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.
Sihle Xaba, star of Otelo Burning, is running late. But it’s a glorious morning on Durban’s South Beach and the photographer and I have a great vantage point – a shady bench at the Art Deco-style lifeguard station.
Reason’s “Walk on water” is playing in my head – a song inspired by the film about four boys – Mandla (played by Xaba), New Year (Thomas Gumede), and Otelo (Jafta Mamabolo) and his kid brother Ntwe (Tshepang Mohlomi) – growing up in a violence-ravaged Durban township in the late 1980’s who just want to surf.
I feel like I can walk on water/touch the sky and go further/spread my wings because I wanna/rise above these clouds and see the whole world… *
Thursday night we headed north to that weird Montecasino (where the sky is always blue no matter when the sun sets, and those cobblestones make enemies out of great heels) for the premiere of Material, the movie that made Barry Ronge cry and that has people declaring that we finally have a local film with the potential to rival a Leon Schuster blockbuster at the box office.
I hope so.
Head to The Bioscope at Arts on Main. Finally made it there on Wednesday night for the screening of Unhinged: Surviving Joburg, Adrian Lovland’s paean to the city. Funny, smart, a little anxiety-provoking in parts — much like the place that inspired it. The movie is a quick A-Z of the city with the youthful Loveland as compassionate navigator and guide to a city that is not always entirely loveable. Continue reading
#160. Eat fluffy scrambled eggs at one of Joburg’s cutest breakfast spots. I am letting this secret out.
I think of “The Birdcage” and it conjures up memories of going to the cinema in Parkview (in the late 70s suburbs like Greenside and Parkview had their own moviehouses*) to see La Cage aux Folles with my mother and my brother. We may have been from Benoni but we loved big hair, spangles and showtunes (that’s’ probably why). It also makes me want to repeat Peter Sellers’ mantra from that crazy movie The Party, “Birdie num num”. Continue reading
#153. Watch Times photographer Marianne Schwankhart’s farewell to one of Johannesburg’s best known landmarks – The Top Star Drive-In. While the Top Star hasn’t operated for the past four years it will be the end of an era when you drive around the city centre from the east and don’t see that enormous movie screen rising above you on one of the city’s mine dumps.
#142. Confirm that real life can be far more interesting than fiction in this city. Last week I interviewed Peter Harris, author of In A Different Time, at one of my favourite bookstores Boekehuis in Melville. Harris’s true account of the dramatic tale of the Delmas Four with its intrigue and suspense and myriad coincidences is a plot fiction writers dream of creating, remarked someone in the audience.
Big news this morning is the arrest of a prominent attorney for assisting a crime syndicate to hijack inner-city buildings. This after watching “Jerusalema” last week, a movie set in Johannesburg that I had long been wanting to see. Continue reading
#96. Remember the Bang-Bang Club. In the late 1980s and early 90s while the people of this country’s townships were drawn into an explosive conflict and the fight against Apartheid intensified to its height, a group of press photographers risked everything to document the struggle. From Shell House to Boipatong, and the bloody war between members of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC, they shot their pictures amid gunfire and armed conflict and they came to be known as the Bang-Bang Club. Continue reading