Picture 1: Art display in I Was Shot In Joburg in Maboneng
Picture 2: Interactive wall art along a street in Maboneng, which suits me well.
Picture 3: View from our beach house in Cape Town, the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
This morning we admired and shopped at a place called Arts on Main in Maboneng, Johannesburg. This place has been considered the “Brooklyn” of South Africa and is noticeably the up and coming hipster location. The shops, aesthetic, and art were incredible. I was able to purchase a post-modern portrait of Nelson Mandela and a print of a photograph taken of wall art that says “write the future.” I should explain where my second piece of art came from because it truly represents the actual community and the people rather than a cute hipster hang out. I got it from a studio called I Was Shot In Joburg. This project originated from a community service outreach program to teenage orphans in the area. Embittered by their circumstances, these students were asked to find beauty in the place they lived. Therefore, the studio is dedicated to that project and all the photographs are from those students. I wanted to buy everything. Not only does this project give these children a way to creatively expressed themselves, it’s a way for them to find their own light in their own situation. Coincidently, most of the photographs were of graffiti and wall art spread across almost every building in their community. I chose to get “write the future” because not only does in apply to my love of reading/writing and even history, as we need to learn from it and move forward, but also because the entire project is about an opportunity for these kids to have agency in their lives. In such a devastating circumstance, this project gives them a way to show how their creativity and perspective of their community matters. I’m grateful to have this reminder of their light and optimism.
After enjoying the culture of Maboneng, we headed to the airport to fly to Cape Town. All week I’ve been told that Cape Town is much different than Johannesburg, but my expectations were no where near what I thought. I should preface by saying that I do love Johannesburg, I got a clear sense of the history and loved visiting the people in the surrounding townships. However, Cape Town is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is because of its beauty that I’m wondering if the struggles of it’s people and the history are covered more than in Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, it’s impossible to hide the ongoing segregation and wealth disparity, but Cape Town has seemed lavish in comparison. Although, when driving to the team house I did see shanty communities. Simply put, my first impression is that segregaation and wealth disparity may be more dramatic in Cape Town so much so that from my accomodations this place seems like paradise when I know from the situation of the entire nation that that is not the case.