Hang it on Joburg’s skyline

#173. Complain about the grey skies, the constant rain, the traffic lights out and the seemingly endless commutes across town. But who wants to do that. With the skyline last spotted days ago I decided to stop relying on nature and get me a more reliable source.

Introducing the skyline by Love Jozi from their store (shared with uber-cool fashion label Black Coffee) at Arts on Main now showing on a wall near me.

The Angel of Hillbrow

#171. Admire the angel and say that if any place needs one it’s Hillbrow.

Hillbrow's angel

Perched up high between Constitution Hill and one of Joburg’s most talked about suburbs the angel is one of a number of public artworks that have sprung up around the inner city. Part of the city of Johannesburg’s public art policy, officials have been hard at work commissioning artists to create pieces that are redefining the city as an inclusive space.

As for Hillbrow, it’s a place that conjures nostalgic, that calls up myths and legends. From the post-1994 hard drug scene that sprang up around the Sands Hotel to the playground of SA’s original party girl Brenda Fassie, Hillbrow was also home to my grandmother and a great-aunt (a lot earlier than that) who lived in the Coronia residential hotel in the late 1970’s (Now it’s a disco, but not for Lola …). Tropicana or was it Tropica sold the best schwarmas in town (It was the wrap) while Estoril had the monopoly on Italian fashion magazines. At Café Paris the men smoked and played backgammon and in the late 80’s Fontana would sell you roast chicken no matter the hour. Hillbrow was the height of cool. All bright lights and big-city like. 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

Xenophobia is so last season

#20. Love Jozi. For all the reasons why people flock here from as far as Kigali or Zagreb, Brussels, Sao Paulo or Asmara. There’s a sense of possibility in a city as unfinished and as brash this one.  Right now I am in love with Bradley Kirshenbaum’s  Love Jozi T-shirt brand which puts Joburg’s heart on your sleeve, and his refreshing take on “Xenocentrism” which plays on the idea of the “foreigner” as belonging to the centre rather than the periphery. Continue reading