A few Saturdays ago I joined the Joburg photowalkers for a walkabout at Maboneng’s Museum of African Design (MOAD) led by fashion photographer Chris Saunders whose exhibition Not X Chris Saunders is now showing.
NOT x Chris Saunders is an eye-opening collaboration between New York based womenswear designer Jenny Lai, South African photographer/filmmaker Chris Saunders, and four South African creatives. Set in locations around Johannesburg specific to the story of each collaboration: taxi ranks, abandoned rooftops, and local townships, Manthe Ribane is the spirited performer and muse in Saunder’s still and moving images.
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The world below seems a much more orderly place when you are 2100 feet in the air, floating above it all in a wicker basket, with the only sounds the occasional roar of the propane flame that sends the balloon higher still. It’s a feeling similar to the one you get when you lie on your back in a swimming pool, allowing yourself to be carried upward, momentarily weightless, your gaze scanning the sky as if it’s all that exists. Continue reading →
A series of books titled Wake Up, This is Joburg got me thinking about how people find their place in Johannesburg, an African metropolis layered with complexity. Everybody here seems to have their city limits, travelling routes that become well-worn grooves in the map. Maybe it’s that way in all cities, maybe not. We grow accustomed to tracing the same paths Continue reading →
The rumours are indeed true. For years the Back to the City Festival held each year on Freedom Day in Newtown has been granted mythical status by me – I have heard about the huge crowds, the graffiti artists who take over the pillars under the M1 bridge for the event, the music, the style fest. This year it was time to try it out. Billed as the biggest hip hop gathering in Africa, Back To the City doesn’t disappoint… Continue reading →
Joburg hasn’t had much of a reputation for refined dining. While Cape Town excels at high concept restaurants and drawcard chefs, this city has for a long time made itself the capital of chain restaurants. That’s not to say you can’t find good food just about everywhere but the more adventurous ideas are being tried out on the cafe and coffee scene rather than on the dining front. That looks set to change with Joburg hotel restaurants* upping the ante. Last week I accepted an invitation for dinner at The Maslow’s Lacuna restaurant, to taste their new menu created by executive chef Dallas Orr.
As much as I love Joburg, when that first bite of winter makes itself felt (temperatures drop below 18 degrees C) I am ready for migration. And so we set off for a short pre-winter break. While freeway management aimed at reducing the high rate of road accidents seems to have made the trip longer and longer (with a few too many maximum-speed-of-80km zones) Durban is still a pleasant 550km+ drive away. Beach, mostly blue sky, warm April weather and the best curries in the land are only a few reasons to head for the car. Here’s a longer list… 1. Marco Cianfanelli’s ‘Capture’. About 86km outside of Durban at Howick, marking the spot where Nelson Mandela was captured in 1962 after having been on the run from the police. Cianfanellis’ remarkable sculpture sits along the roadside, a series of steel columns that when viewed from a particular angle merge to form the face of Mandela. There is a small museum that takes you through the life history of Mandela and the struggle against apartheid.
Marco Cianfanelli ‘Capture’ – Howick capture site of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela mural by Ricky Lee (aka Freddy Sam) on Staib Street, in Maboneng. Photo by Justin Lee.
Johannesburg In Your Pocket is in print! In Your Pocket is a European-based city-guide series currently in more than 100 cities, and Johannesburg is the first city outside of Europe to produce an In Your Pocket guide.
I know it’s been too long – but since October I have been at work on the first edition of Johannesburg In Your Pocket, a brand spanking new quarterly city guide that is due out in February. With so many things to do in Joburg I realised the next step had to be to share this city with a wider audience.
It will be available in selected hotels and bookshops – list to follow. Follow the updates on https://www.facebook.com/JohannesburgInYourPocket and keep watching this space.
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.