Creative Spirit Alive in S. Africa
Street Art in Cape Town
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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
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.