Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
5 minute read
10 Sep 2021
1:07 pm

Buyaphi University: Taking free education to the streets of Gauteng

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The university serves as a statement on the age-old art of passing on stories between generations as the oldest form of education.

Photographer Buyaphi Mdledle poses for a photograph at the Buyaphi 'street' University on 31 August 2021, in Klipspruit, Soweto. Mdledle shares knowledge with people in his community from outside his house, with a particular focus on photography, but also on arts, literature and poetry, among others. Picture: Michel Bega

“Healing is a continuous process – we had that in mind when we put out those images,” says the founder of Buyaphi University, Buyaphi Mdledle. The 53-year-old veteran photographer is gesturing towards a photo exhibition he and a group of his students put up outside a shop that was looted and vandalised during the July unrest, which affected parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year. What began as a spur-of-the moment project seven years ago with curious neighbourhood children, has culminated in a sort of permanent art installation that also serves as a place of "free learning and thinking"...