Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A photo walk through Woodstock, Cape Town

Woodstock (Table Mountain and Devil's Peak in the background)

Art & Words
Cape Town is a sprawling city, containing many ‘suburbs’ that used to be small towns in themselves. Woodstock is one such suburb, about 1 kilometer from the city centre (or ‘town’ as it is called here’).

My introduction to Cape Town two years ago was in Woodstock. This is where I lived and volunteered for a month and a half on my first visit to the city. Woodstock continues to draw me back – I find myself coming back to this area often.

It is a fascinating and intense space:

Van taxis swerve and squeal through traffic while the conductors shout their destinations. 
Vendors line the streets selling their wares.
Funky cafes, art galleries and antique shops abound.
Devils Peak provides a stunning background to the myriad side streets adorned with brightly painted houses.
Pigeons and the occasional scroungy dog pick through the mounds of trash. 
Circles of barbed wire line virtually every fence.

Beauty & barbed wire

Woodstock has a unique history as one of the areas that remained integrated during apartheid, escaping the forced removals that saw its neighbouring suburb; the once vibrant District 6 bulldozed and classified a ‘white only’ area. Today it continues to be a diverse space.

Elaine was a resident of the former District 6. She was forcibly removed during apartheid and moved to Woodstock years ago to be close to where she grew up. 
Cape Town has been selected by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the World Design Capital for 2014 (the last two awards were giving to Helsinki and Seoul). The objective of the award is to recognize and showcase cities that are dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.

Woodstock really stands out to me in this regard, using design for social, cultural and economic ends.  

Although it is a microcosm of the inequality present throughout South Africa, I believe that this place has something really special. It is full of beautiful and uplifting street art and crammed with visuals of hope, vibrance and beauty.

The graffiti is a combination of esthetics, inspiration, politics and poetry.

Here are some offerings from today’s stroll through Woodstock with a camera...

Feeding the Pigeons

You've Got the Whole World in Your Hands

Part 1 - Evolution (?)

Part 2 - Evolution (?)

Part 3 - Evolution (?)

Removing the greyness from the soul is the job of musicians, artists and poets...

Wearing their hearts on their sleeves

Spray Paint Poetry

An imagined window

Imagined windows

Outer wall of Children's Home

Outer Wall of Children's Home

@ a Children's Home


  1. LOVE this! I want to go back to Cape Town and photograph the grafitti! So glad that you did.

  2. Hey there old friend. Thank you for writing this. I super loved the pictures. The whole thing brings tears to my eyes. I loved your picture of Elaine and of course the picture of you. The art is incredible and so is the story of Woodstock. I'm going to do my best to learn some more about it.
    Thinking of you often and always sending light and love