Day Three-Street Art and Graffiti in Johannesburg written by Bo Min Sharon Kim

After a relaxing breakfast, we were off to seeing some famous graffiti art in Johannesburg. Jo, the graffiti art tour guide joined us to give us some explanations about how graffiti art came to be so well known to the people in South Africa and its significant roles. Unlike other places, Johannesburg legalized graffiti art due to the degeneration of the city. Degeneration in the city center was due to the social issue called ‘The Group Areas Act’. The law was implemented to make sure different races did not reside together. It officially ended in 1994 and gentrification began. Since this town was built to carry only whites, or 9% of the people, after the law was removed, the community overflew with the influx of black people. The powerful white people who were already dwelling in the town kicked black people out and caused many problems. These problems led people to use graffiti art to express their feelings and bring out freedom. Nowadays, artists who want to leave any marks on the wall have to get permissions from the government. All the works that we saw today were permission based art. Most of the artists left their names on the wall: Mars, Taps, Decor one, Demolition Squad.

In the afternoon we traveled to the Apartheid Museum that chronicles the struggle for equality in Souty Africa. There is a special wing devoted to Nelson Mandela.