ISSUE 19 founder ¦ editor-in-chief giuseppe russo editor sarah jayne fell designer katrien scott architecture/design editor annelie rode music editor jon monsoon fashion editor giuseppe russo assistant copy editors jessica manim, meike hulsenboom, sarah claire picton advertising & sales michael littlefield | email@example.com marketing assistant michael hazell interns anne wanders, germine malek, meike hulsenboom distribution ezweni distribution distribution assistant rachel basckin cover ‘The New White’ | photographer ross garrett @ injozi | model veronica blaine | photographer’s assistant douglas bower | fashion designer clive rundle | assistant mbuyi malo | hair & makeup liz van der merwe | makeup assistant amber clare van winsen | location thanks to russell grant from jobusy & jonathan liebmann @ main street life | production leigh-anne jenks @ injozi | lighting glow lighting & injozi editorial contributors sarah jayne fell, annelie rode, jon monsoon, jessica manim, yusuf laher, simon hartley, lara koseff, sarah claire picton, ashley jewnarain, thomas okes, jana du plessis, gary hartley, deon du plessis, rudi cronje & paul white as HEADLINE payoff, max barashenkov, lucy heavens, naomi du plessis, wordy rock guy, david chislett photographers ross garrett @ injozi, stephen greeff @ infidels, igor polzenhagen @ infidels, roger jardine, adriaan louw, brett rubin, chris saunders, xavier vahed, andrew moore, kevin goss-ross, brett darko steele, uviwe mangweni, kope/figgins, francois brand, deborah rossouw, wayne reiche, carla liesching, gerhard coetzee, andrew mcgibbon, bernard bravenboer guest illustrator
wesley van eeden @ hope project
special thanks one small seed productions (ezra nathan, shaun blomkamp), pietro russo, jimmy strats, howard simms (hammer live), bruce wright (mnemonic), wes van eeden, roger jardine, garth walker, jane linley thomas, kieran smith @ i heart durban parties, rick andrew, anna savage, zoë molver, ravi naidoo, the book lounge, michael stevenson gallery ct, goodman gallery jhb, just music, brendan bell-roberts editorial address: 5 constitution street, east city precinct, cape town, 8001 tel: +27 (0) 21 461 6973 ¦ fax: +27 (0) 21 461 9558 email: firstname.lastname@example.org subscription I back issue enquiries email@example.com www.onesmallseed/subscriptions2.htm issue 18 corrections p.14 cream cartel photographs were also by david pienaar publisher designed04 ©2010 | june/july/august issue The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent on the quality of the material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. No responsibility will be taken for any decision made by the reader as a result of such opinions. Copyright one small seed South Africa. All rights reserved. Both the name ‘one small seed’ and are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher. one small seed does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication. ISSN 977 181 6896 033.
EDITOR’S letter First off, I am so happy to have been offered this position. It’s been an exciting and enlightening journey so far, and I hope to remain part of the one small seed family for a long time to come! To mark our celebration of all things local, our biggest feature this edition is ‘Cities Alive: Why Cape Town, Jozi and Durbs have Heart’. Here, we tour our country’s creative metropoles to get to the heart of what makes these places shine. As an investigation of the people and the places, we try to uncover the real Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
Yes, yes, yes — finally! It is 2010, it is June, and what we have all been anticipating for so long has finally happened… Issue 19 is out! Ahh, isn’t it refreshing not to hear mention of that preoccupation of every other media platform right now? Our goal for this issue was to stay true to our form — the South African popular culture magazine — to create a perfect showcase of South African creativity and reinforce what vast talent lies in our midst. And what we have accomplished is a perfect balance of just that, with close to 100% local content this issue. Thank you, as always, for your support. For now, that’s it from me, as I make space for Sarah Jayne Fell, our freshly elected new editor for one small seed, who will introduce our content for this issue. Giuseppe Russo founder | editor-in-chief
Our artist selection this issue includes creatives constantly challenging themselves with the question of what it means to be South African — from the provocative graphic art of Anton Kannemeyer, the post-colonialist navigating the Dark Continent, to Kudzi Chiurai who negotiates the roles of African leaders, and Am I Collective, a Cape Town design agency whose palette of talent has been colouring SA’s advertising realm. We take a look at City Slickers, the poster show that’s travelled the nation before jetsetting overseas, and then profile one of its illustrators (Durban artist Greg Darroll) whose work impressed us at the Cape Town leg of the exhibition. Another great feature to look out for is our new initiative by one small seed network, Selected Creatives. This issue marks its first edition, and the fine array of artists you see showcased, as determined by our online voting poll, suggests this will definitely be a regular feature to look forward to in future issues of one small seed. Congratulations to our winners, thanks to all our voters, and to all creatives out there, keep adding your work to www.onesmallseed.net and you may be next to see your work featured in our magazine! On the fashion side, we have a shoot by Chris Saunders flaunting the fabulous autumn/winter collection by Rozanne is…, and then an amazing spread we’re so proud of — Project Aiko: Rise of the Machines — where robotic femmes fatales don the gorgeous range of local couturier Hendrik Vermeulen. A final fashion feature returns to the streets in an African-inspired collaboration between Puma and Kehinde Wiley. Check out their awesome new threads and then read about the artist who inspired them. A final collaboration this magazine is with Nike for the AFTER 10 Project. Together we have commissioned a group of local artists to envision the future after 2010, and the final works produced are inspirational on so many levels. You’ll find that at the back of the magazine, as its own dedicated section.
photo: igor polzenhagen
From the team at one small seed, we hope you enjoy our selection of South African pop culture and that, like us, you continue to be ignited by the overwhelming creativity enveloped in these pages. Keep an eye out for our September issue, which will mark five years of one small seed: as our twentieth issue it will definitely be a special one. Sarah Jayne Fell editor
16 PROFILE: ANTON KANNEMEYER
20 PROFILE: AM I COLLECTIVE
24 PROFILE: SELECTED CREATIVES
50 feature: CAPE TOWN
58 feature: JOHANNESBURG
75 FASHION: PROJECT AIKO
94 MUSIC: MACHINERI
66 feature: DURBAN
41 FASHION: ROZANNE IS… ANI-MAL
38 PROFILE: KUDZI CHIURAI
96 MUSIC: GORILLAZ
86 FASHION: AFRO-GAZING
99 MUSIC: LOCNVILLE
100 MUSIC: BLACK RIVER VALLEY
FEATURES: URBAN LIFESTYLE
LOCAL GRAPHIC ARTIST
CAPE TOWN DESIGN AGENCY
AM I COLLECTIVE
CITIES ALIVE: WHY CAPE TOWN, JOZI & DURBS HAVE HEART
Join one small seed on a tour through SA’s creative metropoles and uncover the real Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
ROZANNE IS… ANI-MAL
PROJECT AIKO: RISE OF THE MACHINES
CITIES ALIVE SELECTED CREATIVES
A NEW ONE SMALL SEED NETWORK 24 INITIATIVE
From Long Street through to Woodstock, discover the beauty at the intersection between the Devil’s Peak and the deep blue sea.
AFRO-GAZING: PUMA & KEHINDE WILEY COLLECTION
CARLA LIESCHING’S SWIMMERS
JOHANNESBURG SELECTED CREATIVES
GERHARDT COETZEE’S OPEN SPACES
Delve into Jozi’s inner city to find out what is putting the heart back into the City of Gold.
CAPE TOWN MACHINE BLUES
ANDREW MC GIBBONS’S SPARE TOOLS
Welcome to the perpetual sunshine city on SA’s east coast: dive in deep to find the creative treasures hidden at its heart.
ANIMATED SUPER GROUP
GORILLAZ: RETURN OF THE PLASTIC PRIMATES
SA ART EVENT
PUMA & KEHINDE WILEY: LEGENDS OF UNITY
Visual artist Kehinde Wiley collaborates with iconic sportslifestyle brand Puma, to create awe-inspiring artworks and fashion in a celebration of African football.
CAPE TOWN ELECTRO DANCE DUO
THE LOST SOUNDS OF ROCK ‘N ROLL
BLACK RIVER VALLEY
SA ARTISTS COLLABORATION
CITY SLICKER AWARD: DURBAN ILLUSTRATOR
DEON DU PLESSIS: KALEIDOSKOOP 32
CITY SLICKERS POSTER SHOW
NIKE AFTER 10
Nike and one small seed collaborate with local artists to write the future of the world after ’10. JOZI-BASED ARTIST
KUDZI CHIURAI ON THE BLACK PRESIDENT
DEPARTMENTS: IN STORE BOOK REVIEWS SUBSCRIPTIONS CD REVIEWS
PAGE 8 PAGE 14 PAGE 98 PAGE 102
DVD REVIEWS NOW SHOWING THE LAST WORD
PAGE 106 PAGE 108 PAGE 111
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY sarah jayne fell & JON MONSOON (JM)
‘TI GLEN PLAID’ SKULLCANDY HEADPHONES The headphone as we once knew it (circa the Walkman age) quickly became totally uncool when Apple commandeered the MP3 player and branded as the new black the minimal white earphone. And so spawned a generation who were duped into consuming a superior-quality music format via a completely inferior listening device. Mercifully, the cosmetic brainwash has washed over and chunky over-the-ear headphones are back — with Skullcandy riding the crest of that wave by producing the hottest range of designs around. Whether you’re a skull-andcrossbone kinda girl like me, or looking for something more sensible to match your argyle knitwear, Skullcandy will guarantee your ears their best aural experience yet. www.skullcandy.com
BLACK ’CAMBELT’ by recycle design concept label Change Room, available from Euforia, Durban and Artvark, Kalk Bay firstname.lastname@example.org
SNAPP ‘INCEPTION COLLECTION’ Industrial designers Jonathan Fundudis and David Holgreaves, along with mechanical engineer Renko Nieman, are Snapp. Their slick designs are inspired by nature and geometry, and are veritable embodiments of pure simplicity. Using an adaptable, exclusively imported material called Corian that can be machined, thermoformed, adhered with seamless joins and finished to a high-quality appearance, they create products that are unsurpassably pristine. And witnessing the successful launch of their product brand and their Inception Collection at Design Indaba 2010 proved that Snapp has a winning formula. This range includes ‘lamellae’ fruit bowl, ‘contour’ bowl, ‘slant’ wine rack , ‘slice’ cutting board and ‘twilight’ table lamp. www.snappdesign.com
NINTENDO DSI XL Developed by the brains of Nintendo who spotted an opening for a ‘grown-up’ version of the DS-Lite, the DSi XL bucks the trend and goes bigger! The screen, a whopping 93 percent larger, makes your games and photos much easier to enjoy. The pen-sized stylus is also neat, giving total control in the hand-writing/drawing function and even improving certain gaming instances. With two onboard cameras it comes preloaded with Dr. Kawashima’s Little Bit of Brain Training: Arts Edition, and the Dictionary 6-in-1 with Camera Function. Improved sound quality, sturdy build and awesome battery life make it a standalone winner. (JM) www.nintendodsi.com
‘KEHINDE SMALL HOBO’ BY PUMA from the PUMA Africa Collection available at Puma stores nationwide www.puma.com
NIXON WATCH Inspired by watches of the early ‘80s (think Atari video games, Sony Walkmans, Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future) the Re-Run is the new retro beauty from Nixon. It features a four function digital interface with calendar, dual time, alarm, countdown timer and light, and the shell is made from moulded ABS pushers and hardened mineral crystal. Available now in four colourways of all black, gold or silver, or silver with a black face. www.nixonnow.com
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY sarah jayne fell
‘Cycling to Mars’ BY PUMA from the PUMA Africa Collection available at Puma stores nationwide www.puma.com
VON ZIPPER ‘MANCHU’ SUNGLASSES available in black gloss and grey, leopard tortoise-shell and bronze (pictured), or black amber and gradient www.vonzipper.com
FRED 2CARAT CUP: A MAGNIFICENT MUG Kitsch and cheesy for sure, but just too coy to resist: the ‘2Carat Cup’ is packaged so that the lucky lady opens her gift to discover a diamond-set solid gold ring encased in a (somewhat over-sized) black jewellery box. ‘Surpise, Honey!’ Just hope she doesn’t drop it in shock and break her new coffee mug! After she’s over the disappointment (slash relief) that it is but a beverage receptacle, the bearer can at least sport some snazzy bling while enjoying a good cup of cino. available from Design is a good idea www.designisagoodidea.com
THE BRASIL BLACK PACK The Brasil Pack by Nike is the Brazil National Team’s travel pack during the Football World Cup. Available only in limited quantities in SA from A Store, Gallery on 4th, Nike V&A Waterfront, Nike Football Sandton and Nike Gateway. www.nike.com
s contact For dealer enquirie
Luks Brands on 01
1 444 9384 or inf
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY sarah jayne fell
IN STORE SUPERGA FLAG SHOES
These lekker tekkies come with interchangeable laces (flag or white) and have your choice of country’s flag and name on the heel. Follow your team in style with the ultimate statement of national pride! www.superga.co.za
PANTONE PURSE by Pantone®, available from Design is a good idea www.designisagoodidea.com
RAY-BAN ‘RARE PRINTS’ SUNGLASSES We like the Ray-Ban Mania motif sunnies, available in the Wayfarer and the Clubmaster, in red on white or white on red. www.ray-ban.com
BAFANA BAFANA T-SHIRT by Katlego Mogadima of Rural Love Creations, available at Sowearto, The Zone, Rosebank www.sowearto.co.za
GOLF BALL available at all good sport stores www.golfball.co.za
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY LUCY HEAVENS
BOOK REVIEWS SOUTH AFRICAN ART NOW by Sue Williamson Collins Design
This extensive tome, as one would expect, is an invaluable resource for collectors, curators, contemporary art enthusiasts and art students. In South African Art Now, artist and writer Sue Williamson covers forty years of South African art history, features the work of 90 artists and includes 500 images of some fantastic South African art. The book’s foreword is by Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer, and includes an appreciation (why — I’m not entirely certain) by Elton John. This work documents significant South African artists working in every medium from painting to sculpture to performance art, through the rise of resistance art during apartheid, the transformational period after 1994, up to the present day.
ZWELETHU MTHETHWA essays / interviews by Okwui Enwezor and Isolde Brielmaier Aperture
This self-titled monograph is an extensive overview of Mthethwa’s photography work in urban, rural and industrial landscapes. Native to Durban and currently based in Cape Town, the artist and photographer documents multiple aspects of South Africa: from domestic life and the environment to landscape and labour issues in a fusion of documentary and portraiture. The book is a good size, and is laid out beautifully. Each photograph has room to breathe and truly be appreciated. A concise but compelling essay by Nigerian-born American educator, art critic and curator Okwui Enwezor is included, as well as a great interview conducted by New York curator and critic Isolde Brielmaier — incisive supplements for Mthethwa’s significant work.
MURAL ART: MURALS ON HUGE PUBLIC SURFACES AROUND THE WORLD FROM GRAFfITI TO TROMPE L’ŒIL by Kiriakos Iosifidis Page One
This book is a tribute to the transformation of flat walls the world over, and to the featured artists and crews who know how to do it well. It’s comforting to know there are people out there who make it their business to take a wall, sometimes on a monumental scale, wrap their brains around it and make it look like a million miles of nothing; or a creature; or an historical amphitheatre. The art itself is very diverse — after all, five continents are represented on 1000 walls, painted using a multitude of techniques: graffiti, stencil, fresco and jaw-dropping trompe l’œil. Author Kiriakos Iosifidis is an active mural painter himself, a photographer and publisher of the Greek graffiti magazine Carpe Diem.
*Available at The Book Lounge & all good book stores
THE ART OF THE IDEA by John Hunt Zebra Press
This beautifully designed, quick read is filled with terribly fun insights into the nature (and nurture) of ‘the idea’. Though it is penned by advertising giant John Hunt of TBWA/Hunt Lascaris fame, it actually does not mention advertising at all and turns out to be a completely accessible and thoroughly enjoyable little essay. The publication is accompanied by 20 original artworks by the internationally acclaimed South African artist Sam Nhlengethwa. It’s a pretty good gift book: an inspirational tool, and a friendly, fatherly guide for how to be kind to ‘the idea’ and why it deserves the best possible treatment by us all.
PAOLO PELLEGRIN Stern Fotografie Portfolio Nr. 57
This is a diverse cross-section of Pellegrin’s celebrity photography, his more cinematic work, journalistic pieces from political conflicts around the world, as well as images from contract work with Newsweek Magazine. Though the images are published in this very large format monograph, there isn’t much book design going on as each photograph takes up a full page. This sometimes makes it a little difficult to appreciate the individual photographs, and creates a kind of olio of the work. Nevertheless, Italian photographer Pellegrin’s work is engaging and will certainly appeal to plenty photography aficionados.
HANDMADE GRAPHICS: TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES BEYOND THE MOUSE by Anna Wray RotoVision
If you have even a little love for crafts, this book will make you want to jump up and down with schoolyard happiness. All those low-fi-till-I-die believers will love the step-bystep guides and how-tos on reinventing and subverting traditional methods and processes to create unique graphic solutions. The handbook features great artists from the four corners of the world, including our own Pretoria-born artist Jaco Haasbroek. So if scissors and pencils and paper and stencils are an inviting prospect to you, this book is an awesome reason for you to step away from the keyboard and get your hands dirty.
PROFILE: Local Graphic Artist
Anton Kannemeyer 16
guess whoâ€™s coming to dinner Local graphic artist Anton Kannemeyer has received global critical acclaim for his subversive take on racerelated issues. Now he returns to South Africa for his latest solo exhibition. WORDS:
gary hartley |
New Boyfriend (2010) | 225 x 121.5 cm | acrylic on canvas
courtesy of michael stevenson gallery, cape town
Caption Contest (2010) | 169.5 x 103 cm | acrylic on canvas
It seems almost too appropriate that in the same year Anton Kannemeyer was born, the Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was released. The 1967 movie famously and controversially saw a young white American girl bringing her black fiancé home to meet the parents. Now, 43 years later and in the form of a lithograph, Kannemeyer’s New Boyfriend re-imagines the scenario: a reiteration that undoubtedly saw Mrs. Kannemeyer utter the famous Hepburn line, “I don’t think I’m going to faint, but I will sit down anyway.” Cape Town-based Kannemeyer, aka Joe Dog, has been publishing and exhibiting his work since 1992, the year he and Conrad Botes founded Bitterkomix as students at the University of Stellenbosch. Kannemeyer held his first New York exhibition, The Haunt of Fears, at the Jack Shainman Gallery in 2008. His work for Bitterkomix is currently included in The Graphic Unconscious, the main exhibition of Philagrafika 2010, an international festival celebrating print in contemporary art in Philadelphia, USA. His latest gag cartoon-inspired display can be found in the Michael Stevenson gallery and is exhibited under the title …A Dreadful Thing Is About to Occur (citing a quote in Dostoevsky’s The Devils, “The peasants are coming, Some Kind of Boo-Boo (2010) | 160 x 160 cm | acrylic on canvas
Check-Up (2010) | 180 x 130 cm | acrylic on canvas
The Liberals (2010) | 200 x 130 cm | acrylic on canvas
carrying axes, / A dreadful thing is about to occur.”). In this series a caption-contest type aesthetic is used to provoke debates on race and race-related issues — such as instant wealth due to Black Economic Empowerment (as seen in A Black Woman), or impoverishment because of affirmative employment policies (as seen in White Wealth). While the subject of race is quite obvious, it’s the use of humour that allows this debate to enter undetected — confrontation in stealth mode, if you like. The images inspire laughter, but also an awkward uncertainty. As the artist himself maintains, “The point is to be critical of your topic, but it's crucial also to entertain. Because of the fact that people do not associate humour with heavy topics, it makes it effective — and hopefully stimulates debate.” What’s particularly interesting is Kannemeyer’s reference to Hergé's Tintin, the Belgian cartoon reporter who’s so white even his dog is named Snowy. This is partly a self-referential tool for the ‘boy adventurer’ negotiating the Dark Continent. The artist does not shy away from implicating himself in these scenarios, often casting himself in the Tintin role: “I read Tintin from an early age, and using a subverted character initially took me back to those dark prepubescent years. It really was the perfect way to return to my youth, but I made the stories very atmospheric, which is a bit different to Tintin. Currently I use an older [subverted] Tintin character, who has become an archetypal [post-]colonialist,” says Kannemeyer.
This is How It Works (2010) | 180 x 145 cm | acrylic on canvas
Kannemeyer’s international following will continue to grow this year: May saw the artist form part of a group exhibition in Holland, Bitterkomix travels to Toulouse in France in June, and Kannemeyer will facilitate various workshops in Helsinki, Finland before returning to New York for another solo show. And just in case you were wondering what Kannemeyer would bring to dinner: “A good chardonnay, I guess, and my beautiful girlfriend, Claudette.” For more information on …A Dreadful thing is about to occur at the Michael Stevenson gallery, see www.michaelstevenson.com
White Wealth (2010) | 180 x 81 cm | acrylic on canvas
A Black Woman (2010) | 190 x 100 cm | acrylic on canvas
A P A L E T T E O F T A L E N T THOMAS OKES chats to the guys behind Cape Town design agency Am I Collective about business, survival, and all things design.
Our country is a complicated place. There’s a lot of drama to ponder in the everyday of South Africa’s social recital, a big body of detail in the majestic backstage of its cultural scene; and with all the varying voices in such a crowded cast of competing characters, the grand narrative of our intertwined experience can often seem too big to believe. With so many stories surrounding our senses, it seems the only way to matter in this milieu is to stop speaking, to stop selling — to shut up, take a breath, and listen. Am I Collective are managing that almost unmanageable balance, of being heard without shouting, by crafting distinct, important, intelligent design. And that simple symmetry — where what they do is in how they do it — has made them pioneers of a burgeoning industry. They don’t like titles, apparently, but back before Ruan Vermeulen and Christo Basson became the studio’s “kind of creative directors”, they lived through “some desperate times” as they struggled to attach their knack for illustration to a visible career path. “Right after we finished studying, no-one wanted illustrators,” says Ruan. “These were the days before design had blown up, and we were doing any briefs we could get our hands on: we were making websites for makeup companies from Bellville, or animal feed companies from Wellington, just to survive.” “People used to say Ruan and I were married,” Christo remembers. “I had a credit card and he had a car, and between us we would sukkel on, living on a bar tab. But, you know, I would take my portfolio to agencies, and they’d say, ‘It’s great, but you just won’t fit in here.’” “We started drawing and designing for local bands,” Ruan says, “things like posters and music videos. And we used that stuff to mess around, explore different styles, and also to get ‘behind the band’, not just draw pretty pictures that don’t mean anything. We wanted to take risks, to make mistakes, not to fit into the same box year after year and go crazy.”
Their instinct for creative liberty was met by the corporate daring of “basically our managing director” Mark van Niekerk, and it was then that their ‘behind the band’ approach matured into a business model. “When I came on board, I’d quit my previous job and we had about six months to make a go of this [studio] thing,” says Mark. “We had to work out very quickly what we wanted to do and how best to do it. I saw a niche for illustration in the design industry, definitely, but more importantly we realised that our diversity was our stand-out offering.” “Since the beginning, we’ve focussed on being uncomfortable,” he continues, “and we believe in developing a wide-ranging palette of talent. Our goal is continual change, in what we do and the way we do it. We have this policy of renewing our artists every year or two; for instance, we have an internship programme that allows artists locally and abroad to spend a year working with us, and this always helps to add more unique styles to the mix.” “It’s always good to blend independent voices,” adds Ruan, “because the results are so unpredictable. If you put two artists in a room with the same brief, and their usual styles are completely different from one another, then what they produce together is going to be very different from what anyone’s expecting.” If people are people through other people, then Am I Collective’s belief — that contrived self-importance is the death of our natural diversity — has brought them to the forefront of South African design. The sheer range of their relevance means that their imagery is everywhere, all the time: from that gig poster to that TV ad, book covers to World Cup billboards, Am I are quietly driving a steady revolution. They are visible proof that to mean anything, to matter at all, we must be ready to drop the act, lose the ego, and concentrate on creating. “You can’t get stuck pushing out the same look for too long, because you’ll die,” says Christo. “We’ve always believed that to stay alive, we have to listen to other styles to create a new voice for every single thing we do, and use that voice to say something original and important.” www.amicollective.com
PROFILE: Cape Town Design Agency
Am I Collective 20
Am I Collective poster
opposite page: clockwise, from top left: Foschini ad for Oscar Tango | Pocko Exhibition ad for Pocko | Mebucaine ad for Saatchi & Saatchi | Coke ad for for Ogilvy this page: The Bare Project clockwise, from top left: ‘Ganesha Bare’ by Mine Jonker | ‘Bare Bare’ by Nicola Meiring | ‘Berserker’ by Christo Basson | ‘Tripod’ by Kris Hewitt
elected Creatives is a one small seed network initiative. This edition is the first of what will soon become a regular feature in one small seed magazine, a feature that showcases the work of our top selected creative members from one small seed network — as determined by you.
This is how Selected Creatives works: the core team at one small seed select a group of top creative members from our online community at www.onesmallseed.net. These will be members who have been seen to submit their work to the site regularly, and that which is of a consistently high standard. Any kind of creative visual work, from photography and illustration to journalistic works, are eligible — so long as they can be uploaded as an image or a blog to one small seed network. From there, we put together mini online magazines of each artist’s portfolio, and then we sit back and let you vote for the best. The result of the poll will determine the winning member and runners-up, each of whom will have the opportunity to express their creative talents in one small seed magazine, by having their work featured in the very glossy pages you hold now. Our first Selected Creatives voting poll was held over a week at the start of May. And in that short time, it pulled in a staggering 1415 votes from one small seed network’s members around South Africa and the globe! We would like to thank all of you who took part in this new one small seed network initiative — and for those who didn’t, we look forward to your contribution in the future. And don’t forget: if you would like to see your work featured here in Selected Creatives, all you have to do is join our South African networking community at www.onesmallseed.net and upload your creative work to the site. Share your vision with us and we will show it to the world. Without further ado, here are our winners and runnersup in the Winter 2010 edition of Selected Creatives, brought to you by one small seed network.
Carla Liesching (1985) is the winner of one small seed network’s voting poll for this debut edition of Selected Creatives. A photographer and visual artist from Johannesburg, Carla obtained her Degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University, specialising in photography and video, with undergraduate credits in theatre. Since graduating, she has been involved in various exhibitions, performances and installations, and her photographic work has been shown both locally and internationally. Carla is currently living and working in Taipei. “The Swimmers is a series of photographs in which I question identity linked to both space and how we think of home. The work has grown out of circumstances that are not uncommon, in that the pieces involve a state of being in the world that is becoming a defining trait of our generation: a collective sense of displacement; an awareness of foreignness and a search for belonging that cannot be tied to one fixed geographical or ideological place. The Swimmers refers to liminal spaces where borders are constantly erased and redrawn and identity is always ‘just out of reach’.
“Working within the framework of portrait photography often means engaging with that theme so central to the genre: human identity. I view ‘identity’ as a fiction: a series of instances that work in narrating something that we believe to be an integrated self. While these photographs may be considered ‘portraits’, there has been no attempt on my part to accomplish the traditional aim of the photographic portrait — that being to capture and portray some sense of the sitter's personality. The people in my images act as signs merely pointing to ‘the human’ and a simultaneous impulse/ repulsion for navigating the portrayed spaces. “I like to imagine The Swimmers to be a faux archive of a certain ‘type’; a whimsical documentation of a new breed of brave person! Sometimes I think they are swimmers because the whole world is an ocean… At others I think they are in fact displaced — they are out of water. Either way, they are an army of solitary characters exploring unknown territory. For me it is so much about survival, bravery and joy…”
Gerhardt Coetzee Gerhardt Coetzee (1983) is first runner-up in Selected Creatives, and it is with pride that we present selections from his beautiful photographic series Open Spaces. Born in Pretoria, he has had a deep interest in line, form and atmosphere since early childhood, which has developed into a lifelong investigation of life and lifeless matter through photography. "My work deals with the story behind what has been, what is in the present state and what has become of it, and how the cycle will continuously perpetuate,â€? he says. Gerhardt studied and received his Photography BTech Degree with Honours at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2009. During his studies he was awarded the NMMU merit award (for best third-year student in Visual Arts), was invited to take part in the Absa Lâ€™Atelier exhibition (for 2009 and 2010) and received an Honorable Mention in the International PIEA photographic competition in 2008. His work has also received two gold Sony Profoto Awards for his architectural series Open Spaces, vol.1 and he was selected as an emerging creative at the Design Indaba Expo in 2009. In 2010 his Open Spaces vol.2 received two silver Sony Profoto Awards. This year Gerhardt's work can be seen at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, the Volksblad Art Festival in Bloemfontein, and online at www.gerhardtcoetzee.com.
‘Jack Hammer’ from Spare Tools of Society Inc.
‘Crowbar’ from Spare Tools of Society Inc.
Andrew Mc Gibbon Andrew Mc Gibbon (1981) is second runner-up in the voting poll for visual artists in these inaugural Selected Creatives by one small seed network. He has been making images for a living for six years and plans on doing so for many more. "I feel totally alive when on a shoot, whether on location shooting a big production, hanging out in studio shooting a spread for a magazine or on assignment covering something special. I feel a deep connection to my subjects and believe in my work. I feel it speaks louder than my words ever can," he explains. He leads when he's behind the camera and it feels only natural to follow. His photography is visually voluptuous. Each photograph exudes a subtle yet fierce conversation between form and light. His talent evokes the soft talk of strange angles of our nature; one would think he was born with a lens in his retina and aperture in his heart. A composed surrealist, he illuminates the unexpected and unleashes the constantly brewing potential for the surreal. If one were to attempt to detain him in a style it would be 'animated motion'. Even if his subjects are floating between the tarmac and the sky, they are rhythmically alive, far from a dusty portrait of a contrived moment trying desperately to transcend space and time. Journalistically, his mission to capture that beat is also present. He glorifies the ordinary by photographing the nuance of a situation. Somehow his visuals show us those moments that we only see out the corner of our eyes. His series The Spare Tools of Society Inc. (left) tells the story of Jack Hammer, Crow Bar and Little Bolt. Together they fight evil villains like 'The Crack' and 'The Leak' who are tirelessly disrupting the city’s water supply. In reality, though, he says, “I love lighting, motion and energy and it's much more about the impact of the images than the plot. This is a developing idea and the beginning of a much larger dream.” “Dope, Glue and Reading Lessons (this page) depicts one of those moments where time, place, personality and activity coincide for one beautiful split second.... I was lucky to be looking through the lens to capture it."
‘Red, Gold and a Sad Heart’ from Dope, Glue and Reading Lessons
THROUGH THE KALEIDOSCOPE IMAGES:
Deon du Plessis is one small seed’s choice for best editorial contributor in Selected Creatives. He is a final year BA Language and Lit student at the Potch Campus of North-West University, and a regular blogger on the one small seed network. He calls himself “a stop-and-go wordsmith, occasionally dipping his quill into the inkpot”. “My lecturers have accused me of everything from plagiarism to ‘abandoning my craft’ — whatever that means. “When one small seed offered me this opportunity, I wasn’t sure what to choose. There are so many options… I did know, however, I wanted to keep it 'local and lekker'. A friend suggested upcoming Stellenbosch band Kaleidoskoop. And it seemed like a good option: kaleidoscopes go well with a Rainbow Nation. “So I decided to gooi a klip in the ’Bos for this interview.”
deon du plessis There’s a new brand of particoloured tunes in town. The peeps busting them out call themselves Kaleidoskoop (which is Afrikaans for, you guessed it, kaleidoscope). Kaleidoskoop spontaneously came into being in 2006. “We never planned to start a band; it just began with friends jamming at uni, sharing the same passion.” Since then the band has morphed, and Jouba Jordaan (songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and harmonica player) is the only original member left. And with his Takamine G Series, picked up in the US eight years ago, he’s pretty happy: “She keeps me warm in the cold winter nights!” The rest of the band are Anique Jordaan (no relation) — lead vocals, piano and percussion — and Ben Ludik — on acoustic bass, a handmade guitar, percussion, banjo and piano accordion. Together the Afrikaans popsters now run Kaleidoskoop fulltime, having wrapped up their studies, which has been “a pretty big change”. Nonetheless, much is the same: they are “still friends making music together… and the people in the crowd, well, we still think of them as friends”. Their favourite performance venue was the Old Conserve in their hometown of Stellenbosch, says Anique (“it’s a real pity it closed”), but anywhere if “the crowd is lekker and has gees”. Their biggest challenge is packing venues. “We’re indie and do all our own promo, so it’s hard to get full crowds.” But, they’re not downtrodden: “As soon as people leave a gig with a happy heart, a good tune in their pockets and a smile on their faces, things start to happen.” Jouba adds: “We’ve spent time getting our music out. Before a show we used to go to university residences and play a few tunes to promote ourselves.” And he says that worked out well. Now, they just want to give fans a good time and be accessible, “which luckily comes naturally since we really enjoy people”. Kaleidoskoop sing “about life, love and human situations” — from a particularly multicoloured viewpoint… hence the name. “It is our own colourful outlook,” they say. On the question of fame and fortune, Jouba laughs. “Fame might be part of the package, but fortune… doesn’t seem so!” They want their music to bring a message of hope, to cause a snowball effect in a time when many South Africans are negative. “So ja, fame is part of it, but it’s only the vehicle for our words to reach ears.” For their words to reach your ears, buy their CD or find their gig guide on MySpace or Facebook. “Keep an ear out for us; hope we see you guys soon!” www.myspace.com/kaleidoskoop3
PROFILE: SA Art Event
City Slickers 34
Setting the City Alight Known for organising the annual Bigwood shows in the sultry city of Durban, Trevor Paul flew to the windy Mother City this April with his latest project, City Slickers Poster Show. Originally organised by conceptual artist Maaike Bakker in her homecity of Pretoria, Trevor took over the reins when the show travelled to Durban’s Gallery 415, and he’ll be riding this growing juggernaut of an exhibition all the way to London in the coming months. WORDS:
jessica manim |
wayne reiche, roger jardine & black koki
It was a typically frosty autumn evening in Cape Town on Friday 16 April, but that didn’t stop over 500 art lovers, illustrators, designers and all the city’s trendiest kids from attending the opening of City Slickers at the Wessel Snyman Creative in the city’s heart. The gallery was quickly packed to capacity, spilling out onto the sidewalk and the revelry in all things art continued long into the night. The idea behind this innovative pooling of creative talent from the ponds of South African designers and illustrators is not only to make their work more accessible to the broader public, but also to give artists a massive platform to showcase their skills. From Joburg to Durban and from Cape Town to the furthest corners of the globe, City Slickers brought together some of the most remarkable local and international talent, ranging from the big names to the young guns. Locals like Bison, Senyol, Kronk, Theory One and Black Koki hung alongside foreign friends such as Marc Gabbana, Emek, Heiko Müller, Steve Scott and Eboy in a showing of over 70 artists.
trevor paul, morningside rooftop. photo: roger jardine (2010)
By using posters instead of canvas, City Slickers can pound the pavement and jet from one city to another with sublime ease. The stunningly simple posters are a setup that undoubtedly resonates with the new generation of art enthusiasts globally. It’s a format that works its way seamlessly into people’s hearts and onto their walls — there’s no need for um-ing and ah-ing over a brushstroke here or the flick of a pen there. It’s easy, edgy and affordable. After Cape Town, the show will head overseas, stopping first in London, to give the world a taste of the talent grown on Africa’s southern tip. Key sponsor in this project is Verb, a new brand and clothing range launched on the night of the opening of City Slickers on 16 April. “Verb is a collaborative initiative to encourage and promote a positive change within society. With activism at its core, Verb is about creating, evolving, and empowering,” explains Melissa Williams, marketing manager of Verb. “As a movement rather than a product, we strive to work with like-minded people in a collective effort to educate and empower the youth.” Their first range includes clothing and skateboards featuring the artwork of formidable SA illustrators Kronk, Wesley van Eeden, Bruce Mackay, Jordan Metcalf, Black Koki and Alice Edy, while the artists for the second range of the year are Bison, 351073, Theory One, Matt Edwards, Louis Minnaar and Christian Mugnai — all of whom took part in the poster show.
one small seed also got behind the Cape Town leg of the exhibition, and apart from promoting the event and sponsoring an award and limited-edition City Slickers t-shirts, also had their TV crew film on the opening night, catching exclusive insights into the show from attending artists and art aficionados alike. You can watch that footage online on www.onesmallseed.tv. While traversing the country promoting both local and international illustrators and designers, Trevor Paul has also been hard at work on the brand new Bigwood Collective e-commerce site, powered by Revolution. The site will sell limited-edition t-shirts, prints and silkscreens, as well as artist-edition skateboards, collectable vinyls, customised sneakers and much more cultish ephemera. And the for-artists-by-artists site will be a medium for them to share their work on global scale. www.bigwoodcollective.com www.weareverb.com www.onesmallseed.tv
Greg Darroll Greg Darroll, better known as Tokyo-Go-Go in SA’s illustration circles, took part in the City Slickers exhibition in Cape Town and was presented with an award of excellence by one small seed for his artworks. His intricately detailed linework and often subdued palette brings forth characters that bristle with life, humour and a carefully considered sense of power.
Based in Durban, Greg works at renowned design agency Disturbance Studio alongside Richard Hart, Roger Jardine and Matt Kay. Despite his African roots, his pen name professes a deep love and respect for Asian design. “‘Tokyo’ signifies my beginnings,” he explains. “Japanese art and design is — and always will be — a huge inspiration, whether it’s traditional work or the more modern pop culture examples. The first ‘Go’ represents my progression since I was a naïve young doodler, and how my illustration style has developed over time. And the second ‘Go’ expresses what's still to come: how I will continue to grow as an artist, continue to learn, experiment and create.” It was while studying at Durban University of Technology (DUT) that Greg had his proverbial ‘ah-ha!’ moment. “When I began my Graphic Design course in 2006 at DUT, I quite frankly wasn't entirely sure what this ‘Graphic Design’ thing was all about,” he says. “However, soon it clicked and I realised how powerful images and type can be as a form of communication.” After this, Greg dedicated every moment he could to nurturing his innate talent into carefully honed skill and style. He quickly became noticed, creating a series of t-shirt graphics and amassing several major clients while completing his fourth year at DUT. Later that same year he won a Bronze Loerie in the Digital Media category. Powerful beginnings for the young illustrator. Combining acute detail with slick layers of pastel or neon bright slashes of colour, each of Greg’s pieces is thoroughly thought through from conception to execution. Despite the regular appearance of skulls, bones and the occasional gratuitous dollop of blood, his work remains buoyantly light, almost cheeky in its more bizarrely morbid moments. At just 23 years old, Tokyo-Go-Go is undoubtedly a name that’s here to stay. www.behance.net/tokyo-go-go
Kudzanai Chiurai on
‘THE BLACK PRESIDENT’ His art speaks loud and clear, whereas the artist himself is sensitive, humble and an introvert. Jana du Plessis met with Zimbabwean-born artist Kudzanai 'Kudzi' Chiurai in his airy studio in the dark heart of Joburg City Centre, and discovered a gem. WORDS:
jana du plessis |
Kudzi’s history reads like an exotic novel of vindication and triumph. Born in 1981, Kudzanai Chiurai has been living and working in South Africa since 2000, after being exiled from his country. “All I know about Zimbabwe is what people say,” he says. His early works reveal the contrary, where the political, economic and social strife in his homeland come to the foreground. After graduating with a BA (Fine Art) from the University of Pretoria, the first black student to achieve this, he went on to exhibit alongside heavyweights such as Diane Victor and Minnette Vári and also flew solo, to much-acclaimed success. Never one to lie low, Kudzi kept at it during his studies, which resulted in his first solo exhibition at the Brixton Art Gallery in London, titled The revolution will not be televised, in 2003. Painting from age twelve, Kudzi sees the world around him with a perceptive eye. “It’s a matter of asking yourself if you’re really looking at what you’re seeing,” he says of his creative process, and continues: “Do you draw what you see or do you draw your interpretation of it?” He finds inspiration in his surroundings, from the aesthetics of inner-city Johannesburg, expanding before the eye from the balcony of his studio, to handmade signage and political posters. The result is a collage of colour and imagery, devoid of pretension, just like the man himself. The future looks bright for Kudzi, as his second publication, entitled The Black President — a collaborative piece with the Goodman Gallery — is due to be released in June this year. Artists, graphic designers, fashion photographers and writers were hand-picked to contribute to this magazine-format catalogue, with Kudzi overseeing the project as curator. He says, “The project is a continuation of my solo exhibition Yellow Lines, and contributors were briefed to interpret the title The Black President whichever way they liked.” Held in 2008, Yellow
courtesy of the goodman gallery
Lines was his fourth solo and showcased nineteen mixed-media works that explored issues of urban rejuvenation, xenophobia, commerciality and identity. Another project in the pipeline for 2010 is a new poster series with the dynamic duo of Dokter and Misses, Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin, friends of Kudzi’s from varsity years. Will he be joining the throngs in celebrating during the World Cup? “I think I’ll go away during that time. South Africa isn’t ready for the World Cup.” He ponders for a moment. “This event doesn’t benefit the country entirely, although it has swept us up into a frenzy. The only beneficiary seems to be the multibillion-dollar industry that is football, and to grow the brand, the World Cup had to be brought here, because the developed world has been oversaturated by the game.” He also has strong opinions on presidents Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe, who both secure the ridiculous-stamp. “They are both PR nightmares. They normalise abnormal situations; these two must read from the same manual. It’s ridiculous.” Kudzi’s work has travelled far beyond our borders, most recently to the Photo Paris Exhibition in 2009 and the Armory Show in New York in March 2010, where it held its own alongside the works of David Goldblatt, Frances Goodman and William Kentridge, among others. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe’s loss is South Africa’s gain. www.goodman-gallery.com/artists/kudzanaichiurai
OPPOSITE PAGE: All 2009 100 x 150 cm ultrachrome ink on photo fibre paper editions of 10
The Minister of Finance
The Minister of Enterprise
The Minister of Education
The Minister of Health
Ani-mal ROZANNE IS...
PHOTOGRAPHER: CHR IS SAUNDERS | www.ima ALL CLOTHING: ROZ gination.co.za ANNE IS... (AUTUMN/W INTER 2010 COLLECT ION) roza nne email@example.com STYLISTS: THE TWINSE T (ROZANNE WHYTE & SASHA WHYTE) HAIR & MAKEUP: JUL IA RUBENSTEIN ART DIRECTOR: SAS HA WHYTE PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: ED MO DELS: ATHI, ADAM, KAT Special thanks to ever & ROBYN yon the fab Nooka watche e on the shoot, Adam Lowery from The s, Russell at Main Stre Street for et Life for location setup, and Sasha for the amazing home-cooked treats all day! THE STREET, GREENSIDE THIS RANGE WILL BE AVAILABLE AT AND BURGUNDY FLY, MAPONYA MALL.
Rozanne Whyte is the cra zy fashion mind behind 'Rozanne is...'. She is als o a stylist, designs and produces the wardrobe for fantasy TV ads, and a part-time character model . Chris Saunders is a well-k nown South African photographer currently on contract at Fabrica, Benetton’s communicatio n research centre, and living in Treviso, Italy. When Chris was briefly back in Jozi to shoot for Dazed and Confused, he and Rozanne were able to squeeze in a day of gre at fun and madness. The result is this shoot — a continuation of a previo us spread for one small see d (issue 07) entitled ‘Monsterism’. But, while ‘Monsterism’ saw model s disguised by animal hea ds, this time Rozanne cho se to show off the larger-th an-life personalities of her models and take the con cept one step further. Us ing the themes of predator vs prey, alpha male terr itorial behaviour, and just plain monkeying around, Rozanne, Chris and art director Sasha have pu t together this entertainin g narrative of The Big Fiv e let loose in the inner city.
CITIES ALIVE one small seed takes you on a cultural tour through our favourite SA metropoles. From the main roads to the back alleys of these creative spaces, we venture through the pop culture terrain to uncover the whos, whats, wheres and whys that make these cities shine. Welcome to the real Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. ILLUSTRATIONS:
wesley van eeden (hope project)
BARS Waiting Room | Kimberley Hotel | Caprice | Planet Bar | Daddy Cool Bar | Neighbourhood | Asoka | Beaulah Bar | Rick’s Café Americain | La Med | Julep | Rafiki’s | Kink | Perseverence Tavern MUSIC VENUES Fiction | Assembly | Bronx |Zula Sound Bar | Mercury Lounge | Karma Lounge | The Fez | Jade | R.O.A.R. | Evol | Rainbow Room Jazz Club | Rhino Room | Roots | Speedway 105 RESTAURANTS The Kitchen Superrette | Jardine | Bombay Bicycle Club | Caveau | The Duchess of Wisbeach | La Perla | Mesopotamia | Royale Eatery | & Union |Chandani | Saigon | Chef Pon's CAFÉS Truth Coffee Cult | Origins| Deluxe Coffeeworks | Miss K | Queen of Tarts | Beleza| Lazari | Espresso Lab | Bird Café | Giovanni’s Deli World | Café Neo | Vida e Caffè on Kloof | Sand Bar SHOPPING Missibabba | Mememe |A store | Poppa Trunk’s | Gregor Jenkin | Weekend Special | Casantiques | Mabu Vinyl | Shelflife | Arigato | The Old Biscuit Mill | Ska Clothing | Kalk Bay ART GALLERIES Blank Space | What if the World | Young Blackman | Michael Stevenson | Association for Visual Arts | Art South Africa | Salon 91 | 34 Fine Art | Wessel Snyman Creative | Word of Art BANDS Fokofpolisiekar | aKing | Gazelle | The Dirty Skirts | Jack Parow | Die Antwoord | Goldfish | Taxi Violence | Hog Hoggidy Hog | The Rudimentals | Dave Ferguson | 7th Son | P.H.Fat CREATIVES Doreen Southwood | Brett Murray | Athi-Patra Ruga | Julia Rosa Clark | Asha Zero | Anton Kannemeyer | Zander Blom | Adriaan Hugo | James Webb | Brendan Bell-Roberts | Lisa Brice
BETWEEN THE DEVIL’S PEAK & THE DEEP BLUE SEA WORDS: annelie rode WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY: PHOTOGRAPHY: adriaan
sarah claire picton louw
We’re not here to write impassioned prose about the countless beauties of Cape Town, so don’t expect a soliloquy by Her Majesty The Mountain as she reigns over her people, picking at the innumerable delicacies we’re fortunate to find in our backyard. That we’ll leave to the candy-coated guides you pick up as you disembark the plane. We’re here to take to the streets of Cape Town to explore why the life is so good and why such a burgeoning creative community has shaped. Cape Town promotes interaction. Because it is so contained, essential activities like entertainment, retail and other services are in close proximity — and, they are walkable. If the walk is an experience that is beautiful, safe and clean, if you can engage with the buildings or people in the street, then you have the start of a winning formula: one including an early-bird coffee, a lunchtime visit to a gallery, and a cosy or wild spot for a drink after work. All these intervals decrease the pace of life, and, most
EVENTS Design Indaba | ‘Magic of Bubbles’ Cap Classique & Champagne Festival | Rocking the Daisies | Afrikaburn | Earth Dance | Cape Town International Jazz Festival | Spier Contemporary | Infecting the City | Summer Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts| RAMfest | Easter Vortex | Mother City Queer Project (MCQP) | International Fashion Week | World Cup 2010 | Cape Argus | Two Oceans | International Comedy Festival | Hermanus Whale Festival | PRO-X Games | J&B Met | Red Bull Big Wave | Encounters South African International Documentary Festival THINGS WE DON’T LIKE That they haven’t made Long Street a pedestrian-only zone at night | That there aren’t enough bicycle lanes in the city | Not enough free Wi-fi Hotspots | That Buchanan Square is a mall around a parking lot and not interacting with the street | Buildings like 15 on Orange that desecrated a beautiful heritage building and replaced it with a cold-faced hotel that would have been better suited as an office block… in the ‘80s. | The Tampon Towers | People who don’t call back. | Cliqueness still exists | Friends on tik | Flakes EXPERIENCES WE RECOMMEND Driving with the top down to Llandudno for champagne on the rocks | Wine-tasting all weekend | Live music, local DJs and local hip-hop | Sunset in Camps Bay | Sunrise leaving Long Street | Walking up Lion’s Head for full moon | Art exhibition openings in Woodstock | Mzoli’s Meat in Gugulethu | Summer trance parties | Walking along Sea Point promenade
importantly, create a platform for urban engagement, facilitating the dissemination of the secret ingredient to any thriving creative community — ideas. If this on its own were enough, however, then a place like Century City would be hugely successful. So wherein lies the magic? Two key elements account for Cape Town’s magic. The first is in a city’s diversity, and it is where these differences converge that opportunities are found. Ravi Naidoo, proud Capetonian and gregarious founder of Interactive Africa, is a business guru who has proved to the world that South Africa, particularly Cape Town, is a force to contend with as an innovation and creative hub. He was instrumental in making the 2010 World Cup possible, putting the first African in space, and bringing Design Indaba not only to Cape Town, but introducing this first creative convention to the world.
Our second magic ingredient is put best by Ravi when he says, “The beauty lies at the intersection.” Cape Town is a cornucopia of physical and metaphysical intersections begging to be uncovered and explored. It’s not just the mountain and her beauty, although we all hold this close to our hearts; it is that in this city there is always opportunity for the fearless to pioneer, areas for the progressive to develop, and countless moments of glitter and grime to incite any creative mind. Nowhere is this more evident than on the streets of Cape Town, where you meet those fearless and progressive minds that took the opportunities at the intersection, shaping their city to create this worldclass quality of life, and globally renowned creative Mecca. One core element these people share is not just their incredible belief in the city, but the integrity with which they approach their work. In this city, community always trumps commerce. So, let us walk you down these streets and introduce you to their people:
LONG STREET: Multinational and divergent, Long Street never sleeps. It wears caftans and backpacks by day, hawking artefacts from Africa and selling antiques from a bygone era. After sundown, it reveals skinny jeans and locally designed jackets bought on the street hours earlier, and is eager to propagate any moneys saved and anxious to leave dignities intact. Walk from the foreshore to the top of trendy Kloof Street, and Long Street changes nationality like a spinning globe, offering fare from all corners of the world. This motley mix of people and places makes it one of the most interesting areas in SA.
Aside from the multiculturalism adding the flavour, and the nightlife adding the spice, what also makes this street so unbeatable is the architecture. The Victorian architecture preserved by the intervention of architect Revel Fox in the 1970s has undeniable charm, and, because it was built when cities housed people and not purely businesses, its proportions have human scale. The balconies create covered walkways under which street life flourishes, and the multidimensionality of another level not only doubles up the interaction space but puts more eyes on the street, making it a safer place to be â€” a fact quite evident during the 2010 draw that occurred with minimal incident. But while the urban fabric is there, it needs someone with vision to sew the neighbourhood together. Long Street would not have its safe, habitable environment were it not for two insightful developers who recognised its value. They started buying sections of the street, first with the building that is now Cape to Cuba (once housing a massage parlour), and now owning more than ten buildings in Long Street, including the New Space Theatre, restaurants and hotels. Together theyâ€™ve renovated the buildings, and improved the surrounding area by bringing in hand-picked tenants. Not your average urban developers, Jody Aufrichtig and Nick Ferguson (left), owners of Indigo properties, saw Cape Town as a city that could still benefit from significant changes, and so rather than just buy beautiful and historic buildings to upgrade, they were more concerned with creating a dialogue with the street and keeping alive that real beating heart within the city of Cape Town.
One of their most notable interventions on Long Street was the development of a group of inspired hotels. Together, the maverick hoteliers spearheaded changing perceptions of how to make a city more vibrant and exciting to live in. (Jody has even proposed a zipline tour through the city.) In 2005 they caught people’s attention with the Daddy Long Legs Art Hotel — the first in the city to make hotel living affordable for the edgy and young. They later bought the old Metropole Hotel (then digressing into drugs and prostitution) to found the Grand Daddy (right). This is now a real tourist destination, and a much-loved location for glossy fashion magazines to shoot, as boundaries were really pushed with The Airstream Penthouse Trailer Park on the hotel’s roof — the world’s first rooftop trailer park, with each aluminium caravan having its own unique, artistically inspired interior. The rooftop also hosts Friday sundowners to enjoy a chilled glass of Graham Beck bubbly while watching an intimate acoustic gig featuring the likes of Lonesome Dave Ferguson or The Jack Mantis Band. For Jody and Nick’s next incredible venture, they’re taking the airstreams into the wild — and the city’s creativity with them. The Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailer Park will feature twelve airstreams designed by top artists, in a bungalow setup in the beautiful apple-growing Elgin Valley. But Long Street is most famous for its after-dark rendezvous. Next time you wake up in agony and confused, grappling three thoughts at once: ‘Where’s the water?’, ‘Where’s my wallet?’ and ‘How the hell did I get home?!’ and slowly start piecing the night together (There was a burger at Royale, tequila at Waiting Room, that girl at Neighbourhood and then hours of bouncing to the best electro at Fiction), but then you breathe a sigh of relief as you see your wallet on the floor… you really only have two people to blame: Brothers Sascha and Hugo Berolsky.
Sascha and Hugo (right) are owners of those havens for the city’s über-hip. Sascha just wanted to create a place where he could hang out among like-minded people, when he first opened Royale Eatery all those years ago. Of course they were given prime location by Jody and Nick, and their attention to detail appealed to the senses of the creative and hip. On top of that, they serve a damn good burger. Back then Long Street was showing signs of decay, and a different crowd may not have appreciated a meal in the grubby street, but Capetonians have always favoured edgy over safe, at the intersection where synergy could be created, and with this their popularity grew. They soon extended to the upper floors, creating the successful Waiting Room: a trendy bar, club and lounge where live bands and electronic music draws a dynamic crowd every night of the week. The top level offers striking city views, while the downstairs dancefloor hosts live DJs, from Wednesday through Saturday, who bounce around beats of hip-hop, funk, dub, jazz, reggae breaks and heart-warming soul. And paying tribute to the love of live tunes, Mondays and Tuesdays are dedicated to creating a stage for live bands and a venue for their fans. The next endeavour for visionaries Sacha and Hugo Berolsky was an upmarket London pub-inspired restaurant, bar and lounge, named Neighbourhood, co-owned with the owners of Fiction nightclub, Jonathan Cline and Adam Kline. With a wrap-around balcony overlooking the moving human kaleidoscope below, Neighbourhood has the ingredients for a perfect Capetonian night out… great food, good conversation and a must-have feature — one of the largest beer selections in Cape Town! As the afternoon rolls by, the daily two-for-one cocktail special from 4pm–7pm transforms Neighbourhood into a magnet to the masses.
And then there is Fiction: a club that for four years has given Capetonians an amplified love affair of dirty visual and audio disobedience. Fiction is a playground for the children of the night, and a platform for the DJs of the underground, hosting bang-out beats from electro and minimal to liquid drum ‘n bass, glitch-hop, dub-step and broken beats. Local regulars to watch out for are Niskerone, Markus Wormstorm and Haezer, as well as Cape Town’s heroine of the underground, Miss Safiyya Bryce aka Funafuji, who has thrust the wub wub wub beats of dub throughout the Mother City. Their last venture, The Assembly, took the brothers out to uncharted seas, but they battled through and have now made this one of the most successful music venues just a stone’s throw away in the east city. Words to describe it are: ‘large, live and loud’, where all elements in the club bring the focus back to the beats. The expansive interior is key to Assembly’s winning recipe to being a thriving live band venue, with the massive stage playing host to local acts from the likes of Fokofpolisiekar and Gazelle to international acts like Steve Aoki and Finley Quaye. Much like the Hacienda in the glory days of Manchester, the venues of Sascha and Hugo create the breeding ground for setting trends in music, fashion and street culture in the city — all places to generate that magic interaction that allows creativity to prosper. Before we leave Long Street we shouldn’t forget an equally exciting venue where the diverse crowd is making waves in the city: Zula Sound Bar and its British owners, Vusa and Zoë Mazula (left), who came to Cape Town to marry and never went home. Their dream was to create a place to expand musical horizons (and thankfully Jody and Nick were there to offer the right space), believing the hip-hop crowd would welcome a bit of rock, and the drum ’n bass crowd could appreciate funk. So, they mixed music genres, playing big rock bands some nights and smaller experimental outfits on others, constantly attracting crowds who weren’t always linked to the genres being played on the night, and thus creating another great place for crosspollination. Vusa now says he has “the coolest job in the world on the coolest street in the world, and wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else”.
BREE STREET: More debonair and diverse than decadent Long Street, Bree Street represents the essence of Cape Town city life. It is a tree-lined boulevard, soon to sport a dedicated cycle lane, offering everything from scooter mechanics to plastic surgeons, designer furniture and rare DVDs, as well as excellent cuisine (one spot has a dedicated slot in the world’s top 100 restaurants) and even a bar below a 209-year-old church. These quirky and personal places reveal the true nature of the city and the value Capetonians place on the local creative market and its artisanal products. The area initially offered lower rental, larger space and intriguing architecture that lends itself to interesting arenas for those with a little ingenuity and a lot of vision. Brad Armitage, co-owner with Rui Estevez (right) of & Union, shows me how to pour my unfiltered beer from their San Gabriel range, while chatting in the new beer salon and charcuterie about their decision to open up on Bree Street. Once a dull corner under an active ‘NG kerk’, it is a true South African challenge; and since they’ve opened, the whole square has come alive.
Brad and Rui’s philosophy is not to sell a product but a quality of life, and thus are always finding new ways for people to appreciate Cape Town. In their latest venture they’ve put a spin on our most robust but single-minded consumer, the beer drinker. Flaunting a champagne top, they suggest the San Gabriel, like wine, should be paired with food, uncorking a whole new way of seeing.
Considering Brad's previous venture, Vida e Caffè, received accolades from Monocle editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé, for being “one of the most beautiful coffee shops in the world”, then you know these guys have a lot to teach and their vision, passion and integrity is laudable.
The success of this suggestion, and their focus on marketing lifestyle before product, has led to their opening & Union on a previously unassuming corner in Bree Street, now a testimony to their knack for fusing an international concept with local flair. This not only raises the standard of the surrounding area, but also the bar on expectations and quality, challenging Capetonians to aim even higher.
WOODSTOCK: Woodstock is a cacophony of buildings, people and cars, varying dramatically in degrees of dilapidation or amplification. Ad agencies next to junk stores, sweaty workshops next to galleries, beautifully restored Victorian homes neighbouring on crack houses: these divergent spaces contain all the colours and creeds of the real Cape Town, making this neighbourhood the most vibrant in the city, and the streets the most serendipitous. It is not uncommon to urban regeneration for the audacious artworld to pioneer the regeneration of a precinct. The mixture of a challenging but character-driven urban environment, proximity to the central city, larger space and lower rent fits their profile perfectly, and they clear the way for the apprehensive masses to follow. This is exactly what’s happened in Woodstock.
Who else would be forging ahead in this area, than the conscientious Nick and Jody? With their ability to see the diamond in a piece of charcoal, they quickly wrapped up the old Pyotts biscuit factory in Albert Road after seeing its great potential. They demolished what had no historical significance, found the right creative tenancy, and created “a theatre for retail” — what is now well known as The Old Biscuit Mill, housing galleries and design stores, different markets on weekends, and even prime events, like the weekly Deco Dance electro parties and 2009’s infamous MCQP. A little up Albert Road another revolution has unfolded. Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, fierce crusaders of unexplored territory, were giving experimental art, fashion, culture and creativity a platform in the east city in a small space called What if the World… (left). This kind of space is necessary in a community where young creatives have products but no means of outlet. Justin and Cameron decided to challenge the reigning archaic art galleries and find a place to challenge comfort zones as well. They moved their space deep into the heart of the squalor and created a gallery space that gave new artists a stepping stone into the artworld. Their little fledgling space has become a formidable art space — now rated as one of the top up-and-coming galleries in the world.
Just down the road, one will discover Albert Hall, an antique store by day transformed to live music venue by night. This intimate venue retains the charm it creates by giving pasttreasures second chances by day, by offering sanctuary to the arty crowd in Cape Town…who will likely don a Salvation Army token, with their hearts, on their shoulders to the gigs at night. The main nexus for the artworld has settled a few streets up in Victoria Road. Already accommodating an array of interior stores, the first gallery to make the move was the old stalwart The Goodman Gallery, but as they had a pre-established clientbase they chose a space tucked away in the back of a building. The first gallery to brave a shopfront on the scary streets of Woodstock was a small space called Blank Projects. This little unknown experimental project and gallery space unleashed the full potential of the area and soon Michael Stevenson and BellRoberts Gallery (now Art South Africa) followed, empowering smaller galleries like Word of Art. The streets are now completely alive during exhibition openings, with little restaurants and shops popping up all along the way. They were not happy, however, to create only this platform for creatives, as there was a whole local gourmet and artisanal market out there that needed to be experienced. So, combine the entrepreneurial ingenuity of Justin and Cameron with the space created by the real estate acumen of Jody and Nick, and the Neighbour Goods Market was born. Held inside The Old Biscuit Mill, it’s more of a garden party, with marketers milling around with cocktails or a glass of wine, tasting cheeses and pestos and gorging on decadent finger lunches. Chilli plants and snapdragons sit pretty next to haybale-benches, while smells of rocket lamb burgers and sugary cinnamon pancakes waft out of the food courtyard in the old sky-lit Victorian warehouse. But it is an actual market, which sells the best locally produced goods —including organic fresh produce, food, furniture, clothing, jewellery and more — becoming an utter testament to the great talent and resources of the city.
These galleries are bringing the international arena into the streets of Woodstock — a very positive move for the city. It is also one element we cannot afford to exclude when investigating the reasons for Cape Town’s evident success. The continuous influx of internationals, permanent and temporary, brings firstworld ideas and innovation, along with expectations of a higher standard of living, in art and in design. Cape Town also has the benefit of being rooted in a third-world country, creating keen and conscious sensibilities, and a very progressive and creative community — and in some cases, like the work of Ravi, Nick and Jody, and Brad and Rui, even creating concepts and products that cause the world to look to Cape Town for inspiration. Cape Town is a worldclass city that is thriving at the intersection between the peak of the devil and the depths of the deep blue sea.
BARS Kitchener's | Rose Boys | Radium Beerhall | Darkie Café | Gin | Back2Basix | The Bohemian | Zoo Lake Bowls Club | The Circle Bar | The Jolly Roger | The Troyeville Hotel | The Blues Room CLUBS The Woods | Tokyo Star | Bassline | Tanz Café | The Doors | The Alexander Theatre | The Red Room | Moloko | Teazers | The Black Dahlia | Taboo | Tokyo Sky | Fashion TV Café RESTAURANTS Twist | Lucky Moo | Wolves | Soulsa | The Attic | Bridge Diner | Sophiatown | La Bella Figura | Mo’s Jamaican Chicken | Adega | Trabella | Mama’s Shebeen CAFÉS Boat | The Birdcage | Bari Bar café | Salvation Café | The Old Fort Coffee Shop | Moemas | Lulu | The Patisserie | Bean There Coffee Roastery | Caffiain | Fournos Bakery SHOPPING Black Coffee | Design is a good idea | Love Jozi | Bamboo Centre | D.O.P.E. Store | CO-OP | Dokter and Misses | Munks Concepts Stores | Nike Concept Store | Ritual Stores | Tiltt ART GALLERIES Rooke Gallery | Brodie/Stevenson | Everard Read Gallery | Goodman Gallery | Gallery MOMO | CO-OP | Arts on Main | Bailey Seippel Gallery | Spark! Gallery | Gallery on 4th BANDS Sweat X | The Parlotones | The Death Valley Blues Band | Tumi and the volume | 340ml | Fuzigish | Wonderboom | BLK JKS | Flash Republic | Brenda Fassie | Prime Circle | The Narrow
THE CITY WITH A HEART OF GOLD WORDS: annelie rode WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY: david chislett, lara koseff PHOTOGRAPHY: brett rubin, brett darko steele & uviwe
Somewhere between heaven and hell, on the doorstep of purgatory, is a mighty city named Johannesburg. Here, there are two choices: live in despair and lament your fate, or learn to grow wings and take flight above it all. We know nothing is more breathtaking than a highveld thunderstorm, and a fat cheque at month-end helps turn a blind eye to many ills; but what really is the allure of living in such a challenging city? The only people who can answer this are those who’ve taken up this challenge, and the only way to understand it is through their eyes. So, we ask an independent filmmaker, a maverick publisher, a young architect, a sound designer and a creative agency director why they keep hanging on and what makes living in Johannesburg so unique. We take a walk through the wild side of Joburg’s music scene as this is one thing that keeps the people together. And finally, we look deep into the neglected soul of the inner city to find the people that are putting their hearts into resuscitating this one-time City of Gold.
CREATIVES AVANT CAR GUARD | Pieter Hugo | Jane Alexander | William Kentridge | Frances Goodman | Willem Boshof | Rodney Place| David Koloane | Nandipha Mntambo | Penny Siopis EVENTS Joburg Art Fair | Oppikoppi | Joburg Burning | Fashion week (all of them) | Lusito Land | The Rand Easter Show | Lucky Fish Music Festival | Soweto Festival | Arts Alive THINGS WE DON’T LIKE ‘A buffet-munching useless group of power-point-presenting, quasi-government- individuals that spend all the rate payers money and don’t do anything’. Adam Levy | Crime and violence | Developers who do not take responsibility for upgrading the street life when they upgrade buildings | Buildings being left derelict, encouraging crime | Spending too much time in your car | Labels do not mean fashion! | Endless seas of gated communities, especially Fourways | People too scared to leave these communities and venture into the city EXPERIENCES WE RECOMMEND A highveld thunderstorm | The Top Star Drive-in for the view | Electro party at The Woods | Drink at the oldest pub in the city, Kitchener’s | Go to the top of the Carlton Centre | The Doll House for a milkshake | Tandoori chicken at the Fordsburg market | Eating Ethiopian cuisine in Little Addis | Eating Chinese cuisine in China Town | An all weekend house party with a local
Joburg is foremost a dynamic, ever-changing city that never sleeps; it rolls around in bed, kicking off the bedcovers, exposing you to the elements — and you have to survive. Adrian Loveland, a filmmaker whose debut, Unhinged, Surviving Joburg, will be released soon, says: “In one day's edition of a Joburg newspaper you could find the basis for a movie, a few novels, a song, a joke and a couple of essays. I think it differs from many cities in that you can't rely on the environment to soothe your headspace. Instead, you have to use the place's strong points to create things which somehow calm the mind.” It is very true that when you can’t turn to the environment, you turn to challenge yourself; you have to utilise any available resources and use initiative. Nicholas Nesbitt, better known as Kidu from Team Uncool, says Joburg is a place “where you create something from nothing — and this has given birth to a very productive and strong creative community”.
Louise Gamble, publishing editor of SL Magazine, reiterates this when she says that the city has its creative edge because: “It is more difficult to live here (aesthetically, emotionally, and in terms of safety) and also harder, in that the city seems to have a thicker skin and a generally more resilient, less emotionallysensitive attitude towards getting things done. Joburgers really just get on with it.” Most people in Joburg aren’t here by choice, but the one choice they do have is to make it happen. Adrian realised, "It was completely counterproductive. I decided to look for the good, embrace the city for what it is, and put a lot of effort into making it work. Whether you love it or hate it, it's a place that breeds passion. There are very few Joburgers that are completely ambivalent when it comes to their city.”
JOZI: THE CAPITAL OF GROOVE So the City of Gold is complicated. We know the people are gregarious, but let’s not forget where Joburg really sets the pace, and that’s the music scene. More electric than a Highveld thunderstorm and more exhilarating than driving, top down, through Hillbrow at three in the morning, the city is the perfect breeding ground for some of the country’s most primal sounds. Let’s take a wander with David Chislett, well-known MC and radio personality, as he takes us through the crashes and lightning of the scene. ”Johannesburg is vast and every corner hides surprises. Head on down to Newtown for indie-electro parties of mammoth proportions at The Woods and venture across the road to The Bassline for Afro pop, hip-hop and R&B events as the jolling public of Soweto heads north into the city. Think DJ Bob, The Blunted Stuntman, and Kenzero. Tumi, Jozi and Newtown are all bands working their trade in the Newtown precinct. Russell Grant is one such individual who is very decisive about his passion for Joburg and is a most proactive contributor to Joburg city life. He says, “There is an energy that’s uniquely Joburg, which usually entails an idea being born in the middle of the night, and the production of it starting the following morning!” His company, Red Team Go, creates a platform for the city’s artistically minded to collaborate. He is also trying to lure people back to the city through one of his projects, the Main Street Life developments. According to him, the heart of the city is begging for intervention and there are opportunities abound to become involved.
”For those a little more sedate and in a listening mood, acoustic artists are the new flavour of the month with the likes of Rambling Bones, Bongani, Gizelle and Orion laying it down on just guitar with voice. Venues like Tanz Café, Espresso Jazz and Back2Basix host plenty of acoustic nights citywide. But Jozi is also the home of hardcore, with no shortage of punk, metal and rock at venues like the Bohemian, Cool Runnings and The Black Dahlia. Punkers Fuzigish and Swivel Foot are regulars on the gig circuit here along with Voodoo Blues specialists The Death Valley Blues Band.
Guy Alion, a young architect in the city says: ”What excites me most are the opinions Joburgers have about their city. Most people are attracted to the edginess of Jozi because its vulnerability is honest and undisguised — what you see is what you get. That honesty, however subtle, crude or flamboyant, is what makes Joburg Joburg. Joburgers know who they are — the good, the bad and the ugly — and they don’t apologise for it.”
”The previously sleepy suburb of Greenside hides Gin and Tokyo Star down Gleneagles where an eclectic mix of indie, electro, broken beats and everything in between can be heard on any given night. The crowd is ferociously young and very mixed. In Linden, Cantina Tequila is turning into a preferred venue for punk kids on Tuesdays and dance heads every other night. If you don’t have skinny jeans, an exploding-head hairdo and serious attitude, best you stay home and watch Knight Rider reruns.
The real gold in Joburg is the people, and one of the best ways to experience the city is to align yourself with the locals and let them show you the sights, whether it be the Fordsburg market, martinis at the Hyde Park hotel, street parties in Soweto or house parties in the ‘burbs, you’re always certain to have a good time. Louise finds ”Joburgers are more accepting, interactive and engaging with strangers. The distances to travel here are so much greater that people make a real effort to see each other, and are therefore far less flaky when it comes to social arrangements. There's also this sense that we're all in it together, so we might as well make the best of it.”
”The great north including Sandton and Fourways is home to the more typical News Café late night dance set, peppered with venues like Tokyo Sky, Fashion TV Café and Taboo. Hidden away out that far north are also a great Cool Runnings in Fourways (hosting everything from metal to punk to acoustic nights), The Blues Room in Village Walk, and of course Tanz Café in Bryanston (shortly relocating to Fourways). In keeping with Sandton’s aspirational nature, the only key proviso out here is that you’re well-heeled and even better dressed… Where you come from matters not. Look out for Louise Carver, Loyiso, Malaika and the likes this side. ”Johannesburg is also home to Emmarentia Dam and the now-famous Old Mutual Sunday concerts known to feature everybody who is anybody, including Goldfish, Freshly Ground, The Parlotones, Just Jinjer, Vusi Mahlasela, Tidal Waves and international names like Elton John and Michelle Shocked. ”It’s the biggest city in the country, of course it’s got the widest choice — you just have to get out there and pay some attention.”
HIGH SOCIETY/LOWLY CITY Dress it how ever you want, money is still the one big drawcard to the City of Gold and probably most booming metropolis in Africa, but you wouldnâ€™t say so driving through downtown Jozi. The wealth that Joburg is built upon is selfishly hidden behind high walls in the suburbs of Sandton or Sandhurst, and any socialist notions of distribution of wealth is lost with greed, ego and mismanaged government departments. The inner city, the once heart of Southern Africa, has been disregarded and left in disrepair, becoming the hunting ground of vultures preying off the needy and destitute, selling low-cost housing and badly planned neighbourhood as the new salvation. But what is needed to return the inner city to its former glory as Egoli, the place of gold? What will bring the people back to the streets, making them proud residents of the city? We found some courageous individuals with principled ideals of returning to a worldclass place of creative interaction and social harmony.
ADAM LEVY: THE CARING CRUSADER Outspoken, passionate and a lone crusader of bringing the quality of life back to the inner city, Adam Levy (below) was recently included in Mail & Guardian’s 200 most influential people in the country. An architect at heart, a lawyer on paper and a developer in the original sense of the word, where development is still synonymous with progress, he’s been on a mission to change perceptions on what a worldclass city really is, and to prove to the sceptics and the apathetic developers that Johannesburg can be a desirable, safe and lucrative place to live, work and have fun. It hasn’t always been an easy path for this rogue, who doesn’t want to rebel, only uplift a city that he cares about. Adam’s inner-city manifesto serendipitously found him walking through the streets of New York as he wondered why the same vitality of inner-city living was not possible on his own doorstep. Coming from a family of architects, a hereditary nostalgia for a city he never knew was awoken, and he realised that engaging on street level was how to build an inner-city community. He found his calling and was attracted back to the existing urban fabric that Braamfontein possessed, but which lay dormant, to find the answer to how to become a better city builder, and, ultimately, a community builder. ”I don’t want to be the Braamfontein martyr,” he says, “I just want to show people there is an alternative lifestyle and a different way of living. It’s so easy to complain, but so hard to get involved.“ Adam decided to become involved and bought his first building in (what was then) a rather deserted and perilous area in Braamfontein, 155 Smit Street, and converted
it into New York-styled loft apartments. But, from the start, his approach to development was different, as instead of maximising tenancies to maximise rents, he designed the building to appeal to creatives who’d be brave and progressive enough to buy into his philosophy. After this building he has since developed studios, offices, the Alexander Theatre, and has attracted artists, galleries and other creatives to the Braamfontein area. He now even has big brands knocking on his doors for space. Next on the cards is the development of the Lord Milner Hotel — a heritage building dating back to 1894. Seeing Adam’s knowledge, passion and dedication, we believe him when he says this is only a microcosm of what he would like to achieve. And his thoughts on being mayor one day (as he virtually already is in his own precinct of Braamfontein)? “Someone like me can be more effective than the existing mayor, because I care for the city. You need people that care for the city.” Adam does not want to be a lone operator. He says he can influence the two blocks that he owns, but what about the other 50 in the city? He wants developers and architects to have long-term vision as their buildings will be there for generations to come. He stresses that “a building needs to engage with the street” and that “great artisanship is taking something that is not alive and making it inspirational”. And these are the principles he lives by. “I have always approached my building, and everything, with the thought: ‘How can I make it the best it can be in the world.’ It can still be contextual, but you have to do it with the same set of balls as the rest of the world.”
Many city-trawlers will have noticed the Trinity Session’s impact on the city through their management of public artworks — a result of their relationship with the City of Joburg’s Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage and the Johannesburg Development Agency — such as Clive van den Berg’s colossal ‘Eland’ (below) in Braamfontein, the array of steel trees on Juta street, and William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx’s ‘Firewalker’ at the end of the Queen Elizabeth bridge. Beyond these monumental cultural landmarks, the Trinity Session have facilitated countless public art projects, bringing life to inner-city parks, humanising the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations with beautifully executed designs, always working with and including the communities that live in those areas.
THE TRINITY SESSIONS: CONNECTING THE DOTS For cultural collaborators Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter (above), Johannesburg is not only their hometown, their playground, their muse — it’s their biggest project. The pair have worked together as artists, and within the cultural organisation they initiated — the Trinity Session — since the early 2000s. While they have not always worked in the city of Joburg, they have nonetheless ultimately changed its face. While locals and outsiders alike are partial to giving Joburg a hard time (crime, filth and lack of major natural landmarks seem to be the main complaints) both Stephen and Marcus are endlessly fascinated with the changing urban fabric of this notorious city. Stephen’s research and interest in Johannesburg as a transforming city has subsequently come together with Marcus’s fascination with communication networks within urbanity. ”My interest has been in communication within the urban space, the networks, the things that connect people, the signage, the translation of virtual space, the cellphone systems, and how the city itself is mapped and understood,” says Marcus. The key magnetism of Joburg in particular, Marcus explains, is: “You’re never in a stagnant space; there’s this reinvention that keeps on happening. Even now with urban regeneration… yes, you find that pavements are being redone and buildings are being invested in, but within that there are systems that keep changing. So the drug lord might be out, but now there’s some other scam that’s happening; or the city is being rejuvenated and cleaned up, but while that’s all happening you’re working in absolute chaos with hawkers and street traders and artists. It’s all layered and active. And that ‘layeredness’ and activity makes for interesting and inspiring work at the end of the day.”
One of their experiential projects was initiated after they were standing outside Constitution Hill, discussing a potential public artwork, and a man walked up and warned them in French that they must avoid a dangerous area in the vicinity. They were struck by this foreigner’s concern for them, even though they were locals, and subsequently discovered this man formed part of a huge community of Senegalese people living in Joburg. They later planned a trip to Dakar, and approached these people to draw maps of what Dakar looks like for them. Almost as a form of experimental travel, the artists relied purely on the maps to navigate their way around Dakar. Stephen and Marcus came back to Joburg, exhibited their resulting documentation at the University of Johannesburg gallery and staged a guided walk for exhibition visitors from (UJ) to Hillbrow, met up with members of the Senegalese community, had lunch with them and walked back to the UJ gallery. This experience of cultural exchange communicated what is, for Marcus, one of the most compelling aspects of Joburg: “It’s such a hub; it caters for so many.” While the urban space as a melting pot of cultures is not necessarily unique to Joburg, what distinguishes this multifarious city, Marcus believes, is that “it’s caught between a first- and third-world environment. This in-between state sets up a fascinating contrast and dialogue between those that have and those that do not.”
MABONENG : INNER-CITY INTERVENTION Property developer Jonathan Liebmann (left) is young, confident and clearly has the necessary spunk to pioneer the creation of a new cultural hub in Johannesburg. In a distressed and derelict part of the city — an area called City and Suburban — Liebmann has fashioned his own precinct that offers cutting-edge contemporary art, refined meals in an olive tree courtyard and now, with the establishment of residential block Main Street Life, a stylish place to lay down your head. When Liebmann initiated multi-use development Arts on Main in the early 20th-century headquarters for construction company DF Corlett, his motivation was artists, who are known to catalyse urban gentrification. While no artist himself, he nonetheless gave an artist community cause to work and play in his new precinct, which he has dubbed Maboneng, meaning ‘place of light’. Yet what became home to studios of luminary status artists like William Kentridge, projects spaces for the Goethe-Institut and the Goodman Gallery, and stores selling the wares of leading designer Black Coffee and upbeat label Love Jozi, some began to feel existed as an island, strangely cut off from the bleak dormitories and palpable poverty in the area.
But for those who viewed Arts on Main as a place for northern suburbanites to get a brief fix of the inner city before driving back to secure townhouses on tree-lined streets, Main Street Life is due to put a big kink in that perception. Liebmann’s plan was to always make this a live — as well as play and work — precinct, and Main Street Life (a short walk from Arts on Main) offers chic loft-style penthouses, apartments, an art hotel called 12 Decades with custom-designed rooms by leading SA artists, and further exhibition spaces and studios — all with the best city views imaginable.
For Liebmann, Maboneng is not only about inner-city living; he wants to offer “an alternative lifestyle option for people looking to live and work in a creative community. The next development planned (after Main Street Life) complements this vision and will offer workspaces for businesses operating on the cutting edge of innovation, for example, alternative energy suppliers and open-source tech companies. “Creatives have also responded really well to the communal work and exhibition spaces, and the collaboration between tenants and owners has already begun,” he says.
And, much like Arts on Main, the old derelict building held great appeal for Liebmann. “The area’s historical use as an industrial area [translates] into high volume ceilings, ideal for a loft conversion,” says the developer. Other factors that influenced his decision to incorporate a residential aspect include proximity to public transport networks, including BRT, Metrobus, trains and taxis. “A unique mix of retail, industrial, and commercial buildings in the area,” Liebmann believes, “allows for the residential component to create a mixed-use environment that is ideal for creative residents, with proximity to various arts and educational institutions and the Fashion Precinct.”
Yes, but why Joburg? Why is it worth developing? “I think Johannesburg has the potential to become one of the most culturally diverse, vibrant and dynamic cities in the world and I am passionate about contributing to it fulfilling this potential.”
BARS Bean Bag Bohemia | Billy the Bums | Snap Wine Bar | BAT Deck | King Club | Taco Zulu | Cubana | Lazy Lizard | Waxy’s | Franki Bananaz | Cool Runnings | Bud's on the Bay MUSIC VENUES The Willowvale | Burn |Origin | The Winston | Thunder Road Rock Diner | Zulu Jazz Lounge | BAT Centre | Jubilee Hall (Jubes) | UKZN Jazz Centre | Zack’s @ Wilson’s Wharf RESTAURANTS Spiga d’Oro | Yossi’s | Fusion | Aubergine | 9th Avenue Bistro | Hemingway’s | Roma Revolving | Engine Room | Marco’s | Café 1999 | Market | Moyo | The Cargo Hold | Pizzetta CAFÉS The Corner Café |Arts Café @ KZNSA | Exhibit | Vida e Caffè | Sprigs | St Tropez | Mark Gold | The Royal Coffee Shoppe | Antique Café | Verde SHOPPING The Space | Euforia | Max | Idols | Mooi | Rozanne & Pushkin | Charcoal and Chocolate | KZNSA Gallery Shop | I Heart Durban Market | Wardrobe | Fat Tuesday | Essenwood Market ART GALLERIES KZNSA | ArtSpace | Durban Art Gallery | Artisan | Kizo | Elizabeth Gordon Gallery | Tamasa Gallery | The Art Room | Crowser Gallery | Gallery 415 | Green Gallery BANDS T.H.O.T.S. | Fruit & Veggies | Lowprofile | Sibling Rivalry | City Bowl Mizers | Manuvah to Land | Crossing Point | Gary Thomas | Spitmunky | Dan Patlansky | Guy Buttery | Love Jones | Seether | Felix Laband | Squeal | Contrast the Water | The Otherwise | Pocket Change | Avatar | Car Boot Vendors | Go! Go! Bronco
SUNSHINE CITY WORDS: sarah jayne fell jayne fell & yusuf laher jewnarain, sarah claire picton & simon hartley roger jardine, kevin goss-ross, xavier vahed, andrew moore, matt kay, kim longhurst ALL from DURBAN!
INTERVIEWS BY: sarah WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY: ashley IMAGES:
Durban is an alarming city. It entangles you with her tongues that speak in dialects from afar, from places where you find coarse red sand and others where little girls run adrift among seashells, shoeless and lost in childhood time. Purple Jacaranda trees bloom in November; hot-pink Bougainvillea runs wild; delicate Frangipanis carpet the way past the bakery with the best bread everyone feeds the Botanical Gardens’ ducks. The City of Bananas and the City of Poison, Durban satiates you with her energy that embodies playfulness, colour, and sunshine.
Ask the locals what they love and they’ll unanimously say: the weather, the people, and the jaggedness around the edges. Those who love Durban do so because they like to sweat a little, rough it a little, but live a little — among the kind who’ll stick around to share a joke, a Black Label quart, or a doublechip-and-cheese roti with mutton gravy. That’s a fourth love the majority of Durbaners name: the 24-hour takeaway Johnny’s Rotis. Because, being home to the biggest population of Indians on earth bar India itself, Durban is a multicultural family in which you cannot avoid adopting entire chunks of each other’s culture, language and lifestyle — never mind an insatiable hunger for curry. But also, because of the Durban state of mind that reckons if it’s not hotter than the sun, it’s not hot enough… Durbanites are an all-or-nothing kind of breed. They go big or they go home and have a braai by the pool. Or a carboot jol down at Blue Lagoon. Or a spliff then a surf in the green-blue sea until the salt and the sun scorch skin to smithereens. But as smalltown and laidback as Durban can seem, anyone who’s inhabited the place will say there’s no South African vibe of the same
CREATIVES Zanele Muholi | Michael MacGarry | Andrew Verster | Craig Native | Gideon | Bronwyn Vaughan-Evans | Jane du Rand | Coral Spencer | Roger Jardine | Grace Kotze | Richard Hart | Amanda Laird Cherry | Lara Mellon | Garth Walker | David Basckin | Roger Young | Zwelethu Mthethwa EVENTS Durban Designer Collection (DDE) | DIFF | Splashy Fen | White Mountain Festival | Uprising Festival | Mr Price Pro | The Durban July | Red Eye | I Heart Durban parties | NONONO!!! THINGS WE DON’T LIKE Road name changes | Michael Sutcliffe | Not being able to walk on the beach at night | Having to drive everywhere | Never being able to wear winter clothes | Everyone leaving for greener pastures | Badly maintained historic architecture in the city | Pot holes | Kids begging at traffic lights | Not enough seafront bars/restaurants EXPERIENCES WE RECOMMEND Jumping off the North beach pier | Night drum circles in Bulwer Park | Prawn curry bunny chows at Buds on the Bay | Sundowners at the BAT centre | Tea and crumpets at Botanic Gardens | Bar hopping in Florida Road | Shop hopping in Davenport Road | The Indian Spice Market in Victoria Street | A drive through the Midlands Meander | Suntanning in winter
degree. It’s like a 365-day holiday — in an urban subtropical jungle: sometimes a piece of paradise, sometimes dark and dangerous; all the time a place that’s sultry and raw with an ever-present sense of a thunderstorm like no other about to unleash. At the core of the energy that permeates a place are the voices that resonate throughout. Some holler from the hilltops, some whisper with the rustling leaves, but from the industry navigators to the underground instigators through the man riding the escalator: these are the players who define the game — the game that’s played in what’s (a little patronisingly) named ‘South Africa’s playground’. Introducing Garth Walker, the man behind Durban design agency Orange Juice Design and, more recently, Mister Walker Design. He is designer, curator, creative director, photographer, publisher, and, before and after everything, a Durbanite who understands what that means: “On graduating, a certain 1976 uprising ended hopes of a highly paid career in a Durban ad agency. Back then, Durban was SA’s advertising hotshop, yet the only work going was with a family-owned printing business — so I grabbed the R180 a month and settled into my adopted city.
“Thirty-something years later, I’m still here. I learnt long ago I’d never be even moderately well-off, but there might be a little cheesecake in between the Durban designer diet of broccoli. Since 1994 I’ve travelled to so many cities I’ve lost count, on all five continents, to show the world the wonders of SA. Having now been amost everywhere, I can say with conviction that Durban is the most ‘creative’ (awful word) city on earth. More than Shanghai, Barcelona, Paris or New York. “Why? Simple really. Durban is completely fucked up. We don't know what we are, or why. If we ever discover ‘what’ or ‘why’, it’s all over. We’ll then become another poncy outfit like Cape Town, full of wannabe trendies and Eurotrash. Or Sandton, which is increasingly like Dubai at the bottom of Africa. Durban’s been saved by the fact that we slowly rot in the summer, mushrooms grow in your armpits, even plastic rusts, and life is cheap. Meaning dangerous. And it’s in the danger zone where creativity thrives. Creativity dies when it’s safe or routine — and Durban is neither. “By far the largest common connector for local creatives — in any field — is Durban. If you disagree, start counting the names and joining the Durban Dots...”
THE CREATIVE INCUBATOR Join the dots you can indeed, and from Mister Walker we head to the illustrator who decorated these pages. He’s behind Durban’s Hope Project and one of the talented Verb artists to feature in the recent City Slickers Poster Show. He is the one, the only, the illustrious Wesley van Eeden. So what is it to Wes that makes Durban’s heart and soul different from other SA cities?
According to Durban boy Roger Young, founder of SA culture site Mahala:
“Friends and I discuss this often and we realised it’s easier to get your name out in Durban because it’s isolated. Garth Walker once said Durban is a creative incubator — but sadly, many leave for greener pastures once they’ve hatched! It’s also because Durban is seen as the third or fourth ‘coolest’ city in SA, the underdog in a way, and that makes it interesting. But, all over the place, freaking talented people are living 100 metres down the road. For example, Paul Hepker, who wrote the soundtrack to Tsotsi, lived in my road.”
“There’s a gritty charm to the scene that’s missing in überpolished venues. Richard Brokensha (Isochronous, Kidofdoom] says every fourth gig they play there is amazing and the other three are shit. And they’re fine with that, because when it hits that ‘amazing’ it’s better than anything else. It’s a funny little scene that way. But when somebody does break, it’s usually big.
East Coast Radio DJ Jane Linley Thomas says much the same: “Durbs (and Pietermaritzburg) is the breeding ground for some of SA's, and the world’s, greatest. Just look around at people like Craig Native, Shaun Morgan, Felix Laband, Gideon, Kirsten Goss and Amanda Laird Cherry to see Durban holds itself beautifully.”
“The whole Durban scene is built up in such a way that it’s hard for young new acts to perform. It’d be great if there were more dedicated promoters. But Durban has this ethos that anyone with a dream gets out. It’s like a womb to develop ideas, not for them to live.”
And what does Jane love most about Durbanites? “Bru, at a wedding seeing a cute man in a suit, complete with slops. Only in Durban! The surf and sea culture is big, and with that comes irie cool people. Durbanites are chilled, kind, and always up for a good time. When we party, we shine.” Durban journo (and drummer for punk band Lowprofile) Yusuf Laher got chatting with band booker and stage manager Taryn Fonseca this Splashy Fen, who reiterates this about Durban parties: “Even though it’s a small crowd, every single band I bring says there’s no party like Durban. People do whatever it takes to get there. When a band tours, the same people go to every show in a week. That’s what I love.” Musically speaking, one small seed music ed (also hailing from KwaZulu-Natal) Jon Monsoon’s view on the place of palm trees and waves is that “there isn’t much to differentiate ‘Indian Ocean club Tropicana’ from other cities in suburban SA. Durban’s soundtrack mish-mashes hairy house, progressive punk, manly metal and some seriously chilled grooves befitting its bohemian beach-bound brigade.” He continues: “But things weren’t always this way. In the ‘90s, Durban was the envy of the country’s live music scene. Durban was officially ‘Rock Capital’. Upcountry music festivals swayed or moshed to a bunch of Durban’s finest. Bands like Squeal, Arapaho… It was reported in ‘99 that 75 percent of all recorded local music came from the KZN region. And then... it all went quiet. Nowadays, Durban remains a largely silent partner.”
car boot vendors | photo: kevin goss-ross
Seemingly, many Durbanites are painfully aware of this curse, and on a hell-bent mission to remedy it. Bridging the gap between design and music, a small Durban company has emerged that merges the two with a love for the city and her people. I Heart Durban parties are a phenomenon capturing the essence of the place in their desire to create something new that’s not gimmicky but which wants simply to satisfy a need. I spoke to Kieran Smith, one of the parties’ creators, and an artist, musician and town planner who has done just about everything creative around the block umpteen times (including busking on street corners) in his attempt to paint Durban red. “The parties were started out of frustration around the music played in Durban — you know, mainstream schlock or hardcore Burn vibes — as well as the pretty arb design element around town. We wanted to have fun dance parties where at least we’d have control over the tunes and the aesthetic, which was novel at the time. My buddy Garett van der Spek and his then-fiancée came up with the name and the idea to have a design feature for each party, for the flyers and t-shirts, and they’ve been created by Durban's best! The music and design elements are still the core defining aspect that makes it different to any other party in town.” Another venture of a stormier nature (the music is harder, the name not quite so sunshine-and-kittens), but with the same intent of rejuvenating and reinventing a city that’s not taken as seriously as it’d like, is NONONO!!! And from the mouth of its creator, Travis Lyle: “With its name derived from the rallying cry ‘No More Corruption! No More Injustice! No More Shit Music!’, you’d be forgiven thinking NONONO!!! is a political party, but you’d be wrong. Featuring the finest electro Durban has to offer, NONONO!!! is more than a party — it’s a meeting of minds, cultures, attitudes and musical genres. An event where designophiles shake their tails alongside B-boys, ravers rub shoulders with illustrators, and music producers and DJs conspire to push the boundaries, it’s a rare get-together where everyone’s worth talking to. NONONO!!! provides a nocturnal snapshot of Stone City and all its glorious subcultures, defining the sights and sounds that rock the inner city.”
illustrations from I Heart Durban party posters LEFT kim longhurst | RIGHT matt kay
DURBAN ‘CBD’ Of sights and sounds of the inner city, let us depart for a while to tour Durban central — not the hub of big business and corporate ventures but of the kind of trade happening from the ground up. Please welcome, as your guide, Simon Hartley — journalist and student of life in the perpetual summer city. Pounding the pavement abreast some 70 000 fellow Durbanites towards the unofficial CBD, Warwick Triangle, I’m on a CityWalk through the heart of my hometown with local architect and philosopher-poet Doung Anwar Jehangeer. I dodge pavement jellyfish and bright red lucky beans mashed into the concrete. Besides the beachfront, Durban isn’t pedestrian friendly. Roads are busy and wide; pavements uneven, and sometimes nonexistent. Most middle-class Durbanites venture as far as they can drive, locked behind smash-and-grab-proof windows, airconditioning and the soothing tones of East Coast Radio’s Dave Guselli. Doung shifts this paradigm of ‘safe spaces’ by taking so-called Durbanites from the upmarket Musgrave Centre [local privateschool mothers are nicknamed Musgrave mommies, to give a sense of milieu] into the de facto heart of their city — often for the first time in their lives.
Spat back into mainstream Durban via subway onto the palmtreed Esplanade, we pass stunning examples of Durban’s rich Art Deco heritage — a collection second only to Miami Beach’s. On any other day I would’ve cooed at the pastel façades flaunting Durban’s idiosyncratic response to the 1930s movement: African fauna and traces of Egyptian, Classical, Hindu, Islamic and Imperial motifs mingle happily with sunburst patterns and opulent decoration. We mosey down to the BAT Centre for a beer and to watch the tugboats toil. I think back to the segway to Warwick, which doubles as a human meat-grinder — at least in theory. For me, it’s the site of a lesson in pavement grass from Doung: “Nature prevails. We can try to suppress life with our tarmac, but it’s a losing battle. And very silly.” Recently, City Management made a failed play at evicting the Warwick Triangle traders to build a shiny new mall on the site. The irony is too sweet to bear. In the midst of squalor, commerce and worship, I have the overriding feeling that in Warwick, life prevails — even if all we see of it is what escapes through the cracks.
Some kilometres on, Warwick Triangle explodes with smells, colours and sounds that are overpowering, alien, acrid and delicious. The muthi, meat and vegetable traders are doing a brisk trade, full of quick-fire chatter and discounts. To my left a kid hunkers down, feasting on his Streetwise 2, near a middleaged woman selling chicken legs. Smiles are given as change. We pass a church appropriated by a strangler fig, whose roots form the roof and the walls, sheltering a devout congregation. Moving into Victoria Market, heaps of fiery chilli-powder line the walkway like torches.
photos: xavier vahed
AT THE HEART OF THE CITY The city becomes more breathtaking the higher up you venture towards the ridge, with the compact city centre sliding open and the ocean pulling out majestically to stretch up the coastline. Moses Mabhida Stadium sits like an odd white UFO-cum-fruit basket by the railway, cutting off some ocean view. Many Durbanites are proud of it. Others will get used to it. Back in suburban Durban, small bars and takeaways throb, raised voices revelling in that reclining Durban fashion. Even here, the disdain for ‘shiny new malls’ persists — an attitude in itself distinctly ‘Durban’. Rick Andrew, graphic design lecturer at DUT, paints a similar picture:
photo: andrew moore
“Durban is home to three cardinal cultures: African, European and Indian. Boasting fine Art Deco buildings, Indian temples, and Victorian architecture, Durban’s history is manifest in the architecture. In short, Durban is still a place — not just another motherboard on the circuit of retail culture; think of the pavement cafés of Glenwood, Morningside and Musgrave where you can still live the ‘village’ life without living in a shopping mall. There’s the Durban Art Gallery, the KZNSA and ArtSpace, running exhibitions all year. There are clubs, music venues, bookshops and… without mentioning names, I’ve said enough… (Actually, maybe I shouldn’t say anything because the ‘developers’ might read this and come running with their plans for retail efficiency.)” Far from punting retail efficiency, Anna Savage founded the I heart Durban Market two years ago to promote local arts, crafts and design, and has since launched a project to open a DJ bar called UNIT 11. This will be an indie/ electro music venue with an added emphasis on games — so not just music and beer can be enjoyed among friends but also foosball, cards, dice, backgammon and pingpong. Anna also illuminates the state of mind that is ‘Durbanness’: “Durban is paradise. The sea is warm, the plants luscious, the people friendly. It's an African city; it doesn't try to be Eurocentric. Durban is the ugly duckling to Cape Town and Jozi: it's always two steps behind. But it’s because there’s no huge driving force to be current and hip that in fact allows Durbanites to explore their own creativity much more. There are no expectations and so the options are endless. That is where true creativity grows.”
photo: roger jardine
Another creative accolade for the sunshine city is in film, from housing the first cinema in the country in 1909 to the globally acclaimed annual Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). In many ways, DIFF provides the small but passionate Durban art community with a strong fix of credibility and self-esteem. Over 300 films are flighted, most of which are premieres. Dr. Zoë Molver, of UKZN’s media and communication department, has witnessed its virtuosity over the years, and shares her anecdote of the affair: “From 1945 to his retirement in 1975, my father was the Durban ‘Weather Man’. For thirty years, with the help of weather satellites, outsize balloons and (to my child eyes) a magical ability to read feathery cirrus traces and ice-cream-coned cumulonimbus, he would, finger held skyward, predict that we could, after all, go to the Durban Drive-in to see Elvis in Blue Hawaii, as the rain would be over in time for the first show. As Meteorologist’s Daughter I thus cannot claim any responsibility for what I love most about this city — its intense, humid summer heat stretching beyond May. Notwithstanding the challenges to sustainable energy under these conditions, Durban has, for the past 30 years, been home to the Durban International Film Festival, founded by Ros and Teddy Sarkin. With the help of wallcharts, a few volunteers (myself being one), outsize chutzpah and (to my adult eye) a magical ability to get films and filmmakers to South Africa, against all odds, Ros Sarkin would, black hard-cover jotter in hand, assure us that Durban could, after all, get to see Bertolucci’s 318-minute Novecento, albeit that the only copy was still in Hong Kong. And we did.”
photo: roger jardine
As I said, all-or-nothing kinda folk who, given the motivation, make magic happen. Iain Robinson, aka DJ Ewok, Durban-based actor, musician, spoken word performer, poet, graffiti artist and hip-hop activist currently involved with electro hip-hop act Spitmunky, captures the heart of what the city is all about: “It’s the family vibe. There’s no pretension. Even if you’re the headline act, if there’s a sound problem, you know you’re going to be cable-tying shit to the roof. But everyone’s in it to win it. It’s solid. It feels like a real foundation. You feel safe knowing everybody’s on the same trip.” Like grass pushing through cracks in the pavement fighting for sun, there’s a sense that in Durban you will always have to do some struggling. Sometimes it kills you; sometimes it makes you stronger. But there’s something here that makes it worthwhile. It’s something in the air — an omnipresent energy, building up like the pressure in the sweltering summer months. It brews lazily but continuously, quietly and dangerously, day in and day out. And then something snaps. A rumble in the distance; a green flash of light in the afternoon sky; a crack of thunder. Suddenly it’s clear that the intensive build-up has all been towards this moment: for it to be released, explosively, in a storm that’ll either scare you shitless, or remind you why you’re fighting to stay alive.
the Nocturnal Provocateur, a seductive slip dress in multicoloured leopard print silk chiffon, with Chantilly lace appliquĂŠ and Swarovski bust detail and low back with crossed spaghetti straps, styled with a sueded silk chiffon bolero with matching Chantilly lace. IRENE WEARS
the Aristocratic Ghillie, an opulent opera coat in tarnished copper silk dupion adorned in silk ribbon roses, hand-sewn ostrich feathers and crystal beading, fastened by a silk dupion waistband finishing in a large bow with a crystal brooch and ostrich feather bloom.
Rise of the Machines FASHION DESIGNER: HENDRIK VERMEULEN www.hendrikvermeulen.com ASSISTANT: JEAN-DANIEL MEYER PHOTOGRAPHER: STEPHEN GREEFF @ INFIDELS www.stephengreeff.com ART DIRECTOR: GIUSEPPE RUSSO & ULA STYLIST: ULA STYLIST ASSISTANT: NICKI CHAIT HAIR & MAKEUP: JOHANNI NEL PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: ED DIGITAL POST-PRODUCTION: ARMAND SPINOY 021 423 8850 PHOTO ASSISTANT: LIONEL HENSHAW MODELS: SARAH CORRY @ OUTLAW MODELS MICHELLE B @ FAITH MODELS IRENE @ 3D MODELS ALL CLOTHING: AVAILABLE @ HENDRIK VERMEULEN COURURIER, WESTLAKE LIFESTYLE CENTRE
the Fiery Tigress, an empire style dress in printed silk Habotai, with draped bust detail and built-in corset. IRENE WEARS
the Ethereal Leopard, a kimonostyle dress in printed silk chiffon, with obi-style silk organza waspie decorated in hand-beaded corded lace appliquĂŠ.
the Coquine Tentatrice, a mini dress with long sleeves and low back in black hand-beaded French Chantilly lace. IRENE WEARS
the Midnight Vegas, a mini dress with built-in corset, beaded in midnight blue, hematite and silver, styled with a Trapeze coat in hand-dyed silk organza with ostrich feathers in shades of blue, and a hand-beaded neckline. MICHELLE WEARS
the Peregrine Mistress, a Victorian-style corset in chocolate silk satin, draped in teal silk chiffon, fastened with a metal busk. The skirt is bias-cut silk satin with a godet decorated with teal silk chiffon ruffles, appliquĂŠd embroideries and hand beading.
MICHELLE WEARS the Princess Valkyrie, a mermaid silhouette dress with ostrich feathers in shades of grape, dusty rose and platinum on a base of silk organza and silk dupion, with saddle-stitch beading detail and bust adorned in Swarovski crystals.
PUMA & Kehinde Wiley:
LEGENDS OF UNITY WORDS:
PUMA, iconic sportlifestyle company and sponsor of
12 African football teams, recently commissioned New York-based contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley to create four original artworks featuring three of Africa’s most decorated footballers — Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, John Mensah of Ghana, and Ivory Coast’s Emmanuel Eboué. Through their joint collaboration, Wiley and PUMA have created works that do not merely represent the African continent, but engage with it, its people and its traditions. Wiley steeped himself in this creative opportunity when he travelled to West Africa to work with the three celebrated football stars. And, for Wiley, the project has been perception altering. “I’ve experienced a type of American celebrity before, but nothing like we experienced in West Africa,” he explains. “There is a sense in which these men occupy a type of power, a type of grace that can only be seen in a community environment. These people are not simply sports figures; they are stand-ins for the possibilities of fullness within all of us. They accept that responsibility and play with grace and humility.”
This is a sense that Wiley tacitly conveyed through his work for PUMA. Each of the first three portraits focuses on the players as individuals, but ones who are intrinsically united as they all wear the limited-edition PUMA Africa Unity Kit, created as the third kit for all PUMA sponsored African football teams. The kit’s design symbolises the unity of the continent: its brown to blue colour gradient represents the soil to sky progression, with the yellow of the lettering representing the African sun. The unique shade of brown was created by mixing actual soil samples from Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and South Africa. Each of the three artworks, measuring 1.8 by 1.5 metres, expresses the personalities of the individual players. Eto’o’s bright personality is worked into the vividly contrasting green and red tones in the background, while the hint of a smile on his lips speaks to his generosity of spirit. Mensah’s confident forward-facing pose, grounded by the earthy tones in the print behind him, positions him as a man who knows who he is, who is confident in his own skin. Eboué’s portrait, while similar in pose to that of Mensah, subtly expresses a different soul. The deeply detailed royal blue reflects a man who is seen as prestigious and powerful in his community.
A fourth portrait depicts all three men together, in a pose akin to an ancient statue Wiley discovered while touring Africa. This portrait, measuring 2.7 by 3.7 metres, sees Eto’o, Mensah and Eboué interlocking their hands and arms, embodying the unity that football brings about. “It can join an entire community; it can join an entire nation,” says Wiley, “and then when those nations play against each other it becomes a global enterprise.” In their conception, and in Wiley’s carefully considered depiction of the three football greats, the works celebrate PUMA’s long-standing partnership with African football — a point of celebration for them now as four of the twelve African teams PUMA sponsors have qualified for the 2010 World Cup. While Wiley’s earlier work was intent on subverting traditional European portraiture (such as that of French Neoclassical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres), his collaboration with PUMA sources its inspiration from the sculpture of pre-colonial Cameroon. As such, the work embraces an African art tradition that is celebratory. The colours and textures of the backdrops for all four paintings draw heavily on the fabrics of Africa, sourced from the markets and seen on the backs of passing people in the thronging streets. These backgrounds are just as important as the characters themselves, as Wiley witnessed the laborious process of creating the fabrics as well as how much of themselves the creators put into each piece, from the rhythm of beating the cloth flat to the deeply intricate patterns and styles. “My involvement with the design process with PUMA was to concentrate on the textile element of the paintings,” he explains, “to look at West African textiles and to really deconstruct them in such a way that the decoration and colour really came to the fore. I
wanted something that popped but also something that had a certain musicality.” Beyond this, each portrait in the collection carefully incorporates pantones from the PUMA Africa Unity Kit, particularly the rich muddy browns and russet soils, adding yet another skin of meaning to the already complex portraits. Another part of the collaboration between Wiley and PUMA sees the creation of the PUMA Africa Collection. The range comprises apparel, footwear and accessories that all correlate with Wiley’s existing work. From tekkies covered in Wiley’s distinctive prints to t-shirts that reference silhouettes from some of his famous work, the collection is part of the Africa-themed campaign PUMA has embarked on in the lead-up to the World Cup 2010 and integrates seven of Wiley’s graphic patterns into a range of lifestyle pieces. In discussing his collaboration, Wiley reveals: “My style and design aesthetic align perfectly with PUMA in the sense that I think what we are both trying to achieve is a sense of joy. So much of what I try to do in my own work is to bring to the fore that sense of joy and unity we all have inherent in ourselves, and which is possible in each of us. This kinship in our mindsets makes my collaboration with PUMA the perfect marriage.” Art fundis around the globe have been able to marvel at this creative collaboration as Wiley’s four paintings have travelled worldwide, stopping off in Paris, London, New York, Beijing and Milan on their way to touch down in Cape Town in June for the World Cup. The Kehinde Wiley exhibition will take place at Studio One, 186 Bree Street, open to the public from 24 June to 3 July, 10am to 6pm daily. www.puma.com/africa | www.kehindewiley.com
evisu puma slimfit jeans diamond print ‘Better T7’ track top LAURA WEARS
black & red ‘best hoodie’ matching ‘best pant’ leggings
Afro-Gazing PUMA Africa & Kehinde Wiley Collection
PHOTOGRAPHER: IGOR POLZENHAGEN @ INFIDELS PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: ZOË ART DIRECTOR: GIUSEPPE RUSSO @ ONE SMALL SEED STYLIST: HELOISE SYKES @ INFIDELS HAIR & MAKEUP: CAROLINE GODFREY @ INFIDELS MODELS: MARTIN PIETERSE @ BOSS TYRESE BANI @ FULL CIRCLE LAURA SCOTT @ FUSION NAOMI KING @ ICE MODELS ALL CLOTHING: PUMA AFRICA COLLECTION
purple ‘better dress’
green kehinde print ‘best tee’ black, green & purple ‘pieced trackie 1’ black ‘better T7’ track pants
evisu puma slimfit jeans white kehinde windbreaker
evisu puma skinny jeans kehinde pieced top satin bomber blue ‘tekkie chainlink’ sneakers MARTIN WEARS
evisu puma slimfit jeans black & red kehinde bomber jacket red ‘tekkies world top’ sneakers NAOMI WEARS
evisu puma skinny jeans green & red ‘better’ winter jacket
evisu puma skinny jeans red & white kehinde print bomber yellow kehinde shopper black ‘tekkies hunger CVS’ sneakers MARTIN WEARS
evisu puma slimfit jeans black and yellow ‘best trackie’ white ‘917 mid mame’ sneakers
MUSIC: CAPE TOWN MACHINE BLUES
machine I am Ask Sannie Fox what she thinks about, well, anything really, and chances are you will get back a deep and meaningful answer. Such is her way and such is her music… JON MONSOON meets machineri IMAGES:
francois brand and deborah rossouw
In case you haven’t yet been awoken to any good mind-altering music this year, direct your attention now to this band: machineri is the latest incarnation from the musically active imagination of miz Sannie Fox. Fans of femalefronted folk/rock will likely recognise Sannie from either (or both) of her previous musical adventures: Mamma Know Nothing and Black Betty (as featured in Issue 04 of this magazine, back in ‘06). The year 2010 now sees Sannie together with guitarist/one-time Versace model André Geldenhuys tightening the screws, lighting the fuse and otherwise letting rip on a project they have been building since 2008. Comprising two American Fender Stratocasters and a drum kit (presently occupied by the form of Daniel Huxham), bass is absent. The music of machineri (the band’s name a combination of the words ‘machine’ and ‘Eri’, André’s imaginary friend), is intended to be a swift, sharp punch in the neck of mediocrity, and radio music. “Our music is… definitely alternative,” ponders Sannie beneath a wild, wild mane of electric blonde. “Machine-blues… that’s what we like to call it.” “I think our music is rooted in a very strong folk tradition,” she continues, “in the sense that folk music has been around since the dawn of time; it lurks at the heart of most traditional music forms, from Mali to India, and in the music of the Celts, for example.” “But it always comes back to the blues…" interjects André, an eternal blues man, whose Cobain-esque, axe-shredding skills belie his deep love for all things classical music."
Listening to the music of machineri, there is a weird sense of the eternal struggle between space and time. On the one hand, here is singer-songwriter music in the vein of, say, a Sinéad O’Connor or the likes, yet musically it harks back to something a lot more… primal. It also manages to personify its namesake. You get that impression of the repetitive, rhythmic and impersonal thunk and grind of industry tempered by a rootsical, earthy, heartfelt sound that is so alive in the great blues tradition. “We’ve tried different things, but somehow always end up back at the blues,” tells Fox. Lyrically, their songs weave tales of machinery, the human condition, and often the glaring contradictions between the two in this age of technological override. Live, the music of machineri demands an arena, yet it absolutely captivates in small spaces too, such is the craft of the André and Sannie show. “We construct our sets according to the places we play in,” tells the singer. “We never want any two shows to be the same; we want to be better than that, better than anything else out there…” Listening to the song ‘The Searchers’, Sannie Fox’s simmering vocals prowl predatory amid the wild shred and nimble pluck of André’s considered fretboard fingerwork (delivered with all the expression of a modern-day Hendrix), and it is positively psychedelic. This is primal-future folk. This is Rock ‘n Roll; this is the original R&B (before Beyoncé); this is gimmick-free gold, and it is rare. (Their music videos are now showing on YouTube, channel MK and MTV Europe. Go and look.) www.machinerimusic.com www.myspace.com/machineri
The Return of the
Plastic Primates Under a hail of plastic bullets, 2010 sees the much anticipated return of the world’s favourite animated super group. Since the release of 2005’s Demon Days (an album described elsewhere as a “vivid, spastic concept album about the last primates to survive the apocalypse”), the world’s most successful virtual band has been quiet. Rumours of a break-up were confirmed in 2006 when band founder Damon Albarn said: “It’s finished.” Or not. In the fading dawn of 2010, it would appear that the paper band have been doing anything but lining the bottom of pop music’s budgie cage, as a fantastic new plastic album brimful of collaborations with musical greats past and present has washed ashore. Suddenly demonic possessions, assassination attempts, Grim Reapers, Madonna collaborations, hallucinations, explosions and floating islands don’t seem like good enough reasons to keep a good band down. JON MONSOON defogs the periscope…
Imagine looking down a telescope at the end of the pier. Way off in the distance is a little island, green and pristine. From back here it looks like hope… up close it’s just a giant floating piece of decomposing landfill in the middle of nowhere. Grease, garbage, destruction, rusty old pipes and dumped bits of plastic uphold a mansion. Welcome to Plastic Beach.
WHAT?” screeches the animated bassist. “Another sad-sack record company pitting their money on an overly groomed, e-numbered show-pony, in an attempt to bludgeon their audience into submission! I mean… it’s more important to have nice shiny hair than a decent tune these days! It makes me mad!”
“Plastic Beach looks like an escape, like a paradise, but it's actually a drain,” describes Gorillaz bassist Murdoc Niccals down the line on a transcontinental call routed via outer space from the secret studiocum-launch pad that is Plastic Beach. “It's where all the rotten bits of the world end up. Plastic Beach is the blockage at the end of mankind’s drains,” he drawls.
Niccals goes on to describe the ethos behind the new album, which surely contains an environmental message: “It's not a green record. It’s not a judgement on the world... it's just a picture... it's another way of looking at the world. And this is its soundtrack...”
And it is here that the band reformed to produce the new album. As with previous ones, this album is not short on superstar status in the colab department. Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mos Def, Bobby Womack, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (The Clash), De La Soul, and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble have all dropped a unique slice of themselves into the Gorillaz pot. “But it wasn’t all plain sailing,” reveals Niccals. “A couple refused so I had to use another method of coercion. Well, chloroform and Rohypnol really. But I’m immensely proud. I grabbed colours, philosophies, artistic thought from around the world and bundled them into one plastic Polaroid and called it an album.” Pretty snazzy. The album completed, a return to the realities of music promotion disturb the volatile toon. “It’s like a concrete, light-smashing hammer!” he rails, “when you have to return to the realities of salesmanship and cram these delicate eulogies into the traps and get them to race, mongrel style, against the remedial emissions of some farcical Vocoded hophip claptrap! PROMOTION! RACING AGAINST
Or maybe it’s about saying: ‘It's kicking-out time at the last chance saloon. And this is the last record we're playing tonight’. “Yeah… everything’s getting faster and faster. The entirety of time and history and evolution is hurtling towards a single point. Point Nemo… That’s what Plastic Beach is, I reckon.” Niccals pauses to reflect. “Does that make sense? Yeah? Great. Right I’m off for a wazz. Great talking to you. And last one at the bar’s a wanker…” www.gorillaz.com
MUSIC: Return of the Plastic Primates
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HERE TO STEAL OUR PLANET If you don’t know the name, you know the song. It’s the one you find yourself humming the chorus to in line at the bank, feeling as if you do actually have the sun in your pocket and the moon in your hand. “WTF? I don’t even like that song!” you rage, having caught yourself all but breaking into spontaneous dance the fifth time you hum it. Wrong. Truth is you love that song! JON MONSOON interrogates the alien twins that made it. IMAGE:
As of reading this, Locnville are on their way to being megastars (which is funny because ‘the stars’ is quite possibly where they are from). The New York City-born, South Africanraised twins Andrew and Brian Chaplin (with direct lineage to Charlie Chaplin — further proof of extraterrestrial heritage) are fast becoming the most talked-about electro dance duo on the planet. “We always believed in our music, so we were confident in putting it out there,” tells Brian Chaplin of their long-time strategy. And a long time it has been. While most kids aged seven were spending their pocket money at the mall, Locnville were in studio recording their first single (‘Amnesia’) which would appear on an album released exclusively on SA mobile chat site MXit. The duo would be the first group in South African music history to release an album on a social network. Although these kids are creative, it would appear that creativity is not something they have to work at — “We don't sit down and plan to write, it just comes to us,” explains Brian on the intricate process of songwriting in Locnville.
courtesy of just music
Their debut album, released in SA by indie record label Just Music, is apparently hot property elsewhere around the globe too. The twins jetted to LA in April to see who’d give them the most money for a piece of them. “I can't say anything now, but I can say that everything went really well!” says twin brother Andrew. It would appear that mystery is much a part of this band, with speculation surrounding just what (or where) a Locnville is — the guys are keeping schtum about the name and its meaning, hinting only, “All will be revealed, in due time.” Alien or not, there is no denying that Locnville want your attention. And that they will keep on releasing catchy dance tune after catchy dance tune just to make sure they have it. What they do next is anyone’s guess, (“Big plans... You'll see,” says Brian). But, whatever they do, you can safely bet that you will find yourself humming to it as you stand in line at the bank. The mother ship is on its way… www.myspace.com/locnville
Black River Valley is out to rediscover the lost sounds of rock 'n roll. Like some kind of modernday musical Indiana Jones, they’re on a mission to reclaim some ancient forgotten relic of mass importance: something stolen from us by the evils of commercial radio formats, widespread ignorance and MTV. Theirs is a call to abandon mainstream ‘culture’, to spurn the falling evil empire and claim redemption in the roots of rock ‘n roll. Riding forth like apocalyptic horsemen from the ashes of the bands Damn Right, False Pretense, War-on-Salt, and The Stellas, they remember a time when music was once real. (Y’know, the kind of music that made you wanna bite your lip, then scream and shout and stomp your feet?)
“Music isn’t true anymore, it doesn’t… groove anymore” tells frontman Raoul. “I guess the only thing we can do is burn the landscape and paint a new one; a colourful and honest perspective of the old one.” They conjured up the soul of rock ‘n roll, recalled songs with a traditional blues structure, wrestled in a bit of bluegrass and scattered a touch of country twang about, before leaving it with the devil for six days and six nights in a small floral-wallpapered room, where he worked some voodoo then returned it to its keepers with a cheeky smile. More than that, we can’t tell — but know that all will be revealed…. Black River Valley is Raoul, Patrick, Jack and Josh. www.myspace.com/blackrivervalley
Black River Valley WORDS:
jon monsoon |
They roamed from the valley, where no man dwelled Them people of the hills gazed in awe They had soul, shaking, rock ‘n rolling From shadowy waters they gracefully enkindled, asking: “Do you know where the Black River lies?”
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY JON MONSOON (JM), Naomi du Plessis (NDP), WORDY ROCK GUY (WRG) & YUSUF LAHER (YL)
The Rude Mechanical www.myspace.com/wrestlerish
music ed’s album of the season: to win a copy go to p.98 www.gorillaz.com
If you’d asked anyone in the music industry twelve years ago if a make-believe band consisting of four fictional characters set in a pretend universe singing songs about partying, drugs, war and the end of the world would ever catch on, they might have laughed in your general direction. Plastic Beach will be album number three for Gorillaz, and while maybe not as radio-friendly as 2005’s Demon Days outing, it is a fine statement on how collaboration albums should be done, containing, as it does, input from Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, Gruff Rhys, Bobby Womack, De La Soul and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. From song one through to the end, production is the main event, and while everything is hyper and at times teeters on over-kill, surely that’s the point with eco-message mediums? (JM)
Moody, temperamental and likely to hold a grudge for a long, long time, The Rude Mechanical is possibly the best that gushing Pretoria indie folk-pop band Wrestlerish has ever sounded. It’s all in the production: neat, punchy and bold. The playing is slick, especially in the band’s tight, subtly self-assured rhythm section. “The Rude Mechanical is a term used for the lower class in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” explains wrestlerish-sized frontman Werner Olckers. “We just kinda felt it represented the sound of the album.” At night, guitar in hand, he watches “her” dance. During the day, he kisses every inch of her skin. And in between, he stares at photos of her face, promising never to write another song about her. My favourites are fun, up-tempo, full band-sounding jaunts like ‘Bad News’, ‘Oliver Tambourine’ and ‘Capsized’. (YL)
Goldfrapp Head First
Tomorrow, In a Year www.theknife.net
The first ten minutes of this sound like a Pod Racer parking in the rain. Then it really gets weird: think a robotic dinosaur eating an opera singer. Working with Mount Sims and German-based multi-instrumentalist Planningtorock, Tomorrow, In a Year is an electronic, deep-space opera based on Darwin’s On the Origin of Species — if you can believe that. Hauntingly sparse, intense soundscapes, barely audible robot sighs, and ambient documentary noise mixes with mezzo soprano Kristina Wahlin Momme’s beautiful infrequent warbling. Musically, it’s like a murky, black sea of electronic glitches from a far-off place where time doesn’t matter. And all the way through, Tomorrow, In a Year is working its way through Darwin’s notes on evolution. Like the track ‘Letter to Henslow’, which is like a lot of weird monkey noises strung together. (YL)
As eighties as a Jane Fonda workout video: think ABBA or Olivia Newton-John singing the songs of Xanadu, or a sexy part-time welder in leggings and spandex, flashdancing her way through a rather unlikely audition. Goldfrapp’s fifth album, Head First, is a decadent slice of guilty-pleasure synthpop. At the same time, it also packs a 21st-century eighties twist. Catchy, modern production, and the power of hindsight (well, sort of) means that overall there is nothing especially memorable or standout about this album. Mostly, it’s a fun-filled trip down memory lane (albeit a little lazy and rather indulgent) — but who’s not willing to sip on this sugary blend of shoulder pads, lasers and glitter? Some fans will be disappointed with the duo’s wholehearted adoption of all things eighties, while I think it simply comes across as strikingly sincere. (YL)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
Mariachi El Bronx Mariachi El Bronx
While the rest of Planet Punk is busy swapping safety pins, leather jackets and mohawks for acoustic guitars, flannel shirts and mountain beards, Los Angeles rockers The Bronx, performing as their alter egos Mariachi El Bronx, have opted for something completely different. Instead of joining the tightly packed Cowpunk revolution, they have gone mariachi on us, amassing an arsenal of authentic guitars, sombreros and sultry Mexican tones. And, remarkably, there’s nothing gimmicky-sounding about the project… at all. Some fans will be like, “WTF?” but Mariachi El Bronx sounds scarily legit. “Mariachi is every bit as much of a soundtrack to Southern California as punk,” explains frontman Matt Caughthran. And on songs like ‘Slave Labour’, ‘Silver or Lead’ and ‘Sleepwalking’, Caughthran’s gritty, ever-improving vocal melodies blend perfectly with his band’s new dense and soulful mariachi backdrops. (YL)
Lines like “I’m a preacher with a gun” and “I thread the needle through, you beat the devil’s tattoo” will inflame the sceptics, but there’s more to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club than simple rock ‘n roll cliché. It’s a pity, really, that they dip so heavily into that old bag of garage rock tricks. Part of the act, I guess. Because slower, less clichéd songs like ‘Sweet Feeling’ and ‘Bad Blood’, dirty, speaker-tearing thriller ‘War Machine’, and jangling bayou slammer ‘River Styx’ show off just how much more there is to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Fans will just be glad to hear Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been’s bluesy sinners’ vocals again after their 2008 instrumental release, The Effects of 333. Overall, this is an all-over-the-place rock ‘n roll workout, culminating with the 10-minute-long closer, ‘Half State’. (YL)
Vampire Weekend Contra
Bombay Bicycle Club
I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose www.bombaybicycleclubmusic.com
This one caught me by surprise. I was expecting another fun but ultimately short-lived Fratellis or Pigeon Detectivessounding album. Especially on the back of all their New Musical Express hype — culminating with winning Best New Band at the Shockwaves NME Awards earlier this year. But track four, ‘Dust on the Ground’, soon suggests that there’s more to these young London lads than meets the eye. Fuelled by Jack Steadman’s deep, quivering vocals, there’s a surprising angst-ridden sophistication about the song, reminiscent of The National or Joy Division. It’s mature, but it’s also still clear that BBC is a young band: vulnerable, delicate and innocent. The rest of the album is mesmerisingly well articulated, from the rhythm section on big single ‘Always Like This’ to the finality of ‘Cancel On Me’. I still can’t believe they finished school in 2008. (YL)
“Heathens! They’ve stolen our music! They’ve raped our culture!” cry the purists. Personally, I don’t see it. Not this time. Forget Paul Simon and Graceland, this is 2010. And eccentric New York art fags Vampire Weekend’s second full-length, Contra, throbs with originality (and influence). Impressively, they’ve evolved, updated and expanded their rustic ‘upper west coast Soweto’ sound without undoing any of the unfiltered silliness that made it so attractive the first time around. There’s a gentle craziness to vocalist Ezra Koenig that’s hard to define — from his quirky lyrics and unique delivery to his understated wit, impressive vocabulary and timeless sense of composition. Layered with drum machines and other electronic blips and bleeps, the music’s with him every step of the way. And underneath all that playful cleverness, you will find an album with a lot of soul. (YL)
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY JON MONSOON (JM), NAOMI DU PLESSIS (NDP) WORDY ROCK GUY (WRG) & YUSUF LAHER (YL)
American VI: Ain’t No Grave www.johnnycash.com
Van Coke Kartel
Skop, Skiet & Donner www.vancokekartel.co.za
Van Coke Kartel’s third full-length, Skop, Skiet & Donner, is a snarling beast of an album. It’s a patchwork of jams, covers and guest appearances sewn together by Francois van Coke and Wynand Myburgh’s own blood, sweat and tears. With its neat changes, complex beats and hints of what’s to come, ‘Voor Ons Stof Word’ is a great place to start: a fresh introduction to the new electro-friendly Van Coke Kartel. Producer-drummer-electronic music guru Peach van Pletzen (Yesterday’s Pupil, Oorlog Frankenstein) does a great job updating Van Coke Kartel’s hard rock sound without losing that no-retreat, no-surrender underdog flavour we’ve come to expect. (YL)
This is the final, final, this-time-we-mean-it final collection of songs ever recorded by the great Johnny Cash prior to his death in 2003. Released to coincide with Cash’s would-be 78th birthday, producer Rick Rubin has compiled a chilling elegy of songs befitting a man staring down his own physical mortality while taking heart in the knowledge that his legacy will outlive us all. ‘Ain’t No Grave’, the opening chain-dragging dirge, best echoes the former sentiment, while the stripped ‘1 Corinthians 15:55’ finds Johnny asking: “O death, where is thy sting?” in ode to the latter. The album simmers beautifully beneath an undertone of near-acoustic redemption, personified in the cracked covering of Sheryl Crow’s ‘Redemption Day’. By the time album closer ‘Aloha ‘Oe’ (the Hawaiian farewell song) sends us on our way, it’s with sad awe: a fitting end to the works of “the philosopher-prince of American country music”. (JM)
Sun in My Pocket www.myspace.com/locnville
Greatest Hits and More www.thewho.com
A phenomenon of British pirate radio in the mid-sixties, the troublesome quartet of tonsil Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon became the voice of a generation beyond The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. They pioneered the smashingof-instruments-on-stage technique and wrote some damn fine songs along the path of their illustrious career (just ask your dad), becoming “prime contenders, in the minds of many, for the title of World’s Greatest Rock Band” (as described in their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame display). This right here is a double-disc greatest hits collection that is a bit of essential listening for anyone with an interest in original rock and where it came from. Listen and learn. (WRG)
Cape Town’s pretty twins Andrew and Brian Chaplin proved that they have what it takes to make it in the big, bad music industry after recording their first song at the tender age of seven. Now nineteen apiece, they have adopted a ‘hip hop electro-synth’ sound and the result is the ridiculously catchy first single and album Sun in My Pocket that is proving to be a runaway hit with lumo vest-wearing, air fist-pumping radio kids who have yet to develop a real taste in music. The brothers’ lively-to-mediocre beats, together with their robotic monotone voices, makes the album sound like one continuous and gradually annoying mix, as opposed to 13 individual tracks. Comes with a bonus disc containing, absurdly, 12 remixes of that catchy ‘Sun in My Pocket’ song that is slowly driving me to drink. (NDP)
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY MAX BARASHENKOV (MB), JON MONSOON (JM)
DVD REVIEWS THE ROAD (2009)
Directed by: John Hillcoat Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron Category: Post-Apocalyptic Thriller Country: United States
I never wanted to be a dad, but The Road changed my mind — even if it is just to have a 30kg steak follow me around, for when things turn sour. Generally, people found the adaptation of Cormack McCarthy’s novel too grim and depressing to be enjoyed. That crowd should be cryogenically frozen until the next Twilight film comes out. The Road is cinema at its best — brutally honest and realistic within what’s basically a science fiction premise. Perhaps due to the limited number of leads, The Road offers characterwork unparalleled in Western commercial cinema — Mortensen’s rendering of The Man is so good that for two hours you forget he will always be Aragon. The audience is denied the actual cataclysm and, instead of being littered with post-apocalyptic shenanigans, the film focuses on the story, inducing in the viewer a decaying trance, and an emotionalphysical response I haven’t felt since Eraserhead. (MB)
MEMORIES OF MURDER (2003)
Directed by: Joon-ho Bong Starring: Kang-ho Song Category: Serial Killer Action Country: South Korea
EX DRUMMER (2007)
Directed by: Koen Mortier Starring: Dries Van Hegen, Norman Baert, Gunter Lamoot, Sam Louwyck Category: Black Comedy / Anti-Musical Country: Belgium
Three things the Belgians can do are chocolate, beer and gritty intense cinema. Ex Drummer sidesteps the utter grime of Belgian poverty as explored in Rosetta and La Promesse, but is still firmly grounded in the low end of society where the dirt breeds. Superbly shot, Mortier’s debut feature is a depraved celebration of all things punk rock — booze, drugs, sex, noisy music and spontaneous violence. The story unfolds like a crackaddled fairytale: three disabled delinquents approach a famous writer to join their band. The writer, he can’t play drums for shit, but he knows a good story when it sits steaming on his doorstep and, backed by a strong low-key performance by Dries Van Hegen, amounts to one of the most charismatic semi-intellectual antiheroes ever. Far from a shock-fest, Ex Drummer is a twisted exploration of those who use others for their own gain and then discard them, filling whole gutters with broken men. (MB)
Though the grizzly cover promises gratuitous South Korean violence, Memories of Murder is a modern buddy-movie, masquerading as a serial-killer investigation. Easily the best thing out of Korea since Oldboy, the film slips from thriller to comedy to drama and back, in the space of a single scene — the script being phenomenally well written despite the ‘based on real events’ tag. For all its technical and cinematic greatness, Memories of Murder really belongs to KangHo Song (The Host; The Good, The Bad and The Weird), playing Park Doo-man, a small-town cop following a string of murder-rape cases. Now, I’m an incredibly uncultured individual and not adept at reading Asiatic facial expressions, but this guy really made me feel it. The relationship between him and his fly-kicking partner is what keeps you watching, as they struggle to keep their lives together in the middle of Korea’s most notorious killer hunt. (MB)
The Best of Motörhead (2002)
Directed by: N/A Starring: Motörhead (Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, Phil Campbell, Mikkey Dee) Category: Music Country: United States
What is described as a ‘Best Of’ the legendarily wild Brit metal act Motörhead is exactly what it says on the box: fourteen magic moments in metal from an iconic band we’d all do well never to forget, such was their impact on rock ‘n roll post-1980s plasticity. Once the subject of controversy in that each of the songs showcased here, filmed as if in a ’live performance‘, are in fact mimed in a studio to an audience of a cameraman, this does nothing to detract from the collection’s brilliance. Originally released in 1986 on VHS-tape under the title Deaf Not Blind (with a different track-listing), you now get to wave your hair to such evergreen classics as ‘Ace of Spades’, ‘Overkill’, ‘Bomber’, ‘Iron Fist’, ‘Motorhead’ and just about every other song the band were known for in their illustrious pre-1980s heyday, remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. (JM)
BIG FELLAS (2008)
Directed by: Philip Roberts Starring: Colin Moss, Marc Lottering, Cokey Falkow Category: Comedy Country: South Africa
Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball (2010)
Directed by: P.J. Pesce Starring: Vinnie Jones, Tom Berenger, Michael Parks, Autumn Reeser, Martha Higareda Category: Action Country: United States
In what was criminally a straight-to-DVD release for the ’prequel’ to the insanely brilliant Smokin’ Aces 1, what we have here is a low-budget, highaction tale that tells you nothing about how-things-got-so-out-of hand in Smokin’ Aces 1 (spoiler alert: everyone dies in the end). Also, original director Joe Carnahan is absent on this one, so, all-in-all, view it as a separate entity, not even a piece of the same puzzle. The plot tells of FBI agent Walter Weed and the motley crew of crazed killers who converge upon his position hoping to claim the sizeable bounty upon his head. If you’re eye-balling this expecting to see the plot of the first even remotely referenced, boy, will you be sad. I wasn’t — but then I enjoy no-budget action films where the characters are under-developed and the storyline as flimsy as the truth in a stripclub. Loads of mindless, garishly violent, picturesque fun. (JM)
I think the makers of Big Fellas intended it to be a screaming reminder that, though District 9 was awesome, it’s too early to become excited about the local film industry. There is no other explanation for its existence. Even the critics got it wrong — “South African comedy of the year” the jacket proclaims. Yeah, maybe with large doses of LSD it might be funny, but weed sure didn’t help its cause. The story gets lost… no wait, there’s no story to begin with, just Colin Moss discovering that acting isn’t the same as hosting Idols. Though the cast includes such prominent SA comedians as Cokey Falkow and Marc Lottering, their humour is replaced by a script that was written in Elvish, translated into Xhosa, and then again into English. The only redeeming factor is the director, who packs the narrative with absolutely unconnected shots. Perhaps our very own Tarkovsky? (MB)
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY JESSICA MANIM, SARAH CLAIRE PICTON & SARAH JAYNE FELL
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LOCNVILLE Towards the end of 2009, Locnville has elevated to a musical league unsurpassed in South Africa. The reason? Well, aside from sexy school-boy appeal, 19-year-old twins Brian and Andrew Chaplin caused a welcomed riot of hip-hop electric fusion that has ignited the youth of SA, with ‘Sun in my Pocket’ now a radio favourite nationwide. one small seed caught up with the New York-born, Cape Town-raised boys behind the scenes of their latest music video ‘There’, shot in Salt River on 30 April 2010. Read our article on page 99 for more on the band, then visit www.onesmallseed.tv to watch this exclusive interview.
BALKANOLOGY Cape Town: an urban festival of colour and surprise, of magnetic innovation and magical affairs — one in particular being the annual Balkanology extravaganza. Held this year at the Vaudeville Theatre in late April, one small seed became immersed amongst the bizarre once again to document the madness. A sensory delight of Toby2Shoes, Hopa Banda and The Nomadic Orchestra, as well as impressive décor and eccentric personalities… we caught up with Balkan fans and captured the magic that resonated throughout. Catch the completely carnivalesque action of the evening — only on one small seed TV.
PROJECT AIKO: RISE OF THE MACHINES one small seed’s latest fashion spread ’Project Aiko: Rise of the Machines’ (p.74) shows an exquisite collection by renowned local haute-couture fashion designer Hendrik Vermeulen. With one small seed’s editor-in-chief Giuseppe Russo as art director and photographer Stephen Greeff working his magic behind the lens, models were transformed into robotic femme fatales in a plot of drama and thrill. one small seed filmed the process to show you how our fashion editorials come into being. Head to www.onesmallseed. tv to discover a world of captivating beauty, composition and style, heightened reality, and conceptual innovation.
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PUMA/KEHINDE WILEY FASHION FEATURE New York visual artist Kehinde Wiley was commissioned to do paintings for Puma in celebration of African football, and his largerthan-life images captured our imaginations. For our fashion section this season, one small seed constructed a shoot inspired by his art, featuring Puma’s African Lifestyle Collection. Photographer Igor Polzenhagen presents an aesthetic discourse, both provocative and ambiguous, as Wiley’s images infuse contemporary African flair to Puma’s range. For an in-depth read on the artist, turn to page 82, followed by the fashion feature on page 86. Then go online to one small seed TV for the behind-the-scenes footage.
HORSE THE BAND Late in March, American act Horse the Band journeyed to South Africa on their Reign in Africa tour. Their unique blend of electro and metalcore has been termed Nintendocore by the band themselves and while out in an increasingly wintery SA, the band played with several of the country’s own metal bands. In this two-part series we chat to the band and supporting acts when they play at the Wynberg Sports Club in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. Tune in for some hardcore metal action to one small seed TV.
SOWING THE SEEDS FT. The DIRTY SKIRTS At Sowing the Seeds — the lead-up event to Rocking the Daisies — we interviewed organisers Complete Events, as well as local muso favourites 7th Son, The Dirty Skirts and The Little Kings, before capturing all three bands live in action. The event took place at the Scarborough Farm House in Cape Town in April 2010. As South Africa’s only eco-friendly festival, Rocking the Daisies balances a hard-partying spirit with an eco-conscious ethos. Sowing the Seeds is their teaser event, giving the public a tiny taste of what to expect at the weekend-long festival later on in the year.
CITY SLICKERS POSTER SHOW Alive with colour and innovation, City Slickers, held at the Wessel Snyman Creative on 16 April, captured the energy of Cape Town with an exhibition of over 80 screen-printed posters, designed by local graphic designers and artists. The event also served as the launch for Verb, and exhibited an exclusive range of limited-edition skateboards designed by 12 South African artists. Satirical and controversial, the themes of the exhibition remained urban and current, and approached relevant political, social and cultural agendas. We chat to the organising team and the crowd at the opening night in this one small seed exclusive.
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DEPARTMENTS: THE LAST WORD
Did you know that censorship is all around us? Enforcing the will of the small-minded upon us with blackened fingers, poking into our eyes and stuffing claws into our ears and obstructing our free-thinking minds of brain-delight? Ass is not a word these people want you to hear, and yes, maybe no-one wants to hear an ass in full toot, but many people want to feel ass. Really, is this something up with which you are willing to put? Four five six (for fuck’s sakes), we’re all modern people (other than you on your penny-farthing, you hipster retro scum). Instantaneously, we uncensored ourselves — did you see what we did there through your Wayfarers? (Not that we’re going to mention them, because we decided to censor ourselves again.) Fudge! (fuck) And we did it again, uncensored ourselves like Napoleon taking out his rotten little hand from beneath his greatcoat. Horses and monkeys. Pantsfuls. Scary, isn’t it? All of you don't realise how much the corporations affect your life. You might know, or not, how much eurodollaryenpounds are spent by the big corpos on securing their own bullcock so that you will lap it up and buy, buy, buy! So much so that there are certain words we can't even say about a certain sporting event happening ten years after we were all worried that Y2K would delete our emails from Heidi Klum. So stop blowing your fake plastic horns, and stop waving flags because it's unpatriotic. Or, buy certain TVs from certain Japanese makers. Cars from Korean makers would also be patriotic. Caring for the environment by laying massive pieces of lawn, upon which to play a game with a round ball that is not cricket, is also good. Expect thousands of blowy, spinny devices to come to your country, the one that hangs around at the very bottom of the continent and upon which it is assumed life originally evolved. Realistically, though, that is all we hope for.
Would you care to think of how important this could be for us? Our rivers could flow with chocolate; children could sprout mathematic and science skills out of their ears. Rambunctious parties will be held in the streets of our cities (that one with the mines, and that other one with the flat mountain, not to mention the one with the bananas). Lordy, all of the problems of this country could be solved. Disasters: no more. Conveniently, we were able to catch a ride on a future-fish into the beginning of 2011 (we can say that without fear of lawyers). Unfortunately, not much had changed; in fact, everyone seemed a little depressed because the big party was over and our team of players who play a game with a round ball, which is not volleyball, didn’t win. Particularly interesting, however, was the case of a certain airline that ran a certain ad about a certain sporting event that was not liked too much by a certain organising body — it really seemed quite childish at the beginning of 2011. 2 things still need to be said about censorship. One: we are all old, ugly and clever enough to see through these silly brand messages. 1 more coming up. Other one: censorship only makes us want to see what’s being censored — remember those stars on those nipples? For your edification, we have compiled a list of words that in the future we feel should be censored. Unless you can think of any better ones. Cute we may be. Kick ass we will too, if you say these words. Capsicum Orange Pontification Yippee! Rooting hormone Inkwells Gunk Harlot Turbine-tits Yours (word removed) John Smith and John Smith P.S. There is absolutely NO hidden message in this article.
ANNELIE RODE NATASJA FOURIE WESLEY VAN EEDEN, PETE REYNOLDS & ANDREW MC GIBBON DYLAN CULHANE WARREN VAN RENSBURG
WRITE THE FUTURE Together with Nike, one small seed has put together this exclusive artist feature. AFTER 10 is a project briefed by Nike, where selected South African creatives were asked one simple question: 'What do you think the world would look like if an African team won a global football tournament? Give us your interpretation of how the effect of a single win could shift our cultural landscape forever.' The resulting work is a showcase of five South African creatives, all of whom were briefed to create an artwork in their medium of choice. The artists showcased in the following pages have been filtered through from an initial fifty who were invited to offer their creative proposals, and so the work you see here is the very best of the concepts that were submitted to Nike and one small seed. In a further embodiment of AFTER 10, an exhibition will be held to showcase the works in the flesh and in their entirety, following the launch of this magazine. More details will follow via our newsletter, so sign up to receive more information on www.onesmallseed.com. From Nike and one small seed, we hope you enjoy the creative showcase that follows, and that, like us and the artists we have worked with, you will be inspired by the amazing possibilities that football can offer.
ANNELIE RODE The Star of Africa Crown crystal, metalised plastic & stainless steel Annelie’s AFTER 10 vision depicts a gloriously unexpected victory for the South African hosts. The Queen congratulates her erstwhile colony by returning the Cullinan diamonds (pilfered in 1905), one of which is the largest diamond in the world: the Star of Africa. The diamonds are set in a new African crown modelled on the Makaraba: the traditional miner’s hardhat that is transformed by artisans into hats for soccer fans. The irony is beautiful as the hat used to mine the diamonds now becomes the crown that houses them. It is a crown for the people of the new African Royal Family, the South African national team — the stars of Africa. Artist: Annelie Rode Photographer: Adriaan Louw Graphic Designer: Philip Erasmus Model: Yannick Ilunga
NATASJA FOURIE Cape Town, Cairo, Kinshasa photographic series Natasjaâ€™s AFTER 10 concept was to capture global women, who use African iconology to express themselves, in an urban-looking Western environment. The lighting and look were inspired by American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia's famous Times Square portraits from the series Heads. Hair & Makeup: Bianca Hartkopf Assistant: Henry Maritz Stylist: Neira Zahirovic Photographic Asssistant: Juan Voges Model: Brigitte N @ 20 Management
NATASJA FOURIE Cape Town, Cairo, Kinshasa photographic series
WESLEY VAN EEDEN, PETE REYNOLDS & ANDREW MC GIBBON Diagram of a Heart digital illustration As an artist, Wesley’s work is based on research. For this AFTER 10 project he wanted to do something he has never done before. For Diagram of a Heart, Wesley turns the concept of street portraits onto its head. Rejecting mainstream media and subverting the world’s preoccupation with outward appearance, he instead considers: How would a portrait look if we knew what was inside the person’s heart? Wesley captures the thoughts of students in a township near his home for his AFTER 10 project, to document ordinary people and to give them a voice. He then takes their written thoughts and reinterprets them into an image. The process is documented by a photographer so the viewer gets a sense of what the students feel and believe in, which Wesley feels is far more important than how they look — hence the title A Diagram of a Heart. At the installation at the Nike AFTER 10 exhibition, a video that was used to interview the lovely kids of KwaMashu will be shown. Illustrator: Wesley van Eeden Cameraman & Creative: Peter Reynolds Photographer: Andrew Mc Gibbon www.hopeproject.co.za
DYLAN CULHANE XI: A New Mythology mixed media Dylanâ€™s expedition into the AFTER 10 concept found him envisioning a hypothetical near future in which South Africa miraculously trumps Brazil in the final. Dylan has created a storybook that will explain the significance, the sheer impossibility, and hence the magic of that day to generations to come. Adopting a magical realist mode, he sketches a vivid and surreal scenario in the mode of African storytelling, coming up with a contemporary mythology for South Africa; a narrative played out for a mere two hours in mid-2010, but preserved for eternity in the amber of the storybook. A simple evocative story is accompanied by lush graphics created with a combination of photography, found images, digital matting, paint, collage and etching. His project manifests as a physical, persisting document that might be regarded as fantasy today, but for all we know it could be history tomorrow. After all, far more curious tales exist in the annals of human history... www.dylanculhane.com
WARREN VAN RENSBURG Crying Series photographic series When conceptualising this exhibition for AFTER 10, Warren was drawn to the initial emotions people would have if their country won a major football tournament, a moment that would host slight anxiety, pure relief and finally, a frenzied madness. As a portrait photographer, he is always in search of capturing a moment that is stolen and unearthed, and thus came up with the Crying Series. This series is about the small subtleties the face shares with the viewer in wondrous oblivion. His challenge was to re-create these emotions as a conceptual story that would not feel contrived or set. Photographerâ€™s Assistant: Martin Rippel www.warrenvanrensburg.com www.warrenvanrensburg.blogspot.com
WARREN VAN RENSBURG Crying Series photographic series
Published on May 31, 2010