Surviving Joburg at The Bioscope

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

Free Nelson Mandela’s legacy

#173. Take a walk through Ferrreirasdorp in Johannesburg’s Central Business District. I did this on Saturday to get a feel for this city as a mining camp. According to The Joburg Book: A guide to the city’s history, people and places (edited by Nechama Brodie) Ferreirasdorp was the first mining camp to be established some time between the discovery of a new gold reef on the “vetvattersrand” in July 1886 – promises of plentiful water were to go unfulfilled – and Paul Kruger’s proclamation that opened the area up to public diggings in September of that year. This was the start of “modern Johannesburg”.

The walk was led by the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust’s Flo Bird. Short and solidly built, her gray hair efficiently tied back in a ponytail and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “one city’s urban terrorist is another city’s freedom fighter” Bird is a crusader for architectural and heritage justice. Continue reading

Arts on Main

#139. Head downtown to Arts on Main. It’s not often that you have an opportunity to witness a random conversation between two generations of South Africa’s  most talented artists whose work is collected by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and other major global art institutions. There I was walking through the courtyard at Arts on Main watching William Kentridge lean out of his studio window to talk to photographer Mikhael Subotzky.

My first instinct was to think someone had called casting central and requisitioned two famous artists: “We’re sending Kentridge and that Magnum guy  Subotzky. They can handle this gig.” Continue reading