Around Harrington Street

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?

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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.


15 thoughts on “Around Harrington Street

  1. You are ahead of me. Was planning to picture Capetonian graffiti and wall paintings for out next trip into the ‘Wild West’ of the Western Cape (first week of June) when we have to make some deliveries ( ) in a.o. Buitenkant Street, Watershed and Cape Quarters. Will try to find other spots now and hope you don’t mind to see an incidental overlap. The Bagel place is awesome BTW.

    Herman 😉


    1. Not at all Herman and besides, there’s loads out there to photograph. It’s something that’s been on my To Photograph list for absolute months since a schoolfriend of my son’s published a book about CT graffiti (I haven’t read it, I missed the launch) but like you, I dread the trek on a weekday 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, at last you capture something closer to home! I love this post. Love the street art and I am envious of your tasty bagel – so cheap!! I hope there will be more… (and bagels) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. :-0 Thank you Jude. I was really pleasantly surprised at what could be found by walking a few blocks in the inner city. And I went on a whim, not expecting anything. I know the city centre is full of similar delights, so I really should reserve a few future Saturdays for venturing over the mountain and into another ‘hood!


    1. I know there is an abundance in the city and on the outskirts so I may just pre-book my Saturdays for a little more exploring. Watch this space 🙂 When you are home and settled, share a few of yours, I’d love to see them.


  3. This is a really nice blog. I enjoyed the photo’s! I have worked in the area since 1988 when Ons Plek Projects for female street children opened as the first shelter for girl street children in S.A. Then we had up to 150 new girls running to the streets every year but within 4 years we had begun to reduce the number actually living on the street so that now there are only about 5 girls at any one time on the streets due to our preventative and early intervention therapies. So much has changed in the buildings around us. Having Faith 47 work on our building was a special honour and with it came an increased awareness and appreciation of the many other street art works some of which you have captured.
    Thank you for taking the time to correctly caption our details- that is rare!
    Pam Jackson -Ons Plek


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Pam and thank you for stopping by. Your informative website enabled me to caption accurately 🙂 I’d like to photograph a lot more street art in the coming months so any suggestions would be welcome. A huge thank you also for the amazing work your organisation does for our girl children!


      1. Have you tried following Faith 47 s work all over Cape Town and township areas Her work is on her website but it is really exciting to go to the spots oneself in town and Woodstock


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