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HL Rising Stars Top 5: Rangoato Hlasane


Rangoato Hlasane is a Joburg-based artist, cultural worker and co-founder of the Keleketla! Library, which empowers inner-city youth and emerging creatives through art, culture and heritage programmes.

For more about Rangoato, read our full interview with him below. Is he your top HL Rising Star? Vote for him at the bottom of this page! Who is Rangoato Hlasane? A Pan-Africanist cultural worker, writer, DJ and educator living and working in Johannesburg. I am also the co-founder and co-director of Keleketla! Library in the historic Drill Hall, Joubert Park. What is it like doing what you do in South Africa today? What are your biggest challenges and your biggest inspirations? Education for me is at the core of what I do. Everything revolves around how I can contribute to a critical dialogue on the future of African education processes. I like to explore our cultural heritage, and how it could be used as a tool for education. Some of the biggest challenges include our ignorance about the continent. This leads to century-old exploitation metamorphosing into even more sinister concepts, such as ‘global village’. Please expand on any exciting things you’re working on at the moment? Keleketla! Library is about to start a project with Gauteng and Limpopo schools in creating the second impression of our educational book, ’56 Years to the Treason Trial’ (2012), supported by the National Heritage Council, Goethe-Institut and VANSA/Africalia. The project will see learners, educators, writers and artists engaged in curriculum development work and discovering new forms of learning and teaching, inside and outside the classroom. I am also currently preparing for a tour of France and Germany doing projects related to music in September and October. Lastly, I just finished a text on the history of dance music in Johannesburg from 1960 to now for ten-cities.com, a music exchange and book project using club culture as a lens to look at the public sphere in five African cities and five European cities. It left me with anger about the so-called ‘independence’ of African artists. What drives you? A lot of it is natural, based on growing experiences, nothing new. What I do is driven by a desire to find new ways of speaking about existing realities, processes and ideas. In particular, how to contribute to a pan-Africanist dialogue, using the arts as a potential avenue for the creation of new vocabularies. What do you hope to achieve in the next 3 – 5 years? I hope to develop more networks and imaginative pedagogical projects in the Southern African region and the global South. Check out keleketla.org for more about what Rangoato is doing in his community.