Arts, Culture & Heritage

Democracy is Dialogue

Last Updated: September 26, 2023
Artist

Lawrence Lemaoana

A Brief History

The artwork was commissioned by the Department Of Community Development in the City of Johannesburg, with the Johannesburg Development Agency as the implementing agent.

The monument was officially unveiled by the Executive Mayor, Clr. Parks Tau on 24 August 2015, as a highlight of activities to mark Women's Month.

Description

The monumental bronze sculpture depicts a black woman demonstrator carrying a baby on her back. A placard held up by the figure carries the slogan “Democracy is Dialogue”. In her other hand, she holds a candle in a bottle.

The bronze statue is 3.6 metres in height, elevated on three tapered steel columns which are 3.5 metres high. The statue stands on a raised platform on the western side of Beyers Naude Square, which also functions as the forecourt of the Central Library, with the figure facing towards the old City Hall, now the Gauteng Legislature.

The artwork pays tribute to women as drivers of social and political transformation. It engages with the heritage of the site at Beyers Naude Square, which has been a popular venue for protest movements for over 100 years. This tradition of popular protests and demonstrations continues up to the present. The sculpture adds another layer of history to Beyers Naude Square.

The artwork lines up on a central axis with the Cenotaph on the eastern portion of Beyers Naude Square – suggesting a possible dialogue between the struggle monument and the military memorial. Visually, the two monuments help to bridge and connect the space between the two anchor buildings which define the central civic square, namely the Central Library and the Gauteng Legislature.

Artwork Signage

The artwork was commissioned by the Department Of Community Development in the City of Johannesburg, with the Johannesburg Development Agency as the implementing agent.

The monument was officially unveiled by the Executive Mayor, Clr. Parks Tau on 24 August 2015, as a highlight of activities to mark Women's Month.

Location & Address

59-63 Helen Joseph St, Johannesburg, 2000