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From the FringE to Centre Stage 2011 has been an eventful year – one in which Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and a host of unexpected others have stood up to support design. It is the year Cape Town has been shortlisted for the title of World Design Capital 2014. Designers themselves took centre stage and everyone started wearing “I support design” buttons. Suddenly, in much more real, public ways, design is more broadly recognised as an integral part of city making and urban transformation. Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid is something we as Creative Cape Town are proud to have incubated in 2009, and we think it’s got great potential (and a winning chance). Given these recent developments, no matter what the outcome of the 2014 title, Cape Town has already won. A key project within the context of the city’s bid is The Fringe, Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District – a space dedicated to the development of design innovation, both physical and virtual, and the focus of this year’s annual. It, like Cape Town for World Design Capital, has been incubated by Creative Cape Town since 2009. In these pages we introduce you to the district, to its many faces and spaces, mapping its histories and potential futures. We then showcase some leading lights in design and media in the city, identified opportunities and strengths. In amongst them, the Cape Town Design Network, birthed out of the Creative Cape Town Clusters and established to be the city’s design advocate. Let me encourage you to join voices with those who lead it, that you, through your contribution, might help it grow and develop. We wrap up by posing some pertinent questions around cultural tourism in Cape Town’s cityscape: What would help unlock the potential to be found in the Company’s Garden and City Hall, and what holds these venues back? Finally we ask, with a little goema experimentation, what really makes Cape Town, and what creative spark might ignite our historical tinder. Until next year, then, be bold, be positive, and be more powerful together. Zayd
CREATIVE CAPE TOWN Creative Cape Town communicates, supports and facilitates the development of the creative and knowledge economy in the Central City of Cape Town. Creative Cape Town is a division of the Cape Town Partnership PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Brendon Bell-Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org Assisted by Caitlin Bracken (Graphics & Design) EDITOR Zayd Minty email@example.com www.creativecapetown.net CREATIVE CAPE TOWN 10th Floor, The Terraces, 34 Bree Street, Cape Town, 8001 T +27(0)21 419 1881 F +27(0)21 419 0894 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.creativecapetown.net www.capetownpartnership.co.za
a r t southafrica ART SOUTH AFRICA MAGAZINE P.O.Box 16067, Vlaeberg, 8018 T +27(0]21 465 9108 F +2786 656 931 E email@example.com www.artsouthafrica.com All photographs by Sydelle Willow Smith unless stated otherwise. Cover graphic and all annual graphics by Uniquely South African unless stated otherwise. Zayd Minty is the editor of Creative Cape Town Annual and the coordinator of Creative Cape Town, a programme of the Cape Town Partnership. Photo: John Second. Courtesy of VISI.
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Fringe Benefits Welcome to The Fringe, a uniquely African environment for design, media and ICT innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
BOTTOM LEFT The area now known as The Fringe has a long history of housing individuals and groups who pioneered work in design, media and ICT innovation. The Bin was a seminal space on Harrington Street which ran for a few years and was a focal point of a great deal of design energy. The ultra-cool Circusninja crew ran it as a shop aimed at a skater and graf community with clothes, graffiti books, toys and spray paint. Its gallery PERMENAANT presented affordable art. Its closure was a big loss to the city. While it may have joined the bin of history, it and its 90s predecessor, The Fringe nightclub, were the true pioneers of this edgy part of the city. TOP Model agency M1 Management is one of three model agencies in the area supporting the work done by the Cape Town Fashion Council. BOTTOM RIGHT StudioMAS is a highly respected architecture and urban design firm and one of a number based in the area.
Cape Town is rich in design talent, with many designers and firms in the city growing their international profiles. But how can our design assets impact on the city’s potential for greater economic growth, resulting in new firms being established, and our products and services being traded more extensively in international markets? Importantly, how do our design innovators impact positively on the local contextual challenges – health and safety, unemployment, access to basic services and education – and thereby create an equitable and sustainable city for all? Thinking even bigger: Can our innovations make an impact on the rest of the global south, where similar challenges of inequity are being faced? How could such innovations translate into greater economic wealth for the region as well as create a better life for its people? These are some of the many questions Creative Cape Town has been asking in the last few years. The city’s bid to become the 2014 World Design Capital (the outcome of which will be announced in October) is one important way in which our assets are being profiled internationally, but much more is needed to foster an environment of design innovation. We have a plan.
The Fringe core which is located between Tennant, Caledon, Roeland and Darling streets, is seen in red in this area. The space in pink is part of the wider influence, moving to buildings and monuments like the Good Hope Centre and the Castle. The broader area of influence includes District Six and Woodstock. Diagram by Guy Briggs.
Welcome to The Fringe: Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District, envisioned as an ecosystem for design, media and ICT innovation in the region. It is a space for accelerating innovation in handmade, digital and service design, one that will incubate new talent, create an enabling environment for innovation to flourish, and become a place to showcase prototypes and finished works to investors and buyers. The Fringe is both a virtual and a physical space. It is virtual in accepting that innovative companies and individuals are based all over the functional city region. The Fringe wants to tap into their resources and connect them, helping to foster an ecosystem of innovators to further economic growth. On a physical level The Fringe is located in a key area of the central city, next to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, a learning institution with a design and informatics faculty situated close to an important public transport node, in an area with significant government-owned land encircled by broadband fibre optics. It is also strategically based next to the bulk of Cape Town’s creative industries, in the heart of the Central City. It is expected that over time The Fringe may find manifestations all over the city depending on the needs of the sector. But for now the heart of The Fringe is a narrow band on the edges of both the Central City and District Six. The main part of the area is between Roeland and Darling streets, Buitenkant and Canterbury streets, with a connecting
route along Longmarket Street, from City Hall to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s main Cape Town campus. The name of the district emerges not just from its edge location, spatially, but from the fact that many innovators start off far from the mainstream, and often struggle to get to the centre – The Fringe provides a supportive space for such new thinkers. Of historical interest, The Fringe was once home to an infamous nightclub of the same name in the 1990s. Based in Canterbury Street, this much-loved venue, which hosted musical events, zany light shows and happenings, burnt down in a freak accident that claimed the life of a DJ. Its location on the edge of District Six provides a unique opportunity to work with the memory of this space as the inclusive heart of the city that will have resonance for how Cape Town develops into the future. The vision for The Fringe is to create an African environment that fosters creativity and entrepreneurship through design, media and ICT innovation. Conceptualised in 2009 and initially branded the East City Design Initiative, the project was a response to a provincial government report on the development of a fashionfocused design district. The project was refocused to engage the broader design community with its connection to innovation and related convergence technologies. The Fringe is supported by the Cape Catalyst initiative, a project of the Western Cape department of economic development and tourism. It is an extension of its ongoing
This work in The Fringe, painted by German artist Tika Thek, is of a lion and the artist’s signature peacock.
support of different parts of the creative economy (mainly the so-called sector bodies in fashion, film, furniture, crafts and music). Many of these sector bodies are involved in The Fringe project. The Fringe is a triple helix initiative: It is supported by government (including the City of Cape Town), academia (key partners include the Cape Higher Education Consortium, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities) and business (in addition to the sector bodies, partners include Design Indaba, Accelerate Cape Town and businesses in the area). Creative Cape Town serves as the official project manager for this project. The initiative is strongly guided by a business case study produced by Kaiser Associates in 2011, as well as a range of built environment studies published this year. It is modelled as a science park, defined by the International Association of Science Parks as “an organisation managed by specialised professionals, whose main aim is to increase the wealth of the community by promoting the culture of innovations and the competitiveness of its associated business and knowledge based institutions”. This sets it aside from cultural district models such as Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg and places it in the same league as projects such as 22@Barcelona and the Toronto Fashion Incubator. It is already a busy and creatively charged environment. It is home to both the Cape Craft and Design Institute
(CCDI) and the Cape Town Fashion Council, which were established by government and the private sector to encourage sector development in the Western Cape. The area includes the Open Innovation Studio, a social entrepreneurship environment, as well as a range of design and ICT firms. Its location next to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and its partnership with CPUT’s faculty of informatics and design ensures that it has ongoing engagement with students and academics. The academic credentials of the area, supported by the College of Cape Town and the Red&Yellow School of Advertising, both long-standing institutions in the area, have been bolstered by the recent addition of the Cape Town School of Photography. The very busy Cape Town Central Library, a former military barracks refurbished in 2009 following a $2-million award from the Carnegie Foundation, provides one of the best public libraries focusing on arts, design, music and business. More recently a range of new small-scale initiatives have opened in the area including the Field Office, a quirky design café, and The Bank, a collaboration of 30-odd designers in various disciplines who are pooling their strengths and resources in a former bank building on Harrington Street. The Fringe is peppered with popular hangouts, including Charly’s Bakery, Dias Tavern, Oh Café, District Six Museum and its Homecoming Centre, The Fugard Theatre, 38 Special, The Assembly, the Book Lounge and Kimberly
LEFT Dicky’s Tailors is a design staple in The Fringe, re-adjusting and customising the city’s clothes for years. ABOVE RIGHT Open Innovation Studio. A key space for social entrepreneurship. Photo: Cape Town Partnership BOTTOM RIGHT Oh Café creperie on Harrington Street is popular amongst locals because of its late business hours and proximity to the events venue The Assembly.
Hotel, amongst many others. These cafés, bars and retail spaces offer a place to socialise and network. They are key to the success of science parks, as they enable social lubrication and, ultimately, deal-making. To ensure an environment conducive to a modern urban science park, and to foster greater investment for the concept from private and public sectors, The Fringe has commissioned a range of urban planning studies. These include a transport study, property study and technical study dealing with infrastructure and bulk rights; it is also currently finalising an urban design framework. The latter is the culmination of significant work done by the team since 2010, including a two-day collective design “charette” with architects, planners, engineers and others, led by the City of Cape Town. In addition, The Fringe has fostered a space that engages with students’ ideas, drawing on such projects as the Vertical Studio project of University of Cape Town’s school of architecture, planning and geomatics and the biomimicry programme run by CPUT (see page 26). These students have identified a range of potential projects such as proposals for improved pedestrianisation, better wayfinding and lighting, cycle routes, recycling systems, street furniture and increased greening. Included are landscaping proposals that aim to draw on Table Mountain’s water sources that flow under the area (a project indebted to the Reclaim Camissa initiative) as well as projects working with the memory of District Six.
Another project involved a team of well-known Cape Town architects who, over a period of months, developed ideas to rejuvenate some important spaces within The Fringe (see page 11-15). These proposals included Design Space Africa’s Harrington Generator, which will be a temporary incubator environment for young designers; Rennie Scurr Adendorff’s Design Garage proposal; and Makeka Design Lab’s proposals for Harrington Street, the key activity spine of the district. A competition to rethink Harrington Square, the main public space of the area, and its heart, is currently on the cards. The Fringe team are currently working on advancing various aspects of this business project, including establishing a design gallery space (the first step towards a possible design museum). They’re also aiming to attract relevant incubators to the area like the highly successful Bandwidth Barn, and is promoting the development of shared office space for individual designers and small design, media and ICT firms. In recognition of the exciting opportunities presented by the area, which is both a testing ground for innovation and its incredible ecosystem and a microcosm of a vast number of important city services, The Fringe will also be launching an urban innovation laboratory and festival, SPAZA (see page 17). For more information see www.thefringe.org.za
Architects envision multiple ways to look at The Fringeâ€™s future urban form In 2010, The Fringe team asked a range of renowned city architects to develop proposals for a set of speculative projects. Their proposals are illustrated here. The outcome of months of work, the proposals were informed by the participation of these 11 architects in a design charette held with government officials and academics in February 2011. The designs are based on extensive studies on science parks and innovation, as well as property and transport flows. More recently an urban design framework was commissioned together with a landscape study.
1: A schematic representation of The Fringe shows the site of the proposed design park by urban designers Guy Briggs and Max Voigt. This representation outlines key government facilities, public spaces and development opportunities in the area.
2 - 3: The Harrington Transformer, a
temporary incubator space built on vacant land within The Fringe, would include cafĂŠs, an event space and a highend backpackers. This Design Space Africa proposal would help young design entrepreneurs find their feet.
4 - 5: Greg Wright Architectsâ€™ proposal for the design park suggests a set of iconic buildings that connect the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with the city centre through Longmarket Street. The design park would be an environment that fosters research, incubation and innovation. It is also proposed as the site for a design museum.
6- 7: Two buildings (one a significant heritage building) used to park police vehicles could be turned into design accelerators, proposes Rennie Scurr Adendorff. The proposal envisages a second generation design incubator centred on handmade design such as crafts, fashion, furniture and jewellery.
8: Earthworks Landscape Architects were commissioned to establish principles for greening The Fringe area. Their brief was to suggest ways to attract birdlife back into a currently harsh environment, to make recommendations on roof and vertical gardens, and to propose more sustainable greening methods such as planting indigenous plants and using water from the streams of Table Mountain (currently running underground) to help the areaâ€™s plant life.
9- 12: Makeka Design Lab’s proposal emphasises The Fringe as a performance space used by pedestrians and is linked to a broader spatial analysis of the area. This proposal connects The Fringe to the fashion and textile industry and proposes a “City Walk” on Harrington Street as a kind of catwalk. The emphasis is on an inviting and welldesigned public space where pedestrians can relax, socialise and window shop. The streets would double as an event space.
The Fringe as an Urban Laboratory The Fringe is a space to test innovative city-making ideas.
BOTTOM LEFT Harold Cressy High School on Roeland Street, established in the early 1950s, is named after the civil rights activist. BOTTOM RIGHT The Service Dining Room provides a soup kitchen for the poor. Each day 1 200 nutritious meals are served from the 75-year-old Canterbury Street operation at 5c each.
The Fringe is a thriving innovation design ecosystem with a number of cutting-edge designers and creative firms based in the area. The Bankâ€™s Furnspace-3D, Aidan Bennetts Design, Formula D interactive, the Open Innovation Studio, Tank and Greg Wright Architects are some of them covered in this annual. The Fringe is also interesting in that it provides significant opportunities to test design innovations, as designers and design students working in the area have found. This potential has been noted by Kaiser Associates, a strategy consulting firm, in its business case study for The Fringe. The study recommended that, besides showcasing the work of designers, the space could also be a testing ground for urban innovations. Situated within five minutesâ€™ walking distance of The Fringe is a diverse community of 5 000 residents, including students, middle-income urbanites, new migrants, old age pensioners, a number of alcohol-dependent homeless people, as well as
former District Six residents who have returned to the area (it is estimated their number will eventually swell to 20 000). The area is also home to an innovative pre-primary and secondary school, a police station and law courts, trade union offices and various heritage sites, museums and cultural facilities. Tying this all together at present is a depressed and unfriendly streetscape, which The Fringe aims to reinvent. This environment offers an opportunity to use innovative design to create a more sustainable African city.
SPAZA: Urban Innovation Festival SPAZA promotes innovative urban change through temporary interventions. In recent years there has been a growing interest, locally as well as internationally, in how temporary interventions in urban spaces can change the way in which public spaces are used. Much of this new, often guerrillatype work has been made in response to what is seen as the “panoptic gaze” of built environment professionals. It is a reaction to a way of looking at space that is top down, using maps and surveys to make general recommendations that aren’t contextual and ignore the way space is actually used, or could be used better. The foil to the panoptic approach is one that engages with the streets at ground level and understands how a corner or blank facade could animate a previously ignored and underutilised space. In the past these projects have been one-off actions, initiated by public arts activists. One example of a typical experiment is the challenge to the role of cars in the city, especially how they tend to take up significant space that could be used for any number of different social activities throughout a day. During a public intervention a parking bay would be repurposed and used as, say, a pool table, or lounge furniture would be installed, possibly an unusual bicycle rack. The often spontaneous use of the space shows how it can be used to initiate dialogue or foster interaction between strangers. In a similar vein, street furniture may be attached to blank facades of buildings: where before the space fostered fear and pushed passersby along through its stark appearance, the newly remade public space is a place for rest and contemplation. Green activists have also left their mark by planting flora overnight, making an oasis where once there was a barren space. Encouraged by festivals and initiatives involving temporary changes to public space, to test how public space could be used in the future and make a collective statement, The Fringe is initiating a new festival in the area to engage with such thinking. This festival will not only focus on the public space of the area, but also establish a relationship between the different people who use the space. How could, for example, the presence of an old age home or the need for a sustainable recycling solution result in a temporary intervention that leads to more long-term engagement with an issue or a
new community project? The bigger picture vision is to use such thinking in other parts of the city as these become possible. The SPAZA Urban Innovation Festival will be run every two years, with a laboratory (a talk shop and small-scale interventions) alternating with a bigger festival. This would enable long-term projects, which typically take between two to four years, to emerge between designers, activists, built environment professionals and students, artists, academics, government, business and community leaders. Inspired by Copenhagen’s Metropolis Festival, Africa’s own Douala-based triennial La Salon Ubrain de Doula (or SUD), New York’s Urban Design Week and Milan’s Public Design Festival, SPAZA aims to promote new methods of engagement between various creative agents and stakeholders to implement change in the city. SPAZA will draw on the successes of the Cape Africa Platform project, which, despite its unfortunate ending, brought together a strong group of people interested in public art for social change. Starting in 2012, with an urban laboratory comprising performances and lectures by local and international participants, the second iteration will coincide with the start of the 2014 World Design Capital cycle. Some projects being considered are: the temporary redesign and reuse of Harrington Street; the development of an interactive ecosystem for young designers in the temporary incubator project; and projects that engage with greening, the memory of District Six and way-finding. The laboratory will also be an opportunity to start tours around the city, with the intention of selecting a specific sub-economic area as a secondary hub for engagement in 2014.
BUILDING ON THE MEMORY OF DISTRICT SIX FOR AN INCLUSIVE CITY The history of District Six plays an important part in the future of The Fringe. District Six was once the urban heart of Cape Town. Its dense, lively urban space was home to important artists, politicians, teachers and community leaders, some of whom would make an enormous and positive impact on the city. Established in 1867 to the east of Buitenkant Street, it was home to freed slaves and migrants from all over the continent and the globe. It quickly became a thriving community. Its destruction by the apartheid government (residents were evicted between 1968 and 1982) would irrevocably change the city, scattering its 60 000 inhabitants to far-flung satellite suburbs with no transport or basic services. The forced evictions tore apart family bonds, in effect setting into motion many of the social problems the city now faces. The scar on the edge of the city centre – a large blank space where once there were homes and families – has served as a constant reminder of the brutality of apartheid, in particular the Group Areas Act of 1950, a key piece of legislation that enabled forced removals all over the city of Cape Town.
After the Hands Off District Six conference, held on what is now referred to as “salted” land in 1988, the District Six Museum Foundation was established to commemorate and work with the memories and history of the forced removals. In 1994 a permanent space was opened on Buitenkant Street and it has become a beloved and award-winning landmark in the city, attracting more than 40 000 visitors annually through its doors. Its active board, consisting of artists, academics and community leaders, ensures that it is a leading-edge museum dedicated to the ideals of a non-racial and inclusive city. As the plans for the redevelopment of the area slowly start to take place, the museum has opened its new complimentary space, the Homecoming Centre (situated a block down on Buitenkant Street in the Sacks Futeran Complex) and plans for the actualisation of the District Six Memorial Park on the land. The Fringe, which falls in this area, aims to work closely with the museum to productively build on the memory of the area and the ideals of an inclusive city.
The District Six Museum has worked with artists, writers, educators,and community members to commemorate the history of the area and the impact of its destruction on the broader city. Its innovative use of installations and photography interspersed with oral histories makes for a poignant interpretation. Photos: Caitlin Bracken.
Memory Work The District Six Museum is more than just a place to tell stories, says Bonita Bennett.
Bonita Bennett, the director of the District Six Museum, in her office.
What lead to the decision to create the District Six Museum? District Six, in its heyday, was known for its cultural vibrancy and cosmopolitan demographic. It was a hub of activity that included economic activities such as trading, tailoring and seamstressing; intellectual activity associated with libraries and discussion halls; and a devout faith-base which was strengthened by an inclusive approach to religion. Over time the area became a neglected ward of the city as some of its more affluent residents moved to the suburbs. The promulgation of the Group Areas Act signalled the beginning of the end of District Six. Racially demarcated areas – separated by a grid of railway lines, freeways and other structures within the built environment – resulted in fragmented communities premised on exclusion. It began to signal that differences between people was something to be avoided and feared. The destruction of District Six and other areas which people called home were amongst
the most inhumane acts of the apartheid government. The Hands Off District Six conference of 1988 sowed the seed for a place of memory for the community that had been destroyed, and whose stories had been erased from the country’s history. Although the museum was only formally constituted much later, it existed in an itinerant form from that time. The date that we mark as the museum’s birthday – 10 December – is the date on which the Streets exhibition was opened in the old Methodist church on Buitenkant Street in 1994; it marks the start of the museum’s journey in a very particular way.
Why does the museum facilitate training, new work and discussion? Memory work is not only about nostalgia. Although we recognise the important role that nostalgia plays in remembrance, we believe that the active work of stimulating and mobilising memory goes beyond this point. We work very closely with the ex-resident community, their descendants, as well as others
who are interested to become involved, in recovering both individual and collective memory. One of the worst violations that can be inflicted on people is obliteration of a past, both in material and conceptual ways. Through this understanding, the museum works towards re-claiming the physical as well as the memorial space of District Six. There are tangible elements, such as reconstituting physical fragments on the site, finding markers and signposts, and also elements of the imagination. When we speak of District Six Museum as being a place of telling stories, we are not only referring to the evocative recollections of their lives, which are enacted by ex-residents in the space; we are also referring to the ways in which people (in this instance, those who have been displaced) make sense of their own lives in context. It involves meaning-making that transcends a sense of loss and victimhood, and moves towards the creation of active citizenship. www.districtsix.co.za Bonita Bennett is the director of District Six Museum.
The Sacks Futeran Complex Bonita Bennett talks about the District Six Museum’s sister location, the Sacks Futeran complex. What is the Sacks Futeran complex and why did the District Six Museum acquire it?
As the museum grew, in terms of the scope and reach of its exhibition, research and education work, and its archives, we almost literally started bursting at the seams. At the time of looking around for additional space within which to expand, the Futeran family put the building on the market, and after a short negotiation, offered the museum a substantial discount on the purchase price of the building, as their contribution towards supporting the work of the museum. The Sacks Futeran complex consists of five buildings. The section facing Buitenkant Street was in fact a Congregational church built around 1859, which was sold and demolished close to 50 years later to make way for the erection of the warehouse. The portion towards the back, which is now known as The Fugard Theatre, was in fact the section of the church used for Sunday School activities. This was retained in its material form, but its usage merged with that of the textile and soft goods warehouse: the business of the Sacks and Futeran families.
What other plans do you have for the space?
Starting as far back as 2002, a series of consultative meetings were held to detail the vision for the building. There was a strong and commonly-held desire for the idea of a “homecoming centre”, which could support the returning families who had been displaced from the city. The concept was further developed to include archival space; seminar, conference and workshop space; a theatre and performance space; incomegenerating sections, such as an extended museum shop and tea room; and, of course, space for exhibitions and displays. The Fugard Theatre as it exists today, the youth Digital Arts Clubhouse, the new exhibition gallery space – these all form part of the broader Homecoming Centre community complex.
BELOW District Six Museum’s Sacks Futeran complex/Homecoming Centre houses The Fugard Theatre, exhibition spaces, a shop, a café, and offices. OPPOSITE Manager Daniel Galloway outside The Fugard Theatre.
The Fugard Theatre
Housed in the Sacks Futeran complex, The Fugard Theatre, which opened its doors in February 2010, has become an important space within The Fringe. Named after Athol Fugard, South Africaâ€™s most famous playwright and recent Tony Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, the theatre bears his stamp of approval and draws on his own history of campaigning for change through theatre. The Fugard Theatre has quickly become one of Cape Townâ€™s most popular theatres, with greats like Sir Ian McKellen treading its boards. In 2011, the theatre extended its ambit with The Fugard Bioscope, which hosts special film screenings as well as music events and festivals.
Catalysing the City The Cape Catalyst initiative plans to activate the Western Cape through targeted economic development infrastructure. Over the past few years, the Western Cape’s department of economic development and tourism has been working on an innovative programme aimed at stimulating economic growth and improving the region’s competitiveness. The Cape Catalyst initiative plans to initiate economic infrastructure that provides an enabling environment for various lead sectors of the regional economy. There are five projects at the heart of the initiative: 1) the Saldanha IDZ project; 2) a planned health technology park in Pinelands; 3) a port planning framework for Cape Town; 4) a telecommunications broadband strategy; and 5) The Fringe, which arose out of an engagement with the design sector to help meet its needs of sustainable growth. Jo-Ann Johnston, the head of Cape Catalyst, speaks about the programme’s commitment to help establish Cape Town’s design and innovation district.
How can the Cape Catalyst initiative help The Fringe?
The Cape Catalyst initiative serves to demonstrate that this is a strong government that will create infrastructure and provide a robust economic platform on which to enhance its citizens’ access to an open opportunity society. The Fringe is one of the initial set of five infrastructure projects identified. The argument for establishing a design precinct starts with the recognition that Cape Town is already established as a leader in creativity and design in South Africa. It is therefore important to exploit these considerable and present resources to leverage design and innovation as a major contributor to economic development in the Western Cape. Through a targeted intervention, as planned in The Fringe initiative, significant strides can be made in the economic potential of the creative, ICT and design industries. The Fringe initiative has the potential to position Cape Town to take part in global trends of high growth in creative industries and convergence amongst creative sectors as well as ICT and media sectors.
What does the Cape Catalyst initiative hope to do?
Infrastructure plays an important role in promoting sustainable economic growth and making growth more inclusive by sharing the
benefits with the poor. The lack of adequate infrastructure can hinder potential growth, weaken international competitiveness and slow down poverty reduction efforts. The rationale for the Cape Catalyst unit stems from various constraints faced by industries and sectors operating in the Western Cape economy. Globally competitive cities and regions have also placed significant emphasis on infrastructure development and regeneration, which involves a complex combination of social, economic, planning, construction and management activities. These typically come together to improve economic stability and infrastructure of a geographical location, but ultimately also improve urban landscapes and social cohesion. Recognising this, the Western Cape provincial government established the Cape Catalyst project office at the end of 2009.
Who is involved in the Cape Catalyst initiative?
The Cape Catalyst unit is a small team within the department of economic development and tourism’s trade and sector development division. Project managers who aim to unlock and facilitate government and private sector support for high-impact economic infrastructure projects within the province make up the initiative.
What has been the key success of the Cape Catalyst initiative in the last year?
Large-scale projects generally have a very long gestation period and since the unit has only been operational for about one and a half years, the successes are small in relation to the tangible outcomes expected in the long run. But expect some amazing projects in the next few years that really make a difference to our economy. Jo-Ann Johnston is head of the Cape Catalyst initiative.
Territorial Advantage The Cape Craft and Design Institute, a long-time resident of The Fringe, has benefited from its central location. As increasing numbers of creative industries migrate to The Fringe’s design and innovation district, the long-established Cape Craft and Design Institute has emerged as the leader of the pack. The CCDI shows just how effective design and craft can be in fostering entrepreneurship, generating income, building self-esteem and uniting divided communities. The CCDI has been based at 75 Harrington Street for five years, where it occupies three floors, as well as its recently opened Creative Enterprise Training Unit on the second floor of Harrington House at 37 Barrack Street. Craft producers and designermakers from Khayelitsha to Constantia gather in the training unit to take part in business skills and creativity workshops. There is also a product support space, a hub of experimentation that ensures everyone from design students to established producers have the appropriate support, infrastructure, tools and equipment to bring their ideas to reality. The craft sector meeting, held every first Wednesday of the month in Harrington House, attracts increasing numbers of participants who gather to share ideas and be inspired by some of the city’s leading artists and designers.
The CCDI radiates its ethos of enthusiasm, support and inspiration out into the city, its achievements visible in the decorative pieces available in upmarket tourist and lifestyle shops or installed as décor in leading hotels. It has invigorated the city with design landmarks, such as the vibrant street sculptures at the Prestwich Memorial, made by craft producers for the soccer megafest. Handmade objects decorate provincial and government offices, and visiting dignitaries are proudly presented with gifts made by local craft producers. This exposure helps people on the margins of established business to enter the informal economy. The CCDI is proud to be part of The Fringe, and helps to spread the word and encourage networking by publishing stories on burgeoning small businesses and established enterprises in the vibrant hub. It has also built up a contact database of relevant enterprises. www.capecraftanddesign.org.za
LEFT Erica Elk is the executive director of the Cape Craft and Design Institute. Photo: CCDI MIDDLE Organic Vases by Elizabeth Lacy, Red Hot Glass. Photo: Eric Miller. FAR RIGHT Handshaped cows, with whimsical detailing: Bull in a China Shop and The Constitution of an Ox were made by Francois Korver of Stoor Ceramics, following an inspiration and drawing workshop by the CCDI’s creative enterprise training unit. Photo:CCDI.
Handmaking the Fringe In 2011 the Cape Craft and Design Institute teamed up with the Cape Town Fashion Council to create an enterprise training facility and a fashion technology centre in a shared space. Since its establishment in 2001, the Cape Craft and Design Institute has been at the forefront of the growth and development of the craft sector in the Western Cape. At its helm, executive director Erica Elk has been changing the way that craft and design is seen, shifting it from a supplier-driven industry into an arena where people are able to make a living out of crafting. Their policies proved so successful that they were adopted by the department of trade and industry (DTI) as a model craft hub. The CCDI’s Product Support Space is a high-tech facility used for experimentation and rapid prototyping and is a popular resource in The Fringe. It has been expanded so that people are able to work from idea through to prototype, through an assisted DIY process by using a wide range of equipment and technology. “We would like users to engage more critically with the available technology and also to find ways of engaging with the relationships between ‘new’ and ‘old’ technology,” says Erica. To support their extensive work in enterprise development, the CCDI has established a new facility, the Creative Enterprise Training Unit. The facility is set up to offer a full programme of creativity and business development workshops, targeted programmes with a market support focus, events, networking meetings, monthly craft sector meetings and exhibitions. Space
will also be kept available for short-term bookings by other organisations. The Cape Town Fashion Council occupies a space right next door to Cape Craft and Design Institute and the two organisations share a similar ethos. The council has established a complementary fashion and textile technology station that offers advanced fashion technology usage and specialised mentoring to fashion designers. It assists with prototype development as well as with the production of small runs, adding value to the CCDI’s Product Support Space. Both the fashion council and craft institute are based in a building that also houses two important medium-sized Cape Town fashion design firms, The Platinum Group and Hip Hop Fashion, thus adding value to the location. This new space in Harrington House is a cornerstone of The Fringe’s focus on the handmade. LEFT Inside the CCDI’s building, which is home to their Product Support Space. MIDDLE As part of the collaboration between the CCDI and CTFC, Hannah Lavery uses a hat by Nuno and clutch bag by Oh Dear Megan. Photo: CCDI. RIGHT Harrington House is home to the Cape Town Fashion Council and the CCDI Creative Enterprise Training Centre.
Cape Town Fashion Council
The Cape Town Fashion Council is the official industry body set up to support and grow the fashion industry in the Western Cape. It represents over 400 members, including local fashion brands, as well as clothing and textiles stakeholders. It was established in response to threats to the sustainability of the local fashion industry due to international imports and it works to promote local design and aims to foster entrepreneurial, business and technical skills. It also has a significant role in Cape Town Fashion Week. As a leading agency of its kind in South Africa, it plays an important part in helping to organise the sector around the country and has recently helped start the Wear Only ZA initiative, or WOZA. The initiative promotes local designers and creates opportunities for fans to post their love for South African fashion online – and to vote on other peoples’ fashion looks.
Cheryl Arthur and Kathy Page Wood founded Hip Hop in a tiny basement store in Greenmarket Square over 20 years ago. Today Hip Hop is one of the country’s most well-known brands. The brand’s renown was established on the back of their ball gowns and chic evening wear, although Hip Hop has long since branched out into popular day wear. It has its main branch and factory at Harrington House in The Fringe.
The Platinum Group
Founded 22 years ago and headquarted in The Fringe’s popular Harrington House, The Platinum Group is one of the most important fashion retailers in South Africa. The company is made up of a constellation of the country’s top designer brands, including Jenni Button, Hilton Weiner, Urban Degree, ACA JOE and Vertigo, and is framed as a “community of aligned interests, of entrepreneurs and partners” and places strategic focus on empowering that community to help service its local brands.
TOP RIGHT Cape Town Fashion Council’s fashion and textile technology station offers resources and assistance to registered members working on design projects. BELOW RIGHT Hip Hop’s busy workroom provides the bespoke gowns and in-store ranges for one of Cape Town’s longestrunning boutique stores.
Modern Thinking Now is the time to realise the vision of a design park and innovation hub in the heart of The Fringe, says CPUT’s Johannes Cronje. What, in a nutshell, is the design park?
The design park will function as The Fringe’s own design laboratory. Modern thinking on science parks suggests that a research and innovation facility which is integrated with the broad urban and regional plan is required. This means that The Fringe should strive to “nurture living, breathing communities rather than sterile, remote compounds of research silos”. We see a design park as an opportunity to consolidate existing innovation across a broad range of disciplines, including design and ICT. The Fringe’s design park will enable us to position the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) as a leading regional university; stimulate and manage the flow of knowledge and technology from within our university to the rest of the Fringe; and build sustainable national and international partnerships. It also creates opportunities to take CPUT’s research output a step further, and so help to incubate and encourage innovation. Furthermore we will facilitate the growth of our senior students into design entrepreneurs in Cape Town as the design park will encourage the start-up of small and micro innovationbased companies. The vision of The Fringe resounds closely with CPUT’s vision to be at the heart of technology education and innovation in Africa. The Fringe’s activities and associated developments in the broader environment have presented CPUT with an opportunity to respond to critical elements of our mission and vision. In particular The Fringe is an
PREVIOUS PAGE The CPUTâ€™s faculty of informatics and design offers courses in design and IT disciplines, including graphic design, architecture, town and regional planning, and informatics. BELOW Students show the way to an innovative Fringe.
opportunity to consolidate our activities within the context of the triple helix, in respect of research, innovation and community engagement. It gives CPUT a chance to move beyond rhetoric by realising the vision of a design park and innovation hub linked to its Cape Town campus that is strongly associated with the academic project.
Why is The Fringe the ideal space for a design park in relation to CPUT?
The design park will be an integral component of The Fringe, providing a basis for CPUT to position itself regionally, nationally and internationally as a regional leader in design. It also enables us to catalyse and foster innovation, as well as encourage entrepreneurship and support the businesses started by our graduates. CPUT will continue to be a significant player as the broader Fringe initiative is rolled out, while other higher education institutions have also been invited to collaborate on this project.
CPUT is already considered a design and informatics leader in the country. What role will the faculty of informatics and design have in developing the design park?
The faculty of informatics and design has a unique mix of design disciplines such as industrial design, information technology, graphic design, surface design, architecture, and town and regional planning. Its strategic plan seeks to shift the status quo from mainly teaching and some research to one in which there is an equitable distribution of teaching, research (both basic and applied) and technology and product development. This would include commercial development by building sustainable partnerships. CPUTâ€™s unique mix of design and IT disciplines, paired with the already successful track record of the development of The Fringeâ€™s CCDI, as well as innovative student projects in the area, bodes well for making this location an important enabling environment. Johannes Cronje is the dean of the faculty of informatics and design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Students show the way to an innovative Fringe Yehuda Raff, coordinator of The Fringe tells us a about some of the innovative student projects that have taken place in the area over the past year. There have been a number of projects done in collaboration with different classes and universities in The Fringe over the last year. Two stand-out projects are the Vertical Studio project by a group of architecture students from the University of Cape Town (UCT), and a project by students enrolled in the biomimicry programme at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Enabled by the support of a local property owner, UCT students were given an entire building floor to turn into a studio space for a week and a gallery for a day. Students recognised the challenges we faced in reinventing the area as a design district. They used time lapse photography to understand the different usage patterns in the area, both during the day and at
night. They showed us a very human and interactive layer to The Fringe, and brought to the surface a number of radical and experimental ideas for dealing with these challenges. The students addressed issues of the submerged waterways, of active streets, of homeless people and more, and proposed ways to use public art to achieve visual solutions. The biomimicry course and its outputs saw an amalgamation of four design disciplines at CPUT working together to first understand the principles of biomimicry – an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s timetested patterns and strategies – and then to work out solutions, with this thinking tool, for The Fringe. The team of lecturers at CPUT spent a lot
Yehuda Raff, the Fringe Coordinator tells us a about some of the innovative student projects that have taken place in The Fringe over the past year.
TOP UCTâ€™s Vertical Studio transformed the entire floor of a local building into a studio space and gallery. This student project looked at representing and reinterpreting The Fringe. FACING PAGE AND BOTTOM The Greening Harry Project is one of the products of a biomimicry course held by students in the faculty of informatics and design at CPUT. Students were encouraged to come up with visual, creative solutions to green The Fringe, looking in particular at recycling and sustainability options.
of time consulting The Fringe team about the challenges we face in the development of the area. We worked together to unpack the social and environmental challenges into clear briefs for the students to tackle. A number of solutions for recycling, street fronts, greening and way-finding emerged. The level of professionalism and real world applicability, packaged into some very futuristic and idealistic visions, were helpful for us in our current urban design work. We are now working with CPUT to examine the commercialisation of some of the ideas and to pilot their implementation. This experience could form the foundation of the
future commercialisation of ideas from student projects. Bringing the various schools to work on the design and innovation district helped the project managers and coordinators at The Fringe see the area afresh. But, crucially, it also helped the students to reimagine the world they will inhabit when they become design and innovation professionals in a few yearsâ€™ time. Yehuda Raff is coordinator of The Fringe at the Cape Town Partnership.
Innovative Leadership The Fringe offers us a unique opportunity to nurture and strengthen the capacity for innovation that already exists in Cape Town, says Nasima Badsha. What is CHEC and what role does it play in The Fringe?
The Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) represents the four public universities in the Western Cape: Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape. It promotes collaboration between the four universities in a wide range of areas, and also supports collaboration between the universities and key external partners such as the Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town. The Fringe is an exciting and important development, which enjoys the support of CHEC. We are active participants in The Fringe stakeholder forums. CHEC also assists with research support to The Fringe.
How are higher learning institutes involved in The Fringe?
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), through its design and informatics faculty, has taken a lead role in the development of The Fringe. This is informed by its location in the East City and by its teaching, research and innovation focus on design. For CPUT in particular, The Fringe offers exciting possibilities. It provides a gateway to the city, and with it the potential for students and staff to pursue business opportunities and to build links with industry and regional government. The University of Cape Townâ€™s African Centre for Cities (ACC) has also provided valuable research support to The Fringe.
Why, in your opinion, is The Fringe important for innovation in design for the region?
The Fringe offers us a unique opportunity to nurture and strengthen the capacity that already exists in Cape Town in the area of design and informatics through the building of networks and connections between town and gown. It allows us to give effect to triple helix partnerships (between higher education, government and industry) in design and other related areas of innovation.
How could other universities become more involved in The Fringe and encourage similar local innovation?
The other universities in the region are also exploring their possible involvement with The Fringe, although this might be constrained by distance. The University of the Western Cape, for example, is actively looking at ways in which research and innovation activities can be a catalyst for the development and rejuvenation of Belville South. The national department of science and technology and the provincial government are also conducting a feasibility study for the establishment of a health technology innovation park in Pinelands. This holds exciting possibilities for the universities. Nasima Badsha is the CEO of the Cape Higher Education Consortium. CHEC represents four universities in the Western Cape: the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town and the University of Western Cape. Image: CHEC.
Bridging Creativity Informally joined by a busy square in the middle of The Fringe are two of Cape Townâ€™s knowledge centres, the College of Cape Town and the Central Library. The College of Cape Town is located across from the Cape Town Central Library. Although the space in between is a bustling thoroughfare for people visiting both the library and college, its full potential as a meeting place and pathway to these two institutes of knowledge has yet to be realised.
College of Cape Town
The College of Cape Town offers students education and training in a range of courses including art, design, jewelry, interior design, business and engineering. Admission to these further education and training (FET) courses are reliant on the student having passed Grade 10. As a bridging measure, the college partnered with the Western Cape department of education to offer the national certificate to Grade 9 learners who want to pursue a vocation, as opposed to an academic career. Framed as a holistic learning experience, the focus on vocational training is meant to help prepare young South Africans for the job market, equipping them with what the college considers to be priority skills. Although perhaps more well-known for its bridging and design courses, the collegeâ€™s engineering department includes programmes in information technology, along with building and civil, electrical and mechanical engineering. The accreditations offered by the business faculty include a national certificate in new venture creation and an FET certificate in school business administration. These courses all make the college an important partner in The Fringe.
Cape Town Central Library
In 2008 the popular Cape Town Central Library was relocated from the City Hall to the old Drill Hall, a former military barracks, next door. The library, which draws 40 000 visitors every month, houses what is considered to be one of the most comprehensive art, design and history collections in the country. It is renowned for its great music collection. The change of address, however incremental, seemed to breathe fresh life into the library, which is now a lively environment for debate, socialising, cultural events, and an important point for internet access. The library has 64 very busy computer stations and offers free Wi-Fi access (limited to 200MB per user per month). Roughly 850 000 people use the central library annually, making it easily one of the busiest cultural spaces in the city centre. It rents out seminar rooms, has an exhibition space, and discussion rooms. It has also become an important space for small business development. There are currently two computers with business and accounting software, an e-resource with business plans for specific businesses accessible to all, a core business reference collection and monthly business breakfasts. As a partner to The Fringe, the Central Library is looking at ways to interact dynamically with it. Its significant resource base makes it a leading agency in the area.
TOP The College of Cape Town. MIDDLE AND BOTTOM The Cape Town Central Library is one of the busiest cultural spaces in Cape Town.
Communal Creativity The Open Innovation Studio encourages the creation and sharing of socially innovative ideas in a communal platform. The Open Innovation Studio on Buitenkant Street is a communal workspace and professional sharing platform that is founded on the belief that “You don’t have to be in a rigid, fixed space to do good work.” The studio, which has been open since 2008 and inspired by Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation, functions as a shared office, classroom, coffee shop and gallery, while also acting as an innovation incubator and resource centre. Encouraging the sharing of work that leans towards socially relevant innovation, it is aimed at small organisations and forward-thinking individuals interested in renewable energy, social media, market research and software.
Open Innovation Studio is an initiative of Brightest Young Minds, a non-profit youth-driven organisation, with the help of Dendrite Studios.
ROSSUM ROBOTICS ACADEMY
In amongst Open Innovation Studio’s lineup of regular screenings, discussions and events around innovation, it is their Rossum Robotics Academy workshops that have got the attention of Cape Town’s youth. The academy holds weekend workshops for children between the ages of 6 and 18, using high-tech tools to teach design, problem solving and team work. The programme aims to instil an interest in science and engineering in Cape Town’s youth, with the view to developing a new generation of local innovators. One of the latest experiments to come out of the workshop is a robot steered via Wi-Fi; it can stream live video from its attached webcam and speak out messages. Which prompted the team at Open Innovation Studio to wonder: “How soon before it can make coffee?”
The Open Innovation Studio at 27 Buitenkant Street offers to a resource centre, workspace, and the opportunity to interact with like-minded social entrepreneurs in Cape Town.
Banking on Design The Bank is an energetic collective of designers with an enthusiasm for making The Fringe buzz. Steven Harris, the owner of Furnspace-3D, a firm selling design visualisation software now based in the East City, has been connected to The Fringe since his youth. His dad ran Woodhead’s, one of Cape Town’s oldest businesses, and still owns various properties in the area. In fact, all the Harris boys are based in the area. When Steven bought the property on 71 Harrington Street a few years back, an old bank building, he slowly set about making sure he had the right tenants. Given a keen interest in development, Steven motivated a number of young designers to work out of his offices, providing them with access to his software. In 2011, with the enthusiasm surrounding The Fringe and the city’s bid for World Design Capital 2014 mounting, he joined forces with local designer Aidan Bennetts to create a collective design studio called The Bank. This innovation hub houses interior, product, graphic, communications and web designers, and includes a number of small firms as well as a set of freelancers. Furnspace-3D and Aidan Bennetts Design aside, The Bank’s tenants include Francois van Eeden Interiors, Everybody Love Everybody, Stephen Lasker’s Edge Interiors, and Formula D interactive. The Bank is a multi-level design environment that includes an event and product space directed technically and creatively by Aidan Bennetts and Stephen Lasker. But more than that, they are proof that collective action, driven by passion and creative instinct and grounded in pragmatism and rigour can make The Fringe a vibrant environment.
Run by Richard Harris, brother of Steven Harris, Woodhead’s is a speciality leather wholesaler dating back to 1867. The business is named after its founder, Sir John Woodhead, a former mayor of Cape Town whose achievements included the widening of Sir Lowry Road and the modernisation of the city’s water and sewerage systems. It supplies leather, upholstery, shoe repair, bag, hospitality, décor, orthopaedic and promotional industries throughout the country. With computerised design and cutting equipment, Woodhead’s can design and layout a pattern, prototype and make changes immediately, but also provides skilled workers who use more traditional means of leather handwork with employment. Under Richard’s leadership, the company continues a long-standing tradition of social responsibility through a variety of programmes. These include support to needy leather crafters and craft development outreach projects, as well as support for The Fringe itself, such as through the upgrade of the playground at Stepping Stones Pre-school on Harrington Square.
LEFT The Bank is an evolving design collaboration space. Photo: Courtesy of The Bank. RIGHT Woodhead’s.
Screenings from The Fringe The Fringe is home to organisations reimagining the face of film in South Africa. Two of South Africa’s most important independent film festivals share a Cape Town headquarters in The Fringe, at 27 Caledon Street. Steven Markovitz and Nodi Murphy, founders of the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival, began working together in the early 1990s when Steven co-ran The Flieks, a film festival hosted by The Fringe, an iconic nightclub in Cape Town located up the road in Canterbury Street. Now 13 years old, Encounters was started with support from Pro Helvetia (the Swiss Arts Council in South Africa) to explore an important genre of film that has, in recent years, gained much interest. It is now rated as Africa’s most prestigious documentary film festival. When Encounters started there were few South African documentaries of high quality. By screening exceptional works by local and international filmmakers, as well as hosting master classes with visiting filmmakers, Encounters has raised the bar for local documentaries. A popular annual event amongst film fans, Encounters has also grown in popularity amongst filmmakers. The event only shows a small percentage of the many films submitted annually
from around the globe. Mandisa Zitha, Encounters festival director, reports that 400 films were submitted for the 2011 festival alone. Aside from her duties at Encounters, Nodi Murphy also oversees the Out In Africa Festival, Africa’s only gay and lesbian film festival. Founded in 1994, Out In Africa was begun at a time of great optimism, as a celebration of South Africa’s inclusive Constitution. This specialist festival screens local and international films that deal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues and serves as a platform for discussion and debate around these issues in South Africa. Out In Africa has proved highly successful, helping to diffuse positive images of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intergender people through its films and provocative advertising campaigns. Its ancillary events and workshops have also worked to develop personal growth, leadership skills and career opportunities for many youth.
Located in The Fringe’s happening Harrington Street, Libra Vision Productions has long been working in Cape Town’s film industry for over 30 years. Specialising in video and film productions for the ad industry, Libra Vision have produced some of the most memorable commercials seen on local and international screens in the last three decades. They pride themselves on making their blue-chip clients look and sound smart, bringing their hard-earned experience and youthful spirit to every production.
Both festivals are screened in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
LEFT The Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival co-founder Steven Markovitz. MIDDLE A festival staff member at the Encounters/Out In Africa offices in Caledon Street. RIGHT Libra Vision’s long-standing premises in Harrington Street includes state-of-the-art studios.
From the Fringe tO The Fringe the Centre
is home to leading-edge creative agencies with a local and global focus.
The Fringe has quickly gained a reputation as a design address, home to many leading-edge creative agencies providing local and international services. We profile two of these, from the media and architectural design sectors, who are appropriately located diagonally opposite each other on the intersection of Roeland and Buitenkant. Also in the same area, we profile a funky bookshop that has become a community hub, a historical residential hotel and bar, as well as a gallery which was a nexus for all manner of creative activity in the last year.
Tank, a template-driven web creation and hosting tool, has steadily become the preferred web application for creative individuals and businesses in South Africa (and is steadily acquiring an international profile too). Tank enables local designers, illustrators, crafters and others to build visually strong websites for marketing their portfolios. For example, artist Tom Cullberg and journalist Sean Christie have Tank-enabled websites. Created by This Army, a start-up web company, Tank distinguishes itself with its hassle-free technology for setting up a basic website. The organisation also has an online store application, Ammo, that was developed in response to Tank users needing to add an electronic store to their website. ABOVE The This Army and Tank offices on Roeland Street. BELOW Greg Wright Architects offices in Temple House on Roeland Street.
Greg Wright ARCHITECTS
Greg Wright Architects is a local architectural firm whose job it is to rethink high-end interior and exterior design. They service a local and international client list out of their studio in Temple House. While the firm works on private residences, the majority of their acclaim is for public buildings in and around the country. They have also worked extensively across Africa, most recently on the high-end Mvan Yaounde building in Cameroon.
The Kimberly Hotel Andrew Lamprecht surveys the legacy of Roeland Street’s infamous Kimberly Hotel and recalls the goings-on at YOUNGBLACKMAN, a defunct project space. The Grand Old Lady of Roeland Street, the Kimberley Hotel, has been many things in the century of its existence. Built on the site where coaches for the diamond fields left Cape Town, it was originally intended as a residential hotel for De Beers executives in the first years of the nineteenth century. It then became, amongst other things, a general hotel, a brothel, one of the first lesbian bars in Cape Town, a biker bar and even hosted Cape Town’s top restaurant at one stage. Today, lovingly restored to its former glory by owner Dean Hubbard, it still has echoes of its offbeat and bohemian past. Unsurprisingly, it is a favourite watering hole of local artists and writers. On any given evening you will find a mix of edgy contemporary creatives having a drink before heading off to late-night spots in the East City, literati having a pint after a reading at the Book Lounge, and regulars, some of whom hark back to the hotel’s early days. Art, fashion, design and books are as much the topic of conversation as rugby, soccer and fast cars. The Kimberly or “Kimbo”, as it is affectionately known, is a unique institution, which Dean Hubbard has liberally allowed to be used as a venue for numerous art events, after-opening parties, and even scholarly talks. (At one stage it was home to a collective art studio.)
One of the most interesting projects to emanate from the late-night strategising that characterises a visit to the Kimberly was the project space YOUNGBLACKMAN, which closed in mid-2011. Founded by two Kimberly regulars, artist Ed Young and writer Matthew Blackman, the project inhabited a tiny shopfront across the road from the Kimberly, and staged edgy projects by the artists Kendell Geers, Athi-Patra Ruga, Belinda Blignaut, Stuart Bird and Malcolm Payne, as well as lesser-known creatives and newcomers in its short but illustrious life. YOUNGBLACKMAN even managed to attract international press with its “two fingers up to the arts establishment” attitude. Rumours abound of its imminent resurrection but one thing is for sure: in just over a year of life it captured the local imagination with its presentation of cutting-edge, otherwise impossible to stage and challenging art interventions. Andrew Lamprecht is a curator, writer and academic who has spent his fair share of time at the Kimberley Hotel.
The Kimberly Hotel, an infamous haunt for Cape Town artists, fed the controversial but now defunct YOUNGBLACKMAN project space across the road.
Reading the Fringe The Book Lounge: not just a bookshop, but also a community space. The Book Lounge is unarguably Cape Town’s best-known independent bookshop. In the short three and a half years since owner Mervyn Sloman opened the shop’s doors in 2007, the Book Lounge has become a staple in the Cape Town literary scene, hosting many of the city’s most important bookrelated openings, panel discussions and events. Important writers of fiction and non-fiction have spoken at the humble store, from renowned academic Michael Legassick to Cape Town sci-fi writer Lauren Beukes. Located on Roeland Street in the heart of The Fringe, the store specialises in local books, but prides itself on its wide collection of international titles. It also serves a mean cup of coffee. In its own way, the Book Lounge has become an important community gathering space, a nexus for Cape Town’s book lovers. It has also built up a community with other bookstores. The weekly Book Lounge e-news doesn’t just cover its own programmes but actively supports the work of other bookshops nearby, such as the educational support programme at the Bookery in Roeland Street, and Lobby Books in Spin Street.
In December 2010, the Book Lounge announced its latest endeavour, the Open Book Festival. Organised by Mervyn with help from Book South Africa’s Ben Williams the festival will bring top local and international writers together, while promoting and supporting local reading, writing, literacy and library campaigns in Cape Town. Billed as the “biggest boek jol the city has ever seen”, the festival will be centrally located in The Fringe, moving between the Book Lounge and The Fugard Theatre. The festival’s plan is to use The Fringe’s various venues for over 50 book-related events-walkabouts, live readings and gatherings-using the area’s flourishing community to help take books to the street. The Open Book Festival will take place September 21-25, 2011.
LEFT The Book Lounge is diagonally opposite the Kimberly Hotel on the busy intersection of Roeland and Buitenkant streets. RIGHT Customers perusing local books inside the Book Lounge. Photo: Caitlin Bracken.
THE FRINGE EXPOSED
Sydelle Willow Smith is a young Cape Town photographer resident in The Fringe A rising star in South African photography, Sydelle Willow Smith uses visual anthropology research methods in her work. Sydelle’s interest in storytelling, coupled with the fact that she lives in The Fringe, made her the preferred choice for this issue’s anthropological look into the area. Tasked with exploring both the familiar and lesserseen aspects of The Fringe, she created much of the strong visual material seen here. Her brief included looking at both the design community and interesting ecosystem in the area, which includes a high school, churches, a home for troubled girls, pre-schools, a police station, law courts, an old age home, a boxing gym, cultural spaces, restaurants, cafés, bars, clubs and much more. Her photographs record the area’s unique street life – with everyone from trendy designers and new residents from all parts of Africa to the city’s homeless – and offer a composite portrait of what makes The Fringe such a special place.
Sydelle Willow Smith. Photo: Jonx Pillemer.
Street scene in The Fringe.
A familiar scene in the early mornings and evenings along Harrington Street, when traders, many of them African immigrants, push the goods they sell on the Grand Parade to a storage depot on Harrington Street.
East City Boxing at 104 Harrington Street offer’s “old school boxing”. Over 110 boxers work out at the gym and every three months the gym puts on a fight night, inviting boxers from other centres to test their prowess against its students.
The William Frederick School in Buitenkant Streetâ€™s Dutch Reformed Church complex was one of the many schools servicing District Six. The church was founded in 1892 by the Tafelberg congregation and declared a National Monument in 1984.
Ons Plek shelter on Albertus Street offers refuge to street children. The organisation focuses on providing a safe space for girls living on Cape Townâ€™s streets, resettling them into communities, educating them, and offering various vocational training programmes.
In late July 2011, the popular District Six Café was contentiously evicted from its building on Darling Street. The eccentric eatery and events venue served as something of a melting pot for Cape Town’s creatives. The wall of the café, pictured here, features a mural depicting struggle heroes Nelson Mandela, Steven Biko, Cissy Gool and Imam Haron.
Barrack Lodge at 86 Barrack Street offers cheap by-the-night accommodation for visitors and often attracts new African immigrants who have recently moved to Cape Town.
Dias Tavern is a Cape Town institution. The popular Portuguese restaurant and sports bar is known for its signature meat dishes.
Zonnebloem Home for the Aged takes in and cares for locals over 60 years old. Anne, pictured above, is a resident there.
Furnishing the City The Western Cape Furniture Initiative is working towards a robust furniture industry, says CEO Bernadette Isaacs What is the Western Cape Furniture Initiative (WCFI)?
It is a section 21 company supported by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and was established through government and industry partners to build a framework of mutual collaboration between designers and manufacturers. The WCFI aims to promote good design by supporting local designers and manufacturers in the furniture industry. We facilitate the creative visions of designers, helping them turn these ideas into well-made products with excellent commercial and social value.
What is the WCFI’s relationship to The Fringe? The WCFI is a partner of The Fringe and is looking at opportunities to be based in the area.
What, in your opinion, does the furniture design industry in Cape Town need to do to improve its offering?
Cape Town’s furniture design industry needs a fresh vision and brave attitude that supports local designers who have original designs and innovative ideas that make contextual reference to Cape Town and South Africa. Truth is, the old commercial practice of copying and producing an international design is no longer feasible since the entry of China into the market. Local designers who continue to produce yet another fanciful furniture item or chair with a
high price tag will continue to struggle on the international stage. Every year Milan furniture fair is filled with hundreds of similar high-end designs vying for everyone’s attention. The world has always celebrated designers and products that offer clear cultural and social relevance, however. The Campana brothers from Brazil have gained an international reputation for furniture made using ordinary local materials and distinguished by their very original intentions. Australian designer Marc Newson used local surf culture as a reference in his work and made furniture that caught people’s imagination. To quote from UK Design Council’s book The Good Design Plan: “Good design is a verb, not just a noun. It is a sequence of steps that defines problems, discovers solutions and makes them real.” South Africa offers ambitious designers a unique opportunity as there are many problems to tackle. Think of spacesaving furniture for the townships. Imagine what kind of furniture can enhance a learner’s school experience. What kind of design can counter our crime-ridden streets and be vandal proof? This is not to say that the furniture design industry is responsible for solving all of South Africa’s social problems . It simply means that once the furniture industry starts to foster and promote local designs that are original and have strong social relevance, we will be off to a healthy start. Cape Town’s shortlisting for the 2014 World Design Capital title
shows that the world is watching in anticipation for local designers to shine. As a designer, I am very excited to be part of such a new vision, to be working with WCFI, Design Indaba and SANParks in developing the 2012 WCFI design competition brief, which requires entrants to propose ways of using invasive plants as a source of furniture material. The combined effort is producing a brief that promotes true sustainability and problem solving and also helps foster public awareness around these issues.
What kind of innovative furniture design has the WCFI produced?
The 2011 round of the WCFI design competition saw Aram Lello win with his design for a community bench. Lello’s design addresses the need for street benches that can be modular, secure, yet easily replaceable. It has a strong social relevance, but it is not compromised aesthetically or functionally.
Finally, could you name a few local furniture designers who are involved in the WCFI? Y Tsai, Heath Nash, Haldane Martin, Pedersen + Lennard, Liam Mooney, Adam Court, Aram Lello and Aidan Bennetts. Bernadette Isaacs is CEO of the Western Cape Furniture Initiative
Italian architect and designer Aram Lello, living and working in South Africa since 2005, recently won the Western Cape Furniture Initiative design competition at the 2011 Design Indaba Expo. Photo: Courtesy of WCFI.
DESIGN CLUSTER The Cape Town Design Network is helping to facilitate an engaged design community in the city. The need for a national design advocate was identified some years back during the One Voice initiative in which many Cape Town creatives participated. National coordination, however, proved difficult. As a way of addressing the national need at a local level, Creative Cape Town established a series of networking events for interested designers within the city under the banner of Cape Town Design Network. Cape Town’s bid and subsequent shortlisting for the title of World Design Capital 2014 further underscored the importance of having a clear voice for design in the city, and so this network was transformed and formally established late in 2010 with the appointment of a committee. The network functions independently and is led by a number of local designers, many of whom run their own companies – such as Michael Wolf (Formula D interactive), Roelf Mulder (…XYZ Design), Y Tsai (Tsai Design Studio) and Christo Maritz (Infestation)
– and design academics such as Mel Hagen. Their focus is on connecting designers from across genres, facilitating and establishing a more engaged local design sector, advocating for a city-wide design policy, and promoting the importance of design to all sectors of society. In an effort to foster dialogue and encourage knowledge sharing, the network hosted a number of events in and around the city in 2011, a highlight of which was the co-hosting of an event with Design Indaba during the visit by the World Design Capital organising committee. More than 400 designers attended this highly successful networking function at The Assembly in The Fringe. To stay in touch with current news and happenings and play your part in supporting and promoting local design and Mother City designers, follow Cape Town Design Network on Facebook and Twitter. www.ctdn.co.za
The Cape Town Design Network worked with the Design Indaba during the World Design Capital organising committee visit to Cape Town to host a networking event for creatives city-wide. Over 400 designers filled The Assembly on the night. Photo: Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town.
YES, WE CAN! Earlier this year Cape Town was shortlisted for the title of World Design Capital 2014. Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana tells us why, even if we don’t win, we can’t lose. You may remember that the Creative Cape Town Annual in 2010 focused on the city’s World Design Capital 2014 bid – why we had decided to bid, what the city stood to benefit from the title, what we thought Cape Town had to offer the design world. A year later, what has come of that work? For a start, we have built a tribe of passionate World Design Capital 2014 supporters, local creatives and opinion makers who have taken the vision of the city’s bid forward. To galvanise this tribe, Cape Town Partnership and Creative Cape Town teamed up with Cape Town Tourism, who sponsored and conceptualised a World Design Capital stand at the 2011 Design Indaba Expo, a colourful canvas on which creatives could motivate what makes Cape Town a great design city. “The tip of Africa is the tipping point!” wrote Jozi trend forecaster Dion Chang; “Nestled between the lion and the devil, we create our own destiny,” affirmed Aidan Bennetts Design. Additional statements of support were collated for publication on Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 website, www.capetown2014.co.za.
BOTTOM LEFT Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid book was produced for Cape Town Partnership by local graphic design firm Infestation The limited edition book makes the case for Cape Town, focusing on socially responsive design as a response to urban challenges. FACING PAGE TOP Cape Town Tourism’s World Design Capital themed stand at the 2011 Design Indaba encouraged people to write what they believed made Cape Town a geat design city. FACING PAGE MIDDLE Cape Town’s eco-friendly Green Cabs got a yellow makeover for the judges visit. The cabs run on liquefied petroleum gas and bodiesel fuel. Here they are, parked outside Luyanda Mpahlwa’s award-winning entry for Design Indaba’s 10x10 Low-Cost Housing project, piloted in Freedom Park, Mitchells Plain.
FACING PAGE TOP Porky Heffer’s Coke Man sculpture at the V&A Waterfront, seen against Table Mountain, lit yellow for the World Design Capital organising committee visit. BOTTOM The World Design Capital 2014 presentation. Photos: Courtesy of Cape Town Partnership.
How Cape Town is writing design history
A 465-page World Design Capital bid book was researched, written and submitted in record time. In it we showed how Cape Town is using design to solve real challenges in the city, and on the continent – how design and design-thinking are being used to rebuild community cohesion, reconnect the city through infrastructural enhancement, and reposition Cape Town for the knowledge economy. Compiling the bid was integral to understanding a new vision for Cape Town, one that sees how the design process can be harnessed for effective, sustainable living. Before being sent off to ICSID – the International Council of the Societies of Industrial Design, and the World Design Capital project coordinators – the bid book was beautifully designed and packaged by a top local design firm, Infestation, to reflect the spirit of the bid. Infestation has subsequently had the book nominated for a 2011 Loerie Award, an annual showcase celebrating the best in brand communication in Africa and the Middle East. “When we design for Cape Town, we feel there is a personality behind the Mother City,” says Christo Maritz, creative director of Infestation. “As if in some way we are all her children and owe her a part of who we are. We recently had the privilege to work on the bid book for World Design Capital and could not have asked for a better brief. A Loerie is not the only award Cape Town’s bid stands to win. In June 2011, Cape Town was shortlisted for the World Design Capital 2014 title, alongside Dublin and Bilbao, from 56 applicants in 24 different countries. Ours is the first African city to be shortlisted – an incredible honour not just for the city, but also for the continent. Ours is a proudly African bid, around building a common vision for Cape Town as an inclusive, innovative, entrepreneurial and sustainable African city. Local design educator and ICSID executive board member Mugendi M’Rithaa explains this honour and responsibility: “Cities that have won World Design Capital in the past were those that are part of the developed
world – and yet those cities form less than 10% of the global population; they are part of the ‘minority world’. Far more relevant today is where design is heading for the other 90%. The entire global trend in design today is changing towards socially conscious design, and we are already, as a city, in complete alignment with this. In many ways, our bid could be seen as a template for bids in the future. We have an opportunity to speak on behalf of the ‘majority world’ with a powerful voice that could resonate across the globe.”
Why we’re ready to welcome the design world
Following our shortlisting, we had one month to prepare for a visit by the World Design Capital organising committee. ICSID secretary general Dilki de Silva and executive board member Martin Darbyshire were here for two days in July (25 and 26) to inspect the city’s design offerings and compare them to those of Bilbao and Dublin. For their visit we literally painted the town a celebratory yellow – the colour of our city’s bid and the colour of hope – starting with Table Mountain. The mountain was illuminated with yellow lights for the period of one week, trees in and around the city were wrapped in yellow cotton by local artist Strijdom van der Merwe, World Design Capital 2014 flags were flown along main boulevards and intersections, and yellow support buttons were worn by creatives and creative thinkers city-wide. As part of celebrations connected to the visit, Design Indaba launched the Your Street challenge, an initiative guided by the city’s bid theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”, encouraging local creatives to own, love and improve the streets of Cape Town by redesigning them. R150 000 was put up by the Design Indaba Trust for the challenge: R50 000 for the best design solution and R100 000 for the entry that combines a great design solution with a solid business plan. At the launch event, co-hosted by Design Indaba and the Cape Town Design Network, a further R100 000 was added to the winners’ pot – R50 000 from Luyanda Mpahlwa and MMA Architects and R50 000 from Roelf Mulder of …XYZ Design.
Excitement around the World Design Capital organising committee visit generated over R4-million in local media coverage, a number that doesn’t yet take into account online coverage and support, and the international media.
Even if we don’t win, we can’t lose
The winner of the 2014 World Design Capital title will be announced at the International Design Alliance (IDA) congress in Taipei on October 26. Regardless of the outcome, however, Cape Town can’t lose. The bid book is an invaluable resource for creative industries and an educational tool for the public at large. It has also become the basis for Cape Town’s UNESCO Design City application, which will see us become part of the Creative Cities Network, working with other global cities to share our ideas and insights on socially responsive design. Furthermore, 2014 is a significant year in South Africa, marking 20 years since South Africa embraced freedom in 1994, 20 years in which we have been redesigning a city built on a philosophy of separation – apartheid – into a city for integration. “Cape Town is a city that is seeking new ways every day to overcome the legacies of our past and bring people together, and its bid to be the World Design Capital of the year in 2014 shows how far we have come as a city,” says City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille. “More importantly, it shows how far we want to take this city.” Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana is the MD of the Cape Town Partnership.
DRAWING THE CITY Cape Town is brimful of illustrators and animators whose work caters to the advertising and publishing industries.
AM I COLLECTIVE
Cape Town’s am i collective are a group of designers, animators and illustrators who focus on collaborative productions that showcase a range of new and innovative techniques, styles and ideas. Many of their projects are underpinned by the collective’s interest in keeping themselves “uncomfortable”, with their “instincts on edge”. The collective was formed, they say, out of a desire to “inject the advertising world with fresh ideas”. Their enviable portfolio of extraordinary work demonstrates why this is not mere talk. To find out what project they’re currently busy with, visit their active blog. www.amicollective.com
THIS PAGE Art South Africa magazine issue 9.2 cover and poster by amicollective. Image: Courtesy of Art South Africa. FACING PAGE LEFT Illustration by Alex Latimer. FACING PAGE RIGHT Poster by Katrin Coetzer.
Skinny laMinx is the design and illustration pseudonym used by Heather Moore. Known for her whimsical cut-out illustrations, Heather, who is married to the artist Paul Edmunds, often creates designs painstakingly cut from paper or adhesive vinyl. These are turned into homeware and textiles, which have become highly sought after functional collectibles. Tip: Heather is also an insightful design blogger. www.skinnylaminx.com
Trained at Stellenbosch University, a haven of graphic talent, illustrator Katrin Coetzer creates delicate depictions of the city and its surrounds. Her works has been exhibited extensively at Salon 91 and Design Indaba. She provided the illustrations for Ingrid Mennen’s children’s book A Wish This Big, published in 2011 by Tafelberg www.katrin.co.za
Alex Latimer’s illustration work has been published in a number of local and international magazines. Alex, together with his brother, Patrick, has created The Western Nostril, a serialised strip appearing in Business Day newspaper. His first children’s book, The Boy Who Cried Ninja, was published this year. www.alexlatimer.co.za
SHY THE SUN
Shy the Sun is an animation and storytelling company set up by Jannes Hendrikz, Ree Treweek and producer Nina Pfeiffer. The trio’s output spans a range of creative worlds and includes Wonderland, a trailer for the popular video game Alice: Madness Returns, as well as an award-winning animated film and illustrated book, The Tale of How, which they collaborated on with Markus Wormstorm of the Blackheart Gang. Known for their narrative illustrative animation work, which draws heavily on fantasy, Shy the Sun have managed to build up a super-impressive client list, including Bakers, Friskies and United Airlines, for whom they produced an advert known as Sea Orchestra. www.shythesun.tv
Sparx Media is a creative talent agency, based in Cape Town, that represents professional and student illustrators, cartoonists and animators working in South Africa. Clients can browse through the company’s stable of illustrators and view creative portfolios. The idea behind the agency is to make it easier for anyone interested in hiring an illustrator to find that right someone who suits their exact needs. www.sparx.co.za
art southafrica O P I N I O N S T H AT M AT T E R
Available through leading bookstores and galleries nationwide www.artsouthafrica.com https/www.facebook.com/artsouthafrica www.twitter.com/artsouthafrica
Browsing the City Cape Town bloggers are using edgy writing and up to the minute engagement, creating new interactive online communities.
I Really Love Africa
The enfant terrible of South African cultural blogs, Mahala has been publishing acerbic commentary on local and international culture since 2009. The brainchild of former SL editor and surf enthusiast Andy Davis, the site takes its name from its insistence that content and open discussion around local culture be available gratis. With an editorial team that includes familiar local names, including Roger Young (the magazine’s deputy editor) and former Art South Africa editor Sean O’Toole, Mahala also publishes critical commentary by controversial young writers. These include staffers Kavish Chetty and Montle Moorosi (who has fast earned a reputation for his willingness to discuss racial stereotypes in Cape Town). It even propelled unknowns into the national consciousness, like former Mahala contributor Brandon Edmonds, who is now exploring formal journalism. Mahala is known for not being scared to publish writing that openly criticises and explodes ideas around South African music, film, theatre and culture. Little wonder then that they describe themselves as “cultural crack”. The site’s reputation is partly founded on the committed feedback of its readers, who will engage writers and fellow readers in acerbic and colourful language. In the short time since its launch, Mahala has grown its online readership to around 44 000 monthly users and, in 2010, began releasing a quarterly print edition, which is mailed free to subscribers of the online newsletter. www.mahala.co.za
Cape Times culture columnist Suzy Bell introduced her blog I Really Love Africa in 2011. Looking at the development of cultural projects that celebrate Africa, Suzy, the prime mover behind the legendary Red Eye night out at the Durban Art Gallery some years ago, reviews and discusses exhibitions, performances, general events and festivals throughout the city. Despite promoting a unified celebration of African arts, Suzy isn’t afraid to tell it like it is in order to achieve a kind of social responsibility and awareness in the arts. www.isuzybell.tumblr.com
Future Cape Town
Founded by Rashiq Fataar, Future Cape Town is a blog that focuses on and facilitates debate around Cape Town and its future. Functioning across social media platforms, Future Cape Town encourages readers and followers to feel inspired by the city, but also to discuss the issues that need to be addressed in order to make Cape Town a more liveable city. www.futurecapetown.com
Megan Furniss is a well-known figure in the South African theatrical community. Apart from running Improvision, the company behind the popular weekly TheatreSports, she also functions as a theatre critic and cultural commentator at Megan’s Head. The blog focuses on the ever-changing state of theatre in South Africa, particularly the underpublicised industrial theatre scene. www.meganshead.co.za
Taking its inspiration from international fashion blogs like Fashionista.com, PopYaCollar is one of the few South African blogs to employ a team of writers and photographers to discuss and document local fashion. Based in Cape Town and edited by La Muse (the acronym for a fashion industry insider), the blog highlights local street fashion, trends and industry news along with international updates. www.popyacollar.co.za
Design Publishing Two of Cape Town’s leading design studios have thrown their weight behind the 2014 World Design Capital bid, designing and co-ordinating different branches of the campaign. Plan B Design
Plan B is the project of Michaelis-trained graphic designer (and sometimes DJ) Bruno Morphet. When he’s not helping to head the Cape Town Design Network, Bruno runs Plan B as a firm offering “design alternatives” in CI, print and packaging to various highend clients, including Sanlam and Old Mutual. Heavily involved in the 2014 World Design Capital bid, Bruno’s work at Plan B celebrates the spectrum of creativity the city has to offer.
One of the criteria for a city bidding to become World Design Capital is a comprehensive document that outlines how design has been used as a tool to reinvent and improve social, cultural and economic life. The task of designing Cape Town’s bid book was the responsibility of design studio Infestation. Sometimes referred to as Design Infestation, the studio, which was founded in 2000, is led by designer Christo Maritz and is based in the City Bowl. The company’s informal dress code and refusal to wear suits hasn’t impeded their commercial success: they’ve designed for some of South Africa’s most well-known companies and institutes, from ABSA to the Baxter Theatre. In recognition of their excellence, Infestation’s design work on the bid book has been nominated for a 2011 Loerie Award.
TOP LEFT Plan B Design’s Bruno Morphet in his offices on Wale Street. TOP RIGHT Plan B Design’s offices Photos: Caitlin Bracken. BOTTOM The Infestation offices. Photo: Courtesy of Infestation.
Silicon Cape A new wave of ICT entrepreneurs have set up shop in Cape Town.
LEFT Matthew Buckland. Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Buckland. MIDDLE World Wide Creative’s Fred Roed and and RIGHT Mike Perk.
When Matthew Buckland chose a career path he chose to sidestep the family business – his parents are performers and directors Janet and Andrew Buckland – and take on an entirely different kind of stage: the web. One of the first graduates of Rhodes University’s new media programme, this self-proclaimed “web guy” has previously held high-profile positions in Cape Town, as general manager of Mail & Guardian Online and 24.com, and then the head of 20FourLabs. In 2010, he branched out on his own to start up the agency Creative Spark and Memeburn, a web analysis portal that is now considered by many to be a local thought leader. Describing itself as a “Mashable/ Techcrunch for emerging market tech”, Memeburn was started initially to spotlight and demystify growing technical entrepreneurship and culture in emerging markets. As Memeburn’s popularity grew, so did its scope; it now includes BRIC countries
- Brazil, Russia, India and China. After only a year, Buckland began to expand the concept of Memeburn, creating sister sites Gearburn and Ventureburn. Gearburn interactively reviews gadgets and games, via text and video, while Ventureburn looks at venture capital and startup businesses. The rapidly growing brand is also establishing its own awards ceremony, the Burn Awards, a platform used to honour pioneering entrepreneurship in the mobile, web and application fields.
Based in World Wide Creative’s studio, the Heavy Chef portal began as a side project but quickly grew into a full-fledged initiative of its own. The portal is so named after a World Wide Creative client queried why the company didn’t have a forum to discuss and share their own knowledge of digital marketing. “I never trust a skinny chef,” remarked the client. The team responded by
setting up Heavy Chef, a portal that looks at taking the jargon and mystery out of digital marketing by focusing on practical, hands-on learning. Its focus is on taste-testing what it calls the “ingredients of digital marketing” and then sharing the results of those explorations with the public. Along with daily articles, guides and videos, the site puts on Heavy Chef Sessions, free monthly discussions held in Cape Town (along with sister talks in both Joburg and London) where experts in various aspects of digital publishing address an audience of 150-200 Heavy Chef readers. Sessions are filmed and uploaded onto the site. With its focus on sharing and demystifying knowledge, Heavy Chef provides educational courses and workshops, along with monthly discussion groups, to the community. These courses include in-house and corporate training, along with a course in the practical fundamentals of digital marketing.
Source Material Local crowdsourcing and mobile phone networking companies are helping to change the way that we interact online. MoTribe
Since launching in 2010, Cape Town-based mobile social networking platform Motribe has secured over 1.5-million users. Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher started the company as a platform for users all over the world to establish and maintain their own mobile social communities. Recognising the now ubiquitous use of the web on mobile phones, the two saw a gap in the local market and took advantage of it. One year on, Motribe provides services to individuals, brands and corporations across the world, helping to connect users on the go with functional mobile networks. www.motribe.com
450 Degrees is a web-based crowdsourcing design site founded by web designer Chris Boshoff and graphic designer Kelly Zetler. Crowdsourcing, in a nutshell, is using a community, as opposed to a single contractor, to find a solution to a problem. Based in Sea Point, the company provides a platform for local designers to compete for work. Clients submit a contest brief and invite designers across the network to pitch concepts for it. Once the deadline has passed, the client selects a winning design, which they then use. The site is an attempt to level the playing field between emerging and established designers. Young designers are invited to upload and build
their portfolios so, even if they don’t win the bids, they will still have a body of work to present to potential clients. www.450degrees.co.za
The minds behind Springleap have recently introduced their latest venture, a crowdsourcing social network, evly.com. Billed as “the network of networks” evly allows users to access crowdsourcing communities through their own personalised dashboard. The evly team is currently anticipating a user database of up to 35-million over the next 36 months, incorporating 1.5-million active websites. Part of evly’s marketing campaign is that it’s the first crowdsourcing social network to offer a customised drag and drop website builder to registered users, allowing for easier browsing through the evly platform. These are similar to Facebook fan pages but still maintain the functionality of websites and allow for the establishment of networks.
TOP 450 Degrees. Images: Courtesy of Kelly Zetler and Chris Boshof. BOTTOM Evly, a crowdsourcing social network. Images: Courtesy of evly.com.
Growing Design Cape Town has established itself as one of the leading local cities for higher learning training for the advertising industry. Cape Town is flush with advertising and communications schools, producing graduates who will have to hack into one of the most competitive and arguably over-saturated creative fields. Private specialist educational institutions such as the AAA School of Advertising, Vega School, Red&Yellow School of Magic and Logic and CityVarsity School of Media and Creative Arts offer specialist courses and compete directly with the more general modules offered by the country’s universities. With so many schools competing against one another for potential students, it can be quite a task discerning which institutes to attend, support or hire from. A first check is often the list of famous alumni produced by each school. Mike Schalit, executive creative director and founding partner of the advertising agency Net#work BBDO, is an AAA graduate, while the creator and producer of e.tv’s The Showbiz Report, Nicky Greenwall, studied at Red&Yellow. Meanwhile Daniel Ting Chong, one of the members of Cape Town’s popular am i collective, featured in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans 2011 for his work as a “designer, artist, and VJ”, is a Vega graduate. While past graduates and their successes in the industry are an important swaying factor, the kind of academic accreditation offered also plays a big role in the success of each school. Many of the schools
are accredited through the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). AAA offers three-year bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in creative, marketing and copywriting, along with its short courses and diplomas. Unlike many of its competitors, Vega School offers a BA Honours as opposed to just postgraduate diplomas or certificates, in communications management and brand leadership. The specificity of the courses offered is another factor taken into account by prospective students: the Red&Yellow School is one of the first advertising schools in the country to formalise studies in social networking, web marketing and online media with their creative courses and postgraduate marketing course. Other institutions like CityVarsity, best known for its work around film, theatre, and design, have also introduced web application design courses under the auspices of their multimedia design and production departments. However, in the end, prestige counts. Locally, the annual student category of the Loerie Awards is considered something of a barometer for the success and efficiency of an advertising school. It is also used as a scouting event, with students often hauling job offers along with their awards back to campus. All five student Loeries (two gold and three craft gold) awarded in 2010 were to AAA students.
ABOVE The Red&Yellow School D&AD Award Winners 2011: Tanya de Jongh, Martin Magner and Yannick Pian. Photos: Courtesy of Red&Yellow. BELOW LEFT Third year graphic design and art direction Students: Ella de Villiers and Siphiwe Ndlovu (seated at tables) with Joshua de Kock, copywriter, in the background. BELOW RIGHT Vega School, Cape Town Campus. Photo: Caitlin Bracken.
Brightening the Fan Walk The Freeworld Design Centre is painting a bright future for Cape Town’s Waterkant Street The Freeworld Design Centre, a significant new investment on the Fan Walk and situated in Waterkant Street, has become an important space for creative events and exhibitions. We spoke to the director, Lauren Shantall, about the venue’s tenant profile and features.
What is the Freeworld Design Centre?
The Freeworld Design Centre is situated at the Cape Waters Building, formerly the Cape Waters Hotel prior to the upgrade of the façade and facilities. The building centres on an open-air courtyard with fountains and waterways. This connects and encourages a natural flow of movement between the design centre on the ground floor, the 98-seater auditorium, and the corporate offices and intimate meeting rooms. There is also a rooftop area with panoramic views. The aim of the centre is to inspire creativity and new ideas in all areas of life. The Freeworld Design Centre consultancy on the ground floor is South Africa’s first trade-orientated coatings design centre, and provides a decor consultation and 3D rendering service for architects, interior designers and decorators, property developers and owners. The space
also houses a design reference library, gallery-styled exhibition and a newsstand selling a limited number of international and local magazine titles. There are two floors of offices occupied by senior management for Freeworld brands, Plascon and Midas Earthcote. The auditorium, courtyard and rooftop are used for events and conferencing.
How has the development of Freeworld impacted on the area?
It is almost a truism that positive change is a powerful force. But, when you apply this truism to the urban context, the force is felt all the more significantly, in the impact on the built environment that makes up the very fabric of everyday life. A case in point is provided by the new Freeworld premises: the holding company has taken a former hotel, one that had ceased to function optimally, and transformed it into a corporate powerhouse that is ringing in the changes. Once a defunct, ugly structure, the building is now an architectural showcase illustrating how an entire wave of urban regeneration can be spearheaded by groundbreaking, forward-thinking development. Not only has Freeworld itself benefited from a prime position on the
Fan Walk, established in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup, but so too have the surrounding buildings and tenants, particularly the adjacent Evangelical Lutheran Church. Restaurateur and acclaimed food artist Jacques Erasmus chose to open his Hemelhuijs restaurant on the Freeworld premises because of the location. Hemelhuijs may have been the café groundbreaker, but yet another restaurant and bar, Keenwä, Cape Town’s first Peruvian-themed venue, is now open across the road. Finda recently opened a bathroom showroom on the corner of Buitengracht Street, and the Bree Street corner will soon be home to an upmarket tile showroom. All these indicators point to a bright future for the new Waterkant Street.
And what about eventing?
The auditorium has played host to a number of events by designers and associations representing urban design, interior design and more. It plans to include music album launches, movie premieres and poetry readings in future. The design centre on the ground floor holds ongoing exhibitions on design. We also host an annual Christmas market in the courtyard. Lauren Shantall is the head of the Freeworld Design Centre.
LEFT The Freeworld Design Centre. MIDDLE A soccer ball auctioned at Freeworld Design Centre for the Safe Spaces campaign. Photos: Courtesy of Freeworld Design Centre. RIGHT A design installation at the Freeworld Design Centre. Photo: Courtesy of Inhouse.
Branding the City Cape Town Tourism is rebranding Cape Town as a city of inspiration. Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold talks about the new development.
Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold at the Cape Town Tourism offices. Photo: Courtesy of Cape Town Tourism.
Why do you want to rebrand Cape Town as a place of inspiration?
There are many words that could be used to describe Cape Town. Until now the city has commonly been associated with the beauty of its natural surrounds. As the city evolves and the tourism landscape becomes more competitive, we are finding that we need to draw visitors’ attention to so much more than this traditional offering. Working in consultation with strategic role players in the city, we have found “inspiration” to be the most fitting idea to guide our rebranding of Cape Town as a tourist destination. Our story, our history and our people are all a part of this inspiration. We have an incredible wealth of innovation, an authentic mix of cultures, ideas and traditions, and an exciting creative community. We are putting the message out there that Cape Town is a great city to live, work, study, play and invest in. If we are not saying that the city is inspirational to live in then how will it be inspiring to visit?
How do you think the new branding of Cape Town will affect the city? The brand proposition draws on all aspects of what makes Cape Town the city that it is, from the small stories told by locals to the larger demonstrations of the city’s creative and innovative aptitude for making a difference in people’s lives. It is a brand that everyone can own and share, and gives all of Cape Town’s stakeholders a sense of direction for
the city. Inspiration is a great tool for defining our very essence, and a concept that both the public and private sectors can access easily. Cape Town Tourism works very closely with the Cape Town Partnership and Creative Cape Town, who are both committed to repositioning Cape Town as a sustainable and liveable city of the future. Our work is intrinsically linked.
What has the response to the rebranding of Cape Town been like?
We have had very positive feedback from all sectors on the rebranding of Cape Town as an inspirational city.
How do you think the idea of inspiration ties into the establishment of The Fringe?
They are perfectly married. The whole idea of a centre of creativity and innovation is a physical representation of the idea we are presenting. As Cape Town waits to hear whether or not we become the 2014 World Design Capital, we are more mindful than ever of the role that small, creative companies have in knitting together an interesting, changing society, one that people from across the world will want to experience. Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold is the CEO of Cape Town Tourism. 63
Creative Week Cape Town – connect, create, innovate Jess Henson tells us about the 2010 Creative Week Cape Town, an annual showcase of creativity in the city. In Cape Town, every culture, creed and creative discipline gets to celebrate at least once a year. Creative Week Cape Town is an annual showcase of design, music, film, theatre, business, innovation, digital media, IT, fine arts and crafts in the greater Cape Town community. Inaugurated in 2010, Creative Week kicked off with a scintillating and assorted array of events just before the Loerie Awards. For more than seven days, the city was buzzing with beautiful things to see and do, and new ways to meet, greet and get down with the people of Cape Town. Here are some highlights of last year’s event.
RIGHT Jam sessions at the Pan African Space Station. FAR RIGHT TOP Commemorating Heritage Day in District Six. FAR RIGHT BOTTOM The public enjoy My Cape Town Weekend in the Company’s Garden during Creative Week Cape Town. FACING PAGE TOP Mural by Faith47. painted during Creative Week. BOTTOM The 2010 Loerie Awards.
Held on Heritage Day, My Cape Town Weekend saw all the public museums in the Company’s Garden offering free entrance to visitors. More than 6 000 people attended. Indigenous identity was discussed at Iziko South African Museum. Youngsters with an interest in art were invited to critique an exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery. Tiny tots, teens and the elderly alike celebrated the icons of freedom and compassion at the Lydia Williams Centre for Memory in District Six. Underground street culture went public at the newly revamped Cape Town Station with the
STR.CRD (street cred) festival. Faith47 painted a story across many floors of a CPUT building on the corner of Kaizersgracht and Darling streets – it continues to tell of contemporary African identity today. Design editors from respected magazines and initiatives like Designing South Africa spoke at the inaugural Cape Town Design Network gathering. The Pan African Space Station hosted its third annual monthlong music intervention with celebrity-led public debates, online radio and a week of live music featuring the likes of guitar virtuoso Philip Thabane and Kyle Shepherd. The Creative Cape Town Annual 2010, focusing on the city’s World Design Capital 2014 bid, was launched in The Fringe, Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District. A huddle of readers gathered at the Book Lounge for a Creative Coffee Morning. Cool As Folk promoted tree planting and greening the city with the support and endorsement of fresh bands like Holiday Murray. The Loeries weekend was a huge affair, with much back-slapping and loud clapping which naturally led to a lot of dancing in Long Street, where the Creative Cape Town party also took place in partnership with African Dope Records. Tired yet? Inspired yet? We’re not surprised. Cape Town is connected and creative, and September is special. But while spring only comes once a year, inspiration and innovation are always in season. Working together we can make every week Creative Week.
TOP Infestation’s campaign proposal for Creative Week Cape Town 2011: Think out of the box. LEFT The Iziko South African National Gallery on Heritage Day. RIGHT Madosini performing at the Poetry Africa Festival. FACING PAGE TOP Skateboard skills at the STR.CRD (street cred) festival at the Cape Town Station Forecourt. BELOW EJ von LYRIK performing at the STR.CRD at the Cape Town Station Forecourt. Photos: Yasser Booley.
Creative Week brings individual and collective creativity closer to the public, and brings creativity and commerce closer to each other.
The Sounds of the City Cape MIC represents, researches and develops the Western Cape’s music industry.
Founded a little over four years ago, the Western Cape Music Industry Commission (or Cape MIC, as it’s commonly known) is an industry body set up with the support of government to help grow the music sector. Cape MIC functions as a collaborative network for anyone involved in the music industry in the Western Cape. Billing itself as a “facilitator, motivator, generator and innovator in the Western Cape music industry”, Cape MIC works to encourage the musical and financial growth of the industry, especially through regular social networking events. The commission, which functions as a knowledge and resource centre for its members, boasts a comprehensive directory of the provincial music industry, archives from its history, and an online forum for members. In 2010, Cape MIC was officially approved and established as a national centre of excellence by the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) system, the very same year the commission put on a series of performances known as the Imagine concert series in the newly renovated City Hall. The concert series challenged musicians to interpret and celebrate this grand old Edwardian building. Cape MIC also facilitates dedicated outreach programmes, including regular workshops that look at the business side of the industry, covering subjects from music technology to scoring films. They broach these and other subjects at their musicianship academy, a learning environment that they facilitate with the help of institutions like Soundhouse and the Cape Town School of Songwriting. Cape MIC further helps to co-run the BrainBank, with the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA), a project that encourages a talent exchange between creatives working in the musical and performing arts industries.
Cape Town is a city of diverse music. Cape MIC’s role is a supportive and developmental one.
Zef Jol by die Assembly The successes of Die Antwoord and Jack Parow, musical acts that both manipulate and parody local idioms in their music, may have something to do with a live venue in The Fringe. “Joh, maar jy’s trendy,/ soos ’n v**ken kak jol by Assembly!” raps Ninja in Die Antwoord’s song Fish Paste.
The Assembly, despite this lyrical dismissal, was the site of Die Antwoord’s early triumphs. Before Yo-Landi Vi$$er was turning down roles in David Fincher films or Jack Parow was riding the MK charts, they both performed at this venue. The Assembly is also considered the space that helped Jack Parow and Die Antwoord spread the concept of zef rap, a malleable musical style that parodies aspects of local poor white, Afrikaans and hip-hop culture. The question of why these groups are enjoying so much success now has been posed repeatedly since Die Antwoord signed their contract with international label Interscope. Many blogs and magazines called their success an overnight sensation, with the influential UK music weekly NME describing them as emerging from “South
Africa’s biggest non-existent scene”. The truth, however, is that Waddy Jones (aka Ninja) had been in and around Cape Town with various incarnations of the band for years, earning a sizeable local audience with The Constructus Corporation and MaxNormal. Jack Parow (aka Zander Tyler from Belville) slogged through the mid-2000s with various outfits like Muis is Baas and Klenched Fists. Some would argue that playing at The Assembly, which brings with it a certain amount of hype, earned or not, helped bring attention to these zefistas, which in turn helped the international media take note. The Assembly acts as a testing platform for many new bands. Eve Rakow, the Joburg-based musician, experimented with early versions of her band The Frown there. Lark has been playing there since 2003. Other notables include glitch-rockers Sweat-X, the collaborative project of solo artists Markus Wormstorm and Spoek Mathambo, as well as Desmond and the Tutus. The Assembly’s stage has been graced by many of South Africa’s most well-known performers. The venue functions as a hub for live music and creativity, with a loyal audience that keeps the space packed every week. International music sensation Die Antwoord LEFT and Jack Parow RIGHT began their careers in Cape Town clubs like this.
The City of Carnivals Three local public music and dance events all tap into a similar carnival energy. So why haven’t they been brought together to create a bigger, unified event? Goema and Glitter
In June 2010, the Iziko Museums of Cape Town hosted two exhibitions celebrating Cape Town’s famous Kaapse Klopse carnival (or minstrel carnival). The first, the New Year Carnival and the Alibama, showed at the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum and pointed to the impact of the arrival of the confederate ship CSS Alabama in 1863 on Cape Town and its music. But it was the second show, the Goema and Glitter exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope that really brought widespread attention to what the carnival means within local communities. Not only did it depict the history of Cape Town’s New Year carnival, which is rooted in slave culture and sustained by workingclass communities, but it also showed how deeply the culture of carnival is ingrained in the development of these
communities – socially and economically. Goema and Glitter considered the ways in which the festival continues to inform the city’s cultural landscape, tracing its changes over time along with generational family participation. It recognised the connections in the carnival of three traditions of performance: Malay choirs (referred to as die nagtroepe), Christmas bands and klopse (translated as “clubs”, and referring to the minstrel tradition). It further acknowledged the ways in which these traditions have influenced the development of music in the region, and explored questions of gender difference, considering in particular the inclusion of the figure of the “moffie” (an exuberant gay personality) in troupes. Iziko’s new oral history and carnival collections were used in the exhibition, as
The Kaapse Klopse carnival is a city festival with its roots in the city’s slave history. Beloved by Capetonians and visitors, the festival is a working-class celebration with its own unique fashion, music and performance rituals.
well as a broad range of carnival-centric work by artists, photographers and filmmakers who have been inspired by the event over the years. Unfortunately, the Kaapse Klopse carnival has been increasingly associated with gang culture, an element of which has crept into some of the troupes, breeding disunity. Furthermore, threats of legal action against the city have been made, regarding various rights to march or for use of certain stadia, and the lack of a joint city and provincial strategy regarding the carnival has only exacerbated problems. Yet the carnival poses a significant opportunity for community development, and while the event is annual, preparations continue throughout the year. Communities are all involved in this preparation in some way, making costumes, attending Sunday rehearsals. It is furthermore funded through community support, and receives government assistance with transport and stadia. Towards the end of 2010 it was announced that the lack of a cohesive local government strategy would be addressed, although to date no plans have been announced.
Cape Town Carnival
The first Cape Town Carnival, a community project conceived in order to bring people together through music and dance, took place on Long Street on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Primarily funded by the board of Naspers and inspired by the Rio Carnival, the event was originally planned as a three-day extravaganza in Mouille Point before being relocated to the Central City and reformatted as one evening.
Dancing and singing its way through the city’s streets, an 8 000-strong crowd gathered at a free concert in Greenmarket Square before transforming into a parade that snaked towards Long Street. In 2011 with significant support from the national department of arts and culture, the numbers of spectators more than quadrupled. Local cultural practitioners, working with community groups, helped to turn the carnival into an “expression of the heart of Cape Town” with a strong African theme.
Cape Town Festival
The Cape Town Festival was started in 1999 following on the racial tensions prompted by the bombing of Planet Hollywood. Founded under the umbrella theme of “One City, Many Cultures”, the festival had a strong arts component and used many of Cape Town’s public spaces. It continued in this manner with the support of the Cape Town municipality, growing steadily in size until 2003, when a number of unfortunate strategic and managerial decisions saw it lose momentum and support. The festival has since been reformed around its initial theme of diversity and unity, found lottery funding and new corporate sponsors, and is now a successful (albeit significantly smaller) three-day open air music event. It is staged in the Company’s Garden over the same period as the Cape Town Carnival. In 2011 it also hosted a successful concert in the new station forecourt.
The Cape Town Carnival is a new event which draws on communities to create a Rio-like carnival in Cape Town. Photos: Shaen Adey.
With the wealth of cultural facilities surrounding it, can the Company’s Garden become an important cultural complex? Cape Town’s green lung – the Company’s Garden – is central to the story of the city’s establishment. Originally planted in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company as a vegetable garden for passing ships, it increasingly became a recreation space for the citizens of Cape Town following a proclamation in 1848 that also declared it a botanical garden. Today it is run by the municipality, who is also responsible for preserving its important botanical features. This heritage site and tourist attraction is flanked by many of the city’s most important cultural facilities, on sites that were once part of the garden itself. These include the Iziko South African National Gallery, the Iziko South African Museum, the Iziko Slave Lodge, the performing and visual arts campus of the University of Cape Town (also called the
Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts), the National Library and the Centre for the Book, the Holocaust Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Crypt Memory and Witness Centre (part of the historic St George’s Cathedral), as well as The Labia cinema. Recognising the importance of the area and its potential to become a Smithsonian environment of sorts, cementing the identity of the space as a cultural complex, Creative Cape Town initiated a series of meetings with leaders of surrounding cultural institutions to develop a joint marketing strategy. Such a strategy, it was thought, could centre on Cape Town’s story, reflected in the changing physical fabric of the garden and the surrounding cultural assets – with a view to the cross-promotion of attractions and the stimulation of mutual retail and trade opportunities – and
would have both spatial development and a programmatic and marketing implications. A number of the institutions involved were interested in enhancing their access points from the garden itself and providing opportunities for visitors to linger longer in the area. This would have required some physical changes as well as better way-finding systems. Creative Week Cape Town 2010 and the partnership with Cape Town Tourismâ€™s My Cape Town weekend was the first example of joint marketing of the area. A web portal (www. companygarden.co.za) was created and a map of the area and a joint programme was published in a special edition of City Views. This significantly increased visitor numbers to the museums in the area and the garden itself for the week. Since then, however, inter-institutional collaboration has stalled. That said, a strategic framework for cultural heritage tourism promotion by the Cape Town municipality may yet give impetus to the establishment of a joint marketing strategy.
The Africa Centre Experiment The Africa Centre sponsored a number of important public initiatives in Cape Town, including Infecting the City, the Pan African Space Station and Spier Contemporary. We talk to Tanner Methvin, the Africa Centre’s dynamic executive director, about what they’ve been up to, and where they’re headed. What have some of the successes of the Africa Centre been over 2011? BELOW LEFT Executive Director Tanner Methvin. Photo: Cecile Mella. BELOW MIDDLE Anne Historical and Peter van Heerden at the Spier Contemporary 2007. BELOW RIGHT Performances from Infecting the City 2010. FACING PAGE TOP LEFT American poet Anis Mojgani performing at the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-change 2010. FACING PAGE BOTTOM LEFT Andrew Buckland performs at the 2010 Infecting the City festival. FACING PAGE BOTTOM RIGHT Spier Contemporary 2010. Photos: Courtesy of the Africa Centre.
I believe our success is best considered both in terms of our ability to move closer to our core intentions and what we have been able to achieve through a range of existing and new projects. Our core intention is to provide a platform for exploring contemporary pan-African artistic and cultural practice as a catalyst for social change. Through our many projects, we migrate between developing the idea and implementing the project, and collaborating on someone else’s idea or incubating an idea to maturity or abandonment. Before 2011, most of our projects focused exclusively on the arts. Since the start of 2011, however, we have been able to broaden our engagement and now include various forms of other cultural practice and intellectual expression.
Beyond this shift in practice, we have accomplished a lot this year: l Infecting the City 2011, a public arts festival, included 33 productions, 314 artists and was attended by over 25 000 people. l A pan-African Artist in Residency project was launched in collaboration with eight residencies from eight different countries around the world. We received 230 applications from artists representing 31 countries on the continent. l Badilisha Radio recently passed the 100 online internet radio show mark, which has been an exciting development because this internet-based radio show remains the only place globally where people can listen to a broad spectrum of pan-African poets. Having the level of diversity in styles, language and subject matter that 100 shows provide is vital to attracting audiences and creating opportunities for these voices to be heard. l A live-event version of Talking Heads was
launched for the first time outside the confines of Infecting the City – in Johannesburg in June with 35 experts and 150 people in attendance. l The Space for Pan-African Research, Creation and Knowledge (SPARCK) launched one of their most ambitious projects to date, Imag[in]ing Cities in Karachi. This multimedia happening showcased works by over 50 artists from Africa and South Asia, focusing on South/ South conversations: exchanges by and among artists about the urban condition worldwide as seen from the South. SPARCK also recently released three new monographs – Carnets de la Création – on artists Bill Kouélany, Hervé Yamguen and Hervé Youmbi.
Can you talk us through some of the Africa Centre’s newer endeavours?
We’ve been working on three new projects over the last 12 months: l Talking Heads is a multi-layered, knowledge-sharing platform conceived to identify, showcase, network and expose Africa’s thought leaders. The live events have been affectionately referred to as “ideas speed dating”.
This project profiles the ideas and visions of some of the most extraordinary people living on our continent through intimate dialogue and discussion events as well as short video documentaries. l Our Artist in Residency project was designed to enhance professional growth opportunities available for artists, across disciplines from throughout the continent. In its first iteration, the project is collaborating with residencies in South Africa, Ethiopia, Brazil, Turkey, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA. We identify the artists via an open call process and the international residencies host the artists. l WikiAfrica aims to redress the critical imbalance of factual information about historic and contemporary Africa on the internet’s most utilised information resource, Wikipedia. Designed to allow anyone and everyone to contribute to what is now the world’s largest encyclopaedia, Wikipedia has one fatal flaw. The group who contribute information on Wikipedia are not representative of the planet they are creating facts about: four out of five editors are male
and half are under the age of 22; four out of five edits come from countries in the North. WikiAfrica intends on activating a new community of African experts and amateurs alike to edit and introduce 30 000 new articles about who and what Africa is onto Wikipedia over the next two years. More information about these projects and others can be found on our website, www.africacentre.net.
What can we expect to see from the Africa Centre in the future?
Central to our work is that what we focus on and how we operate consistently evolves. The issues that create social change are and always will be in a constant state of flux. As a result, what we deem important today may not be in a year or two. Our goals, objectives, ambitions and aspirations therefore will and should always be in some state of evolution. This makes the future hard to predict, and exciting to look forward to.
Infecting the City Infecting the City is an annual public arts festival staged in the streets of Cape Town. For a week each year, Infecting the City turns Cape Town’s CBD into a city-sized gallery exhibiting provocative, cutting-edge international and local public art works that resonate within the city’s urban landscape. The vision of the project is to develop public art that grapples with social issues pivotal to both the South African and, more broadly, the human condition, which are accessible to everyone living and working in the city. Now in its fourth year, Infecting the City has been experienced by over 50 000 people, hosted over 75 different productions, and included over 900 artists. The festival’s focus for 2012 will simply be to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. www.infectingthecity.com
The fourth Infecting the City public arts festival turned Cape Town upside down to find its hidden treasures.
City Hall Sessions Cape Town City Hall has undergone a number of changes in the last few years, some good, some bad. It can still become a dedicated cultural space, but only with time, vision and collaboration. Following its spectacular re-emergence as a cultural venue for Spier Contemporary 2010, which involved an extensive clean-up of the old library space and the inclusion of a pop-up café and shop, Cape Town City Hall became the scene of a 2010 FIFA World Cup hospitality area, media centre and operations backstage. It was not returned in the same condition as it was handed over in, however, nor was there a shared vision for the future of the space within the municipality. Luckily, the difficulties of using City Hall thereafter did not stop it from being used for a number of interesting projects. The first of these was Qaphela Caesar, an interdisciplinary adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, set in a modern day South Africa and directed by world-renowned choreographer Jay Pather. The play focused on issues of power, examining corruption and politics from a contemporary African perspective, and was structured as a journey through 14 of City Hall’s rooms – in which much of the debris of the World Cup still stood – using installation art, dance, spoken word, multimedia and opera. Thereafter Prêt à Partager, a travelling contemporary art exhibition, went on show in the space. Curated by South African Gabi Ngcobo and intended as a “transnational artistic dialogue”, the exhibition showcased the work of 17 artists – from Douala, Dakar, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Berlin, Hamburg and London – who had participated in a 10-day workshop two years prior, funded by the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. Then followed a graduate exhibition by the University of Cape Town’s School of Architecture. Thirty-one graduate students had specifically decided to use the space to give their work greater public exposure – in alignment with their beliefs that architecture is a public art. Ruth LevinVorster then directed a production of Jean Genet’s 1947 play The Maids against the backdrop of the City Hall’s dramatic spaces. The Maids takes a look into the desperate lives of two sisters, who fantasise about murdering their madame.
More recently the Toffie Pop Culture Festival was a three-day set of exhibitions, workshops, presentations and partying. Curated by design agency The President and hosted in both Cape Town and Buenos Aires, this annual event returned in the second year after a first run at a boys’ school in the suburbs. Billing itself as an alternative to a more corporate Design Indaba, it hosted talks and presentations by 24 South African creatives and a selection of international guests. There were daily boxing matches, “inspiration tables”, live painting, as well as stalls, food, beer and music. The success of this event has seen Toffie book the space out for use during a food festival in September 2011. At a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday in July 2011, the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town Patricia de Lille announced a decision to set up a permanent exhibition within City Hall to honour Madiba’s first speech after his release in 1990. The momentous occasion took place on the steps of City Hall, looking out onto a packed Grand Parade. Following the securing of funds from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Creative Cape Town announced a two-year programme of music in the venue, entitled the City Hall Sessions. This series of highprofile events will feature musicians from the Cape, Africa and the South. The first of these in September 2011 saw Ray Lema (DRC) and Chico César (Brazil) headlining a concert with local musicians Thandiswa Mazwai (formerly the lead singer of Bongo Maffin) and jazz band Kesivan & The Lights. The sessions are being produced by wellknown music documentarian and organiser Steve Gordon. In between all this work, the City also began a much-needed renovation of the auditorium, including new toilets and heritage restoration. R7-million over a period of three years has been allocated for this work. City Hall can still be reclaimed as a cultural space for all Capetonians, but the work will require time, shared vision and collaboration. The question remains, however: Who will drive it?
TOP Congolese, Ray Lema and Brazilian, Chico Cesar are the headlining act for the inaugural City Hall Sessions. Photo: Stefano Venturini. BOTTOM A scene from Jay Pather’s Qhapela Caeser Part II. Photo: Junaid Samaai.
Goematronics Goematronics is a music project that was initiated in 2009 as part of Creative Cape Townâ€™s interest in things local and distinctive. The project emerged out of an earlier exploration of Cape Townâ€™s distinctive goema musical tradition and is an attempt to take this initial experiment further. Working with a number of local musicians and DJs, and using samples of goema beats and melodies from the likes of the great saxophonist Robbie Jansen and multi-instrumentalist Hilton
Schilder, a series of electronic remixes of goema emerged. These drew on the tradition of the goema captains, notably The Genuines and Rock Art. A range of contemporary musicians and producers, including Fletcher Beadon, Peter Abrahams and Erefaan Pearce, The Kalahari Surfers and Mr Mo, have helped kickstart the Goema Remix Competition, the winner of which was announced during Creative Week Cape Town 2011. www.goematronics.com
Erefan Pearce, The Kalahari Surfers (Warrick Sony), Peter Abrahams, Fletcher Beadon and Mr Mo (Andre Swanepoel) are the five musicians who worked on the original Goematronics project and produced tracks to kick start the initiative. Photo: Richard Aaron. Courtesy of Muti Films.
This map reflects a random day in May 2011 showing where the 152 171 edits were made to the world's largest ever encyclopaedia, Wikipedia (English).
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