Township Art Gallery

Shop No
Ground Level
Closest Parking

My name is Alima Mbombo Passa, and I am the owner of Township Art.

When apartheid fell during my teenage years, I suddenly believed a life of my choosing was possible.

I did not have a good education. I could not go to school much as a young girl. My English was not very good, and I did not have any middle class connections to help me up in life.

But I have an African spirit! And I knew my only way to rise, was to get up on my own.

So, with help from my tutor Mr Jackson Nkumanda, I picked up the brush and learned to paint.

Mr Nkumanda showed me how to watch a scene and express what I saw. He showed me how to speak with my brush, and I found that I loved this new language.

I started selling my pieces at local markets such as the Greenpoint Stadium Market and Pan African Market on Long Street.

It took me a lot of work to put a little food on my table, but thankfully I love to paint. And I had no other skills. So I kept working.

One day a customer told me that my paintings were so good, they should be displayed at the V&A Waterfront. I laughed.

The V&A Waterfront was historically a place I was excluded from. What could they want with me?

But he insisted, telling me about Waterfront Craft Market (now called The Watershed), where tiny businesses like mine were supported and showcased. I laughed again, and continued with my life.

Yet that idea grew in my heart and soon I found myself at craft market, where I met Alima, my soon-to-be tenancy manager who had the same name as me.

She gave me a tour and showed me how the operation worked. After an application, I would be given a small space. The V&A Waterfront team would help me set up a shop and train me in the basics of retail.

I could not even believe or imagine it was possible, but Alima helped with everything, and before I knew it I was operating a small and successful shop for my paintings.

I was even prouder when I was able to hire two part-time employees to help me with sales and administration.

Both of my employees grew up in Khayelitsha, like I did. We are all doing our best to improve our lives, which the shop has been pivotal in supporting.

I am very grateful for this help. And I have worked hard with it. If you would like to patronise my ongoing efforts in the face of COVID19’s impact, you can shop for our original handmaid African paintings here.

10h00 - 18h00 winter
10h00 - 19h00 summer

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