that these might be viewed as both skills-based for individual growth and oriented toward community healing. [At CAP] I learned an appreciation of persons’ determination to succeed as workers in the project despite the often dire work circumstances. … It was an opportunity to work with gifted and committed individuals at the levels of Trust, staff and students. … I learned the art of patience, the importance of working within a system so far short of the ideal but trying not to lose sight of such ideal, and of recognising ones own limits within this struggling system.” (Nolte, 1997)

According to past Director, Mike Van Graan “It gave me opportunities to work with committed people and also opportunities to put into practice my vision of training people … it is affirming to see where those people are now! CAP really taught me a lot – it was an opportunity for hands on experience.” (Van Graan, 1997)

Patti Henderson, ex music and drama teacher, remembers “For me, CAP was a place where I could use all my creative energies and I loved the students – I’m very proud of what happened there. At the same time, there was very little space for me personally … in the end I felt burned out and I felt, where is my own creativity in this whole political community. In the end my own creativity was lost in this collective effort – and even though I adored the collective effort … I feel you have to know yourself as an artist, and at the same time work with other people, so there has to be a balance, which I didn’t feel there was at all” (Henderson, 1997)

Lorelle Bell, ex-staff member, stated “[Being at CAP] was an opportunity to work with very talented, hard-working people. … It was an opportunity to explore arts education and the issues around that … and against the irony of the hardship of the terrain – art is supposed to be a healing process, but it’s a very harsh world, the art world.” (Bell, 1997)

Ex-staff member Shirley de Kok stated “On a personal level I had to … take stock of innocence and really question myself, because suddenly I found myself in a world I didn’t know existed. And it was an exciting world .  … You could go back and check your own values … you start seeing some of them were good and some of them are mighty thin … personally there was tremendous growth. I really enjoyed for the first time in my life to be able to sit down and argue in terms of what my beliefs were …” (de Kok, 1997)

According to Gaby Cheminais, ex-Interim Coordinator, “[CAP community] was generally community based organisations, schools, political parties … but the community that constituted CAP were basically the staff, the students and the trust. It was an enormous training ground and it gave me an opportunity to participate in an organisation in a way that I could … make a meaningful contribution by using the skills that I’ve got … I absolutely loved my job. … For my own personal development I can’t think of having done anything better …” (Cheminais, 1997)

Ex-staff member, Dipuo Maketha recalled “It was a time of personal growth – when I started there I had skills but I needed practice. I got experience and skills – it was a learning experience for me.” (Maketha, 1997)

According to John Walters, past staff member “On a personal level it was an extremely good experience … I felt very welcomed at CAP, I felt that my skills and my talents were accepted and respected. I felt extremely challenged and I lived in a very creative environment for that year, which was very fulfilling. … I gained a tremendous amount in terms of working with people, being given responsibility, being creative, learning management skills, having to write and direct plays, and also creating syllabi. … It’s a blessing to be able to work in such a creative environment.” (Walters, 1997)

Ex-Coordinator, Zayd Minty commented “A lot of people in Cape Town got trained through CAP. A lot of my experiences came through CAP. There are very few people in the arts field who haven’t had some relationship with CAP. Sometimes not even the art field, but the media field, the development field, they have all either trained at CAP, been educators at CAP, worked at CAP, or have touched CAP in some way.” (Minty, 1997)

Ex-staff member, Jon Berndt stated “I got completely involved … Much of my political life was devoted to working with CAP as a cultural activist. … When I left art school in 1976 – more or less expelled for organising student boycotts – I started getting involved in more community type of stuff … I decided that art was a terrible thing and that in fact people could express themselves and create amazing images without being ‘artists’ … I always believed in that concept … what we tried to do at the Media workshop was to try and develop an iconography which would be exciting, interesting and also relevant in terms of the whole struggle against apartheid … I saw myself as a facilitator, helping people … CAP was an important part of my life.” (Berndt, 1997)

Lionel Davis, ex-Co-ordinator remembered his time at CAP as follows “I’ve had a reciprocal relationship with CAP. I’ve learned a hell of a lot from CAP – it was at a time when I had just gone through a very traumatic banning order. Through creativity, through CAP which offered me the opportunity to do art, this cause me to work through my own traumas. I can trace my consuming interest in art to that period (end of 1977). It has been the most wonderful educational experience which, even to this day, brings me untold rewards as a person.” (Davis, 1997)

Staff member Sicelo Nkohla stated “CAP has affected my life very dearly. I’ve learned a lot from CAP. It has changed my thinking, even my behaviour. For what CAP has done to me I’m trying to see that whatever contributions I make to the organisation they are very positive, so that the organisation can grow, develop and live up to its course.” (Nkohla, 1997)

Ex-student Sipho Masha recalls his experience as follows, “I developed as a person, I learnt a lot from CAP. It opened up a lot of things – I was straight from High School and I didn’t have that experience … that’s why I’m here, as an actor, and as a cultural worker … It was a very, very interesting experience and I’m still missing that kind of working relationship … I think we need institutions like CAP more than ever before …” (Masha, 1997)

Jaqueline Nolte is the acting Dean of Arts at the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada. She was closely associated with CAP for many years.


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CAP Management Committee Minutes. 24 August 1981. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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CAP Management Committee Minutes. 24 November 1984. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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CAP Trust Minutes. 20 September 1977. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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CAP Trust Minutes. 8 November 1977. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. November 1977. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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CAP Trust Minutes. September 1985. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 17 February 1986. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 4 March 1986. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 9 March 1986. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 24 March 1986. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 23 March 1988. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 20 July 1988. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. October 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 6 December 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 4 May 1990. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 23 June 1991. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 14 August 1991. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 6 May 1992. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 17 July 1992. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 23 April 1993. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 24 March 1994. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Trust Minutes. 17 November 1994. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAPCOM Minutes. 4 October 1988. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP video, December, 1997.

“CAP Where From? Where to?” (c.1988) CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Workshop Minutes. 29 September 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CAP Working Principles. April/May 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Captions. September 1988. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Captions. September 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Cape Times. 17 August 1978. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

CDRA Evaluation. 19-21 October 1992.

Cheminais, Gaby. 7 May 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Community Arts Project. 1978. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Community Arts Project. April 1978. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Community Arts Project. 1977. Background. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Community Arts Project. 1987. Document that was part of the CAP History File. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Community Arts Project. Working Document Complied by the Constitution Working Group of the Community Arts Project in Preparation for a General Meeting with the Membership of CAP. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Correspondence from lawyers to trustees. 17 November 1986. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Davis, Lionel. 18 November 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Davis, Lionel. 12 August 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

de Kok, Shirley. 8 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

De Villiers, Patricia. 27 September 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Delport , Peggy. 25 September 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

“Financial projection March to 1993”. 1992. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Friedman, Lovell. 5 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

General Assembly Minutes. 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Full-time students/VACP staff. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Gocini, Mphati. 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Goniwe, Tembinkosi. 13 May 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

History of CAP file. Now part of CAP archives lodged in University of Cape Town’s Manuscripts & Archives department.

Sipho Hlati. 4 September 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Hlati, Sipho. 22 July 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Hlati, Sipho. November 1997. In conversation with Jacqueline (Jacqui) Nolte. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Interim Management Committee (IMC) Minutes. 16 August 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Interim Management Committee Minutes. 12 January 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Interim Management Committee Proposal for a new CAP Management Structure. July 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Interim Management Committee Proposal for a New CAP Management Structure. August 1989. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

“Interim Management Structure”. July 1994.

Joubert, Derek. 2 December 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Joubert, Derek. 5 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Knowles, Carol. 4 September 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Kok, Desiree. 13 September 1996. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Kota, Zoe. June 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Kurgan, Terry. 30 July 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Maketha, Dipuo. 7 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

MANCOM minutes. 23 October 1991. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

MANCOM minutes. 11 December 1991. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

MANCOM minutes. 3 February 1993. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

MANCOM minutes. 26 October 1993. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

MANCOM minutes. 29 October 1993. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Mandindi, Billy. 15 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Masha, Sipho. 19 May 1997. Interviewed by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Maurice, Emile. 31 July 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Memorandum of Agreement made and entered into by and between the board and the Management Committee. 17 December 1987. Drawn up by Berndt, Vukic and Potash. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Merand, Janis. 28 April 1997. Interviewed with Patti Henderson by Heidi Bolton, Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Minty, Zayd. 23 March 1993. Letter to Trustees

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Minty, Zayd. 17 May – 24 July 1994. Trustee Update Report.

Minty, Zayd. September 1997. Interviewed by Robyn Denny. Transcription. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Morphet, Tony. 1989. Final Report. The Community Arts Project. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

Morphet, Tony & Schaffer, Angela. 22 September 1991. The Funding Crisis. Report to the Staff and Trustees of CAP on the events of May-June 1991.

“Motivation for an Interim Management Structure”. 1 August 1994.

Ngcuka, Bulelani, Mpulu, Godfrey and Walters, Shirley. 1988. Interim Report of the CAP Tribunal. An investigation into Problems at CAP. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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Pissarra, Mario. 1997. Conversation.

Preface to (CAP) Membership Form. 1977. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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Steyn, Andrew. “Staff Writings” file. CAP archives, Manuscripts & Archives, UCT.

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[1] Individuals concerned included Barry Gilder, Steven Friedman, Gerry Marais, Gavin Younge, Cliff Bestall and Jonathon Berndt. See Younge, 1996
[2] Younge states ‘OOSA did not succeed in conscientizing significant numbers of artists … it was predominantly white, English, University connected … it failed to gain wide support from black artists …’ (Younge, 1987)
[3] The Michaelis arts campus was split between those who chose to ignore these pressing political events and those who chose to engage actively in fighting for the right of free expression of black students.
[4] In a document entitled “CAP Where From? Where to?” (c.1988) Mike Van Graan points to the liberal dimension of CAP’s origins. This is reiterated in evaluation documents produced for the organisation by Tony Morphet in 1988. Younge (1996) stated the following “… the CAP notion had its birth in a kind of radicalism, but it also has a liberal dimension. I don’t know to what degree it was nuanced as a liberal dimension but there was an element of providing an arts resource open to all.” In a videotaped interview with Mario Pissarra, Lindy Wilson spoke of the difficulty of founders’ attempts to refute the category ‘liberal’, and that their stated self- perception was that they were ‘radicals’ (CAP video, December 1997).
[5] Maurice was invited onto the steering committee of CAP in 1977 by Peggy Delport. He taught printmaking at CAP and became involved with CAP again during the organisation of the CAP Botswana festival. He went on to become head of the Education Department at the South African National Gallery.
[6] Delport (1996) recalls “Yes, it was right in the middle of a lot of unrest, violence and burning and things in the townships. … We ran these workshops every night I think for a couple of weeks … I was thinking in terms of murals, big narrative paintings describing life, life at that moment, for what were mostly teenagers. Tiny Matole and Joyce (Tshangele) were involved right from the beginning.”
[7] Younge had approached Beyers Naudee for funding and through these links CAP also extended its board to include Reverend Mongesi Guma, Anglican Minister of the Holy Cross Church, Nyanga.
[8] The removal seems to have taken up over half of a single month expenses, according to a 12 month budget as outlined in April 1978. In reality in these first months of operation it could well have amounted to a total of one month’s running expenses!
[9] The Group Areas Act of 1950 was an act of parliament created under the apartheid government of South Africa. It instituted a system of urban apartheid by assigning racial groups to different residential and business
[10] Active founders who did not become formal trustees were Robert Tobias, John Moyle and Chris Wildman.
[11] Prior to the project another white male, Rob Amato, was co-opted onto the Board. Amato was co-opted in his capacity as a drama co-ordinator. The month after its opening another white male was co-opted onto the board, musician Chris Wildman, associated with the South African College of Higher Education.
[12] It is interesting that she recommends a black male for this job, namely Arthur Benjamin, Quite what happened to this suggestion is not known.
[13] Donald Parenzee had also been associated with the South African College of Higher Education.
[14] As Co-ordinator of Children’s Art Patricia Atkinson was extremely committed in her attendance at Trust meetings in the latter part of 1977 and 1978.
[15] According to Lionel Davis “Christine was the CAP secretary but she took on more and more responsibility running the place because Dimitri was absent … she was then given the job of director (organiser) because someone had to take over … eventually she got ‘gatvol’ with the job because they were pressurizing her … and she was a woman and in those days there were a lot of white men who were giving her a lot of pressure … they were not supportive of her, they were educated males who were pressurizing her. … The result is that she became very disillusioned with her job and packed up …” (Davis, 1997).
[16] The politics of accepting this funding was first raised with the initial grant in 20 September 1977, but accepted given that there would be ‘no strings attached’.
[17] The minutes of the committee and Co-ordinators meeting 23 January 1979 read, ‘It was strongly felt we call this a crisis meeting and confront membership with whether they feel that CAP is useful as an organisation or whether CAP should close down …’
[18] These portfolios included that of fundraiser, maintenance, chairperson, treasurer and publicity.
[19] Gavin Younge (1996) recalls “… about 18 months into the constitution … there was the AGM. There was a small group of people, the people involved chopped and changed quite a bit … the Co-ordinator at the time was Derek Joubert. … At this AGM the entire committee stood down … and the idea was to give it to the next voted- in committee. At this stage, I said that’s that and in fact apart from when the move was taking place (to Chapel Street) I didn’t have anything to do with CAP at all. It was difficult doing three jobs, being a lecturer here (Michaelis) and running CAP and wanting to make art.”
[20] In addition to the organiser, the committee comprised Hildur Amato, John Berndt, Kevin Humphrey, Serina Koukoullis, Emile Maurice, Ishmail Moss, Jessica Sherman, Bongani Tshange and Terry Volbrecht.
[21] Minutes of committee meeting 8 May 1979; letters in funding files make evident approaches to donors by various members of the committee, including Jon Berndt and John Nankin. From October 1979,  Joubert took over the approach to funders, primarily local.
[22] Minutes of committee meeting 6 November 1979 at which Jon Berndt states his intention to resign if such funding is accepted.
[23] This committee comprised Hildur Amato, Matt Essau, Lawrence Baxall, Janice Freeman, Derek Joubert, Kevin Joubert, Olly Moses, Lionel Nicholas.
[24] Minutes of a CAP general meeting 2 February 1980 read, ‘this general meeting , noting that the aims of the Urban Foundation (UF), believes that the UF is concerned with bolstering the present system in South Africa rather than with the needs of the people, and therefore resolves to accept no finances from the UF.’ After much discussion the vote was carried 21 in favour, two against and 12 abstentions.
[25] An example of these being R200 from the Argo Film Circle, R25 from the Tiger Karate Club and R20 from St Cyprians Art Department.
[26]  “When I was in std. 9, I was on the committee of CAP … I remember very well one issue where CAP was going throughincredible financial crises … Urban Foundation was offering some money to bail us out. … It was a very sensitive issue because the UF was building some houses especially for squatters, but only in places where there were highways or freeways, in a way where (they would) hide the squatter camp. … They wanna create this black middle class and split the ranks … Derek said we should get this money, and a few people were, like, no ways you cannot, and we’d take it out to the members. You know, and go to every class … every night, you have to be there to go and tune people ‘this is the situation …’, and people would say ‘if it means closing, take the money’, and others would say ‘no ways’” (Anonymous, 1997).
[27] See discussions regarding sanctioning the joining of new groups and overseeing the quality of drama production in CAP Trustee Minutes, 25 March 1980.
[28] These were Fuad Adams, Zoegdie Alias, Glen Emmerson, Ghalik Jacobs, Olly Mabumbulu, Tembie Mfeketo, Frank Ntlokwana and Donald Nyembezi.
[29] The trustees who were elected were Jack Barnett, Allan Boesak, Peter Clarke, David Poole, Mavis Taylor and Raymund van Niekerk. See minutes of AGM, dated 19 September 1981. Peter Clarke did not take up this position.
[30] This committee was Alain Bruyns (Chair), Stephanie Berelowitz, Desiree Williams, Aysha Ismael. Previous committee members had included Nathan Charles, Alan Kensley, Anthony Sampson and Brien Wiehahn.
[31] In 1983 the Nationalist Party government introduced a new constitutional framework and proposed a parliament with three separately elected chambers: a White “House of Assembly”; a Coloured “House of Representatives” and an Indian “House of Delegates”
[32] The 1984 AGM was postponed to March 1985 to resolve grievances amongst committee members thus preventing an exposure of this in public. Notably, to protest this decision, a committee member wrote to the Argus and was subsequently disciplined by the Management Committee (CAP Committee Minutes, 8 December 1984). The AGM was only held in November 1985, after a special general meeting in March that year.
[33] The following individuals were then nominated to the trust: Richard Budaza, Nopondo Jongo, Dumile Magodla, Sindiwe Magona, Litleyovuyo Mayongo and Richard Nzimande. Of these nominees, Magodla accepted nomination and attended a couple of meetings whilst Budaza became an active member of the Board.
[34] This was not without contention since it was given to a white graduate; her appointment over the current black resident artist was queried by committee members.
[35] See CAP Minutes, 24 November 1984 in which sculpture students communicate their impressions that CAP was not run democratically. These minutes also note that member’s broke in to the organiser’s office to get a copy of the constitution, believing the organiser to be wilfully withholding information. That relations had become so strained, points to evident loss of faith in the structures. Management Committee minutes of 1 December 1984 also indicate that committee members felt excluded from financial information. The organiser undertook to make available financial reports in 1985, and to facilitate that the executive attend board meetings.
[36]  Cap Minutes, 24 November 1984 read that members with problems, particularly Kesay, Pascal and Patrick felt ‘there were many feelings against blacks which made them insecure’. Other members argued that ‘… caucuses on skin colour are wrong and are not a true reflection of CAP’. The organiser argued at a meeting on 8 December 1984 that ‘the meeting of black CAP members as well as the break-in at the office had the same purpose – to undermine CAP’. Kesay and Pascal’s replies were, ‘When CAP was still in Mowbray, people worked together and there was no squabbling. Then Derek got involved with the Urban Foundation. When CAP moved to Woodstock the oppressed people became very sceptical about the administration of CAP … Black members had grievances about CAP …’
[37] Due to miscommunication between the organiser and the resident artist regarding the duration of the post of resident artist, members felt able to access the constitution by covert means only and resorted to accessing the office during evening hours. See CAP Management Committee Minutes, 24 November 1984.
[38] One proposed model reserved their activity to even less than that of a quarterly meeting, exercising authority only in relation to special circumstances e.g. legal issues, major disciplinary action, dissolution of the trust. Another model suggested that they meet quarterly but in the form of an executive where decision making was shared with staff and students (Walters, October 1985).
[39] The tasks of the MC were outlined as management, administration and coordination of daily affairs, including communication, participation, discipline, financial controls, planning and evaluation.
[40] See notes written by Andrew Steyn in “Staff Writings” file. Steyn was employed as a visual arts educator at the time. He wrote of the importance of educating ‘for community self management complemented by connections to other socialist groups’, of ‘organizing cultural workers for ideological and economic objectives as offensive for workers’ management of the institutions that govern our social lives’ and of the importance of ‘revolutionary theory for cultural action’. Education was to ‘attack the enemy in the minds of the people –  bourgeois ideology and its function – sexism, racism, consumerism, and elitism, i.e. it has to attack institutional and industrial exploitation of people for purposes of class and imperialism (ibid.).
[41] See handwritten minutes of meetings between May and October 1986 in CAP Constitution File.
[42] At a workshop at UWC on 13 August 1987 with full-time students, Hildur Amato and two community-based mediators, the background to the full time visual arts course was described in the following terms ‘…in practice the students develop not only through their own creative processes, but also by participating in all aspects of the course, its planning and management. They thereby develop leadership and organisational skills…as well as a sense of…collective responsibility and democratic participation….The aim of this approach is to…empower the students as effective and competent community-based cultural workers…’
[43] See p.4 of “Community Arts Project. Working Document Complied by the Constitution Working Group of the Community Arts Project in Preparation for a General Meeting with the Membership of CAP”, prepared by eight students and teachers of CAP and one outside facilitator.
[44] One of the earliest signs of student demands at this stage is documented in the mediation session between visual arts students and staff at UWC in July that year.
[45] In May 1987 there had been discussions regarding the need to ensure rotating student representation on the Management Committee and there had been consultations with Mamphela Ramphele who strongly advised that this student representation be formalized.
[46] The term Management Committee had come to have negative political ramifications due to local government structures associated with apartheid policy.
[47] CAP Trust Minutes dated 23 March 1988 read that the new trustees were Gertrude Fester, Morgan Mntwana, Godfrey Mpulu, Bulelani Ncguka, Julian Smith and Shirley Walters. At this meeting, after a period of service of eight years, Mavis Taylor resigned from the board. CAP Committee Minutes (1 March 1988 and 3 June 1988) mention that Leah Tutu also accepted the position of trustee but there is no record of her having joined the board.
[48] At a board meeting in September 1988, David Poole resigned from the board in protest at the idea of training cultural workers as opposed to individual artists. In particular, he disapproved of the concept of popular theatre as was built into the new Theatre Co-ordinator, Van Graan’s, theatre course for 1989.
[49] CAP Committee Minutes note the success of the meeting of staff and trustees around this document and recommended that it be circulated to all CAP Committee members. It appears that there was also a need to bring all of CAP Committee up to date regarding the implications of the shift of the organisation.
[50] Two board members, Gertrude Fester and Bulelani Ngcuka were detained by South African police in 1988, the former never in effect joining the board because of this period of detention. (Fester resigned in February 1990). In June, the organisation was visited by the security police to prevent students from sleeping on the premises. (This was to lead to the formation of a disciplinary committee, ironically the source of severe internal ruptures in later months). Minutes of the CAP Committee on 16 August 1988 read, ‘It was agreed that we will discuss the issue of security every week e.g. what to do with salaries in the case of detention’.
[51] Two staff members and a trustee were arrested on separate protest marches, Mike Rautenbach on the ‘purple rain’ march, Gaby Cheminais on a women’s march, and Shirley Walters on an academics march. Three white men on the staff refused to serve in the South African Defence Force, Andrew Steyn, Mike Rautenbach and Jon Berndt. See “Captions” September 1989.
[52] The Internal Education Committee set out to develop a programme of social and political awareness for staff and students and led to the development of a political and cultural formation course. The latter was to include briefings on culture, cultural workers, overview of the workers struggle (national and international) and the growth of culture within that context.
[53] The document outlines the role of the chair with regard to ensuring meeting procedures are complied with, decisions implemented, CAP constitution complied with, training prospective chairs and mediating where necessary. It outlines necessary qualities of a chair and election procedures of the chair. Noteworthy is that this position is not limited to CAP Executive but might be full-time, part-time staff or an elected representative of students. Also of note is that such position be ratified at an AGM and the incoming chair be elected annually at such AGM, to serve for a period no longer than three consecutive years. This working document was to be radically altered by September 1989 (when it was voted in by CAP staff), after the period of trustee involvement in management in 1989.
[54] In a column on the cultural boycott the 1988 newsletter proclaimed ‘There cannot be any sure answers to these questions until a firm organisational base for cultural workers is established.’
[55] This committee comprised Lionel Davis, Andrew Steyn, Hildur Amato and Lynne Brown.
[56] This afternoon session of ‘information’ on 27 November 1988 effectively stood in place of the long delayed AGM.
[57] These were Visual Arts, Media, Drama, Music and Children’s Art.
[58] Tony Morphet was employed to work 175 hours over a period of 3 months to evaluate the organisation.
[59] “Submission to Trustee Commission” by Mike Van Grain, “Interim Report of the CAP Tribunal. An investigation into Problems at CAP” drawing up by trustees Boolean Nicola, Shirley Walters and Godfrey Mule, sections of “Final Report. “The Community Arts Project” by Tony Morphet.
[60] On 25 October 1988 the CAP Committee Minutes reflect this very anxiety regarding uncertainty of jobs for 1989.
[61] ‘… It is clear that … whites dominate CAP and the opinions of black people do not count for much.’ (“Submission to Trustee Commission”: p. 8) The report continues , ‘Whites and “Coloureds” occupy top, powerful positions e.g. controlling money, in charge of administration, coordinating various projects while “Africans” occupy menial, lower positions e.g. caretaker, receptionist/secretary etc. Not only does language (the use of English) and attitudes inculcated by apartheid society perpetuate racism and the dominance of certain groupings within CAP, but the power that some have by virtue of their portfolios or jobs within CAP make a complete mockery of the supposed democracy of the CAPCOM.’ (p. 9)
[62] In effect, although Morphet gives little descriptive attention to the issue of power as vested in different individuals in the project and speaks of political values in general, he gives credence to the divisive operation of these different interests and powers, especially when the supposed politically united community is under pressure. Thus he argued, ‘I am sure that more team building needs to be done but, in the long run, I think a more secure framework of regulation is needed … it should not be possible for a group to mobilize power in the organisation to bring to a halt the work which the organisation as a whole has chosen to do’ (Morphet, 1988, p.18).
[63] Administration was to be cut radically by doing away with the post of Co-ordinator of part-time classes as well as the post of a second administrative worker. See Special Trustee Meeting minutes 5 December 1988.
[64] The IMC comprised three representatives of trustees and Co-ordinators of Visual Arts, Media, Theatre, Children’s Art, Music and Administration.
[65] A notable exception here is an Honours Dissertation written by Robyn Denny while at UCT in 1996.
[66] Meeting held with second group of full-time visual art students.
[67] See CAPCOM proposals in “Full-time students/VACP staff” folder.
[68] It is worth noting that one trustee ‘felt that an exchange of ideas and skills between students from different centres is a good one and proposed that CAPCOM initiates this exchange in a structured way.’ Trustees supported this proposal. See CAP Trust Minutes 4 May 1990.
[69] Proposed trustees were Dave Fig, Ampie Coetzee, Jacqueline Nolte, Nomtha Sipoya, Felicity Andrews, Bishop Ndugane or Rev. Colin Jones, Njabulo Ndebele and Albie Sachs. See CAPCOM minutes 28 June 1990. Bishop Ndugane was unavailable for nomination and in his place Lesley Liddle of WPCC was approached and accepted. Albie Sachs accepted in principle but stated his unavailability for most meetings. Ingrid Fiske also joined the board. See CAPCOM minutes 28 June 1990.
[70] ibid. Just a month earlier when trustees tried to persuade him to accept the post he was still unkeen and felt ‘he was too contentious in the region’. See Trust minutes 4 May 1990.
[71] See Memorandum of Agreement (drawn up between trustees Jack Barnett, Richard Budaza, Bulelani Ngcuka, Shirley Walters, Esther Wides) and the executive committee (neither signed nor witnessed). That this was a result of legal consultation is evident in the correspondence from Y. Ebrahim and Company (correspondence dated 26 September 1990). The memorandum reflected the management structure as had been ratified at the March 1990 CAPCOM.
[72] The report of bookkeeper, Barbara Voss, on the Origins of CAP’s Financial Crisis reads ‘I would like to point out in connection with this that the financial report I prepared for CAPCOM November 1990 was only heard because of my insistence. No trustees were present at that time of the meeting. Yet I strongly voiced concern over the shortfall at that point and at the lack of financial planning as I perceived it then’ (CAPCOM minutes: p. 3).
[73] The Director’s Report to Trustees on “Funding Crisis” reads “That staff recommend (and then withdrew) their retrenchments can only be described as naive; that trustees decided to retrench can only be described as unthought through experience.” See p.12
[74] Open Letter to Trustees by Mike Van Graan pp 4-5
[75] These changes were presented on 24 June at a general meeting to staff via a letter drafted by the acting chair.
[76] The April 1991 – March 1992 Annual Funders Report states that twenty one members of CAP staff were retrenched. See p.6
[77] Open Letter to Trustees by Mike Van Graan, p.7
[78] In her report to trustees the bookkeeper noted “I have not been part of the executive and therefore have not been involved in financial planning, budgeting or fundraising. It has been my role to keep records and provide information which is what I have done. If there is any doubt please refer to my job description. I do, however, regret not having listened to my hunches” (Vos, 1991: p. 6).
[79] The evaluator’s report stated, ‘The growth curve of the organisation which was built upon the general surge of confidence can also be traced to the centralising process. This is particularly clear in the form of the Theatre Company and its admission to the CAP payroll, but it is also evident in the salary increases both of staff as a whole’ (Morphet et al., 1991).
[80] In handwritten comments on the funding crisis as discussed by staff, the acting coordinator Lucy Alexander noted the comment next to the ‘There had been no proper opportunity to effect a detailed handing over of tasks and the consequence was a high level of frustration and anxiety leading to illness’ ‘What’s the difference now’, thus indicating that CAP had not learned from its mistakes.
[81] The bookkeeper noted, ‘There was no strategy to deal with budget shortfalls. There was no mechanism in the structure of CAP’s management which would have prevented decision makers from overlooking financial realities’ (Voss, 1991: p. 4).
[82] Their apologies were noted in MANCOM minutes, 11 December 1991. Part of the students’ complaints pertained to their being used by CAP, as unpaid teachers, ostensibly to “gain experience” as teachers, yet, many had already been paid teachers prior to their entry to the course and now, rather than operating in the assistant capacity as had been outlined, were being taken advantage of as teachers fully responsible for running classes, but in an unpaid capacity.
[83] CAP’s projected budget for 1992 was R602 313. See Trust minutes, 6 May 1992.
[84] See Trust minutes, 17 July 1992, where mention is made of its “debilitating effect on the organisation” and the “lack of any apparent resolution … from either of the parties despite procedures and deadlines that repeatedly seem to shift.”
[85] That Alexander was not invested with the powers of a full director was a seeming replay of gender inequity seen in the project at its outset, when Christine Walters was not granted full authority or recognition.
[86] In May contracts were renewed to September and in June these were renewed to the end of October.
[87] Reasons for her departure were listed as pertaining to having to do administrative work rather than educational, the tensions with the Media Project, and issues of discipline with one particularly undisciplined staff member. In an interview with Robyn Denny, 21 October 1996, Alexander stated ‘I also wasn’t prepared to be the Director in the long term because I felt we had to have a brown or black director. I felt there was no future for being a white director and it shouldn’t be so.’
[88] This synopsis is presented in handwritten form in CAP files of 1992, probably sketched out by Lucy Alexander.
[89] See Job Description Organisational Co-ordinator.
[90] See document entitled ‘Management Structure’.
[91] See MANCOM minutes 4 March 1993 where the funding is described as ‘not good’ and secure only to August 1993. Options discussed include freezing purchases, no salary increases, renting out space and organising fund raising events.
[92] In an evaluation of CAP written in March 1993, Minty stated, ‘The problem is that we are geared to work as an organisation with a large staff and many ‘projects’ when we are in fact a smaller staff with very few projects.’
[93] In his evaluation of CAP written in March 1993 Minty wrote ‘The organisation is depressed and drained financially, emotionally and physically. There is a general lethargy in the organisation. The Media Project is further traumatised following the decision to split and then to rejoin Chapel Street’.
[94] Letter of resignation from Shirley Walters 26 July 1993. The position of chairperson was filled by Jacqueline Nolte.
[95] See also MANCOM minutes 25 August 1993 in which is stated ‘CAP cannot continue having its head in two places – the separation is causing severe communication problems.’
[96] This he managed to do with the introduction of an executive in August 1994. See Minutes of CAP’s First Executive Meeting 16 August 1994.
[97] Trust minutes of 30 November 1993 read
‘A proposal was made and accepted that the administration and management of CAP media and CAP Chapel Street be separated and that given some freedom and time, with the sides developing under the general banner of CAP and a single board of trustees the situation might be reassessed later in favour of a total split. As things stand now there will be two separated organisations operating under one trust as of April 1994.’
Also see “Trustee Report on the Status of C.A.P. Chapel Street” and “C.A.P. Media Project in Community Arts Project Annual Report 1993/94”.
[98] This resource centre being part of a greater vision to develop an extra mural programme and a network with other data bases. See “CAP Resource Centre Proposal” August 1993.
[99] Upon their final separation into two independent trusts the latter became known as Media Works.
[100] It was decided that fund raising meetings were to take place with representatives from both projects plus a trustee to allow for transparency with regard to approaching funders. Funding applications were to be separate in content but bound as a single proposal when sent to funders (Minty, 17 May – 24 July 1994).
[101] Lynette Davids was employed as Administrator in March. See Trust minutes 24 March 1994. Mario Pissarra acted informally as educational convenor in late 1994 but was interviewed and formally placed in this position in December. Nigel Mentor was employed as Centre Manager and Carol Knowles as Resource Centre Co-ordinator in October 1994 In addition the position of Theatre Co-ordinator had to be filled again following the resignation of Jonathon Muthige. This was filled by Simba Pemhenayi in March 1994.
[102] See “Interim Management Structure” July 1994 in Trust File 1993-1994 and “Motivation for an Interim Management Structure” 1 August 1994. The new positions were described as follows: Educational Convenor: Management of education department, responsible for planning and evaluation of education department, responsible for agenda and chairs educational committee meetings; Centre Manager: to develop CAP as a centre, develop volunteer programme, shop, organisation and run events; Resource Centre Manager: to develop resource centre and market its services. Service CAP staff with research, History of CAP research, maintain database, develop resource centre systems and help produce CAN, a joint newsletter of the community arts sector in Cape Town.
[103] See section entitled “New Values” in “How Cap Can Change” March 1993, Zayd Minty.
[104] See “A Broad 3-5 Year Vision for CAP” 18 August 1993, facilitated by CDRA
[105] In line with this mission statement a community development officer ( Sicelo Theo Nkohla) was employed at Chapel Street so as to build CAP’s profile in communities.
[106] See “A Broad 3-5 Year Vision for CAP” 18 August 1993
[107] See “A Broad 3-5 Year Vision for CAP”18 August 1993 and “City Council Proposal” July 1993
[108] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report April-September 1994 p.2
[109] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report April-September 1994 p.1
[110] Re-CAP February 1994 (CAP Newsletter) p.8
[111] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report April-September 1994 p.2
[112] See mention of accreditation in RE-CAP February 1994 and Community Arts Project Annual Report 1994/5 p.3 The latter reads
‘On the educational front a commitment has been made towards a qualifications framework to enable lifelong learning. A qualifications authority is being set up with CAP’s education convenor playing a central role in its formulation on a provincial level. A bill is due to be passed in parliament setting up such a body. This will have a major impact on CAP as accreditation of non formal courses will now be possible with “recognised certification” being possible for courses in due time.’
[113] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1994/5 p.4.
[114] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1994/5 p.2
[115] See Trust Minutes 17 November 1994. Only in 1996/97 did the Board begin to become more active in policy decisions. See CAP Annual Report 1996/97 p.2
[116] Trust Minutes 17 November 1994
[117] Zayd Minty threatened resignation from the Western Cape Arts and Culture Task Group because of there being so few black persons appointed from the nominees, and there being no inclusion of the nominee from ACDN despite this forum representing some 35 affiliates.
[118] “Implementing the RDP in the Province: Towards the Establishment of a Provincial Arts Forum” CAN July 1994, p.2
[119] “Implementing the RDP in the Province: Towards the Establishment of a Provincial Arts Forum” CAN July 1994, p.2.
[120] CAP Annual Report 1986/97.
[121] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1995/96 p.28
[122] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.2
[123] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.2.
[124] re-CAP July 1995, p.2
[125] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.2
[126] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1995/96, p.3. This same introduction bemoans the fact that in the Western Cape two departments of culture were still in operation (one dealing formerly with the white jurisdiction the other with the formerly coloured jurisdiction), that a Director of Culture was still to be appointed, and that the old Performing Arts Councils were still eating the bulk of state money for arts and culture as ‘rationalisation’ was still to be effected by the recently appointed transformation boards.
[127] “To What Extent and in What Ways is Education a Force for Reproducing the Status Quo or a Force for Social Change?” by Mario Pissarra 15 October 1995, p.5
[128] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.21
[129] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.21
[130] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.21 p.21
[131] Report on CAP’s Organisational Development Session and Three Year Planning Process October-November 1994, p.23. On 8 December 1994 a critical response to the proposal for an Educational Convenor was drawn up and circulated by Barbara Voss, programme manager of the arts educators’ programme. Voss objected to the concept of a single convenor who would not necessarily have the in-depth subject knowledge of the programme managers and thus possibly prove to be insensitive to the needs of the three distinct constituencies. The proposal was also seen as contributing to ‘a sense of doubt around staff being able to further develop their work and whether programmes developed in 1994 will be carried through in the future.’ This doubt was linked to personal job insecurity but also a justified regard for the future of her area of work, viz, arts educators’ training, in the project.
[132] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1994/95, p.4
[133] Re-CAP July 1995, p.1.
[134] Re-CAP July 1995, p.8
[135] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.20
[136] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1995/96, p.3
[137] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.23. As part of this process of developing the NQF through its participation on the interim Provincial ABET CAP presented two case studies to a workshop attended by a wide range of educators.
[138] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.23
[139] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.23
[140] ‘To What Extent and in What Ways is Education a Force for Reproducing the Status Quo or a Force for Social Change?’ by Mario Pissarra 15 October 1995, p.5.
[141] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1995/96, p.4.
[142] Community Arts Project. Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995.
[143] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.37.
[144] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.37 and Community Arts Project. Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995, p.11.
[145] Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995, pp 4-5.
[146] From a brief survey of actual courses offered it appears as if the objective of using “arts as a tool for community education and as a means of enhancing community participation in development” and that of using “arts as a tool for community rehabilitation” was achieved through the training of arts educators and through the teaching of community theatre, rather than through the visual arts courses. With the recent development to focus only on the constituency of the unemployed questions might be raised regarding these educational objectives and the locus of ‘community’.
[147] Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995, p.6
[148] Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995, pp 6-7. That CAP was recognised as a ‘very male organisation’ indicates the root of many conflicts of value in the past amongst students and staff and continued to pose a challenge to CAP with regard to its staff and users.
[149] Report of an Evaluation and Strategy Planning Workshop; 20-24 November 1995, p.31.
[150] ibid.
[151] See RE-CAP July 1995, p.1
[152] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.24
[153] Community Arts Project Mid-Year Report 1 April 30 September 1995, p.24.
[154] See Trust Minutes 25 January 1996
[155] Jacqueline Nolte resigned as Chair on 23 February 1995 and Phumlani Tjali took over as Chair in March/April 1996, indicating an extended period when the Board operated without a chair. In May 1995 Andrea Fine and Randy Hartzenberg joined the trust, thus joining remaining trustees Jan Webster and Jill Pointer. In October 1995 Minty tried to organise a Board Development Workshop but only two trustees attended and so the workshop was cancelled.
[156] Heidi Bolton interview with Mpathi Gocini, 27 May 1997
[157] Heidi Bolton interview with Lungile Bam, 23 April 1997.
[158] This is acknowledged in the CAP annual report of 1996/7 which makes mention of the need for a more carefully considered methodology, one that is less technicist and more concerned with developing the ‘whole’ person. See p.9.
[159] See Trust minutes 22 October 1996.
[160] Robyn Denny interview with Sicelo Theo Nkohla, 22 July 1997.
[161] The Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, p.13
[162] The Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, p.13
[163] The Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, p.3
[164] The Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7 makes mentions of the delays in establishing a new credible accreditation structure under the auspices of the “fledgling” South African Qualifications Framework. See p.3.
[165]Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, pp 6-7.
[166] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, pp 3-4.
[167] This Teacher Placement Programme was established by CAP graduate Desiree Kok after a meeting with fellow graduates of the first CAP arts administration course. Kok contracts facilitators to run workshops for clients and is mentored in this project by CAP.
[168] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, pp 9-19.
[169] Community Arts Project Annual Report 1996/7, p. 9
[170] “To What Extent and in What Ways is Education a Force for Reproducing the Status Quo or a Force for Social Change?” by Mario Pissarra 15 October 1995, p.3.
[171] “To What Extent and in What Ways is Education a Force for Reproducing the Status Quo or a Force for Social Change?” by Mario Pissarra 15 October 1995, p.6