Who is Ruth Sacks?

Ruth Sacks wanted no confusion between her personal artistic vision and the memorial she created.
Ruth Sacks wanted no confusion between her personal artistic vision and the memorial she created.
Picture courtesy of Ruth Sacks.

This project was Sacks's first public commission and has been very different from private commissions, which generally offer greater freedom.

It needed to fit a person and a community and Sacks was at pains to ensure that the piece was of the city and focused on Gool's achievements for working people, poor people, women and children.

"I feel very much that this is not about me at all, or my artistic vision, it's very much about how best to serve the people of Cape Town who walk past [the installation], the people of District Six, who are intricately involved in the monument," says Sacks. "I didn't want to make anything controversial or upsetting."

Sacks recent exhibitions and projects include her participation in the 1st Architecture, Art and Landscape Biennial of the Canaries, Los Lavaderos, Tenerife, in 2006, and the group shows Blank Projects at the Cape Town Biennale in 2006 and Liste 06 with João Ferreira Fine Art at the Young Art Fair in Basel.


back to the Cissie Gool memorial page

"What I try to do is build a brighter and better population for Cape Town as a whole."
Cissie Gool
Cissie Gool, 1954
Bailey's History Archives


Pictures and promises

In this lesson plan, learners will study some images of Cissie Gool, including an election handbill, a newspaper report and an extract from a poem she wrote when she was a teenager. They will be asked to see how much they can find out about what she was like from this collection of sources.


Lesson plan
You′ll need the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader to view these lesson plans. Download it here.
Archive Photo Gallery
Posters for the "people’s own candidate" and photos from the very public life of Cissie Gool.
Artwork Photo Gallery
Capetonians at play on the inscribed bollards that commemorate the "Jewel of District Six" .
Audio Documentary
Hear how Gool both served and scandalised Cape Town’s Muslim community.
Zoom in on this 360° people-friendly memorial situated on Longmarket Street Pedestrian Mall near parliament.
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" documentary part 1
Four excerpts from ‘She was certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg,’ by UCT post-graduate student G. Paleker
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 2
Part 2 focuses on Gool as a student and her marriage.
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 3
In Part 3, Gool’s sister-in-law describes listening to her speak at a political event in the Drill Hall
"Certainly not a Rosa Luxemburg" part 4
Gool’s death and funeral brought thousands of mourners onto the streets
Cissie Gool Memorial
Spend some time watching footage of our memorial to Gool, and hear what Cape Town’s residents think of it and the woman it commemorates