The ubiquitous blue doors of Essaouira

There is something magical about Essaouira that sets it apart from other Moroccan cities.  From the palm-lined avenues of the fortified medina with it’s orderly labyrinth of alleyways, to the tranquil harbour where you can watch fishing nets being mended and traditional boats being built, to the most amazing sunsets, all while indulging in the best gelatto in Morocco. In winter 🙂

And then there are the doors – in every hue of blue you can imagine.  I found them absolutely captivating.

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Jude, who blogs at https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/ is passionate about doors, especially blue ones.  Jude, this post is for you 😉

 

 

 

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About that washing ……

Casablanca could easily be dubbed City of Laundry.  With inner city space scarce in a metropolis that houses in excess of 3.3-million people, every conceivable spot is used to hang wet washing. And I mean everywhere!!casa-street-art-1-of-14

Even without the real street art, it sometimes looks like street art.

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(Note the ubiquitous satellite dishes never too far away in the background)

Muizenberg Street Art

More gorgeous street art right on my doorstep!  From a wall mural on a landmark Backpackers lodge to a private home and an African Monarch Butterfly on an office space.  All absolutely gorgeous.  The Stoked mural is the work of four artists – Mak1one, Ice7, Sergio Rinquist and Claire Homewood of The One Love Studio.

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Woodstock – its Art and its People Part II

Sunday morning and Woodstock is filled with sights and sounds as I walk the narrow streets searching for street art.  It’s easy to find because it’s everywhere, depicting anything from South Africa’s dark past, to more colourful themes.15-IMG_9417Sometimes there is a message, often one of hope.  Other times, a reminder of how far we have come as a nation and as individuals.56-IMG_9561Or something profound and complex in its simplicity.27-IMG_9469Other times the message is quite surprising:  A suburb also sadly tainted by drugs and crime and hardship and litter, Woodstock is the last place I expect to be reminded about the dwindling numbers of South Africa’s national bird.35-IMG_9486Friendly locals pause on their way to church, happy to direct me to yet another piece where artists from all over the world have left their mark on Woodstock’s walls.11-IMG_9403Children play games on patches of bald earth while their mothers toil their way through a piles of washing.  Others are content to do very little.52-IMG_953958-IMG_956855-IMG_9554And among all of this colour and activity, nature makes its own art, like these grasses clinging to life through an old grille.64-IMG_9594

Beauty in Negative Spaces – Exploring Woodstock’s Street Art

My unexpected discovery of abundant street art in Cape Town led to my exploring Woodstock, a suburb on the fringes of the city that is fast becoming Street Art Central.08-IMG_9373

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Situated between the Table Bay docks and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, Woodstock is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicity that has had a long history of being run down, teeming with drugs, crime and litter, and while none of this will disappear overnight (oh that litter!), the last decade has seen a dramatic facelift with innovative businesses and trendy eateries converting and revamping abandoned buildings and warehouses.

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Almost every conceivable space is covered.  You’ll find works of varying quality on most street corners and adorning even the simplest of homes.

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And although Woodstock is high density living among the surrounding industry, it’s dotted with loads of Victorian semi-detached houses with a feel for yesteryear.  Many have been beautifully restored, while the neglected look of others is adorned with colourful pieces or art from scraps of wood.

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An additional treat is the omnipresent and iconic slab of mountain Cape Town is famous for as a backdrop.

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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.

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What would Cape Town be without a quote from Madiba?

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I love how dozens of buttons fill in this key.

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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.

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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.

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*South African slang meaning for free, gratis or for nothing.