Virtual Exhibition - Rural To Urban

A Linked Heritage by The Keiskamma Art Project

Artwork Keiskamma

Copyright belongs to the Artist.

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(Details about other Keiskamma Projects included) 

Inspired by the year 2020 and Port Elizabeth’s bicentenary, Rural to Urban A linked heritage celebrates the exchanges that take place between the rural and urban areas throughout a person’s lifetime.

Keiskamma artists recognize the role the urban areas have played in their lives, and vice versa, for people who grew up in the urban areas. Growing up in the city, as Cebo Mvubu explains,“you think that eggs and meat come from Shoprite. You never see the source of your food. At least when you go to the rural areas on holiday to visit family, children can learn about cows and chickens and where food is grown”. There are exchanges that take place throughout one’s lifetime that are educational and healthy. Cebo believes pensioners don’t want to live in the city, that they would rather come back to the rural areas where there is space to grow their own food and take life slow. However, he also feels young people after school should go to the cities where they can gain exposure to other cultures, people speaking other languages, and learn that there are many views and ways of seeing the world.

People go to the cities to work, it is true, but Ndileka Mapuma principal artist of Our Rural to Urban Heritage points out the differences for her as a woman in the different contexts. As a mother she realizes there are differences between the games of children, for example, in how they entertain themselves and whether they are safe. Ndileka feels many women in the cities she knows also rely too much on men, in contrast to the rural areas where she feels “women work!” and are more independent. There is further less temptation, Ndileka feels, to spend money on expensive clothing! (Ndileka runs the second studio of the Keiskamma Art Project in the village of Bodiam called Bodium Studio, where this piece was made).

Read more by downloading the catalogue.

Live Opening

Join us on Facebook live for the virtual opening on 30 September 2020 at 10:00 AM.  The Gallery will be open from 5 October for viewing Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00. Please note that all COVID safety precautions will be in place.  


The creative process showcasing how the artwork was created.

The Keiskamma Art Project

Copyright belongs to the Artist.

The Keiskamma Trust is a South African not-for-profit organization dedicated to the holistic care of the communities that live in the area alongside the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. The Trust began with a healing vision, to restore hope and dignity to people with very few resources, living on the precipice of change. It was founded in 2000 by artist and doctor, Carol Hofmeyr. Today the Keiskamma Art Project, the flagship of the greater Trust, works to maintain its founder’s vision, providing vital livelihoods through dignified work, while communicating through Art the reality of rural lives affected by both poverty and history.

While the Trust, through its health, art, music and education initiatives, continues an integrated fight against poverty, lack of opportunities and disease, principally HIV/AIDS, the Art Project specifically holds the vision of a community-driven and inspired operation focused on the impact of work. Unemployment is at a rate of 90% in the villages of Hamburg, Ntilini and Bell. Our aim is to provide employment, to support the development of business and creative skills in order that predominantly women and young members of the community are empowered with entry into the economy. The Art Project supplies training in identified areas such as design, craft skills, and technology. It further nurtures management skills in production, financial literacy, and computing useful for the running of the Art studio and its shop.

Currently we have a team of 16 permanent employees, further employing anything from 15 to 30 part-time artist/embroiderers each month. We make use of embroidery, beadwork, felt techniques, printmaking, wire art and ceramics in our work. The Keiskamma Art Project is famous for large scale monumental artworks, from the Keiskamma Tapestry on permanent exhibition at the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town to the Keiskamma Altarpiece which has toured North America and England in the most prestigious cathedrals, such as Washington and Southwark. Our work aims to engage local knowledge of both youth and elders in our communities, integrating many kinds of research in the archiving and interpretation of the Eastern Cape rural collective memory and oral history. We have permanent major works in several national and international collections including the University of South Africa and University of Witwatersrand and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum permanent collections. We work on custom commissions of all scales and make a range of smaller craft items, from embroidered cushion covers to bags. We readily supply a number of retail outlets and galleries across South Africa as well as keep our shop in Hamburg well stocked. We need support to remain sustainable. We need to ensure sales and commissions (big and small) and considerable funding toward the maintenance of our organisational structure.
If you would like to learn more about the exchanges or be involved, please email Carol Hofmeyr or Michaela Howse:



Copyright belongs to the Artist.


Ndileka Mapuma (principal artist)


Ndileka Mapuma was born in Port Elizabeth and grew up in Peddie. She did her primary school at Bodiam Primary and high school at St Charles Sojola High and got her matric in 1999. She took a gap year then in 2001 went to Border Technicon in East London to do management, but had to drop out because of financial problems. In 2003 she joined Keiskamma and is now a designer, embroiderer, doll-maker, painter and printmaker and the manager of Bodium Studio. She’s taken part in numerous exhibitions and collaborated with fashion designers to world famous architects, consistenly specialising in drawing and designing. Ndileka has one very special daughter. She loves cooking, and takes care to prioritize her happiness while showing respect to everyone around her. Her dream is to be self-employed, to have her own restaurant with a bookshop that also sells her artwork.

Veronica Betani (Supporting artist and seamstress)

Veronica Betani

Nkosazana Veronica Betani was born in East London in the Eastern Cape and grew up in King William’s Town in a village known as Tyata. There she did her primary school and secondary school at Dondashe Secondary School, but had to drop out midway due to financial problems. Veronica is now a mother of three, a granny of five, and a divorcee. In 1980 she worked at Dimbaza as a seamstress for six years, and in 1994 as a domestic worker in the village of Hamburg. She joined Keiskamma Art Project in 1999 as an embroiderer and seamstress and has subsequently been involved with the making of all of the major works, including their exhibition. These works include The Keiskamma Tapestry, The Cream Tapestry, The Democracy Tapestry and the world famous Keiskamma Altarpiece. Exhibitions and workshops have taken Veronica to countries including Botswana, England, Germany and Mauritius. She is someone who is passionate about youth education, and hopes to be able to share the skills she has of print-making, sewing, embroidery, appliqué and more.

Cebo Mvubu (Production management)

Cebo Mvubu

Cebo Mvubu was born in 1981 and grew up in the village of Bodium, on the road to the coastal town of Hamburg. In this area there was no art to spark his creativity. He enjoyed drawing biology diagrams at school and was paid some money to do so by less skilled classmates. A turning point in Cebo’s career was when he joined Keiskamma Art Project in 2001 where he learnt drawing techniques and printmaking. With the support of Keiskamma Art Project, in 2003, he could attend Walter Sisulu University to do a diploma in Fine Art. When he graduated, he came back to work at the Keiskamma Art Project. He has been involved in the making of all of the major embroidered works and has exhibited his own work as a solo artist. Currently, he is the production manager at Keiskamma Art Project and a principal artist. Through the project, Cebo has travelled to Germany, France, England, Botswana, Mauritius and within South Africa. One of his dreams is to have a solo exhibition in one of the galleries he visited in Europe.

Michaela Howse (curatorship and management)

Michaela Howse

Michaela was born in 1981 in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. She grew up in Port Elizabeth, then began pursuing an education in design, starting at Stellenbsoch University with a B.A. Fine Art in graphic design. Her part time experience in the developing craft industry at the time led her to explore a holistic approach to design in the context of craft, growing a company called Streetwires in Cape Town (a collective of wire and bead artists) through design led development. After many years in craft and design, and some years in film, she returned to university to do an honours in Visual Studies followed by a Master’s degree in Visual Art. During her degree she specialised in the curatorial field, following on with her first solo exhibition at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in November 2017. Subsequently, she is pursuing the practicing field of curatorship, particularly for the Keiskamma Art Project, while studying for her doctorate through the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

Embroiderer’s biographies:

Zukiswa SIkani

Zukiswa S Ikani

 Was born in Bodiam village where she did her primary education at Bodiam Primary School and higher education at Saint Charles Sojola High. She is a mother of three; one son and two daughters. Zukiswa joined Keiskamma Art Project in 2000 as an embroiderer. She has been part of many workshops and big artworks and has attended many exhibitions. Her dream is to have a good and steady job.

Sinazo Deliwe 

Sinazo Deliwe

was born in Bodiam village. She is the mother of one beautiful daughter. She began her education at Bodiam Primary School and high school at Saint Charles Sojola High where she got her matric certificate. She then did a nursing course in Port Elizabeth and got a job in both Kirkwood and Summerstrand as a caregiver. Sinazo is most passionate about helping others, caring a great deal for her daughter and family. She joined Keiskamma in 2012 as an embroiderer and doll maker and has been part of many big works, attending exhibitions also at the Grahamstown Festival. While she specializes in embroidery her dream is to have her own space where she can run her own business.

Velelwa Peyi

Velelwa Peyi

 was born in Bodiam village. She is a mother of five and grandmother of two. She did her primary education at Bodiam Primary School and higher education Ndabazandile High. Thereafter she looked for a job in Port Elizabeth and started working as a domestic worker. She joined Keiskamma in 2000 as an embroiderer. She was involved in many big works like the Keiskamma Altarpiece, the Keiskamma Guernica and the Murray and Roberts commission and has been at the Grahamstown Natinal Arts Festival many times. Velelwa specializes in embroidery and likes her work very much. What she most cares about in life are her children and siblings. Her dream is to be self-employed and run a business of her own.

Keiskamma Art Project Contact Details

Phone: 040 678 1177
Facebook: The Keiskamma Trust