Arts, Culture & Heritage

Statue of a Municipal Worker

Last Updated: July 30, 2023
Artist

Spaza Art Team including Drew Lindsay, Jacob Ramaboya, Filipe Fernandez and Agrippa Nhlapo

A Brief History

The 1997 SAMWU sculpture outside the Workers’ Library was commissioned by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) to commemorate the struggle of municipal workers.

The City Council built the Newtown Compound in 1913 to house migrant workers who worked first for the Sanitary Department, and then the nearby power stations. The museum shows the slave-like conditions the workers had to endure, depicted in the museum’s permanent exhibition, which includes the original dormitories, concrete bunks and punishment room.

Description

Large scale concrete sculpture of a Municipal Worker mounted on a steel frame, with mosaic inscription at the base.

The figure is posed mid ‘dance’ similar to a celebratory pose, and is tossing a spade into the air. The spade is raised in the air in celebration and defiance.

Artwork Signage

The 1997 SAMWU sculpture outside the Workers’ Library was commissioned by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) to commemorate the struggle of municipal workers.

The City Council built the Newtown Compound in 1913 to house migrant workers who worked first for the Sanitary Department, and then the nearby power stations. The museum shows the slave-like conditions the workers had to endure, depicted in the museum’s permanent exhibition, which includes the original dormitories, concrete bunks and punishment room.

Location & Address

Workers’ Museum, 52 Rahima Moosa Street, Newtown. Museum courtyard