Willem Boshoff’s SWAT at the Goodman Gallery

The last time I wrote about artist Willem Boshoff I called him a messiannic bergie, and I meant that in the nicest possible way. Last night he was at it again, this time outside the Goodman Gallery in Parkwood, as the crowds rolled in for the opening of his latest exhibition SWAT.

SWAT, 2011 by Willem Boshoff

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Guerilla knitting on Jan Smuts Avenue

Peace sign on Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

Peace sign on Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood

#211 Wonder who knitted the peace signs on Jan Smuts Avenue. They’re gorgeous. The signs appeared shortly after the World Cup ended, wrapped around the trees on both sides of Jan Smuts Avenue somewhere between the Zoo Lake and the Goethe Institute (whose new wall-less exterior and re-imagined entrance does the building justice). Appropriate exhortations in a few official languages hand-made in pretty colours.This city is all about the unexpected. Continue reading

Why the caged bird sings or breakfast at The Birdcage

#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

So who is Johannes?

#143. Get some answers. On Saturday I was at Origins Museum at Wits (not a striking student to be seen) to listen to a discussion on Johannesburg/Kolkata, as part of a series of events that are linked to Words on Water, a South Africa-India Literary Festival. The discussion on Johannesburg prompted the question: Who is Johannes?
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ANC posters made over

#100. Keep an eye on the ANC’s election posters that are getting a makeover all over this city. With just two weeks to go until South Africa votes, a campaign has been mounted… above the ANC’s campaign, literally, with ANC-like posters being placed above the smiling face of President-in-waiting Jacob Zuma bearing all sorts of catchy phrases like “Ke Nako Ya Go Ithuta Sezulu” — It’s time you learnt Zulu.” So far they have been spotted on major routes leading into the city.

There’s this one:

ANC poster

Meaning “Umshini Wam” made in China Continue reading

The Brutal Year of Robyn Penn

#78. Go see Robyn Penn’s extraordinary exhibition at the Brodie Stevenson Gallery in Craighall. Joburg skies dominate the work, sometimes clear, other times cloud-filled and broody, or brilliantly blue. The Brutal Year is a collection of works about loss and longing, life and death. The paintings are beautiful, precise, and evocative skyscapes grounded by architectural forms. The tops of Killarney’s buildings line each canvas, stretching across them and hinting of other lives above the ground. Beyond them is pure sky.

Morning Light

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Back to the blog

#71. Revive this blog. It’s 2009 and this city — like this blogger — has barely woken up.  The sun is shining,  the temperature hitting around 29 degrees C, the roads are empty, the Park Cafe on Jan Smuts Avenue that serves one of Joburg’s best cups of coffee is open [endorsed by the ever-fashionable The Frock Report],  and people are still smiling at each other and swapping holiday stories. Brief happiness.

But beyond the horizon the bombs are raining down in the Middle East in what must rank as one of the world’s longest standing and most bitter conflicts, Iran is contemplating how to build a nuclear bomb and South Africa will be gearing up for a year in which the raciest election since 1994 will take place and the curtains will be raised on the Confederations Cup — just a few hundred days before the Soccer World Cup pulls into town in 2010.

But the story that caught my attention today was one that appeared on The Telegraph.co.uk with the headline: “Man died in network of tunnels he made through house of rubbish”. It turns out that 74-year-old Gordon Stewart of Buckinghamshire (this could be the beginning of a limerick) had amassed an enormous amount of garbage in his home and died after losing his way in the intricate series of tunnels he had created. In this there is as good a new year’s lesson as any. Time to ditch the personal rubbish instead of trying to build tunnels though it. Will send a note to self while there is still time.

Art auction raises thousands for Gerhard Marx vs BMW court case

#46. Head to Fordsburg for an art auction. With news that Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang didn’t jump but was pushed and replaced by Barbara Hogan (see my previous post) and that the health of the country was now in capable hands, it was time to leave the comfort of home. We headed to the Bag Factory also known as the Fordsburg Artists’ Studios last night for an auction of South African art to raise money to support the case of local artist Gerhard Marx vs BMW. Continue reading