Mars is a Joburg icon. Drive around Newtown, Fordsburg, and along Barry Hertzog Ave and you’ll see his telltale signs. The 25-year-old graffiti artist has pretty much made his mark across the city. This week his exhibition From The Ground Up is on at Two By Two Gallery in Newtown. It’s definitely worth seeing. Before Instagram and inner city gentrification there was Graffiti and with it came the mingling of exhaust and paint fumes, the scraping away of rot and unearthing urine-stained sidewalk weeds for the perfect spot. There was finding the best wall and owning it, but most of all burning the rest. This is graffiti and it all started from the ground up.”
A long overdue post on an exhibition that came and went but one that has stayed in my imagination… There is no better word than Huw Morris’ own descriptor of “murky” to describe the territory of his photographic series So, this is desire? In 11 photographs the 30-something photographer’s narrative of love set in a 1970’s South African home pulls at a small thread in the fabric of South Africa’s domestic story and as the viewer you are left with the feeling of helplessly watching something unravel.
When historians turn over the major events of 2013, among Egypt’s implosion, popular revolts and the tragic Shakespearean makeover of a famous and much-loved sportsman who shot his future, will be the cronut. Continue reading →
We are on Yeoville’s Raleigh Street at Kin Malebo Village. The doorman greets us in French. The rhythms of Congolese singer Fally Ipupa’s “Bicarbonate” escape the bar into the crisp winter night, as the door swings open. Inside it’s warm and inviting. Continue reading →
In full Joburg City Festival mode we took to the streets of Braamfontein on Friday night, a pack of travel and food bloggers – among us @mzansigirl, @2summers2010, @hasmita, @wisaal, @hitekani_m, @SarahDuff and others - in search of a night out. Around 5.30 pm you could find us at The Grove, the piazza in front of Braamfontein’s Easy Hotel, formerly Hotel Lamunu, sampling craft beer. Truly. beer is not something I usually consider a beverage although I would be lying if I said I have never cast an envious look at people who drink the stuff on a hot day. But the taste usually never lives up to the image. My brew of choice was the Dragon Fiery Ginger Beer, from the Dragon Brewing Co one of many new craft beer companies that have popped up from Joburg to Cape Town. I think I might be a convert. Continue reading →
Sunday morning in Newtown. We joined the lovely Jo Buitendach from Past Experiences, the original city walking tour company for a graffiti walk. Jo’s in the process of writing her M.A. thesis focusing on the heritage value of graffiti in Newtown. Hopefully it will end up as a book. She has an anthropological take likening it to early human’s need for self-expression once realised in rock art.
It’s been a while in the making, and now it’s just a few days until the Joburg City Festival (an initiative of the Joburg City Tourism Association) kicks off. See my earlier posts Joburg gets an inner city festival and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra outside the Rand Club. On the programme is music, art, walking tours, a film festival, sundowners with sumptuous views of the city, food, ballet performances, a food and craft beer pairing at Restaurant Lamunu in The Grove, Braamfontein plus the incredibly successful Critical Mass cycle through the city (it happens on the last Friday of each month and attracts thousands of people). And added to that is the Mail & Guardian’s Literary Festival from August 30 to September 1, featuring a star-cast of Nobel prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, award-winning novelists Niq Mhlongo, Imraan Coovadia plus Booker short-listed author NoViolet Bulawayo. The full lineup of the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.
One of numerous public artworks in the city – Pigeon Square, Newtown
The highway connecting the airport to the city was empty, belying the chaos that had overtaken Cairo (BBC: Egypt Crisis) since June 30 when millions took to the streets calling for Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi to step down.
It was late Friday night, and the two of of us together with the 12-year-old, were trying to get to our hotel. For the previous three weeks, we had been travelling in Greece. Our tickets via Cairo – a city we’d always wanted to visit – had been booked months before and couldn’t be changed. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about the trip. Our plan was to hunker down safely at our hotel.
I love meeting people who are shaping the city and I had been curious to meet Hannelie Coetzee for some time, having seen her “Hover” and “Ouma Miemie and Aunt Vya” on city walks…
Hannelie Coetzee’s work spills out of her studio and into the surrounding streets. The artist moved into Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct, on the city’s east side, two years ago and the streets are now her canvas.
Ouma Miemie and Aunt Vya by Hannelie Coetzee, walking on Commissioner Street
Every day thousands of hands stretch out along commuter routes across Gauteng speaking a silent language of taxi hand signs. The upraised index finger, indicating you are headed to town and the hand turned palm-side up, the fingers grasping an invisible fruit to signify your destination is Orange Farm, are read by minibus taxi drivers all the time and are the framework for a complex system of transport routes. Developed from necessity, and with ingenuity, this silent exchange of signs is the fundamental unit of communication for millions of minibus taxi commuters. Continue reading →