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National Policy and a Regional Response in South Africa Higher Education

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Cover Illustration: Making Higher Education Accessible to Different Communities

A collaborative watercolour by Chris Molefe, Abednigo "Vusi" Maboda, Nkosana Ngobese, Mandlenkosi Labe, and Lebani Seretse.

Production of this water color was a collaborative effort by five artists affiliated with the Creative Inner City Initiative (CICI) in Johannesburg. CICI works with artists and craftspeople of the inner city to help them become more sustainable and resilient by working in teams. This is done through skills development and promoting collaboration and networking.

The work was done in several stages. After being briefed on the book and its purpose, the artists visited universities and then worked separately to develop their vision of the meaning of higher education for their communities. They discussed their ideas and combined in one illustration the best elements of each design. One of the artists is a water colorist, who was selected to paint the watercolor that is reproduced on the cover. The process was developmental and collaborative from beginning to end.

In the words of the artists:

Mandla: "It was great coming up with something in the group -- a drawing brainstorming! The sketches came quickly, they weren't rejected, little changes were made, it was handled so mildly and fair, changes were not frustrating. The image of the books was the result of a mix of creativity with the expectations of the brief -- when people are involved in learning they need to research more through books, search everything that is hidden in the book."

Vusi: "It was amazing what we came up with. The same kind of things but we approached it differently. The challenge was to come up with one thing together. This built me. I used to illustrate on my own. this time when you needed an idea it came through the others."

Kosana: "This was a good experience. I would love to be an illustrator. I am planning to market myself using the book -- it was a great opportunity. We want to carry on working as a group and are talking to young and upcoming authors about illustrating their writings. We have also talked of opening a website where authors and publishers can log on and see what we do. This built us as a team and we don't want to leave it now. We are also different with different skills: Mandla is the cartoonist; Lebane and myself are more realistic; Vusi is into abstract realism, and Chris is doing graffiti. The images we created for the book were based on knowing the book will go to people who love to read. Those images will attract people in an African way. The hut is a symbol of Africa. The landscape is not a fantasy, it is happening today. We also wanted to have fun with the images."

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© 2017 Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. Last updated: 12 October 2010