As South Africa celebrated it’s second decade of freedom, a cosy gem of the Johannesburg arts and music scene celebrated its second birthday. On 27 April 1994, South Africa gave birth to its now 20 year old democracy, 18 years later, to the day, Afrikan Freedom Station opened its doors. Questions are now being asked about the success of South Africa’s freedom, but there is no doubt about the success of Afrikan Freedom Station.
The Afrikan Freedom Station in Thornton Street, Westdene is right on the border of Sophiatown, a hub of intercultural art and music in the 1940’s and 50’s. The National Party government intent on keeping people of differing races apart, clamping down on artists who felt compelled to speak out on the atrocity that was apartheid, destroyed what was Sophiatown and displaced the non-white residents to Meadowlands, Lenasia and Eldorado Park. 20 years into South Africa’s democracy, the Freedom Station is now a hub of intercultural art, music and free speech, a reminder of the vibrancy of this area prior to the forced removals in 1956.
Since 27 April 2012, Afrikan Freedom Station, art gallery; music, poetry, comedy venue, library & lounge has been a home from home for many artists and art lovers needing a break from the harsh lines and bright lights of modern life. It’s a place to make new friends, escape the rat race and experience authentic people, start a conversation with a stranger, or disappear into the pages of a book in a corner.
The Freedom Station celebrated its second year of being, with a host of artists clamouring to take part. On the night of this event, a chilly autumn night in Joburg, the intimate venue was packed to capacity, with a crowd celebrating on the pavement outside larger than the crowd of patrons inside.
Congratulations to Steve Kwena Mokwena on the second birthday of his space, the Afrikan Freedom Station.