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a ProJecT oF THe caPe Town ParTnerSHIP moLo | hELLo | goEiEDAg




gEnERATion boRn FREE? On growing up with democracy.


PAGE 4 & 5





What do hairdos, tattoos and lace have in common? PAGE 6 & 7 7

STiTChES in TimE We trace the story of clothing in Cape Town.


PAGE 8 & 9




Cut along the dotted line and follow the supplied instructions to make your own handmade Cape Town shirt.

mADe in CApe Town

ChAngE mAKER “I think my destiny, the star I follow, has always been about re-imagining this city.” Josette Cole

PAGE 10 & 11




molo. hello. goeieDAg. Molo is a free community paper, focused on the people of Cape Town, and published by the Cape Town Partnership. Created by: Ambre Nicolson, Judith Browne, Toast Coetzer, Maya Fowler, Lisa Burnell, Sam Bainbridge

WHY PANTONE 109C YELLOW ON THE COVER? In celebration of Cape Town’s reign as World Design Capital 2014.

Designed by: Infestation T: 021 461 8601

Published by: Cape Town Partnership 34 Bree Street T: 021 419 1881

How can I be a part of Molo? We are always on the look-out for compelling stories told by ordinary residents of Cape Town. If you or someone you know has an interesting story to tell, mail us at (no press releases, please). Every month, we’ll be continuing the conversations we start in the print edition of Molo online: Join us at for more stories, more profiles and more citizen perspectives on this place we call home.

Where can I get the most recent edition of Molo? Molo is a bimonthly print publication, available in the January, March, May, July, September and November of every year. In the months it is not on street, it is supplemented by stories online. If you or your organisation would like to receive or distribute the print publication, please mail us at, including your postal address and the number of copies you’d like to receive.

mAking ChAnge

COMING SOON TO A SCREEN NEAR YOU: ThE CREATivE CApE ToWn App Imagine walking down a street in Cape Town and being able to see all the creative businesses, venues and events in the immediate vicinity on your smart phone. This is the promise of the Creative Cape Town mobile application, due to be launched in March. The app will provide a practical, geographicallytagged directory of creative enterprises and events, all of which will be presented on a map, allowing users to search a wide range of categories while navigating the city. n Find out more at

This edition of Molo looks at how cities make people, and how people make change.


ape Town welcomed 2014, the year South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, by celebrating the commencement of our year as World Design Capital. The WDC tag line of “Live Design. Transform Life” highlights the potential to use design to change the lives of people living in Cape Town. Designers can transform society by creating new systems, tools or products that make life more comfortable, enjoyable, or equitable. I think a similar tag line could read “Live Democracy. Transform Life”. I believe that if we want to generate ideas, methods and solutions for a better life in Cape Town, we need to shift the focus from ticking off a set of indicators to being truly authentic to ourselves as an African city with an apartheid past and an openended future. As programme manager at the Cape Town Partnership, I get to work with a team of dynamic, passionate young people who are all working to make change – be it through support of creativity, through action research that hopes to build empathy and

bridge divides, or seeking ways in which Cape Town central city can become more efficient in our use of the earth’s resources. At the Cape Town Partnership, we will be working this year to create, with you, a city that embodies Cape Town’s soul: its people and the connections between us. Later this year, many of you will also have the opportunity to put pen to paper and express your democratic right to vote. But active citizenry does not end there. Here are some ideas of how you can make change in 2014: Value your public spaces. Public spaces are key to democratic expression and social interaction. Get to know, and use, your public spaces – be it one of national importance such as the Grand Parade, or your neighbourhood park. Learn something about the people who share these spaces with you. What connects you? What separates you? What will a Cape Town that works for both of you look like? Think about the common good. The first people to engage on an issue are often those who are directly affected, and some of us are guilty

of only engaging when we want to say no. Join in on movements that work for a better future for Cape Town, even if it takes a little sacrifice now. Join up with others – get to know others who are interested in the same issue or cause, and get to know those who can help, such as your local councillors. When “power in numbers” is combined with a strong local councillor, citizens can make change. We don’t need to look much further than the popular Moonlight Mass, #FirstThursdays, or OpenStreets to see how. Participation, collaboration and co-producing: these are the skills we need to create a society that respects its citizens. And these are skills we have. Working together for a common good is not new to Africa, and 2014 can be the year that we, as citizens, come together to jointly craft the Cape Town of tomorrow. Join in, transform life. Jodi Allemeier is programme

manager at the Cape town Partnership, and a recovering economist. she believes that the power to make change lies in the creativity and compassion of ordinary people working together.

Contact the creators of Molo: @CTPartnership #Molo Email: Tel: 021 419 1881 Molo, Cape Town Partnership, 10th Floor, 34 Bree Street, The Terraces, 8001

Cape Town Partnership vision Some say cities are the future We say people are the future This is our home This is our hope This is our chance


there is more that connects us than divides us


the language of hope


together for the common good


from the ground up


the spaces in between We can plant our tomorrows shape our future, heal ourselves We can make our city warm, open, welcoming, rich in opportunities for all

cape Town A city with a past. A people with a future



The number of businesses, from manufacturing to retail, shipwrights to florists, which are located in the


square kilometre radius of paarden Eiland.


pAArDen eilAnD Paarden Eiland, that little spit of land snuggled between the harbour and the N2, certainly punches above its weight when it comes to the variety of business and services on offer. Here are a couple of things you may not have known about this small but powerful manufacturing hub that neighbours the central city. Photos: lisa Burnell

5 THIngS YoU DIDn’T Know YoU coULD Do In PaarDen eILanD

1bUy A Wig

Visit Frika’s to choose from dozens of different styles of wigs for men and women. To try on the wigs you will need an appointment.

in ShoRT



Besides being lyricist and frontman for the band The Buckfever Underground, Toast Coetzer is a travel writer for magazines such as go! and WEG. His novel Naweek was published by Tafelberg in 2009.


’m one of the thousands of people who are not originally from Cape Town, but who have come here from elsewhere in the country to be more of who we are supposed to be. If you get that feeling – out there in Kuruman, Qunu or Calvinia – then you usually either come to Cape Town or Joburg. The really cool people go to Durban (or more likely: you’re born and bred in Durbs and stay there) or Port Elizabeth. The thing about Cape Town – like any of our other cities – is

n Frika (Fascination Wigs) 30 Auckland Street 021 511 6767


Presspin Spinning and Stamping manufactures metal products that vary from ice buckets to some of the components used in traffic lights. And, as long as the quantity is high enough, they will make whatever product you can imagine – and their machines can handle. Better yet,

that it’s an accommodating place. It doesn’t really care that I’m actually a farm boy from Cradock. You come to a place like Cape Town with the clothes on your back or a suitcase full, or, like me, a Beetle loaded with an old PC, boxes of books and some rusks from your mom. Then you begin to experience. I lived on fish fingers and brown bread with apricot jam for weeks while doing internships at newspapers. I’ve slept in five different houses in St James Street in Vredehoek. You immerse. You Long Street. You Shack. You Promenade. You get broken into in Obs. You lock yourself out of your Beetle and break into your own car in the parking lot on top of the station. You slowly take what is Cape Town – for/to you – and wear it like a coat. You take that lick of cloud on the mountain and drape it over your face when you take an early morning hike on the table. You stick your hands deep in the pockets of the contrasts between a Clifton and a Blue Downs. In many ways, Cape Town is an easy muse to have. Upington?

once made they can pass the product on to their sister company, Peninsular Epoxy Coatings, to get it powder coated in a colour of your choice. n presspin Spinning and Stamping 42 Lowestoft Street 021 511 0656



Got a big bash planned? HQ Ice sells crushed, cubed and block ice to individuals as well as to retailers. Visual Creations, a décor and special effects company,

Potchefstroom? Mbombela? Those would be much harder muses. Here the muse is sometimes so deafening you have to sleep to hear it. Cape Town lays it on for you. You can drench your ears in the homegrown bleeps and beats of Felix Laband’s electronic music, the raucous rock and roll of Van Coke Kartel, the instrumental tide of Benguela. You can hang at the Book Lounge and meet your local science fiction writer star. You could meet someone famous, even. Now-now. I write for a travel magazine and I am spoilt in the ways I get to experience special places around the country. I drive a lot, and sometimes I fly. I get to feel how the N1 unzips the country from Cape Town’s dockyards to Musina’s baobabs. How the N7 leads you from Edgemead’s neither here nor theres to the Mars of Namibia. I know how OR Tambo opens up Jomo Kenyatta, and how that hub leads to Rwanda and Uganda, the former with its chimpanzees, the latter with its gorillas. Because of this I’m very aware

supply pyrotechnics as well as snow, bubble and fog machines. Hire a tablecloth in any one of hundreds of shapes, sizes and colours. n hq ice 8 marine Drive 021 511 4257 n visual Creations 19 Lowestoft Street 021 511 9676 n The Tablecloth hiring Company 33 Section Street 021 510 3000

gET yoUR 4 CAR WRAppED Have you always yearned

i’m very aware of how Cape town is both an end and a beginning. Yes, Johannesburg is a stronger portal to Zim, and Botswana and mozambique. But because Cape town has an ocean it means that its backyard is always a place where history washes up. of how Cape Town is both an end and a beginning. Yes, Johannesburg is a stronger portal to Zim, and Botswana and Mozambique. But because Cape Town has an ocean it means that its backyard is always a place where history washes up. We use the sea less for travels to other countries these days. I’ve had the pleasure of departing from the Cape Town harbour for distant islands – Marion

Island, Tristan da Cunha, St Helena. And when you do that, you know that Cape Town’s flow of movement is an old one. It speaks ice, Dutch, slavery, nutmeg, scurvy. Never mind the platteland, people have been coming here for centuries from continents away, and from other islands, like Java and Sumatra. Capetonians are the sum total, and a growing sum of colour at that. I also write what you could call poetry, but which in reality becomes spoken-word “songs” for my band, The Buckfever Underground. When I write those things – and writing “poetry” is obviously a less structured thing than writing magazine articles – I feed off the flux. Sometimes the flux has stuck to my coat like flotsam from a faraway place, like a stowaway grass seed from Katima Mulilo, or my fresh mosquito bite from Tofo. But whether it comes from afar or from close – like from a whale tail seen from Boyes Drive, or an owl on a rooftop in Tamboerskloof, or a street sweeper lighting up a zol in Salt River – the funnel where it spins into some semblance of sense is Cape Town.

to turn your car into a giant songololo? The guys at Movie Signs can help you. They supply all kids of vinyl printing for the film industry as well as private individuals. n movie Signs 5 Section Street 5113666


Dive Action offers scuba diving instruction, like the PADI open water 1 certification, as well as diving trips. n Dive Action 22 Carlisle Street 021 511 0800



wearIng (anD wrITIng) caPe Town ToAST CoETZER


The Milnerton Market holds court next to Marine Drive, opposite Paarden Eiland, every weekend and public holiday (except for Christmas and New Year’s Day). The market offers 250 stalls selling a strange and delightful mix of used goods, from collectibles to utensils. If you’re a fan of bric-a-brac, then this is the place for you. n visit for more info



i will vote. i am not sure what difference it will make but i want to know what it feels like.

mADe in CApe Town

ihsaan Bassier


This year, for the first time in a national election, the so called “born free” generation will have the chance to vote. We asked seven young people, all born in 1994, about their hopes and fears for the future. text: ambre nicolson Photos: lisa Burnell

What do you think of the term “born free”? Do you agree with it as a label for your generation? nomA: The label is bit-

tersweet. Growing up we didn’t face what the people who went before us did, but the bitterness comes because people assume you don’t understand, and I don’t think this is true: in many ways things haven’t changed. Many of us live under the same conditions as people did during apartheid.

Colin: I’m grateful that I can

be called that. I think it’s relevant because I had to be taught what racism was in school. I had no idea before that, so yes, I do think I was born free. DuDu: Obviously I’m grate-

ful because we were not born under apartheid but I think the label does create a sense for some young people that the work is done, like, “Sharp, I can just go on with my life …” There is this idea that we are free and we have to build up this amaz-

i’m scared of unsustainable practices across the board, not just ecologically but in business and socially. lauren hess

ing rainbow nation, South Africa, which honestly I have yet to see. I don’t think we’re there yet. ZAhrA: I feel disheartened by the label. In my case my parents came from a poor coloured background and they worked very hard to get where they are today and give me what I have, but in many cases people assume I am just a spoiled brat or a coconut. But seeing how many people still live like my parents used to makes me think the term “born free” is not


Stop looking to It seems everyone the government for is starting a party but everything, do your the politicians are just own thing, make criticising, they are your own not offering anything changes. themselves. Duduzile Ndlovu

Nomaliqhwa Hadebe

If you’re black, people think your mom is travelling to Constantia by taxi to clean someone’s house. Amogelang Moloko

... depending on how you think about the word ‘free’ and relative to where you grow up, you are still not born free.


You can go from the CBD out and you can follow the privilege according to how far you are from the mountain. Colin Besaans

Zahra Gutuza

really true. Because depending on how you think about the word “free” and relative to where you grow up, you are still not born free. Amo: I am grateful but burdened. My parents came far and worked hard and so I am the exception in my family, living the way I do. The reason I say burdened is that it’s a big responsibility for a generation to try and carry the country forward and make the changes politically, economically and socially that need to be made.

Are you going to vote? Dudu: I am not sure if I will

vote. I know who not to vote for and it seems like the whole ballot! I don’t like the way South Africans look to the government to do everything. We need to make changes ourselves as communities. Ihsaan: I will vote. I am not sure what difference it will make but I want to know what it feels like. I want the experience. Noma: I wouldn’t vote, even

if I had the option. It seems everyone is starting up a party but the politicians are just criticising, they are not offering anything themselves. Lauren: I want to vote but I

am thinking of spoiling my ballot. There is no one I want to vote for. Colin: I am going to vote. I

might be cynical about how much good it can do but regardless of which party is in power I think it’s important that there is strong political opposition.

Are you guys happy to have grown up in Cape Town and what do you think of the city? Dudu: I think Cape Town is

very Eurocentric and West-

ern compared to the rest of South Africa. There is still that movement where every day the city gets flushed out of black people going back to the townships. I understand that Cape Town is demographically different but it’s not like black people are not a huge presence here. I think the Cape Town racial dynamic is still way too segregated. Colin: I really hate that. In

Cape Town there are concentric bubbles of racial privilege that are geographical remnants of apartheid. You can go from the CBD out and you can follow the privilege according to how far you are from the mountain. Amo: I love this place but I also have a problem with the racial stereotypes that exist. If you’re black, people think your mom is travelling to Constantia by taxi to clean someone’s house.

What would your parents do if you brought home a partner of a different race?

it’s hard not to get impatient with the older generation, especially with technology ...

Amo: My mom wouldn’t have a problem. She is black and she has had a white boyfriend but I think my dad would be upset because he is more traditional.

Colin: Oh ja, like the “how do you copy and paste?” question. Again.

Dudu: My mom saw a white

guy for a while and it’s a joke in our family that my gran breeds kids for export because many of my cousins come from racially mixed backgrounds ... but in other ways my family is weirdly conservative. I have spoken to my mom about it and other than race she isn’t really keen on me bringing home anyone who isn’t considered the normal choice. I can bring home a different colour but not a different gender and not a different religion. Basically someone male, meek and Christian would be OK.

Dudu: Exactly. With my mom

I take her words with a big pinch of salt. I love her and admire her but I think we might come to blows when it comes to raising my own kids. Noma: If there is a genera-

tion gap between us and our elders I think it comes down to the fact that their generation was united in a common collective cause and we are much more individualistic and the issues we face are more diverse so it often seems we are working for ourselves rather than others, and I think this frustrates our elders. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but I think a lot of tension comes from this.

Lauren: I’m scared of unsus-

tainable practices across the board, not just ecologically but in all ways in business and socially. Basically, it’s about people not sharing. Personally, I feel a responsibility to live up to everyone’s expectations. Amo: Ja, our parents never had the opportunities we have but it comes with responsibility. The thing with black families is that it’s not just about the kid’s success, it’s also about that kid sustaining a whole extended family.

I am heading towards a career in future studies, and there is so much untapped data in South Africa. I would also like to work for the UN. Ihsaan: I am excited about how easy it might be to rise politically. I think with some fiery opinions, some experience and a bit of networking you can become an effective politician.

What do you want to say to the world (or your parents or the mayor or the president)? Lauren: Mom, I’m getting a

What possibilities excite you for the future? What do you hope to achieve? Colin: I want to get as rich as

I can, as fast as possible and then retire early – at 38 and a half to be exact – so that I can then spend the rest of my life travelling and helping people.

tattoo. No, I’m joking … Dudu: Stop looking to the government for everything, do you own thing, make your own changes. And everyone should read a book and go to school and the world will be better. Also, Mom, don’t stress, I will do the dishes in my own time.

Colin: My parents are com-

Are you planning to stay in Cape Town and/or South Africa? Lauren: I think it’s important to travel to see different places and societies. And just like South Africa is different to Africa, Cape Town is different to South Africa. I would like to return here but if I couldn’t work then that might affect my decision. But I am hoping to stay. Dudu: I would like to study abroad. If I had a family I would raise them in Gauteng because the racial segregation in Cape Town is too deep. I used to think Joburg was too much about ambition and money but I like the culture and the opportunities and I believe my kids wouldn’t have to struggle with their identities to the same extent as they would growing up here. There are not enough black role models in Cape Town.

pletely cool. They would just be interested if it was a nice person, well, that and whether the person is kind to animals. My grandparents on the other hand, while believing they are completely free of prejudice, are often really ... not. I point it out to them but I have to find a balance: “You know grandpa, I love you, but you really shouldn’t use that word.”

The generation gap: Does it exist between you and your parent’s generation? Colin: Yes, I think there is

tension but I think it is completely individual and personal. In general I think our generation can tend towards being apathetic because we are not cognisant of the political power we have. Dudu: I think our generation is used to everything happening instantly and sometimes

What frightens you about the future? Amo: Personally I am scared

that young people will just accept the state of the nation. If we unite in the workforce we can make changes but people are apathetic and I am scared that they don’t care.

Dudu: I want to have lots and lots of kids. Like a dozen. I want to be a foster parent and travel Africa and help kids out. Also, you know, an investment company pays for my studies but I am not sure that I won’t go and join the socialist revolution!

Colin: I am scared about

Colin: If you want to start

being less racist don’t start a sentence with, “I’m not a racist but...” Also, Julius Nyerere may have got a lot wrong but until we filter politicians for altruism we will continue to have Nkandlas till the cows come home. Noma: I am sitting here as a

time. Things will change for the better but will they change fast enough? New technologies are available but not accessible. And right now things are untenable. I mean, at the end of last year there were nine schools in this country with a 0% pass rate!

Noma: I want to do it all:

Noma: My fears are more

Amo: I am excited to leave a

personal. I get scared that my degree won’t be good enough, or that I won’t be able to get a job to provide for myself and look after my parents. My parents have invested so much in me, what if I can’t return it?

legacy. To help people out of the bondage of their daily struggle, because most of the people that live here are struggling to survive.

travel, go out into the world and experience new places. I am so excited to live my life because there are so many possibilities – that’s the difference between us and our parents, they didn’t have these possibilities.

Lauren: I want to travel and study at the same time.

Ndebele girl, and I want to say: “Mom and Dad, if I bring home a Sotho boy, it’s OK, we are all the same.” Having cliques based on history or tribalism is just going to get in the way. It was a tool used to suppress us in the past and we need to let it go now. Amo: You can tell them there is a wave of young, motivated, inspired people who are not going to stand for what the older generation stands for and are fed up with the way they do life and we’re going to make the change. We’re coming.





Tyler is known for his hand-poked tattoo work; he also founded tattoo studio Sins of Style on Hope Street.


Bachaud works as a signwriter, hand-painting signs for Fruit & Veg City on Roeland Street. He spoke to Molo (with some translation assistance from a co-worker, Meck Makaula) about his craft. how did you get into signwriting?

how do you get the inspiration for your tattoos? “I try break down the sentiment behind it. Usually people know the placement and the colour range, and with that, I’ll try draw something original, while working with references. I tell people they gotta come with the reason, the meaning behind it, and I’ll make it picturesque. Something beyond its meaning. So when you’re old and grey, it’ll still look good. It’ll still fit your body … A good measure for the quality of a tattoo is: would I put it on my girlfriend? You’ve got to treat each and every one like it’s something for your closest.”

Why do people get tattoos? “People often approach tattooing like it’s a quest for permanence and

Can you tell me about a sign you made that you’re particularly proud of?



District Six museum






Contact details 1 Tyler b. murphy

Sins of Style 22 Hope Street, Gardens T: 021 461 0854 Open 11h00 to 18h00 Monday to Friday, 11h00 to 16h00 Saturday

“It’s more vanity. Take your shoes. Those shoes look good now, and you’ll look at them and think ‘hey, they look good’. But then you notice your jeans, and they look pretty crappy. So you get new jeans. But pretty soon you start noticing your jacket. It’s like that, I reckon, with tattoos. People are just updating their wardrobe.”

“I’ve studied a lot of prison tattoos, and I have to say, we by far have the ugliest prison tattoos on the planet. Me and my ex-girlfriend – she’s a photographer – we’ve been working on a documentary series over the years, about the history of tattoos, especially in South Africa. Back before World War I, there were quite a few tribes tattooing each other ... I believe that as South Africans we’ve got our own stories, and we’ve gotta learn how to tell them.”

Hope St

“This big map on Commercial Street. It took me one day to do. I draw in pencil first, then paint after, in acrylic. “Ya, I don’t sign my name to this map because it would look kak, but I get a lot of work from it. People see it and ask who did it, and they say, that guy there [pointing] at Fruit & Veg.”

is that why people who start with just one tattoo go on to get so many more?

Do South African tattoos have a certain style or symbolism?

text: Judith Photos: lis


“Skateboarding is the basis of all sorts of creative expression for me. Yeah, it was in that order: skateboarding, graffiti, tattoos. In 1995 I started working in a tattoo shop – at Wildfire when it was still on Greenmarket Square – and in 2001 I started tattooing. I apprenticed for five years, but I was young, so that’s cool. It takes a long time to become an artist.”

consistency in your life. But it actually has the opposite effect, where it becomes a timeline. You look at your tattoo, and you see the person you used to be.”

“I’m from Kinshasa in the DRC, and I’ve lived and worked in Cape Town coming up four years this year. I travelled here from Lubumbashi by taxi. It takes one, two days. If you study here, it’s good. It’s good to have qualifications from South Africa. But as an artist,

Five makers – people who talk about their process, t


What brought you to Cape Town?

it’s not so good. When I came to Cape Town, I did not have time to learn English. Now I am in Cape Town, and I must choose: either I go to school and learn English, or I work. I work. My English is not so good.”

a el Ro

“I went to school in Congo – to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Gombe, Kinshasa. My father was also an artist. I learnt from him … I do signs, but I also draw pictures and paint. I sell my work at Long Street, at the Pan-African Market. I am a general artist. I sing too!”

how did you get into tattoos?

meeT mAk

BAcHAud BiLeLe

2 bachaud bilele Fruit & Veg City Upper Roeland Street, corner of Kent Street and Drury Lane bachaudbilele@gmail. com


3 Charlotte Keen T: 021 686 8642 Rosebank

4 gavin Coppenhall African Ethos Studio 13, Montebello Design Centre 31 Newlands Avenue T: 021 685 1597

5 Emmie mbombo Antenna Salon Corner of John and Hare streets, Mowbray T: 021 685 8277 Open every day from 08h30 to 17h30

cHARLOtte KeeN

Charlotte knows how to weave and make felt, but her speciality is lace – which she has made by hand for over three decades. What drew you to lacemaking? “It was something that I first saw in a French needlework book while still at school. I used to weave on a loom; I liked backstrap weaving, like women in Peru and Guatemala still do – it’s fairly freeform, where you tie the warp threads to a tree and you become the tensioner. Weaving can otherwise be quite constrained, but making lace is very flexible. With

lace, there are endless possibilities.”

Who taught you? “A group of us learnt from a book from England by Pamela Nottingham. When we first started, you couldn’t get many of the tools we use now. We cut our first bobbins from dowels. Since ’93 I’ve been importing a lot of those sort of things. I’ve also travelled to Europe to learn; most of what I know today I have learnt from overseas teachers.”

Are there other lacemakers working locally? “In South Africa there are several hundred lacemakers, and 50 to 60 people in

the Cape Lace Guild – we’ve lost many of our members. I’m one of the few founder members left. There’s a group that

meets here, in my home every Friday morning. We laugh a lot when we get together. We make lace together, learn new


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Gavin’s an ethnomusicologist who now makes African instruments – like marimbas, mbiras, koras and kudu horns – out of his studio, African Ethos, at the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands.

playing of African instruments. In those days it was very difficult to get hold of the instruments, so I just started reading up and where there was enough information, I started making my own instruments.”

What inspired you to start making instruments?

“My work used to be broader and included everything to do with traditional African music. Teaching, research, producing instruments, putting on shows. I’ve narrowed it down since then to the making of instruments, which the most relaxing and finan-

“When I was at UCT I did a classical degree and at that time there was only a theoretical course in ethnomusicology, which I quite enjoyed, but there was no practical tuition in the

And you turned this into a source of income?

cially rewarding of all of that. With this, I don’t have to stress too much. Today, my main source of income is xylophones and marimbas. I’ve just finished restoring the Kirby Collection at UCT College of Music, which is a huge collection of indigenous African instruments as well as instruments from around the globe, and now I’m recreating some instruments of these instruments for a Khoisan museum in Franschhoek at Solms-Delta wine farm. These instruments – ramkies, musical bows, violins, goras – they have to be made to look original, hand-hewn. Like they’ve been made by a guy who had very few tools. So I limit my number of tools. It’s a nice change to do that kind of work … I’ve made many marimbas too many. They’re so popular nowadays.”

Why are marimbas so popular? “I don’t know. Marimbas are easy to play. They’re not embarrassing to play like some of the more ‘bizarre’ African instruments, and the sound is uplifting and easy to listen to. You can’t play a kudu horn at somebody’s wedding. Also, Western people can relate marimbas to xy-

lophones. The sound is familiar to their ears. It’s tuned the same. A lot of African instruments are tuned very differently to Western instruments, and to Western ears, they can sound off key.”

is this the kind of work that requires inspiration? is there a personal philosophy to your work that keeps you going? “I can do it any day; I have to, it’s my living. I don’t wake up in the morning and think ‘I can’t do this today, I’m not inspired enough’. It’s a job. Ten, twenty years ago, it was different. When I started out, I couldn’t get these instruments anywhere. People hadn’t even heard of them … The inspiration back then was big on the promotion of traditional African music. So then, yes, there was more philosophical drive behind what I do. I used to perform a lot. That was a big part, maybe even the biggest part, of what I used to do.”

Are there other African instrument makers in the country? “There are very few people who do what I do. The Tracey’s, of course, from Grahamstown, but otherwise very few.”




things, challenge each other. We also have an artist, Pierre Fouché, in the group. He creates big works in modern lace. Portraits mostly. He joins us when he can. We also take outings together to local exhibitions.”

What drives you? “I think it’s therapeutic. Last year, my sister went into deep depression and had to move in with me. Lacemaking helped me through that. It calmed me down. When you make lace, you forget about everything – but it has to be something that challenges you. It has to occupy your mind fully.”

is there any difference between lace made by machine and lace made by hand?


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“There are certain techniques that you look for in comparing the two. Some things a machine can’t do.”

What’s your story? Are you from Cape Town? “I came from the Eastern Cape, near Keiskammahoek. My forebears were German immigrants who settled in the Eastern Cape in 1856. Well, they were from Eastern Germany, the bit that was Germany at one time, and was also Poland, I think. I went to the Bible Institute in Kalk Bay, where I met my husband. We moved around quite a bit; he was a pastor. But in 1972 we moved to Cape Town. I have three children, but they all live away from home now. One in Mossel Bay, one in Pretoria and another in Finland.”



Emmie trained as a teacher in the DRC, but now works as a hairstylist in Mowbray. Molo took a trip to Antenna Salon where we met Emmie, and Zarina Nteta, who was getting a new hairdo. Zarina, what are you getting done today? zarina: “We’ve chosen a salt-and-pepper weave. Emmie’s going to braid the outer edges of my hair, and then cut my hair and sew the rest of the piece in.”

Will it take long? And how much does a hairdo like this cost? Emmie: “Like this it’s R220, and will take one and a half hours.”

Where did you learn to weave? Emmie: “Back home, I did pedagogy – I know how to teach, but I don’t have a South African ID so I can’t teach here. When I come here, I learn one year, and now I work in a salon.”

Where’s home? Emmie: “I’m from Kinshasa in the DRC. I left because the situation in my country is not good. Here, it’s OK. I never go home – because of money. It’s difficult.”

Do customers come back? zarina: “I’ve been coming here for eight years, ever since I was at university. I like it here because they experiment. I can come here with a drawing, a photo, something I’ve never seen anybody else do, and they’ll try it.”

it’s our talent from God. even the complicated hairstyles. You show me, i make it. emmie mBomBo, hairstYlist

Emmie: “I don’t know. This is our talent from Congo. It’s our talent from God. Even the complicated hairstyles. You show me, I make it. You have to do your job properly, so customers come back.”

is the salon popular? Emmie: “In December we were busy. Very, very busy. We were closing around 8 o’clock … Sometimes it’s busy. Sometimes we come here and wait for a customer. It depends.”




The story of clothes in Cape Town In many ways the story of the city’s textile and clothing industry is also the story of its women. Here’s the short version. Text: Ambre Nicolson Photos: Sydelle Willow Smith

Local women working in the HipHop clothing factory in the east of the city.

Of all the successive waves of people who have called Cape Town home, it is the area’s original inhabitants, the Khoisan, who perhaps had the most sensible dress sense. For the most part, they stuck to a minimal wardrobe of loincloths and skirts fashioned from the skins of animals they killed for food. For those rainy winter days they preferred a kaross, or large sleeveless cloak. This approach to clothing was not only suited to the climate but also ecologically sound. Which is not to say that fashions didn’t change. Archaeological evidence shows a wide range of changing accessories, from intricate beaded jewellery and

headdresses made from seashells and eggshells, to musical anklets of seedpods. While men were involved in tanning the leather that was used for garments, it was mostly women who made the decorative elements and beadwork. On the other hand, European visitors to our shores didn’t seem to be able to let go of their heavy woollen garments, which were a good look for the colder northern climates but completely impractical for the heat of Africa. Worse, bathing was not a very popular activity amongst early European settlers and most people wore the same clothes every day, sometimes for months at a time. In the early days of the city all fabric was either imported or homespun by hand, which was almost always

Buy local. We have such an amazing blend of both African and European in our DNA. Why not tap into that more? Didier de Villiers

the job of a woman and often the job of a slave. Large estates would also often have a knitting slave, a woman responsible for knitting hundreds of jerseys and other garments each year. At that time a new outfit was a big investment, both of time and money. At the beginning of the 20th century the textile industry was in its infancy in Cape Town. If you worked in any one of the clothing factories and workshops dotted round the city by 1915, this is probably what your working life was like: you were almost certainly a woman, you probably spoke Afrikaans at home and you came from a working class family. If you were lucky, you worked in one of the bigger factories that were more likely to have acceptable working conditions, although even in that case the hours were long, the conditions often unpleasant, unsafe or both, and the pay pitiable. If you were unlucky you worked in one of the more informal workshops where you would work overtime with no pay, you might be forced to work for 18 hours without a break or you might be held

prisoner by being locked into the factory each night. Your pay? After a couple of years of experience in the industry you would be lucky to earn 20 shillings a week, barely enough to buy food. As an apprentice you might earn as little as two shillings a week. After WW1, in the face of steeply rising living costs, workers in the textile industry started to organise themselves into trade unions. It was out of the merger of some these early worker organisations that today’s SACTWU (South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union) was born. According to SACTWU researcher, Simon Eppel, it was also from this time that the industry became a major employer in the city. “The industry grew particularly after WW2 and as South Africa became more isolationist during apartheid. Many Cape Town families from across social classes relied on the industry, with at least one family member being involved in the industry in some capacity. In fact, it was not unusual for many of the women from one family (mothers, aunts and daughters) to be clothing machinists, sometimes even in the same company. In places like Salt River, if you walked down Main Road anytime between 1960 and 1990, you would hear the sound of sewing machines coming from many of the buildings you passed.”

In places like Salt River, if you walked down Main Road anytime between 1960 and 1990, you would hear the sound of sewing machines coming from many of the buildings you passed. After 1994, as South Africa joined global markets, the clothing and textile industry’s fortunes changed for the worse. According to UCT economist, Professor Mike Morris, a big blow to the industry came in 2004. “When the exchange rate depreciated dramatically at the turn of the millenium many clothing firms saw this as an opportunity to ratchet up exports to the US. However a big blow to the industry came in 2004 when the rand strengthened and manufacturers were unable to meet their commitments in the export markets. They tried to return



approximately 15 000 workers are employed in the Clothing, textile, Footwear and leather (CtFl) formal manufacturing sectors in the western Cape.

to selling into the domestic market but it didn’t work.Many of the relationships between the big retailers and the manufacturers were harmed in the process of exporting and reneging on their previous domestic orders in favour of exports. In the interim, the retailers started sourcing their goods in places like China. Many factories closed and many thousands of jobs were lost over the next decade.” Shamil Isaacs, a lecturer at CPUT’s Technology Station in Clothing and Textiles who describes textiles as “being part of my DNA”, agrees, describing the change as being a function both of South Africa relaxing its quotas for imports as well as the effects of China’s rise to dominance. “The real game changer came in 2002 when China, with its low labour costs, and very large and highly subsidised factories, joined the WTO (World Trade Organisation), of which South Africa was already a member.” So what does the future hold


“i can make anything” says tailor meiga Abdoulaye. “i import my fabrics from many countries around Africa, and whatever you want, i can make it for you.” his shop, mali South, which has been located at 90 Long Street since 2003, is crammed with a huge array of brightly coloured fabric from all over the continent. Shown here is just a taste:

for the industry? According to Professor Mike Morris, the outlook is reasonably optimistic. “The contraction of the industry has for the most part slowed and factory closures are declining. There is a high demand for ‘fast product’ by local retailers, which requires flexibility. If local manufacturers continue to up productivity, then I believe there is the potential for the domestic market to grow substantially.” Today, 90 000 workers are employed in the Clothing, Textile, Footwear and Leather (CTFL) formal manufacturing sectors across South Africa, according to Stats SA. Of these, about 46 000 workers are employed in the clothing sector alone. Roughly a third of clothing workers are located in the Western Cape, predominately in Cape Town. And the majority of these workers are still women. According to Stephen Wright, who works as an industrial development facilitator with the CCTC (Cape Clothing and

Textile Cluster), a non-profit that aims to support the growth of the local industry, one of the key ways to ensure that the local industry stabilises and grows is for factory owners to invest in their workforce. “One way to increase productivity is to build on the skills of workers. One such example of a company that has done this successfully is the local clothing brand, K-Way.” In 2004, the K-Way factory was operating at approximately 40% productivity: for example, for every garment which should have taken 10 minutes to make, the K-Way factory was taking about 16 minutes. Today, the factory operates in the region of 120% productivity, having decreased the time it takes to make the same garment to eight minutes or less. General manager of K-Way, Bobby Fairlamb, puts it down to one word: morale. “Sure, we invested in new equipment and made other improvements to our facilities, but the biggest difference in worker productivity has been since we in-

kente cloth, Ghana

Bògòlanfini (mud cloth), mali

shwe shwe, south africa

striped cloth, venda

Cowrie design fabric, Ghana

shuka fabric (masai), kenya

now, although work can still be hard and the pressure on you can be high, at least management tells us what is happening and we can improve our skills by going on training. DaPhne visser

vested more in our people through training, development and recognition. We have also become more transparent about the company’s financial position and created incentives for workers who excel. These changes have come through our intense participation in CCTC and government programmes. Goverment incentives of recent years have had a positive impact on helping us turn our business around. Our biggest hurdle now is the fact that we still have to pay 22% duty on fabrics which we import even though technical fabrics are not manufactured in South Africa. If this duty was dropped I believe it would help our industry to grow and be more competitive.” But what about the women who make the clothes? Daphne Visser has worked in the industry for 35 years, most recently for K-Way. “You know, in the old days the hours were longer, management didn’t talk to us and your job wasn’t guaranteed if you had a baby. Now, although work can still be hard and the pressure on you can be high, at least management tells us what is happening and we can improve our skills by going on training.” So what can you do to support the local industry and, in the process, safeguard the jobs of women like Daphne? “Buy local,” explains Didier de Villiers, co-founder of local clothing brand, Magents. “We have such an amazing blend of both African and European in our DNA. Why not tap into that more?”


“The average clothing worker in Cape Town earns around R900 per week (in other parts of the country it is much less). She supports a family of about five people, is probably the sole breadwinner in the household, and may be a single mother. She generally struggles to support her family on her wages, and is usually heavily indebted from borrowing money from friends and family. She and her family are part of the working poor. She usually lives on the Cape Flats, fairly far away from her workplace and catches public transport to work. Work starts daily somewhere between 07h45 and 08h00. She sometimes tries to get there a bit early in order to drink a cup of coffee with her colleagues and friends. Work ends around 17h00 – except on Fridays when it ends between 14h00 and 15h30. Despite all the hardships, she is proud of her work, her skills, and her strength, and the fact that she supports her family.”




Change maker Josette Cole To start off our new series featuring ordinary citizens who have made a difference to the people and city of Cape Town, we meet longstanding activist and director of local urban NGO the Development Action Group, Josette Cole.

“I just started as someone who decided that, unless I was fighting for a different kind of place and city, I had no business being here. I didn’t want to identify with anything about the apartheid regime. As I saw it you had to make a choice, either you were with or against it. I believe if you weren’t part of the anti-apartheid movement, you were with it or complicit.” Josette spent the following 10 years fighting just about every

be displaced to some extent because I had to come to terms with being ‘out of place’ when I lived in Canada. Also, in places like Crossroads, I witnessed just about every worst thing that could happen to people when it came to place. I saw how much effort people put into making a place, no matter how makeshift a home, and how hard they fought not to lose that sense of place. Now we would call that struggle the right to the city.”

what you are doing, a sense of justice and you believe in people, and you’re willing to hang onto that and follow it … well, then you can’t end up anywhere else but making changes. So yes, I do believe that an individual can make a real difference. When I drive around Cape Town today I see many places (New Crossroads, Wallacedene, Masiphumelele, Bloekombos) that wouldn’t be there today if it wasn’t for the efforts of

forced removal in the city and Western Cape as the director of SPP. And, through its affiliation to the national network - the National Committee Against Removals (NCAR) – SPP (and Josette) participated in strategic discussions on almost every anti-removals struggle across the country between 1985 and 1993. “I think my destiny, the star I follow, has always been about re-imagining this city. I ended up being passionate about issues surrounding land and housing because I already had an understanding of what it felt like to be an immigrant, to be the ‘other’ in a place. I already understood what it felt like to

Cape Town in the 80s

individual people, myself and many others.” “Of course, it did sometimes feel like a real uphill battle but I think my sense of perspective and my sense of humour helped a lot with that. I remember once during the late 80s I drove a little red Volkswagen Beetle. One day I was driving up Klipfontein Road and I saw police putting women in a van. I drove straight up to them and asked what they were doing. They told me it didn’t concern me, before closing the van and driving off. So I followed them in my little red Beetle, going as fast as I could. They stopped me round the corner and after a bit of a heated

Text: Ambre Nicolson, Photos: Lisa Burnell


osette Cole has been described as a social activist, writer, historian, strategist for change, and probably, if you were an apartheid official, as a troublemaker. The word she chooses to describe herself, however, is as an “anomaly”. “I was born in Woodstock to a lower-income working family and even as a child I was always very conscious of politics. I knew who Verwoerd was and I knew I was growing up in an apartheid country. In the early 60s, when I was 12 years old, my mother decided she wanted a change … and my mother, well, she was … impulsive, so she took our family off to Canada and I ended up living in Toronto for the next 14 years. But I never really assimilated there, I always had a restlessness about South Africa and I realised eventually that I couldn’t be waffling between two places all my life. So in 1975 I decided to come back to South Africa. That’s why I would call myself an anomaly. I came back at a time when a lot of other people were headed in the opposite direction. Within six months of my return, Soweto erupted in June 1976. Of course, at that time everyone thought I was mad.”

Fighting for the right to the city From that point on Josette started working on issues around forced removals affecting the poorest communities around Cape Town, firstly as a volunteer, and later through vehicles like the Surplus People Project, Western Cape which she established as a voluntary association along with Laurine Platzky in 1985.

“The 80s were full of highs and lows, you had to be a toughie and inventive to survive. Looking back now I realise in many ways I was relentless and fearless. In other ways, though, the 80s were hopeful because we imagined and tried to create an alternative city and lifestyle. And there were wonderful parties – gumbas they were called – and lots of cultural stuff happening. Apartheid was evil and oppressive but it wasn’t the only thing that happened in life.”

giving up was never an option. For Josette, giving up was never an option. “If you have belief in

exchange, the police officer turned round and said, ‘Hey lady, does your husband know what you’re doing?’ So I turned round and said, ‘Does your wife know what you’re doing?’”

The birth of DAG DAG was started in 1986 in the aftermath of the destruction of the settlements in and around Old Crossroads between Lansdowne and Klipfontein Roads. “DAG has always worked in the housing arena, and it’s been a space where a lot of leadership around the country has worked at one time or another. When I started at DAG in April 2012, it gave me an opportunity to bring


Activist’s guide Want to help your community work better, but need some guidance navigating local government structures? Read Making Local Government Work: An Activist’s Guide, published by Section27, the Treatment Action Campaign, Socio-Economic Rights Institute

of South Africa and Read Hope Philips Attorneys. The guide sets out the legal responsibilities of local government, and rights under the Constitution and in law. It shows how to engage government from inside, by participating in formal processes, and from outside by going public through complaints, petitions, protest action, the media and the courts. Go to www. to download your free copy.

Homegrown change Cape Town – perhaps because it’s the seat of Parliament, where laws are enacted, amended or appealed, but also perhaps thanks to the lifetime work of homegrown activists like Zackie Achmat (who was central to the founding of four organisations below) – is the birthplace and headquarters of a number of citizen movements. Keen to make a change and commit yourself to a cause this year? Read on for details of some of our city’s more high-profile organisations. Black Sash Is a veteran South African notfor-profit organisation committed to making human rights real for all who live in South Africa. n Elta House, 3 Caledonian Road, Mowbray T: 021 686 6952

DAG will also be creating a Re-imagine Cape Town café near their offices on Lower Main Road in Observatory. Josette hopes that this will be a place where people know they can come to talk about the future of the city. “It will be designed to be a place of connection, a place where knowledge can be shared and a comfortable, non-threatening place where anyone can come to meet,” she explains.

If you have belief in what you are doing, a sense of justice and you believe in people, and you’re willing to hang onto that and follow it … well, then you can’t end up anywhere else but making changes. together and apply a lot of my own areas of interest – my historical work, my work in urban practice and, urban land struggles.” Today, DAG’s programme work is located within a strategic framework called Vision 20/20, which is about encouraging social mobilisation, partnership building and engaging in demonstration projects which have the potential for creating the foundations for change over the next seven years. DAG’s Re-imagine Cape Town Project forms a central pillar of the Vision 20/20 framework.

Re-imagining Cape Town According to the DAG website, the Re-imagine Cape Town Project is aimed at “mobilising interest and demonstrating ways to incrementally achieve citizen-inspired, re-imagined human settlements, as well as more accountable governance (‘new urban order’) across the

city.” In Josette’s words: “We are looking at ten long-term inner city sites, alongside a number of immediate area-based ones in the in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Mitchell’s Plain and Philippi.” In all these sites we are looking to re-imagine what those places could be like if understood and approached differently. The point of departure is that we accept that we are starting from what is still really an apartheid city and, because apartheid was a specific set of spatial and social interventions across the city, the only way to change this is by making bold interventions that enable organic development and also spontaneous culture to blossom.”

Made in Cape Town Does Josette still love Cape Town, after everything she has seen? “Growing up in Toronto, my mother had a picture of Table Mountain in the living room which I liked to look at. I have a different view of the mountain now – my view of Cape Town is looking towards the mountain from the Cape Flats. I do love this city, it is my home, but sometimes from that perspective I also hate it, for its inequality. In some ways the journey from Toronto to Cape Town was a lesser distance than the journey I made across the divides of this city to the Cape Flats, towards the city of my imagination.”


Equal Education is a movement of learners, parents, teachers and community members working for quality and equality in South African education, through analysis and activism. Washington Square, Capital Drive, Tembokwezi, Khayelitsha T: 021 387 0022 www.equaleducation. Ndifuna Ukwazi (“Dare to Know”) partners with local organisations in their struggles for justice and equality in the public and private sectors. They provide extra research and analysis capacity to partners, with a focus on the intersection between socio-economic rights and Constitutional obligations – in order to improve the lives of working class and vulnerable people. They also provide legal and strategic support towards public interest litigation, where needed. Their fellowship programme aims to build a cadre of young leaders through sustained mentorship and a three-month training programme, and they also host regular seminars and house an activist library, open to the public, that includes press clippings from

as far back as 1967; books on a variety of subjects that have been collected since 1975; and videos and DVDs documenting various social movements in South Africa. Office 203, 47 on Strand, Strand Street T: 021 423 3089 People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty is a grassroots non-profit organisation devoted to protecting and lobbying for the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in South Africa. 37 Church Street, Wynberg (corner of Main Road) T: 021 762 0322 Rape Crisis Cape Town Established in 1976, is the oldest organisation in South Africa supporting rape survivors on the road to recovery and along the road to justice. PO Box 46, Observatory, 1935 T: 021 447 1467 Right2Know launched in August 2010 in response to the Protection of State Information Bill; its scope has since broadened to include supporting communities and groups to access existing information that is critical to their broader struggles for social justice; and promoting a free and diverse media sector. Community House, 41 Salt River Road, Cape Town, 7925 T: 021 447 1000 Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is a community-based social movement campaigning for safe, healthy and dignified communities. The organisation focuses on education, research and advocacy. Currently their two major campaigns are Clean and Safe Sanitation and Justice for All. The SJC is based in Khayelitsha, home to some of the country’s largest, most under-developed and dangerous townships.e PO Box 4534, Cape Town, 8000 T: 021 361 8160 The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) advocates for increased access to treatment, care and support services for people living withHIV and campaigns to reduce new HIV infections. With more than 16 000 members, 267 branches and 72 fulltime staff members, TAC has become the leading civil society force behind comprehensive health care services for people living with HIV and AIDS in South Africa. 2nd Floor, Westminster House 122 Longmarket Street T: 021 422 1700 The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign was formed on November 2000 with the aim of fighting evictions, water cut-offs and poor health services, obtaining free electricity, securing decent housing, and opposing police brutality.

n Learn more about DAG and the Re-imagine Cape Town Project by visiting





Cape Town Makers

Michael Mbuqwa

By day I paint and do plastering but in my free time I think the best thing I make is the singing and planning we do for my church’s Sunday school.

Turns out the streets of Cape Town are alive with people who make all kinds of things, from professional jewellers to part-time brewers, music makers to urban farmers. Photos: Lisa Burnell

Ruwayda Cupido

Alistair Ross

Sean Auret

Alex Elworthy

“I have made my own beer before. You can go to beer school here in Cape Town. The whole process takes about two weeks: you take your own beer maker and then fermentation takes about fourteen days. I was going to call my brew Prison Cat Beer, because we have a cat that was rescued from a jail, but I drank it before I could get round to naming it officially! It’s a great feeling to be able to make something yourself.”

“I farm vegetables in my garden. I’ve been doing it for ages, probably because my family have always been gardeners. Right now I have different kinds of onions growing, as well as some cauliflower, broccoli and some white mielies. I almost never buy vegetables. I just go outside and pick some.”

I’m learning to make wine with a friend of mine in my spare time. We buy the grapes and we have a professional winemaker ‘coach’ teaching us how to go about making wine in the garage. It’s fun.

What do I make? Food! I make all kinds of Malay-style food, curries and sweets – my favourite that I make is cheesecake, but I bake a really good lemon meringue too.

Shane Burnell “As a Capetonian who grew up skateboarding, it’s been great to give back to the skating community by building skate ramps and skate parks which contribute to the cityscape and the built environment. Local skate culture is experiencing a new respect and new interest.”

Jai Reddy “We’re all artists, I think. I make music because I play the alto sax, that’s her here, she’s my mistress. But I also sculpt wood. And, let’s get sentimental for a moment, where I grew up in the Cape Flats we all taught each other – we had to because we didn’t have access to formal schooling. But even to this day we are all using those skills.”

Mia Jensen

Jurgen Graf

“I make stuff fulltime because I have an engagement jewellery company called IDoJewellery. I think it’s great to be able to make tangible things for a living, and to be able to combine my passion with a business. I dig it.”

“I’m a Capetonian born and bred and a carpenter by training, although I now work in the yacht industry. Although I don’t do carpentry fulltime anymore, it’s always something I will do for myself. My favourite wood to work with? Yellowwood, definitely.”

Molo: Made in Cape Town  

The January/ February 2014 issue of Molo: Made in Cape Town

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