Erf 81: Two decades of living on the fringe

Erf 81, also know as the Tamboerskloof Farm, is a retired military magazine and heritage site belonging to the Cape Town Municipality. While it has been largely unused by the city, in 1995 Andre Laubscher and his family moved onto the land and inaugurated a vibrant and creative community there. The farm, now a home and work environment to many people including artists, musicians and writers also operates as a foster home for abandoned children, a place to grow vegetables, a neighbourhood market, a creative centre and a conservancy for animals whose habitat is increasingly endangered. 

The farm represents a viable, ethical alternative to the growth of the city where property development ensures access to the city and its resources for wealthy communities alone. Recently, however, the residents of Erf 81 have been served eviction notices putting all that the farm represents and provides at risk. A petition book as well as many online petitions protesting against the evictions have gathered more than two-thousand signatures. 

This exhibition hopes to offer an insight into the complex life of the farm through the contemplative images of photographer Ashely Walters. They show Erf 81 as a space situated between the urban city centre and a national park, in which people, animals, as well as the small creatures that inhabit the slopes of Signal Hill, live in a nurturing, creative relationship with each other. Also included here are the sculptures and fragments of sculptural installations of Andre Laubscher and Dirk Winterbach, two residents of the farm whose works are both deeply aware of the broader social issues they address, and inseparably linked to the land on which they were made.

Curators: Pippa Skotnes, Lyndall Cain and Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti 

Artists: Ashley Walters, Andre Laubscher and Dirk Winterbach

Installation and exhibition assistant: Nicolas Nomumu Simane

Curatorial interns: Ruzy Rusike and Magdaleen du Toit

This is a project of the “Other Histories” initiative at the Centre for Curating the Archive.

With special thanks to all the residents on the farm, the Mellon Foundation, Siona O’Connell, Nina Liebenberg, Fritha Langerman, Fazlin van der Schyff, Anthony Cain, Laurie Foucteau and Heinrich Groenewald.

Other links:

Like the Tamboerskloof Farm’s Facebook page to see any updates on the situation there: Erf 81 – The Farm NPO.

Article by Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti.

Magdaleen du Toit (student intern) interviews Dirk Winterbach

Download the exhibition poster here.

Reviews on the exhibition:

UCT News review by Robyn Walker.

Cape Times review by Danny Shorkend.

Above photos by Ashley Walters as part of the exhibition: (top) Old Military Barracks, 2016.

(bottom) Luthando Planting a Tree, 2016.