Living and working in the southernmost suburbs of Cape Town, my forays into the city centre are rare. When I do head that way, more often than not, I’m focused on staying alive (dodging the ubiquitous ‘law unto themselves” minibus taxis) and avoiding pedestrians, traffic jams, busloads of tourists et al. Taking in whatever else is going on in my own beautiful city is seldom an option :-)
Saturday mornings though, I recently discovered, are the perfect time to slip into the inner city and take in the sights and sounds that are normally hidden by congestion and the weekday pandemonic hustle and bustle of what is probably the prettiest major African city. In fact, the streets were practically deserted when I attended a photographic workshop a few blocks up from Parliament this weekend.
Equipment-wise, I was unprepared. My camera was at home charging, but I followed the urge to set off on foot with my cellphone and I was pleasantly surprised at what could be found traversing a few blocks around a single street – in this case Harrington Street.
Graffiti is prolific and exceptionally good in Cape Town and I’ve been itching to photograph some for a while, so I was delighted to stumble across some really good pieces in the immediate area that weren’t obscured by people and traffic.
Given that xenophobia has recently reared its ugly head again, it was a meaningful coincidence that this piece was the first I stumbled upon. We could all learn something from taking a good look at this beautiful graphic depiction by Boa Mistura, a Madrid-based art collective.
What would Cape Town be without a quote from Madiba?
I love how dozens of buttons fill in this key.
Architecturally along Harrington Street, the old blends with and the new with several buildings dating back to the start of the 20th century. Next door to a historic double story, New York Bagels served a delicious Saturday special for only R20 – a bagel filled with salmon trout and scrambled egg. That, as we say in these parts, is for “mahala“*. And did I mention it was absolutely delicious?
Around the corner I found the interestingly decorated Ons Plek (Our Place), Cape Town’s only residential Child and Youth Care Centre specialising in developmental and therapeutic services for girls who have lived, worked or begged on the streets of the Mother City. The mural is the work of Faith47.
And finally, the decorative landmark home of yumminess, Charly’s Bakery. I’m looking forward to many more Saturday mornings of being a tourist in my own city.
*South African slang meaning for free, gratis or for nothing.