Dreamlike landscape, whatever your view if you try and capture a glimpse of it on photo it will always result unreal, a photo montage. Cape Town is the exact opposite of what you may imagine. The southernmost tip of Africa, the city that you would expect the least when you choose to undertake this trip. One of my dearest affections lives there and it was the main reason I traveled there, followed by a strong sense of curiosity to find out about what was called the “Mother City”.
Cape Town is sandwiched between Robben Island, for years the prison of Nelson Mandela and the imposing Table Mountain. Since the end of apartheid, the oldest city in South Africa that exceeds in size cities like New York, decided to be reborn. And ‘the story of two realities, one made of indescribable landscapes, a disarming nature and a strong desire for revenge, in sharp contrast to poverty, racism and neglect. The election as World Design Capital in 2004 has defined the beginning of an evolutionary process in total growth. Four million people have been asked to find ways to be reborn along with their city, using creativity as a mean of social transformation.
Change is reached step by step, for proof we just need to look at District Six, an area east of Cape Town now recovering after a white government that in the sixties had 60,000 black residents deported to the Cape Flats areas outside the city also called Township. Thirty-eight years later, Mandela made sure to re-enter the neighborhood residents who had been expelled for racial reasons. The question is still open.
A suburb that is the emblem of this operation is definitely Woodstock, an elegant and fruitful area in the year 800 that suffered an impoverishment during the next century with the closing of factories and an abandonment of many. In 2006 two dealers, Justin Rhodes, New York, and Cameron Munro, Zimbabwe see a potential in Cape Town, The Neighbourgoods Market and The Old Biscuit Mill are the results. An artisan food market and design that draws a huge crowd every weekend, hosted by an old biscuit factory restored and transformed into a collection center for design studios and shops.
Since then numerous companies have sprung up along the Albert Road, the walls of the houses have become special canvases for art and the expression of ideas. There are many artists who have chosen this area to exhibit in new galleries or leave their imprint in this area in search of new light, making art and design a new element of revenge and investment for the new generations of young Africans.
An ongoing attempt to redraw Cape Town having history, culture, art and ethnic groups coexist, it won’t be easy, human nature will be the key or the impediment to this revolution. With all it has to offer I really hope it be the beginning of a new world. Looking forward to going back, to see the fruits, the smiles that are always present on their faces despite everything, indelible in my mind, I get excited looking back at the pictures and I enjoy my “pain of Africa”.
“A winner is only a dreamer who never gave up”