Jacob Zuma's forked tongue

#98. Look for the crazy signs. And they are everywhere. This town is plastered with election posters — On Barry Hertzog in Emmarentia a forked tongue hangs out of the mouth of a smiling Jacob Zuma. In Saxonwold his nose is bright green. I have seen him with an AIDS ribbon covering his mouth, two missing front teeth, a curly mustache and a showerhead or two. The ANC posters seemed like Greek to me until I realised they were actually written in Greek – I saw three on the top of Oxford Rd next to Temple Emmanuel, a reform synagogue. It’s understandable.

All Mediterannean nationalities look the same or at least cook similar dishes.

They should have carried an English subtitle saying: This is not a joke.

Then there was the Pan Africanist poster in the city – next to the Joburg Art Gallery that said: Cancell all student debt [sic]. I saw Bantu Holomisa wrapped around a large dustbin in Braamfontein with a message that read “Now is the time to clean South Africa”¬† and Helen Zille’s shiny, puffed out face smiling down at me.

Cope tossed the poster idea after failing to work out which face to put on it — one leader or another — and instead wrapped up a building next to the Nelson Mandela bridge asking me to vote hope.

If these election bids are anything to go by – Right now my vote is my secret — so secret that it’s even hard for me to work out how I am going to use it.

Joburg on show

#97. Watch the performance. I was at the opening of the Joburg Art Fair last night along with a few hundred other people, all dressed up, mingling, eating teeny weensy snacks and looking at some spectacular pieces from SA’s top galleries and other sellers of contemporary African art. The Fair is worth a visit for many reasons — chief among them Penny Siopis’s haunting works made with glue, the gigantic graphite and wood pencil for R5600 (if I had the cash I would buy two plus the sharpener), Jane Alexander’s Security installation (even more affecting up close as the audience appears to be caged in every direction), Lyndi Sales’ delicate paper cut-outs depicting the world’s flight paths, and Mary Sibande’s “They don’t make them like they used to”, a witty and ironic take on the “maid becoming the madam” and the hands of a domestic worker bringing¬† Superman into being.

Mary Sibande

The representations so diverse, engaging and smart. I also loved Carl Becker’s Pierneef-like landscape with motocross rider and the brilliant collaborative work of William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins displayed by the Goodman Gallery. Add to that Araminta de Clermont’s Matric Queens photographs and of course the urban hip images of Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko and the Avant Car Guard’s Poor Man’s Picasso (below). Plus the astounding collection of contemporary South African furniture and other design objects — that alone is worth the visit.

There were a few speeches but all I could hear from where I was standing was Barbara Creecy, the MEC for Arts, Culture Sport and other weirdly associated things in the province Continue reading