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Creative Spirit Alive in S. Africa

Updated on January 11, 2017
Nadine May profile image

Nadine was born in Holland and emigrated to South Africa in 1971. She has always been an entrepreneur and is a self taught artist .

Street Art in Cape Town

Could these two portraits be of two Dentists?   Photo was taken near the Woodstock exchange building at 66 Albert Rd
Could these two portraits be of two Dentists? Photo was taken near the Woodstock exchange building at 66 Albert Rd | Source

Being creative will put a stop to becoming desensitized

Saturday morning on the first of March Robin and I were joining Aimee’s 2 OceansVibe Radio show for our monthly interview. Our topic was Desensitization and what groups of our global population would be the most vulnerable.

We drove from Clovelly, where we live, to Woodstock, one of Cape Town’s oldest suburbs. It’s located within the City Bowl and with easy access to the CBD (Central Business District). The street art paintings and wire sculptures that greeted us nearer our destination put us both in a totally different mood on this warm and sunny day.

Cape Town has the most innovative, entrepreneurial people, those who are not phased by the colossal obstacles they face every day, and I hope to share this through the photos I took today.

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The portrait of the man above the car park entrance to 2OceansVibe Radio, where we had an interview with Abstract Aimee, looks very much like Will Smith

Internationally renowned graffiti artist DALeast hit the streets of Cape Town years ago and visitors can still see lots of his wire works all over in Woodstock. I took my own photos and later looked him up on the internet.

When our radio interview began I had my last hub article: What does Armageddon look like? Printed and in front of me, just in case I looked for something to read out.

After our hour long radio interview we drove around the neighborhood to take pictures of the street art nearby.

Woodstock  is located between the docks of Table Bay and the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, about 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) east of the city center of Cape Town
Woodstock is located between the docks of Table Bay and the lower slopes of Devil's Peak, about 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) east of the city center of Cape Town | Source
One of the suburb’s most exciting spots is the Old Biscuit Mill on Albert Road.
One of the suburb’s most exciting spots is the Old Biscuit Mill on Albert Road. | Source

The history of Woodstock

In 1870s Woodstock had a beach front and it was a favorite bathing spot for Cape Town residents. In 1881, Woodstock, together with the neighboring village of Salt River became a separate municipality.
In 1904 Woodstock was home to almost 30 000 residents.

With the massive land reclamation of Table Bay in the 1950s to create the Cape Town foreshore, Woodstock beach was lost and it lost much of its status by the late 20th century.

During the apartheid era Woodstock managed to stay integrated, with a mix of classes and races living in the same suburb. It became known as a ‘grey’ area and many colored and black people started to move into Woodstock during the 1970s and 1980s. Due to poverty many of its lower parts had become run down and became known for the crime and drugs.

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Today, Woodstock’s urban renewal continues, with a variety of new developments taking place and an increase in trendy restaurants and shops moving into the area. Property prices have increased and apartment blocks are springing up. Woodstock, it seems, is back on the map

On the way to the Waterfront

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At the Waterfront we had to do our February stocktaking of our books at John Homewood ‘s book and music shop: Music to nourish. After having done that we took a stroll past the many colorful handcraft stalls.

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I was amazed to find this video on YouTube on the same craft.

Recycled Flip Flop Sculptures

I wanted to take a stroll before driving home.
We walked past the small stand of Davis Ndungu with his colorful, unusual animals made from discarded flip flops.

Recycled Art. I love that!
Thousands of discarded flip-flops wash up on the African shoreline. The indestructible rubber spoils the natural beaches and it is mistakenly swallowed by marine feeders and prevents hatching turtles reaching the safety of the sea. This creates an environmental disaster for the marine eco system.

Davis Ndungu told us that during the week he would collect old abandoned flip-flops. He then cleans them and glues them together in layers in many different color variations.

Then he cuts animals, mainly South African wildlife such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos, kudus, lions and many more.

He is a sole proprietorship and on weekend he sells then at the craft market at the Waterfront . He can live off his income.
This is clearly a person who found a way to help himself and not let difficulties get him down! People like him will know the saying: “God helps people who help themselves.”

Afrika yetu exotic woods

Amongst the many colorful craft stalls we stopped at Haji’s stand because he was working at his art. Demonstrations always brings people to a halt.

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We were both fascinated by Haji’s wood-burning skills at the Waterfront Craft market. The rich wood drawings done with just a burning tool was a talent not many have mastered the way he has.

Combining Haji’s background in art along with Mkali’s engineering background, these two Tanzanians bring together the unique highly detailed exquisite and exotic marquetry pieces by Afrika yetu in Africa.

Find out more about Haji’s art through his Facebook address

Bongolomba”s Carvings

At this stall we stopped due to the fun energy that came from Roger’s work.
ROGER Bongolomba told us that he grew up in Kinshasa on the southern bank of the Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He watched his father whittle away at bits of wood, so he learned how to craft simple toys, figurines and other objects from wood. Whenever he had the opportunity, he would snatch up the knife and test his sculpting skills.

I have been doing it for most of my life,” he replied to me.

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“I came here with my wife and we hoped to make a living from my woodcarving and her hairdressing in Durban, but there were too many woodcarvings for everyone to make a living from it.

The couple headed to Cape Town where there were as many wooden giraffes and fruit bowls on offer as Durban, he set about coming up with something novel.

“I thought about how popular Tintin is. I found out South Africans know and like Tintin and all the characters from the stories as much as I do. Tourists who come to Cape Town also know and love him. “

Bongolomba’s colorful and meticulously painted Tintin Series was successful and he successfully applied for a stall in the large indoor craft centers at the V&A Waterfront. He thought out of the box! No doubt many will start to copy him, that is often the case, but it’s the original creator who will always thrive in the long run.

Township Guitars

 type in Google www.Township-Guitars.com to find out more
type in Google www.Township-Guitars.com to find out more | Source

This time we stopped by the township guitar booth due to the catchy music that was greeting us.

A guitar made out of an oil can and a curtain string. You will only find that in AFRICA. People from our continent will always use their creative outlook on life and thereby find a way to enhance their handcraft skills and in this case combine it with their subtle musical ear to producing a top of the range GW Pro Guitar.

“Our vision is to establish Vibrations as Cape Town’s premier sound recording”

Many African musicians learned their guitar playing skills on homemade oil can guitars in their home towns, including Jimmy Dludlu, Sipho Gumede, Alan Kwela and many others. The African Oil-can Guitar is an electric guitar capable of taking the stage with the best. Just listen to the music!

We arrived at the end of the isle with stalls when the many articles all made from recycled tea bags.
I’m always inspired by recycling goods.

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Original T-bag Designs

Jill Heyes, the original creator of this very lucrative enterprise was inspired by the following:

A woman is like a tea-bag. You only know how strong she is when she is put in hot water. – Eleanor Roosevelt

In 1996 Jill and her husband Charlie moved here from the security of England with their two daughters. Jill was horrified by the overwhelming poverty and apparent hopelessness in the local informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, constantly thinking how she could help in some small way.
In 2003 Jill met Christine Sadler, who was successfully producing Decoupage products and together recognized that by combining Jill’s idea about the recycling of teabag s and their unique product themes, it could become a home industry that might give employments to housewives from the township. Christine agreed to train one of the ladies to work with the resin. Sweetness did the training and then passed on the skills to other members of the team.

What started as a hand of friendship many years ago is now a thriving business, still based in Hout Bay.
Any environment that has thrived on determination, co-operation, give and take, and hand in hand with support and friendship, has created confidence pride, and responsibility where it previously didn’t exist.

On the way Home we drove past Kalk Bay

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Kalk Bay is well known for its working harbour and fish market and every year a feast from the bounty of the ocean is celebrated at the Holy Trinity Church.

We never knew that there was a fish fare market on, so we stopped after we were lucky to have found some parking. The Fish Fare is held to raise funds for the church and a small entrance fee was charged at the door. What made me smile is to see lots of families having their lunch among the graves in the graveyard of the church. What an unusual way to have a picnic amongst your ancestors.

A wide variety of tented stalls were still selling fish and seafood including fish curry, fish kebabs, mussel chowder, crayfish curry, salmon rolls, herring, and fried calamari. Even yellow tail and seafood potjie, prawns and pickled fish , but most stalls were already sold out by the time we arrived.

By this time we only had a cell phone to make photos and they came out very small.
We brought fried calamari as a take away to add to our supper in the evening at home.

All and all it was a great day. The people we have been in contact with are all just living their lives the best they do know how. Enjoying what they have and the rest is added due to the creativity we saw that was very much alive in the spirit of the people.

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    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Graham many thanks for your kind words, your voted up and sharing. You have encouraged me to prepares some more on our life in SA

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nadine. This hub is an absolute delight. I really enjoyed it, so full of life energy and information. One of the best hubs I have read on the pages. Well done indeed.

      voted up and all and sharing.

      Graham.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you for visiting one of my South Africa hubs Nikolic. Thanks for the vote.

    • dis-cover profile image

      Nikolic Predrag 3 years ago from Serbia, Belgrade

      Very interesting hub about art and artists. Thank you for sharing with us. Voted up as awesome!

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for reading my post Hilda

    • Hilda Spann profile image

      Hilda Spann 3 years ago

      I love street art...nice story

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi Roy nice of you to read my post on our trip to the Waterfront in Cape Town. Thanks for your comment.

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      Roy Bermeister 3 years ago

      Loved your article on Cape Town Nadine. Especially the bit about Township Guitars at the Waterfront. Great clip!

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I'm glad you enjoyed the journey into Cape Town

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Art is all around us and we must enjoy the beauty it provides our lives. Thanks for sharing these lovely pieces of art with us.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Oh DDE that is nice to know that you have been to Cape Town.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Oh DDE that is nice to know that you have been to Cape Town.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have also been to Cape town a few years ago it just brought back memories it was a trip down memory lane for me. Thank you.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi DDE glad you visited Cape Town through my article.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      South Africa surely has a wonderful arrangement of creativity the colors are enormous and you have taken time to show that much and more so pleased to have stopped by here.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you for visiting my page Dolores.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 3 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Love the tour and the beautiful street art!

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Awesome!

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Oh great Treathyl I have an board on Africa as well, I will have to add the images to my board with the link. Another job for tomorrow.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for your visit Shauna.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Cool! Another pin for my Mother Africa Pinterest board.

      http://www.pinterest.com/pin/183943966004811830/

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      What a colorful day you had, Nadine. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for passing by Ann. Writing a hub about a one day visit into town was truly fun to do.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      What a great display of art and artists! I love the flip-flops. Of course, just up the road in Bristol, we have our 'Banksy' whose art has boomed world-wide. There are many other street artists just as good, of course, but not so mysterious!

      It's true that people's ingenuity knows no bounds and to be able to make a living from recycling is so cool!

      Brilliant hub full of fascinating things and all from a day's journey! Ann

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Dora it was fun to create a hub just for a one day trip into town. Thanks for your comment.

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Glad you liked the journey Johah. I only choose 4 stalls, there are so many more. That will be for next time. Thanks for your vote

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thank you Frank. We had a wonderful and what a way to share it with you all.

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Ha Ha Billy yes I will make you all armchair travelers! Who knows in 10 years time it will be in 3D?

    • Nadine May profile image
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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Thanks for your nice comment Faith. I'm I right in remembering that one of your hubs got a price?

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Exactly Eric! They are just as good. Creativity is all around us, not only in fancy galleries with a huge price ticket attached. Thanks for vising my page.

    • Nadine May profile image
      Author

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi there ologs... I see that you also write for Bubblews. Glad you liked my: visit into Cape Town. Yes please visit.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for sharing such wonderful creativity from south Africa. All the art is impressive, but I think the guitar is phenomenal. Great reading!!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I thoroughly enjoyed this journey Nadine, especially through the waterfront at Woodstock. I am amazed by the ingenuity of crafty people and what they can transform into art. It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Great hub, voted up.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      I've always been fascinated with South Africa as well, this is a very interesting and very well presented...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful trip you took us all on. Thank you so much for saving me a seat so I could enjoy it.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Such an interesting hub about the gifted artists of South Africa. I loved going on your tour with you. Thank you for sharing and all of the photos are wonderful.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What do you think you are doing?! You are treating these people who are just street people artists as though they are brilliant and as good as anyone else. You are displaying and showing their work like it is hanging in a museum or something.

      Bravo to you! You bring us the love of life and art that is beyond us. One billion miles away you brought me my people into my home and decorated it with love. This is very good.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This was really interesting. I've always been fascinated with South Africa and hope to get there sometime.