Reasons to Return To SOuth AFrica

The things in the day of the life of an artist in a new land! It started on a Sunday afternoon when I walked to Arts on Main in Maboneng Province to see all that Art- from craft to fine art! Though I don’t really have the arrogance to differentiate between ‘craft’ and ‘fine art’. There are really no lines between creative work, only perceptions of exclusive inclusion and stuff.

Anyway, I enjoyed seeing all the creativity on display at Art on Main, that open bazaar! Then parked by the corner of the street I saw this mad mercedes benz! Some passersby saw me ogling at it and actually thought the car belonged to me. I wish! But one of them, a lady, said the car really would fit me. So that got me day-dreaming! Afterwards, she asked me to pose by the car as though I was the owner so that she could snap us. It wouldn’t hurt any, so I did, grinning like a proud father.  Who would know the difference between one man and the other, anyway?! I guess they possibly thought the car fitted me because I had my retro Leica X2 camera slung across my shoulder.

Some of the pictures come from another night in Johannesburg, as I hung out with my neighbour Que and his brother as they smoked. I enjoy rides on the Gautrain because it is fast and hassle-free. I just load money in the card and don’t wait to queue. The clean, well-lighted coaches are just so refreshing pauses as one transits. On one of those journeys to Pretoria, I got into conversation with this boy. He was moved that I was an artist. He felt a kinship. But he later decided to become a lawyer. My case was different- dad had wanted me to be a lawyer but I preferred to study Arts, and at a later date, study Law. Maybe, when the rule of law is being obeyed in my country. Then I may actually have a chance at it.

On another day, I went to see Kemang’s exhibition at the Stevenson. I had seen his work in May in Dakar. This show was fuller. My view? Does it really matter? Opinions are like assholes-everyone has his! It would be interesting if you formed yours independent of another person. Afterall, we see the world differently, individually.

Portraits of Mandela light up the cityscape. Then there are the militant-looking political campaign posters…The graffiti artists of Johannesburg are hard at work. They deface where they will, just to put a message across, to add some colour. Art really has some importance in this society. The landscape is replete with colours. Of course there are lower, subcity zones, places where you find abandoned and dilapidated skyscrappers with dirt and clothing hanging from broken windows. Yes, I also went to Hillbrow. I had to hide my camera as I passed by. This was on good advice from my friends. I am loving it all. What is life if there are no contrasts? Things come in shades of grey, fading to white, or black, depending on one’s way of seeing things. I enjoy the colours.



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