Pumflet Rondehuis & Exhibition

Cover Image:Paul Grendon

We invited you to submit your photograph of an oppressive space. 
We invited you to join the conversation around space, freedom and non-freedom. We invited you to challenge, with us, the oppressive bureaucracies, which through their indifference, stifle public conversations on the unfreedom experienced by architecture and in doing so, the articulation of ways out.We invited you to search with us for more antidotes.

The response was phenomenal 
1-50 Images

Photographers list

To view the full pumflet  follow the link:  https://issuu.com/ilzewolff/docs/pumfletrondehuis

The pumflet 'rondehuis' exhibition opened on the 17th of May 2018 at 5pm at Wolff Architects in Bo Kaap, Cape Town.

‘rondehuis’ documents a public conversation around space, freedom and non-freedom.

 On the night Chalwyn Thomas, a resident of Steinkopf and local researcher from  the Sandrift area ,gave a presentation on the construction and use, of the architecture of Namakwaland, and offered insight on the design of the rondehuis as well as the reed mat that is popular in the global south.

Images from the night

Installation of the exhibition  with chair to view

Chalwyn Thomas's presentation on the construction of the Rondehuis

Zuna Thomas reciting a poem she wrote in  khoekhoegowad of the Nama

Pumflet 'Rondehuis'

Dear members of the public 
Towards the middle of 2017, Wolff Architects submitted a concept proposal for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. Our submission formed part of a formal tender process to the Department of Arts and Culture. To date we have not heard anything from the DAC on whether our proposal has been successful or unsuccessful. We learnt from a City Press article, that the DAC had decided not to award any tender and that the South African Pavilion in Venice, for which the South African public pays taxes towards its maintenance, would be standing empty for 2018.

Dissatisfied with the lack of engagement and care, we have decided to host an open call and exhibition at our office, 136 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town on 17 May 2018, a few days before the official opening of the Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Our Venice 2018 proposal, in short, proposed commissioning photographers to submit an image of an oppressive space, psychologically or spatially, with the idea that their images would be printed out in extreme miniature (2cm x 2cm) the size of an instagram thumbnail. Upon entering the pavilion it would appear that there is nothing on the walls - you would notice the diminutive captures only upon closer inspection. In contrast, the space at the end of the room would be occupied by a specially chosen image that would ask the audience to imagine alternatives.

We invite you to submit your photograph of an oppressive space. We invite you to join the conversation around space, freedom and non-freedom. We invite you to challenge, with us, the oppressive bureaucracies, which through their indifference, stifle public conversations on the unfreedom experienced by architecture and doing so, the articulation of ways out.We invite you to search with us for more antidotes.

submission deadline: 30 April 2018 at 12pm

submission guidelines:
1. All submissions to be emailed to venice2018@wolffarchitects.co.za
2. The submission deadline is Monday 30 April 2018 at 12pm.
3. Submissions to include the name, email address and contact number of applicant.
4.Submission to include a one sentence caption that locates and names the building or space in the photograph [we just want to know what it is and where it is].
5. The exhibited photographs will be printed very small [around 2cm x 2cm].
6.A selection of images will be displayed at the exhibition. Photographers will be notified by email.

Read the full proposal here:

pumflet: art, architecture and stuff
Venice 2018

Submitted by Wolff Architects and OH Architecture

August 2017

pumflet: art, architecture and stuff
founded in 2016 by the pumfleteers collective: Ilze Wolff and Kemang Wa Lehulere

For the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 we propose an intervention in the form of a specially conceived edition of ‘pumflet, art, architecture and stuff’: rondehuis  

pumflet: art, architecture and stuff is a publication series exploring the social imagination, stories of neighbourhoods and reflecting on histories of the present. pumflet’s aim is to publicise research-in-process and to conceive of interventions in space and public culture based on research. It is a collection of conceptual art interventions and a collection of correspondence art practices. pumflet, then, is in a way a continued digging and reflecting on the imagination of the collective, with ideas around restoring some ‘deleted scenes’, consequences of forced removals, hyper capitalist urban development and the impacts of state power of the land and the landless.

For pumflet:rondehuis we react to the theme ‘Freespace’ as set by the curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (Grafton Architects). Two points within the curatorial statement resonates with the spirit of the proposed pumflet intervention:

The first statement is ‘We are interested in going beyond the visual, emphasizing the role of architecture in the choreography of daily life.’

The second is ‘It is examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world that will be celebrated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. We believe these qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support meaningful contact between people and place. We focus our attention on these qualities because we consider that intrinsic to them are optimism and continuity. Architecture that embodies these qualities and does so with generosity and a desire for exchange is what we call Freespace.’

We imagine occupying the SA pavilion with what appears to be nothing upon entering the space. At the end of the room would be a subtle but effective signal that draws the viewer into another space. The confrontation with the empty room would at first disorient the viewer, unsettling the visual sense as the expectation for something to look at is utterly disturbed. The viewer will be drawn to the empty walls, lit softly but consistently. Once closer to the walls the viewers would notice a selection of minute images placed at a considerable distance apart from each other. The viewer would walk through the room not necessarily finding other images but stumbling upon some images by chance. The size of the images would be 2cm by 2cm square format prints - the size of an instagram pic. The images would be commissioned photos by South African architects and photographers with the brief that the buildings that they represent in the image should be an example of an oppressive space, psychologically or experientially. The miniaturisation of oppressive spaces confronts one with the reality of the impact of these buildings whilst resisting the trap of glorification that large scale print-out does. 

In contrast, the space at the end of the room would be occupied by a specially chosen image that would ask the audience to imagine alternatives.

The pumflet would be available to read in the space and copies would form part of the design and setting of the space. Below is the transcript of the radio interview as broadcasted in July 2017 by Nama FM radio and hosted by Chalwyn Thomas for ‘Voetpaaie met Chalwyn’:



Die Rightersveld word jaarliks deur duisende toeriste besoek om die natuurlandskap te kom ervaar. Maar nie net dit nie, ook om meer te kom leer van die Namakultuur. Die vraag is hoe goed ken jy jou omgewing en kultuur. Is jy trots om ’n Rightersvelder te wees of nie? Ja, en dan baie toeriste sien ons landskap en omgewing uit ’n ander oogpunt uit. En baie male dink ons as ons toeriste sien wat in die veld rondwaal en fotos neem dan dink ons net: Wat neem die mense hier op die kaal vlaktes? Ek sien dan niks. Ek het onlangs ’n foto van ’n rondehuis waar ’n vrou besig was om die huis te herstel op my facebook blad Voetpaaie met Chalwyn geplaas wat ek vanaf Ilze Wolff se facbook profile afgehaal het. Dit is ’n foto wat in 1991 in Sandrift geneem is en dis hoe sy die foto ontleed het. Ek het met haar kontak gemaak en gevra wat is so uniek van hierdie foto en hoekom het jy dit op jou facebook profile gesit? Ons is nou al so vir.. ek en Ilze Wolff is nou al vir so ’n jaar bevriend en ek het die geleentheid gehad om saam met haar verlede jaar so ’n kort toer in die Steinkopf omgewing rond te toer en so ’n paar dae terug het ek afgekom op die foto en bietjie gepraat met haar oor die foto en hoe sien sy die foto. Hoekom likes jy dit so baie? Vertel die foto ’n storie vir jou? En dit was haar terugvoering vir my ten opsigte van hierdie foto:


The Rightersveld is visited annually by thousands of tourists to experience the natural landscape. But not only this, but also to learn more about the Nama culture. The question is how well do you know your environment and culture? Are you proud to be a Rightersvelder or not? Yes, and then many tourists see our landscape and surroundings from a different point of view. And if we see tourists who are wandering around the field and taking pictures, we think: What do people take here on the bare plains? I do not see anything. I recently posted a picture of a a woman was renovating a round house on my facebook page: Footprints with Chalwyn, which I collected from Ilze Wolff's facbook profile. This is a picture taken in Sandrift in 1991 and that's how she analyzed the photo. I contacted her and asked what is so unique about this picture and why did you put it on your facebook profile? Ilze Wolff and I have been friends for a year now and I had the opportunity to tour with her last year. It was a short tour of the Steinkopf area and so few days back I came across the picture and talked a bit to her about the picture and how she saw the picture. Why do you like it so much? Does the photo tell a story for you? And that was her response to me regarding this photo:


Hi Chalwyn this is Ilze Wolff here phoning in from Cape Town. I am very interested in the Namakwaland. You might have noticed my profile picture on facebook is a picture of a woman building a matjieshuis in the Richterveld. It’s a photograph taken by Paul Grendon in 1991. Now, that photograph has become a kind of a mantra for me. I’ve got it up on my wall in my studio and I’ve got it as my facebook profile picture and it really is part of the way I think about culture and the way I think about architectural culture in South Africa. The woman in the photograph is building a house but what stands out for me in that picture is that instead of building the house like we would normally do by first building the walls, inserting the windows, putting on the roof, and then afterwards moving in with your furniture and all your worldly belongings, this woman is building around her worldly belongings. She’s building around her resources with the resources available to her. I find this a fascinating way of making architecture because it is a way of thinking about how do we imaging space in a new way. How we imagine architectural space, how we inhabit space. I think that in a way it is an example of how we should be building, how we should be occupying architectural spaces. Rather than imagining spaces as this neutral and kind of empty space we first should imagine our resources that we have at our disposal, the belongings that we bring and how we would inhabit and then build around that. Not the other way round as we usually do.

The other thing that I find compelling about this image is that she’s building with strength, and she is building with creativity. You’ll notice in that photograph that she is in a kind of a very intent pose, you know she’s, you know her body language is all about “I’m doing this’, you know? And the photographer, Paul Grendon has framed this image in a very particular way by foregrounding her house with her belongings inside that, behind that is her building the house by first bending one of the reeds or the structures that she will be building the matjieshuis, and beyond that you see the infrastructure: the water tower, the kind of modern technology and the composition is very beautiful for me - how this whole thing sits within the landscape.

I just had a chat with you today and you said that this photograph is taken in Sandrift  and you basically recognised the landscape from that and I think the next step for me would be to think about having a conversation with that woman if she is still alive and she is still able to chat about the design of that structure because I think for me architecture, working as an architect we often think architects are a particular kind of person, particular kind of body, mainly male, mainly white and we don’t think that architecture and creative space making could come from the very people around us. I have this picture up on my studio wall and on my online profile as a kind of a homage to her and I think that I would really like to meet her and have a conversation with her so maybe that’s a challenge to you to help me find this woman.

Finally I think I would just like to thank you for doing what you are doing. For pointing out our heritage and our cultural landscape in a way that we validate it properly. That we take note of it, that we acknowledge it. I’m just always fascinated by the kind of architectural space that we make, that indigenous people, that people from South Africa have made that have often been neglected in scholarly circles in a kind of thinking around modernist space. Now this  photograph is, incidentally, taken in 1991 which is 25 years ago and I would really like to frame this project, this photograph, as a modernist project as a contemporary architecture as a building of our time. And we often get confronted with the idea that this kind of architecture is of another time, of an older time and I want to resist that narrative. So.. ja I mean that is my take on the project that you are doing and I think you are doing a much more broader project that I am doing. Your project encompasses so much more than a focus on architectural space. You are thinking about the natural landscape, you are thinking about the kind of social histories, the family histories - I am just getting this from the tour that you led us on during our visit to Steinkopf almost a year ago to the date (last year). Thank you very much for that, by the way. And just from that tour, from the feedback that I got from the small group of people was with us I got an understanding that not only is there a love for this landscape but there is a deep understanding and a deep appreciation and a deep sense of spreading that passion for this particular world. So I’m here, I’m with you on that and I just wanted to share with you my take on it, my small take on it, linking it to this photograph of the woman constructing the matjieshuis, taken by Paul Grendon. Thank you very much for inviting me to share my views and I hope we can talk more.

Thank you and bye bye!

end of transcript

Read the ‘Free space’ Curatorial Statement by Grafton Architects here

pumflet 'gladiolus' - 30 November 2017

To whom it may concern

Pumflet ‘gladiolus’ will be on sale at the Adderley Street flower market on 30 November throughout the day. It documents the conversation between ourselves about Luyolo, the black neighbourhood in Simonstown that was completely demolished in 1964 and from where most of the residents were moved to Gugulethu; and about Redhill, a black neighbourhood where people were moved to Ocean View and of which ruins still remain today. During our research about Luyolo and Redhill we looked at the paintings of Gladys Mgudlandlu, an artist from Gugulethu and the writings of Gladys Thomas, a poet living in Ocean View, in an attempt to find visual and literary links to these historic and contemporary sites of forced removal.

‘gladiolus’ documents our speculations on Mgudlandlu’s depictions of Cape Town’s built environment of the 1960s and also our discussions with the poet Thomas from her Ocean View home. Through the documentation we meditate on the way these sites were linked through landscapes, creativity and the social imagination.

From 6pm-7pm we will be at A4 Arts Foundation, 23 Buitenkant Street, where Gladys Thomas’ creative writing archive will be on view, where the video piece ‘Homeless song 5’ will be screening and where we will be available for discussion about all this material.

So, buy your copy from Sisters on Adderley (R50 for ‘pumflet’ gladiolus or R100 for pumflet + a bunch of glads) and join us in discussion thereafter.

Thank you for your kind attention

Kemang Wa Lehulere and Ilze Wolff


30 November 2017


Pumflet available all day at the Adderley Street Flower market

Discussion on the archive and process by Ilze Wolff & Kemang Wa Lehulere 6pm - 7pm at the A4 Arts Foundation


A4 Arts Foundation

23‭ ‬Buitenkant Street‭,

District Six


The event carries 0.2 Category one CPD points

Please ensure you sign the register to be issued a CPD certificate.


Pumflet: art, Architecture, and stuff

'Pumflet' was co-founded by architect Ilze Wolff and artist Kemang Wa Lehulere in 2016. It exists to publish interventions into the social imaginary.

It is a publication series exploring the social imagination, stories of neighbourhoods and reflecting on histories of the present. It is a site-specific, project based correspondence based, creative writing based, graphic based, periodical. It seeks to invite the public into

conversation and reflection about architecture, art and other creative disciplines with the purpose of finding wisdom on how to intervene or relate to contested land.

Pumflet is supported by oharchitecture for media and distribution; and Wolff Architects  for production and project implementation. Since its inception in 2016 pumflet projects have been hosted by the University of Johannesburg, Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust, Gallery University Stellenbosch and A4 Foundation. pumflet ‘gladiolus’ was inserted as a supplement into the catalogue ‘Bird Song’ by Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2017, and pumflet co-founder, Kemang Wa Lehulere, and distributed at the accompanying solo show in Berlin. Each publication is conceived as an original art book designed by architect and pumflet co-founder, Ilze Wolff, using recycled paper, gaffer tape, archival images and typed - and handwritten text.

Image of Luyolo, circa 1960s, Simonstown Museum

A wedding in Luyolo, circa 1960s, Simonstown Museum

Pumflet 'Gaiety': 30 March 2017 event pictures and video

On 30 March 2017 pumflet: art, architecture and stuff distributed its second edition called pumflet  'gaiety'.  'Gaiety' published the recollections of Wilfred Damon, ex-resident of Die Vlakte a site of apartheid forced removals in Stellenbosch. Wilfred's memories focused on the Gaiety Cinema, the bioscope designated for racialised persons of colour. He writes how he learnt that his favourite opera would not be screened there despite it showing at the Plaza, the cinema for white patrons. He snuck into the white cinema and watched the opera 'illegally'. The intervention included a public tour of the demolished neighbourhood and a screening of La Boheme at the site where the Gaiety once stood, today a commercial complex and a pizza eatery.

A big thank you to all who contributed to make this event and intervention possible and to everyone who attended. Another tour is organised on 18 November 2017 from 10am -1pm and organised by Gallery University Stellenbosch. Please see details of that event here.

Here is a video clip captured and edited by astroclutterfilms led by Malik Ntone Edjabe, produced by 

Below are pictures of the event taken by Visual Poet, Cultural Worker and  MPhil African Studies candidate.

Die Vlakte Tour + Pumflet 'gaiety' (second edition)

This project evokes the lived experiences of Die Vlakte. Die Vlakte was demolished between 1969 and 1972 as part of apartheid’s project of separate development and forced removals of racialised people of colour from the centre of Stellenbosch. 

Residents of Die Vlakte, led by Wilfred Damon, will take the audience on a tour of their memories behind contemporary Stellenbosch. "Wherever you see a parking lot - that's were we lived". The tour will be given in Afrikaans, translated into English.

The tour will end at GUS with a music performance of live guitar by Wilfred, discussion, refreshments and distribution of the second edition of pumflet ‘gaiety’ - a publication of Wilfred’s recollections of Die Vlakte based events: the earthquake interrupted screening at Gaiety Bioscope and the non-screening of La Bohème. pumflet: 'gaiety’ compiled by Ilze Wolff, Wilfred's daughter, architect and artist, is part of a serial publication co-founded with artist Kemang Wa Lehulere in 2016.

Part I  -  Walking Tour of Die Vlakte
10:00 from Lückhoff Building cnr Ryneveldt & Banghoek streets

Part II -  Discussion and Music
12:00 - 13h00 at GUS Gallery, cnr Bird & Dorp streets

All welcome, FREE.

The project is made possible by the generous support of students from Stellenbosch Gradex 2017, coordinated by Nicolene Burger

Curatorial team: Nericke Labuschagne, Charles Palm, Steph Fichardt, Valeria Geselev, Kamiela Crombie

Poster design: Steph Fichardt 

The tour and the publication were initially conceived for the Hiervandaan public art festival hosted and organised by the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST) in March 2017

For more info: gus@sun.ac.za 071-5501427

OH_Thursdays: A conversation with António Tomás

Join us in conversation with António Tomás as he presents his upcoming book 'In the skin of the city: Luanda or the dialectics of spatial transformation'.



limited numbers apply


18H00 - 19h00


Wolff Architects 

136 Buitengracht Street

Bo Kaap

Cape Town

ABOUT António Tomás

António Tomás received his doctoral degree in Anthropology from Columbia University, in New York. He is the author of a study on the African nationalist Amílcar Cabral titled O Fazedor de Utopias: Uma Biografia de Amílcar (The Maker of Utopias: A Biography of Amilcar Cabral (Lisbon [Portugal]; Praia [Cape Verde], Tinta da China; Spleen, 2007; 2008). He was the Ray Pahl Fellow at the African Centre for Cities, in 2014, at University of Cape Town, working on a book called In the skin of the city: Luanda, or the dialectics of spatial transformation.

He has taught as a permanent staff member and visiting scholar in a number of academic institutions such as Makerere Institute of Social Research, at Makerere University, in Kampala (Uganda), MISR, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and Science Po, in Paris (France), and at Stellenbosch University, in Western Cape (South Africa). He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), with the African Centre for Cities.

ABOUT 'in the skin of the city: luanda or the dialectics of spatial transformation

In the skin of the city: Luanda or the dialectics of spatial transformation is a book that describes the process of transformation that the city of Luanda, the capital city of Angola, has been through in the past decades, having the architectural modernist intervention – which started in the 1950s – as the starting point. Additionally, the book engages with the question of Postcolonial urbanism and the ways in which the postcolonial state has dealt with the urbanistic colonial inscription and the imperative for its unraveling.

Pumflet 'Gaiety' - a public tour, an intervention and a pumflet: 30 March 2017

Extract from 'In Ons Bloed' compiled by Hilton Biscombe.


My father, Wilfred Damon, has written down his memories of going to the Gaiety Bioscope, the cinema that once stood in Andringa Street in an area that was known as Die Vlakte in Stellenbosch. Die Vlakte was demolished between 1960 ad 1970 as part of apartheid’s project of separate development and forced removals of racialised people of colour from the centre of Stellenbosch. Wilfred recalls particularly two stories. The one occurred during the earthquake of 1969, where the film, a typical Hollywood action flick of the late 1960s, was interrupted because of the effect of the tremor. At that moment, he writes, fantasy and reality was confused. Patrons ran out of the cinema feeling as if stepping out of the cinema meant stepping inside a real life extraordinary drama of the earthquake and its after effects.

The second story that Wilfred writes about concerns the Plaza Bioscope, the cinema that was designated for white patrons during apartheid. Back then, films would first be screened at the Plaza, then a week or two later, the same films would be screened at the Gaiety, a cinema for non-white people. He was thrilled to see that the opera, La Bohème was advertised and therefor due to be screened at the Gaiety too. However, he soon realised that those who were in control of choosing the film screenings had no intention of showing La Bohème at Gaiety. My law-abiding father, insulted and dissapointed, decided to break the law and planned, together with his good friend, Leonard Biscombe, the projectionist at the Plaza, to pretend to be his assistant and in that way watch Puccini's famous opera.

The legacy and brutality of forced removals have left deep scars in the fabric of the city. Narratives of trauma have dealt with the issues around dislocation, belonging and return. Ideas about home is a key theme in many of the narratives. But how is imagery of the social imagination remembered and dwelled upon?

Pumflet ‘Gaiety’ is a publication of Wilfred’s recollections of both events: the earthquake interrupted screening at Gaiety Bioscope and the non-screening of La Bohème.


Wilfred will give a tour of Die Vlakte and Pumflet ‘Gaiety’ will be distributed at the event: a screening of La Bohème on the site where the Gaiety once stood, nearly 50 years ago. The sound of the screening will come from car audio systems loud enough to set the mood of an earthquake. Through the visual screening we recall the memory of the Gaiety, and dwell on the emotions linked to the non-screening of La Bohème at Gaiety and my fathers’ act of watching it at the white’s-only Plaza cinema. Disappointment, anxiety, resistance, rapture, nostalgia, loss, and trauma are the emotions that direct the mood of the intervention and Pumflet ‘Gaiety’.

DATE       Thursday 30 March 2017

TIME        Walking tour of 'Die Vlakte' led by Wilfred Damon                               
                18h30 - 19h00

                 Screening of an extract of 'La Bohème' 
                19h30 - 20h00 

MEET      Romans' Pizza
                Cnr Banhoek and Andringa Streets,


'Pumflet' was co-founded by architect Ilze Wolff and artist Kemang Wa Lehulere in 2016. It exists to publish interventions into the social imaginary.
Limited edition Pumflet 'Gaiety' will be available for sale at the event.


Pumflet 'Gaiety' is an intervention specially conceived for the Hiervandaan public art festival hosted and organised by the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST). Thank you to the following people:

Vulindlela Nyoni - Hiervandaan curator and US visual art professor
Andi Norton - SOST trustee and logistics co-ordinator.
Wilfred Damon - author of 'In the shadow of the Gaiety' 
Hilton Biscombe - author and compiler of 'In Ons Bloed'
Colleen Biscombe - teacher and interviewee
Members of the CL Rides, car audio club
Cobus Snyman - translations, Manager US language services
Evan Damon - sound intervention co-ordinator
Brenda Damon - screening intervention assistance
Pumflet co-founder: Kemang Wa Lehulere
Wolff Architects: Lauren Oliver, Heinrich Wolff, Mokoena Kobeli, Takalani Mbadi, Ant Vervoort.
Stellenbosch Music Library, Eoan Group Archives