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
You have just 10 more days to see this exhibition at Gallery MOMO. It’s definitely worth making time for … Beira’s Grande Hotel sits like a beached battleship, its mottled and worn concrete façade revealing the building’s age and its abandonment by its former owners. With his photographs Mark Lewis tells many stories – of grand ambition to design a space for holidaymakers of colonial-era Mozambique, and of a local community that has survived war and conflict to occupy the shell of some property developer’s dreams. The images, now being exhibited at Johannesburg’s Gallery MOMO, whisper of the building’s life as it once was, and as it might have been while they portray the daily existence of more than 3000 people who call the Grande Hotel a home. Continue reading
“What’s your top seller?” I ask Fatima Nanabhay of the African Music Store near Diagonal Street in Joburg’s city centre. “The goat bells,” she says. At R14 a piece they fly out the shop. Cow bells are also a big hit, she tells me. As I ask the question the only thing flying past us is the traffic along the city street and the guy wheeling a trolley with blankets piled high past the doorway. For the record there’s not a goat to be seen.
#196. Ditch the city for the East Rand on a lazy hazy Sunday that definitely beats the grey rainy days we have been having. We drove out of Joburg – a city that is alive to the World Cup, now almost a month away. The city’s commuters show their enthusiasm by hanging the nation’s flags off their cars. The flags are also flying proudly from the gate posts of some houses and wherever you go there is talk of what’s ahead. Yesterday I overhead three men in the main street of Parkview arguing over whether England would win. “Of course we support Bafana Bafana” is the standard refrain before you launch into who you think will be able to actually score some goals.
We headed for Boksburg about 25kms away to an old favourite, a Portuguese restaurant called Verde Minho. We have eaten meals there for about 15 years and I have to say it – in 15 years we have never been disappointed. The newest owner, Ricardo, is Argentinian – Buenos Aires-born – and over the seven years that he has presided over the place it has developed a more global feel. There’s a Mexican banjo-player on one wall Continue reading
#123. Lament the passing of Ricardo Rangel. The man considered to be Mozambique’s greatest contemporary photographer died on June 11. Eleven years ago this month I first saw Rangel’s work when a friend gave me a book of African photography as a wedding present, In/Sight African Photographers, 1940 to the Present (Guggenheim). Through the book I was introduced to the work of Rangel as well as Mali’s Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe, Cameroonian Samuel Fosso and Drum magazine’s Bob Gosani, among others.