The e4 walking tour of inner-city Johannesburg provided a wonderful opportunity for the Form I girls to experience and learn about concepts such as heritage, urban renewal, “living history” and street art. Guided by the e4 teachers, the pupils walked from 1 Fox Street to the Main Street Mall and observed a diverse range of buildings and urban art while discussing the history of the area.
One of the points of interest during the excursion was a walk-through map of the Marshalltown area, complete with Google-style “pins”. The mining history portion of the tour provided a fitting end to the girls’ exploration of the mineral revolution and afforded them the opportunity to see real mining equipment and the headquarters of various mining companies and organisations.
The excursion also gave the pupils insight into apartheid-era history and the e4 teachers drew the girls’ attention to the proximity of the Johannesburg Central Police Station, formerly the John Vorster building, and Kagiso Pat Mautloa’s Simakade (forever standing) memorial to the people who suffered and died there. A highlight of the tour was Marco Cianfanelli’s 2013 sculpture of Nelson Mandela, Shadow Boxing, which stands poignantly between Chancellor House (which housed Mandela and Tambo Attorneys) and the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. The girls observed how the layered form of the sculpture echoed the layered and multifaceted nature of its human subject and the numerous layers of history so evident in the area.
Laura Spencer and Michael Watt