Mmegi Blogs :: Gaborone’s roundabout art
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Last Updated
Thursday 19 April 2018, 18:15 pm.
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Gaborone’s roundabout art

Some might protest, believing that round abouts or circles or more particularly traffic circles, if you prefer, have nothing to with heritage. But then, the same people might also maintain that road design and town planning are matters also remote from heritage concerns!
By Sandy Grant Wed 12 Jul 2017, 16:50 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Gaborone’s roundabout art








But I arrive at this rather specialist angle on heritage as a result of the Weekend Post’s article (July 8) on the arty creations that now adorn the Gaborone roundabouts. It must have been obvious to everyone that they had been placed there as part of a general tarting up programme for the 50th anniversary. What I had not known was that these figures had all been made by self-made artists in the prisons, not by the more accredited and recognised artists at Thapong! And well done them. But then I had also not known that these various creations had attracted much critical comment, presumably on Facebook or Twitter.

But then I am yet to see reviews of the film, The United Kingdom or of Donald Molosi’s Blue Black and White, whether critical or approving. Yes, there has been a great deal of pre-publicity about both but, that apart, I have gathered only of the Molosi creation that there has been a degree of approval that this time around a local was in the driving seat. As for the film, The United Kingdom, it has continued to puzzle me that friends abroad have repeadtly asked us if we have seen it?

In fact, the nearest we have got is to see a publicity TV clip showing a Serowe with South African housing, Pedi rondavels perhaps. All of which leaves me with the impression that the film has

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been received here with total indifference. Perhaps I am quite wrong about this but if so, I hope that someone will more correctly describe the situation. But to return to the original topic – the Gaborone roundabouts and the prison made figures that now adorn them. Personally, apart from the metal creatures at the airport which I regard as mediocre and depressingly out of place, I have seen only the roundabout metal zebras which, without great thought, can safely be categorised as airport art.

But then, unless it is really awful, I can rarely distinguish a good piece of work from one that is bad. I have noticed that the buyers of artwork in several government ministries and departments have also been handicapped by the same lack of judgement! But good or bad, we may need to think about the alternatives. The Gaborone roundabouts are being fast phased out and replaced by super-sized traffic junctions which have absolutely nothing to distinguish them and certainly nothing which makes one any different from another.

In those terms, therefore, we may as well enjoy the roundabout art whilst we may. For a certainty, these, arty pieces, together with the roundabouts themselves, are soon to be part of Gaborone’s past. What has survived of the other from the onslaught of weekend drivers will presumably be flogged off to the highest bidder or perhaps dumped in the National Museum’s cellars.

 

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