Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe?
Expediency asks the question: Is it politic?
Vanity asks the question: Is it popular?
But conscience asks the question: Is it right?
And there comes a time one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right.
Martin Luther King
Gandhi’s 7 deadly sins:
Imagine how much better the world would be if we turned our backs on these sins?
And Nelson Mandela’s view on freedom and responsibility:
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made mistakes along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista which surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger for my long walk is not ended.
Words of wisdom from 3 great 20th Century leaders
Just discovered a great website on Joburg (bit embarrassed I didn’t know of it before). It’s www. jhbwtc.blogspot.com and it’s the website of the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism. Based at Wits University, their work (as their name indicates) is academic and inter-disciplinary, focusing on critical social analysis. I found an interesting article by Bettina Malcomess on the notion of the uitvalgrond and how it is a defining feature of Johannesburg’s spatial, cultural, economic and political identity. Uitvalgrond loosely translated in English means left-over or surplus ground. While all cities have marginal and in-between spaces, what makes Johannesburg unusual is that when it was laid out in 1886, at what was to become its very centre, was a piece of uitvalgrond . Where the 3 farms of Braamfontein, Doornfontein and Turffontein met there was a triangular piece of surplus land (roughly between Pritchard and Bree streets today in Joburg Central). Malcomess goes on to look at other spaces of ‘uitvalgrond’ which have defined the way Johannebsurg has developed since its founding. See http://jhbwtc.blogspot.com/2012/06/uitvalgrond-surplus-ground.html
There are some interesting exhibitions on at the moment with new ones opening during July.
The Winter exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery is a group show with works by over 30 artists Phillemon Hlungwani, Neil Rodger, Anton Momberg, Velaphi Mzimba, Walter Voigt, Impumelelo Beads, Angus Taylor, Hanneke Benade, Pauline Gutter, Lionel Smit, Deborah Bell, Caryn Scrimgeour, Rina Stutzer, John Meyer and many more. Closing on 28th July
Limited Edition group exhibition of works on paper opened at In Toto in Birdhaven 5th July.
Sarah Britten’s lipstick art will go on show at Velo Café Cnr Juta and Melle Street, Braamfontein Opening on 5th July the works will be up ’till 28 July. Visit the show and have a grab a coffee & eats
A group show at Michael Stevenson’s also on Juta Street Braamfontein also opens on 5th July and runs until 4thAugust. If a Tree .. is curated by Clare Butcher and aims to re-examine the 1997 second Johannesburg Biennale (entitled Trade Routes: History and Geography). For more see http://www.stevenson.info/exhibitions/traderoutes/index_atree.html
Marcus Neustetter’s exhibition The Space between the Stars A suite of 12 prints opens at AOP 44 Stanley Ave 5th July. Artist’s talk on Saturday 7 July at 11:00. All welcome The new suite of 12 new digital prints by Marcus Neustetter, titled The Space between the Stars, captures some of the research for the stamps that Neustetter recently designed for the South African Post Office, celebrating South Africa’s role in astronomy. See http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/art-and-science-meet-at-circa-art-gallery and http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/art-and-science-meet-at-the-post-office The stamp sheets and first day covers that Marcus Neustetter designed for the Post Office’s astronomy series will be for sale at the launch of the suite of prints. Neustatter writes of his work: “My interest in both drawing and working in the digital domain at the intersection of art, science and technology has led me to experiment with the translation of data and scientific observations into artistic marks that move between the hand-made and the digitally manipulated. Working closely with people outside of my own field, such as historians, archeologists, astrophysicists and astronomers, my obsession with the perspective into space and down onto the surface of the earth, has driven me to attempt to capture abstract metaphors of the vastness of outer space in juxtaposition with the context, instruments and tools for observing, measuring and translating the data gathered”.
In a slightly different vein is the exhibition at the Adler Museum at the Wits Medical School which chronicles the life of Phillip Tobias starting from his childhood in Durban and Bloemfontein. The museum is open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm. The exhibition runs until the end of July.
On from Mid July until 15th September is the Standard Bank group show of 20th Century Masters – The Human Figure. It forms part of the France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013 and includes work by the late 19th and early 20th Century French painters from the realists Millet & Courbet to the Impressionists Manet, Degas, Morisot and Renoir plus the early modernists like Leger Braque, Pablo Picasso, Matisse,Vallotton, etc. The Gallery is open weekdays until 4.30 and Saturday mornings 9-1.
24th July to 25th August Wilma Cruise’s exhibition The Alice Diaries at Circa Gallery Lower Rosebank.
There are so many excellent and varied productions on offer over the next 6 weeks. With a wide choice from ballet to comedy to drama, our theatres offer excellent value and first class productions. Make the most of what’s on offer:
Jonathan Roxmouth (of recent Phantom fame) plays 15 characters as he revisits Gilbert and Sullivan in Topsy Turvy at the Studio Theatre at Monte Casino. It runs until 5th August.
8 of South Africa’s funniest comedians take to the stage at the Teatro, Monte Casino from 11th -14th July in a show entitled Mass Hysteria – Funnier than Parliament. De Vries, Rabinowitz, Lottering, Khoza, Morake, Vlismas, Lindi, Banks are the ‘eight headliners’ who will take on the mantle of our new national leaders. ‘They’ll take to the stage and give you something to really cry about’.
At the Joburg Theatre the Imperial Russian Ballet perform Carmina Burana as well as the Act 1 ballet from Gounod’s Faust, the Adagio from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade, the Pas De Deux from Minkus Don Quixote and Offenbach’s Can Can Surprise. 3 shows: Sat 14th and Sun 15th July at 3 pm and Sat 14th at 8. There are still tickets available.
!Aïa From Cave to Sky comes straight from the Grahamstown Festival to the Market Theatre. The company Théâtre Taliipot worked with scientists, artists and traditional healers to produce a work which speaks to the origins of life and the relationship between human beings and nature. The show which is is co-produced by Artscape and Nirox Foundation is part of the France-South Africa seasons 2012 & 2013. www.aiadance.co.za; On at the Market Laboratory 10- 15th July R75 only for all performances
Opening on 13th July at the Market Theatre (until 19th August) is Craig Higginson’s new play Little Foot. Situated on a farm in the Cradle of Humankind, this play takes the audience into the underground caves where the three-million-year-old hominin Little Foot was discovered. From the press release: ‘In the play, we experience the caves through the eyes of a group of young South African university students – who went to school together and are having a reunion on New Year’s Eve, a year since they last saw each other. As the students delve deeper into the caves – and we travel ever deeper into their psyches and shared histories – a Chorus of ancient hominins steps through the walls of the caves. The play finally dramatises the coming together of our most primal and contemporary identities.’ Tues – Sat @ 20h00, Sun @ 15h00; Ticket prices: Tues – R75, Wed & Thurs – R95, Fri & Sat – R160, Sun – R120. Higginson is such an excellent playwright and with the multi-media staging produced by Malcolm Purkey and designed by Neil Coppen, it will certainly be a play not to be missed.
Another play that was sold out at the Grahamstown Festival is Red, John Logan’s 2010 Tony Award winning play. It opens at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square on 17th July and runs until 11th August. This play focuses on the life and work of Mark Rothko and stars Michael Richard and Jeremy Richard. Produced by Daphne Kuhn, directed by Steven Stead and designed by Greg King it too promises to be a great production.
The Line looks to be a tough and challenging theatre experience. Billed as ‘the culmination of multi-award winning Actor/Director Gina Shmukler’s Masters Research on trauma and theatremaking. Having spent several months in the townships The Line is constructed from a series of interviews with South Africans involved or affected by the xenophobic attacks that took place in May 2008. It explores the fragility of goodness and questions how the attacks were born, who is responsible, what makes good people do bad things and how one crosses the line? Delivered as spoken, verbatim style, The Line has been described as ‘powerful’, ‘chilling’- ‘a must-see’.’ PG 14 Showing from 18 July – 12 August at the Barney Simon Theatre Tues – Sat @ 20h15, Sun @ 15h15 Ticket prices: Tues – R75, Wed & Thurs – R90, Fri & Sat – R150, Sun – R115
The 19th century classical ballet Le Corsaire opens for a 10 day season at the Joburg Theatre on 19th July. Michaela DePrince dances one of the leading roles at the ballet’s SA premiere on Thursday 19 July at 7.30pm. She is scheduled to dance further performances on Friday 20 July at 7.30pm and Sunday 22 July at 3pm. The story behind Michaela’s ballet success is extraordinary. Now 17, she was born in Sierra Leone where she was orphaned at the age of 3 after the death of her parents during the civil war. She was further marginalized by a skin disorder. History has it that on finding a picture of a ballerina in a magazine she became obsessed with the idea of becoming the ballerina in the photograph. Michaela was adopted by an American family when she was 4 and was taken to the US where she started ballet lessons. Her talent was soon recognized and after winning prestigious accolades, she is about to join the prestigious Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York.
Ms. DePrince is one of the 6 ballet dancers who is part of the full-length documentary film, First Position, which follows the lives of young dancers as they participate in Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet competition. Michaela will attend the screening at the Joburg Theatre on Sunday 22 July at 11am and will talk about her participation in the film. First Position premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was named the audience choice’s first runner up for Best Documentary. It also won the Jury Prize at the San Francisco Documentary Festival and the audience award at DOCNYC. Showing at the Joburg Theatre from Sun 22nd July – Wed 25th July
Many guests who have stayed at Liz at Lancaster over the years have been fascinated with the idea of traditional medicine. Some of the more intrepid ones have made their way down to Diagonal Street in western downtown central Joburg where you can find The Museum of Man and Science. This part of town is vibrant and colourful, packed with daily shoppers making for a buzzy street life . ‘The Museum used to be owned by Peter Naidoo whose grandfather started the shop in the late ’30s. See Lucille Davie’s 2004 article http://www.joburgnews.co.za/2004/march/mar16_muti.stm While in this part of town visit the wonderfully monumental yet intimate sculpture of Albertina and Walter Sisulu also in Diagonal St.
If you are really brave you can visit the Mai Mai Market further to the east of the city (corner Anderson and Berea St). No picturesque setting this – it is gritty and neglected and when I went years ago I found it quite depressing - a sad decaying place which sullenly referred to a more integrated rural tribal past and space. For an interesting but somewhat outdated article on the history of this market as well as some insights into traditional medicine practice see http://www.joburgnews.co.za/2003/jan/jan20_market.stm For an interesting interview with an inyanga (traditional doctor or healer) Bheki Sibiya, see http://www.jhblive.com/kultcha/features/mai_mai_muti_market/107897
Very different from the Mai Mai Market is the Faraday Market comprising some 100 stalls all packed with herbs, potions and animal parts – if you are a vegetarian, conservationist or vaguely squeamish, give this market, in fact, give all of them a skip. Faraday Market is crowded, and there is lots of active trade with outsiders or tourists being the exception rather than the rule. No tourist photos are allowed. For more see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9519685.stm
Included in Frommer’s 2012 SA edition under Hyde Park and surrounds, Liz at Lancaster appears in the ‘moderate’ price category below Southern Sun Hotel Hyde Park. The moderate category seems a fairly elastic one as the rates for Southern Sun Hotel are shown on the range from R1100 to 3,700 whereas Liz at Lancaster’s are shown from R700 – R900. Ce la vie – the write-up on Liz at Lancaster is very positive and does make special mention of the excellent value for money:
Located a short distance from Hyde Park mall (10 min. to Rosebank malls), this combines exceptional value with hands-on personal attention and great amenities. Liz offers the most comprehensive in-room information we’ve ever seen – beyond what to do and where to eat, her attention to detail is extreme: she even tunes the radios in every room to preselected stations, [well not quite but nice idea !!] leaving an explanation of what to do and who the stations appeal to. [This we do.] She also has an in-house driver which takes an enormous stress out of transfers (R30 to Parkhurst restaurants; R45 to Rosebank). Most rooms include a fully equipped kitchenette and dining table, enclosed private courtyard. alomg with every other possible amenity. Corner Cafe is 2 blocks away.
SA-venues (one of the leading South African accommodation and general tourist websites) has started a new initiative getting locals ‘in the know’ to write what they call ‘visitorials’ about the area where they live and its surrounds. I was privileged to be asked to write about Craighall Park. See http://blog.sa-venues.com/provinces/gauteng/love-craighall-park/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sa-venues%2FCbjt+%28South+Africa+Travel+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook
Craig Higginson’s new play Little Foot has attracted lukewarm reviews. Set in the Cradle of Humankind and taking its name from the almost complete skeleton found by Ron Clarke’s paleoanthropological team, Higginson’s play was commissioned by the National Theatre, London for its 2012 Connections Festival. It comes to the Market Theatre directly from the Grahamstown Festival. Directed by Malcolm Purkey, and Standard Bank’s 2011 Young Artist of the year for Drama, Neil Coppen, is the designer. For more on this multi-media production , see http://markettheatre.co.za/shows/watch/little-foot Little Foot will run until 19th August.
The stars, planets and the night skies have fascinated and inspired the South African artist Marcus Neustetter over the past few years. He has collaborated with Bronwen Findlay on an arts initiative which explores the relationship between the local community who live in Sutherland in the Northern Cape and the community associated with the world-famous telescope based there. These artistic interventions will form part of the exhibition due to open at Circa on 28th June. See http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/art-and-science-meet-at-circa-art-gallery. Newly released are Neustetter’s exquisite stamps commissioned by the South African Post Office to honour South Africa’s contribution to astronomy. See http://mg.co.za/article/2012-06-08-marcus-neustetter-stamping-his-mark-on-stargazing/favicon.ico I can’t wait to get a set. They are both beautiful as well as historically and scientifically significant. Thumbs up to the Post Office for having the vision to use a creative artist to celebrate SA’s contribution to the study of the universe.